THE RESOLUTION OF THE EIGHTH ECCI PLENUM

ON THE CHINESE QUESTION



EXTRACTS

30 May 1927 IKKI i VKP{b) po Kitaiskomu Voprosu, p. 169



The resolution of the plenum was rejected by the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party.




1. THE MEANING OF THE CHINESE REVOLUTION


The ECCI observes that the immense international significance of the Chinese revolution is heightened by the fact that ... it coincides with provocative attacks on the USSR and with the coming to a head of mighty conflicts among the imperialists, for the moment united in an anti-Chinese front.

Therefore only the abominable role of the social-democrats, taking an active part in the ideological preparation for war, only their bourgeois pacifism, which conceals their social imperialism, can explain the actual position of social-democrats and the Amsterdam leaders on the question of the Chinese revolution.

The CI believes that parties and other organizations which call themselves workers' associations and which do not wage a vigorous struggle against intervention in China . . . are not only helping the imperialists to strangle the Chinese workers and peasants, thus strengthening the imperialist system, but are rendering support to imperialism in its preparation of war against the USSR and of world wars in general.

. . .



2. THE CRISIS IN THE NATIONAL-REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN CHINA AND THE NEW SITUATION



The ECCI observes that the course of the Chinese revolution has confirmed the evaluation of its moving forces given at the last (seventh) enlarged plenum. In particular the ECCI observes that the course of events has completely justified the seventh enlarged plenum's prediction that the bourgeoisie would desert the united national-revolutionary front and go over to the side of the counter-revolution.

This process was expressed in the counter-revolutionary coup of Chiang Kai-shek and a number of other generals, in the formation of the Nanking Government and the break-away of the right Kuomintang, who have created their own counterrevolutionary organization under Kuomintang colours.

Chiang Kai-shek's coup has created a new political situation in China and a new distribution of the main class forces in the country. It signifies a decisive regrouping of classes, and Comintern tactics must therefore proceed from this new situation. Any attempt to adopt tactics based on a compromise with Chiang Kai-shek or with the right Kuomintang would be nothing but direct surrender to Chiang Kaishek and outright treachery to the interests of the Chinese revolution.

The principal reason for the treachery of the bourgeoisie and Chiang Kai-shek was the unfolding mass movement of the working class and peasantry and the successes of the Chinese Communist Party on the one hand, and the growing pressure of the united forces of world imperialism on the other. Fearing the development of the mass movement with its revolutionary class demands and slogans, the national bourgeoisie were bound to prefer—and did prefer—a deal with the imperialists and militarists.

. . .

Despite partial defeat and the counter-revolution of Chiang Kai-shek and Co., the revolution has moved to a higher stage; the bloc of bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie, peasantry, and proletariat has broken down and has begun to change into a bloc of proletariat, peasantry, and petty bourgeoisie, in which the leading role of the proletariat is steadily growing.

. . .

The ECCI believes that the tactics of a bloc with the national bourgeoisie in the period of the revolution that has now closed were completely correct.

. . .

It also believes that the presidium acted correctly in issuing directives simultaneously about exposing Chiang Kai-shek, about getting control of important strategic positions in

the machinery of the Kuomintang Government, about setting a course to isolate the right Kuomintang, orientation towards the masses, etc., etc.

Similarly the ECCI approves the attitude taken by the presidium immediately after Chiang Kai-shek's coup and first enunciated in the CI statement published immediately after the coup. The ECCI again emphasizes that Chiang Kai-shek's coup and the radical class regrouping that it expresses are the starting-point of all further tactics, excluding any unity, compromise, or conciliation with the bourgeoisie.

. . .

With the right-wing social-democrats accusing the communists of splitting the Chinese national-revolutionary movement and the left falsely charging them with insufficient defence of the special interests of the Chinese proletariat, international menshevism is in fact becoming an open ally not only of foreign imperialism but also of its Chinese agents, the Nanking gang of executioners of the working class.



3. THE PARTIAL DEFEAT OF THE CHINESE REVOLUTION AND THE MAIN FORGES OF COUNTER-REVOLUTION



The ECCI observes that the series of bourgeois counter-revolutionary coups (in Shanghai, Nanking, Canton, etc.) signifies a partial defeat of the Chinese revolution and a definite growth in the forces of the counterrevolutionary bloc. But the ECCI does not believe that this defeat is decisive for the entire fate of the revolution. Such a view is false, if only because it sees the basic threat to the revolution in the Chinese bourgeoisie, disregarding their links with the forces of imperialism, and at the same time undervalues the powerful, spontaneous movement of the working masses.

. . .

It is the imperialist troops, who in fact occupied almost all the important industrial centres of China, which are the chief counterrevolutionary force in China.

. . .

