November 24, 2017

About China

The International Situation and the Defence of the U.S.S.R.
Speech Delivered on August
August 9, 1927

II
Let us pass to the question of China.

I shall not dwell on the mistakes of the opposition on the question of the character and prospects of the Chinese revolution. I shall not do so because enough has been said, and said quite convincingly, on this subject, and it is not worth while repeating it here. Nor shall I dwell on the assertion that in its present phase the Chinese revolution is a revolution for customs autonomy (Trotsky). Nor is it worth while dwelling on the assertion that no feudal survivals exist in China, or that, if they do exist, they are of no great importance (Trotsky and Radek), in which case the agrarian revolution in China would be absolutely incomprehensible. You no doubt already know from our Party press about these and similar mistakes of the opposition on the Chinese question.

Let us pass to the question of the basic premises of Leninism in deciding the questions of revolution in colonial and dependent countries.

What is the basic premise of the Comintern and the Communist Parties generally in their approach to the questions of the revolutionary movement in colonial and dependent countries?

It consists in a strict distinction between revolution in imperialist countries, in countries that oppress other nations, and revolution in colonial and dependent countries, in countries that suffer from imperialist oppression by other states. Revolution in imperialist countries is one thing: there the bourgeoisie is the oppressor of other nations; there it is counter-revolutionary at all stages of the revolution; there the national factor, as a factor in the struggle for emancipation, is absent. Revolution in colonial and dependent countries is another thing: there the imperialist oppression by other states is one of the factors of the revolution; there this oppression cannot but affect the national bourgeoisie also; there the national bourgeoisie, at a certain stage and for a certain period, may support the revolutionary movement of its country against imperialism; there the national factor, as a factor in the struggle for emancipation, is a revolutionary factor.

To fail to draw this distinction, to fail to understand this difference and to identify revolution in imperialist countries with revolution in colonial countries, is to depart from the path of Marxism, from the pathof Leninism, to take the path of the supporters of the Second International.

Here is what Lenin said about this in his report on the national and colonial questions at the Second Congress of the Comintern :

"What is the most important, the fundamental idea of our theses? The distinction between oppressed nations and oppressing nations. We emphasise this distinction—in contrast to the Second International and bourgeois democracy" (Vol. XXV, p. 351).

The principal error of the opposition is that it fails to understand and does not admit this difference between the two types of revolution.

The principal error of the opposition is that it identifies the 1905 Revolution in Russia, an imperialist country which oppressed other nations, with the revolution in China, an oppressed, semi-colonial country, which is compelled to fight imperialist oppression on the part of other states.

Here in Russia, in 1905, the revolution was directed against the bourgeoisie, against the liberal bourgeoisie, in spite of the fact that it was a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Why? Because the liberal bourgeoisie of an imperialist country is bound to be counter-revolutionary. For that very reason among the Bolsheviks at that time there was not, and could not be, any question of temporary blocs and agreements with the liberal bourgeoisie. On these grounds, the opposition asserts that the same attitude should be adopted in China at all stages of the revolutionary movement, that temporary agreements and blocs with the national bourgeoisie are never permissible in China under any conditions. But the opposition forgets that only people who do not understand and do not admit that there is a difference between revolution in oppressed countries and revolution in oppressing countries can talk like that, that only people who are breaking with Leninism and are sinking to the level of supporters of the Second International can talk like that.

Here is what Lenin said about the permissibility of entering into temporary agreements and blocs with the bourgeois-liberation movement in colonial countries :

"The Communist International must enter into a temporary alliance* with bourgeois democracy in the colonies and backward countries, but must not merge with it, and must unfailingly preserve the independence of the proletarian movement, even if in its most rudimentary form" (see Vol. XXV, p. 290) . . . "we, as Communists, should, and will, support bourgeois-liberation*movements in colonial countries only when those movements are really revolutionary, when the representatives of those movements do not hinder us in training and organising the peasantry and the broad masses of the exploited in a revolutionary spirit" (Vol. XXV, p. 353).

How could it "happen" that Lenin, who fulminated against agreements with the bourgeoisie in Russia, admitted that such agreements and blocs were permissible in China? Perhaps Lenin was mistaken? Perhaps he had turned from revolutionary tactics to opportunist tactics? Of course not! It "happened" because Lenin understood the difference between revolution in an oppressed country and revolution in an oppressing country. It "happened" because Lenin understood that, at a certain stage of its development, the national bourgeoisie in the colonial and dependent countries may support the revolutionary movement of its own country against the oppression of imperialism. That the opposition refuses to understand, but it refuses to do so because it is breaking with Lenin's revolutionary tactics, breaking with the revolutionary tactics of Leninism.

