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John G. Wright

Why We Defend China

(April 1942)

From Fourth International, Vol.3 No.4, April 1942, pp.112-117.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the fifth year of the Chino-Japanese war and in the third year of the second World War, the Oehlerites and Shachtmanites have suddenly discovered that it no longer is permissible for them to support China’s war for national emancipation.

For a time after their break away from us, the Oehlerites and Shachtmanites continued to repeat a few of the scientific formulas they learned in our movement but never completely understood. They accepted our position that the nationalist war of China must be supported despite the crimes of the Chinese bourgeoisie led by the butcher Chiang Kai-shek.

China’s war has unfolded since 1937 under Chiang’s leadership who continued his role as a willing agent of any imperialist whom he could approach. Still Oehler and Shachtman remained supporters. The second World War exploded. They saw no reason for change. To be sure, the Oehlerites decided to penalize the Chinese people by refusing to extend them material aid, because, they said, Chiang headed their struggle. The Shachtmanites for their part were “able to give only critical support to the Chinese struggle” (Labor Action, March 16, 1942). Nevertheless for the more than two and a half years of the war China remained assured of Oehlerite-Shachtmanite support. But not today! Why?

The Oehlerite position, presented in the name of the theory of the permanent revolution, can be summed up in one proposition. Marxists must now conclude that China’s role is today identical with that of Serbia in 1914, and that therefore, Oehler’s position in 1942 is the same as Lenin’s in 1914:

“In precisely the same way the Serbian national struggle was no longer supported by the Marxists when it became a phase of the first imperialist war” (International News, February 1942).

Lenin used to complain that a sectarian could so confuse issues in a few lines that twice as many volumes were needed to unravel the complex mess. We shall be as brief as possible.

Lenin’s Position on the National Question

Leninist policy on the national question is not reducible to an empty abstraction which may be applied in the same way, under all conditions, at all times, everywhere.

In his 1916 theses on the national question Lenin differentiated between three types of country.

“The first type—are those advanced countries of western Europe (and America) where the national movement is a thing of the past. The second type—eastern Europe, where the national movement is a thing of the present. And thirdly, the semi-colonies and colonies where it is in large measure in the future” (Lenin’s Collected Works, Russian edition, vol.XIX, pp.203-204).

Lenin was not splitting hairs. Nor was he quibbling about grammatical tenses. He was laying bare in this analysis the dialectic of history with regard to the national question. These three types represent three different paths of historical development. The tasks of the workers differ profoundly depending upon the type of country involved.

In the most advanced countries of Europe and America and in Japan the national issue is today simply a reactionary cover for the imperialist bourgeoisie. The national problem has been solved in these nations long ago. Here the revolutionists can and must advance immediately to socialism. Since 1914-18 the imperialist bourgeoisies have only further revealed themselves as the mortal enemies of their own nations and of all mankind. For the sake of preserving even a share of their profits and ruling positions they unhesitatingly slaughter millions, destroy vast wealth and betray the vital interests of their respective peoples. The American workers need only look at the French bourgeoisie and its Petain to discover the real attitude of the bosses towards their “nation.” Since the war of 1914-18 the lie of “defense of the fatherland” has become all the more monstrous and vile.

Among the countries of the second type Lenin included the “prison-houses of the peoples,” the empires of Austro-Hungary and Russia, and the Balkan cockpit of Europe. In these countries imperialist regimes were denying national independence to the Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Ukrainians, Poles, Finns, Letts, etc. In these countries, Lenin taught, the question of national independence plays a different role from that in advanced countries. Under certain circumstances it is progressive; under other conditions reactionary. What decides is whether or not in every given situation a small country plays an independent role in its struggle for national existence. If it does, then the Marxists say: Support of a national struggle in such a case is obligatory upon all workers. Thus, in an isolated struggle between a small country like Serbia and an oppressor nation like Austria, Lenin and the Serbian socialists supported Serbia. However, because of the overwhelming economic and political preponderance of the imperialist bourgeoisie, the small European countries cannot play such an independent role in the conditions of an imperialist war. They are too closely integrated economically and politically with the great powers to pursue their own nationalist goals at a time when the full power of the imperialists is unleashed. Lenin and the Serbian socialists never denied during the last war that the Serbs were fighting for their national existence. What they denied was the independent role of this struggle once Serbia became involved in the imperialist war. Serbia’s war then became completely subordinated to the aims and goals of the imperialists. To support Serbia under these conditions was to support the imperialist war.

