China 1927: The stalinist Counter-revolution leads the chinese Proletarians to Massacre
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 5; November 2009)
Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang: two names which the international proletariat must never forget because they are the names of the executioners of the Chinese proletarians and poor peasants; the Shanghai Commune and the Canton Insurrection: two splendid examples of the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese proletarians which the international proletariat must always remember.
But Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang could not have succeeded in their counter-revolutionary work without the tragically decisive contribution of Stalinism.
The bourgeois movement of which the Kuomintang was representative did not have anything in common with the French bourgeois revolutionary movement of 1793, even if its tasks were objectively national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist (in relation to Great Britain and Japan). Faced with the gigantic revolt of the Chinese peasants and proletarians and with the danger of a proletarian leadership of the revolutionary movement of the exploited, its role was similar to that of defender of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat played by the German social-democrats at the end of the First World War. The real possibilities that the Chinese proletariat would take the head of the huge revolutionary wave in China constituted a serious danger to the bourgeois order not only in this country, but in the whole world. It is this world bourgeois counter-revolution of which Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang were the supremely effective instrument in China and the Stalinized Communist International with its influential leadership over the international proletariat, which would crush the Chinese proletarian movement: its destruction would also be the destruction of the revolutionary potentialities of this formidable historical period.
“Those objective socio-historical causes which pre-determined the “October” outcome of the Russian revolution-Trotsky wrote in his work ‘The Third International After Lenin’-rise before us in China in a still more accentuated form. The bourgeois and proletarian poles of the Chinese nation stand opposed to each other even more irreconcilably, if this is at all possible, than they did in Russia, since, on the one hand, the Chinese bourgeoisie is directly bound up with foreign imperialism and the latter’s military machine, and since, on the other hand, the Chinese proletariat has from the very beginning established a close bond with the Comintern and the Soviet Union. Numerically the Chinese peasantry constitutes an even more overwhelming mass than the Russian peasantry. But being crushed in the vise of world contradictions, upon the solution of which in one way or another its fate depends, the Chinese peasantry is even less capable of playing a leading role than the Russian. At the present this is no longer a matter of theoretical forecast, but a fact verified completely in all its aspects” (1).
Although it appeared twenty years after the 1905 Russian insurrection and ten years after October 1917, the Chinese revolutionary wave of 1925-27 could have opened the way to a general resumption of the revolutionary proletarian movement on an international scale, because of world contradictions-whereby the great imperialisms present were implicated in China because of the formidable social revolt of the Chinese proletarians and peasants. History is not made with “if’s”, but it is absolutely certain that the prime cause of the failure of the Chinese revolution in 1927 must be charged to the Communist International, its policy and its tactics. Nothing from the theses on the national and colonial question defined in the second congress of the CI of 1920 and in the congress of Baku was taken up by the leaders of the International (Stalin, Bukharin and their supporters); that it is from the point of view of the organization of the Communist Party, independent of any other organization, from the point of view of an analysis of the Chinese bourgeoisie and its class interests or from the point of view of the specifically proletarian revolutionary prospect. After having reduced any opposition to the Stalinist policy to impotence (defense of the interests of capitalism and its national State in Russia behind the slogan of “building socialism in one country”) and after having erected a bureaucratic apparatus which servilely obeyed this new policy, the International could only persevere in the abandonment of the correct Marxist orientation and, at the time of each major problem which arose for the international proletariat, to continuously and always more profoundly betray the class traditions which the Russian proletarians under the leadership of the party of Lenin had transmitted to the world.
Collaboration with the Kuomintang, the support of the policy of the “block of four classes” (bourgeoisie, peasants, urban petit-bourgeoisie, working class), and finally the adhesion of the young Communist Party to the Kuomintang were the decisive stages which prevented the revolutionary movement of the industrial proletariat of the cities from taking its place at the head of the peasant masses of the countryside, obliterating the imperialist order in the Far East and also calling into question the Stalinist prospect for construction of national capitalism to Russia.
