Li Fu-jen

In the Dark of Night the C.I. Prepares
the New Betrayal for China

Members of CP Are Kept in Ignorance

Bolshevik Leninists Point the Way

(Early 1936)

From The Militant, Vol. II No. 18, 9 May 1936, p. 2.
Translated from Struggle, Organ of Communist League of China.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

SHANGHAI – Conversations between some of our comrades and five Stalinists here recently showed that at least some of the rank-and-file of the Chinese Communist Party are not finding it easy to swallow the “new line” for China – the reestablishment of the “bloc of four classes” which led to the catastrophic defeat of the Chinese revolution in 1925–27.

They cannot stomach the idea of being harnessed once again to Chiang Kai-shek’s chariot. The bureaucrats at the top, it seems, are trying to comfort the dissenters by the well-known method of deception. But to do this they have had to conceal from the membership of the party large portions of the Seventh Comintern congress documents!

Our comrades quoted to the young Stalinists Wan Min’s offer to give Chiang Kai-shek an opportunity to “atone for his crimes” against the Chinese people. (Bolshevik, Moscow, November 1935)

Only a “Maneuver”

“Ah,” they retorted, “that’s only a maneuver.” That is what the bureaucrats are telling them, that the new offer of a “united front” is being made “only to expose Chiang as a traitor who is not prepared to fight for China’s independence.”

We asked them if they had seen the documents of the Seventh Congress. They had not! The leadership, we learned, hands down to the rank and file only carefully selected excerpts. So we quoted to them from Manuilsky’s speech, which has been used by Wan Min abroad in several of his recent articles elaborating the “new line,” notably the following:

“The setting up of such a program for a broad anti-imperialist fighting front of the Chinese people is not a maneuver on the part of the Communist Party. It would be a crime to maneuver with such a serious matter as the defense of the people against imperialist robbery. One may maneuver with and against the enemy but not at the expense of the people whose national liberty and freedom the Communists defend selflessly.”

To which Wan Min added:

“Moreover, if you say that our policy is a maneuver, then why do you not try to expose our maneuver by your honest participation in the anti-imperialist united front?”

Staggered by True Facts

Our young Stalinist auditors gasped at these quotations. They were at first so incredulous that they thought we had cooked them up – (cooking up quotations being part of every Stalinist’s education!) – but we showed them exact sources, chapter and verse. They were visibly staggered. No, they did not think we were counter-revolutionaries, but they did not yet fully grasp our views or agree with them. They asked for more discussion and of course we readily assented.

We showed them our paper, Struggle. This impressed them greatly. It seems that the Stalinists are publishing absolutely nothing here now. except occasional leaflets containing simple slogans. And here, our small group, without the financial aid of Moscow, was bringing out an excellent, printed, four-page bi-weekly. Our first meeting ended with all five digging into their pockets and collectively contributing five dollars for the paper.

Thus it has fallen to the Chinese Bolshevik-Leninists to inform the ranks of the C.P. of the Seventh Congress speeches and reports in all their full glory! The Stalinist bureaucrats here interpret the new policy as a “maneuver” in order to get their followers to swallow it, while the Comintern pundits in Moscow (Wan Min, Manuilsky) designate such a conception as a “crime.”

Wan Min’s Crooked Calculations

Wan Min’s exegesis in justification of the “new line” proceed, with characteristic contempt for revolutionary cadres, on the two assumptions which have become the common yardstick for all the Stalinist falsifiers. First, he assumes that the older generation of Chinese revolutionists is for the most part dead, while those who remain have fallen into passivity and no longer participate in the revolutionary struggle. He expects no challenge from that quarter. Second, he knows that the younger generation of revolutionists did not participate in the events of 1925–27, any more than Wan Min himself did. (Wan Min was a young student at Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow from 1926 to 1929. He went there originally as a Kuomintang member, not a Communist.) He banks on the fact that the present-day Communists have no personal recollections of that period and Stalinist literature has not enlightened them, to be sure, as to the true character of the policies pursued and the reasons why a great revolutionary movement ended in one of the most vicious and destructive counter-revolutions in modern history.