“The national element in the Austro-Serbian war,” wrote Lenin, “has no serious significance in comparison with the all-determining imperialist competition” (Lenin’s Collected Works, Russian edition, vol.XIX, p.183).

The experience of the first World War and the post-war period has proved to the hilt Lenin’s analysis that the complete subservience of the small European countries to the great powers precludes for them the attainment of national independence through participation in the imperialist wars. Czech nationalism played a completely reactionary role, during the war as the ally of the “democratic” imperialist camp, after the war as a junior partner of victorious French imperialism; Czechoslovakia was herself an imperialist country, oppressing the Slovaks and the Sudeten Germans. Serbia emerged from the war not as an independent nation, but as an imperialist-vassal state (Yugoslavia) set up at Versailles. Polish nationalism supported the Central Powers against the “democracies,” and switching camps, also emerged as an imperialist oppressor of Ukrainians and Germans.

In the second World War, the fate of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Roumania, et cetera, demonstrates that the small countries cannot maintain an independent existence but must line up with one or another camp whenever the showdown between the imperialists comes.

This does not mean that the small European countries should forsake their struggle for independence. But they can achieve a lasting and genuine independence only in one way, by joining the proletariat of the ranking imperialist countries in the struggle against the imperialist system, and for socialism. That is why Marxists, while refusing to support the small countries participating in the imperialist war, nevertheless raise the slogan of self-determination.

“The dialectic of history,” explained Lenin, “is such that small nations who are impotent as an independent factor in the struggle against imperialism, play the role as one of the ferments, one of the bacilli, aiding the arrival on the scene of the real force against imperialism, namely, the socialist proletariat.” (idem, p.270)

Lenin’s position in regard to the small European countries—after more than two decades in which the bourgeois national movements of these countries demonstrated their completely reactionary content—is as valid today as it was in 1914-18. Their struggles can be progressive only in isolated instances.

Colonial and Semi-colonial Countries

We now come to the third type of country—the colonies and semi-colonies of Asia, Africa and South and Central America. The world imperialist system consists of two diametrically opposed spheres: the metropolitan centers (the “mother-countries”) at one pole and the colonies and semi-colonies (the doubly enslaved peoples) at the other. The national task of the workers in the colonial and semi-colonial countries differs profoundly from that of the other two types. Their countries are integrated in a different way into the imperialist system. The oppression strikes at all classes in the colonies and semi-colonies with the exception of a tiny minority of native agents and partners of the imperialist rulers.

During the first World War there were also sectarians who tried to deny the duty of Marxists to give unconditional support to the nationalist mass movements in colonies and semi-colonies. Lenin explained:

“Is the actual position of the workers in the oppressor countries and those in the oppressed nations one and the same from the standpoint of the national question?

“No, it is not the same.

“1. The economic difference lies in this, that sections of the working class in the oppressor countries profit from those crumbs of superprofits obtained by the bourgeoisie of the oppressing nations, who always tear two skins from the backs of the workers of the oppressed nationalities ... the workers of an oppressor nation are to a certain extent partners of their bourgeoisie in the latter’s plundering the workers (and the mass of the population) of an oppressed nation.

“2. The political difference lies in this, that the workers of the oppressor nations occupy a privileged position in a whole number of spheres of political life as compared with the workers of an oppressed nation.

“3. Ideologically or psychologically the difference is this—that the workers of oppressor nations are always educated both in schools and by life itself in the spirit of contempt or indifference toward the workers of oppressed nations.

“And so, in objective reality there is a differentiation all along the line” (Lenin’s Collected Works, Russian edition, vol.XIX, p.218).

Marxists give political expression to this differentiation in objective reality by singling out the different tasks confronting the workers of the oppressed nations with regard to the national question.

Today as in 1914-18, the task of the European workers, no matter what their country, is the accomplishment of the socialist revolution, i.e., resuming the road pioneered by the Bolsheviks in the Czarist empire of 1917. The national element—for all its importance—can play in Europe only the same subordinate role that it did in 1914 in the case of Serbia. But the workers in colonial and semi-colonial countries in Asia have before them, first of all, the objective tasks of the democratic revolution. For them the national question is the most burning and immediate. Whoever seeks to divert them from the solution of this task cannot speak in Lenin’s name.