Executing a complete about-face, the International, created to lead the world labor movement through orientations adapted to the advanced capitalisms as well as with those where the problem of emancipation from colonialism and destruction of the pre-bourgeois Ancien Régime was still posed, became the agent of the counter-revolution in the Chinese question through a series of betrayals which could only lead to disaster.
By enabling the Kuomintang to pass for a party which, although undoubtedly bourgeois, was able to fight in general against imperialism, served to justify the support that the International gave to it and to its fusion with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
After having quoted how the representative of the CCP in the VIIth plenum of the executive committee of International (at the end of 1926) described the policy of Kuomintang:
“In the sphere of international policy it occupies a passive position in the full meaning of that word….It is inclined to fight only against British imperialism; so far as the Japanese imperialists are concerned, however, it is ready under certain conditions to make a compromise with them.”
Trotsky emphasized precisely that:
“The attitude of the Kuomintang towards imperialism was from the very outset not revolutionary but entirely opportunist. It endeavoured to smash and isolate the agents of certain imperialist powers so as to make a deal with the self-same or other imperialist powers on terms more favourable to the Chinese bourgeoisie.”
A little further on he writes:
“The Chinese bourgeoisie is sufficiently realistic and acquainted intimately enough with the nature of world imperialism to understand that a really serious struggle against the latter requires such an upheaval of the revolutionary masses as would primarily become a menace to the bourgeoisie itself. If the struggle against the Manchu Dynasty was a task of smaller historical proportions than the overthrow of Czarism, then the struggle against world imperialism is a task on a much larger scale; and if we taught the workers of Russia from the very beginning not to believe in the readiness of liberalism and the ability of petit-bourgeois democracy to overthrow Czarism and to destroy feudalism, we should no less energetically have imbued the Chinese workers from the outset with the same spirit of distrust. The new and absolutely false theory promulgated by Stalin-Bukharin about the “immanent” revolutionary spirit of the colonial bourgeoisie is, in substance, a translation of Menshevism into the language of Chinese politics. It serves only to convert the oppressed position of China into an internal political premium for the Chinese bourgeoisie, and it throws an additional weight on the scale of the bourgeoisie against the scale of the trebly oppressed Chinese proletariat (2).
However the International had at its disposal not only the fundamental positions set down in its theses but also unambiguous directives, which can be easily observed in a reading of the texts of its second congress. For example the “Supplementary Theses on the National and Colonial Questions” affirm in item 6:
“6. The foreign imperialism violently forced upon the peoples of the East has without doubt hindered their social and economic development and robbed them of the opportunity of reaching the same level of development as has been achieved in Europe and America. Thanks to the imperialist policies whose efforts are directed towards holding up industrial development in the colonies, the native proletariat has only come into existence fairly recently. The dispersed local cottage industries have given way to the centralized industries of the imperialist countries. As a result the vast majority of the population was forced to engage in agriculture and export raw materials abroad. On the other hand we can observe a rapidly growing concentration of the land in the hands of big landowners, capitalists and the state, which again contributes to the growth of the number of landless peasants. The vast majority of the population of these colonies lives under conditions of oppression. As a result of these policies the underdeveloped spirit of outrage that lives in the masses of the people can only find an expression in the numerically small intellectual middle class. Foreign domination constantly obstructs the free development of social life; therefore the revolution’s first step must be the removal of this foreign domination. The struggle to overthrow foreign domination in the colonies does not therefore mean underwriting the national aims of the national bourgeoisie but much rather smoothing the path to liberation for the proletariat of the colonies”.
And in item 11 of the Theses, after a series of tactical directives, one can read in paragraph 5:
“It is necessary to vigorously fight the attempts made in the backwards countries by liberation movements to call themselves communist whereas in reality they are not. The Communist International must support the revolutionary movements in the colonies and the «backwards» countries with the sole aim of uniting the elements of the future proletarian parties-Communist in fact and not only in name-in all the backward countries, to make them become aware of their particular tasks, which consist in fighting against the bourgeois democratic tendency in their country.
The Communist International must enter into temporary relations and even form an alliance with the revolutionary movement of the colonies and the backward countries, but it cannot amalgamate with them; on the contrary it must absolutely defend and maintain the independent character of the proletarian movement, even if it exists only in an embryonic form”(3).
