Source: China: The March Toward Unity, pp. 88-118
Transcription/HTML: Mike B.
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IN JULY-AUGUST of this year  there took place the fifteenth anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of China. At its First Congress (in 1921) the Party had only a few dozen members in its ranks. On the eve of the Revolution of 1925, i.e., before the Shanghai events of May 20, there were 900 members in all in the Party. At the very height of the Revolution of 1925-27, the membership had already reached tens of thousands (about 60,000 members). And now the Communist Party of China not only has hundreds of thousands of members, leading the Red Army and the Soviet government in part of the country's territory, but stands forward as the initiator of the unification of the whole of the Chinese people for the struggle against the Japanese plunderers, and for the salvation of the fatherland.
In the course of fifteen years the Communist Party of China has grown from a small group of propagandists of Communism into a real mass political party.
Whence does the Communist Party draw its invincible power? The source of this power lies, first and foremost, in the unswerving struggle which the Communist Party, the Party of the most advanced and most revolutionary class, has carried on and is still carrying on for the fundamental interests of the whole of the Chinese people, for their national and social liberation. By this struggle the Communist Party has won for itself the confidence and support of the masses of the people. China is a tremendous country, which in point of territory yields place only to the U.S.S.R. The Chinese people are the most numerous in the globe, constituting one-fifth of the world's population. In the nineteenth century, in the period of the development of capitalism in Europe and America, and its penetration to the East, China displayed its economic backwardness and in connection therewith its social and cultural backwardness. Because of this backwardness, we Chinese have been beaten by everybody. At first it was the English alone who beat us (the so-called AngloChinese Opium War of 1842), then the English and the French (the so-called Anglo-French joint campaign against China in 1860), then we were beaten even by the little isle of Japan which had been educated on the thousand-year-old culture of the "Heavenly Empire," but which has lost its respect for its backward teacher (the so-called Japano-Chinese War of 1894). In 1900-1901 we Chinese were beaten jointly by the big and small imperialist plunderers from the East and West (the so-called campaign of the Eight Powers).
The rotten Manchu dynasty at that time in power in China, with its degenerate army, was not in a position to offer up serious resistance to the foreign plunderers. But its anti-Chinese and anti-popular policy (reflected in the well-known saying: "better make a present to friendly states than give it to your domestic slaves") increased the oppression and favored the expansion of the foreign marauders in China. Fear of the bayonets of the foreign robbers drove the Manchu dynasty to sign all kinds of unequal treaties, according to which China has paid and is still paying tremendous sums of war contributions, and opened up all the best sea and river ports for the free penetration of foreign capital and warships. China lost its customs autonomy, and handed over its rich mines as so-called concessions. The foreign robbers tore the living body of China to pieces, they seized hold of the best lands in China and established the so-called foreign concessions and settlements, which are de jure and de facto states within the state. China became trans-formed from an independent state into a semi-colony of foreign imperialist powers.
At the same time the productive forces of the country were held down by the most savage monarchist and feudal bureaucratic regime. While the foremost capitalist countries passed through bourgeois revolutions and became democratic republics, a feudal militaristic regime took the place of the medieval darkness of the Manchu absolutism. The Chinese people have been deprived until now of elementary human rights.
The economic backwardness, the national oppression of the people and the absence of political rights have brought China to such a miserable position that the overwhelming majority of the people live a semi-starved existence, and millions and millions of people die from so-called natural calamities such as floods, droughts, locust plagues, epidemics and crop failure.
The Chinese people have risen on more than one occasion to undertake the struggle for their liberation, and have passed through many stages in this struggle, such as the Taiping peasants' revolution (1850-65), the Boxer Revolt (1900), the Revolution of 1911 led by Sun Yat-sen, and the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal movements (1919). But in 1920-1921 the young Communist Party took its place in the front ranks of those fighting for the interests of the Chinese people.
And the fifteen years of struggle of the Communist Party of China, in spite of the changes of the policy and tactics of the Party, depending on the change of the conditions at each stage of the Chinese revolution, are fundamentally fifteen years of struggle for the basic interests, for the independence, freedom and happiness of the Chinese people.
The Communist Party defines its revolutionary strategy and tactics in each given country by making its starting point the national peculiarities, the economic, political, social, cultural and historical conditions of the country, the concrete relation of class forces in the given domestic and international situation, the degree of the political consciousness, organization and fighting experience, and the interests of the masses of the people at each historic stage.
It is precisely for this reason that the Chinese Communists, while recognizing that only Soviet power and socialism can once and for all deliver the Chinese people from all oppression and exploitation, nonetheless understand the need for fighting for each step of progress made in the interests of the Chinese people. It is precisely for this reason that the Communist Party of China, in the early days of its existence when it constituted itself politically as the Party of the working class and set itself as the final aim of its struggle the establishment of communist society (at the First Congress which took place in July, 1921, in Shanghai), succeeded at the same time in drawing up a concrete program of action for the organization of a united democratic front (at the Second Congress which took place on the Western Lake in July, 1922), which corresponded at that time to the strivings of very wide sections of the people of China.
This political program which was adopted at the Second Congress of the Party was of tremendous historical importance. At the first stage of the Chinese revolution of 1925-26, the struggle of the masses of the people was in the main directed precisely toward the fulfillment of this program of action as adopted at the Second Congress of the Communist Party of China, and which included the following points: the struggle against imperialism and the feudal militarists, the struggle for a united democratic republic, for freedom of speech, assembly and the press, for universal suffrage, for the eight-hour working day, for rent reductions, and for the establishment of a single income tax, etc.
Soon afterwards, at its Third Congress (which took place in Canton in June, 1923), the Communist Party of China, under the guidance and with the aid of the Comintern, succeeded in drafting a concrete political and tactical line for the struggle to fulfill its political program of action. The basic content and essence of this political and tactical line was the organization of a national united front for the struggle against imperialism as the chief enemy of semi-colonial China.
