ECCI RESOLUTION ON THE CHINESE QUESTION
June 1930 Strategiya i Taktika Kominterna, p. 272
Recent events in China confirm in full the resolutions of the sixth CCP congress and the sixth Comintern congress referring to the inevitability of a new advance of the revolutionary wave in China.
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The moving forces of the Chinese revolution—the working class and the peasantry—having recovered from the blows of reaction, are rising once more to revolutionary struggle under the slogans of agrarian revolution, destruction of imperialist rule, and overthrow of the counterrevolutionary Kuomintang Government.
The past years of reaction in China have brought the heaviest burdens to the labouring masses . . . ruin and pauperization were the lot of the peasant masses.
Famine took on unprecedented proportions, condemning tens of millions of peasants to death. Ruin spread more widely among the urban petty-bourgeoisie, particularly artisans and handicraftsmen. These results of reaction were bound to strengthen in the working masses the consciousness of the hopelessness of their position under the existing regime.
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In analysing the present stage of the struggle, it is necesary to start from the fact that so far there is no objectively revolutionary situation throughout China as a whole. The waves of the workers' and peasants' movement have not merged into one. They do not yet ensure the forces required for an offensive against imperialism and the Kuomintang. The revolutionary peasant struggle is developing so far only in parts of the southern provinces. The splits and struggles within the ruling cliques of the ruling classes have not yet incapacitated them and led to their political collapse.
But events are moving in a direction which will create a revolutionary situation in the near future if not throughout the whole of China, at least in a number of the most important provinces. Acceleration of this process depends largely on correct communist tactics, in the first place on the correct fulfilment of the party's tasks of reinforcing its leadership and carrying further the Soviet movement.
The Soviet movement confronts the party with a task of cardinal importance, to organize and direct the activities of a central Soviet Government. On this question the party should start from the assumption that that Government can acquire the necessary strength and importance on condition that... a real Red Army is created in the most secure areas, an army wholly subordinate to communist party leadership and able to serve as the pillar of the Government. It is therefore essential to concentrate attention on forming and strengthening the Red Army so that in future, when the military and political circumstances present the opportunity, it will be able to capture one or several industrial and adminis trative centres.
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In setting up the machinery of government great care must be taken in the selection of personnel; in no case should civil servants be taken over from the Kuomintang; only tried and devoted persons should be chosen for this work. The task of the provisional revolutionary Government is to unite and co-ordinate peasant activities on the basis of the vigorous eradication of feudalism and militarism and repression of the kulaks and usurers.
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At the same time it should establish a form of rule which ensures the hegemony of the proletariat in the peasant movement, and secures the participation of the masses themselves in the organs of revolutionary power from top to bottom.
At the centre of its attention in the Soviet areas the party should place the settlement of the land question. The agrarian revolution must be a revolution of the poor and middle peasants, not the kulaks. Its moving forces must be the labourers and the village poor, in firm alliance with the middle peasants and with the industrial working class playing the leading role. Efforts by the kulaks, either to delay confiscation or to divide the confiscated land in proportion to the means of production owned by the peasants, must be energetically cut short. What the party should do is to confiscate the land of all the landlords, churches, and other large land owners and distribute it equally among the poor and the middle peasants, but without confiscating the land of the rich peasants.
In economic policy in the Soviet areas, the party should avoid premature measures, should not assume functions which will only loosen the peasant masses from our leadership. In particular it should permit freedom of trade, not yet prohibit the purchase and sale of land, not introduce centralization of supplies, or the regulation of internal trade and prices, with certain exceptions (such as salt and paraffin) dictated by military needs or by the struggle against speculators and saboteurs.
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To improve the legal position of workers in the Soviet areas the eight-hour working day should be introduced, as well as minimum social legislation and freedom of organization and activity for class trade unions. Subsequent improvements should be gained not as the result of decrees by the Soviet authorities, but by class struggle and trade union activity linked to concrete local conditions.
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The party must secure complete control and leadership of the Red Army, destined to play an immense part in the further development of the revolutionary struggle. The Red Army must be made into a genuine national army.
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With a strong core of industrial workers, the Red Army must be expanded from the ranks of the village poor and from the revolutionary elements of the peasantry as a whole.
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In all its campaigns and mass agitation the party should put forward as its central slogans, in the name of the workers' and peasants' Soviet Government:
confiscation of the landlords' estates for the benefit of the peasants; struggle against imperialism up to nationalization of their businesses and concessions if they break the laws of the Soviet Government of China; make China a united independent Soviet State; overthrow the KMT Government; support and extend the Soviet movement throughout China; the eight-hour day; and control of production by workers' organizations.
The party's work in the Soviet areas should be linked with its activities in the rest of China. The party's basic task in conditions of the spreading wave of revolution is to secure the firm and consistent hegemony of the proletariat.
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To ensure proletarian hegemony presupposes a fight by the party to extend the strike movement, to organize and lead the industrial battles of the Chinese proletariat. As the economic and political struggles fuse, the party should make every effort to extend political strikes, in preparation for a political general strike in all or in a number of industrial centres.
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To ensure proletarian hegemony presupposes a fight by the party to develop and lead the anti-imperialist movement against all the imperialist Powers.
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To ensure proletarian hegemony presupposes struggle by the party to expand the revolutionary independent mass movement. The struggle against the militarists' war, the struggle to turn it into class civil war, and the struggle against all the warlords and all the counter-revolutionary KMT groups must become the current party slogan in its mass agitation. At the same time it must intensify its fight to win mass influence, directing it against the reorganizers, against a third party, against the Hu Shih group which is trying to save the Chinese counter-revolution from the newly advancing powerful wave of revolution. At the same time the party must expose the strike-breaking counter revolutionary role of Chen Tu-hsiu's followers and the Trotskyists, paralyse their attempts to link themselves to mass organizations.