Against this partial defeat of the revolution there is to be set its move to a higher stage of development and the beginning of a more intensive mobilization of the masses. The growth of the peasant movement, the organization of armed forces into partisan detachments, the series of victories won by these spontaneously organized forces over the armies of the traitor generals, the maintenance, despite the raging terror of the counter-revolution, of the organizations of the working class, the steady growth of the communist party and the left Kuomintang—all these are important symptoms of the further development and deepening of the Chinese revolution.

The Wuhan Government and the left Kuomintang express in their basic tendencies the revolutionary bloc of the urban and rural petty-bourgeois masses with

the proletariat.

. . .

The ECCI therefore thinks profoundly incorrect the liquidationist view of the present crisis of the Chinese revolution as a decisive defeat, creating a new international situation. Being incorrect in substance, it can only serve to disorganize the proletarian ranks, a disorganization particularly harmful precisely now, when unity of will and unity of action are specially required of the Communist International and the revolutionary proletariat.



4. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE WORKING AND PEASANT MASSES AND THE BASIC TASKS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY



The tremendous difficulties in the way of the Chinese revolution . . . create conditions of struggle which make it imperative to draw the vast working masses into the struggle. . . .

This can be done only on the basis of an agrarian revolution in the village and by satisfying the needs and political demands of the urban working class.

. . .

Agrarian revolution, including confiscation and nationalization of the land—that is the fundamental internal socio-economic content of the new stage of the Chinese revolution . . . and the communist party should put itself at the head of this movement and lead it. At the same time, within the Government, the communist party should pursue a policy which will further the development of the agrarian revolution. At the present stage this can only be done by transforming the present Government into the political centre of the workers' and peasants' revolution and into an organ of the revolutionary, democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry. Only with such a policy, moreover, pursued at the base and at the top, will it be possible to create really promising armed detachments and reorganize the entire army on a sound, revolutionary basis.

In the towns it is necessary to aim at raising the material level of the working masses, at a decisive improvement of their status in the factory as well as in public life generally.

. . .

At the same time the policy of arming the working and peasant masses must be put through quickly, boldly, and vigorously.

. . .

The ECCI believes that the Chinese CP should apply all its efforts, jointly with the left Kuomintang, to a vigorous campaign for the mobilization and organization of the masses. The most energetic recruiting of workers into the party, the most energetic recruiting, in town and village, of the labouring masses into the Kuomintang, which it is necessary to change as quickly as possible into the broadest mass organization—that is the chief task of the Chinese CP at the present moment.

. . .

The ECCI decisively denies any opposition between the tasks of the national revolution and the tasks of the proletarian class struggle. It believes that such an attitude, held both by ultra-left European groups as well as by social-democrats, is nothing but a rejection of the hegemony of the proletariat in the democratic Chinese revolution, a rejection in favour of so-called labour unionism, which politically is one of the varieties of opportunism and turns the proletariat into an appendage of the democratic camp.

. . .



5. THE COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE KUOMINTANG



The Chinese Communist Party can accomplish the tasks resting upon it to the extent that, as the vanguard of the working class, it maintains its own political personality, distinct from that of even the most left-wing petty-bourgeois revolutionaries.

Whatever the political situation, the communist party should never dissolve itself into any other political organization. It must be an independent force. Therefore it must never tie its hands in regard to the propaganda of its views and the mobilization of the masses under its banner; it should not renounce its right to criticize the vacillation and indecisiveness of the revolutionary petty-bourgeois democracy. On the contrary, only such criticism will push the petty-bourgeois revolutionaries to the left and ensure the hegemony of the working Class in the revolutionary struggle.

But the independence of the communist party must not be interpreted as exclusiveness and isolation from the non-proletarian labouring strata, primarily the peasantry. With this in mind the ECCI decisively rejects the demand to leave the Kuomintang, and those views which in substance would inevitably have the same result. To issue the slogan 'It is not yet necessary to leave the Kuomintang' would be as foolish as to advance the slogan of leaving the Kuomintang, for what the present moment demands of the proletarian party is precisely the securing of the leading role of the proletariat within the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang in China is the specific Chinese form of the organization in which the proletariat works together with the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry. In the given situation the proletariat cannot claim hegemony in the country without the communist party—the party of the working class—claiming hegemony within the Kuomintang.

The ECCI believes that the policy of underestimating the Kuomintang as a specific organizational form of the revolutionary movement would in fact lead to the capture of the Kuomintang colours by the right wing. Precisely because the Kuomintang banner is the most weighty political factor in the country, the bourgeois leaders led by Chiang Kai-shek are trying to appear under its colours. Communist party tactics should not provide a screen for this political manoeuvre, which would be the case if the party left the Kuomintang, but should expose the bourgeois politicians as traitors to the cause of the national revolution, traitors to the Kuomintang, traitors to the anti-imperialist tradition of Sun Yat-senism, as deserters to the imperialist camp. The ECCI considers incorrect the view that the national-liberation (anti-imperialist) revolution 'is ended' and another, class revolution (peasant and worker) 'has begun'. After Chiang Kai-shek's coup it has become clear even to the broad masses that the national-liberation revolution can develop further only under working-class hegemony. And precisely for that reason the banner of the Kuomintang, the banner of the national-liberation struggle, cannot be yielded to the traitors to that struggle.

