Chronicles of a revolution (8)

To be involved in “an uprising”, trying to develop it to its highest possible level, and making out of it the best possible step towards future revolution, fighting against recuperation.

“The articles by Mao Tsetung were popular for their vividness. He attacked every vice and evil in society, including the oppression of women. His style was then fervid, grandiloquent; the spirit of the times was epic exaltation.
'If the peasants are not liberated, then the nation will not be liberated,' Li Ta-chao had written. Marx had stated that movements of national liberation in colonial countries had their place in the socialist revolution to come. So had Lenin[1]. These ideas Mao propagated in his articles. The national, patriotic features of the 4 May movement he would later incorporate in his revolutionary strategy. 'Can a Communist, who is internationalist, at the same time, be a patriot? We hold that he not only can but must be. The specific content of patriotism is determined by historical conditions ... In wars of national liberation, patriotism is applied internationalism.[2]' In 1919, it was patriotism, on a national liberation surge, which led to the 'great unity' of the masses; it was on this base that Marxism progressed in China.[3]

The concrete example of the October-revolution, the concrete scientific way in which Lenin used Marxism to make his analyses and to develop the revolutionary strategy, promoted the attraction by the van-guard (of which Mao was one of them) of the 4 May movement for Marxism....It weaponed them against reformism and dogmatism.

“He gave an international dimension to the 4 May movement, an identification with all that was revolutionary in the world. And indeed the generation of 4 May did link events in China to revolution elsewhere. Beyond the scope of local events they felt the forceful, irresistible drive of history.
Mao pointed this out when he wrote and spoke against the views expounded by Bertrand Russell and John Dewey on their visit to China. Between 1919 and 1921, these two eminent men were invited by the more conservative groups in the Chinese universities to lecture and to present viewpoints to counteract the incipient Bolshevik influence. Russell and Dewey toured and lectured. They made an impression on so-called 'middle of the road' liberals, especially Russell, who denounced the arbitrariness of Soviet Russian methods. (He had visited Soviet Russia and was horrified by what he had seen.)
But however acclaimed they were, they could not stop the urgent march of history. John Dewey's influence persisted in some circles, promoted Hu Shih and other intellectuals. But these moderating influences had nothing to do with the irrepressible revolution. Revolution had begun but these men refused to see it. 'The soft non-violent kind of communism Russell preaches is good for capitalism, it can never achieve socialism,' said Mao Tsetung, refuting Russell at a public meeting held in the auditorium of the Teachers College in December 1919.[4]

An uprising has its limits, has its results and its defeats....but grasping its lessons, achievements and its moments of “practice of open struggle” to use them for the preparation for the final revolution - 'Once I had accepted Marxism as the correct interpretation of history, I did not afterwards waver.'

“As 1919 moved into 1920, splits, cliques, factions developed. They led to a dropping off in agitation. But subsidence did not mean a return to a previous situation.
China was changed forever. 'This kind of new culture movements reflects an unprecedented change among the intellectuals of China today ... The success of the revolution carried out by our party depends on a change of thought in China, just as the ancient book on strategy by Sun Tze says that to attack the mind is more effective than to attack a city, and as the old saying has it that a renovation of the mind is prerequisite to a revolution.' Thus wrote Sun Yatsen at the time. The movement, he said,' has brought us a good east wind to move our boat forward'. 'This is the deluge,' wrote Tsai Yuan-pei, then president of Peking University, in an article entitled The Deluge and the Beasts. He likened the warlords, militarists and reactionaries to beasts swept away by this deluge (the 4 May cultural revolution) now carving new channels, a new destiny for China. (...)
In December 1919 Chang Ching-yao sent soldiers to disperse students making a bonfire of Japanese goods. Mao then wrote a manifesto calling for Chang Ching-yao's overthrow; 13.000 students signed it. He organised a march on the provincial government; wrote to Sun Yatsen in Kuangchow and to the Student Union in Peking urging denunciation of Chang Ching-yao; organised a strike of all the students in the schools of Changsha.
Chang Ching-yao, who hated Mao so much he could neither sleep nor eat, decided to have him murdered, probably by hired thugs. The New People's Study Society now organised an 'anti-militarist League for the Reconstruction of Hunan Province', demanding autonomy – separation of Hunan province from the Peking pro-Japanese government – and the ousting of the governor. Mao sponsored himself to go to Peking to denounce Chang Ching-yao, travelling as a journalist for Hunan newspapers and magazines. He arrived in Wuhanin January 1920. There he issued a statement calling for the overthrow of Chang. Reaching Peking in February, he renewed his ties with Li Ta-chao, with Professor Yang Chang-chi, with other friends. He stayed about two months in Peking, trying to get people interested   in the Hunan autonomy movement. But provincial preoccupations were very secondary in Peking. By then the 4 May movement has gone underground, was giving birth to something far more radical. (...)
Li Ta-chao now looked at the erstwhile assistant librarian with new respect. He asked Mao Tsetung to help him; Marxist study groups were not enough, there must be more. The idea of establishing a Chinese Communist Party was already in the air. Li knew that Mao was an excellent organiser and had great influence on the students.
Mao spent these weeks in Peking making up his mind. It was a big decision he was about to take, and he studied the problem very seriously and solemnly. He read, he walked, he thought; it was not something to be undertaken without total dedication. 'Once I had accepted Marxism as the correct interpretation of history, I did not afterwards waver.' (...)
Mao Tsetung, too, now left Peking, but now to go to Shanghai to see Chen Tu-hsiu, to confer with him the organisation of a Chinese Communist Party. He sold his winter clothes to pay for the train fare, arrived in Changhai about mid-March, and there met Chen Tu-hsiu for the second time.[5]

So at that time the best form of a revolutionary van-guard organisation seemed to be a Communist Party – but only this name is not the guarantee that it would be “Bolshevik-like”

[1]     V.I. Lenin, On Revolutionary Tempests in the Far East, Peking, 1967.
[2]     Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War, October 1938, Selected Works, Vol II.
[3] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890
[4] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890
[5] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten