New Opportunities for the Chinese Revolution, New Tasks, and New Mistakes

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Author(s) Leon Trotsky
Written 1 September 1927


[Leon Trotsky on China, New York 1976, p. 256-269.]

Stalin and Bukharin’s main concern at the present time is to claim that on the question of China the Opposition was always in complete solidarity with the Politburo majority until only recently. All the sections of the Comintern have been ordered to sermonize on this theme. This unexpected turn only serves to show how deep going the bankruptcy of the Stalin group is — just yesterday they were still arguing that the Opposition, unlike Stalin-Bukharin, had a Social Democratic, semi-Menshevik position on all questions. And now they are boasting that Stalin and Bukharin have acted and spoken exactly as the Opposition has, in every respect. But since all of yesterday’s writings have not yet been burned, their pitiful attempt to hide their mistakes can be exposed without difficulty.

The July 1926 plenum adopted the following resolution:

“The plenum of the Central Committee, in approving the action of the Politburo and of the delegation of the All-Union Communist Party on the Chinese question, finds the proposals of the Opposition (Zinoviev-Trotsky) patently opportunistic and in part openly capitulationist on the following points: recalling Comrade Karakhan, relinquishing control over the Chinese Eastern Railroad, and withdrawing from the Guómíndǎng. The Central Committee holds that such a position would make sense only in the event of a total liquidation of the national revolutionary movement in China. …”

And so forth.

If the “China” policy of the Opposition even before July 1926 was “opportunistic and in part openly capitulationist,” how can it now be said that the policy on the Chinese question was carried out with unanimous consent? It is hardly worth pausing on the questions of Karakhan’s recall or the alleged relinquishing of the Chinese Eastern Railroad. The crux of the matter is our attitude toward the Guómíndǎng. The resolution accused the Opposition of favoring withdrawal from the Guómíndǎng. The Opposition stated that it was prepared to form a bloc with the Guómíndǎng and establish a workable understanding with its rank and file, on the condition of full and genuine independence for the Communist Party, since in general such independence is the first lesson in the ABCs of Bolshevism. A struggle along this line has been going on since 1925. This struggle was recorded in numerous resolutions, reports, and articles written by the majority, where the Opposition’s point of view is termed capitulationist precisely on the basis of the fact that the Opposition insisted on the independence of the Communist Party as the prerequisite for all revolutionary politics.

The Opposition exposed the incorrect policy with respect to Jiǎng Jièshí. If not everyone knows of the relevant statements in the Politburo or in the Central Committee, Radek’s speech at the Hall of Columns on April 5 is widely known. The most complete expression of opportunistic blindness was Stalin’s speech at this same meeting, the record of which has been hidden from the party to this day. It would be sufficient to print the verbatim records of these two speeches — Radek’s and Stalin’s — to eliminate the possibility of any further allegations to the effect that the Opposition never opposed Stalin’s pro-Jiǎng Jièshí line.

After Jiǎng Jièshí’s coup, in May 1927, the Opposition introduced the following proposal in the plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern:

“The plenum would do well to bury Bukharin’s resolution, replacing it with a resolution of a few lines:

In the first place, peasants and workers should place no faith in the leaders of the left Guómíndǎng but they should instead build their soviets jointly with the soldiers. In the second place, the soviets should arm the workers and the advanced peasants. In the third place, the Communist Party must assure its complete independence, create a daily press, and assume the leadership in creating the soviets. Fourth, the land must be immediately taken away from the landlords. Fifth, the reactionary bureaucracy must be immediately dismissed. Sixth, perfidious generals and other counterrevolutionists must be summarily dealt with. And finally, the general course must be toward the establishment of a revolutionary dictatorship through the soviets of workers’ and peasants’ deputies.” [“It Is Time to Understand, Time to Reconsider, and Time to Make a Change."]

This proposal was only a brief summary of a whole series of documents previously submitted to the Politburo by the Opposition. Much time had been lost. However, if the Executive Committee of the Comintern had adopted the proposal of the Opposition in May 1927, so that it could have been put into practice, we would not have had this second, Wǔhàn chapter, which is even more disgraceful than the first, Jiǎng Jièshí chapter. And we would be immeasurably stronger today.

Finally, now — in September 1927 — we are introducing our current proposals, which correspond to the new stage in the development of the Chinese events.