Have you noticed how carefully in their speeches the leaders of the opposition evaded these directives of Lenin's, being afraid to mention them? Why do they evade these universally-known tactical directives of Lenin's for the colonial and dependent countries? Why are they afraid of these directives? Because they are afraid of the truth. Because Lenin's tactical directives refute the entire ideological and political line of Trotskyism on the questions of the Chinese revolution.

About the stages of the Chinese revolution. The opposition has got so confused that it is now denying that there are any stages at all in the development of the Chinese revolution. But is there such a thing as a revolution that does not go through definite stages of development? Did not our revolution have its stages of development? Take Lenin's April Theses 8 and you will see that Lenin recognised two stages in our revolution: the first stage was the bourgeois-democratic revolution, with the agrarian movement as its main axis; the second stage was the October Revolution, with the seizure of power by the proletariat as its main axis.

What are the stages in the Chinese revolution?

In my opinion there should be three :

the first stage is the revolution of an all-national united front, the Canton period, when the revolution was striking chiefly at foreign imperialism, and the national bourgeoisie supported the revolutionary movement;

the second stage is the bourgeois-democratic revolution, after the national troops reached the Yangtse River, when the national bourgeoisie deserted the revolution and the agrarian movement grew into a mighty revolution of tens of millions of the peasantry (the Chinese revolution is now at the second stage of its development);

the third stage is the Soviet revolution, which has not yet come, but will come.

Whoever fails to understand that there is no such thing as a revolution without definite stages of development, whoever fails to understand that there are three stages in the development of the Chinese revolution, understands nothing about Marxism or about the Chinese question.

What is the characteristic feature of the first stage of the Chinese revolution?

The characteristic feature of the first stage of the Chinese revolution is, firstly, that it was the revolution of an all-national united front, and secondly, that it was directed mainly against foreign imperialist oppression (the Hongkong strike, 9 etc.). Was Canton then the centre, the place d'armes, of the revolutionary movement in China? Of course, it was. Only those who are blind can deny that now.

Is it true that the first stage of a colonial revolution must have just such a character? I think it is true. In the "Supplementary Theses" of the Second Congress of the Comintern, which deal with the revolution in China and India, it is explicitly stated that in those countries "foreign domination is all the time hindering the free development of social life," that "therefore, the first step* of a revolution in the colonies must be to overthrow foreign capitalism" (see Verbatim Report of the Second Congress of the Comintern, p. 605).

The characteristic feature of the Chinese revolution is that it has taken this "first step," has passed through the first stage of its development, has passed through the period of the revolution of an all-national united front and has entered the second stage of its development, the period of the agrarian revolution.

The characteristic feature, for instance, of the Turkish revolution (the Kemalists), on the contrary, is that it got stuck at the "first step," at the first stage of its development, at the stage of the bourgeois-liberation movement, without even attempting to pass to the second stage of its development, the stage of the agrarian revolution.

What were the Kuomintang 10 and its government at the first stage of the revolution, the Canton period? They were a bloc of the workers, the peasants, the bourgeois intellectuals and the national bourgeoisie. Was Canton at that time the centre of the revolutionary movement, the place d'armes of the revolution? Was it correct policy at that time to support the Canton Kuomintang, as the government of the struggle for liberation from imperialism? Were we right in giving assistance to Canton in China and, say, Ankara in Turkey, when Canton and Ankara were fighting imperialism? Yes, we were right. We were right, and we were then following in the footsteps of Lenin, for the struggle waged by Canton and Ankara was dissipating the forces of imperialism, was weakening and discrediting imperialism, and was thus facilitating the development of the centre of the world revolution, the development of the U.S.S.R. Is it true that at that time the present leaders of our opposition joined with us in supporting both Canton and Ankara, giving them certain assistance? Yes, it is true. Let anybody try to refute that.

But what does a united front with the national bourgeoisie at the first stage of a colonial revolution mean? Does it mean that Communists must not intensify the struggle of the workers and peasants against the landlords and the national bourgeoisie, that the proletariat ought to sacrifice its independence, if only to a very slight extent, if only for a very short time? No, it does not mean that. A united front can be of revolutionary significance only where, and only on condition that, it does not prevent the Communist Party from conducting its independent political and organisational work, from organising the proletariat into an independent political force, from rousing the peasantry against the landlords, from openly organising a workers' and peasants' revolution and from preparing in this way the conditions for the hegemony of the proletariat. I think that the reporter fully proved on the basis of universally-known documents that it was precisely this conception of the united front that the Comintern impressed upon the Chinese Communist Party.

