What Is Happening in the Chinese Communist Party?

From Marxists-en
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pravda of December 25, 1930, tells us: "In the fall of 1930, the Chinese Communist Party numbered 200,000 members. The party has uprooted the remnants of the ideas of Chen Tu-hsiu and has destroyed Trotskyism ideologically. [!]

"However, the complicated circumstances of struggle have recently given rise to certain reservations of a 'leftist' semi-Trotskyist character inside the party. A whole number of leading comrades, who believe that a revolutionary situation has matured on an international scale, have posed the question of beginning an immediate struggle for power on a full national plane, ignoring the necessity of consolidating the Soviet power in the regions already occupied by the Red Army. Proceeding from such an estimate, they consider it possible to cease the economic struggle of the proletariat and to liquidate the revolutionary unions."

This quotation gives one an idea of the chaos that reigns in the minds of the leading functionaries of the Chinese party. They have destroyed Trotskyism "ideologically" — that goes without saying — but immediately following this destruction, reservations of a "semi-Trotskyist character" rise anew. Such things have happened time and again. These reservations have arisen even among a "number of leading comrades." That also has happened before.

What are these new semi-Trotskyist reservations? They manifest themselves, first of all, in the demand to begin an "immediate struggle for power on a full national plane." But the Left Opposition since the fall of 1927 has advanced the exact opposite demand: to withdraw the slogan of armed insurrection as an immediate slogan. Even today our Chinese comrades put on the agenda not the armed uprising, but the mobilization of the masses around the social demands of the proletariat and the peasantry and the slogans of revolutionary democracy; not adventurist experiments in the countryside, but the building up of the trade unions and the party! If Pravda is not indulging in slander (which is very likely), if the new opposition really voices demands "to cease the economic struggle of the proletariat and to liquidate the unions," then this is directly contrary to the proposals of the Left Opposition (Bolshevik-Leninists).

We read further on that the new opposition ignores "the necessity of consolidating the Soviet power in the regions already occupied by the Red Army." Instead of such consolidation, it is as though the opposition were calling for a general national uprising. This too has nothing in common with the position of Bolshevik-Leninists. If the Chinese "Red Army” is regarded as the weapon of a proletarian uprising, then the Chinese Communists must be guided by the laws of every revolutionary uprising. They must take the offensive, extend their territory, conquer the strategic centers of the country. Without this, every revolutionary uprising is hopeless. To delay, to remain on the defensive instead of taking the offensive, spells defeat for the uprising. In this sense, the new opposition, if its point of view has been correctly stated, is far more consistent that the Stalinists, who believe that "Soviet power" in the countryside can be maintained for years or that Soviet power can be transported from one end of the country to another in the baggage car of the partisan detachments labeled the "Red Army." But neither position resembles our own; both flow from a wrong point of departure. They renounce the class theory of soviet power. They dissolve the revolution into provincial peasant revolts, linking up the entire fate of the Chinese Communist Party with them in an adventurist manner.

What does the Communist Party represent? Quite unexpectedly we learn from this article that the Communist Party in the fall of 1930 numbered about "200,000 members." The figure is given without explanation. Last year, however, the Chinese party numbered only about six to seven thousand members. If this tremendous growth of the party during the last year is a fact, then this should be a symptom of a radical change in the situation in favor of the revolution. Two hundred thousand members! If in reality the party were to number fifty, forty, or even twenty thousand workers, after it had experienced the second Chinese revolution and had absorbed its lessons, we would say that this is a powerful force, and invincible; with such cadres, we can transform all of China. But we would also have to ask: Are these twenty thousand workers members of the unions? What kind of work are they carrying on within them? Is their influence growing? Are they linking up their organizations with the masses of the unorganized and of the rural periphery? And under what slogans?

The fact is that the leadership of the Comintern is concealing something from the proletarian vanguard. We can be certain that the lion's share of these 200,000 — let us say from 90 to 95 percent — come from regions where the detachments of the "Red Army" are active. One has only to imagine the political psychology of the peasant detachments and the conditions under which they carry on their activity to get a clear political picture: the partisans, most probably, are almost all enrolled in the party, and after them the peasants in the occupied regions. The Chinese party, as well as the "Red Army" and the "Soviet power," has abandoned the proletarian rails and is heading toward the rural districts and the countryside.

In seeking a way out of the impasse, the new Chinese opposition advances, as we have read, the slogan of a proletarian uprising on a national plane. Obviously this would be the best outcome, if the prerequisites for it were to exist. But they do not exist today. What, then, can be done? We must develop slogans for the interval between revolutions, the length of which no one can tell in advance. These are the slogans of the democratic revolution: land to the peasants, the eight-hour workday, national independence, the right of national self-determination for all people, and, finally, the constituent assembly. Under these slogans the provincial peasant uprisings of the partisan detachments will break out of their provincial isolation and fuse with the general national movement, linking their own fate with it. The Communist Party will emerge, not as the technical guide of the Chinese peasantry, but as the political leader of the working class of the entire country. There is no other road!