Difficult to be more clear!
But, to the inverse, Stalinism sacrificed the independence of the party under the pretext of not frightening the bourgeoisie and of not turning it away from its revolutionary objectives; and it could pursue these aims by utilizing the enormous influence on the proletarians and the liberation movements of the colonies which the victory of the Russian revolution had conferred on the International. Trotsky will recall that:
“Marxism on the contrary invariably taught that the revolutionary consequences of one or another act of the bourgeoisie, to which it is compelled by its position, will be fuller, more, decisive, less doubtful, and firmer, the more independent the proletarian vanguard will be in relation to the bourgeoisie, the less it will be inclined to place its fingers between the jaws of the bourgeoisie, to see it in bright colors, to over-estimate its revolutionary spirit or its readiness for a ‘united front’ and for a struggle against imperialism” (4).
Anti-proletarian opportunism, even when it labels itself communist, socialist or revolutionary, calls, always and everywhere, for the proletariat not to pursue an autonomous policy, not to organize itself independently, not to defend its class interests, but to dissolve itself in a “popular” front to maintain “unity” against imperialism or reaction. The tragic Chinese experiment showed in an irrefutable way that this method assures the crushing of the proletariat.
Disavowing its original theses, in obliging the CCP to dissolve itself within the party of the bourgeoisie which is what the Kuomintang was, the Stalinized International prevented it from playing its role of autonomous revolutionary leadership of the proletariat, precluded its class independence and paralyzed it by imprisoning it in a popular interclassist alliance which signified in fact placing its fate in the hands of the bourgeoisie.
* * *
Constituted in 1920 with 57 members, the CCP had quickly conquered a notable influence on the proletarian masses; and despite its numerical challenges (a thousand in April 1925, 10,000 at the end of the year, nearly 60,000 at the beginning of 1927), it had conquered a determining influence on the mass movement and in particular it lead the trade unions growing rapidly throughout the country. After1922 the proletarian and peasant movement took on imposing proportions; not only was it strongly impregnated with the influence of the CCP but it was moreover savagely hostile to the Kuomintang in which it correctly perceived the organization of the hated bourgeoisie. In May 1922 the first congress of the Chinese trade unions which brought together 200,000 members was held. On May first, 1925 the pan-Chinese trade unions counted 570,000 members; 10 000 workmen paraded in Shanghai, then the economic and industrial capital of China, and 200,000 in Canton. The peasant movement also quickly developed thanks to the constitution of the peasant “Unions” which as of 1923 in Kwantung (province of Canton) clashed violently with the landowners and the army. Meanwhile the International had constrained the young CCP to adhere to the Kuomintang, in spite of its initial opposition.
The proletarian movement was to culminate in the general strike begun on May 30, 1925 in Shanghai, following the bloody repression of a demonstration by workers and students. The strike extended to Canton and Peking finally involving 400,000 workers. On June 23 the repression of a demonstration of workers and students by English soldiers in Canton resulted in 52 deaths. The response was immediate: the general strike started in Canton and Hong Kong. 100,000 workers from Hong Kong rushed to Canton to reinforce the 200,000 strikers there. Strike pickets in all the ports of Kwantung rendered the boycott of foreign goods (especially English) effective, completely paralysing British trade with the Far East. On the basis of this powerful movement, the Kuomintang drove out the puppet authorities under the orders of the imperialists and installed itself in power throughout the whole province-with the blessing of the CCP and the International which will consequently describe Canton as “the center of the Chinese revolution”. Its government will put the promises of land reform back under wraps; will preoccupy itself with silencing the workers’ demands and to finish off the strike under the pretext that it is initially necessary “to drive out the imperialists and to unify the country”. With the enthusiastic support of the CCP and Soviet support, it will then launch the preparation of a military campaign against the Northern warlords tied to the various imperialisms.
But on March 20, 1926, against the organized labor of Canton, and under a false pretext Chiang Kai-shek, commander-in-chief of the young army, delivered his blows: the headquarters of the trade unions were devastated, their chiefs arrested (the communist leaders and the Russian advisors undergo the same fate); in a few hours the workmen were disarmed, their organizations destroyed, Chiang had all the power in his hands, without the CCP and the workers being able to react.
But it’s only a dress rehearsal. Chiang is excused for the “misunderstanding” while on its side the CCP capitulated completely, abandoning any criticism of the official position, surrendering the list of its registered members to the Kuomintang, etc.
However this political capitulation could not but cause resistance within the party and in June 1926 the central Committee of the CCP proposed to recover its independence and to give up the policy of complete submission to the Kuomintang for a policy of alliance with it on an equal footing. Therefore it was not the return to a true class independence which was proposed; but this was still too much for the leadership of the International which refused (and it even refused to allow the CCP to organize left fractions in the Kuomintang). The policy of the International was defined in an expressive way by its envoy Borodin, who was to advise Chiang that: “during the present time the Communists must work like coolies for the Kuomintang”! The CCP was thus constrained to continue “for the present time” to work in the service of the nationalist bourgeoisie. The consequences came quickly.
In July 1926, a few days after the beginning of the Northern expedition, i.e. after the departure of the regiments where the Communists had a certain influence from Canton, bands of thugs and gangsters recruited throughout the region were launched against organized labor; after six days of confrontations during which approximately fifty workers were slaughtered, the authorities re-appeared “to restore order”, i.e. the order of the capitalists: the workers were disarmed, they were forbidden to demonstrate, compulsory arbitration was instituted to prevent strikes, etc, the social rights of the proletarians conquered during previous years demolished, before a downright martial law prohibiting strikes is imposed in December. This did not prevent the International from declaring, at the end of 1926, the Kuomintang a “sympathizing party”...
THE MASSACRES OF SHANGHAI
It was thus comprehensible that when the nationalist army of the Kuomintang commanded by Chiang arrived in the proximity of Shanghai, the CCP bent all its efforts to facilitate its victory. On February 19, the trade union council commenced a general strike, with 350 000 workers taking part, that the CCP was reluctant to transform into an insurrection. In spite of this indecision, during several days the workers held the repression of the local soldiers in check, while the Kuomintang troops remained inactive a few tens of kilometers away. On March 21, a new general strike started, but this time with precise plans of insurrection; at the end of a few days combat, the workers who had not been brought to their knees by repression, seized power. Meanwhile the nationalist army in the city suburbs had not stirred. Given the importance of Shanghai in Chinese economic life, a proletarian seizure of power in this city would have automatically meant that an anti-capitalist direction was given to the Chinese revolution which would have found a formidable new stimulus there. On the contrary the workers and the CCP who held power yielded it immediately to Chiang Kai-shek, who was received in the city as the uncontested chief of the revolution. The CCP subordinated itself to the Kuomintang, and the rumors of attacks against the workers circulated with all the more earnestness. Respecting the formal instructions of the International, the CCP disarmed the workers pickets so as not to risk a confrontation. Chiang who had immediately contacted the capitalist circles in the city, started by replacing the Communists in all important leading posts with the faithful; then he removed the soldiers influenced by the workers (5), then decreed that the trade-union pickets were to come under control of his army, before passing to open repression.
On April 12, 1927 at 4 o’clock in the morning, detachments of the Kuomintang army, aided by bands recruited among the local underworld attacked the strongholds of the workers’ organizations, massacring all those which were there; in spite of an impromptu resistance hundreds of proletarians were massacred, the Communist leaders killed or constrained to hide. The following day, the General Council of the trade unions, dispersed and hunted, called for a general strike. In spite of the terrible situation 100,000 workers answered the call; a peaceful demonstration (!) was organized to protest near the headquarters: its repression by machine-gun fire left nearly 300 dead.
