Chinese Revolution

China

The Chinese Revolution is second only to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 as the greatest event of the 20th century. In 1949 the People’s Liberation Army led by the Chinese Communist Party, took power and within a short span of time snuffed out capitalism and landlordism. Hundreds of millions of human beings threw off the humiliating and degrading yoke of Western imperialism, and China entered world history as an independent nation. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China marked a monumental change in world history.

However, this revolution took place in a distorted manner, thanks to the mis-leadership of Stalin's Communist International. In this section you will find articles that detail how his bureaucratic methods wrecked the first Chinese revolution of 1925-7, the fallout from which, combined with his continued meddling, pushed the Chinese Communist Party into a false strategy of rural armed struggle. Despite these errors, the crisis of imperialism and Chinese capitalism, and the corresponding impetus to revolution, were so great that in 1949 the CCP conquered power. But the regime established mirrored its Moscow parent, that is, it was from the very beginning a Stalinist, totalitarian regime lacking in workers' democracy. It was determined to be this way through its rural, petty bourgeois methods, which denied a role for the urban working class in the revolution. Ultimately, the bureaucratic character of this regime would be an obstacle to achieving socialism and laid the basis for the present return to capitalism in China.

For Marxists, the Chinese Revolution was the second greatest event in human history, second only to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Millions of human beings, who had hitherto been the beasts of burden of imperialism, threw off the humiliating yoke of imperialism and capitalism, and entered the stage of world history.

Thirty years ago, the world’s largest-ever student movement was brought to a violent close by the so-called People’s Liberation Army. For about six weeks, hundreds of thousands, and at one point over a million, students, workers, Communist Party members and Beijing residents had flooded into and occupied Tiananmen Square, the same place from which forty years earlier Mao had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

This book is a comprehensive analysis of the revolutionary history of China, from the early 20th century to the present era of crisis, aided by a wealth of research which cuts across the many historical distortions both of bourgeois academia and of the Chinese Communist Party. The degeneration of the Chinese People’s Republic to capitalism has been a second rigorous practical test of Trotsky’s analyses. Has his prognosis that without a political revolution to overthrow the regime, a Stalinist bureaucratic state would return to capitalism, been proved correct?

From 1937-45, China became one of the main theatres of the Second World War. This entangling of China in World War II raised the country out of its subjugation on the world stage, such that at the War’s conclusion China was given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Only 4 years later the immense Chinese revolution was finally completed, freeing China from imperialist domination. The war's violent dragging of China onto the world stage had effected a thoroughgoing internal transformation of China. In this article we examine the war and its effect on China, the role of the Chinese ruling class in the war, and the strategy and tactics of the Chinese Communist Party that led the

...

We look back at the 1925-27 revolution, which was a heroic attempt of the Chinese workers to follow in the footsteps of the October 1917 Russian Revolution. However, due to its unprepared and irresolute leadership, it went down to a tragic defeat. Failed revolutions are always the greatest of tragedies. However, the only way of really honouring the many victims of the counter-revolution that ensued is to study the revolution and learn from its mistakes.

On the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party we published a series of articles that trace the origins and subsequent development of this party, which has played a key role in world history. Dan Morley outlines the conditions in China that led to the foundation of the party as part of the Communist International. The founders of the party looked to the October revolution in Russia as their model, with the working class playing the leading role. 

For Marxists the Chinese Revolution was the second greatest event in human history, second only to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Millions of human beings, who had hitherto been the beasts of burden of imperialism, threw off the humiliating yoke of imperialism and capitalism, and entered the stage of world history. The Marxists wholeheartedly supported the revolution, but they also warned that because the working class did not play the leading role, what would emerge would be a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state.

In January Wang Fanxi died in Leeds, England. He was one of the few remaining links to the early Chinese Trotskyist movement. It was after the defeat of the 1926 Chinese revolution that, together with hundreds of other members of the Chinese Communist Party, he began to question the policies of the leadership and joined Trotsky’s Left Opposition.

This article was written at a time (Autumn of 1976) when many on the left had big illusions that Maoist China was somehow a genuine socialist regime. Alan Woods was able to see beyond the fog of the Maoist propaganda and see what was really happening in China. This article provides interesting background information for anyone who wants to know the truth about the nature of the Chinese bureaucracy, that same bureaucracy that is now pushing China more and more towards capitalism.

In 1972 Nixon, the US president, visited China for talks, the contents of which were kept secret. Ted Grant exposed the shameless behaviour of Stalinist China and Russia who engaged in power politics with imperialism and at the same time launching bitter attacks against each other. What a change in comparison to the approach to diplomacy defended by Lenin and Trotsky.

This article, written in May 1965 by Ted Grant, shows how genuine Marxism was able to see the real processes going on in China and not be fooled by the words of the Chinese leaders. Then as now Marxism was a tool that allowed one to see through the fog of seemingly contradictory and incomprehensible events.

A key historical document that analyses the important question of "proletarian bonapartism", i.e. Stalinism, in the former colonial countries. It explains the roots of the Chinese revolution and why the Maoist regime came into conflict with the Soviet Union, and also the nature of several similar regimes that came into being in that period. It was also the basis for the expulsion of Ted Grant and his followers from Mandel's so-called Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International.

Not only was Ted Grant's analysis of the Eastern European states able to explain the Tito-Stalin split, it could also anticipate - and this is the test of the correctness of theory, in politics as in science - other splits, along national lines, within the Eastern European monolith. More prophetically still, the document not only anticipated in advance the establishment of a Stalinist state in China after the revolution, but it predicted the inevitability of a split between the Chinese and the Russian bureaucracy, on the same basis, although on a far larger scale, as in the case of Yugoslavia.

Using the method of Marxism to describe the regime of Tito, and hence explain the split with Stalin, this document by Ted Grant from 1949 takes the argument further and extends it to the example of China. It elaborates further the process by which Mao Tse Tung established his regime, explaining that it was, of necessity, 'deformed' from the very beginning.

In January 1949 Ted Grant analysed the historical significance of the victory of Mao in China. Key to this victory was Mao's agrarian reform which won over the peasants while the feudal landlords and capitalists clung to the rotten Kuomintang. The Chinese revolution was second in importance only to the Russian October, but with one important difference: from day one the Chinese masses were expropriated of their political power by the Stalinist bureaucracy. 

Building upon the theoretical work which had already been undertaken in relation to Russia, Eastern Europe and the Tito-Stalin split, the article by Ted Grant puts forward a perspective in relation to China that is lucid and consistent from a Marxian point of view, and moreover, brilliantly prophetic. With the world 'leaders of Trotskyism' still humming and hawing, the article goes straight to the point and applauds 'the destruction of feudalism and large-scale capitalism, in this important section of Asia, even though it is carried out under the leadership of Stalinism. In its long-term implications, it is as important as the October revolution itself.'

In an attempt to discredit the Trotskyists once again, the CP attempted to disorient and confuse the working class by spreading out-and-out lies on the Chinese Revolution. Ted Grant replies to these points in a effort to set the record straight and expose the methods of the Stalinists.

The Chinese  revolutionary movement of 1925-1927 ended not with a victory, but with a horribly sanguinary defeat for the proletariat and the peasantry. How was this possible? Leon Trotsky's writings at the time, collected in this volume, provide the required analysis.