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War In Manchuria

Chinese Masses Develop Struggle
Against Exploiters

(November 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 33 (Whole No. 92), 28 November 1931, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Japanese imperialism continues to intrench herself more strongly in Manchuria, and pushes her military operations persistently and sharply. From the Chinese there is little or no resistance to the aggressions by the invaders. The slaughter of the victims of capitalist war increases. Tsitihar, center for the Chinese Eastern Railway, jointly operated by China and Soviet Russia, has been seized by the Japanese. The latter are now massing troops for an attack on Chinchow, center of the South Manchurian Railroad, owned by the Japanese. With the prospective occupation of Chinchow by Nipponese troops, Japan will have direct control of every city of consequence in Manchuria, except Harbin.

Japan’s position now in Manchuria is powerful and is reflected in her adamant attitude toward proposals for a cessation of hostilities and arrangement of terms between Japan and China. Japan has set out to dominate Manchuria, and to date is succeeding very well. The United States, though not a member of the League, and the powers dominant in the League of Nations – Great Britain and France – are having a trying time to save the face of the League, so obviously impotent in the present Far Eastern war. There is talk of invoking economic measures against Japan, America’s attitude on this appears to be negative.

The International Commission of Inquiry

At the moment, the League of Nations Council is in session and is getting ready to submit another proposal to Japan and China; both turned down the earlier suggestions for a cessation of warfare. The draft resolution calls for an International Commission of Inquiry into the Sino-Japan war; it concerns itself also with the evacuation, to be started at once, of Japanese troops from China and immediate stoppage of military activities.

This Commission also has in mind an inquiry into the internal affairs of China, thus laying an additional base for the spoliation and dismemberment of China by the various imperialist powers. Thus far there is no indication whether any or all of the proposals in the League of Nation’s draft resolution will be acceptable either to Japan or China. The latter, as matters stand today, really has little choice in the matter, though stressing the evacuation of Manchuria as a sine qua non for the settlement of disputed issues. The Militant has gone into these issues before in detail.

The relations between Japan and the Soviet Union remain the same, despite the provocation by Japan with its occupation of Tsitihar. As a matter of fact, the other imperialist powers – the United States, Great Britain and France – actually encourage acts and gestures of hostility toward the Soviet Union, and continue to plan ways and means for a united front of the capitalist nations against the Workers’ Republic. They hope in due time to be able to wage war upon the Soviet Union in an effort for the latter’s destruction. The Soviet Union thus far has refused to allow itself to be provoked by the imperialist powers. She pursues a policy of peace.

Japan Achieving Objectives

In the main, Japan has achieved her objectives in Manchuria. Anti-Japanese elements have been removed from high post in Manchuria. Her economic interests, possessions and capital investments are on a more solid footing than ever before; Japan feels that any settlement of the disputes will be largely in her favor and that any existing or Chinese government of the bourgeoisie to-be will be tolerant of Japan’s “rights” and interests and treaties.

The Chinese National Government continues to do nothing to stem the Japanese aggressions. There is much talk, but it signifies nothing, for there is only wind behind it all.

Dr. Alfred Sze, Chinese delegate to the League of Nations Council at Paris, knowing the flabbiness of his government, tries to pass the buck and wails at the bourgeois League because the “League has not lifted a finger in defense of covenants they have pledged to defend.” The Nanking Government, knees bent in suppliance, complains before the League Council that the Japanese have expropriated Chinese lands, levied illegal taxes, disrupted Chinese communications, interfered with local municipal administration in Manchuria, etc. While China protests that she will not pay a political price for Japan’s evacuation of Manchuria or again sign another treaty embodying the notorious 21 points of 1915, Japan and the imperialist nations only give a mocking answer.

Kuo Min Tang Uniting Bourgeoisie

From Chiang Kai-Shek, Chinese hangman of the proletariat, comes high talk about going to the war front to lead the struggle against Japan. He exhorts the Kuo Min Tang Congress for unity of all shades of the Kuo Min Tang and achieves reinstatement of expelled elements, among them Gen. Fng Yu-Hsiang and Yen Hsi-Shan, now re-elected to the Central Executive Committee of the Kuo Min Tang. The Fourth Congress of the Kuo Min Tang – the association of Chinese bourgeoisie, landlords and militarists – meets in a tense atmosphere, feeling and knowing the rising wave of indignation and protest of the Chinese proletariat and peasantry against them.

In China itself the situation has become more favorable for the Left wing labor and Communist movement. The Chinese masses are indignant and resentful at the almost total failure of the Chiang Kai-Shek government to resist the Manchurian invasion by Japan. They are beginning to feel more surely, and correctly so, that the bourgeoisie of China will capitulate before and compromise the historical interests of the Manchurian and Chinese masses to the Japanese. At the same time, they steadily receive the blows of the Chinese bourgeoisie.

Chinese Toilers Organizing Resistance

The Chinese masses sharply resent the efforts of Japan to make what amounts to a colony of Manchuria. The proletariat is compelled to carry the brunt of the battles, not only its own, but that of its enemies and exploiters. As pointed out in The Militant hitherto, demonstrations and the economic boycott were involved at the outset of the present struggle. These are now on the increase, and the historical weapon of the Chinese, the economic boycott, in this instance of Japanese goods, is being linked up more and more with political manifestations against the Chinese bourgeoisie.

Class forces are once again more clearly aligning and realigning themselves, both internationally and in China. The bourgeoisie of other countries are compelled to condone the Japanese aggression because of their own imperialist objectives. They have not been able to find a way out of the world economic crisis; the Manchurian events are but an extension of this economic crisis on the political and military arena. The basic combination is that of the capitalist powers against the Soviet Union and the international working class which is gradually organizing its forces for the defense of the Soviet Union and against international capitalism.

In Japan there has been an increase of protest by workers and workers’ organizations against the Japanese government and its depredations upon Manchuria.

In China the Chinese bourgeoisie are already calling upon “Left” fronts to mask their schemes and exploitation, in addition to attempting, as pointed out, to unify the Kuo Min Tang. The Kuo Min Tang of Canton, South China, is pressing Wang Chin Wei to the forefront as the “Left” representative. These maneuvers are some of the internal dangers that the Chinese proletariat faces and must meet.

Basic tasks remain as before: Unification of all the forces of Communism in China and internationally; revival and reorganization of the Chinese labor movement, oppressed mercilessly by Chinese capitalism; integration of the Communist forces in the United States in order to be able to develop a common and wide front of the American working class in struggle against the American bourgeoisie, and to achieve a mobilization of all possible forces in support and defense of the Soviet Union from aggressions from any quarter and against the growing menace of world war.

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