Sunday, November 23, 2008


A Reply To A Reader From The Editor of The PEOPLE'S DAILY. June 16, 1950.

[In this reply the editor of People's Daily discussed in great detail Com Stalin's comment (of 1926) on Chinese revolution, which was mentioned and explained in different articles of Com Mao. That the character and form of the revolution of the semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries like China of Asia, Africa and Latin America was different from the western independent capitalist countries; that the agrarian guerilla warfare or in other words protracted people's war was the principal form of national liberation; was discussed in this reply. Red Barricade]

Comrade Huang Tse-chun,
We have received your letter in which you state that, having studied Chairman Mao Tse-tung's The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party and having pondered over the nature of the Chinese revolution, you believe Staiin's statement that "the characteristic of the Chinese revolution is that an armed people opposes armed counter-revolution" conforms to historical reality in China. But, you ask:
"Perhaps the revolution of no country in the world will diverge from this pattern. Why did Stalin not say that this was the characteristic of the revolution of all countries but instead described it as purely the characteristic of the Chinese revolution?"
Very obviously, this characteristic—an armed people opposing armed counter-revolution—is something which was not present in the revolutions of any capitalist country in the past. This characteristic first appeared during the people's liberation struggle in semi-colonial and semi-feudal China. But under certain historical conditions, it can become the common characteristic of the people's liberation struggle in many colonial and semi-colonial countries.
Stalin's famous saying on China's armed struggle which we all quote was made during an address to the Chinese Commission of the Executive Committee of the Communist International on November 30, 1926. The whole passage is as follows:
"During the 18th and 19th centuries, revolutions always started in the following way. Generally the bulk of the people, either unarmed or very poorly armed, started an insurrection and clashed with the army of the old system. They tried to crush the old army or at least win a part of it over to the people's side. This was the typical form of previous revolutionary outbreaks. This was also the case in Russia during 1905.
But in China, it is different. In China, it is not the unarmed people but the armed people represented by the revolutionary army, who rise up against the army of the old government. In China, armed revolution opposes armed counter-revolution. This is one of the characteristics of China's revolution. It is one of the advantages of China's revolution. Herein also lies the special significance of the revolutionary army in China."
This charactetistic first, appeared in China because China was the largest and most important semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. The enemies of the Chinese people were imperialism and the domestic reactionaries dependent upon imperialism. They enforced the most brutal military despotism. Moreover, it was not merely one imperialist country, but many imperialist counties, that invaded and dominated Cnina. They had contradictions among themselves, which caused disunity, schisms and struggle among the domestic reactionaries. This in turn provided the people with convenient condition? for launching and resolutely sustaining an armed struggle, In the chapter of 'The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party which you are now studying, Comrade Mao Tse-tung has clearly pointed out :
"In the face of such enemies, it is a pre-determined fact that the method and major form of the Chinese revolution cannot be peaceful but must be armed. This is because our enemies do not leave the Chinese people any possibility of peaceful activity and the Chinese people have no political freedom at all. Stalin said, 'The characteristic of the Chinese revolution is that an armed people oppose armed counter-revolution.' This is an extraordinarily correct formulation."


In Problems of War and Strategy, a part of his summation at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (on Nov. 6, 1938), Comrade Mao Tse-tung pointed out still more precisely :
"During periods when there is neither Fascism nor war, the conditions in all capitalist countries are as follows: internally, the country does not have a feudal system, but a bourgeois-democratic system; externally, it oppresses other nations and does not experience national oppression. On the basis of these characteristics, the task of proletarian parties in all capitalist countries lies in passing through a long period of legal struggle, of educating the workers, of building strength and of preparing for the final overthrow of capitalism.
"In those places, a long period of legal struggle means making use of parliamentary rostrums; it means economic and political strikes; it moans organizing trade unions and educating the workers. There the form of organization is legal and the form of struggle is bloodless (non-warlike). To the Communist Party of those places, war means opposing the imperialist wars of one's own country. If such wars occur, the Party's policy will be one of ensuring the defeat of its own country.
"The only war the Party itself wants is the internal war which is being prepared. But such a war should not be undertaken until th3 bourgeoisie is actually powerless, until the majority of the proletariat are firmly determined to have and armed insurrection and wage war, and until the peasant masses are already willing to help the proletariat. When the time comes for an insurrection and war, cities should first be occupied and afterwards the country-side should be attacked. This absolutely cannot be reversed. All of these things have been practised by the Communist parties of capitalist countries and were confirmed during the October Revolution in Russia.
"But China is not the same. The characteristic of China is that she is not an independent, democratic country, but is semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. Internally, there is no democratic system, but the oppression of the feudal system; externally, there is no national independence, but the oppression of imperialism. Therefore, there are no parliaments to utilize, and no legal right to organize workers r carrying out strikes.
"Here the task of the Communist Party is not basically one of undergoing a long period of legal struggle in order to carry out insurrection and war, nor is it to occupy the cities first and then the countryside. Our path is just the opposite."
This was Comrade Mao Tse-tung's penetrating summation of the problems of war and strategy, based upon the theories of Lenin and Stalin and the experiences of the Chinese revolution.
The victory of the Chinese people's revolution has entirely proven the correctness of Mao Tse-tung's reasoning. During the past 20-odd years, most of those who committed errors in the Chinese revolution did so because they did not understand the laws of China's society and revolution, and violated Mao Tse-tung's theories. This was the case both politically and militarily.
One of the reasons for the failure of the first domestic revolutionary war in China from 1925 to 1927 was the opportunistic leadership of Chen Tu-hsiu, who overlooked -the great significance of armed struggle. After the failure of this revolution, Chen Tu-hsiu still advocated carrying on legal activities under Chiang Kai-shek's reign of White terror, taking the so-called 'National Congress' as the central slogan. Moreover, he slandered peasant guerilla warfare, led by the Chinese Communist Party, by calling it the behaviour of 'bandits'. Thus, Chen Tu-hsiu and his small clique of collaborators sank to becoming counter-revolutionaries.