The imperialists helped with the repression the very best that they could; the French authorities in particular were in the leading ranks thanks to their police force, directed by one of the gangster chiefs in Shanghai, who multiplied searches and arrests to feed the exceptional military tribunals which pronounced thousands of death sentences during following months. After the massacres and the introduction of white terror in Shanghai, the International transferred its hopes to the section of the Kuomintang which in central China controlled Wuhan and its province. On April 21, Wuhan was decreed by Stalin as the new “center the Chinese revolution” and the CCP was enjoined to continue with this the same policy of servile collaboration with the “Left Kuomintang” which had led to the disaster in Shanghai. Two communist ministers entered into the government of Wuhan: the Ministry of Labour and that of Agriculture. To maintain unity in the Kuomintang, the essential action of the Communists inside as well as outside of the government consisted in calming workers’ dissatisfaction and to fight the “excesses” of the peasant movement which was attacking the landowners with regularity. (5).
In mid-June repression started in this pseudo-“revolutionary center”, white terror against the peasants intensified throughout the area, but the 5th Congress of the CCP reaffirmed, under the influence of the representatives of the CI, that it would continue his disastrous policy of tailism with respect to Kuomintang: “at the current stage of the revolution, the relations between the Communist Party and Kuomintang become closer than they ever were. The withdrawal of the bourgeoisie [allusion to the massacres of Shanghai!] transformed the Kuomintang into a revolutionary block of the three oppressed classes: proletariat, peasantry and urban petit-bourgeoisie, and the engine of this block is the proletariat”.
The CCP increasingly prostrated itself in the face of the increasingly threatening attitude of this so-called “revolutionary bloc”. On June 20, it published a complementary update where one could read, among other things:
“The mass workers and peasant organizations must accept the direction and the control of the Kuomintang. The demands of the mass movement of workers and peasants must be in harmony with the resolutions of the Kuomintang congresses, the decisions of the Central Executive Committee, and the decrees and laws of the government (...) the armed groups of workers and peasants must be controlled by the government. In order to avoid any political agitation, the armed pickets which currently exist in Wuhan will be reduced or incorporated into the army (...). The economic requirements of commercial employees will not exceed the economic capacities of commercial traders and storeowners. The trade unions will not intervene in the right of storeowners to hire and fire. The trade unions will not interfere with commercial traders and storeowners, neither to halt trade, nor to impose fines on them or to dress them in dunce’s caps, etc.” (6)
Nothing new here; 15 days later the Kuomintang Council called for the purging of the Communists in its ranks, attacked the now disarmed trade unions arms in hand, reconciled itself with Chiang Kai-shek while the Communist leaders and their Soviet advisers fled... The decapitation of the revolutionary movement (partial sources give the figure of 25,000 proletarians, Communists and workers and peasant leaders executed throughout the country at the time of the counter-revolutionary wave in the first half of 1927) and the destruction of the workers and peasants organizations were not the only results obtained by the Chinese bourgeoisie and imperialism. The policy of submission to the Kuomintang followed by the CCP for so many years alienated the support of the masses which felt betrayed by their own leaders; the peasants deserted their organizations, the workers no longer even mobilized themselves to defend their immediate interests and abandoned the CCP. To the physical destruction of the movement the demoralization of the masses with regard to the Communists must be added. The revolutionary movement was broken. After having foisted the responsibility for the catastrophe onto the leaders of the CCP who had however only applied its directives, it is at this time that the Stalinist International gave to the Chinese Communists the order to rise in “taking up again the flag of the left Kuomintang” to carry out the prospect for the “democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants”: in fact the revolts of the “autumn harvest”, primarily in the countryside, all failed. In Wuhan and other cities the Communists tried without much success to rouse the proletariat, but in general they did not even have the power to organize strikes, the trade unions having been destroyed or “reorganized” as anti-proletarian structures. These insurrections could only have results leading to the massacre of the militants and proletarians who took part in them.
