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Geo. Clarke

Japanese Invasion of Jehol Creates Tense Situation

World Imperialist Powers Press for Their Share of Loot

(January 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 3, 21 January 1933, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The rattle of the sabre grows louder in the Far East. As the Japanese conquest grows in scope and as the plunder and murder of these robber bandits proceeds unabated grave events of international consequence loom on the horizon. Fear for their territory and sources of exploitation have struck fear into the hearts of American and British imperialism. The equanimity that marked the original attitude of American imperialism has given way to an attitude of extreme anxiety over Japan’s possible purpose in her invasion of the Jehol territory. At the outset, when it seemed that the Japanese military expedition might end in intervention against the Soviet Union, the diplomatic circles in Washington were quiet as the grave. But now, when it appears that American profits and the huge Chinese colonial market will be swallowed up by Japanese capitalism, a virtual furor of protest has emerged from the Washington watchdogs of the Wall Street bankers’, munition makers’ and manufacturers’ interests in every part of the globe.

Already recrimination, abuse and contradictory rumors calculated to incite the war fever fill the air, both in America and in Japan. The old and familiar story of “atrocities” begins to make screaming headlines on the front pages of the yellow journals. The Tokio War Office gives out information to the Japanese press that the United States is making huge sales of war supplies to the Chinese. The United States foreign office counter’s by saying the whole matter is a colossal fabrication, that the sale of ammunition to China in the last period was a mere bagatelle. The truth perhaps lies somewhere between these two, although it is a well known fact that the DuPonts are not wasting any opportunity to reap profits from their deadly products. And they will sell this war paraphernalia to the Japanese just as soon as to the Chinese. Such are the noble and principled motives that actuated these same gentlemen in the last world slaughter. They have but one criterion – pecuniary gain. They reserve the sentimental phrases for consumption by the masses.

Simultaneously a new sensation has flashed across the American scandal sheets. A group of Japanese workers, according to these press reports stormed the Singer Sewing Machine plant in Yokohoma and left a wreckage behind them amounting to several hundreds of thousands of dollar’s. Counter charges and claims are made that there was insufficient police protection; that it was a group of Left wing workers that committed the deed, eta, etc., ad nauseam. And now we hear still more ominous news that the Japanese fleet maneuvers have been advanced from October to June or July in the Pacific. And the American naval maneuvers, likewise in the Pacific, are scheduled to take place in about a month. Naval maneuvers are usually the prelude to more serious action.

At the same time we notice another significant fact. The attitude of the League of Nations has undergone an abrupt and fundamental revision. In less than a week the position of the “black international of imperialism” changed from one of yielding to all the Japanese demands to a hard boiled attitude of no concessions whatever. At first glance this it somewhat astonishing. But upon looking deeper into the change it is quite in accord with the spirit of recent international events.

During this past week when the Lytton report hung fire the American colossus intervened to lay down the law. To the public it merely reaffirmed its policy on the Far Eastern question of January 1932. “Protection of the open door ... respect for the territorial and administrative integrity of China ... the Nine Power pact ... the Kellogg-Briand Peace Treaty” and all the other shams that serve to camouflage the desire of the American capitalist class for self-aggrandizement in China and the opening up of huge markets for the profiteers. But behind the scenes another and more powerful weapon was brought into action. And with this weapon the American imperialists bludgeoned the League of Nations to make its position conform to American interests.

This weapon is the war debt, which has been suspended over the heads of the defaulting nations, by the U.S. for this purpose among others.

The voice of the American Shylock has thundered forth: “If you want a favorable settlement on the debt you owe us, then support our policy against the Japanese!” And as the old saying goes “money talks”. The whole League of Nations including France which has previously given Japan her warmest support fell into line. And now the papers tell us that a strong condemnatory resolution against Japan will be adopted. Great Britain which had been reticent about “provoking Japan has now offered diplomatic representations to the latter about the tense situation which is endangering British interests. The American whip strikes sharply and imperatively. But any illusion that any possible action of the League of Nations will permanently stop Japan’s adventure in Jehol and elsewhere is not only absurd but dangerous. The most any action of the League can accomplish is to cause new alignments and intensify imperialist rivalry to the breaking point. The Wall Street agents in Washington are using the League of Nations as their battering ram against the Japanese. When the time comes they will pass over from the realm of words. Already we hear the music of the future.

Secretary of State, Stimson in his statement to Congress on the question of Philippine independence, on Jan. 16th slid, regarding the situation that might ensue if the Philippines were freed, “Such a situation might be an irreparable blow to American influence at a time when the state of affairs in the Far East is chaotic, when every element of stability is threatened and when may come out of the Orient one of these historic moments which might disturb the whole earth.” Stripped of the diplomatic verbiage the meaning of this statement is clear as day. The danger of war stands in close proximity.

But parallel With the danger of a world conflagration rises the possibility of a bloody assault upon the Soviet Union. For, however, rich and desirable the Chinese market is to the imperialist bandits their interests would be better served by an attack upon the workers’ fatherland than by tearing one other’s throats over their booty.

The Japanese militarists have many times tried to provoke the Soviet Union. In the last issue of the Militant we recounted their hostile acts. They are enraged over Russia’s refusal to recognize the puppet state of Manchukuo and her resumption of diplomatic relations with China. They want to force the Soviet Union to act according to the standards of capitalist greed. But the Soviet Union has no imperialist axe to grind. Its interests are the interests of the international proletariat and conversely. The present actions of Japan and the other capitalist powers must alarm the working class to the growing danger of another world war. Not only does an imperialist war become a present danger but a united attack upon the Soviet Union is threatened.

After four years of misery and privation for the working class the imperialists are preparing a huge blood bath for them to drown their sorrows in. To these preparations, intrigues, and the like the working class must be ready to answer with the only answer at their disposal, the transformation of the imperialist war into the civil war’ for the overthrow of the capitalist system.

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Last updated: 7 February 2015