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J. Weber

Chinese Bourgeoisie Is Impotent
Before Advancing Japanese Armies

(March 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 16, 6 March 1933, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The democratic phase of the Chinese revolution included as its major task the ousting of the foreign imperialists and the national unification of China. This task could only have been accomplished with the aid of the wide masses of workers and peasants. The revolution swept towards the goal of its first phase only as long as the Chinese masses were drawn irresistibly and on an ever grander scale into the movement for liberation. It was inevitable, however, that the oppressed classes, on whom rested the actual burden of carrying on the armed struggle, under the ferment of revolutionary activity, should come into conflict not only with the foreign oppressors but with their own native exploiters. This phase of the Chinese revolution did not wait upon the successful achievement of the program of unification common to all classes, bourgeois, worker and peasant, participating in the first stage. The irrepressible class struggle broke out before the imperialists had been swept into the sea and in the conflict that followed the vanguard of the working class, the Communists, on whom depended the continuation of the revolution, was all but exterminated.

Failure to Unify China

The Chinese bourgeoisie preferred far rather the continued strangling of China by the imperialist powers, so long as they were permitted to continue their own exploitation, than their own overthrow and their disappearance as a class through the dictatorship of the proletariat. But with the bloody suppression of the revolutionary workers and peasants, the native bourgeoisie, with the willing assistance of foreign imperialism, became the spear-head of counterrevolution in China. The revolution ebbed and the aim of unification failed of accomplishment because the masses did not succeed In marching forward, under the leadership of the Communists, beyond the narrower first aims of the revolution, to the conquest of power under working class dictatorship. Thus the Chinese revolution is a negative example (one hesitates to call it a “living” example) of the theory of the permanent revolution.

The lessons of the second phase of the Revolution remain as an abiding memory in the minds of the present bourgeois rulers of China. If today they are completely impotent in the defense of China against Japanese imperialism, it is because they fear above everything else to arouse the masses and arm them for a real struggle. For that would mean the resurrection of the Revolution which, they clearly see, could only result in their own downfall ultimately. Chiang Kai-Shek, instead of sending a single soldier to Jehol for the defense of China against imperialist invasion, continues to battle with the peasant Soviets in his effort to establish his hegemony, if only in a few provinces. T.Y. Soong, reactionary banker – the richest man in China – can only say at this juncture that the Japanese aggression is a good thing, for “in the long run” it will result in the “real” unification of China. Meantime he impotently offers, not any attempt at effective resistance, but the lives of one hundred million Chinamen to the Japs. These Chinamen “will know how to die”. All the mercenary, thieving bandit rulers and bourgeois compradores are sending their wealth, that ill-gotten wealth coined out of the blood of the Chinese masses, out of the country and are “disappearing” themselves. “Governor” Tang Yu-lin of Jehol, that great opium drugsman of China, carefully evacuated his gold and his wives and has now left Jehol himself for destinations unknown.

The Japanese Continue Advance

Thus the Japanese conquer with almost no resistance because China under the rule of the Chiang Kai-Sheks has failed to unify and has failed to build up its industries rapidly enough to supply a modern army. Having met no real obstacles, the Japanese will continue to seize more and more Chinese territory. The press repeats statements that the Japanese have demanded the withdrawal of Chinese troops from Tienstin, the next objective of the invasion.

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