Although, as a result of the treachery of the national bourgeoisie toward the interests of the people (in April, 1927), the tactics of the national united front did not produce the desired and necessary results, they roused millions of Chinese workers and peasants to political life. By their active participation and heroic conduct in all the big political events which took place at that period (the Shanghai events of May 30, the strike at Hongkong, the military expedition of the National Revolutionary Army against the "Paper Tigers" in Canton and Chen Chung-ming in the East River region, the northern expedition, and particularly the fierce struggles for the possession of Nanchang and Wuhan, the seizure by the workers of the British concessions in Hankow and Kiukiang, the armed uprising of the workers of Shanghai against the militarists, etc.), the Chinese Communists proved in deeds to the whole people their unlimited loyalty and their will to struggle for the independence, freedom and happiness of the Chinese people.
At the time when the national bourgeoisie left the revolution, the agrarian movement had developed into a powerful revolution of tens of millions of peasants. The Communist Party of China regarded the agrarian revolution as a means of rallying and drawing the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people, tens and hundreds of millions of peasants) into the national liberation struggle, without which a victorious struggle against imperialism is unthinkable. The Communist Party of China regarded the agrarian revolution as a means of rooting out the feudal relics in China, of which the economic base is the large landowning system and the feudal exploitation of the peasants, and of which the political expression is the militaristic and bureaucratic regime This is why the Communist Party of China in the Wuhan period of the revolution not only announced the need for carrying through the agrarian revolution (at the Fifth Congress of the Party which took place in Wuhan in April-May, 1927), but also attempted to urge on the Wuhan Kuomintang to take the path of supporting the agrarian revolution of the peasantry.
Although the betrayal of the cause of the people by Wang Ching-wei and the desertion of the revolution by the "Lefts" of the Kuomintang resulted in the revolutionary center of Wuhan becoming transformed, along with Nanking, into one of the centers of black reaction, none the less the masses of the working people of China became still more convinced on the basis of their own experience of the correctness of the Communists, and of the fact that the Communist Party of China is the only force consistently fighting for the liberation of the Chinese people.
The Revolution of 1925-27 in China met with severe defeat for the following reasons: (1) the forces of imperialism and feudalism proved at the given stage to be stronger than those of the revolution; (2) the treachery of the national bourgeoisie and the Kuomintang; (3) the mercenary character of the National Revolutionary Army, and the pre-dominating influence of the land-owning and militarist elements among its commanding officers; and (4) this severe defeat was facilitated in no small degree by the opportunist mistakes of Chen Tu-hsiu and his supporters in the leadership of the Party, and first and foremost by their shameful and criminally neglectful attitude to the winning of the National Revolutionary Army and its commanding officers to the arming of the workers and peasants, and the establishment of real revolutionary troops with a Communist backbone.
With the aid of the Chinese bourgeoisie, imperialism and feudalism temporarily dealt a heavy blow at the national and social liberation of the Chinese people. However, in spite of terror and repression and at the cost of tremendous sacrifices, the Chinese Communists again continued their work, in the most severe conditions, of organizing the masses of the people for the preparation for a new rise of the revolutionary struggle.
After the betrayal by the "Lefts" in the Kuomintang in Wuhan, there remained in the camp of the revolution the workers, peasants and urban poor. The temporarily victorious counter-revolution operated a ferocious White terror, a physical destruction of the revolutionary working people and their Communist leaders, such as history has never known. In reply to the ferocious White terror and the repression in the districts where the ground was prepared by the revolution, and where a fierce mass struggle was carried on by the workers and peasants, first and foremost in Hunan, Hupeh, Kiangsi and Kwahgtung, partisan warfare developed on a wide scale against the counter-revolutionary troops and the hated landowners. Centers of revolutionary revolt (in the autumn and winter of 1927) were quite numerous at that time.
But in the period of the waning of the revolutionary wave in the country, and in the period of ferocious reaction, only a few of these centers succeeded in withstanding the onslaught of the enemy and in strengthening their position. This refers first and foremost to those districts where there were only peasant organizations and action, but there was a strong armed fist in the shape of the revolutionary troops headed by such talented politicians and military leaders as Comrades Mao Tse-tung, Chu Teh, Peng Te-hwai, Hueng Kung-leo, Ho Lung, Fang Chi-min and others. At the end of the autumn and the beginning of the winter of 1927, the first centers of Soviet power and the first detachments of the workers' and peasants' army began to be organized.
In spite of the heavy defeat of the Canton Commune, the banner of Soviets that it raised became the banner of the struggle of millions of the working people of China. And this is why the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of China (August, 1928), which firmly established the bourgeois democratic character of the given stage of the Chinese Revolution, insofar as not a single one of the main tasks of the Revolution of 1925-27 (national independence, state unification, the abolition of feudal relics, the eight-hour working day, etc.) had been solved, called on the whole Party and the working people of China to carry on the struggle for Soviet power, as the only power capable of saving China.
From the end of 1927 until the spring of 1930 various Soviet centers, and various detachments of the young Red Army carried on what was mainly a defensive struggle, while the revolutionary wave throughout the country temporarily died down.
It was only following the summer of 1930, in connection with the beginning of a new revolutionary upsurge in the country, that the Soviet centers and the detachments of the Red Army began quickly to consolidate themselves and to extend. Although the "Left" line of Li Li-san temporarily did great damage to the development of the Soviet regions and the Red Army, the Party, on the basis of the decisions of the Sixth Plenum of the Central Committee held at the beginning of 1921, overcame both the Li Li-san and the counter-revolutionary Lo Chang-lung trends.1
During the course of three or four years, the main forces of the Red Army succeeded in establishing and consolidating their territorial basis over a considerable territory in the provinces of Kiangsi and Fukien, where the temporary Central government of the Chinese Soviet Republic was set up, elected by the First Congress of Soviets, with its Red capital in the city of Juikin.