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In non-Soviet areas the party should set up peasant committees, peasant unions, and committees of struggle.
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It should encourage the peasants to refuse to pay rent or the requisitions of the militarists. It should summon the peasants to guerrilla warfare and to support of the Soviet areas.
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The party should also reinforce its work among the national minorities. It should establish strong links with and take the lead in the Moslem movement in North China, in the national-revolutionary struggle in Inner Mongolia, in the struggle of the Korean workers and the Manchurian peasants, and of the tribes in South China.
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Furthermore, given the immense importance of the growing revolutionary struggle in Indo-China, the party should extend its influence over the Annamite masses, particularly in Yunnan, Hong Kong, and Canton.
Since its sixth congress the CCP has had many successes in raising its ideological level and bolshevizing its ranks. But it is far from having successfully accomplished all its tasks in this respect.
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If it is to deal correctly with all the new tasks confronting it, ensure correct application of the party line in practice, it must wage a struggle on two fronts, against the right-opportunist deviation, and against 'left'-putschist sectarianism, combating both deviations on the theoretical and the practical levels, and concentrating its fire against the right as the chief danger.
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The bourgeois-landlord bloc has not solved and cannot solve the contradictions which produced the Chinese revolution of 1925-7; on the contrary, it has made them more acute and profound. These contradictions, now amplified, will with historical inevitability bring a new and mightier surge of the revolutionary wave. Despite possible partial defeats and retreats . . . the agrarian revolution, led by the proletariat, will extend and lead unfailingly into a revolution encompassing the whole of China.
This situation makes it necessary to consider now the question of the methods and tasks of the Chinese revolution. Only in this larger perspective . . . can the current tasks and tactics of the party be correctly indicated. Since the revolutions of 1911 and 1925-7 were not completed, and the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic stage not fulfilled, the earlier basic tasks remain valid for the approaching wave of the revolution—the elimination of imperialist rule, the liquidation of the landlord agrarian system, the destruction of the bourgeois-landlord bloc, the establishment of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry.
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But the Chinese revolution differs from the usual bourgeois-democratic revolution not only in the composition of the moving forces, and not only by the fact that the workers and peasants, far from acting together with the bourgeoisie—still less under their leadership—in carrying out the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic stage, are engaged in direct struggle against them. Its peculiarity lies in this, that if successful it opens up the prospect of socialist development. For a number of reasons the bourgeois-democratic revolution in China, being at the same time an anti-imperialist revolution, prepares the prerequisites for proletarian dictatorship and the socialist revolution. The noncapitalist road of development will provide the material economic foundation for the gradual and steady transition of the Chinese revolution, by a series of intermediate stages, into the socialist revolution.
The revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry in China will be substantially different from the democratic dictatorship envisaged by the bolsheviks in the 1905 revolution. The difference is due in the first place to the international situation, to the existence of the USSR.
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On the other hand, the situation in China itself justifies the belief that the communists will have a majority in the Government. In consequence the proletariat will be able to exercise not only ideological, but State hegemony over the peasantry.
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China's domestic economic situation also indicates the necessity for noncapitalist evolution. The industrial and agrarian crisis generates the demand for economic measures of the kind characteristic of the transition to socialism. The alternative for China is complete colonial enslavement, further mass ruin, or the Soviet, non-capitalist, socialist road of development . . . the nationalization of foreign industrial undertakings, banks, syndicates, joint-stock companies, railways, air services, and major water and road transport undertakings, in the first place those owned by foreigners; the nationalization of the undertakings and capital of those Chinese who have organized the counter-revolutionary struggle against the Soviet movement; control over other undertakings, including the smaller ones; nationalization of the land, and water and irrigation installations; consistent promotion of co-operatives, beginning with the simplest form of consumer cooperatives; collectivization as the following step, but solely on a voluntary basis, and with the help of the country of proletarian dictatorship.
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In its initial stages the Chinese revolution will not of course deprive capitalism of the possibility of developing. On the contrary, in agriculture particularly, once the landlord agrarian system and the usurer-warlord indebtedness have been destroyed, capitalism will undoubtedly show a tendency to further growth.
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It should be remembered that our task is not to destroy, but to reshape the economy of the small peasant. In taking the transitional measures indicated, the proletariat should never cut itself off from its peasant reserves.
When conducting propaganda for this socialist road of development, care must be taken to differentiate the Comintern view of this process sharply from (i) the Trotskyist-Chen Tu-hsiu concept, and (ii) the Sun Yat-sen ideology. To assert our position on the non-capitalist road of development does not imply agreement with the Trotskyist view of the coming stage of the Chinese revolution as socialist. Behind leftist phrases about the socialist character of the Chinese revolution Trotsky conceals his failure to take account of the widening struggle of the peasant masses, his characteristic underestimate of the forces and revolutionary possibilities of the peasantry, his failure to understand the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic stage and the process of transition to the socialist stage. The agrarian question lies at the centre of the Chinese revolution. The revolution develops in the form of peasant wars led by the proletariat. Trotskyist phrasemongering has nothing in common with Marxist-Leninist teaching. On the other hand, Sun Yat-sen Utopias about avoiding the negative features of capitalism by partial restrictions on it are alien to the Comin-tern's position. The reactionary character of the Sun Yat-sen ideology can be seen from the fact that it envisages the fulfilment of its plans with the help of the capitalist world.