1920s CCP class collaboration

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Fri Aug 13 08:13:11 MDT 1999

>the nationalists and thus take on two enemies at once. Why
>focus on the twenties? The party was so young and virtually
>ignorant of marxism, having just been formed. Or is this
>focus just a handy rhetorical device? Rather like using the
>word "collaboration" with its load of connotations rather
>than "alliance".

This is a very, very, very important point. During my entire time in the
Trotskyist movement (1967-1978), the only discussion of China was in the
context of the 1920s, especially the Shanghai massacre. Peng Shu-tse, the
Fourth Internationalist who resided in Hong Kong, would write occasional
commentaries on Chinese politics after the 1920s, but for the average
cadre, this entire period was a "black hole". Nobody had the audacity to
read Mao, let alone study him as a Marxist thinker in his own right.
Instead their were catechistic recitals about the grrreat betrayals of the

Oddly enough, David Welch who is pro-Stalin, is the mirror image of the
1920s obsessed Trotskyists. He sees the 1920s as a paradigm of Stalinist
wisdom, while the Trots view it as some kind of original sin.

One of the things I learned after leaving the Trotskyist movement is that
it has no monopoly on Marxist thought. You really have to take somebody
like Meisner into account when trying to sort out a very complex history,
just as it is necessary to read somebody like Carlos Vilas--a brilliant
Argentinian Marxist scholar--in order to understand the Central American

The kind of Marxist movement that we need to build will subsume these types
of left-leaning scholars into its ranks and provide the kind of essential
top-flight input necessary to make serious and convincing analyses of world
politics. One of the worst consequences of the tendency for the Marxist
left to break down into a Stalin-Trotsky binary opposition is that it
leaves such nuanced interpretations out.

Louis Proyect


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