When Lenin wrote his theses on the national question during the first World War, these semi-colonial and colonial struggles were still in the future. Despite, or rather because of this fact, he kept reiterating in the very midst of an imperialist war, that such struggles were progressive, and must be supported if and when they did occur. On October 14, 1914, Lenin said:

“The class-conscious proletarians in India and China cannot follow any but the national road, as their countries have not been formed as yet into national states. If China had to wage an aggressive war for this purpose, we could only sympathize with it, since objectively that would be a progressive war.” (Lenin’s Collected Works, English edition, vol.XVIII, p.69)

In August 1915, Lenin wrote:

“The socialists recognized and do recognize at this very moment the legitimacy, progressiveness and justice of ‘defending the fatherland’ or of a ‘defensive war.’ Far instance, if Morocco were to declare war against France tomorrow, or India against England, or Persia or China against Russia, et cetera, these wars would be ‘just,’ ‘defensive’ wars ... Every socialist would then wish the victory of the oppressed, dependent, non-sovereign states against the oppressing, slave-holding, pillaging ‘great’ nations.” (idem, p.220)

Dozens of similar quotations could be cited from Lenin’s speeches and articles during and after the first World War. The difference between Serbia and China remains no less profound today. It is impermissible even to talk about the theory of the permanent revolution unless one first understands that the position of the colonial and semi-colonial countries in relation to the imperialists is different not only in degree but in kind from that of the small European countries. The colonial and semi-colonial peoples can play and are playing an independent role not only in isolated struggles, but also in the very midst of an imperialist war.

National struggles of colonial and semi-colonial peoples are doubly progressive. First, the struggle tears vast masses of backward peoples out of barbarous systems, particularism and foreign bondage, and thus opens the road for their economic and cultural advancement. Secondly, it strikes mighty blows at the very heart of imperialism, and thus facilitates the struggle for socialism of the workers in Europe, the United States and Japan.

This was Lenin’s position. These principles were later incorporated in the programmatic documents of the first four World Congresses of the Communist International. The Trotskyist movement, the genuine continuator of Leninism, has never swerved from this position.

Lenin died in January 1924, on the eve of the first great movement of liberation in Asia. The Chinese revolution erupted in 1925. The Indian masses began to move in the late twenties.

Owing to uneven development the nationalist movement in the colonies and semi-colonies is today differentiated into: 1. those countries where it is a thing of the present (China, Ceylon, Malaya, Syria, India); 2. those where it is still largely in the future (Kenya Colony, Libya, Togoland, Liberia).

What is the criterion whereby Marxists determine whether a colonial or semi-colonial country is conducting a progressive struggle? We determine our position, first of all, on the basis of fact. Does this struggle play an independent role? If it does, we support it. The actions of the imperialists are decisive only to the extent that the nationalist element of the struggle is destroyed by them or their agents. Any one who opposes support of China’s war against Japan must first demonstrate that the nationalist element in China’s war against Japan has no serious significance in comparison with the direct intervention of China’s imperialist “allies.”

* * *

Marxists begin by taking the historical task as their point of departure. China must solve her national problem. Is China’s struggle today still a national struggle? Oehler still speaks of the Chinese armies as nationalist armies. This is precisely what we maintain. We support China’s war unconditionally, because, among other things, her armies are today still primarily waging a national war. Oehler calls our policy “spreading nationalist confusion.” The confusion, however, is in his own head and not in our Leninist policy.

Petty-Bourgeois Confusionism

Shachtman motivates his current position on China as follows:

“China’s struggle against Japan was progressive when it was an anti-imperialist struggle; it loses that characteristic when it becomes a struggle against one imperialist power conducted and directed by another imperialist power and its interests” (Labor Action, March 16, 1942).

No more than Oehler does he attempt to determine in fact whether or not what he claims has actually taken place.

To dispose of China’s nationalist struggle, Shachtman waves a magic wand and—presto! change-o!—“the character of the war has changed.”

“In the person of Chiang Kai-shek, China has become a tool in the hands of Anglo-American imperialism ...” (loc. cit.).

China—“in the person of Chiang Kai-shek”!

Chiang looms titanic in the imagination of many muddle-heads. But just how has the august person of Chiang wiped out the national struggle of China? Shachtman does not say.

