Red Army flagTo most people’s ears, the name ‘People’s Republic of China’ is invested with intransigent Marxist dogma, to the extent that right wing journalists and politicians mockingly referred to councils run by the British far left as being ‘The People’s Republic of ...’. But far from motivations of the Marxist ‘dogma’ of irreconcilable class struggle, this name was carefully chosen by the CCP as an anti-Marxist blurring of class distinctions. It is the consummate expression of the CCP’s bonapartist methods of coming to power, that is to say, its establishment of power through the balancing and playing off of the various classes in society.

Long-marchWith total armed forces of 2.5m men compared to the CCP’s 1m in the aftermath of WWII, all bourgeois commentators and strategists now saw the Guomindang’s new war - against the CCP - as a formality. The government’s advantage was estimated at “almost three-to-one in fighting men and at least five-to-one in arms”, along with a complete monopoly of air and sea power (Harrison, China’s Long March to Power, p367). Not only that, but the CCP lacked any significant foreign backer, for the USSR, as explained above, treacherously continued to back the Guomindang even after Japan’s defeat.

mao1942Japan’s ‘prompt and utter destruction’ not in China but from nuclear blasts at home produced a surreal situation within China. In the chaos and desperation of WWII the capitalist states fought one another with such ferocity that capitalism itself was under threat. In Europe the Nazis’ actions produced an alliance of US and British imperialism with the Soviet Union, ultimately leading to the destruction of capitalism in Eastern and even parts of Central Europe.

Mao at Stalins 70th birthday celebration in Moscow December 1949From the time of its birth in the early 1920s, the Chinese Communist Party, conceived by the revolutionary upheaval of Chinese society and the Russian led Communist International, could hardly have wished for a worse ‘upbringing’. Moscow’s leadership is analogous to that of a negligent and abusive parent whose selfishness scars the child for the rest of its life. As we shall now see, this absence of leadership continued right up to and even after the taking of power in 1949 and was one of several factors undermining, delaying and distorting the character of the revolution in 1949.

Mao1946When the Sino-Japanese war began in 1937, the CCP had already been an exclusively rural party for almost ten years. As we pointed out previously, this was an improvisation born out of the party’s confusion at Chiang’s power grab. By 1935, when Mao became the undisputed leader of the party, this improvisation and temporary retreat had been transformed into the party’s raison d’être.

Long march MaoFor twenty two years after 1927 the comrades of the CCP knew of no state other than constant war. Physically liquidated from the cities in 1927-8, they fled to the countryside, where they suffered one extermination campaign after another by the Guomindang, forcing them to embark on the Long March in 1934. This exhausting state of affairs brought the party to near extinction (it certainly was enough to destroy its Marxist programme), a big factor in its forging an alliance with Chiang Kai Shek in 1936 to gain breathing space. And yet no sooner had this truce been signed when Japan launched an all out war with China, a war whose secondary motivation for the Japanese (after the exploitation of Chinese industry and raw materials) was the extermination of the communist threat.

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