Chronicles of a revolution (9.1)

So in the Chinese Communist Party were gathered people who can not all be seen as “Communists”. Communists are people who once made the choice to put their life in function of the objective interests of the by imperialism oppressed masses: the overthrow of imperialism by revolution and the installing of new communist production relations.
Whatever class-origin, a communist make the free choice (by practice of the struggle, by study and by analysis of the society in which he is living) to put his life in function of the objective interests of the working class and to become a VANGUARD element of the working class, propagating, mobilising and organising as much as people around the objective interests of the working class which should become the interests of the majority of the people: overthrowing imperialism and proceeding into the socialist revolution.
The way certain members and cadres of the Chinese Communist Party developed their practice, their engagement in the class struggle and in the measure that they made – or did NOT made - a real ideological choice for the OBJECTIVE interests of the working class (which are the interests of ALL the people suffering from exploitation of imperialism), FROM THE BEGINNING (of the existence of the CCP)  are an explanation of their later ideological development…. and their final revolutionary or counterrevolutionary choice.
(You can follow the history of the revolutionary developments in China and the practice and engagement of the different classes IN these developments here)

Mao was implementing the concluded congress-decision as far in a revolutionary direction as possible
“In December 1921 Mao returned again to Anyuan with his brother Mao Tse-min, whom he was training in Party work, and they lodged in a small eating house. The first Anyuan Party cell was organised in a warehouse in January 1922 in Five Happiness Lane with several miners, five of whom would be killed before 1931. In that same January 1922 Mao went to the city of Hengyang in south Hunan and organised a Party cell there at the Normal College in Changsha. The railway workers on the Kuangchow – Hankow Railway at Hengyang and at Changsha also were organised into Party-cells and Communist trade unions. All together 12.000 workers were thus enrolled.
The establishment of workers' cooperatives at Anyuan in 1922 was an initiative taken by Mao's brother Mao Tse-min, who seemed to have a financial talent (...)
Mao Tse-min ran the cooperative, but was difficult to maintain, as there was no capital and a total hostility from the administration.
Mao Tsetung the set up a school for Anyuan workers, as he had done in Changsha. The miners were at first reticent. What was the use of a school when they spent their lives in the pits? He then conceived the idea of a day school for the children of the miners. This had a magic effect – the miners all wanted education for their children, and there were no schools for them. Mao brought a weekly paper from the Cultural Bookstore, through the medium of this school circulated it among the miners, and established a branch bookstore. He then tried to get the men learn reading and writing; urged them to write their own articles in their own newspaper – a suggestion which stunned the hard-driven illiterates who worked naked and had almost come to accept their half-beast condition. But the suggestion caught on, and some of the survivors are today's (in 1972, when Han Suyin wrote her book - NICO) most brilliant high-level officials and ambassadors. (...)
Mao Tsetung's activity among the Anyuan miners was based on a concept to be given nationwide propagation in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: Revolutionisation of the proletariat by itself, through awareness, political education, action, organisation. Hence his action in Anyuan is a model. Both there and in Pinghsiang the workers were to become a source of future Party cadres. Mao Tsetung's stature as a leader of the proletariat, not of the peasantry alone, rests upon the work he began with the coal miners, which received no publicity in China until 1967.
The workers' club, founded to give the workers education in the form of lectures, reading newspapers, and so on, was in late summer to be put under the direction of Li Li-san, appointed by the Politburo in Shanghai. Mao's work was commended as 'of great value', and Li Li-san was sent, as was later Liu Shao-chi, to reinforce this working-class nucleus of potential Communist cadres. (...)
Mao sent Chiang Hsien-yun, one of his recruits and a member of the Socialist Youth Corps of Hunan, to help in Anyuan when the membership of the club swelled from a few hundred to over 60 percent of workers. Mao was busy with the mass education movement, with a club of railway workers at Changsha, at Hengyang. Railway workers' unions, Communist-controlled, were being set up in the north to south railways between Peking and Wuhan, and between Wuhan and Kuangchow. Mao journeyed to Liling and Pingshiang, both mining areas, ostensibly to inspect schools (was he not a director of a school?) but actually to set up labour unions and to organise Party cells. Thus he spun a web of Party cells throughout the province in all the key industrial enterprises.[1]