Not so long ago Shachtman applied the self-same formula to the Soviet Union. He then argued in effect that “in the person of Stalin” the Soviet Union had become not only a tool of imperialism, but also a counter-revolutionary state, etc., etc., and hence unworthy of his support. Apparently he now wishes to extend this same formula to China. But why stop there? Why is India exempted? If Anglo-American imperialists ever had a tool, they surely possess one in the person of Nehru. Hitler is operating as best he can with Bose. Thus far, the score stands: for China—one tool in one imperialist camp, for India — two tools in two camps. According to Shachtman’s logic it would therefore follow that India’s national struggle is twice-damned and doubly unworthy of his “critical support.”

Chiang is a counter-revolutionary scoundrel today, as he was yesterday, as he will be tomorrow. Nehru will try to repeat in India all the abominations of Chiang, in China. If this is a cogent argument for not supporting China or India, then how could the question of support have ever arisen? Why has Shachtman supported China all these years? No, this undeniable fact is only an argument for conducting an irreconcilable struggle against these and all other representatives of the colonial and semi-colonial bourgeoisies. A Marxist would draw from this the conclusion that the nationalist struggle must be guided in such a way as to make it easier for the masses to learn from their own experience the true nature of such bourgeois leadership. We propose to help the movement to sweep over the heads of the treacherous bourgeois leadership and thus gain the opportunity for a real proletarian leadership to come to the fore. But to do this, one must not turn one’s back on the movement beforehand. We remain supporters of national struggles whether they are led by Chiang in China, by Nehru or Bose in India. This is what we mean by unconditional support. But this does not at all mean that so far as the outcome of the struggle itself is concerned, the leadership is of no consequence. On the contrary, the question of the leadership is of paramount importance. That is why we are irreconcilable opponents of Chiang, Nehru, Bose and Co. and their respective bourgeoisies.

To invoke Chiang Kai-shek’s role as tool of “Anglo-American imperialism” settles nothing in and of itself. A tool is one thing; a finished job is something else again. If Shachtman means to say thereby that Chiang’s role is automatically reducible to that of Wang Ching-wei, the Japanese puppet opposing China’s independence, he is merely employing a piece of sophistry which falsifies present reality and is fatal to a really revolutionary policy.

It goes without saying, England and the United States hope to establish the same relationship in China with respect to Chiang that Japan has with Wang. But have they already established it as Japan has? We answer, emphatically no!

To invest his reasoning with a semblance of seriousness Shachtman tries to adduce historical illustrations. China, he says, now occupies the same position as “that occupied by countries like Ethiopia and Libya, Slovakia and Norway” (Labor Action, March 16, 1942).

Oehler with his Serbia is rational in comparison with this mish-mash.

Slovakia and Norway lie prostrate under the Nazi boot, but at no time did Shachtman propose to defend those “fatherlands.” China’s armies are fighting against the same invader today as when Shachtman was for the defense of this fatherland.

For both Slovakia and Norway the national question was decided long ago; the only path open for them is to join directly and immediately in the struggle for the Socialist United States of Europe. In short, China’s position is not the same as Slovakia’s and Norway’s but just the opposite.

In Ethiopia England now rules through Haile Selassie’s regime. Libya is still in Italy’s hands by grace of Hitler and Rommel. For both Ethiopia and Libya the national struggle lies ahead. Their present position is not comparable to that of Norway, Slovakia or China.

Can China’s War Change Character?

To justify his latest betrayal of Marxism, Shachtman points in two opposite directions with one hand to European peoples whose sole progressive road is socialism, and with the other to African peoples who have not yet entered the road of national existence. Shachtman’s crime consists in deserting the existing nationalist struggle in the semi-colonial country of China, just as he deserted the defense of the Soviet Union.

Naturally, should China’s imperialist “allies” establish ther domination over China as absolutely as, say, England has over Ethiopia, then China’s war against Japan would remain her war in name only. However, to pose the question of a change in the character of China’s war, it is first of all necessary to demonstrate that the relationship of forces has unquestionably shifted in favor of the imperialists. This is the crux of the whole issue.

The only semi-coherent argument adduced by either Oehler or Shachtman for their flip-flop on China is the declaration by Britain and the United States of war against Japan. Oehler blurts this out: “Before the imperialist war (December 7, 1941) we classified the Chinese struggle as progressive.” Shachtman employs a shame-faced evasion: “Up to recently, to defend China in her war with Japan was righteous and just ...”

We await a rational explanation of just how the Japanese imperialists succeeded in also blowing up China’s war by bombing Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (or “up to recently”).