THE CANTON COMMUNE
In Canton the CCP organized an insurrection on December 10, 1927, with the intention of benefiting from a disagreement between several generals. The combatants were few in number and were very badly armed and the working-class masses remained spectators: recognizing that the majority of the proletariat did not take part in the insurrection, the communist leadership affirmed thereafter that they had 20 000 workmen with them. But one year before, when the International preached the “wait-and-see” policy and subordination to the Kuomintang, the communist council of the workers’ delegates could count on a base of almost two hundred thousand workers! As of December 11, the insurrectionists with the new cry of “down with the Kuomintang!” had become masters in part of the city and had released more than one thousand political prisoners. They proclaimed the Commune, installed a provisional Soviet and diffused a program whose radicalism cut against the previous demands of the CCP: a general increase in wages, the State taking responsibility for the unemployed, control of production by factory committees, nationalization of large-scale industry, transport and the banks, nationalization of the land, extermination of the rural landlords, abolition of debts to usurers, confiscation of all the apartments of the big bourgeoisie and all their goods to the profit of the workers, etc. As Trotsky commented, although Canton has a character definitely more petit-bourgeois than Shanghai and other industrial centers of the country, the revolutionary insurrection “carried out against Kuomintang, automatically led to dictatorship of the proletariat; as one of its first steps, because of the overall situation, it had to apply more radical measurements than those which were taken at the beginning of the October revolution”, whereas all the perspectives of the International went no further than a “democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants” under Kuomintang control.
But the same slogans which only a few months earlier could have mobilized hundreds of thousands of proletarians, now fell flat because the movement had already been broken. The absence of revolutionary fermentation was such that the Communists had not even dared to launch a general strike call! The installation of the provisional government was not enough to rally all the proletarians. Without flinching, the railwaymen and boatmen of Canton transported the troops which were heading to crush the insurrection. On the evening of December 13 the insurrection was smashed and a dreadful repression was unleashed: proletarians were shot, boiled alive, and decapitated by the thousands (the number of dead was estimated at 5,700).
With the defeat of Canton, a whole revolutionary period is terminated for the Chinese proletariat. According to its own estimates, the CCP which in spring 1927 was composed of 63.8% workers, counted something less than 15% the following year and it possessed “not even one healthy cell in the industrial proletariat”: the workers had left it by the thousands, and they were never to rejoin its ranks again; taking refuge in the countryside, fixing itself on the political objective of the “real Kuomintang”, whatever remained of the Chinese Communist Party definitively ceased being a proletarian organization. The proletarian class which had begun to move, from 1920, along with the masses of poor peasants, had animated a revolutionary movement of gigantic importance; a movement which under the direction of the Communist Party could have simultaneously defeated world imperialism and the Chinese bourgeoisie could have established the dictatorship of the proletariat in China. But this splendid movement did not achieve this goal which would have meant the resumption of the proletarian movement on a worldwide scale-because its power had been put at the service of the Chinese bourgeoisie by an International tied to a Russian State from now on entirely occupied in developing its national capitalism.
After the defeat of the revolutionary movement, the fragmentation of China became even greater, the Kuomintang of Chiang Kai-Shek being unable to impose its rule over the various military cliques of “warlords” who carved out their own fiefdoms, often with the support of this or that imperialism-demonstrating the incapacity of the Chinese bourgeoisie to carry out its own revolution. In certain isolated regions, the CCP instituted a so-called “Communist China” where there existed “at the same time as the rudimentary forms of primitive economy, the need for an exploitation of the masses even more intense than that in force in other areas”. In connection with an assessment of the defeats of Shanghai and Canton, “our current maintained that if the non-revolutionary situation does not make it possible to advance the fundamental slogan of the dictatorship of the proletariat, if thus the question of power is not posed in an immediate fashion, that is not a reason to revise the program of the party; this must on the contrary be reaffirmed completely on the theoretical and propagandistic level, while the retreat cannot be carried out other than on the basis of the immediate demands of the masses and their corresponding class organizations”(7).
As Trotsky wrote “the lessons of 1848, 1871, 1905, 1917, the lessons of the Communist Party of Russia and the foundation of the Communist International” were lost. The proletarian movement was thrown behind by decades. Our theses on the Chinese question continued: “And in fact, in the great battles of the Chinese revolution between 1924 and 1927, it is not the fate of ‘independent, rich and powerful’ China which was compromised for many years, but that of the whole labor movement in the colonies for an infinitely longer and more painful historical period” (8).