The ECCI believes . . . that the Chinese Communist Party must work to change the Kuomintang into a really mass organization embracing the labouring population of town and country.

. . .

Only such a policy . . . can create the prerequisites for the victorious development of the democratic revolution in China. Only such a policy will make it possible to institute the strongest counter-measures against the eventual and inevitable desertion of the vacillating groups among the left Kuomintang (as happened in Canton), and against the treachery of generals and other military leaders.

. . .

The Chinese Communist Party, while maintaining and expanding its party organization, should in an increasing degree influence the work of the Kuomintang.

It can do this only in so far as it acts with full consciousness of its class proletarian position, adhering to its own ideological and political line, strengthening its organization, bringing working-class communists into the party leadership, extending the party's influence, and increasing its authority among the working and peasant masses.

The ECCI notes that there has been in the Chinese CP a series of vacillations precisely on this point, that the party has not always shown sufficient firmness in criticizing the Kuomintang leaders, that within the party there has sometimes been a certain fear of the growth of the mass movement, in the first place the movement among the peasants to seize the land, turn out the gentry and landlords, etc.

These vacillations, particularly harmful at the present stage of the revolution, show that not all comrades in the Chinese CP have understood clearly enough the Comintern line in the Chinese revolution. Unless these mistakes and vacillations are clearly explained to the party, the ECCI considers that it will be impossible to avoid an increase in the danger of vacillation on certain fundamental questions of the Chinese revolution. The Chinese CP, as the party of the working class, must lead the peasants' agrarian movement and fight unrelentingly against all and every attempt to narrow the limits of this movement.

. . .



6. THE WUHAN GOVERNMENT, THE QUESTION OF POWER, OF THE ARMY, AND THE TASKS OF THE CHINESE CP



The ECCI considers incorrect the view which underestimates the Wuhan Government and in practice denies its powerful revolutionary role. The Wuhan Government and the leaders of the left Kuomintang by their class composition represent not only the peasants, workers, and artisans, but also a part of the middle bourgeoisie. Therefore the left Kuomintang Wuhan Government is not a dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, but is on the road to such a dictatorship; and with the victory of the proletarian class struggle it will lose its bourgeois fellow travellers, surmount a number of betrayals, and inevitably develop in the direction of such a dictatorship.

The ECCI believes that the Chinese CP should take a most energetic part in the work of the Wuhan 'provisional revolutionary Government' .. . while criticizing the inadequate firmness even of its closest allies and ensuring a correct course for government policy.

. . .

The ECCI does not consider it appropriate at the present time to advance the slogan of Soviets of workers' and peasants' deputies (in the territory of Wuhan) which is equivalent to the slogan of proclaiming Soviet power. To advance the slogan of the immediate formation of Soviets of workers', peasants', and soldiers' deputies at the given stage of development of the Chinese revolution would inevitably mean to work for dual power, for the overthrow of the Wuhan Government, jumping over the Kuomintang form of organizing the masses and the State power directly to a Soviet regime in China as the State form of the proletarian dictatorship.

. . .

The ECCI also believes that at the present moment it is a matter of urgency to consider the question of reorganizing the army, of creating absolutely reliable revolutionary detachments, of the links between the army and workers' and peasants' organizations, of securing the cadres in the army, of turning the army from a mercenary into a regular army of the revolution, etc. Special attention should be paid to forming absolutely reliable detachments of revolutionary peasants and workers, to infiltrating communists and sound left Kuomintang people into the army, purging it of counter-revolutionary elements, creating a workers' guard.

. . .



8. THE PARTIES OF THE COMINTERN AND THE CHINESE REVOLUTION



Proceeding from this general appraisal of the significance and role of the Chinese revolution, the ECCI observes that:


1. The majority of Comintern sections have shown insufficient awareness of this significance and have not been active enough in supporting the Chinese revolution.


2. The same inadequacy is to be observed in the work of communists inside the League against Imperialism.

. . .

The ECCI directs attention to the need for the most serious preparations to hinder, not in words but in deeds, the dispatch of troops and arms to China. The ECCI imposes on all its sections the duty of working vigorously among imperialist troops and persuading them openly to go over to the side of the revolutionary troops of the Chinese people.

The ECCI instructs the CC of the various sections to work out a series of concrete measures directed to these ends. The ECCI sends fraternal greetings to its Chinese section and promises it the warmest support in its great revolutionary struggle.




 

Comintern

III. International