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Henry Judd

World Politics

Madame Arrives!

(13 December 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 50, 13 December 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Ten thousand miles across the Pacific and America has come abegging Madame Chiang Kai-shek, China’s “First Lady.” Hat in hand and artificial smile on her face, Madame is asking for nothing less than $3 billions, at the rate of one each year for the next three years; The reception has varied thus far from a cool welcome to a downright frosty atmosphere in Washington, and Madame finds it slightly more difficult to produce the smile after each fresh interview. We freely predict that it will be entirely wiped off her face by the time the plane takes off to deposit her back with her nervously waiting Generalissimo. Time runs out on the General and his ’Missimo, and a couple of the world’s most high-powered scoundrels and despicable frauds are about to be put out of business.

Since the end of the war, the sum of $2½ billions has been spent by American imperialism to bolster up the Chiang-Kai-shek-Kuomintang regime in its struggle against the armies of Chinese Stalinism. Everyone is familiar with the results. Operating behind the guise of a vast, popular and democratic people’s movement, the Stalinists have moved from victory to victory and are preparing a perhaps final rout of the so-called official Nationalist government. But what else could have been expected? To anyone having the slightest acquaintance with Chiang and his regime, the result was foregone; the only question was how long would it take? Already, the Chinese Stalinist leadership talks with that confidence which emanates from power and their plans for China become broader and deeper in scope with each new rout of the sadly demoralized forces of the Chinese dictator.

Triumphed in Counter-Revolution

The regime of Chiang and his consort, the Madame, was born in reaction and anointed with the blood of tens of thousands of Shanghai’s workers. Andre Malraux has made this story familiar in his famous novel, Man’s Fate. Chiang triumphed as the counter-revolution in 1927, and his counter-revolution has proceeded without end for the past 21 years of his hold on power. There is no need to detail the personal stories of Chiang and his Madame – much is known about them, and the personal evaluation of them by General Stilwell in his War Diaries as corrupt, rotten and utterly power-mad individuals holds true throughout their careers. It is difficult to imagine a couple whose greed, desire for political and social power, ambition and aggressiveness can match that of China’s “President” and “First Lady.”

The regime they have constructed over 21 years matches the structure of their personalities. A clique of politicians, doing the political work of an infinitesimal group of bankers, exporters and brokers, landlords and bureaucrats – this is the essence of the Chiang regime. In this era of political filth and moral corruption, it is doubtful if any regime in the world has sunk as low as that of Chiang. Surrounded by his murdering body of personal guards (the Green Shirts) and exercizing dictatorial power in appointments, legislation and juridical authority, Chiang (always with the smiling Madame at his side to exercize the necessary powers of charm) was a necessary and obliging cover for the corruption underneath.

As war and emergency relief passed through the various echelons of his administrative bureaucracy, his underlings dipped into the “gravy train” and helped themselves. Socially, Chiang’s policy has been complete reaction – crushing of the labor movement, enforcement of traditional landlord power and procedure (he has proved incapable of even developing an agrarian program in opposition to that of Stalinism, thus guaranteeing his social and military defeat in advance in his war with the Stalinists), denying of the most elementary democratic procedures (there has never been a popular election in China’s history since Chiang took power) and refusing to consider the most meager reform measures.

I would say without much hesitation that Chiang Kai-shek and his Madame are the two most universally despised, hated and spit upon people in China today. These two bankrupts cannot even rally one serious segment of any of China’s social classes to their banner! Their “supporters” (we mean those now fleeing to southern China, Hong Kong and Burma!) consist of the following groups and types:

We doubt if the whole unwholesome crew amount to 2 per cent of the entire Chinese population of 450 millions.

Handwriting on the Wall

And now Madame is here, to plead her cause! The handwriting is on the wall and she knows it. She is far too shrewd to know otherwise, yet she hopes to secure enough aid to create – with the aging Chiang – a regime in southern China. But the rottenness is too far gone. And what may be the final act of her overlong political life again shows her in her accustomed role of treachery and cynical bargaining. In exchange for the $3 billions she demands, she is offering American imperialism full rights over China! Nothing less than a revival of extraterritoriality, special privileges and everything associated with the early and most hated imperialist methods in China is what Madame proposes to America. Even those privileges which the Chinese bourgeoisie itself fought against, and partly succeeded in destroying, would be restored if only $3 billions are shovelled out!

“I’d Like to Get You on a Slow Boat to China.”

This is Madame’s tune, but Uncle Sam imperialism will not fall for the seductive voice. He knows she represents nothing any more, that her power is crumbling fast. American imperialism would not hesitate one moment if it thought seriously that the expenditure of several (even 5 or 6) billions more would not only retrieve the situation, but would actually gain it a decisive foothold in China. Truman’s hesitation and coolness has no ideologic or moralistic motivation; it is the consequence of his thinking on the problem of China as a risk: a poor investment, to be written off with a pious wish.

Let the Madame return to China and to whatever miserable fate awaits her. Everything about her and what she stands for is hypocritical and corrupt; the departure of this pair of scoundrels and their supporters will be no loss. The real tragedy, of course, is the colossal victory that Stalinism’s conquest of China will represent for Stalinism. The meaning of such a victory will have to be assessed at a much later time, when Mao Tze and his fellow Stalinists more clearly reveal their policies and politics. Meanwhile, the lot of China’s workers and peasants, who are about to exchange the yoke of one reactionary regime for another, despite the obviously tremendous social differences between them, is something that demands much thought and reflection.

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