Kamenev and Zinoviev referred here to a single telegram sent to Shanghai in October 1926, stating that for the time being, until Shanghai was captured, the agrarian movement should not be intensified. I am far from admitting that that telegram was right. I have never regarded and do not now regard the Comintern as being infallible. Mistakes are sometimes made, and that telegram was unquestionably a mistake. But, firstly, the Comintern itself cancelled that telegram a few weeks later (in November 1926), without any promptings or signals from the opposition. Secondly, why has the opposition kept silent about this until now? Why has it recalled that telegram only after nine months? And why does it conceal from the Party the fact that the Comintern cancelled that telegram nine months ago? Hence, it would be malicious slander to assert that that telegram defined the line of our leadership. As a matter of fact, it was an isolated, episodic telegram, totally uncharacteristic of the line of the Comintern, of the line of our leadership. That is obvious, I repeat, if only from the fact that it was cancelled within a few weeks by a number of documents which laid down the line, and which were indeed characteristic of our leadership.

Permit me to refer to these documents.

Here, for instance, is an excerpt from the resolution of the Seventh Plenum of the Comintern, in November 1926, i.e., a month after the above-mentioned telegram:

"The peculiar feature of the present situation is its transitional character, the fact that the proletariat must choose between the prospect of a bloc with considerable sections of the bourgeoisie and the prospect of further consolidating its alliance with the peasantry. If the proletariat fails to put forward a radical agrarian programme, it will be unable to draw the peasantry into the revolutionary struggle and will forfeit its hegemony in the national-liberation movement."*

And further :

"The Canton People's Government will not be able to retain power in the revolution, will not be able to achieve complete victory over foreign imperialism and native reaction until the cause of national liberation is identified with the agrarian revolution"* (see Resolution of the Seventh Enlarged Plenum of the E.C.C.I.).

There you have a document which really does define the line of the Comintern leadership.

It is very strange that the leaders of the opposition avoid mention of this universally-known Comintern document.

Perhaps it will not be taken as boastful if I refer to the speech I delivered in November of that same year, 1926, in the Chinese Commission of the Comintern, which, not without my participation of course, drafted the resolution of the Seventh Enlarged Plenum on the Chinese question. That speech was subsequently published in pamphlet form under the title The Prospects of the Revolution in China. Here are some passages from that speech :

"I know that there are Kuomintangists and even Chinese Communists who do not consider it possible to unleash revolution in the countryside, since they fear that if the peasantry were drawn into the revolution it would disrupt the united anti-imperialist front. That is a profound error, comrades. The more quickly and thoroughly the Chinese peasantry is drawn into the revolution, the stronger and more powerful the anti-imperialist front in China will be."

And further :

"I know that among the Chinese Communists there are comrades who do not approve of workers going on strike for an improvement of their material conditions and legal status, and who try to dissuade the workers from striking. (A voice: "That happened in Canton and Shanghai.") That is a great mistake, comrades. It is a very serious underestimation of the role and importance of the Chinese proletariat. This fact should be noted in the theses as something decidedly objectionable. It would be a great mistake if the Chinese Communists failed to take advantage of the present favourable situation to assist the workers to improve their material conditions and legal status, even through strikes. Otherwise, what purpose does the revolution in China serve?" (See Stalin, The Prospects of the Revolution in China.) 11

And here is a third document, of December 1926, issued at a time when every city in China was bombarding the Comintern with assertions that an extension of the struggle of the workers would lead to a crisis, to unemployment, to the closing down of mills and factories :

"A general policy of retreat in the towns and of curtailing the workers' struggle to improve their conditions would be wrong. The struggle in the countryside must be extended, but at the same time advantage must be taken of the favourable situation to improve the material conditions and legal status of the workers, while striving in every way to lend the workers' struggle an organised character, which precludes excesses or running too far ahead. Special efforts must be exerted to direct the struggle in the towns against the big bourgeoisie and, above all, against the imperialists, so as to keep the Chinese petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie as far as possible within the framework of the united front against the common enemy. We regard the system of conciliation boards, arbitration courts, etc., as expedient, provided a correct working-class policy is ensured in these institutions. At the same time we think it necessary to utter the warning that decrees directed against the right to strike, against workers' freedom of assembly, etc., are absolutely impermissible."

Here is a fourth document, issued six weeks before Chiang Kai-shek's coup 12 :

"The work of the Kuomintang and Communist units in the army must be intensified; they must be organised wherever they do not now exist and it is possible to organise them; where it is not possible to organise Communist units, intensified work must be conducted with the help of concealed Communists.