In the comparatively small territory of these central Soviet regions, in conditions where the civil war went on un-interruptedly for many years, accompanied by economic blockade from the side of the enemy, the Soviet government successfully carried through a number of political, economic and cultural measures for the benefit of the people, such as the best minds of the Chinese people had dreamt about over the course of thousands of years. These included the confiscation of the landowners' estates for the benefit of the landless peasants and those with little land; the abolition of the exactions by the militarists, and the introduction of a single progressive income tax; the provision of wide political rights for the working people; the introduction of the eight-hour working day; state assistance to the peasants in the shape of grain, cattle and implements, the organization of free education for all, etc.
For a number of years the badly armed and badly supplied young Red Army successfully beat off the six big military drives of Chiang Kai-shek, which were supported by the military technique, military specialists and finances of international imperialism. In spite of the fact that Chiang Kai-shek, with the aid of his hired military advisers, headed by the German General Seeckt, operated a plan of surrounding the Soviet regions and destroying the live personnel of the Red Army, the latter always succeeded in making its way out of the encirclement of the hostile coalitions, and in preserving its live personnel. In 1932 the 4th Red Army, surrounded by the numerically superior forces of the enemy, not only succeeded in beating its way through the blockade ring, but also in carrying through the heroic trek from Hupeh-Honan-Anwhei Soviet districts in Szechwan, and in establishing new Soviet districts there which were of tremendous importance for the further development of the 4th Army itself and for the concentration of all the main forces of the Red Army in the northwest of China.
At the end of 1934 the main forces of the Red Army in Kiangsi-Fukien were surrounded by an army numbering almost a million men, but nonetheless they succeeded in making their way out of the difficult situation. During the course of a year the Red Army carried through a trek unheard of in history for its length (over 8,000 miles) from Fukien-Kiangsi to Shensi and Kansu, and there established new Soviet districts. In 1925 the "Pioneer Corps" (25th Corps) alone succeeded in the bitter winter in transferring from the Hupeh-Honan-Anhwei region to the North Shensi Soviet region.
The main forces of the Red Army had to make their way through the territory of eleven provinces in China over unknown tracks, to cross high mountain ranges, to cross all the big and almost impassable rivers (the Yangtse, Wukiang, Kinshakiang, Tatuho, etc), in conditions which included a severe winter, hot summer, hunger, and being continually harried by the infantry and air forces of the enemy. At the beginning of 1936 the forces of the Red Army made their appearance in the province of Shensi, with the slogans of armed resistance to Japanese aggression in the north of China. The unheard-of and heroic trek of the Red Army called forth astonishment and respect not only among the friends of the Chinese people, but also among even some of its enemies.
Even Chang Ting-fu, a high official in the Nanking government, regards the successful heroic trek of the Red Army not only as proof of the invincibility and fighting power of the Chinese Communist Party, but also as "proof of the greatness and power of the Chinese nation".
All that the Chinese Soviets and the Red Army, led by the Communist Party, have achieved is undoubtedly not only the historic gain of the Chinese proletariat and the Chinese people, but is also a valuable addition to the treasury of the struggle 0f the world proletariat and the whole of mankind for Soviet power and communism.
The nine years' struggle of the Communist Party for Soviets and the results of this struggle are clear testimony to the fact that the Communist Party is the only party in China which is true to the very end to the cause of the liberation of China and the Chinese people, and that it fears no difficulties or sacrifices, but carries on an unswerving struggle for this cause.
This struggle testifies to the fact that the workers and peasants in China, trained and organized by the Communist Party, can and know how to build their government and their army, and know how to manage the state not only better than all the Chinese militarists and bureaucrats, but also better than any of the so-called foremost liberal bourgeoisie.
The experience of the Soviet districts proves that the Chinese Communists not only know how to destroy all that is old, dark, rotten-,and hinders the progress of the Chinese people, but know how to establish and build a really new, bright and happy life, a new and just order for the Chinese people. If the Communists of China, possessing a small piece of the country's territory, with limited resources, with uninterrupted wars going on, and in face of an economic blockade succeeded in doing something that the history of China has never known of before, then what miracles would not the Chinese people create in the political, economic and cultural life of China if the Communists were to receive state power throughout the whole of the tremendous country.
In the conditions of an extraordinary national crisis, the Communist Party of China, the Red Army and the Soviet districts have become the national hope and national glory of the whole of the Chinese people.
The occupation of Manchuria by Japan in September, 1931, the war in Shanghai at the beginning of 1932, the occupation of Hopeh in the spring of 1933, the virtual seizure of Hopeh and Chahar in the autumn of 1935, the intense preparations for the seizure of Suiyuan, Shantung, Shansi and Fukien, the openly colonial robber policy of the Japanese marauders in the formally occupied and factually seized territory, the unrestrained Japanese contraband, and the feverish preparations for the complete fulfillment of the delirious ideas of the Tanaka Memorandum of 1927 (about the need for the colonial enslavement of the whole of China, the carrying on of a war against the U.S.S.R., America and Great Britain so as to win the hegemony over the whole of the Pacific seacoast and through the whole of the world)all these facts of the aggression of the Japanese fascist military clique have called forth tremendous changes in the internal and external situation of China.
The external situation as far as China is concerned has changed first and foremost by reason of the fact that Japanese imperialism by its aggressive actions in China has not only on its own account torn up the Washington Nine-Power Treaty of 1921, which at one time established in China the division of the spheres of influence of Japan, the U.S.A., Great Britain and other countries, but also created a direct menace to the interests of the U.S.A., Great Britain, France and other imperialist states which dominate the Philippine Islands, India, Indonesia, Australia, Indo-China and the whole of the Far East. This has led to a sharpening of the struggle between Japan and the U.S.A. and Great Britain, for China and the markets of the Pacific Coast.
