ALLIANCE Marxist-Leninist (North America): July 2000


Stalin, in 1925, distinguished "at least three categories of colonial and dependent countries" :

"Firstly countries like Morocco who have little or no proletariat, and are industrially quite undeveloped. Secondly countries like China and Egypt which are under-developed industries and have a relatively small proletariat. Thirdly countries like India.. capitalistically more or less developed and have a more or less numerous national proletariat. Clearly all these countries cannot possibly be put on a par with one another."
JVS W : Vol 7 : "Political Tasks of the University of the People's of the East. Speech Delivered at a meeting of Students of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East", May 18th, 1925. pp. 135-146.
    In each country the conditions were different and had to be concretely studied before deciding the exact tactic: "In countries like Egypt and China, where the national bourgeoisie has already split up into a revolutionary party and a compromising party, but where the compromising section of the bourgeoisies is not yet able to join up with imperialism, the Communists can no longer set themselves the aim of forming a united national front against imperialism. In such countries the Communists must pass from the policy of a united national front to the policy of a revolutionary bloc of the workers and the petty bourgeoisie. In such countries that bloc can assume the form of a single party, a workers and peasants party, provided, however, that this distinctive party actually represents a bloc of two forces - the Communist Party and the party of the revolutionary petty bourgeois. The tasks of this bloc are to expose the half-heartedness and inconsistency of the national bourgeoisie and to wage a determined struggle against imperialism. Such a dual party is necessary and expedient provided it does not bind the Communist Party hand and foot, provided it does not restrict the freedom of the Communist Party to conduct agitation and propaganda work, provided it does not hinder the rallying of the proletarians around and provided it facilitates the actual leadership of the revolutionary movement by the Communist party. Such a dual party is unnecessary and inexpedient if to does not conform to all these conditions for it can only lead to the Communist elements becoming dissolved in the ranks of the bourgeoisie to the Communist Party losing the proletarian army.
The situation is somewhat different in countries like India. The fundamental and new feature of the conditions of life in countries like India is not only that the national bourgeoisie has split up into a revolutionary part and a compromising part, but primarily that the compromising section of the bourgeoisie has already managed, in the main, to strike a deal with imperialism, Fearing revolution more than it fears imperialism, and concerned with more about its money bags than about the interests of its own country, this section of the bourgeoisie is going over entirely to the camp of the irreconcilable enemies of the revolution, it is forming a bloc with imperialism against the workers and peasants of its own country."
(JVS W; "Tasks of University of People's of East"; Ibid; May 18th, 1925. pp. 135-146).
     How did this concretely relate to China? Who were the revolutionary bourgeoisie; and what was the single party that represented the workers and peasants that Stalin refers to? The party he was discussing was the KUOMINTANG (KMT).

    The MANCHU DYNASTY of China obstructed democratic reforms along with the foreign imperialists who controlled Chinas economy. The so called enlightened bourgeoisie of China tried to change this. They were exemplified by SUN YAT SEN, who was himself influenced by Lenin and the USSR. A ferment followed the VERSAILLES TREATY of 1919. This granted Germanys former colony in SHANDONG TO JAPAN instead of granting autonomy. This further fuelled Japans ambitions in China and especially in Manchuria. The 4 th May demonstration in Beijing was the signal for organised resistance.

    Sun Yat Sen founded the KUOMINTANG (KMT) (National Peoples party) the party of the revolutionary bourgeoisie in 1912. This was the party that Stalin referred to. The CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY (CCP) was formed in July 1921, with assistance from the COMINTERN and its representative MARING. (Jonathan Spence : "The Search For Modern China"; 1990; New York; p. 325.)

    Early on the CCP had a close relationship with the KMT. Sun Yat Sen asked ADOLF JOFFE (Soviet diplomat) for assistance in reorganising the KMT. The USSR supported the training of Chinese communists and revolutionary democrats, in the USSR itself:

