OF THE ECCI PRESIDIUM
ON THE TASKS OF THE CHINESE
26 August 1931 Strategiya i Taktika Kominterna, p. 294
THE PRESENT REVOLUTIONARY CRISIS IN CHINA
The eleventh ECCI plenum noted that China had entered a phase of revolutionary crisis.
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The revolutionary crisis in China signifies the bankruptcy of the bourgeoislandlord counter-revolution, the complete incompatibility of imperialist rule with the most elementary needs of the overwhelming majority of the population.
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The bankruptcy of KMT policy, its failure to honour its promises to stabilize the economy and unite the country by suppressing the revolution and reaching agreement with the imperialists... all this exacerbates the divisions in the camp of the counter-revolutionary landlords and bourgeoisie and hastens its disintegration. In this situation the masses are becoming increasingly aware that, without a revolution, without the overthrow of imperialism and the Kuomintang, without victory for the Soviets, there is not and cannot be a way out.
The KMT supplements its basic policy of direct suppression of the workers and peasants by outrageous terror with attempts to break up the revolutionary movement by using various manoeuvres (convening a national assembly, proposals for agrarian and labour legislation, demagogic gestures about taxation, empty declarations about abolishing extraterritoriality, etc.). The CCP should not underestimate the danger of these manoeuvres. It must expose them with the object of still further undermining the KMT regime.
The revolutionary movement in China is developing unevenly; while the Soviets have gained power in territory with a population of tens of millions, in the greater part of the country the revolutionary crisis has not brought the masses into direct struggle for the overthrow of the power of the KMT and the imperialists. The most important obstacle to the further expansion of the Soviet movement is the strength of international imperialism, acting in a united front against the national liberation movement of the Chinese people.
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The foreign imperialists have occupied with their armed forces the most important proletarian centres in the country, fettering and suppressing jointly with the KMT the revolutionary energy of the fighting masses.
The braking effect of this factor is reinforced because of the weakness of party organizations in non-Soviet territory; as a result of this weakness the work of the CP in leading, organizing, and expanding the mass revolutionary struggle of workers and peasants in the non-Soviet areas has been inadequate.
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There is still in evidence the old, almost total neglect by the old party and trade union leadership both of mass trade union work, and of the tasks of extending and leading the antiimperialist struggle. Precisely because of these weaknesses of our party in the non-Soviet areas, the bourgeois-landlord counter-revolution, with the help of armed imperialist intervention, is still managing to obstruct the alliance of the urban labour movement and the peasant movement in the non-Soviet territories with the struggle of the workers' and peasants' Red Army in the Soviet areas.
However, despite the concentrated pressure of the KMT, helped by the powerful armed forces of the imperialists, on the workers' and peasants' movement, the peasant war, led by the proletariat, a leadership which is being ever more methodically put into operation by the CP, the Red Army, and the Soviets, is spreading to more and more areas.
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The further development of the Soviet movement in China, which is revolutionizing the entire colonial world, is bound up with the expansion and consolidation of the territorial basis of the Soviets and Red Army. When the entire bourgeois-landlord counter-revolutionary regime maintains itself in power largely by the armed suppression of the workers and peasants, when the least attempt of the masses to protest or to fight brings them into collision with the entire KMT regime, the workers' and peasants' Red Army, led by the communists, naturally becomes the centre around which the revolutionary workers and peasants rally, unite, and organize, the most important lever in getting the revolutionary movement into action, the supreme expression of the revolutionary crisis in China, and the basic form of struggle to overthrow the KMT, a force which ensures the further powerful development of the revolution.
The attention of all party organizations must be directed to the further expansion of the Soviet areas, to the establishment of a broad militant alliance between the workers' movement and the peasants' movement, to the co-ordination of the revolutionary struggle in the non-Soviet territories with the activities of the workers' and peasants' Red Armies. The party should popularize throughout the non-Soviet areas the activities of the Soviet Governments and Red Armies. To further the victorious progress of the revolution and ensure proletarian hegemony, the CCP must in the first place achieve the following objectives: (a) establish and consolidate the Red Army on a firm territorial basis.
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(b) establish a central Soviet Government
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( c ) extend the mass revolutionary struggle.
