Chronicles of a revolution (7)

The 4 May movement(China, 1919), the actual uprisings in the Arab world, when are they a step towards revolution?
The 4 May movement in China of 1919 has some similarities with the actual uprisings in the Arab world which go about democracy (a chosen government not bound to external imperialist forces), against dictatorship and corruption (which means the interests of the -“dictatorial” or “corrupt”- rulers are not those of their citizens but those of the imperialist forces with which they are 'allied'), against planned measures deteriorating social security, for jobs and a for a a decent income.
The 4 May movement was against the warlord-government and their favouring of the imperialist powers, and their “easines” in which that “warlord-government” signed all kind of treaties which strengthened colonialist power over China. 

How can such uprisings be a step in the direction of revolution, even when those  uprising don't  have  direct material results  and are quiet down after some time?  And what  means “revolution”? What has  to be the tasks of those INVOLVED in those uprisings in order to increase the consciousness and the will to ACT of as much of people as possible?

The 4 may movement had his concrete historical context and its concrete dynamics
The May 1919 movement was not isolated from world events; what went on in the USSR as well as what went on at the Paris Peace Conference directly affected the Chinese youth revolt. In March 1919 the Third International had held its First Congress in Moscow, an event given much publicity in Chinese Marxist study groups in Peking, Changhai and later (April).in Changsha. The First congress had condemned the peace conference and called for a world revolution.
The praise of Marxism which characterised the 4 May movement, as well as its anti-Confucianism, its demands for 'democracy' and 'science', marked it as a turning point in the history in China. And truly nothing was the same afterwards.(...) 

In that April of 1919 Mao Tsetung had returned to Changsha, after seeing off his friends in Shanghai leaving for France, and immediately plunged into political agitation. He obtained a job as a lowly teacher at the Hsiu Yeh Primary School, attached to the Normal College and built within its precincts. (....)
Political agitation left him no time for the extra coaching of wealthy students which usually formed a teacher's chief source of revenue. His greatest worry was shoes, he could not afford them. In summer he wore straw sandals as the peasants did. He had returned to Changsha with two articles by Li Ta-chao, Victory of the Common People and The Triumph of Bolshevism, and gave a lecture on 'Marxism and the Revolution' under the aegis of his New People's Study Society. Mao Tsetwung's popularity had grown with his return from prestigious Peking and the political excitement of the times. The students, teachers, shopkeepers, the workers of Changsha, who in 1918 already had demonstrated against Japan on a very effective boycott of Japanese goods, now crowded to listen to Mao Tsetung. Mao's speech was a great success. It had ended with the assertion that only by studying Marxism could the Chinese people save themselves. In April 1919 the first Marxist study group in Hunan province was founded in Changsha.

Mao was already convinced that only a Marxist revolution could save China, although he was not yet a fully confirmed Marxist. The New People's Study Society, the Work and Study Society, the New Tide Society (Hunan branch) all turned to the study of Marxism. It is no exaggeration to state that Mao brought Marxism to Hunan, and did all the preparatory work prior to establishment of a Communist Party branch there.(....)