The aggression of Japanese imperialism is changing the situation inside China. The Chinese people are faced with the dilemma of either offering up resistance to Japanese aggression, and then life, or else of not offering up this resistance, and then death for the whole nation and the whole of the state. This is calling forth a regrouping of the class forces fighting in China, and an urge for the unification of the various classes and sections of Chinese society, of political parties and groupings as well as their armed forces for the struggle against the common enemy.
This new external and internal historical situation demands of the Communist Party that it apply new tactics in the struggle for the independent freedom of the Chinese people. The new situation faces the C.P. of China with the most important, pressing, and great historical task of uniting the whole of the Chinese people for the struggle against Japanese imperialism, and to save their native land.
As is well known, the Communist Party, on the basis of the political line of the Seventh Congress of the C.I., drew up its new political line, which was expressed in the appeal of the C.C. of the Party and of the Central Soviet government, dated August 1 of last year, and addressed to all the Chinese people, regarding resistance to Japanese aggression and the salvation of the fatherland. In this appeal the Communist Party pointed to the only correct path of organizing the struggle, i.e., the tactics of establishing a united national front against Japanese imperialism.
In the same appeal the Communist Party proposed concrete forms of the establishment of a united national front of struggle against Japanese imperialism, beginning with joint partial action, and going as far as the joint formation of an all-China united anti-Japanese army, and an all-China government of national defense.
The idea of the need to establish such a united front as the most effective means for organizing resistance to Japanese aggression, and for the salvation of China, is finding more and more recognition among all sections of the Chinese people. This, however, does not mean at all that the line for the establishment of a united anti-Japanese national front has not met, and is not now meeting with serious opposition and objections from various sides. Facts go to show that not only various kinds of opponents oppose, from the Right and "Left", the slogans of the Communist Party regarding the organization of a united anti-Japanese national front, but even within the Communist Party itself this new policy is far from having been correctly understood by all comrades.
What is the essence and nature of the new political line of the Chinese Communist Party, directed toward the establishment of a united national front against the Japanese robbers?
First, the Party openly declares that it is striving to establish a united national front against Japanese imperialism, and not an anti-imperialist united front in general.
This means that the edge of the struggle of the Chinese people is directed exclusively against its mortal enemy at the given stage, the Japanese plunderers.
There are some people who criticize this policy of the Party "from the Left". They base their arguments on the decision of the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party, about the struggle against all imperialists, while others shout about "the need for simultaneously carrying on a national revolutionary war of the Chinese people against all imperialists", or that the "national revolutionary war of the Chinese people against Japanese imperialism must be the beginning of military action against all the imperialist powers in China".
We have to reply as follows to the arguments of these "Left" phrasemongers:
The Sixth Congress of the Party took place in an entirely different situation than the present. At that time, in spite of the contradictions among the imperialist powers, they came forward in a united front against the Chinese people and the Chinese Revolution, whereas today the Japanese plunderers are menacing not only the national existence of the Chinese people, but at the same time the vital interests of the imperialist powers competing with them.
In general the slogan as to the struggle against all imperialists is one thing, while the slogan of the armed defense of the Chinese people against the Japanese and all other imperialists is something different. The armed struggle against imperialism is one and only one of the various forms of the struggle of an oppressed people and, what is more, it is only an extreme form of this struggle.
Not a single people, including the Chinese people, desires war. If the so-called Sino-Japanese problems could be solved peacefully, the Chinese Communists would be the first to declare for the solution of these problems in this way. But when an attempt is made to deprive the Chinese people of their elementary rights to an independent existence, they are compelled to defend themselves.
Hence it is clear that "Left" phrasemongers who shout about the need for carrying on an armed struggle of the Chinese people simultaneously against the Japanese and all other imperialists are, whether they like it or not, playing into the hands of the Japanese plunderers, whose interests require precisely the isolation of the Chinese people from all possible direct and indirect allies in their anti-Japanese struggle.
Second, the Chinese Communists consider that the establishment of a united national front in China must concretely be expressed in the conclusion of a political agreement among the Communist Party, Kuomintang and other organizations on the basis of a general platform of struggle against the Japanese violators, while preserving full political and organizational independence.
For us Communists this means that while fighting for the establishment of a united national front we not only must not allow the slightest weakening of our Party and its organizations, but must strengthen it still further ideologically, politically and organizationally, and still further rally its forces and strengthen the unity in its ranks.
A determined struggle must therefore be carried on against the tendencies which may actually lead to the dissolution of the Communist Party in some sort of general political alliance of anti-Japanese forces, against the proposals to accept without discrimination into the Party all those who want to join, merely on the basis of the declaration of their desire to participate in the anti-Japanese struggle. The Party must carry on a determined struggle against those who are repeating the Right opportunist mistakes of Chen Tu-hsiu and others who in 1927 regarded the participation of the Communist Party in the united antiJapanese national front as the rejection of our own Communist ideas and program, as the rejection of all criticism of our allies and temporary followers, and thereby as the rejection of the independence of the Communist Party, and the transformation of the working class and its Party into an obedient tool of the national bourgeoisie.
The all-round strengthening of the Communist Party of China is especially necessary now, because in the present situation the enemies of the working class and the Communist Party may attempt, and are attempting, to penetrate the ranks of the Party so as to do their dirty work there, and undermine the unity of the Party from within. It is especially necessary to strengthen the Party for the further reason that the success of the policy of the united anti-Japanese national front, the success of the liberation struggle of the Chinese people, depends first and foremost on the strength, unity, discipline and fighting power of the Communist Party itself. The stronger and firmer the Communist Party is, the easier and quicker it will be to establish a united national front, and the more assured will be the success of the national liberation struggle of the Chinese people against the Japanese plunderers. Hence it is clear that the further consolidation and strengthening of the Communist Party are demanded by the interests not only of the Communist Party itself and also of the working class, but also by the interests of the whole of the Chinese people.