Wan Min therefore feels quite safe in perpetrating the most blatant falsehoods, in poisoning the political atmosphere and thereby preparing the destruction of the third Chinese revolution. Between Wan Min and the accomplishment of his rotten aim stand the Bolshevik-Leninists, organized in the Communist League of China. We shall teach the workers to turn their backs on this lying traitor and the corrupt masters whom he serves.

Covering Their Criminal Past

The Stalinists can only cover their shameless present by covering their criminal past. Thus, in referring to the criminally false line pursued in 1925–27, Wan Min ascribes full responsibility to the “opportunists in the leadership” of the Chinese Communist Party, “headed by Chen Tu-hsiu.” Wan Jilin is careful to point out that in 1927 “it was not the anti-imperialist united front tactics themselves that were at fault ... the opportunists who were incorrect.”

But Wan Min prefers not to turn back to Stalin’s famous Theses on the Problems of the Chinese Revolution in which he declared, among many other similar remarks:

“The student youth (revolutionary youth), the working youth, the peasant youth – all these are a force which can advance the revolution with seven league boots, if it should be subordinated to the ideological and political influence of the Kuomintang.”

Does it appear from this that it was Chen Tu-hsiu who “renounced the revolutionary struggle of the working class”? On the contrary, is it not abundantly clear that Chen Tu-hsiu was faithfully carrying out the class collaborationist policy formulated by Stalin and the Comintern?

For Wan Min and his similars to state this fact and all the other verifiable facts concerning the subordination of the interests of the proletariat to those of the bourgeoisie under the direct aegis of the Comintern would indict the real authors of The catastrophe and strike a blow at the Stalinist cult of infallibility. Hence the blame was placed on the C.P. leadership, especially Chen Tu-hsiu, who today stands in the ranks of the Fourth Internationalists, and is a prisoner of the Kuomintang.

Comrade Chen Tu-hsiu has for years been hounded and defamed by all the hacks of Stalinism because he refused to become a silent scapegoat, because he insisted on analyzing openly the reasons for the great catastrophe and drawing lessons from it for the future. He was and is traduced and vilified and slandered, not because he committed mistakes fatal for the revolution, but because he would not agree to deceive the workers and act as a cover for Stalin and Co.

The facts of history cannot forever be concealed. In the interests of the Chinese toilers we shall drag them out into the light of day and warn all honest revolutionaries to be on their guard against the Stalinist falsifiers. We shall neglect no means to expose their lies and their slanders.

The Real Culprit: Then and Now

For Bolshevik-Leninists have nothing in common with the methods of Stalinism. It is our policy to tell the whole truth, concealing nothing Only this way can past experiences become useful lessons for a victorious future. For the Stalinists, truth is dangerous. They were prepared to forgive Chen Tu-hsiu “his” opportunist errors and even invited him to Moscow “to talk things over.” They defended Chen Tu-hsiu against the Opposition during the revolution precisely because Chen was carrying out Stalin’s instructions. His real crime in the eyes of the Stalinists consisted in his refusal afterward to cover up the role of the Comintern in the catastrophe of 1927. his refusal to bend the knee and take the rap.

The “new” opportunist line of Stalinism in China will lead to new disasters. It runs counter in every line and syllable to the interests of the Chinese revolution. The Moscow bureaucrats think they will “defend the Soviet Union” by having the Chinese Communists renounce the revolutionary struggle and join Chiang Kai-shek In a “People’s Government.” But this would be disastrous not only for the Chinese revolution but for the Soviet Union, for such a government. not only will be unable to stem the tide of Japanese imperialism but will, on the contrary, compromise with it and drown in blood the third Chinese revolution, in which the real defense of the Soviet Union resides.

Against this perfidious attempt at betrayal every Chinese revolutionist must be on guard. Down with Stalinism! Build the new revolutionary party of the Fourth International, the only guarantee of triumph for a revolutionary China!

Last updated on 7 May 2018