1. It is necessary to again pose the problems of the Chinese revolution point-blank. An overall orientation is again needed because the official leadership while attempting to make some outward display of initiative in action (Bukharin’s remarks at the last joint session of the Politburo and the Presidium of the Central Control Commission concerning Hè Lóng and Yè Tǐng’s) is in fact floundering without rudder or sail. With such a policy, new defeats are inevitable. These defeats will compromise the Chinese Communist Party and the Comintern directly — i.e., not through the buffer of the Guómíndǎng, as has been the case until now.

2. What does the movement of new, and, to all appearances, truly revolutionary detachments of Hè Lóng and Yè Tǐngsignify? Is it the brief epilogue common enough after great historic defeats, with the appearance on the scene of the extreme left wing — which didn’t know how or wad not able to act when it should have and is therefore doomed to defeat? Or is it the spontaneous beginning of a great new chapter in the Chinese revolution? This question is key in determining our “strategic” orientation and the tactical measures that flow from it.

3. If this question is to be defined more precisely in terms of the relations between the classes, then it must be formulated roughly as follows: After the bourgeoisie and the conciliationist petty-bourgeois higher-ups have gone over completely to the camp of the counterrevolution — having taken advantage of the workers’ and peasants’ movement, Moscow’s backing, and the authority of Bolshevism and the Comintern, and having reduced all of this to an instrument for the political exploitation and deception of the workers and peasants — can we expect that in the anti-bourgeois, anti-conciliationist camp there will be enough political and organizational forces that will prove capable of inspiring the masses, who have been betrayed and, for the most part, beaten and bled white, with confidence in themselves and their own leadership? For this is the only way that a new upsurge of the Chinese revolution can be assured.

4. It is impossible to give an unqualified answer to this question, especially from the sidelines and from afar. However, it is doubtful that anyone, even in China itself — in this immense, far-flung country — can say yet whether China is fated to go through a more or less prolonged period of revolutionary decline before the movement is revived on a new, more advanced class base; or whether we can expect that, given the presence of huge masses of people living in horrifying conditions, given their exceptional readiness for self-sacrifice, given the presence of a young proletariat scattered widely throughout the country, given the people’s experiences in civil war, and given the presence of the USSR and possible help from it, a new wave of uprisings can lead directly to a victorious struggle of the proletariat and the peasant masses for power. This last, of course, provided there is the correct leadership. Neither of these possibilities is excluded. Which will prevail depends not only on the so-called objective conditions, which, moreover, do not lend themselves to any kind of complete a priori calculation, but also on our own policies — their correctness, their energetic implementation, and so on.

5. About two months ago Pravda, to everyone’s surprise (including, apparently, its own), advanced the slogan of soviets for China. Until then Stalin had explained that soviets are appropriate only during the transitional period where the bourgeois revolution passes over into the socialist revolution. This explanation stood in glaring contradiction to the entire experience of our three revolutions, all our party’s traditions, and Lenin’s theoretical teachings on revolutions in the East. Nonetheless, Stalin’s new teachings became the official teachings of the party — i.e., of its apparatus. (It should be noted that the new “discoveries” and “teachings,” at odds with one another and, above all, with the facts, wash off the party ranks like water soluble paints. This does not mean that they are harmless:when water soluble paints run together, they turn everything to a dingy gray color.)

6. Advancing the slogan for soviets in July — i.e., after the revolution has suffered serious defeats — obviously ought to mean that the Chinese revolution had directly entered the period of transition into a socialist revolution. But the question remains: why was this slogan, advanced in a single editorial only, afterward so thoroughly forgotten? And why does Pravda say nothing about it now, when the movement of revolutionary detachments is having notable successes with the assistance of the working class and peasant masses? Or does the slogan for soviets, which served at a certain point as camouflage (for Stalin and Bukharin), prove unsuitable for the new offensive of the revolution?

7. As is apparent from several commentaries in Pravda, the official leadership is exercising restraint and caution with respect to the new revolutionary movement that is linked to the detachments of Hè Lóng and Yè Tǐng — i.e., in essence it is not running the risk of openly assuming the same responsibility for an authentic revolutionary movement of workers and peasants as it did for the armies of Jiǎng Jièshí, Féng Yùxiáng, and Wāng Jīngwèi.