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These three tasks must be linked with a more powerful and more widespread anti-imperialist struggle.
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THE CCP AS THE LEADER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT
The success of the Soviet movement led by the communist party means that in the rest of China the influence of CP slogans and ideas is spreading with great spontaneous force among ever wider strata of workers, peasants, and soldiers of the warlords' armies. The entire course of the class struggle impels the many millions of working people into active revolutionary struggle. This is the chief source of a party's strength and the guarantee of victory for the revolution.
But the CCP has not yet managed to adapt its work among the masses to the requirements flowing from the spread and growth of the revolutionary struggle. Its influence over the masses has only to a very small degree been organizationally consolidated.
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This is the main reason why, despite the revolutionary crisis in the country, the party has failed to stir up in the non-Soviet areas a powerful movement in defence of the Soviet areas against the KMT campaign.
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The ECCI presidium notes that when, in the summer of 1930, the revolutionary movement confronted the CCP with new tasks... part of the leadership, headed by Comrade Li Li-san, put forward, in opposition to the Leninist line, an anti-bolshevik and semi-Trotskyist line.
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The ECCI presidium fully approves the consistent struggle waged against Comrade Li Li-san's anti-Leninist policies.
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The ECCI presidium notes that the third plenum of the CC/CCP did not reveal to the party the real substance of the errors and semi-Trotskyist positions of Comrade Li Li-san, did not understand that to overcome Li Li-san's anti-Leninist ideas was in this sphere the prerequisite for and the basic form of the struggle against right opportunism as the chief danger at the present time. The third plenum adopted an ambiguous and conciliatory position in regard to Li Li-san's anti-Leninist policies, which made it easier for the right liquidators and splitters, agents of the counter-revolutionary Chen Tu-hsiu group (Lo Chang-lung) to go over to an offensive against the CCP line. It is satisfactory to note that there then arose from within the party itself a healthy tendency to overcome the vacillations of some of the leaders of that time.
The ECCI presidium notes with satisfaction that the fourth enlarged plenum of the CC/CCP, fighting on two fronts, repelled the attack of the right splitters and liquidators, who are trying to exploit for anti-party purposes the discontent of parts of the worker cadres with the errors of the Li Li-san group, and with the conciliatory attitude towards them.
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The ECCI presidium agrees with the necessity for those organizational measures (re-election of the politbureau, expulsion from the party of Lo Chang-lung and two of his supporters for publishing an anti-party pamphlet and for splitting activities) taken by the party at the time and immediately after the fourth plenum with the object of ensuring the execution of the party's line and consolidating its ranks.
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The party's links with the masses, the confidence of the masses in the party— this is the decisive condition for the victory of the revolution.
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At the same time the party must intensify its struggle against the Chen Tu-hsiu and Trotskyist groups which are now joining forces. Recently the party's organizational and ideological struggle against these counter-revolutionary groups has slackened, while the groups themselves have shown markedly greater activity. In view of their new manoeuvres to break up the ranks of the party and the Red Army, the CGP must wage a vigorous battle in the press, in its organizations, and also among the worker and peasant masses, against these lackeys of the Kuomintang and the counter-revolution.
Proletarian hegemony and the victorious development of the revolution can be ensured only if the CCP becomes a proletarian party not merely in virtue of its political line, but also in its composition and in the part played by industrial workers in all its leading bodies. Fearless, methodical, and vigorous recruiting of the best workers into the party must become the main political task of all its cells and committees. The CCP must infiltrate its basic organizations into all large industrial undertakings. Party organizations must be re-established and strengthened in all the important centres of the country. It must in the shortest possible time reestablish the broken links with the groups of party members in industrial undertakings, who have for some years struggled on without the guidance of and contact with party organizations.
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EXTENDING MASS WORK TO THE NON-SOVIET AREAS
The immediate aim of the party's work in non-Soviet areas, to reach which it must exert all its forces, is the organization of a powerful mass movement in defence of the Soviet areas, and to give all help to defeating the KMT's military campaign against the workers' and peasants' Red Army. To organize the masses, to lead their daily struggle in conjunction with a mass campaign in defence of the Soviet movement— that is the primary link which the party must seize for rousing the working masses in the industrial centres to active support of the Soviet areas.