Some people say that the policy of the Communist Party, which is directed towards the establishment of a wilted anti-Japanese national front, is unreal and impracticable, since there are actually two big political parties in China, the Communist Party and the Kuomintang, between which an historical enmity exists, and that therefore there can be no talk of any sort of united front whatsoever.
The Communist Party of China sets the interests of the Chinese people above all other considerations. Now, when a tremendous national crisis is in being, what is needed is the unification of all forces for the struggle against the common enemy. It is untrue that only an historic enmity has existed between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang. Actually there have been not only nine years of enmity between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang, but almost nine years of close collaboration (from 1919 when the first Communist groups arose in China, until the spring and autumn of 1927).
The Communists should not place the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek in the same category as the Japanese plunderers, since the Japanese fascist military clique is the main enemy of the Chinese people, and it is the struggle against it to which everything must be subordinated at the present stage. In addition, we cannot regard the whole of the Kuomintang and all its troops as allies and hirelings of Japanese imperialism. It is clear to the Chinese Communist Party that a real and serious armed resistance to the Japanese plunderers requires the participation in it of the Kuomintang troops, or the decisive majority of them.
The Chinese Communists do not propose to fall into the trap set by the Japanese depredators who are provoking t fratricidal war among the Chinese people for their own mercenary ends. They are honestly and truly striving to unite all the forces of the people for the struggle against the foreign oppressors. The line of the Party, therefore, of establishing a united anti-Japanese national front with the Kuomintang and other organizations, is not a maneuver or an empty declaration, but a sincere, honest and real policy of saving the people and the fatherland.
As regards the attitude of the Kuomintang to the policy of the Communist Party which is directed towards the establishment of a united anti-Japanese national front, we must note, first and foremost, that it is untrue to assert that the whole of the Kuomintang does not desire to establish such a united front with the Communists. The Kuomintang is an organization whose influence covers millions of people, and of course among these millions there are tremendous numbers of honest people and honest patriots who really love their people and their native land, who are really true to the best traditions of Sun Yat-sen and his behests regarding the need for a struggle for equality and liberty for China, patriots who cannot but feel the oppression and shame inflicted on the Chinese people, and who cannot but incline toward the idea of establishing a united anti-Japanese front of the whole of the Chinese people.
Among the followers of the Kuomintang there are tens of thousands of students in the Wang Poo and other military colleges; many of them remember the glorious traditions of the Revolution of 1925-1927, and to this day dream of a struggle in defense of the interests of the state and the people. Among the commanding officers of the troops, among the party and state officials of the Kuomintang there are many honest people and patriots who hate the Japanese robbers, and are prepared to undertake a life-and-death struggle against them. And even among important Kuomintang politicians, military and public men, there are quite a few people who, for tens of years, fought together with Sun Yat-sen in the ranks of the National Revolutionaries, people who proudly call to mind the past of the Kuomintang in the revolutionary times, and who are sad at heart at the present policy and state of the Kuomintang, and the position of the country and the people.
Among certain Kuomintang officials there are quite a number who make their starting point the simple but correct argument that the Communists are sons of the Chinese people, while the Japanese are not only foreigners, but also Oppressors-and who consider that it is better to fight alongside the Communists of their own country against the foreign oppressors than to tolerate the foreign yoke and the mockery of their people and their country, and all the more, of course, do they consider that one ought not to fight together with foreigners against the sons and daughters of the Chinese people, even though they be Communists.
The local organizations of the Kuomintang and certain groups of the Kuomintang outside and inside China have already begun to adhere to the united anti-Japanese front, along with the Communists and the supporters of the Chinese National Revolutionary League and other organizations. And especially important is the fact that in Manchuria and Jehol the followers of the Kuomintang frequently fight shoulder to shoulder with the Communists in partisan warfare against the Japanese occupationists. The tendency towards the establishment of a united anti-Japanese front with the Chinese Communists and the Red Army, and particularly towards the restoration of the so-called three revolutionary political instructions of Sun Yat-sen (i.e., an alliance with the U.S.S.R., an alliance with the Communist Party, and support for the workers' and peasants' mass movement) is developing with ever-growing strength among the followers of the Kuomintang, both among the leadership arid the rank and file.
It is true that, along with this, we are aware of the following other facts and tendencies: A section of very influential leaders and officials of the Kuomintang is still wavering, and is still afraid of establishing a united front with the Communists for the struggle against Japanese aggression. And we are sorry to have to state that it is precisely this tendency which still has predominating influence in the Kuomintang, and therefore the united anti-Japanese front between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party has not yet been established.
But history teaches us that the fate of nations is decided not by the will and desires of individual personalities, but by the interests and will of millions of people. There are not a few examples in the history of nations where the will of the millions has compelled individual leaders to act in spite of and against their own personal desires, by facing them with the choice of either going with the masses, and then remaining at their posts, or else of becoming isolated from the masses, which means an end to their political life. As regards the above-mentioned Kuomintang officials we Communists not only place our hopes on the strength of the action of the law of history, but would like that they themselves in their own interests and in the interests of the people change their attitude to the question of the establishment of a united front against the Japanese violators.
There are some people who will object to the line of the Communist Party for the establishment of a united national front, by declaring that we allegedly are desirous of repeating the old opportunist mistakes committed by Chen Tu-hsiu in the revolution of 1927, which served as one of the main reasons for the defeat of the revolution, and which were condemned by the Sixth Congress of the Comintern and the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of China.