Liu Shao-chi, president of the CCP  after the revolution of 1949 until the Cultural Revolution and who always opposed Mao Zedong, trying to marginalising Mao in the CCP, was FROM THE BEGINNING a REFORMIST, not a revolutionary
“There were then 123 Communist Party members in Hunan, but the labour union of Anyuan miners had just been disbanded by order of Governor Chao Heng-ti, who also put a ban on railway labour unions and workers' clubs. The famous railway workers' strike was about to begin, to be followed by a strike of the Anyuan miners.
Because these strikes were Communist-inspired, great attention was paid to them at the Shanghai headquarters of the Communist Party. Liu Shao-chi was sent by the All-China Labour Federation in Shanghai, where he worked with Chang Kuo-tao, to reinforce and to direct the strike at Anyuan. Liu Shao-chi, who as we have seen had gone to Moscow in December 1920 via Vladivostok, enrolled at the Communist University for Eastern Toilers in 1921. In 1922, he travelled back to China via Japan and became secretary of the All-China Labour Federation. He had no direct experience of labour organisation before this first immersion in a full-blown strike at Anyuan. But due to the enormous prestige of the Soviet Union, 'returned students from Russia' were held in great reverence, a reverence almost Confucian in attitude, based on the concept of knowledge elite. This attitude would bedevil the CCP for some years.
Liu arrived in Anyuan on 11 September, three days before the strike explode on 14 September. Mao Tsetung, who had begun the agitation, had drawn up thirteen articles or demands for the workers, and was now proceeding to stimulate a general strike all over Hunan in sympathy with the miners and railway workers. By November more then twenty unions had formed themselves into an association of labour unions with Mao as chairman. This was a very strong movement, which Mao would lead towards an All-Hunan Federation of Labour.
Today (1972, when Han Suyin finished her book, NICO), at such a distance, it is difficult to tell what really happened, but obviously Liu's idea of the goals of the strike were widely different from Mao's. Liu saw it as a temporary, limited protest, useful for acquiring an improved standard of living and social benefits for a circumscribed number of coal miners. Mao saw it as a political spearhead to form a powerful base organisation upon which to be build the Hunan CCP branch. Nothing could be more different than the basic view of the two men as regards this single event.
Liu dismissed Mao's deputy, Chiang Hsien-yun. He and Li Li-san proceeded to lead the strike towards negotiated agreement with the mine management. Clippings from newspapers of that time relate that Liu issued 'guarantees that the strike would be peaceful'. Talks with the managers resulted in a compromise agreement; Liu told the workers to give up their demands – formulated under Mao's advice – as 'too drastic'. The Anyuan episode looms large in the struggle – between the two lines or two politics, between Mao's and Liu's vision of the world – which was to form the focus of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, forty-odd years later.
Repression continued, however, both in the mines and on the railways after the strike had terminated on 18 September. Wage increases were granted to the Anyuan miners, but after some minor and partial concessions they were rescinded and the strike leaders were expelled. However, for many years Liu Shao-chi was to base his reputation as a labour leader on the successful Anuyan strike, and a film was made in the early 1960s to extol his role as a 'leader of the proletariat'.
On 7 February 1923, a railway workers' strike at Chengshow on the Peking – Hankow Railway was put down by the warlord Wu Pei-fu, who had also once been hailed as 'liberal and progressive' until this slaughter revealed him as of the same stuff as any other tyrant. Over a hundred workers were killed or injured. In early 1923 Mao Tsetung returned to Anyuan to warn the workers that they must prepare for protracted struggle. 'The bent bow must wait to be released' is the way he phrased it at the time.
In August 1923, and again in 1924, Liu was to argue that 'in China's present situation, with such a childish proletariat, it will be a long time before any revolution happens, so let us not discuss it' He spoke against 'this infantile disease, blind struggle .... strike at every occasion ..... adventurist impulses'. In 1924, in his article Save the Han Yeping Company, Liu appealed to the workers to 'keep order' and not to disrupt anything during strikes. He also dismissed 140 workers from the Anyuan workers' club for 'indiscipline'. Liu 'only talked to the bosses .... did not go down the pits .... wrote rules and regulations for us'[2] This is the gist of what old Anyuan workers say of Liu Shao-chi. Without trying to assess whether the strike, handled otherwise, would have led to a greater upsurge and benefited the revolution, we may still pass a qualified judgment: that Liu was the kind of functionary who likes order and regulations, social benefits dispensed to the working class, rather than violent seizure of power, is the ideal to be achieved. Liu may have been a social reformist, but he was not a revolutionary.[3]

[1] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Revolution”, Han Suyiin http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890

[2]     Interview with Anyuan miners, 1968.
[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

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