"It is necessary to adopt the course of arming the workers and peasants and converting the peasant committees in the localities into actual organs of governmental authority equipped with armed self-defence, etc.

"The Communist Party must everywhere come forward as such; a policy of voluntary semi-legality is impermissible; the Communist Party must not come forward as a brake on the mass movement; the Communist Party should not cover up the treacherous and reactionary policy of the Kuomintang Rights, and should mobilise the masses around the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party on the basis of exposing the Rights.

"The attention of all political workers who are loyal to the revolution must be drawn to the fact that at the present time, in connection with the regrouping of class forces and concentration of the imperialist armies, the Chinese revolution is passing through a critical period, and that it can achieve further victories only by resolutely adopting the course of developing the mass movement. Otherwise a tremendous danger threatens the revolution. The fulfilment of directives is therefore more necessary than ever before."

And even earlier, already in April 1926, a year before the coup of the Kuomintang Rights and Chiang Kaishek, the Comintern warned the Chinese Communist Party, pointing out that it was "necessary to work for the resignation or expulsion of the Rights from the Kuo-mintang."

That is how the Comintern understood, and still understands, the tactics of a united front against imperialism at the first stage of a colonial revolution.

Does the opposition know about these guiding documents? Of course it does. Why then does it say nothing about them? Because its aim is to raise a squabble, not to bring out the truth.

And yet there was a time when the present leaders of the opposition, especially Zinoviev and Kamenev, did understand something about Leninism and, in the main, advocated the same policy for the Chinese revolutionary movement as was pursued by the Comintern, and which Comrade Lenin out lined for us in his theses. 13 I have in mind the Sixth Plenum of the Communist International, held in February-March 1926, when Zi-noviev was Chairman of the Comintern, when he was still a Leninist and had not yet migrated to Trotsky's camp. I mention the Sixth Plenum of the Communist International because there is a resolution of that plenum on the Chinese revolution, 14 which was adopted unanimously in February-March 1926, and which gives approximately the same estimate of the first stage of the Chinese revolution, of the Canton Kuomintang and of the Canton government, as is given by the Comintern and by the C.P.S.U.(B.), but which the opposition is now repudiating. I mention this resolution because Zinoviev voted for it at that time, and not a single member of the Central Committee, not even Trotsky, Kame-nev, or the other leaders of the present opposition, objected to it.

Permit me to quote a few passages from that resolution.

Here is what is said in the resolution about the Kuo-mintang:

"The Shanghai and Hongkong political strikes of the Chinese workers (June-September 1925) marked a turning point in the struggle of the Chinese people for liberation from the foreign imperialists. . . . The political action of the proletariat gave a powerful impetus to the further development and consolidation of all the revolutionary-democratic organisations in the country, especially of the people's revolutionary party, the Kuomintang, and the revolutionary government in Canton. The Kuomintang party, the main body of which acted in alliance with the Chinese Communists, is a revolutionary bloc of workers, peasants, intellectuals, and the urban democracy,* based on the common class interests of these strata in the struggle against the foreign imperialists and against the whole military-feudal way of life, for the independence of the country and for a single revolutionary-democratic government" (see Resolution of the Sixth Plenum of the E.C.C.I.).

Thus, the Canton Kuomintang is an alliance of four "classes." As you see, this is almost "Martynovism" 15 sanctified by none other than the then Chairman of the Comintern Zinoviev./p>

About the Canton Kuomintang government:

"The revolutionary government created by the Kuomintang party in Canton* has already succeeded in establishing contact with the widest masses of the workers, peasants, and urban democracy, and, basing itself on them, has smashed the counterrevolutionary bands supported by the imperialists (and is working for the radical democratisation of the whole political life of the Kwangtung Province). Thus, being the vanguard in the struggle of the Chinese people for independence, the Canton government serves as a model for the future revolutionary-democratic development of the country"* (ibid.).

It turns out that the Canton Kuomintang government, being a bloc of four "classes," was a revolutionary government, and not only revolutionary, but even a model for the future revolutionary-democratic government in China./p>

About the united front of workers, peasants and the bourgeoisie:

"In face of the new dangers, the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang must develop the most wide-spread political activity, organising mass action in support of the struggle of the people's armies, taking advantage of the contradictions within the camp of the imperialists and opposing to them a united national revolutionary front of the broadest strata of the population (workers, peasants, and the bourgeoisie) under the leadership of the revolutionary-democratic organisations"* (ibid.).

It follows that temporary blocs and agreements with the bourgeoisie in colonial countries at a certain stage of the colonial revolution are not only permissible, but positively essential.

Is it not true that this is very similar to what Lenin tells us in his well-known directives for the tactics of Communists in colonial and dependent countries? It is a pity, however, that Zinoviev has already managed to forget that.

