Trotsky on China


From Writings of Leon Trotsky (1930-31). Text from Biulleten Oppozitsii (Paris), nos. 15-16, September-October 1930. Translated by Jim Burnett.

Published September 1930

A study of the Chinese revolution is a most important and urgent matter for every communist and for every advanced worker. It is not possible to talk seriously in any country about the struggle of the proletariat for power without a study by the proletarian vanguard of the fundamental events, motive forces, and strategic methods of the Chinese revolution. It is not possible to understand what day is without knowing what night is; it is not possible to understand what summer is without having experienced winter. In the same way, it is not possible to understand the meaning of the methods of the October uprising without a study of the methods of the Chinese catastrophe. In the meantime, the history of the Chinese revolution has been a forbidden topic for the Comintern. There is not a single book which has summed up what the lessons are of the great experiences of the battles and defeats of 1925-27. This book has not been written, and it will not and cannot be written by the Comintern leadership for the same reason that the Roman conclave will not write a scientific history of the Holy Inquisition: it is not possible to demand or expect that any institution should write the history of its own crimes.

The working up of the history of the second Chinese revolution (1925-27) can be done only by the Communist Left Opposition: First place here belongs, clearly, to our Chinese comrades. We think that this question must be included on the agenda of the international conference of the Left Opposition (Bolshevik-Leninists).


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