In answer to such an attempt to make a blind comparison, which is characteristic of sectarians and "learned folk", the Chinese Communists give the following reply:
It is incorrect because the tactics of the united national front at the first stage of the revolution in the colonial and dependent countries in general, and at the first stage of the revolution in China in particular, when the edge of the revolution is directed against imperialism, and when the national bourgeoisie still support the revolutionary struggle against imperialism, are necessary and obligatory tactics. The experience and very fact of the Chinese Revolution of 1925-27 go to prove that it is precisely due to these tactics of the young Communist Party that China has succeeded in educating and organizing millions and tens of millions of workers and peasants, and in leading the peasantry to the agrarian revolution.
The Sixth Congress of the Comintern, and the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of China not only did not condemn the tactics of the united anti-imperialist national front operated by the Communist Party in the Chinese Revolution of 1925-27, but on the contrary endorsed them, and recognized the valuable lessons arising out of them. They only condemned the mistakes of Chen Tu-hsiu and his supporters, who in opportunist fashion distorted the tactics of the united anti-imperialist front and transformed them from tactics of joint action with the national bourgeoisie against the common enemy, imperialism, in the interests of the Chinese people, into tactics of subordinating the proletariat and the working people to the interests of the national bourgeoisie one of the reasons of the defeat of the Revolution of 1927 in China.
In 1928, when the Sixth Congress of the Comintern and the Sixth Congress of the C.P. of China took place, the revolutionary wave in China died down. The national bourgeoisie seized hold of the Kuomintang Party, left the revolution and passed over into the camp of the counter-revolution. The petty bourgeoisie temporarily left the active revolutionary struggle. The Communist Party based itself, and only could base itself, on the workers, peasants and urban poor. The united front was destroyed not by the Communist Party but by the national bourgeoisie and the Kuomintang Party, which hoped to arrive at an agreement with the imperialists.
Now, however, Japanese aggression threatens not only the toilers and the petty bourgeoisie but also a considerable section of the national bourgeoisie in China. In this state of affairs, while continuing to base itself on the working class and the peasantry, the Communist Party is in duty bound at the same time to make use of every effort at resistance maturing among other sections of Chinese society.
Besides, the united front at the present time is being on an entirely new basis. The Party, which has become a mass party, bases itself in its struggle for the united front on the Red Army and the Soviet regions.
This is why the Communist Party, in adopting the tactics of establishing a united anti-Japanese front with the Kuomintang and other organizations, is by no means repeating the mistakes of Chen Tu-hsiu in the Revolution of 1927.
Third, the united national front presupposes the establishment of a united All-China anti-Japanese army, which must be established on the basis of a political agreement between the Red Army, the Kuomintang, and other troops, for the joint armed defense of the country against Japanese imperialism.
While each body participating in this army will be responsible for a definite sector of the common front, and will subordinate itself to the general command in the fulfillment of the general military plan, it will wholly and completely maintain its political and organizational system, its commanding and political officers. In the interests of the liberation struggle, the Chinese Communist Party cannot agree to dissolve the Red Army among the Nanking troops, for this would mean the liquidation of the most reliable armed force of the Chinese people, and would only be of benefit to the Japanese robbers.
The Chinese Communists must take clear account of the fact that in the struggle to establish a united all-China army to defend China against the Japanese military clique, the Communist Party must not only not allow for one minute any weakening to take place in the fighting power of the Red Army but, on the contrary, it must strengthen and consolidate its might, its monolithic character and discipline to a greater extent than at any time before. The stronger the Re] Army is, the easier and quicker it will be to achieve success in regard to the establishment of a united all-China anti-Japanese army.
The first necessary condition for the establishment of such an army and for the organization of serious armed resistance to the Japanese marauders is the cessation of the civil war between the Nanking troops and the Red Army in China. Unless war is stopped between these two biggest military forces, there can be no question of a really united all-China anti-Japanese army, or of serious and successful armed resistance to Japanese imperialism.
For it should be borne in mind that if the Nanking government and the Kuomintang also always send the majority of their troops and expend the lion's share of their income on war against the Red Army, then what sort of really serious preparation for a war on Japan can they carry on? And if the Red Army is compelled to beat off the endless military drives of Chiang Kai-shek, then from whence can it take the forces and means for an armed struggle against Japanese imperialism? And if these two big military forces in China carry on warfare between themselves, whence can the Chinese people secure sufficiently strong armed forces to resist the Japanese marauders?
It is precisely in making their starting point this practical situation and the interests of the Chinese people that the Chinese Communists are determinedly opposed to the ruinous policy of certain Kuomintang leaders, who say that Can end must first be put to the enemy at home, and then we shall settle accounts with the enemy from without", and who insist on the continuation of the civil war, thereby in fact giving up resistance to the aggression of Japan in China.
The Chinese Communist Party puts forward the slogans of "Clear the Japanese usurpers out of China", "Cease all civil war and all internecine war and unify all the forces of the Chinese people for resistance to Japan", "The Chinese do not fight against the Chinese", and "Chinese troops do not fight against Chinese troops".
Making their starting point the need for unifying all Chinese troops for the struggle against Japanese aggression, the Red Army and its leaders, Comrades Mao Tse-tung, Chu Tell and others, have repeatedly, since 1933 and especially in August, 1935, appealed and now appeal to the Kuomintang troops and their commander-in-chief Chiang Kai-shek to cease their offensive on the Soviet regions, and to conclude a militant agreement for a joint struggle against Japanese imperialism. And in spite of the fact that in reply to these proposals made by the Red Army Chiang Kai-shek and the command of the Nanking troops continue their military action against the Red Army, the latter is striving at all costs to bring about the establishment of a united anti-Japanese national fighting front with the Nanking troops of the Kuomintang and other troops in China.