The question of withdrawal from the Kuomintang:

"Certain sections of the Chinese big bourgeoisie, which had temporarily grouped themselves around the Kuomintang Party, withdrew from it during the past year, which resulted in the formation on the Right wing of the Kuomintang of a small group that openly opposed a close alliance between the Kuomintang and the masses of the working people, demanded the expulsion of the Communists from the Kuomintang and opposed the revolutionary policy of the Canton government. The condemnation of this Right wing at the Second Congress of the Kuomintang (January 1926) and the endorsement of the necessity for a militant alliance between the Kuomintang and the Communists confirm the revolutionary trend of the activities of the Kuomintang and the Canton government and ensure for the Kuomintang the revolutionary support of the proletariat"* (ibid.).

It is seen that withdrawal of the Communists from the Kuomintang at the first stage of the Chinese revolution would have been a serious mistake. It is a pity, however, that Zinoviev, who voted for this resolution, had already managed to forget it in about a month; for it was not later than April 1926 (within a month) that Zinoviev demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Communists from the Kuomintang./p>

About the deviations within the Chinese Communist Party and the impermissibility of skipping over the Kuomin-tang phase of the revolution:</p>

"The political self-determination of the Chinese Communists will develop in the struggle against two equally harmful deviations: against Right Liquidationism, which ignores the independent class tasks of the Chinese proletariat and leads to a formless merging with the general democratic national movement; and against the extreme Left sentiments in favour of skipping over the revolutionary-democratic stage of the movement to come immediately to the tasks of proletarian dictatorship and Soviet power, forgetting about the peasantry, that basic and decisive factor in the Chinese movement for national emancipation"* (ibid.).

As you see, here are all the grounds for convicting the opposition now of wanting to skip over the Kuomin-tang phase of development in China, of underestimating the peasant movement, and of dashing post-haste towards Soviets. It hits the nail right on the head.

Do Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky know about this resolution?

We must assume that they do. At any rate Zino-viev must know about it, for it was under his chairmanship that this resolution was adopted at the Sixth Plenum of the Comintern and he himself voted for it. Why are the leaders of the opposition now avoiding this resolution of the highest body of the world communist movement? Why are they keeping silent about it? Because it turns against them on all questions concerning the Chinese revolution. Because it refutes the whole of the present Trotskyist standpoint of the opposition. Because they have deserted the Comintern, deserted Leninism, and now, fearing their past, fearing their own shadows, are obliged cravenly to avoid the resolution of the Sixth Plenum of the Comintern.

That is how matters stand as regards the first stage-of the Chinese revolution.

Let us pass now to the second stage of the Chinese revolution.

While the distinguishing feature of the first stage was that the spearhead of the revolution was turned mainly against foreign imperialism, the characteristic feature of the second stage is that the spearhead of the revolution is now turned mainly against internal enemies, primarily against the feudal landlords, against the feudal regime.

Did the first stage accomplish its task of overthrowing foreign imperialism? No, it did not. It bequeathed the accomplishment of this task to the second stage of the Chinese revolution. It merely gave the revolutionary masses the first shaking up that roused them against imperialism, only to run its course and hand on the task to the future.

It must be presumed that the second stage of the revolution also will not succeed in fully accomplishing the task of expelling the imperialists. It will give the broad masses of the Chinese workers and peasants a further shaking up to rouse them against imperialism, but it will do so in order to hand on the completion of this task to the next stage of the Chinese revolution, to the Soviet stage.

There is nothing surprising in that. Do we not know that analogous facts occurred in the history of our revolution, although in a different situation and under different circumstances? Do we not know that the first stage of our revolution did not fully accomplish its task of completing the agrarian revolution, and that it handed on that task to the next stage of the revolution, to the October Revolution, which wholly and completely accomplished the task of eradicating the survivals of feudalism? It will therefore not be surprising if the second stage of the Chinese revolution does not succeed in fully completing the agrarian revolution, and if the second stage of the revolution, after giving the vast masses of the peasantry a shaking up and rousing them against the survivals of feudalism, hands on the completion of this task to the next stage of the revolution, to the Soviet stage. That will only be a merit of the future Soviet revolution in China.

What was the task of the Communists at the second stage of the revolution in China, when the centre of the revolutionary movement had obviously shifted from Canton to Wuhan, and when, parallel with the revolutionary centre in Wuhan, a counter-revolutionary centre was set up in Nanking?

The task was to utilise to the full the possibility of openly organising the Party, the proletariat (trade unions), the peasantry (peasant associations), and the revolution generally.

