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The Chinese Revolution was also the setting for the final showdown between Trotsky and Stalin. Trotsky vigorously condemned and criticised the policies which Stalin and the Comintern prescribed for China. The main substance of Trotsky’s criticism consisted of opposing the policy whereby the CCP subordinated itself and its activities to the KMT in the name of uniting “all the progressive forces in the country” into an alliance to achieve Chinese independence and freedom from imperialist domination and oppression. [18] While the KMT did have a left wing, the fact of the matter was, as socialist historian Duncan Hallas points out, the Kuomintang “were bourgeois nationalists, with innumerable family ties among merchants, capitalists and land-owners, groups which in China were closely intertwined. Workers’ power and peasant revolt were as frightening to them as to the foreign bosses of Jardine Matheson and the Shanghai and Hong Kong Bank.” [19] Victor Serge – well described by Peter Sedgwick as having been “an anarchist, a Bolshevik, a Trotskyist, a revisionist Marxist, and, on his own confession, a ‘personalist’ ” [20] – and also at this time part of the Left Opposition in Russia – remembers that, initially, “the Chinese Revolution galvanised us all. I have the feeling of a positive wave of enthusiasm stirring up the whole Soviet world – or at least the thinking part of it.” [21] A shocking crime was to change the balance of forces in China. Serge conveys it best: “When he arrived before Shanghai, Chiang Kai-shek found the town in the hands of the trade unions, whose rebellion had been superlatively organised... Day by day we followed the preparation of the military coup, whose only possible outcome was the massacre of the Shanghai proletariat. Zinoviev, Trotsky, and Radek demanded an immediate change of line from the Central Committee. It would have been enough to send the Shanghai Committee a telegram: ‘Defend yourselves if you have to!’ and the Chinese Revolution would not have been beheaded. One divisional commander put his troops at the disposal of the Communist Party to resist the disarmament of the workers. But the Politburo insisted on the subordination of the Communist Party to the Kuomintang.” [22] A bloody massacre was the result. While Chiang Kai-Shek’s turn against the Left and the working class surprised many, it was not unanticipated. Trotsky provides a good analysis: “Patriotism has been throughout all history inseparably bound up with power and property. In the face of danger the ruling classes have never stopped short of dismembering their own country so long as they were able in this way to preserve power over one part of it. It is not at all surprising, therefore, if the Chinese bourgeoisie, represented by Chiang Kai-Shek, turned its weapons in 1927 against the proletariat, the standard-bearer of national unity.” [23] At a speech in a party cell in Moscow, Serge “ended my five minutes by flinging out a sentence that brought an icy silence: ‘The prestige of the General Secretary is infinitely more precious to him than the blood of the Chinese proletariat!’ The hysterical section of the audience exploded: ‘Enemies of the Party!’ ” [24] This is an example of the dramatic degeneration of the Russian Revolution and the extreme authoritarianism that had triumphed, soon to be eclipsed by Stalinist totalitarianism. Meanwhile in China, Fan-Hsi made his way to Shanghai and observed the desolation of the city after the slaughter: “In the Old West Gate area... there was hardly a soul to be seen on the streets, and it was if one could actually feel the fear and smell the blood which had recently been shed there. Attempts had been made to paint out the slogans on the walls, but it was still possible to make out the message they carried: ‘Down with imperialism’, “Down with Chiang Kai-shek’, ‘Oppose the White terror.’” [25]

full: http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3134
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