Shanghai 1927, Indonesia 1965
Louis N Proyect
lnp3 at columbia.edu
Thu Apr 4 04:15:09 MST 1996
The Chinese Communist Party in the 1920's was under instructions from
Stalin to subordinate itself to interests of the "nation" rather than to put
"class" first. This is where Mao and the PKI got their inspiration to
subordinate themselves to Sukarno.
We should acknowledge, however, that not every Communist was for
subordination to the KMT. Chen Tu-hsu was the leader of the CCP
and objected to the Comintern's overtures to the KMT. When
overruled, he submitted to Comintern discipline.
When the powerful May 30 movement swept across China in 1925, the
CCP found itself in the leadership. As the movement grew in intensity,
the KMT tried to curb it and clashed with the CCP. This convinced
Chen Tu-hsu that it was time to break with the KMT. The Comintern
overrode him, however, and urged the CCP to restrain itself.
By 1925, the Comintern had come under control of the
Bukharin/Stalin faction. This faction pursued a policy domestically of
placating the Kulaks and internationally of building alliances with
"progressive" capitalists. Sun Yat-sen was the classic "patriotic"
bourgeois, who was immune from Moscow's criticism. Stalin and
Bukharin tied their support for the KMT to the theory that socialist
tasks were not on the agenda in China. A bourgeois-democratic
revolution was on the agenda and was on the agenda was the
vanguard. Once the patriotic bourgeoisie and its proletarian and
peasant allies completed this stage, the workers would take center
stage and complete the next stage: socialism..
For those who have studied Russian history, you will recognize this
theory as being identical to that held by the Mensheviks. Stalin had
revived the bankrupt and discredited two-stage theory of the
Mensheviks and dressed it up in new "red" clothing.
In 1926, the KMT became a member party of the Comintern and the
Executive Committee accepted Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek as an
honorary member. In March of the same year, Chiang Kai-shek repaid
the Comintern by barring communists from all posts at KMT
headquarters. He also demanded that the central committee of the CP
turn over names of all members who belonged to the KMT. Soviet
advisers told the Chinese communists to give in to Chiang's demands.
Today we observe Quispe and Godena denouncing leftists in Peru for
being agents of Fujimoro. However, they have a different standard
when it comes to Stalin's bullying tactics in China, don't they? Stalin,
the great revolutionary, pressured the Communists into turning over
these names. Would Quispe and Godena, members of the Stalin fan
club, have been applying pressure on the Chinese Communists as well
had they been around in those days? Consistency demands an
In July of 1926 the KMT launched a military offensive against the
norther warlords. The advance sparked worker and peasant uprisings
throughout the territory. The C.P. led the spontaneous struggles, while
Chiang grew fearful and tried to suppress it. He banned strikes and
demonstrations and tried to suppress trade unions. He also tried to
requisition food from the peasantry, a measure they saw as oppressive.
Once again the CP leader Chen Tu-hsiu called for open conflict with
the KMT. Bukharin characterized this as "ultraleftism". He urged
patience since the tasks of the democratic revolution required the
participation of the bourgeoisie. All of the anti-imperialist forces, from
workers and peasants on the bottom to the national bourgeoisie at the
top, had to unite themselves in struggle. This formula, of course, is
identical to Comrade Gonzalo's of the Shining Path.
In the spring of 1927, Chiang launched a counter-revolutionary coup
that originated in Shanghai, China's largest city.. It must have slipped
his mind that the main enemy was imperialism since the brunt of his
attack was the Chinese working-class. The workers, under CP
leadership, had taken control of the city after ousting the warlord
Chiang marched in to Shanghai and ordered the Communists to
disarm. Once again Chen Tu-hsiu appealed to the Comintern for
permission to break with the KMT. They told him no and once again
the bewildered and demoralized CP leader instructed party members
and the workers who followed him to lay down their arms and
Then, on April 12, Chiang Kai-shek's troops and his gangster
supporters turned their guns on the workers and massacred tens of
thousands of them. Journalist Harold Isaacs describes the events in
Chapter 11 of his "Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution".
"Members of Shanghai's underworld gangs 'had feverishly worked
through the night organizing secret parties to appear at dawn as
though from nowhere.' They wore white armbands bearing the
Chinese character kung (labor). The North China Daily News called
them 'armed Kuomingtang laborers'. The Shanghai Municipal Police
Report referred to 'merchants' volunteers.' The China Press contented
itself with 'Nationalist troops.' More bluntly, George Sokolsky
reported: 'Arrangements were made with the Green and Red societies,
so that one morning they, as 'white' laborers, fell upon and shot down
the Communists'. They did not appear from 'nowhere,' but at the given
signal, as the Shun Pao and other newspapers frankly stated, they
'rushed out of the concessions' and in the adjoining Chinese areas
made contact with the picked detachments of Pai Ch-hung-hsi's troops.
Together or separately, according to detailed, prearranged plans, they
attacked the headquarters of working-class organizations scattered
through the city. In most cases, as at the Foochow Guild in Nantao and
the police station in Pootung, the objectives were won after sharp but
brief battles. Their quarters once occupied, the pickets and their
supporters were given short, brutal shrift. Their arms were seized and
'even their clothes and shoes ripped from them'. Every man who
resisted was shot down where he stood. The remainder were lashed
together and marched out to be executed either in the streets or
The blood of these workers was on the hands of Stalin and Bukharin's
Comintern. It was a decisive blow to proletarian revolution in China.
The setback had long-term effects. It, of course, did not have to end
this way. If the CP had simply functioned as an open Communist
Party, there is every possibility that China would have become socialist
in 1926 or 1927.
This is the consequences of putting nation before class. This is not
revolutionary no matter how much ultraleft, bombastic, firebreathing
rhetoric you attach to the policy. It is Menshevism. Olaechea is a Menshevik.
--- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---
More information about the Marxism