The task was to push the Wuhan Kuomintangists to the Left, towards the agrarian revolution.

The task was to make the Wuhan Kuomintang the centre of the fight against counter-revolution and the core of a future revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry.

Was that policy correct?

The facts have shown that it was the only correct policy, the only policy capable of training the masses of workers and peasants for the further development of the revolution.

The opposition at that time demanded the immediate formation of Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies. But that was sheer adventurism, an adventurist leap ahead, for the immediate formation of Soviets at that time would have meant skipping over the Left Kuomintang phase of development. Why?

Because the Kuomintang in Wuhan, which supported the alliance with the Communists, had not yet discredited and exposed itself in the eyes of the masses of workers and peasants, and had not yet exhausted itself as a bourgeois revolutionary organisation.

Because to have issued the slogan of Soviets and of the overthrow of the Wuhan government at a time when the masses had not yet been convinced through their own experience of the worthlessness of that government and of the necessity of overthrowing it, would have meant leaping ahead, breaking away from the masses, losing the support of the masses and thus causing the failure of the movement that had already started.

The opposition thinks that, if it understands that the Wuhan Kuomintang was unreliable, unstable and insufficiently revolutionary (and it is not difficult for any qualified political worker to understand that), that is quite enough for the masses also to understand all this, that is enough for replacing the Kuomintang by Soviets and for securing the following of the masses. But that is the usual "ultra-Left" mistake made by the opposition, which takes its own political consciousness and understanding for the political consciousness and understanding of the vast masses of workers and peasants.

The opposition is right when it says that the Party must go forward. That is an ordinary Marxist precept, and there can not be any real Communist Party if it is not adhered to. But that is only part of the truth. The whole truth is that the Party must not only go forward, but must also secure the following of the vast masses. To go forward without securing the following of the vast masses means in fact to break away from the movement. To go forward, breaking away from the rear-guard, without being able to secure the following of the rear-guard, means to make a leap ahead that can prevent the advance of the masses for some time. The essence of Leninist leadership is precisely that the vanguard should be able to secure the following of the rear-guard, that the vanguard should go forward without breaking away from the masses. But in order that the vanguard should not break away from the masses, in order that the vanguard should really secure the following of the vast masses, a decisive condition is needed, namely, that the masses themselves should be convinced through their own experience that the instructions, directives and slogans issued by the vanguard are correct.

The misfortune of the opposition is that it does not accept this simple Leninist rule for leading the vast masses, that it does not understand that the Party alone, an advanced group alone, without the support of the vast masses, cannot make a revolution, that, in the final analysis, a revolution "is made" by the vast masses of the working people.

Why did we Bolsheviks, in April 1917, refrain from putting forward the practical slogan for the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the establishment of Soviet power in Russia, although we were convinced that in the very near future we should be faced with the necessity of overthrowing the Provisional Government and of establishing Soviet power?

Because the broad masses of the working people, both in the rear and at the front, and, lastly, the Soviets themselves, were not yet ready to accept such a slogan, they still believed that the Provisional Government was revolutionary.

Because the Provisional Government had not yet disgraced and discredited itself by supporting counterrevolution in the rear and at the front.

Why did Lenin, in April 1917, denounce the Bag-datyev group in Petrograd which put forward the slogan of the immediate overthrow of the Provisional Government and the establishment of Soviet power?

Because Bagdatyev's attempt was a dangerous leap ahead which created the danger of the Bolshevik Party breaking away from the vast masses of the workers and peasants.

Adventurism in politics, Bagdatyevism in matters concerning the Chinese revolution—that is what is now killing our Trotskyist opposition.

Zinoviev asserts that in speaking of Bagdatyevism I identify the present Chinese revolution with the October Revolution. That, of course, is nonsense. In the first place, I myself made the reservation in my article "Notes on Contemporary Themes" that "the analogy is a qualified one" and that "I make it with all the necessary reservations, bearing in mind the difference between the situation of China in our day and that of Russia in 1917." 16 In the second place, it would be foolish to assert that one must never draw analogies with revolutions in other countries when characterising certain tendencies and certain mistakes committed in the revolution of a given country. Does not a revolution in one country learn from revolutions in other countries, even if those revolutions are not all of the same type? If not, what does the science of revolution amount to?

In essence, Zinoviev denies that there can be a science of revolution. Is it not a fact that in the period just before the October Revolution Lenin accused Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov and others of the "Louis Blancism" of the French Revolution of 1848? Look at Lenin's article "Louis Blancism" 17 and you will realise that Lenin made wide use of analogies from the French Revolution of 1848 in characterising the mistakes made by various leaders before October, although Lenin knew very well that the French Revolution of 1848 was not of the same type as our October Revolution. And if we can speak of the "Louis Blancism" of Chkheidze and Tsereteli in the period before the October Revolution, why cannot we speak of the "Bag-datyevism" of Zinoviev and Trotsky in the period of the agrarian revolution in China?