    After the death of Sun-Yat Sen, the KMT fell to the leadership of CHIANG KAI-SHEK, who reneged on the policy of Sun Yat-Sen. By 1927 China was a colonial state dominated by British and USA imperialism. The stages of the revolution flowed from the CI Theses. Stalin analysed the situation as follows :     Stalins First Stage And The Second Stage Together Constitute What Is Termed The Bourgeois Democratic Revolution. Stalin emphasised that the main axis was the agrarian movement: The characteristic feature .. Of the Turkish revolution (The Kemalists).. is that it got stuck at the first step, at the first stage of its development, at the stage of the bourgeois liberation movement, without even attempting to pass to the second stage of its development, the stage of the agrarian revolution.
(Stalin; Ibid; p.346).
    Unfortunately, the CCP rejected Stalins advice on moving from the first stage to the second stage using the agrarian revolution. Because of this the CCP was defeated; allowing Trotsky And Zinoviev a pretext to attack Stalin. Replying, Stalin again outlined the history of the Chinese Revolution. The desertion of the Chinese Kuomintang Right Faction had been fully anticipated by Stalin in February 1926:     Stalin repeatedly urged the CCP, through 1926 and early 1927 to break the bloc with the right KMT and move to a militant revolutionary struggle. The CCP did not heed : "The victory of the revolution cannot be achieved unless this bloc is smashed, but in order to smash this bloc, fire must be concentrated on the compromising national bourgeoisie, its treachery exposed, the toiling masses freed from its influence, and the conditions necessary of the hegemony of the proletariat systematically prepared. In other words, in colonies like India it is a matter of preparing the proletariat for the role of leader of the liberation movement, step by step dislodging the bourgeoisie and its mouthpieces from this honourable post. The task is to create an anti-imperialist bloc and to ensure the hegemony of the proletariat in this bloc. This bloc can assume although it need not always necessarily do so, the form of a single Workers and Peasants Party, formally bound by a single platform. In such centuries the independence of the Communist Party must be, the chief slogan of the advanced communist elements, of the hegemony of the proletariat can be prepared and brought about by the Communist party. But the communist party can and must enter into an open bloc with the revolutionary part of the bourgeoisie in order, after isolating the compromising national bourgeoisie, to lead the vast masses of the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie in the struggle against imperialism."
(J.V.Stalin "Stalin's Letters to Molotov"; Edited Lars T. Lih; Oleg V. Naumov; and Oleg V. Khlevniuk; Yale 1995; p.318-9).
    The EXECUTIVE COUNCIL CI (ECCI) adopted Stalins view; in a directive sent to the CC of the CCP in February 1926. At the 7th Plenum of ECCI, (Moscow November 22nd to December 16th, 1926), the "RESOLUTION ON THE CHINESE SITUATION" followed Stalin. This declared the revolution in China was in transition to a new stage as the national bourgeois were about to desert the national-democratic revolution; so the revolutionary forces would be the working class, the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie; and that the working class must become the LEADING force :     The ECCI emphasised the agrarian revolution:     The ECCI made clear that the working class had a choice: Either attempt to maintain the alliance with the national bourgeoisie, who were on the point of desertion of the national democratic revolution; Or; cement an alliance with the peasantry through the agrarian revolution. Failing to choose the latter would be disastrous :     As well as mass work, the CCP should work through the KMT government and the revolutionary army :     The ECCI representative in China GRIGORI VOITINSKY and the leader of the CPSU Mission in China MIKHAIL BORODIN, both opposed these directives. They were supported by the CC of CCP; then headed by General Secretary CHEN TU-HSIU. To help implement the ECCI 7th Plenum Theses by the CCP, in January 1927, M.N.Roy was sent as a special ECCI representative.
    The CCP did not heed the warning signs and advice, to escape the struggle from the CI and Stalin. The Chinese national bourgeois led by Chiang Kai-Shek; launched its coup on April 12th, 192, viciously butchering the Shanghai workers, and the militants of the CCP. Stalin commented :     Even now, Roys arguments were rejected. But Roy managed to pressure the CCP to hold the 5TH CCP CONGRESS IN WUHAN (April 27th to May 9th 1927). Chen argued to delay the agrarian revolution. But Roys pressure forced the CCP, to verbally accept the ECCI line; however this was short lived. The CCP leadership refused to follow even their own 5th Congress directives.