8. It is not at all a matter of “guaranteeing” success. It is a matter of politically identifying the development of the revolution in the next period with the fate of this movement and of arming this movement with the correct perspective and the correct demands, without which victory is unthinkable. A movement of numerically small and, it goes without saying, poorly armed revolutionary armies can be successful only with the active intervention in events by the workers and the rural poor peasants — in particular only if workers’ and peasants’ soviets are established as the organs of power. Meanwhile, Pravda has again concealed this slogan. Why? Apparently because it fears that the movement will be more or less rapidly crushed. Of course, such a defeat is always possible; but in the absence of the correct slogans it is inevitable. To abstain “for the time being” from advancing fundamental, vitally necessary slogans for fear of defeat means, for fear of defeat, to in fact pave the way for it.

9. To identify the revolution with Jiǎng Jièshí’s armies was not only supremely “ill-considered,” but also the greatest of historical mistakes and the gravest of crimes. To assume responsibility for Wǔhàn as the center of the agrarian revolution was the second “ill-considered” act, no less serious than the first, and the second crime, no less grave. Once burned, twice shy. “Wait-and-see” type caution with respect to the independent workers’ and peasants’ movement, a reluctance for the time being to arm it with the necessary slogans, i.e., to say openly to the Chinese workers and peasants for the whole world to hear: “This movement is yours” — such “caution” threatens to become the third successive error of “ill-consideration” and the worst of them all.

10. What is involved here is not whether or not we are sympathetic toward the military revolutionary movement that has begun, and not even of organizational and material aid to it. There is no need at all to waste words on that score. Bragging about aid to revolutionary armies, or for example, to the British coal miners is what an overblown functionary would do, but not a revolutionary. Every bit of aid that comes from the sidelines is necessary, but it is not decisive. The relations among the Communist Party, the revolutionary troops, the workers, and the poor peasants is what is decisive. And these relations are determined to a great extent by politics as a system of slogans and actions. You can give any kind of material aid you want to a rebelling army, but if the question of power is not posed point-blank, if the slogan for soviets is not raised, and if a complete program of economic measures linked to the establishment of soviet power is not put forward, then outside material aid to the armies will not produce the desired results, just as our aid to the British coal miners did not produce the desired results when it was accompanied by our political bloc with the General Council. In the last analysis it is not material aid that is decisive, but the correct political line.

11. Right now, on the road, I’m reading in the Ukrainian organ Visty [News] of September 13 a dispatch from Shànghǎi about the fact that, in the face of the approach of Hè Lóng’s and Yè Tǐng’s revolutionary troops to Shàntóu, the Guómíndǎng authorities and garrisons abandoned the city. The editor entitled the dispatch “ Guómíndǎng Flees from Shàntóu.” For many months now we have been living with the charge of “underestimating” — first the Guómíndǎng as a whole, then the left Guómíndǎng, which Stalin had authorized as the revolutionary center. Bukharin vowed that he would never give up the blue flag of the Guómíndǎng, but meanwhile it turns out that the Guómíndǎng powers “flee” from Shàntóu with the blue flag in their hands — since (as the British so aptly say in such cases) one cannot simultaneously “run with the foxes and hunt with the hounds.” Combining the red and the blue — a bloc of four classes — did not originate with Martynov. Bukharin vowed to hold onto the blue flag for a bloc of three classes. But now there turns out to be a civil war between the blue and the red flags. And one would have to be a hopeless idiot not to understand that only this civil war — against the landlords, the bourgeoisie, and the conciliators — can produce a genuine bloc of the workers and the poor, rural and urban. Those who up to now have isolated the Communist Party from the workers and the rural poor in China are precisely the ones who, in chasing after the blue flag of the Guómíndǎng, compromised the red flag of the proletariat.

12. But from the circumstance that a state of civil war has broken out between the revolutionary troops and the Guómíndǎng flows the fact that the revolutionary movement can win only under the leadership of the Communist Party and only in the form of soviets of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ deputies. This presupposes a readiness on the part of the Communist Party to take on the leadership of a movement of this kind. And that in turn calls for a complete program in the period of struggle for power and the conquest of power, and after the establishment of the new regime.

