Trotsky on China


January 3, 1930

1. In its last stage the conflict revealed, as is known, the complete military impotence of the present Chinese government.

This in itself clearly demonstrates that there has not been a victorious bourgeois revolution in China, as Louzon, Urbahns, and others think, for a victorious revolution would have consolidated the army and the state. In China there was a victorious counterrevolution, directed against the overwhelming majority of the nation and therefore incapable of creating an army.

2. At the same time it strikingly demonstrates the inconsistency of the Menshevikpolicy of Stalin-Martynov, based since the beginning of 1924 on the assumption that the"national" Chinese bourgeoisie is capable of leading the revolution. In reality the bourgeoisie, with political support from the Comintern and material aid from the imperialists, was capable only of smashing the revolution and thereby reducing the Chinese state to complete impotence.

3. The Sino-Soviet conflict, in its military stage, revealed the enormous superiority of the [Russian] proletarian revolution, although weakened by the erroneous policy of the leadership in the last years, over the [Chinese] bourgeois counterrevolution which had at its disposal substantial diplomatic and material support from imperialism.

4. The victory of the October revolution over the April Counterrevolution (the coup by Chiang Kai-shek in April 1927) can in no sense be considered a victory for Stalin's policy. On the Contrary, that policy has suffered a series of heavy defeats. The seizure of the railroad was Chiang Kai-shek's payment for the services rendered by Stalin. Stalin's subsequent wager on Feng Yu-hsiang was equally inconsistent. The Opposition warned against the adventurist anti-Chiang Kai-shek bloc with Feng Yuhsiang after April 1, 927 as energetically as it had protested against Stalin's bloc with Chiang Kai-shek.

5. The unprincipled wager on the Kellogg Pact also resulted in a heavy loss. The Soviet government's adherence to the pact of American imperialism was a capitulation of the Soviet government as shameful as it was useless. By signing the pact, the so called instrument of peace, Stalin openly assisted the American government in deceiving the working masses of America and Europe. What was the purpose of adherence to the pact Obviously to gain the goodwill of the United States and thereby hasten diplomatic recognition. As should have been expected this end was not achieved, for the American government had no reason to pay for what it got for nothing. New York, basing itself on the Kellogg Pact, took the first opportunity to play the role of China's protector against the Soviet republic. Moscow was obliged to reply with a sharp rebuke. That was correct and inevitable. But this necessary demonstration against the American government's attempt to intervene disclosed Stalin's criminal light-mindedness in joining the Kellogg Pact.

6. There still remains the question of the revolutionary communist detachment under the leadership of Chu Te. Pravda wrote about this on the eve of the transition of the conflict into a military stage. After that, we heard no more about these Chinese workers and peasants whom someone sent into armed battle under the banner of communism. What were the aims of the struggle? What was the role of the party in it? What was the fate of this detachment? And, finally, in whose back room are all these questions decided?

On this last point, no less important than all the rest, a final balance sheet cannot yet be drawn. But everything points to the fact that bureaucratic adventurism in this instance as in the others bears the responsibility for the weakening and exhaustion of the reserves of the Chinese revolution.


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