    On May 21st, 1927 Colonel Hsu Ke-hsiang seized control of Changsha, and launched a White terror. 20,000 workers and peasants were killed. The CCP sabotaged the peasant army in its attempt to fight back, and forced a retreat. They were then of course easy fodder, and were slaughtered. Still, the CCP and Borodin refused to go to the masses. Chen Tu-hsiu's line was traitorous:

A reply telegram from the ECCI, on May 30th, 1927; buttressed Roy. Meanwhile the Wuhan Left KMT met Chiang Kai-Shek, and Feng Yu-hsiang and combined against the CCP. Roy warned the CCP a coup was imminent. Again this was ignored. The CCP refused to launch agrarian struggle. Instead Chen Tu-hsiu wrote a telegram to the ECCI : "90% of the National Army are.. opposed to excesses in the peasants' movement. In such a situation, not only the KMT but also the CCP is obliged to adopt a policy of concessions, It is necessary to correct excesses and to moderate the activities of the confiscation of land."
(Chen Tu-hsiu: Telegram to ECCI; June 15th 1927; In M.N.Roy :"Revolution and Counter revolution in China"; Calcutta; 1946; p.482).
    Now the CC dismantled the workers struggle and peasants struggles, fearing a rupture with the KMT. The two Communist ministers resigned, to make the government appear "more respectable"!! All to no avail. On July 15th, the KMT expelled members of the CCP from the KMT and the army.

The ECCI Resolution of July 14th had noted that :

"The revolutionary role of the Wuhan Government is played out; it is becoming a counter-revolutionary force".
(ECCI: Resolution On the Present Situation on the Chinese Revolution, in : "International press Correspondence", Volume 7, No. 44; July 28th; 1927; p.984).
A White Terror ensued : "Between January and August 1928 alone, more than 100,000 people lost their lives. The Party organisations suffered serious damage. By the end of 1927 Party membership had been reduced from more than 50,000 to some 10,000."
(Deng Mao;" Deng Xiaoping - My Father"; New York; 1995; p.119).
    Stalin characterised the new development as the desertion of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia from the revolution: But Stalin pointed out that NOW it was correct to propagandise in favour of the formation of soviets : If in the near future - not necessarily in a couple of months, but in 6 months or a year from now, a new upsurge of the revolution should become a fact, the question of forming Soviets of Workers and peasant deputies may become a live issue as a slogan of the day, and as a counterpoise to the bourgeoisie. Why? Because if there has been an upsurge of the revolution in its present phase of development, the formation of Soviets will be an issue that has come fully mature. Recently a few months ago it would have been wrong for the CCP to issue the slogan of forming soviets, for that would been adventurism, which is characteristic of our opposition, for the KMT leadership had not yet discredited itself as an enemy of the revolution. Now on the contrary, the slogan of forming Soviets may become a really revolutionary slogan if (If!) A new and powerful revolutionary upsurge takes place in the near future. Consequently alongside the fight to replace the present KMT leadership by a revolutionary leadership it is necessary at once even before the upsurge begins to conduct the widest propaganda for the idea of Soviets among the broad masses of the working people, without running too far ahead and forming Soviets immediately, remembering that Soviets can only flourish at a time of powerful revolutionary upsurge.
(J.V.S: "Notes on Contemporary Themes" Works: Vol 9; p.366-7).
    Here Stalin rebuked Trotsky who had been calling for Soviet Now! for some time, quite incorrectly. The ECCI instructed the CCP to resign from the Wuhan Government apparatus whilst simultaneously staying within the KMT, and turn it into a bloc LED by the working class; that the arming of peasants and workers was crucial; that an illegal party apparatus be built up. Finally, the resolution attacked the CCP for its grave right opportunist errors : The leaders of the CCP have pursued a policy of damming back the masses. The revolutionary instruction of the ECCI were rejected by the leaders of the CCP. Matters even went so far that the CCP agreed to the disarming of workers
(Resolution of the ECCI: "On the Present Situation of the Chinese Revolution"; Ibid; Inprecorr July 28th; 1927).
    UNFORTUNATELY, THE CCP NOW SWUNG FROM RIGHT OPPORTUNISM INTO LEFT WING ADVENTURISM. They tried to organise an uprising in Nanchang, in July 1927. Zhou En Lai, Mao Ze Dong, Chu De, Li Li-San and others were involved. Stalin disavowed this military adventurism :     The CCP eventually did launch agrarian struggle. But they were now consistently ultra-left in their theory and practice. Mao Ze Dong was one who preached at this stage: Socialism now. Stalin stated : The COMINTERN was and still is of the opinion that the basis of the revolution in China at the present period is the agrarian -peasant revolution
(J.V.S: "The Political Complexion of the Russian Opposition"; Works; Vol 10; p.161).
    Yet Mao took a Trotskyite line. He argued that the line of the ECCI and Stalin had been wrong for some time. On August 20th Mao wrote to the CCP CC misrepresenting the ECCI position:     It was in this Ultra-Left spirit that a hastily and ill-prepared insurrection was carried out. The Canton Insurrection of December 11th, 1928 was an instance of a completely failed putsch, as opposed to a proletarian uprising. Here a major portion of blame lies with HEINZ NEUMANN an Ultra-Left ECCI representative. The Canton Commune, drowned in blood as the KMT smashed it. The ECCI again criticised the CCP, in February 1928 at the 9th Plenum of the ECCI :     Mao helped plan this adventure. He also organised another putsch the military attack upon CHANGSHA. This was a part of a mission he was given to enter Hunan to carry out the AUTUMN HARVEST UPRISING.     Unfortunately, Mao again would not apply Marxism-Leninism. Mao explained his Programme to Edgar Snow :     In fact only on points 1, 2 and 4, was Mao fully consistent with the ECCI. The other points were Leftist deviations. Stalin had pointed out that IF conditions were mature, Soviets were appropriate : If in the near future - not necessarily in a couple of months, but in 6 months or a year from now, a new upsurge of the revolution should become a fact, the question of forming Soviets of Workers and peasant deputies may become a live issue as a slogan of the day, and as a counterpoise to the bourgeoisie. Why? Because if there has been an upsurge of the revolution in its present phase of development, the formation of Soviets will be an issue that has come fully mature.... if (IF!) A new and powerful revolutionary upsurge takes place in the near future."
(JVS: "Notes on Contemporary Themes"; Works; Vol 9; p.366).
    Given the putchism, and the decimation of forces, conditions were not ripe, as Mao alleged. As Stalin had pointed out to Trotsky : The opposition does not understand that the point is not at all to be the first in saying a thing; running too far ahead and disorganising the revolution , but to say it at the right time and to say it in such a way that it will be taken up by the masses and put into practice.
(JVS: "Notes on Contemporary Themes"; Ibid; vol 9; p.369).
    The Autumn Harvest Uprising failed. The peasant bias of Mao had ensured that with the poor organisation, the urban proletariat was not prepared by the insurrectionists. As the official party history of the period says:     Consequently Mao was dismissed from the CCP CC in November 1927. (J.Spence; Ibid; p.370). Mao now took his surviving troops into the Jinggang mountain range bordering Jiangxi and Hunan. Having previously proclaimed Socialism Now; Mao encountered resistance from the rich peasantry, so he significantly changed his philosophy. (J.Spence; Ibid; p.371).