The opposition asserts that Wuhan was not the centre of the revolutionary movement. Why then did Zi-noviev say that "all round assistance should be rendered" the Wuhan Kuomintang, so as to make it the centre of the struggle against the Chinese Cavaignacs? Why did the Wuhan territory, and no other, become the centre of the maximum development of the agrarian movement? Is it not a fact that it was precisely the Wuhan territory (Hunan, Hupeh) that was the centre of the maximum development of the agrarian movement at the beginning of this year? Why could Canton, where there was no mass agrarian movement, be called "the place d'armes of the revolution" (Trotsky), whereas Wuhan, in the territory of which the agrarian revolution began and developed, must not be regarded as the centre, as the "place d'armes" of the revolutionary movement? How in that case are we to explain the fact that the opposition demanded that the Communist Party should remain in the Wuhan Kuomintang and the Wuhan government? Was the opposition, in April 1927, really in favour of a bloc with the "counter-revolutionary" Wuhan Kuomintang? Why this "forgetfulness" and confusion on the part of the opposition?

The opposition is gloating over the fact that the bloc with the Wuhan Kuomintang proved to be shortlived, and, moreover, it asserts that the Comintern failed to warn the Chinese Communists of the possibility of the collapse of the Wuhan Kuomintang. It scarcely needs proof that the malicious glee displayed by the opposition only testifies to its political bankruptcy. The opposition evidently thinks that blocs with the national bourgeoisie in colonial countries ought to be of long duration; but only people who have lost the last remnants of Leninism can think that. Only those who are infected with defeatism can gloat over the fact that at the present stage the feudal landlords and imperialists in China have proved to be stronger than the revolution, that the pressure exercised by these hostile forces has induced the Wuhan Kuomintang to swing to the Right and has led to the temporary defeat of the Chinese revolution. As for the opposition's assertion that the Comintern failed to warn the Communist Party of China of the possible collapse of the Wuhan Kuomintang, that is one of the usual slanders now so abundant in the opposition's arsenal.

Permit me to quote some documents to refute the slanders of the opposition.

First document, of May 1927:

"The most important thing now in the internal policy of the Kuomintang is to develop the agrarian revolution systematically in all provinces, particularly in Kwangtung, under the slogan 'All power to the peasant associations and committees in the countryside.' This is the basis for the success of the revolution and of the Kuomintang. This is the basis for creating in China a big and powerful political and military army against imperialism and its agents. Practically, the slogan of confiscating the land is quite timely for the provinces in which there is a strong agrarian movement, such as Hunan, Kwangtung, etc. Without this the extension of the agrarian revolution is impossible*. . . .

"It is necessary to start at once to organise eight or ten divisions of revolutionary peasants and workers with absolutely reliable officers. This will be a Wuhan guards force both at the front and in the rear for disarming unreliable units. This must not be delayed.

"Disintegrating activities must be intensified in the rear and in Chiang Kai-shek's units, and assistance must be given to the insurgent peasants in Kwangtung, where the rule of the landlords is particularly unbearable."

The second document, of May 1927:

"Without an agrarian revolution, victory is impossible. Without it the Central Committee of the Kuomintang will be converted into a wretched plaything of unreliable generals. Excesses must be combated not, however, by means of troops, but through the peasant associations. We are decidedly in favour of the actual seizure of the land by the masses. Apprehensions concerning Tang Ping-shan's mission are not devoid of foundation. You must not sever yourselves from the working-class and peasant movement, but must assist it in every way. Otherwise you will ruin the work.

"Some of the old leaders of the Central Committee of the Kuomintang are frightened by events, they are vacillating and compromising. An in creased number of new peasant and working-class leaders must be drawn from the masses into the Central Committee of the Kuomintang. Their bold voices will either stiffen the backs of the old leaders or result in their removal. The present structure of the Kuomintang must be changed. The top leadership of the Kuo-mintang must certainly be refreshed and reinforced with new leaders who have come to the fore in the agrarian revolution, while the local organisations must be broadened from the millions of members in workers' and peasants' associations. If this is not done the Kuomintang will run the risk of becoming divorced from life and of losing all prestige.

"Dependence upon unreliable generals must be eliminated. Mobilise about 20,000 Communists, add about 20,000 revolutionary workers and peasants from Hunan and Hupeh, form several new army corps, use the students at the officers' school as commanders and organise your own reliable army before it is too late. If this is not done there is no guarantee against failure. It is a difficult matter, but there is no alternative.