Like the whole of the Chinese people, the Red Army of China is honestly desirous of putting an end to all internal warfare. The Communist Party and the Chinese people not only desire to put an immediate end to the war between the Red Army and the Kuomintang troops, but also demand an end to the internecine warfare between the various groupings within the Kuomintang as, for instance, between Chiang Kaishek and the Southwest. In the present circumstances all internecine warfare in China facilitates the dark and dirty action of the Japanese plunderers. Witness of this is most clearly provided by the openly provocative action of the Japanese plunderers in the armed conflict between Nanking and the Southwest.
Some people object to the establishment of a united andJapanese front between the Red Army and the Nanking troops by pointing out that the Chinese Communists cannot have anything in common with their old enemy Chiang Kai-shek. In reply to this argument we have to state that Chiang Kai-shek and we are not personal enemies. Our enmity arises out of the differences in our views on all main questions of the political life of China. The Chinese Communists defend the interests of the people, while Chiang Kai-shek is pursuing a policy to the detriment of those interests. In this connection, if Chiang Kai-shek were today to come to an agreement with us to carry on a joint struggle in defense of the Chinese people against the alien violators, then why should not the Chinese Communist Party establish a united front with Chiang Kai-shek in the interests of the struggle against the common enemy?
Fourth, the united national front presupposes the establishment of an all-China government of national defense which should be representative of all parties and organizations belonging to the united anti-Japanese national front. This means that such a government must really be an all China state authority, taking serious care of the defense of the country, defending its land and people against the encroachment of a foreign state, and fighting to drive the Japanese plunderers out of China. This government must he a government not of any single party or grouping, but a government of the national front, i.e., a government in which there participate all parties and organizations belonging to the anti-Japanese national front, or a section of these parties and organizations, depending on the general conditions and interests of the liberation struggle of the Chinese people, and the desires of each of these parties and organizations.
In this connection the' question logically arises as to what should be done in the future with the existing authorities in China, such as for instance the Central Soviet government, the Nanking Central government, and the formally local governments, which are really not subordinate to any central authority. In reply to this the Communist Party of China states that it will only be possible to put an end to the political and administrative dismemberment of China and to do away with all the existing local governments in the country if an all-China democratic republic is established, and an all-China Parliament is called together which will organize a real all-China government.
The question may be asked as to whether in this case Chinese Communists will pursue their struggle for Soviets and a Soviet government in China.
The Chinese Communists are firmly convinced that only Soviets can save the Chinese people and the whole of mankind. The practical experience of the U.S.S.R. wholly and completely proves that only Soviets, can transform a country which is economically, politically and culturally backward into an advanced, rich, free and cultured country. Only Soviets can give the people a real socialist democracy such as the draft of the new Stalinist Constitution is giving the U.S.S.R. The best sons and daughters of the Chinese people have laid down their lives in the struggle for Soviet power in China. The practical experience of the Soviet districts has shown the superiority of Soviet power over all feudal, monarchist and militaristic-bureaucratic regimes such as the thousand-year history of China has known.
In spite of all this the Chinese Communists, who make their starting point the interests of the Chinese people, take account of the fact that the Soviet districts as yet occupy a comparatively small section of the territory of China, that a considerable section of the Chinese people are not yet for Soviet power, and especially take account of the point that the unheard-of menace of enslavement which hangs over the Chinese people urgently demands that ways and means be found of uniting the national and democratic forces of the whole of the Chinese people for a joint struggle against the common enemy, the Japanese marauders. Taking all this into account the Chinese Communist Party declares its readiness to support the establishment of a united all-Chinese people's democratic republic with an all-China parliament, called together on the basis of universal suffrage, and an all-China government of national defense. In the present circumstances this will be the best way of uniting all the national and democratic forces of the Chinese people to resist the aggression of Japan and to save the fatherland.
What is meant by a really united all-China democratic republic? It is a republic which will he able to lead China out of its condition of political and administrative dismemberment, of militarist wars, and will be able to do away with feudal oppression, and establish order and peace in the country. Such a republic can serve as a basis for unifying, rallying and organizing all the material and human resources of China and of the great Chinese people for the struggle against the external enemy. It is a republic which really defends the interests of the people and not the interests of merchant parasites, a republic in which the will of the people should predominate and not the license and self-assumed power of military dictators.
The Communist Party of China is for a really democratic republic in which the people enjoy democratic rights and liberties—the right to work and education, the inviolability of the person, property, and dwelling, freedom of speech, the press, organization, strikes, demonstrations, religious belief and anti-religious propaganda, etc.
The all-China parliament elected on the basis of 'universal suffrage must be really representative of the whole of the Chinese people without any racial, national, class, political, party and religious limitations. It will thereby be distinguished from the advisory and legislative organs of the Kuomintang, which -are in fact appointed by its Executive Committee (the so-called National Assembly; in Nanking in 1931, or the National Assembly which it is proposed will assemble in November, 1936, in Nanking). It will thereby also be distinguished from all the previous parliaments in China, particularly from the parliaments under the government of Yuan Shi-kai or Tsao Kun and Wu Pei-fu, when the parliamentary elections took place: in circumstances of unheard-of bribery, trickery and violence.
An all-China parliament of a united all-China democratic republic is necessary because this parliament, as the most authoritative and generally recognized representative organ of the whole of the Chinese people, must review, discuss and adopt the corresponding decisions and laws regarding the main questions of foreign and domestic policy, and must draw up and adopt the fundamental law, the constitution of the united all-China democratic republic. The Chinese people today really need a constitution, but they do not need the sort of constitution such as, for instance, will be presented by the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang at the National Assembly called for November, which both formally and in fact is not the constitution of the Chinese people, but only the constitution of the Kuomintang itself.
The Chinese people need a constitution which guarantees the interests and rights of the whole of the Chinese people.