13. The previous policy was deadly for the training of the Communist Party. Perhaps the most serious consequence of the wrong line of the previous period was not so much the material defeats and sacrifices as the loss of historical conditions unique for training revolutionary cadre, tempering the proletarian vanguard, and strengthening within it a sense of independence and confidence in its strength and in its leadership. Now, on the threshold of a new stage of the revolution, the Communist Party is immeasurably weaker than it should and could be. But one must accept the facts as they are as the result of a whole combination of factors, including the criminally erroneous line of the leadership. Only the Communist Party can now assume the leadership of the revolutionary movement. The blue flag of the Guómíndǎng can now be had not by way of new blocs, but through civil war — that is by tearing it like a trophy from the hands of the vanquished enemy. Therefore, we must put an end to shameful, reactionary fictions: We must openly announce a break of the Communist Party with the Guómíndǎng, openly declare the Guómíndǎng an instrument of bourgeois reaction, and expel it in disgrace from the ranks of the Comintern. To fail to do so means to condemn the new movement to vacillations, confusion, and defeat.

14. This does not necessarily mean that the Communist Party will be the only revolutionary political organization in the next period. On the basis of the peasant unions and the Red Spears, in direct struggle against the Guómíndǎng powers and military forces, a political organization can be formed alongside the Communist Party but more or less independent of it, relying on the support of a section of the rural poor. It is fruitless to try to guess how this will occur — at least from here, where the nature of the movement’s organization and cadre are not well enough visible. But one thing is obvious: the Communist Party must clearly realize that the revolution can be victorious only through it and only under its leadership, and that the peasant organizations can fight successfully only side by side with it, only under its slogans, and only under its direct political and organizational influence. But this is possible only with a clear and precise formulation of all the political and economic tasks of the revolution by the Communist Party itself

15. In order to justify collaboration with the bourgeoisie in the revolution (i.e., the Menshevik policy), Stalin and Bukharin have advanced two factors in turn. First it was foreign imperialism, which supposedly brings the classes of China together. It soon became obvious, however, that the bourgeoisie, in alliance with foreign imperialism, was smashing the workers and peasants. Then they advanced the second factor, Chinese feudalism, which they say impels the more “left-wing” section of the very same bourgeoisie and the real revolutionary ally, the loyal Wāng Jīngwèi, to struggle along with the workers and peasants against feudalism. But as it turned out, the bourgeoisie did not put forward a single political group that would agree to participate in revolutionary struggle against Bukharin’s feudalism. And it is not accidental. In China there are no noble lords standing in opposition to the bourgeoisie. The landholder as a general rule is the urban bourgeois. The small landholder — the kulak, the gentry — is closely linked with the usurer and the urban bourgeois.

Unless one is playing with words, there is no feudalism in China. In the Chinese village there are serf-owner relations which are crowned, however, not by feudal, but by bourgeois property forms and a bourgeois sociopolitical order. This type of serf-owner relationship, which is a result of agrarian overpopulation, given the overall lag in capitalist development, can be found — of course in much more “mild” forms — in several Balkan countries, which have known neither feudalism nor the noble estate since their emancipation from the Turkish yoke. Of course, in China poverty and bondage take inhumane forms such as were hardly to be encountered even in the age of feudalism. Nonetheless, the attempt to create feudalism in China, still more its prevalence, relies not on facts, but on the naked desire to justify collaboration with the bourgeoisie. The facts have avenged themselves. In China there has been found no such bourgeoisie or section of the bourgeoisie that would agree to carry on a revolutionary struggle against feudalism, i.e., against itself. That is why, upon the approach of revolutionary troops to Shàntóu, the Guómíndǎng takes to its heels, carrying the blue flag under its arm and the Comintern membership card in its pocket.

16. The struggle for an agrarian revolution is a struggle against the bourgeoisie, which means against the Guómíndǎng. Not one section of the bourgeoisie has supported or is supporting this struggle, In the countryside, the chief enemy, due to their numerical strength, will be the gentry, the kulak, the small landed proprietor. In China, a refusal to expropriate the small exploiters, the kulaks, would mean renunciation of the agrarian revolution. The agrarian revolution in China — not according to Bukharin but in reality — is an anti-bourgeois revolution. Because of this — and only because of this — Martynov and Bukharin’s schemes failed. But this also means that the proletariat will complete the agrarian revolution, taking behind it the poor masses of the Chinese countryside, i.e., 80, 90, or more percent of the peasantry — in direct and unmitigated struggle against the bourgeois, the landowner, and the kulak, and against their political arm, the Guómíndǎng.

17. The way the question of revolutionary power is posed is determined in the same way.

The experience with Jiǎng Jièshí signified the failure of the idea of a bloc with the entire “bourgeois nation” in a struggle against imperialism and feudalism.