For reasons known only to himself, Shachtman drags in Burma to support his position on China: “The Chinese Army is ... already fighting on Burmese soil to maintain the imperialist rule of the British bourgeoisie ...”

Shachtman declares that the Chinese troops in Burma are fighting on behalf of Anglo-American imperialism. Is this so? Yes and no. More no than yes. The Anglo-American imperialists have a stake in the defeat of the Japanese in Burma as elsewhere, but this is not the only factor in that particular segment of the struggle. The victory of the Chinese forces in Burma over Japan would give a tremendous impetus to the national-revolutionary movement in all Asia, including that of the Burmese peasants, and would bulwark the independence of China.

The Real Situation in China

The existing Burmese situation proves just the contrary of what this petty-bourgeois confusionist seeks. Japan is better situated to assert her domination over the insurgent peasants of Burma than both England and the United States are today in relation to China. Should the Burmese peasants therefore suspend their struggle for liberation? Should the Marxists on this account refuse to support them?

It is incomprehensible how anyone can support—and correctly so! — a peasant struggle in such an unstable relationship of forces as that in Burma and in the same breath withdraw support from the struggle of the Chinese people who are in a far more advantageous situation.

A demagogue might invoke the Burmese struggle to say that those who are today supporting China bear their share of responsibility for the blood of any insurgent Burmese peasants slaughtered by Chiang in Burma.

But Chiang is also covered from head to foot with the blood of Chinese workers and peasants whom he butchered yesterday as he still does today. Only a Shachtman could imply that any of this blood-guilt is borne by those who support China today just as they have during all these years, despite and against Chiang.

The extension of military hostilities does not and cannot eliminate the national question. On the contrary, it sharpens this struggle in the extreme degree, especially in colonial and semi-colonial countries. Above all, China and India.

The outbreak of hostilities between Japanese and Anglo-American imperialism has, in actual fact, complicated rather than solved Japan’s difficulties in China. On the other hand, China is freer today to play an independent role vis à vis Anglo-American imperialism than at any other time since 1937.

The imperialists in both camps cannot at will transform colonial and semi-colonial struggles into their opposite. They have the will, but they lack the magic powers with which both Shachtman and Oehler endow them. As matters stand at present, all the imperialists who unquestionably intend to destroy nationalist struggles if given the opportunity, are not crushing these struggles but are involuntarily doing just the opposite in relation to China and India.

Yes, these bandits are now up to their necks in the dangerous game of supporting Chinese and Indian nationalist movements. Hitler and Japan fan the.flames in India. The United States and England are committed to the same maneuver in China, hoping to spread the revolt to Manchuria, Korea, Formosa. Each hopes to weaken thereby his imperialist opponent today, and then to strangle these movements on the morrow. Japan feels sure she can repeat in India what she did in Korea. American imperialists think they can repeat in China their past performances in the Philippines, Cuba, Panama. This is easier said than done. Meanwhile, China is in position to profit from the contradictions in the imperialist camps. So is India.

The intentions of the ruling classes by no means decide great issues. Let us recall two historical instances.

During the Civil War, England and France gave aid to the South. Lincoln’s government entered into a de facto alliance with Czarism. Russian warships under the command of Grand Duke Alexis appeared in San Francisco harbor at one of the critical junctures in the relations between Washington and France and Great Britain. Thus, in order to defend its national existence and independence, the most progressive government in the world at that time, the United States, was obliged to ally itself with the most reactionary regime in the world—Czarist Russia. This fact did not prevent Marx from wholeheartedly supporting the war of the North against the South, and against the South’s imperialist backers.

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, two of the most reactionary regimes in Europe, the monarchy of France and the monarchy of Spain, supported the struggle of thirteen insurgent English colonies in North America. Both of these feudal empires possessed vast colonies of their own on this continent. In supporting the American revolution of 1776, the French and Spanish monarchs were intent primarily on dealing a blow to their rival, mighty England, then rising to supremacy. They doubtless proposed to deal with these colonial upstarts at their leisure at some future time. Spanish and French armies and navies fought, side by side, with the forces of the American revolutionists. From the conflict America emerged as an independent nation, signing a separate peace with England in defiance of her pact with France. The Royal Exchequer of France already sadly depleted was further drained by the considerable cost of French support to the American revolution. The financial bankruptcy of the French monarchy, as is well known, played a part in bringing about its downfall and unleashing the Great French Revolution a decade later. It is likewise well known that as a direct consequence of the French revolution, the Spanish monarch toppled from his throne. Very little remained of the colonial empires of France and Spain in the western hemisphere.