Those who committed 'leftist' errors in the second Evolutionary civil war from 1927 to 1937 also underestimated the military struggle, especially the importance of peasant guerilla warfare and of rural revolutionary bases. They wrongly imagined that the Chinese revolution might attain victory by relying upon the development, under the high pressure of counter-revolution, of mass struggles in the cities, such as the strikes staged by workers and students. They did not rely on the development of the armed peasant struggle in the countryside, where the counter-revolutionary forces were comparatively weak. Consequently, they did not subordinate the secret revolutionary work and the mass struggle of the cities to the armed struggle of the countryside. On the contrary, they demanded that the work of the rural armed struggle be subordinated to the underground work and mass struggles of the cities. The result was that not only the urban work suffered a serious setback but the rural work was harmed as well. Had it not been for the correct leadership of Comrade Mao Tse-tung and comrades-in-arms, which overcame the mistakes of the opportunist deviations that occurred at various times, the present victory of the Chinese revolution would be unimaginable.
This experience of China's revolutionary victory is very important for the people of the countries which are still under the rule of imperialism and their domestic reactionaries. That is to say, this characteristic of armed struggle which appeared in the course of China's revolution can under certain historical conditions become the common characteristic of all revolutions of other colonial and semi-colonial countries. This has been explained in the Outline of the Colonial and Semi-Colonial Revolutionary Movement issued by the Sixth Congress of the in August 1928.
In this outline, the following subjects were analysed: "Imperialism still continues to intensify its war preparations," "World capitalism develops post-war crisis" and "The socialist construction of the Soviet Union has a revolutionizing Influence; the Communist movements in all capitalist countries grow steadily more consolidated and proceed to support the struggles of colonial peoples,"
Continuing, the outline points out: "All these conditions have immeasurably accelerated the political awakening of the broad masses in colonial and semi-colonial countries and have given rise to many large-scale revolutionary armed insurrections on the part of the masses. Moreover, in the majority of cases, these revolutionary armed insurrections have been closely coordinated with the development of the anti-imperialist liberation struggle and with the development of the intensity of the class struggle within the Country."


On the basis of China's revolutionary experience and a correct analysis of the World's political situation after World War II, Comrade Liu Shao-chi further pointed out last December in his opening address; at the Trade Union Conference of Asian and Australasian Countries ;
"The imperialists and their lackeys do not give the people under colonial and semi-colonial domination any democratic rights whatsoever. For instance, this was formerly the case in China. We revolutionaries, hunted down by the imperialists and their henchmen, could not maintain a foothold in the cities under the White Terror. Consequently, we could only flee to the countryside or to mountain-tops and defend our lives with arms......
"In a colony or a semi-colony, if the people have no arms to defend themselves, they have nothing. The existence and development of proletarian organizations and the existence and development of a national united front is intimately linked to the existence and development of such an armed struggle. This is the sole path for many colonial peoples in their struggle for independence and liberation.
Hence, it becomes absolutely clear that the characteristic of an armed people opposing armed counter-revolution not pertain to China's revolution alone. Under the present conditions, it can and should become the common characteristic of the liberation struggles waged by many colonial and semi-colonial peoples.
In an editorial published on January 27 this year. For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy organ of the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties, commented that the path taken by the Chinese people, at Comrada Liu Shao-chi noted, "Should be the path taken by the people of many colonial and dependent countries in their struggle for national independence and people's democracy." The editorial further pointed out:
''As the example of China, Viet-Nam, Malaya and other countries shows, armed struggle is now becoming the main form of the national liberation movement In many colonial and dependent countries,"
It went on to stress the significance of China's revolutionary experience for India. After the publication of this editorial, Ranadive, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, issued a statement expressing "full acceptance of the conclusions drawn by this editorial." He added:
"Under the leadership of Comrade Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese Communist Party has successfully applied the teachings of Lenin and Stalin in the course of the victorious liberation struggle of the Chinese people. The lessons of this victorious liberation struggle of the Chinese people will serve as an infallible compass for the Indian Communist Party and working class, which are responsible, for the task of leading the national liberation struggle".

Armed struggle against imperialist aggression is essential for the liberation of many colonies and semi-colonies. But the time and place for conducting this kind of revolutionary armed struggle must be decided according to concrete conditions. It can by no means be conducted in any colony or semi-colony at any time without the necessary conditions and preparations. In those countries where the objective conditions allow this armed struggle, whether or not this armed struggle attains victory is determined by the objective conditions of whether or not the people of these countries have a working class party to lead them and whether its leadership is correct or not. It is only because of the correct political and military line of the Chinese Communist Party, headed by Chairman Mao Tse-tung, that the Chinese people could win their great victory.
Today, the people of Viet-Nam have already scored tremendous successes in their armed struggle. In Burma, Malaya, the Philippine Islands etc., the people's armed struggle is just in the process of wide expansion. All these struggles are being conducted in each country under the leadership of the revolutionary working class.
The people in other colonial and dependent countries who are experiencing strong oppression and attack from imperialism and its lackeys—the domestic reactionaries— have no "democratic rights", and all illusions about "legal struggles" are fast vanishing. They will also take the path of armed struggle when conditions permit. One may be certain that if only they have the correct leadership of a working class party and gain experience from their struggles, the national liberation movements of these countries can march on to victory.

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