The experience with Wāng Jīngwèi signified the failure of the bloc of “the revolutionary democracy” in the spirit of Kerensky and Tsereteli.

Right now the business at hand for the proletariat is to win over to “revolutionary democracy” the poor lower classes of the city and countryside and lead them forward for the conquest of power, of the land, of national independence, and better living conditions for the toiling masses. In other words, the business at hand is the dictatorship of the proletariat.

18. The call for a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, if it had been advanced, let us say, at the beginning of the Northern Expedition, in connection with the call for soviets and the arming of the workers and peasants, would have played a tremendous role in the development of the Chinese revolution, would have completely assured a different course for it. It would have isolated the bourgeoisie and thereby the conciliationists, and it would have led to the posing of the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat under conditions infinitely more favorable than in the past. But we cannot reverse the course of history. The bourgeoisie retreated from the revolution on its own initiative — under circumstances chosen by it and most favorable to it. Exactly the same is true of the conciliationists. Because we were afraid to isolate them at the right time, they successfully isolated us. It always happens that way — and at that, not only in Shànghǎi, but also in Edinburgh, as is shown by the last congress of trade unions,

But in any case, the retreat from the revolution by the bourgeoisie — the big bourgeoisie and the middle and upper petty bourgeoisie in the city and the countryside, and the intelligentsia as well — is an accomplished fact. Under these conditions, the call for a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry — given a new revolutionary upsurge — will prove to be vague and amorphous, And any vague and amorphous slogan in a revolution becomes dangerous for the revolutionary party and the oppressed masses.

There can be virtually no doubt that Stalin will come forward tomorrow under the banner of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry after giving it a conciliationist character. It would be incorrect to think that Stalin and Bukharin have understood their mistakes. The course of events in China is pushing them to the left, but they are bracing themselves and pulling to the right. In the future, too, they will strive to blunt the tasks and conceal the “isolation" of the proletariat by means of a bloc with the last two honorable figures in the Guómíndǎng — the wife and the protege of Sūn Zhōngshān. Blocs of this type, organized from the top, already nothing more than a masquerade, will, however, call for very real sacrifices on the part of the proletarian party in the sense of a retreat from decisive slogans and methods of struggle. Mme. Sūn Zhōngshān can manage the Chinese revolution a little more cheaply than Jiǎng Jièshí and Wāng Jīngwèi.

19. If the revolutionary movement expands, the subsequent success of Hè Lóng and Yè Tǐng’s troops will inevitably push a section of the left conciliationists in the direction of a “bloc” with the revolutionary forces in order to co-opt the movement and neutralize it. The conciliators will be able to move toward this goal under the very slogan of a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry so as to once again even more surely and at a higher level, subordinate the proletariat to themselves, narrow the scope of the movement, and prepare a new disaster, the third one in a row.

The Leninist slogan for a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry that was not applied at the right time cannot be mechanically carried over into the third stage that is taking shape on the basis of a new relationship of forces. We must clearly understand that after the experience with the Guómíndǎng in general and with the left Guómíndǎng in particular, a historically overdue slogan will become a weapon of the forces working against the revolution. And for us it is no longer a question of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, but of the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the inexhaustible masses of urban and rural poor — a dictatorship that poses for itself the objective of solving the most urgent and vital problems of the country and its working masses and in the process inevitably passes over to the path of making socialist inroads on property relations.

20. The task of the Communist Party is first and foremost the creation of a revolutionary army. A Red army of regulars must be constructed on the basis of the movement of the workers and peasants that is actually unfolding. The principle of operating with mercenary soldiers must be replaced by the principle of a systematic class levy. The organs for this levy should be trade unions and peasant unions under the leadership of the soviets and the Communist Party. It is necessary to skillfully and persistently include partisan detachments of peasants (the Red Spears, etc.) in the regular ranks. The question of the composition of the command must be correctly resolved on the basis of all the experiences of the Russian as well as the Chinese revolutions. The exploiter and the counterrevolutionary elements should be mercilessly driven out of the army.

21. The task of feeding the armies and the cities poses the problem of the food policy. Resolving this problem under conditions of civil war and blockade is inconceivable without measures of iron discipline regarding food, without the seizure of the food supplies of the big landholders, kulaks, the speculators, and without rationing in one form or another.

