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The Militant, 7 February 1949

‘Carry on as Usual,’ Say Chinese Stalinists

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 6, 7 February 1949, pp. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Right after Tientsin fell to the Communists, a discontented cook turned to his boss and said: “Now, you cook for me.”

The employer complained to the Communists. They lectured the cook, put him to work and threatened punishment if he caused any trouble.

Workers in a factory grumbled over their wages and the eight-hour day. They wrecked the kitchen. Then they went to Red headquarters to complain.

They came back dumbfounded. The Communists put them on a 10-hour day and cut their wages 20%.

* * *

The above report appeared word for word in the Feb. 1 N.Y. Post. It reveals in the most graphic way the attitude of the Chinese Stalinists toward the working class. The Stalinists at the head of the insurgent peasantry enter the cities not to liberate the workers from slavery to the capitalist class but to prevent the workers from rising. The Stalinist aim is not to establish a Workers and Farmers Government in China but to form a coalition regime with the Chinese capitalists.

This course proceeds directly from the program of Mao Tse-tung, which like the program of the Mensheviks in Russia in 1917, envisages a long period of capitalist profit-making in China with the working class remaining enslaved.

Stalinists Obliging

What happened in Tientsin was repeated in Peiping. Erwin D. Canham of the Christian Science Monitor reports that the Stalinists began negotiating with the Kuomintang city regime even before they started the Siege. "The Communists controlled the electric plant which furnished light and pumped water, into Peiping,” says Canham. “They obligingly kept right on running rhe plant, a little erratically, all through the siege.”

This was not all. “The Communist delegates were inside Peiping during the siege, with the knowledge and consent of the Nationalist commander, Gen. Fu Tso-yi. They were allowed to operate their own radio station from inside the beleaguered city, and communicate with the besiegers outside. They were equipped with special passes from General Fu, with resident’s cards and with other credentials.”

“Carry On As Usual”

The negotiations ended with an agreement, according to Andrew Roth of The Nation, setting up a “joint governing council whose members have been appointed by Fu and the Communists.” The property of foreigners and foreign diplomats is “guaranteed.” This guarantee is being enforced “by police and by supplementary troops from both armies.” And the agreement ends with an announcement that “people of all walks of life are requested to carry on as usual and avoid all public panic.”

This policy explains why western business men and bankers are confident they can do business with the Chinese Stalinists and why the embassies of the western powers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Stalinists in Nanking.

Prepare Comeback

There has been a “regular procession of Kuomintang politicians to the offices of Ambassador Leighton Stuart, asking for his help in transplanting a core of the present regime into a future coalition,” says Roth. The State Department reply was made through Paul Hoffman. In December he declared that Washington would provide assistance to a Stalinist-dominated coalition provided it permitted “free institutions” to function. By this he meant that the Stalinists must safeguard capitalism and give former Kuomintang officials kev posts. Such a beachhead would facilitate a later comeback for ultra-reaction.

Cunning Maneuver

The Chinese Stalinist policy of collaboration with former Kuomintang officials has opened the way for a cunning maneuver by these politicians. As a minority within the future coalition they are already probing for weak spots to increase their own power and influence. Figuring that the Kremlin fears the appearance of Titoism, the Nanking clique are bidding for the role of counter-force. The game is to go over Mao Tse-tung’s head and hand over the western province of Sinkiang directly to the Kremlin. In return for this concession, they hope Moscow will be tempted to increase Nanking’s weight in the coalition at the expense of Mao Tse-tung.

Whether this desperate maneuver works remains to be seen. The fact that the Soviet Ambassador has followed Chiang Kai-shek to Canton is an indication that Moscow is not burning any bridges to an understanding with even the most reactionary wing of the Kuomintang at the xpense of the Chinese Stalinists. What makes this Nanking maneuver possible is Stalin’s perfidiousness and his readiness to doublecross his most loyal lieutenants to promote a deal with Chinese and world capitalism.

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Last updated on 5 March 2024