Many other examples could be cited to show that time and again the ruling classes found colonial and national-revolutionary movements passing over their heads and taking entirely different direction from the one they had expected and planned for.

The contradictions which are now convulsing all imperialists surpass in intensity the contradictions besetting the French and Spanish monarchies in the eighteenth century. This is especially true of Japan — today the main enemy of China, just as Britain is today the main enemy of India.

The Japanese empire now sits astride the volcano of agrarian revolution at home and has temporarily added to her social volcanoes abroad (Korea, Manchuria, Formosa) those of Indo-China, Malaya, Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma, etc. The Mikado’s strategists are bent on further warming their posteriors on the already white-hot lava of India.

The Chinese revolution, despite seventeen years of terrible bloodletting, still smoulders. Great lessons, great experiences, great traditions have been accumulated. By no means the least of these are the traditions and experiences of the years of struggle against Japan. The decisive battles of this war are still ahead.

India’s struggle for liberation strengthens China and is in its own turn strengthened by the latter. All the millions of Asia are watching, learning, waiting. To the Indian workers we say: China’s struggle is your struggle. Support it. Whoever tells you otherwise is not your friend, but the friend of your enemies.

Not so very far from Asia stands the Soviet Union where the socialist revolution still lives on. Traitors have turned against the USSR, but not the masses of Asia. They are waiting, watching, learning, preparing to act. Our task is to aid them and not to deal them blows.

From all this we draw the conclusion that the chances of the nationalist movement in Asia sweeping over the heads of all the imperialists are far greater in 1942 than they were in America in 1774.

Oehler and Shachtman today say in effect: Chiang is the main enemy. We, on the contrary, say to the Chinese workers: The Japanese invader is the main enemy. Fire at Japan first—and shoot with anybody who shoots in the same direction. In this way you are best preparing yourselves to assume the leadership of the Chinese nation today. In this way you will best be able to deal on the morrow with all the traitors from Chiang down.

Given the opportunity, Chiang will again betray the Chinese people as he has done so many times in the past. Roosevelt and Churchill are depending a lot on Chiang whom, like Shachtman and Oehler, they identify with the Chinese nation. Only they place a plus where Shachtman and Oehler put a minus sign. At the same time, it is by no means excluded that a section of the Chinese bourgeoisie, particularly the one led by Chiang, may decide that they can strike, after all, a better bargain with Tokyo. Meanwhile, the final outcome will be decided not by the plans in the minds of statesmen but by the struggle itself. To intervene and participate in this struggle, it is necessary to equip the Chinese masses with a correct program, tell them who their main enemy is today so that they may concentrate their fire in the right direction.

The divergence between us, on the one hand, and the sectarians and the petty-bourgeois confusionists, on the other, is not at all accidental. It represents the divergence between Marxism and pseudo-Marxism. Those who orient themselves in politics on the basis of a principled method, i.e., the Marxist dialectic, invariably find themselves in conflict with those who operate with sterile formulas and those who slither all over the landscape, depending upon episodic developments in the field of diplomacy, or moves on military maps, or the most recent impressions.

In May 1940 Leon Trotsky predicted: “By its very creation of enormous difficulties and dangers for the imperialist metropolitan centers, the war opens up wide possibilities for the oppressed peoples. The rumbling of the cannon in Europe heralds the approaching hour of their liberation.” This prediction is beginning to be realized before our very eyes. The peoples of Asia are stirring to life. A revolutionary situation exists in India; her chances for a successful struggle for emancipation have never been so great as they are at the present time. China’s possibilities for success are increasing. We are passing through the critical juncture in the imperialist epoch when the nationalist element in the colonies and semi-colonies is assuming titanic proportions. The Oehlerites and Shachtmanites have chosen precisely this moment to desert the struggle for national emancipation in one of its chief centers, China! Yet these people are trying to issue directives to the revolutionary vanguard in the name of the theory of the permanent revolution. This spectacle would be funny, if it were not so pathetic.

Real Marxists will give unconditional support to China’s war against Japan and to India’s struggle for national existence. The nationalist struggles of the Chinese and Indian peoples against Japan and England are indispensable and integral parts of that great revolutionary tidal wave in the colonial countries which, merging with the impending socialist revolution in the advanced countries, will sweep away forever the decayed imperialist system.

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