    This Right phase of Mao, was where he developed the so called New Democracy. Under KMT attack, Mao shifted camp to Ruijin with the remnants of his army; located between Jiangxi and Fujian. Mao now cultivated the rich peasantry. (J.Spence; Ibid; p.372).

    With ZHU DE the JIANGXI SOVIET was established. This was only one of about 12 set up across the country by other members of the CCP.

    Despite these Soviets, the workers and peasants had been temporarily defeated. A period of battles between the various warlords followed. Chiang Kai-Shek leading the KMT emerged as victorious. By 1928 Chiang Kai-Shek ruled a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT that ruled from Canton to Mukden. (J.Spence: "Search For Modern China"; Ibid; p.365).

    The official ideology was a virulent anti-communist, anti-imperialist nationalism

    The failed 1927 revolution gave Trotsky a chance to attack Stalin. This attack took the following forms:

Despite this defeat, the Marxist-Leninist tactics and strategy that had been outlined was correct. Stalin pointed out, that the Opposition, with their ultra-left tactics, would not have even reached the current situation: TO CONCLUDE, IN THE CHINESE REVOLUTION STALIN PROPOSED : In private STALIN was severely critical of the CCP

Stalin knew the lack of resolve and understanding of the leaders of the CCP including of course, MAO ZE DONG :