In the following weeks Mao's influence in Changsha expanded with the anti-Japanese and anti-warlord struggle in the schools. 'Hunan is the most radical province,' the newspapers claimed, Mao was blacklisted by the provincial governor, Chang Ching-yao, a pro-Japanese nominee of the Peking government. Chang tried to suppress anti-Japanese activity, but the students took to the streets to lecture about 'national betrayal', and such was the sway of public opinion that Chang Ching-yao  dared not arrest them. Mao formed the United Students' Association of Hunan in June 1919, to link student activities to the All-China Federation of Students. While in Peking his attendance at mass meetings against the warlords in November 1918, and the student conference against Japanese encroachment in January 1919, had provided him with many interprovincial contacts. He also maintained correspondence with Hunan students in France – Tsi Ho-sen, Tsai Chang and Hsiang Ching-yu; and knew of the revolutionary groups forming there[1].(...)[2]” 
The practice of the participation in the struggle and taking political and organisational initiatives in the struggle result in the development of a clear strategy for future revolution
Groups of three, five or more young people would get together, pass a resolution, and go out lecturing, teaching, 'arouse and wakening' the people. Mao urged them 'get organised': 'Arouse the people, give them their initiative.'  He was beginning to learn what 'the masses' meant. His style as a revolutionary was shaped then: a widespread stirring up, a multiplication of groups, societies, teams; a seeming chaos, out of which grow new ways of thought and behaviour. 'If we want a great union to oppose the mighty who do evil, it is necessary to have small unions of all kind as a base.' All Mao-inspired movements have the tendency to look wildly 'undirected' at the beginning, precisely because Mao feels that 'direction from above' will not do; it is the people themselves who must educate themselves in doing, practising revolution, shaping their own rules of conduct and a new order; but the leadership must keep an initiative of theoretical guidance, of ideas. The end is new cohesion and effectiveness. This is the key to the understanding of Mao's style, to 'trust the people', and it began during the first cultural revolution.
Under the slogan 'Use national products, resist Japanese goods', Mao addressed a rally of merchants and guilds in Changsha in July and urged them to form a committee to enforce the boycott. A 'unity of all circles' association, in which workers, shopkeepers, small craftsmen and intellectuals participated, was set up. He wrote numerous articles, addressed dozens of societies, committees, organisations; and began the Hsiang River Review (Hsiang Chiang Pin Lun), a weekly whose importance exceeded its short life. Founded on 14 July 1919, the weekly's manifesto was written by Mao; a week later (21 July) the first part of his article, The Great Union of the Masses of the People, which ran into three instalments, appeared. (...)
Mao Tsetung's Hsiang River Review became the Hunan students' favourite weekly. From the beginning it 'had a great influence on the student movement in South China’[3].[4]” 
 As I defend studying the texts of Mao Zedong placed in their historical context, now abbout the texts mentioned in the footnote (1): “On New Democracy, January 1940; see Selected Works, Vol II. See too, The May Movement and The Orientation of the Youth Movement, also in Selected Works, Vol. II. It is incorrect to aver, as some scholars do, that Mao was 'awaked' or 'came out of obsurity' because of the 4 May movement, or that he started his career with it. His career had already started. He had been the author of one of the first anti-Japanese denunciations, on 7 May 1915, the very day the Twenty-one Demands were published
What is concerning the texts about the lessons that Mao Zedong pull out of the “uprising” of 4 May 1919 in the development of a revolutionary strategy:
-         “ The May Movement”: see a large part of this text in http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150156958819985
-         “ The Orientation of the Youth Movement”,see a large part of this text (at the end of the note) in http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150181234194985
-         On New Democracy: here under

On New Democracy -  January 1940.
For many years we Communists have struggled for a cultural revolution as well as for a political and economic revolution, and our aim is to build a new society and a new state for the Chinese nation.
That new society and new state will have not only a new politics and a new economy but a new culture. In other words, not only do we want to change a China that is politically oppressed and economically exploited into a China that is politically free and economically prosperous, we also want to change the China which is being kept ignorant and backward under the sway of the old culture into an enlightened and progressive China under the sway of a new culture. In short, we want to build a new China. Our aim in the cultural sphere is to build a new Chinese national culture.
We want to build a new national culture, but what kind of culture should it be?
Any given culture (as an ideological form) is a reflection of the politics and economics of a given society, and the former in turn has a tremendous influence and effect upon the latter; economics is the base and politics the concentrated expression of economics.[5] This is our fundamental view of the relation of culture to politics and economics and of the relation of politics to economics. It follows that the form of culture is first determined by the political and economic form, and only then does it operate on and influence the given political and economic form. Marx says, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.[6] He also says, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”[7] For the first time in human history, these scientific formulations correctly solved the problem of the relationship between consciousness and existence, and they are the basic concepts underlying the dynamic revolutionary theory of knowledge as the reflection of reality which was later elaborated so profoundly by Lenin. These basic concepts must be kept in mind in our discussion of China’s cultural problems (...)
Although the Chinese revolution in this first stage (with its many sub-stages) is a new type of bourgeois-democratic revolution and is not yet itself a proletarian-socialist revolution in its social character, it has long become a part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution and is now even a very important part and a great ally of this world revolution. The first step or stage in our revolution is definitely not, and cannot be, the establishment of a capitalist society under the dictatorship of the Chinese bourgeoisie, but will result in the establishment of a new-democratic society under the joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes of China headed by the Chinese proletariat.
The revolution will then be carried forward to the second stage, in which a socialist society will be established in China.

