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The Events in Manchuria

Japanese Achieving Objectives

Kuo Min Tang Attacks Rising Workers’ Movement

(December 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 34 (Whole No. 93), 5 December 1931, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Developments in the Sino-Japanese War in Manchuria have been rapid in the past week. The Japanese armies proceeded so swiftly to remove Chinese forces from any control of Manchurian soil that the foreign powers, who had not even sharply reprimanded Japan’s military aggressions before, called upon Japan to halt her advances. Great Britain and the United States particularly intervened when it appeared as if the Japanese would also seize the city of Chinchow, the last hold of China on Manchuria. U.S. Secretary of State Stimson’s alleged statement that “Japan was running amuck in Manchuria” tended to bring diplomatic parleys, carried on for the most part secretly, to a head. For the moment, at least, the Japanese march upon Chinchow has been halted.

But what is outstanding in the Manchurian situation is that the Japanese imperialists have achieved virtually all their objectives in Manchuria and are now in a position to make “concessions” to the “demands” of the United States and the imperialist powers associated, in the League of Nations. Japan has cleared Manchuria of nearly all Chinese forces and influence for the time being, The so-called International Commission of Inquiry into affairs in Manchuria and China will, when it begins its tasks of legalizing the exploitation and dismemberment of Manchuria and China, have to do so while Japanese troops occupy Manchurian soil at all strategic points. Japan has virtually forced the other imperialist powers (bourgeois China herself had little choice in the matter) to recognize the validity of her so-called treaty “rights” in Manchuria, rights obtained from a powerless China at the point of a gun.

The Chinese Bourgeoisie Capitulate Before the Imperialists

The Chinese bourgeois government of Chiang Kai-Shek has all but totally surrendered to the demands of the Japanese Imperialists, as well as to the pressure of the capitalist powers led by the United States and Great Britain. After much bluster that the Chinese government would consider no negotiations between Japan and itself on disputed questions, until Japanese military forces had evacuated Manchuria, the Nanking government is now ready to concede that vital point and to place her reliance on the International Commission of Inquiry. A sad reed indeed to lean upon and which foreshadows greater miseries for the Chinese people.

Rarely has a government in all history been so suppine and groveling before its foreign imperialist masters, – from Japan to Italy, Great Britain and the United States, as has been the capitalist government of Chiang Kai-Shek. The latter has not moved in reality one iota to resist the Japanese invasion, despite the strong and growing protest and demands of all elements in China, particularly the workers and poorer peasants. Chiang’s boast that he would lead the military forces against Japan on the Manchurian front has proved to be an idle boast. He remains in Nanking.

The Oppression Against the Chinese Masses

But if Chiang Kai-Shek and the rest of the bourgeoisie behind him have been wholly weak and lax in opposing the Japanese imperialists, they have been working overtime once again to smash the rising movement of the workers, peasants and students, whose wrath and demand for struggle against all forms of imperialism, foreign and native, has grown rapidly again in the past weeks. But Chiang denounces the demonstrators, not only against his bloody regime, but against Japan. The economic boycott against Japanese goods and its possibilities is frowned upon by the government, and efforts are made to make the boycott innocuous, colorless and merely gestures of defiance against Japan. Despite this, and the present bourgeois character, in the main, of the boycott it has been a thorn in the side of the Japanese. The Kuo Min Tang government of Chiang Kai-Shek further proceeds against the working class. It has forbidden strikes and brands the suspension of work “as illegal in times of crisis”. Suppression of workers’ organizations and execution of labor militants and Communists continue as the policy of the Kuo Min Tang. Our readers in other columns of The Militant can read the Fenprekor despatches which give graphic first hand pictures and explanations of the situation and actions in China and the Far East generally.

Relations With the Soviet Union

Despite these actions and policies of the Chinese Nationalists, there is considerable effort being exerted for the resumption of relations with the Soviet Union. It is sad to have to say that the Chinese Revolution of 1927 was destroyed by Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuo Min Tang which was then fully supported and endorsed by Joseph Stalin and the Comintern over the protests of the Left Opposition. It is perhaps fitting that the hands of Chiang Kai-Shek should again seek to grasp those of Stalin whose policy leads everywhere to the destruction of international socialism and solidarity of the working masses.

The Canton Government, of which Eugene Chen is foreign minister, charges Nanking with failure to resist Japan’s invasion, and decries reliance upon the League of Nations. This bourgeois government which has fundamentally the same aims as Nanking, realizes that if the Chinese bourgeois is to develop as a power and be able also to resist the Chinese toilers, it will have to show at least some semblance of resistance to the invaders.

Arising out of the Manchurian situation, Pravda, Moscow, raises the question of recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States as one means whereby confusion and understanding between the various countries may be alleviated or removed, citing the Sino-Russ Eastern Railway dispute as a point.

Winter will slow down military operations in Manchuria. Meanwhile Japan remains intrenched in Manchuria and, on the whole, regards with equanimity, the forthcoming commission of inquiry, to be extended to five members to include a small power. Only the Chinese bourgeoisie have cause to tremble in their boots. Japan’s capital investments of $750,000,000 (figures of 1930, from World Almanac of 1931) appear indeed to be secure. Nor has it great qualms just now over its investments in China itself which, among others, include outright ownership of 43 cotton mills, with 1,397,272 spindles and 13,981 looms.

The Importance of Chinchow

Japan’s hope to seize Chinchow, against which the other powers set up a screeching howl, is easy to understand. It was the last hold of China in Manchuria. Chinchow, says a report of the National Geographic Society, is the chief city of Southwest Manchuria; it is the center for Chinese trade. It is one of the most strategically located cities in the Far East and has the only railroad which links China and Manchuria. It is China’s open “front door” to Manchuria which China must hold to have any say in Manchuria.

Now there are discussions for the establishment of a “neutral zone” about Chinchow, and, further, December 15th is suggested for the withdrawal of troops from Manchuria. Negotiations are slow and, it is expected, will be long drawn out, during which time, nevertheless, fighting of one sort or another will continue, and working class victims of capitalist militarism will be killed. The Nanking government will accept whatever is handed to them by the imperialists. The League of Nations is seeking for a “formula”, not a solution, to the Manchurian problems.

Revive the Workers’ Movement In China

The Communists and militants in Japan and China are increasing their activities. That is the best hope for a correct ultimate solution. In Japan there have been manifestations by the workers against the Japanese attack uopn Manchuria. In China, as has been pointed out, the working class is endeavoring to rebuild its economic and political organizations, and is arousing itself for struggle against the Chinese bourgeoisie and the Kuo Min Tang betrayers, against the militarists and landlords of north and south and the institutions of militarism and capitalism in China. The Chinese toilers are once again building for the future, for the only lasting solution, for a Soviet China. It is for the American workers to assist the Chinese masses by organizing their forces against the strongest of the imperialist powers, the United States, whose claws are sharpened for a grip on China.

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Last updated: 24.2.2013