"Organise a Revolutionary Military Tribunal headed by prominent non-Communist Kuomintangists. Punish officers who maintain contact with Chiang Kaishek or who incite the soldiers against the people, the workers and peasants. Persuasion is not enough. It is time to act. Scoundrels must he punished. If the Kuo-mintangists do not learn to be revolutionary /acobins they will perish so fat as the people and the revolution ate concerned."*

As you see, the Comintern foresaw events, it gave timely warning of the dangers and told the Chinese Communists that the Wuhan Kuomintang would perish if the Kuomintangists failed to become revolutionary Jacobins.

Kamenev said that the defeat of the Chinese revolution was due to the policy of the Comintern, and that we "bred Cavaignacs in China." Comrades, only one who is ready to commit a crime against the Party can say that sort of thing about our Party. That is what the Mensheviks said about the Bolsheviks during the July defeat of 1917, when the Russian Cavaignacs appeared on the scene. In his article "On Slogans," 18 Lenin wrote that the July defeat was "a victory for the Cavaignacs." The Mensheviks at that time gloatingly asserted that the appearance of the Russian Cavaignacs was due to Lenin's policy. Does Kamenev think that the appearance of the Russian Cavaignacs during the July defeat of 1917 was due to Lenin's policy, to the policy of our Party, and not to some other cause? Is it becoming for Kamenev in this case to imitate the Menshevik gentry? (Laughter.) I did not think that the comrades of the opposition could sink so low. . . .

We know that the Revolution of 1905 suffered defeat, more over that defeat was more profound than the present defeat of the Chinese revolution. The Mensheviks at that time said that the defeat of the 1905 Revolution was due to the extreme revolutionary tactics of the Bolsheviks. Does Kamenev here, too, want to take the Menshevik interpretation of the history of our revolution as his model and to cast a stone at the Bolsheviks?

And how are we to explain the defeat of the Bavarian Soviet Republic? By Lenin's policy, perhaps, and not by the correlation of class forces?

How are we to explain the defeat of the Hungarian Soviet Republic? By the policy of the Comintern, perhaps, and not by the correlation of class forces?

How can it be asserted that the tactics of this or that party can abolish or reverse the correlation of class forces? Was our policy in 1905 correct, or not? Why did we suffer defeat at that time? Do not the facts show that if the policy of the opposition had been followed the revolution in China would have reached defeat more rapidly than was actually the case? What are we to say of people who forget about the correlation of class forces in time of revolution and who try to explain everything solely by the tactics of this or that party? Only one thing can be said of such people—that they have broken with Marxism.

Conclusions. The chief mistakes of the opposition are:

1) The opposition does not understand the character and prospects of the Chinese revolution.

2) The opposition sees no difference between the revolution in China and the revolution in Russia, between revolution in colonial countries and revolution in imperialist countries.

3) The opposition is departing from Leninist tactics on the question of the attitude to the national bourgeoisie in colonial countries at the first stage of the revolution.

4) The opposition does not understand the question of the Communists' participation in the Kuomintang.

5) The opposition is violating the principles of Leninist tactics on the question of the relations between the vanguard (the Party) and the rear-guard (the vast masses of the working people).

6) The opposition is departing from the resolutions of the Sixth and Seventh Plenums of the Executive Committee of the Communist International.

The opposition noisily brags about its policy on the Chinese question and asserts that if that policy had been adopted the situation in China today would be better than it is. It scarcely needs proof that, considering the gross mistakes committed by the opposition, the Chinese Communist Party would have landed in a complete impasse had it adopted the anti-Leninist and adventurist policy of the opposition.

The fact that the Communist Party in China has in a short period grown from a small group of five or six thousand into a mass party of 60,000 members; the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded in organising nearly 3,000,000 proletarians in trade unions during this period; the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded in rousing the many millions of the peasantry from their torpor and in drawing tens of millions of peasants into the revolutionary peasant associations; the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded during this period in winning over whole regiments and divisions of national troops; the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded during this period in converting the idea of the hegemony of the proletariat from an aspiration into a reality—the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded in a short period in achieving all these gains is due, among other things, to its having followed the path outlined by Lenin, the path indicated by the Comintern.

Needless to say, if the policy of the opposition, with its mistakes and its anti-Leninist line on questions of colonial revolution, had been followed, these gains of the Chinese revolution would either not have been achieved at all, or would have been extremely insignificant.

Only "ultra-Left" renegades and adventurers can doubt this.