The decisive condition for raising the fighting capacity of the working class is the re-establishment, strengthening, and expansion of the mass organizations of the proletariat. . . .
The party must re-establish and strengthen the red trade unions by setting up a comprehensive network of rank-and-file organizations in the factories.
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After careful study it should draw up a definitive programme of partial demands, and make them the basis of its mass work.
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This programme of demands should be used as a means of exposing the treacherous role of the leaders of the yellow trade unions and the labour legislation of the KMT. There is a serious danger of underestimating the importance of work in the yellow unions. Among their members there is growing sharp discontent with the KMT, in particular its decree on 'reorganizing' the unions. The party must expose the KMT's 'reorganization' of the unions as a measure provoked by the radicalization of the union members, and designed to oppress still further the working class. It is particularly important by means of concrete facts to expose the dual role of the yellow union leaders, who are in fact carrying through this 'reorganization' while in words opposing it. While in no way defending the former yellow unions, communists must use the reorganization to sharpen the struggle of the workers against the KMT and to strengthen the red unions. Greater activity by the red unions, in particular in the leadership of strikes, will create favourable conditions for setting up a mass opposition movement in the yellow unions and carrying out the tactics of united front from below.
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It is a characteristic of the present labour movement that, although strikes are becoming more frequent and acute, the overwhelming majority break out spontaneously, and find no revolutionary leadership, because of the extreme weakness of party work among the masses.
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It follows that the party must, at whatever cost, strengthen its links with the masses, prepare, organize, and lead the workers' strikes, which will undoubtedly quickly increase the scope of the strike movement and lead it on to more aggressive forms of struggle.
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One of the most dangerous manifestations of opportunism at the present time is the reluctance and inability to combine the struggle for daily economic demands with steady day-by-day mass work to mobilize the masses in defence of the Soviet movement. Communists must use every sign of mass discontent, every action of the masses, for skilful and consistent agitation, designed primarily to explain the significance of the struggle of the Red Army and Soviets to liberate the labouring masses of all China, and of the revolutionary achievements of the workers and peasants in the Soviet territories.
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At the same time the party must do everything possible to extend the antiimperialist movement and to bring it under communist leadership.
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The party must at the same time actively develop the peasant movement in the KMT areas.
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The agrarian movement and guerrilla warfare in Kuomintang China can and must lead to the formation of more and more centres of Soviet power and the expansion of the existing Soviet bases.
The party must expand its work to disrupt the armies of the militarists, in the first place those troops conducting operations against the Soviets and the Red Army.
The objective situation is more favourable than ever before for the party's work in this field. The struggle for land is bringing the pauperized peasant masses, who form a large part of the militarists' armies, on to the side of the workers' and peasants' revolution.
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The CCP must make wide use of the positive experience (Mao Tsetung) of running short-term courses for soldiers of the militarist armies taken prisoner by the Red Army, continue the steps taken to send its best workers and guerrilla fighters into the militarists' armies, to form within them communist groups to disintegrate the enemy's army from within, to support and incite every kind of conflict within the KMT armies.
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With the aim of mobilizing the working and peasant masses of the non-Soviet areas for active support of the Red Army and the Soviets, and of developing the agrarian revolution, the central Soviet Government should publish a programme of struggle for the labouring and exploited masses of China, a programme of agrarian and anti-imperialist revolution, proclaiming the aims and objects of the Soviet Government, and the gains made in the Soviet territories by the workers, peasants, and urban poor.
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THE PARTY'S TASKS IN THE SOVIET AREAS AND THE PROSPECTS OF THE SOVIET MOVEMENT
The most important current task is to strengthen and consolidate the Red Army, to secure unity of action of all parts of the Red Army, to secure militant support for it from the entire mass of workers and peasants, to repulse the new attacks of the Kuomintang, to shatter and break up its armed forces, and to begin an offensive to expand the Soviet areas and to form a single compact Soviet area.
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It is necessary to put Soviet democracy into effect, that is, to ensure genuine and unbreakable bonds between the Soviet and the masses; all the organs of Soviet power must be elective ... kulaks and other exploiting classes of town and village must be deprived of electoral rights, and the Soviets must be methodically purged of any kulak elements.