The Chinese Communists declare that if united all-China democratic republic is established, a parliament elected on the basis of universal suffrage is called together, and am all China government of national defense is formed, then the Soviet districts, respecting the will of the majority of the Chinese people, will become part of this united democratic republic, will participate in the all-China parliament, and are ready to introduce the same kind of political and administrative regime on their territory as will be established for the whole of China.
However, prior to the establishment of such a republic, the Chinese Communist Party will not only not permit for one single moment any weakening of the power of the Soviets as the power of the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, a power directed in the first instance against the Japanese imperialists, but will strive with all the strength in its power to strengthen its authority arid fighting power by extending connections and contact with the widest masses of the people. Prior to the establishment of such a republic, the Chinese Communists will strengthen the Soviets, because the Soviets today are the only power of the people and center of democracy, because the Soviets today are the unifying center in the struggle of the Chinese people to establish a united anti-Japanese national front, to establish a united all-China people's democratic republic, and will serve as one of the most reliable supports of this republic.
On learning of the line of the Communist Party for the establishment of a united all-China democratic republic, certain bourgeois intellectuals and liberal bourgeois in Chin, are beginning to talk about the "victory of democracy over Communism". In reply to this we have to say the following:
"Gentlemen, you do not understand, or you pretend that you do not understand the attitude 0f the Communists towards democracy. You are absolutely incorrect when you assert that the Communists everywhere and at all times are in principle against any kind of democracy, and that they are only in favor of dictatorship. It is true that the Communists criticize bourgeois democracy, and declare themselves in favor of Soviets as being real democracy for the overwhelming majority of the people, but at the same time the Communists are in the front ranks of those who defend the conquests of bourgeois democracy against attacks and encroachments by the forces of medieval obscurantism and fascism. And our glorious brother Parties in France and Spain have given, and are continuing to give, incontestable proof of this by their heroic struggle for the People's Front and in defense of the republic against fascism."
We tell these bourgeois intellectuals and liberal bourgeoisie the following: "If you really are democrats, then cease your naive chatter about some sort of 'victory of democracy over communism', and let us fight together with all the democratic forces of the Chinese people for the establishment of a united all-China people's democratic republic".
The Chinese Communist Party is pursuing a firm and unwavering line for the establishment of a united national front against Japanese imperialism. It is trying to bring this about just as our brother Communist Parties in France and Spain have already achieved the united and People's Fronts. Yet it should be borne in mind that not so long ago, when Comrade Dimitroff and the delegates of the Communist Party of France and of the Communist Party of Spain spoke at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern about the policy of establishing the united and People's Front, and especially about a government of the People's Front in these countries, there were people who laughed this policy to scorn, and accused the Communists of maneuvering and of utopianism. But what has practical experience shown in these countries? Not only the united front of the working class and the Front against fascism and war have become a fact in these countries, but governments have been established in these countries which have adopted the platform of the People's Front. Our comrades in Spain as in France are proving their consistency and loyalty in the struggle to establish the united front, the People's Front and government of the People's Front. The Spanish comrades are defending with their lives the Spanish Republic, and the independence and liberty of the Spanish people, and are fighting in the front lines alongside of Republicans, Social-Democrats and Syndicalists against the traitors to and enemies of the people, namely, the fascist insurgents, the agents of Hitler and Mussolini in Spain.
The success of the Chinese Communist Party is ensured by the fact that the Chinese people support the Communists and have faith in them. The Communists are flesh of the flesh and bone of the bone of the Chinese people; they are their most loyal sons and daughters, and the most devoted defenders of their interests.
The policy of the Communist Party is the generalization and concrete expression of the will and strivings of the masses of the people at each given historic phase. The Communist Party of China is absolutely certain of the support and confidence in its new policy by the whole people, and this support and confidence is the most important guarantee of victory.
The liberation struggle of the Chinese people which is indissolubly connected with the world struggle of the proletariat and of the peoples of all countries against imperialist war and fascism, and for peace and liberty, is meeting with the sympathy and support not only of the supporters of the Comintern but also of the Socialist workers, not only of the working class and toilers generally, but also of all opponents of war and supporters of peace in all countries.
The success of the Communist Party is assured by the fact that during fifteen years of heroic struggle, in the most difficult circumstances of illegal work and civil war, it has hammered out thousands and tens of thousands of steeled and loyal fighters, has hammered out cadres of talented Party and mass leaders, cadres of talented statesmen and legendary military leaders. The loyalty of these cadres, and their ability and experience, are the most important guarantee of victory.
Finally, the success of the new policy of the Chinese Communist Party is assured by the fact that the liberation struggle of the Chinese people is led by the Leninist Communist International, at whose helm stands the tried comrade-in-arms of the great Stalin, the banner-bearer of the struggle against fascism and war, the pride of the world Communist movement, our own Dimitroff. This struggle is led by the International which is inspired by the one who faithfully continues the work of Marx, Engels and Lenin, the genius and strategist of the world revolution, the leader and teacher of toiling mankind, the banner of the victory of world communism, our Stalin.
1. In the summer of 1930, a section of the members of the then Political Bureau of the C.P. of China, headed by Li Li-san, attempted, in opposition to the tactical line of the Comintern, to raise a premature armed uprising in all big towns in China and immediately to begin the premature introduction of socialism into the Soviet regions of that time (by the confiscation of all private property, the attempts to immediately establish collective farms, state farms, etc.). The followers of Li Li-san in practice operated a policy of liquidation not only in respect to the Y.C.L. and the trade unions, but even in respect to the Party itself, as the leading center in relation to all the mass revolutionary organizations. The Fourth Plenum of the CC. of the C.P. of China (held on January 7, 1931) decisively condemned the adventurist and harmful line of Li Li-san, and the Right-opportunist, and liquidation line of Lo Chang-lung.
Wang Ming Archive | Chinese Communism