22. Civil war at the present stage is inconceivable in China without the dispossession of the kulaks.

23. The same tasks that the Opposition has formulated more than once, in particular at the May plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, remain the most important part of the practical program for the soviets and revolutionary armies.

The land must be immediately confiscated from the landlords — big and small — as the armies advance and as local uprisings are successful. The reactionary bureaucracy must be immediately rooted out. Traitors, counterrevolutionaries, and agents of Jiǎng Jièshí and Wāng Jīngwèi must be dealt with on the spot.

24. Problems of industry and transport will rise point-blank before the revolutionary government. In one of his countless speeches on China, Bukharin whiningly complained about the sabotage of the bourgeoisie, who export capital and are leaving no circulating media and thus create great difficulties that the Opposition does not want to concern itself with. Bukharin has proposed no means for overcoming these difficulties. A general reference to the difficulties as an excuse for one’s flabbiness is a common trick of opportunism.

It is patently obvious that under conditions of civil war, the bourgeoisie can be prevented from sabotaging the economy, above all industry and transport, not by admonishment, but by the measures of the dictatorship — through organized proletarian control of industry in those instances where it is feasible and through workers taking enterprises into their own hands in every case where it is otherwise impossible to secure a continuity of production. The same applies with respect to rail and water transportation. In short, the overall plan should be to transfer the most important enterprises, i.e., the industries and transportation facilities ripest for it, into the hands of the soviet state. The necessary steps and preparatory organizational measures to be adopted must be worked out in accordance with the entire situation — depending on the overall course of development of the revolution, the strength of the enemy’s resistance, etc.

It goes without saying, all this applies first and foremost to foreign concessions.

25. There will be philistines who will cry out about our utopianism, ultraleftism, etc. They will moan about China’s backwardness, the small numerical size of the proletariat, etc.

To this we answer first of all that we do not intend to build socialism in a single country in China either. The Chinese revolution is not an independent, isolated phenomenon that must find solutions to all the problems posed by the revolution within the borders of China. The Chinese revolution is one link of that chain of which the following are among the other links: the Soviet Union, the forthcoming imperialist wars, impending proletarian uprisings, etc. — in other words, the chain of wars and revolutions that constitute today’s imperialist epoch. It is precisely the epoch of imperialism that has led to such a sharpening of class relations in China and made the solution of the most important tasks of the revolution impossible, not only under the leadership of the bourgeoisie, but also through the democratic dictatorship of the petty bourgeoisie and the proletariat; and by so doing the task of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the rural and urban poor has been put on the agenda. The dictatorship of the proletariat means making socialist inroads in property relations and a transition to production under state control, i.e., passing over to the rail of the socialist revolution.

26. But are the forces of the Chinese proletariat sufficient to get the support of the hundreds of millions of Chinese poor, seize power, set up an army and state apparatus, withstand blockade and sabotage, safeguard the country’s most important economic operations, etc.? In essence, this question is tantamount to another question: Does the Chinese revolution in fact have a chance for further development and victory, since roads and methods other than those designated above do not exist? Naturally, nobody will say for certain that the Chinese proletariat will succeed in coming to power in the near future. Only the actual struggle will be able to tell whether or not that is true. Only correct leadership can provide a victory. The revolutionary “limit,” as they say, i.e., that quantity that restricts all the others, at the present time is not in the least the Chinese proletariat, but the Chinese Communist Party, which incorrect theory, an incorrect line, and incorrect leadership have weakened to the worst degree. By its numbers, its productive role, and the way it is distributed in the country as a whole, the Chinese proletariat represents a tremendous force and can become the leading and ruling force in the country provided there is a rapid growth and tempering of the Chinese Communist Party. Can it make up for lost and wasted time? It can. If there is a revolutionary upsurge, the party can quickly rise to the level of events. But for this to happen, it must have a clear perspective before it — not halfway measures, reluctance, or playacting with Mme. Sūn Zhōngshān. The task of the dictatorship of the proletariat in a country of poor peasants should be presented clearly and distinctly, and in its full scope.

Without this, support to the troops of Hè Lóng and Yè Tǐng would be the purest adventurism, which could have as its only result a new crushing defeat for the movement, a new monstrous bloodletting, and a new strengthening of the forces of reaction.

The Chinese revolution at its new stage will win as a dictatorship of the proletariat, or it will not win at all.