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A central Soviet Government must be set up as quickly as possible in the safest area. The Soviet Government must promulgate and put into operation a programme of anti-imperialist agrarian revolution.
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The party and the Soviets must do everything to see that the agrarian question is decided by the labourers, the poor and middle peasants themselves, in their own interests. All the estates of the landlords, militarists, gentry, churches, and usurers, without any exception of small landlords and 'good' gentry, both those who work their own farms and those who rent them out, must be immediately confiscated without any compensation to the former owners. The confiscated lands should be equally divided, under the guidance of the Soviets, among the poor and middle peasants, the labourers, coolies, and Red Army soldiers. The former owners of the confiscated estates should not receive any share of it. Confiscation should not be extended to the land of the middle peasants, not even the rich ones.
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But the communists should not propose equal distribution if this question is not raised by the peasant masses themselves.
The Soviets should carry out these measures only with the direct and active support of the masses of peasants and labourers, and only with the agreement of the poor and middle peasants who own their own land.
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The party should at the same time give warning against premature attempts to decree nationalization of the land.
Nationalization of the land can be effectively carried out only when the Soviet revolution has triumphed over decisive areas of the country and if it has the support of the basic peasant masses.
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The starting point of the policy of the party in the Soviet areas should be the task of carrying out the bourgeois-democratic agrarian revolution and its development into the socialist revolution. As the present Soviet movement extends, the workers and peasants are already creating the prerequisites for China's transition to a socialist road of development.
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With every day that passes the agrarian revolution reveals more clearly its antiimperialist character; the reciprocal interaction of the agrarian and anti-imperialist movement is spreading more widely and becoming more marked. In the struggle against imperialism, the struggle to destroy its political and economic footholds in China, the basic masses of the peasantry, under proletarian leadership, are rising, and learning from their own experience that without the liberation of the country from imperialism, the agrarian revolution cannot succeed.
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At the same time the struggle to create and reinforce the prerequisites for China's transition to the socialist road of development demands the utmost possible expansion of the territorial basis of the Soviets and Red Army, their victory over the armed forces of counter-revolution, and the establishment of Soviet authority over an area of decisive significance in China.
Only the Soviet revolution can really unite China into one State. The union of the industrial and peasants' movements, the overthrow of the counter-revolutionary Government, the establishment of Soviet power in the large proletarian centres, will draw immense new sections of workers and peasants into the revolution, strengthen many-fold the hegemony of the proletariat... and so give the central Soviet Government a genuinely national Chinese force and significance.
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The interests of the Soviet struggle to unite China, to liquidate the agrarian system and imperialist enslavement, make it imperative for the Soviet authorities in the course of the revolution not only to nationalize all foreign undertakings, but also to confiscate and to nationalize enterprises owned by native capitalists, above all those which are of national importance.
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But it must not be forgotten that in China, a country of small and very small-scale production, where as a result of the agrarian revolution the role of simple commodity (peasant) production will become even greater, where, even after the liquidation of feudal land tenure for the benefit of the peasant masses . . . capitalism will undoubtedly show a certain tendency to expand, where, in virtue of the low level of productive forces the proletariat is comparatively few in number . . . the period of transition (and hence the period of socialist construction) will be more prolonged than in countries where capitalism is more highly developed.
The direct transition from the dictatorship of two classes, proletariat and peasantry, to the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the socialist stage of the revolution, will become the party's central task only after the victory and consistent execution of the agrarian and anti-imperialist revolution in the decisive part of China, which will immensely strengthen the political hegemony of the proletariat and create the necessary shift in the balance of forces to its advantage.
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In observing that the Comintern sections in the capitalist countries have so far done little to fulfil their duty of giving wholehearted support to the Soviet revolution in China, the ECCI presidium makes it obligatory on all CI sections to carry out the widest possible mass campaign in support of the Chinese Soviets, to struggle by every means in their power, including organized revolutionary work in the armed forces, against the granting of financial and military support by the imperialists for the Chinese counter-revolution, and for the withdrawal of foreign troops from China, and against counter-revolutionary intervention.
The cause of the Chinese Soviets is the cause of the entire international proletariat.