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Japan Seizes North China

Soviet Union Also Threatened

(January 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 2, 14 January 1933, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Events are moving rapidly in the Far East. The Japanese military expedition to carve a colonial empire out of Northern China has gotten under full swing as lour Japanese armies numbering more than 10,000 soldiers are advancing with the aid of tanks, planes and artillery along a 225 mile front into the Jehol province. The Japanese assault which began with the ruthless invasion and destruction of the city of Shanhaikwan a little over a week ago, under the pretext of defensive measures against the impotent Chinese garrison located in the above mentioned city, has turned out according to universal expectation, which the Japanese did little to conceal, to be their first move in the partition of China.

Leaving a trail of devastation and ruin in their wake the Japanese imperialists are advancing upon their long talked-of aim to add the Jehol province and possibly Inner Mongolia to their puppet state Manchukuo. In spite of the braggadocio of the Chinese generals and the Kuo Min Tang, that they would resist to the last drop of blood, the Japanese have started, their march with nothing to block their way but the intense cold. As a matter of fact, Japan refuses to be deterred by any circumstances from her Chinese conquest and rumors are current that Chiang Kai-Shek is looking towards negotiations “for an amicable settlement of the dispute.” Were it not for the pressure from the Chinese masses and the foreign imperialists, who have their own axe to grind (on the Chinese people) the Chiang Kai-Sheks would capitulate to Japan without even their present pretensions.

And this is borne out by innumerable facts that even the Chinese censor could not keep hidden. The invasion of Shanhaikwan was known for some time previous to its occurrence not only by Chang Hsiao Liang, commander of the garrison, but also to many far less informed journalists. And yet no attempt was made to bring reinforcements to strengthen it. On the contrary the fort was

abandoned to the tender mercies of the Japs who proceeded to wipe out every Chinese-looking person that was found in the city. During the battle which lasted hardly 24 hours the need for assistance became quite apparent. Every one looked to Chiang Kai-Shek, the generalissimo of the Chinese armies – but the general was too busy fighting Communists in southern China! Every new step of this gentry, proves that it is not duly unwilling but incapable of fighting the Japanese marauders. The only place where the Chinese bourgeoisie and their flunkeys have shown any belligerency is in the talkfest chambers of the League of Nations. And no wonder! To call into being an effective resistance to the invaders would mean to set the Chinese masses into motion. The Chinese bourgeoisie fears, above everything else, the Chinese people. They conceive of them as a far greater enemy than all the imperialists combined. The bourgeoisie and the militarists are quite well aware that the struggle against the foreign invader might easily be turned against them as would have been the case in 1925‐1927 were it not for the Menshevik policies of Stalin and Co.

But the Chinese bourgeoisie will not succeed in stifling the discontent of the toiling millions. Already widespread resentment is breaking loose against the Chinese compradores. Resolutions calling for decisive action are pouring into Nanking from all parts of the country. Mass meetings of students burning with resentment against the flagrant betrayal of Chiang, are gaining in momentum. The Japanese imperialists may yet succeed – in blowing the spark of the third Chinese revolution into flames. And that is a conflagration that has burned more than one imperialism in the past!

The Japanese adventure in northern China is fraught with the direct consequences for the workers of the world and for the Soviet Union. World war hangs in the balance. The working class must remain on the alert.

Japan is staking everything on this Chinese expedition. Despite the severe crisis shaking Japanese economy to its very foundations: despite a huge national deficit which is growing every day; despite the falling value of the yen; despite an unprecedented mass hunger and privation that is wracking every Japanese city and village, the Military is plunging the country into an ever greater crisis in pursuit of their imperialist designs. All their grandiose plans may blow up under the huge volcano that is gathering fuel in the simmering discontent of the Japanese workers and peasants. The war-crazed and avaricious militarists will stop at nothing.

Simultaneous with the Jehol invasion has come the refusal to sign the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. What a striking confirmation that is of the Left Opposition’s condemnation of the Stalinist signature of the Kellogg pact, to which these “non-aggression” pacts are merely a corollary. To sign this innocuous pact would have been of little consequence for the Japanese imperialists. It would not have stopped the military plans by one inch of conquered territory. But what they have done is significant. They have refused to sign the pact on a flimsy pretext. Stalin, they say, has changed the industrialization plans in preparation for war. In view of the present difficulties of the five year plan, this charge is not only absurd but is a cover for Japanese provocations against the Soviet Union. The Daily Worker reports that four Soviet ships have been interned by the Japanese military. Japan’s hostile acts are clear to all.

At the same time another significant fact comes to light. Unlike the events of last year when the conquest of Manchuria was met with anxious outcries on the part of American and other imperialists who feared for their own profits and concessions, the silence of this year has been conspicuous. Is it because the imperialist powers know in advance that Japan’s rampage will this time end up in an assault upon the Soviet Union! There are strong indications that this may be the case.

The workers must be on their guard for any eventuality. They must give their support to the Chinese workers and peasants in the struggle against the Japanese plunderers and the Chiang Kai-Shek butchers of the Chinese people!

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