THESES OF THE ECCI PRESIDIUM
15 July 1927
Inprekorr, viii, 1, p. 15, 3 January 1928; 2, p. 37, 6 January 1928
JAPANESE IMPERIALISM AND THE WAR
The specific weight of the Far East in world economy and politics, which has grown enormously since the war, makes the problem of Japanese imperialism particularly urgent. The increasing strength of Japanese imperialism in recent decades, brought about by its greater aggressiveness, its penetration of China, and its moves in the direction of India, the Near East, the islands of the Pacific, and the territory of the Soviet Union, has made it a first-class Power.
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Japanese imperialists are playing an extremely active part in preparing the coming war; and, in so far as Japanese intervention in China is an accomplished fact, it can be said that they are already waging this war.
It is impossible for Japanese capitalism to be neutral towards revolution in China, for its most vital and immediate interests are affected. For Japan, with its inadequate supplies of coal and iron, China is a primary source of raw materials. It is also the chief market for Japanese industry... Capital investment by the Japanese bourgeoisie in China's industry, mines, and railways, particularly in Manchuria, amounts to 2.5 milliard yen. The development of the Chinese revolution is therefore a direct threat to these Japanese interests. (. . .)
Japanese imperialism's hostility to the Chinese revolution is made more intense because it endangers Japanese colonial rule and may spread to Japan's most important colonies, in the first place to Korea. The struggle against the Chinese revolution will therefore drive the Japanese imperialists into a bloc with the British imperialists, to joint action against the Chinese workers and peasants now, and to joint preparations for war against the Soviet Union in the more or less near future; to a considerable degree it has already driven them along this path.
This bloc, which Japanese imperialism has made with the Americans and the British to fight the Chinese revolution and the Soviet Union, does not however eliminate the decisive contradictions among them, which are growing more and more acute. Japanese and British imperialist interests are already in conflict in China.
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Even more serious are the contradictions between Japan and the United States. The American Immigration Act was directed primarily against Japan. United States expansion in the Pacific, which runs counter to Japanese expansion, is bringing ever nearer a clash between the two.
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THE JAPANESE INTERNAL SITUATION
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In Japan there exist the objective prerequisites both for a bourgeoisdemocratic revolution (the survivals of feudalism in the political structure and the acuteness of the agrarian question) and for its transformation into a socialist revolution (the high level of capital concentration and trustification, the close interconnexions of State and industry, the comparatively close approximation to a State capitalist system, the alliance between bourgeoisie and feudal landowners).
But if Japan's economic situation offers a direct prospect of revolution, a tremendous obstacle and barrier is provided by its ideological backwardness.
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Neither the Japanese proletariat nor the peasantry have revolutionary traditions or experience of struggle; the broad masses are only now awakening to political life, and only a very small proportion of them are involved in it; workers' and peasants' organizations are numerically small and have shown very little activity. Class instincts and recognition of the necessity for class struggle are still smothered by a stupefying patriotism or pacifist illusions.
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THE DRIVING FORGES OF THE JAPANESE REVOLUTION
As has been shown, Japan is today ruled by a bloc of capitalists and landowners, a bloc in which the capitalists predominate. Therefore any hope that the bourgeoisie can be used as a revolutionary factor, even to a limited extent and in only the first stage of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, must be abandoned. The analogy with China does not hold good. China was and is an object of imperialist policy, whereas the Japanese bourgeoisie are themselves an imperialist force of the first order. In China the 'national' bourgeoisie in the early stages of the revolution were themselves still striving for power, while the Japanese bourgeoisie are already in power and using the entire State machine, with all its feudal connexions and survivals, to the utmost to organize and maintain capitalist exploitation. Finally, the high level of capitalist development in Japan is of the greatest importance in this respect, for it means that the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Japan will immediately turn into a socialist revolution, a revolution against capitalism as such.
The driving forces of the Japanese revolution are the proletariat, the peasantry, and the urban petty bourgeoisie.
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The Japanese proletariat must combine the struggle for the socialist revolution with hegemony in the struggle of all the working people of Japan for the bourgeois-democratic revolution. All the objective prerequisites are present in Japan for forming a revolutionary bloc of workers and peasants to counterbalance the reactionary bloc of landowners and capitalists.
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But these must be made organizationally operative. The Japanese peasantry is vegetating in terrible poverty, oppressed by high taxes and rents. The revolutionary movement among the rural proletarians and semi-proletarians is growing extremely fast. About 12 per cent of the peasants are already organized in peasant unions. The Japanese communists must make every effort to bring these unions, and the Workers' and Peasants' Party, under communist leadership.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY AND ITS ROLE
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Nowhere does the working class represent an absolutely uniform mass. It consists of a whole series of sub-strata, with different living standards and different levels of political and cultural development. Each of these sub-strata may have its own special interests—and does in fact have them—which may, in the eyes of politically backward and less class-conscious workers, obscure the general class interests of the proletariat, and very frequently do so. This occupational fragmentation can be overcome only by prolonged and persistent mass struggle.