This is the fundamental characteristic of the Chinese revolution of today, of the new revolutionary process of the past twenty years (counting from the May 4th Movement of 1919), and its concrete living essence.(....) 
Before the May 4th Movement of 1919 (which occurred after the first imperialist world war of 1914 and the Russian October Revolution of 1917), the petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie (through their intellectuals) were the political leaders of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The Chinese proletariat had not yet appeared on the political scene as an awakened and independent class force, but participated in the revolution only as a follower of the petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie. Such was the case with the proletariat at the time of the Revolution of 1911.
After the May 4th Movement, the political leader of China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution was no longer the bourgeoisie but the proletariat, although the national bourgeoisie continued to take part in the revolution. The Chinese proletariat rapidly became an awakened and independent political force as a result of its maturing and of the influence of the Russian Revolution. It was the Chinese Communist Party that put forward the slogan “Down with imperialism” and the thoroughgoing programme for the whole bourgeois-democratic revolution, and it was the Chinese Communist Party alone that carried out the Agrarian Revolution.
Being a bourgeoisie in a colonial and semi-colonial country and oppressed by imperialism, the Chinese national bourgeoisie retains a certain revolutionary quality at certain periods and to a certain degree — even in the era of imperialism — in its opposition to the foreign imperialists and the domestic governments of bureaucrats and warlords (instances of opposition to the latter can be found in the periods of the Revolution of 1911 and the Northern Expedition), and it may ally itself with the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie against such enemies as it is ready to oppose. In this respect the Chinese bourgeoisie differs from the bourgeoisie of old tsarist Russia. Since tsarist Russia was a military-feudal imperialism which carried on aggression against other countries, the Russian bourgeoisie was entirely lacking in revolutionary quality. There, the task of the proletariat was to oppose the bourgeoisie, not to unite with it. But China’s national bourgeoisie has a revolutionary quality at certain periods and to a certain degree, because China is a colonial and semi-colonial country which is a victim of aggression. Here, the task of the proletariat is to form a united front with the national bourgeoisie against imperialism and the bureaucrat and warlord governments without overlooking its revolutionary quality.
At the same time, however, being a bourgeois class in a colonial and semi-colonial country and so being extremely flabby economically and politically, the Chinese national bourgeoisie also has another quality, namely, a proneness to conciliation with the enemies of the revolution.
Even when it takes part in the revolution, it is unwilling to break with imperialism completely and, moreover, it is closely associated with the exploitation of the rural areas through land rent; thus it is neither willing nor able to overthrow imperialism, and much less the feudal forces, in a thorough way. So neither of the two basic problems or tasks of China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution can be solved or accomplished by the national bourgeoisie. As for China’s big bourgeoisie, which is represented by the Kuomintang, all through the long period from 1927 to 1937 it nestled in the arms of the imperialists and formed an alliance with the feudal forces against the revolutionary people. In 1927 and for some time afterwards, the Chinese national bourgeoisie also followed the counter-revolution. During the present anti-Japanese war, the section of the big bourgeoisie represented by Wang Ching-wei has capitulated to the enemy, which constitutes a fresh betrayal on the part of the big bourgeoisie. In this respect, then, the bourgeoisie in China differs from the earlier bourgeoisie of the European and American countries, and especially of France. When the bourgeoisie in those countries, and especially in France, was still in its revolutionary era, the bourgeois revolution was comparatively thorough, whereas the bourgeoisie in China lacks even this degree of thoroughness. 
Possible participation in the revolution on the one hand and proneness to conciliation with the enemies of the revolution on the other — such is the dual character of the Chinese bourgeoisie, it faces both ways. Even the bourgeoisie in European and American history had shared this dual character. When confronted by a formidable enemy, they united with the workers and peasants against him, but when the workers and peasants awakened, they turned round to unite with the enemy against the workers and peasants. This is a general rule applicable to the bourgeoisie everywhere in the world, but the trait is more pronounced in the Chinese bourgeoisie.[8]

[1] On New Democracy, January 1940; see Selected Works, Vol II. See too, The May Movement and The Orientation of the Youth Movement, also in Selected Works, Vol. II. It is incorrect to aver, as some scholars do, that Mao was 'awaked' or 'came out of obsurity' because of the 4 May movement, or that he started his career with it. His career had already started. He had been the author of one of the first anti-Japanese denunciations, on 7 May 1915, the very day the Twenty-one Demands were published.
[2] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chines Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890
[3] Edgar Snow, Red Star  Over China, Gollancz, London, 1937 (first revised and enlarged edition, 1968).
[4] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chines Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890
[5] See V. I. Lenin, “Once Again on the Trade Unions, the Present Situation and the Mistakes of Trotsky and Bukharin”, Selected Works, Eng. ed., International Publishers, New York, 1943, Vol. IX, p. 54.
[6] Karl Marx, “Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy”, Selected Works of Marx and Engels, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1958, Vol. I, p. 363.
[7] Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach”, Selected Works of Marx and Engels, Eng. ed., FLPH, Moscow, 1958, Vol. II, p. 405
[8] Out “ON NEW DEMOCRACY”, “SELECTED WORKS OF MAO TSE-TUNG Volume II”,p. 339, FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS, PEKING 1 9 6 5. English translation of the second Chinese edition of the second volume of the Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, published by the People’s Publishing House, Peking, in April 1960. From Marx to Mao ML © Digital Reprints 2006 / 2007.

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