The fate of the labour movement in the colonies was so compromised that even today the prospect for a resumption of class struggle in the least comparable with that which heralded the great struggles of the Russian proletariat in 1905-1917 or for the Chinese proletariat in 1924-1927 is all but closed. That does not discourage Marxists because they know that the extension and the development of capitalism causes an accumulation of social contradictions in a colossal way and on a much broader surface than at the beginning of last century. The proletariat, the mass without-reserves, always increases by including the peasant masses ruined by capitalism from the four corners of planet. The social magma boils deep inside the capitalist volcano and its formidable explosion is inscribed in history.
It is the duty of the Marxists to patiently devote their forces and their energies to the formation of the class party based on the very heavily-paid-for lessons of revolutions and counter-revolutions; to the proletarians of America, Europe, China and everywhere falls the task of returning to the terrain of class struggle, commencing with the basic but essential struggle of economic and immediate defense.
(1) cf: Trotsky, “The Third International After Lenin” Pathfinder 1970 p. 184
(2) Ibid: p. 174-5
(3) “Supplementary Theses on the National and Colonial Question” (presented by Roy at the 2nd Congress of the Communist International), Point 6.
(4) Trotsky, “The Third International After Lenin” p. 175-6
(5) On March 31, according to Chen Duxiu, then the leader of the CCP: “The International telegraphs us to hide, to bury all the weapons in possession of the workers, in order to avoid a military confrontation between Chiang Kai-shek and the workers”. The commander of the first division which was in the workers’ district, having received the order of Chiang to leave the city-this meant that Chiang prepared a military action against the proletarians-had gone on to propose to the communist leaders and to the envoys of the International to refuse to obey and to use his troops to arrest Chiang for counter-revolutionary plotting. But paralysed by the policy of tailism and appeasement towards the Kuomintang, the International refused, being satisfied to write to Chiang to respectfully request of him to reconsider his decision, and ultimately they let these soldiers move off. cf Harold Isaacs, “The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution”, trans. from. Gallimard, 1967, p.206, 214.
(6) A telegram by Stalin on June 1 stipulated, among other points that: “excesses [of the peasant movement] must be fought, not by soldiers, but the Peasant Unions”. A certain Mao Zedong was president of the National Federation of Peasant Unions and he got busy applying this directive with a zeal which made Roy state that he was located on the extreme right of the CCP. Cf North, Eudin “M.N. Roy’s Mission to China”, Octagon Books 1977, p. 102, 106 (Roy was then the new envoy of the C.I. to the CCP). A few months earlier, Mao in a report to the CCP where it indicated that the country Unions in Hunan counted 2 million registered voters, had however written that the denunciation of alleged country “excesses” was only used “to sabotage the revolution”...
(7) See H. Isaacs, op cit. p, 316-317. June 30. The General Union of Labor (directed by the CCP) published an official statement to hammer in the final nail: “In order to consolidate the united front of the troops and the workmen and in order to remove any basis for the charges of the reactionaries and the counter-revolutionaries, the trade union has ordered the dissolution of the armed pickets (...). Weapons and ammunition were handed over to the Hankow office of the Wuhan garrison”. Ibid, p. 318.
(8) cf O Perrone “La tattica del Comintern”, Ed. Sociali 1976, p.76. This text appeared previously in Prometeo, the theoretical review of the Partito Comunista Internazionalista, in 1946.
(9) Report to the general meeting of Marseilles of July 11-13, 1964, “Programme Communiste” n°32. We do not have anything to add to the powerful criticism of Trotsky, against the orientations of the International, to which we could refer only very briefly here. It is not the same for his positions during the following period and our current polemicized hard against them. Trotsky sustained that an “intermediate watchword was to be advanced: that of a Constituent Assembly and a democratic constitution in China”. He thus fell into the democratic orientations which he himself had fought against, in the watchword of the democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants, from the point of view of the revolution by stages, as if they were short cuts. But history does not know short cuts; a tactic based on expedients or interclassism can lead only to defeat, with the aggravating factor that the resumption of the revolutionary movement on correct theoretical and programmatic bases is rendered more difficult and more distant in time.
International Communist Party