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One of the chief failings of the Japanese Communist Party leaders was their misunderstanding and underestimation of the role of the communist party, and of its special function in the workers' movement. The idea that the communist party can be in any degree replaced by left-wing fractions in trade unions or by a broad workers' and peasants' party is basically wrong and opportunist. Without an independent, ideologically tested, disciplined, and centralized mass communist party there cannot be a victorious revolutionary movement.
The fight against any kind of liquidationist tendency, as expressed in fact in comrade Hoshi's policy, is therefore the most urgent task before Japanese communists. Just as the struggle of the entire working people must, in their interests as a whole, be led by the most advanced and revolutionary section, the working class, so the struggle of the working class must be led, in the interests of the whole class, by its revolutionary vanguard, the communist party.
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THE COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS
In present conditions the communist party can develop only by fighting socialdemocracy.
This applies in full to Japan. The social-democratic party there has 12,000 members, and about 150,000 trade unionists are affiliated to it. The socialdemocratic leaders are bribed agents of the bourgeoisie, trying on their behalf to infect the masses with the poison of conciliation, patriotism, and socialimperialism.
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The objective situation of Japanese imperialism and the historical course taken by the Japanese labour movement create extremely favourable conditions for the fight against social-democracy. There are no longstanding and deep-rooted socialdemocratic organizations or traditions in the Japanese working class. The 'upper stratum' of skilled workers, on whom reformism usually relies as its main support, is relatively small in Japan. Average wages are extremely low. The vast and unceasing stream of new labour from the proletarianized elements of the countryside, the tremendous pressure of agrarian over-population, intensified since the American escape valve was closed, make it highly unlikely that the Japanese worker's standard of living will rise under the capitalist regime. Of course Japanese capitalism has certain opportunities of bribing various sections of the labour-boss elements. But it can already be foreseen that reformist attempts to transplant to Japan the American model of trade unionism will be a wretched failure.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE TRADE UNIONS
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If it would be wrong and fatal to follow a line which leads to the merging of the communist party in the trade union left wing, it is no less wrong to follow a line which leads to the isolation of the party from the mass organizations of the proletariat. The 'theory of splits and unity' which comrade Kuroki advances, and which is in fact nothing but a justification for that line, is wholly and fundamentally incompatible with Leninism. Instead of analysing the concrete tasks confronting the party, and the historically determined methods of solving them, comrade Kuroki starts from artificially and arbitrarily constructed abstract images and logical categories.
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The mass organizations are the reservoir from which the communist party draws its reinforcements, and they are also the transmission belts linking the vanguard to the class and to the entire mass of working people. The bigger they are, the greater the potential reserves of the party, the wider the audience to which it can turn. A policy of splitting the mass organizations is therefore one which will diminish our reserves, narrow our own radius of action, weaken our ties with the masses, and isolate us from them.
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Such a policy, moreover, is an abandonment of the struggle to win the social-democratic workers and the centrists, the struggle to expose right-wing reformism and reformism cloaked in revolutionary phrases. This would certainly be a service to the social-democrats, but it has nothing in common with Leninism.
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It is no accident that comrade Kuroki's theory is bound up with an exaggerated and wholly disproportionate emphasis on the ideological factor, completely ignoring the economic, political, and organizational factors. That again leads to an impermissible overestimation of the intelligentsia, to isolation from the masses, to sectarianism, and to an idea of the party as a group of 'personalities with a Marxist outlook', mainly of course intellectuals, but not as a militant working-class organization.
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In applying united front tactics the communist party must on no account efface its own features, and in no case yield to the influence of those it is fighting; it must preserve complete independence, ideological and organizational. It is obvious that, in speaking of the united front, what we have in mind is not only and not so much the united front of the small and illegal communist party with the left-wing legal mass organizations (...) but also the united front of the mass organizations which are under communist influence (e.g. the Ronoto) with the social-democratic and centrist mass organizations.
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Proceeding from these considerations, the Japanese Communist Party must put forward the following programme of action and the following slogans:
1. Fight against the imperialist war danger.
2. Hands off the Chinese revolution.
3. Defence of the Soviet Union.
4. Complete independence for the colonies.
5. Dissolution of parliament.
6. Abolition of the monarchy.
7. Universal franchise from the age of eighteen.
8. Freedom of assembly, of association, of speech, and of the press, etc.
9. Eight-hour working day.
10. Unemployment insurance.
11. Repeal of all anti-labour laws.
12. Confiscation of the land of the Mikado, the landowners, the State, and the Church.
13. A progressive income tax.
These partial demands and slogans must be linked with the slogans of a workers' and peasants' government and the proletarian dictatorship.
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The fight for these demands is the road to the dictatorship of the proletariat. But the fight will be successful only if there is an ideologically tempered mass communist party, Leninist, disciplined, and centralized, which leads the fight together with the world communist party and keeps in step with the entire Communist International.
The recognition of past mistakes by the Japanese delegation and their complete acceptance of all the instructions and decisions of the CI are a guarantee that the Japanese Communist Party will be able to eradicate the deviations in its ranks, will follow a correct political and organizational line, and will prove equal to the great tasks with which history confronts it.