"The main thing now is whether or not the current Chinese CP can manage to retreat with honour from this new period (the underground beatings, executions, betrayals and provocations among their own ranks etc) to come out hardened tempered, without splitting up, breaking into pieces, disintegrating and degenerating into a sect or a number of sects. We cannot exclude this danger at all, nor can we exclude the possibility of an interval between this bourgeois revolution and a future bourgeois revolution- analogous to the interval that we had between 1905 and 1917. Moreover I believe that such a danger is more real.
Because unfortunately we don't have a real or, if you like, actual Communist Party in China. If you take away the middle-ranking who make good fighters but who are completely inexperienced in politics, then what is the current Central Committee of the Chinese CP (CCP)? Nothing but an amalgamation of general phrases gathered here and there not linked to one another with any line or guiding idea.
I don't want to be very demanding to the CC of the CCP. I know that one can't be too demanding to it. But here is a simple demand:
Fulfil the directives of the Comintern.
Has it fulfilled these directives?
No. No because it did not understand them, because it did not want to fulfil them and has hoodwinked the Comintern, or because it wasn't able to fulfil them. That is a fact.. the current CC was forged in the period of the nationwide (democratic) revolution and received its baptism by fire during this period and it turned out to be completely unadaptable to the new agrarian phase of the revolution. The CC of the CCP does not understand the point of the new phase of the revolution. There is not a single Marxist mind in the CC of the CCP capable of understanding.. The CCP CC was unable to use the rich period of the bloc with the Kuomintang in order to conduct energetic work in openly organising the revolution, the proletariat, the peasantry, the revolutionary military units, the revolutionizing of the army, the work of setting the soldiers against the generals. The CCP CC has lived off the KMT for a whole year and has.. done nothing to turn the conglomerates of elements (true, quite militant) into a party, into real party.. The CCP sometime babbles about the hegemony of the proletariat. But the intolerable thing is.. the CCP does not have a clue (literally not a clue) about hegemony - it kills the initiative of the working masses, undermines the "unauthorized" actions of the peasant masses, and reduces class warfare in China to lot of big talk about the "feudal bourgeoisie".. That is why I now believe the question of the party is the main question of the Chinese revolution?"
JVS: "Stalin’s Letters to Molotov"; Letter No. 36; July 1927; See "Stalin's Letters"; Ibid; p.140-41.
    Stalin thought that the CC CCP was incompetent; that the CCP CC needed intense re-education and "nannying". The CCP CC included Mao Ze Dong. Later, Stalin changed his opinion of the CC CCP. Instead of being incompetent; he thought they were anti-Marxist-Leninist. Despite his set back in Hunan, and his demotion from the CC of the CCP in 1927; Mao rapidly continued to capture leading positions in the CCP:     After the defeat of the 1927 revolution, and the criticism of the ECCI, the CCP underwent a dramatic Ultra-Left shift. This was an equal, and opposite and equally disastrous turn in its own right. Hereafter the leaders of the CCP were WANG MING, and LI LI SAN in an ULTRA-LEFT FACTION; and MAO ZE DONG, DENG XIAOPING, LIU SHAOQI, LIN BIAO, PENG CHEN in the other major faction. The Mao faction won over the Ultra-Leftists. In so doing, at times it took some left-opportunist lines; but ultimately it established a RIGHT OPPORTUNIST line. This line was pro-petit bourgeois and pro-capital.

Mao accused STALIN of "interference":

"Without the demise of the Third International the Chinese Revolution could not have succeeded. When Lenin was alive, the Third International was well led. After Lenin's death, the leaders of the Third International were dogmatic leaders (for instance leaders [like] Stalin, Bukharin were not that good). Only the period under Dimitrov was well led. Dimitrov's reports were well reasoned. Of course the Third International had [its] merits as well, for instance, helping various countries to establish a [communist] party. Later on [however] the dogmatists paid no attention to the special factors of various countries [and] simply transplanted everything from Russia. China [for one] suffered great losses. We used the rectification pattern for more than 10 years, criticised dogmatism [and] did things independently, and on [our own] initiative according to the spirit and essence of Marxism. [Only then] did [we] achieve the victory of the Chinese revolution. Lenin 1ikewise did not recognise the Second International. As a result, the October revolution succeeded. I don't think we should have any more [communist] internationals. Ever since its foundation, the Cominform has done only one thing: that is to criticize Yugoslavia."

Kang Shen interjected : It also criticised France and Japan.

Chairman Mao : But it does not mean [we] do not want to have it forever; but [if we are to have it] we'd want to have the type in the initial stage of the 3rd International [when] various countries [had their own independence], exercised their own initiative and did things according to their own circumstances and not interfering with others' business. I've talked this way with many Soviet comrades, with Yudin and Mikoyan."
(Mao Ze Dong "Summary of a Talk With the Representatives of Press and Publishing Circles."; 10 March 1957; In: "The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao-From the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward"; Ed. Roderick MacFarquhar, Timothy Cheek and Eugene Wu. Harvard, 1989. p. 255-256).



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