Chronicles of a revolution (9.2)

Although there was not a concrete guideline of the CCP (but in agreement with the advices of Lenin and of the COMINTERN), Mao was working IN PRACTICE on a revolutionary alliance between peasants and workers under leadership of the working class.
“In 1923 Mao Tsetung organised the first workers-peasant union at Yuehpei in Hunan; his adopted sister Mao Tse-chien, was to work there for over two years, as also did his wife Yang Kai-hui. He recruited Anyuan workers in 1925 and sent them to train in Kuangchow at the Peasant Institute, and again in 1926[1]. He was to pay more visits to the Anyuan mines in September 1927, before the Autumn Harvest Uprising, when he recruited one thousand soldiers and cadres from the miners.[2]
The First United Front….
But each organisation representing other interests of other classes and each individual having an ideological CLASS-position of a certain class and so defending those respective CLASS-interests (formulated in whatever “revolutionary” phraseology), had another idea of this “First United Front”)
“In his first visit to China in 1920, Sneevliet (alias Maring or Ma-lin), later said to be present at the CCP First Congress, had suggested to Chen Tu-hsiu a 'grand anti-imperialist alliance to take in all classes' based on the 'bloc of four classes' urged by Lenin. Trotsky had opposed Lenin on this point; Chang Kuo-tao at the First Congress also opposed a united front.
Sun Yatsen, sounded out by Chicherin and other Russian envoys[3], was at first obdurate. He would have no alliance with Communism. But according to Dr Percy Chen, the eminent lawyer now resident in Hongkong, it was his father, Dr Eugene Chen, together with the eminent and respected scholar Dr Liao Chung-kai, Sun Yatsen's most trusted friend, who successfully persuaded Sun Yatsen to agree to such an alliance. Sun's disheartening experiences with various warlords helped him to take this decision; since 1911 Sun had been several times at the mercy of militarists; Yuan Shih-kai among others. They would help him to power, but topple him when he did not serve their mercenary purposes. They were out for personal gain; Sun was an idealist and a revolutionary. (...)
But Sun Yatsen now realised the Russians needed a friendly China, as China needed allies in her struggle against domination by the Western powers and Japan. It was with him that the Soviet government finally decided that cooperation would be most fruitful; overtures to various warlords had proved futile. Lenin had spoken favourably of Sun Yatsen's party in 1912; Sun had cabled Lenin, hailing the October Revolution of 1917. Though mistrustful of Communism, Sun was now disgust with Western democracy. And after 4 May 1919, Sun Yates’s opinions began to change. He began to read the works of Marx and Lenin. The combined persuasion of Dr Liao Chung-kai and of Sun's own wife, the brilliant and courageous Soong Ching-ling[4], finally convinced Sun of the usefulness of an alliance. He started to write down his political credo, the 'Three People's Principles',  now incorporating socialism in his third principle, 'People's livelihood', 'Nationalism, democracy and socialism' became his new formula for he three principles which at various times he had enunciated, but which had remained vague in content until now, revised and redefined, they began to look like a definite programme. It was not until 1923, however, that this identification with socialism occurred; it was 1924 when he clearly opted for socialism. (...)
Sun Yatsen encountered great opposition in his own party to this leftward switch. 'If Communism is a good ally, why do members of the Kuomintang oppose the Communist Party? The reason may be that members of the Communist Party do not themselves understand what is Communism; and thus they have spoken against the Three People's Principles.' Sun was obviously referring to the unflattering comments made about him and his party at the First Congress of the CCP in July 1921. 'We cannot use the actions of some individuals for opposing a whole group ... then why has this trouble arisen among our Kuomintang comrades? Because they not realise that my third principle is a form of Communism.'
This forthright endorsement, made in 1923, opened the door for the admission of Communist Party members into the Kuomintang, and for a Communist-Kuomintang alliance, which would last till 1927 and be known as the First United Front. (...)

At the Second Congress of the CCP in 1922, which Mao had missed ('I forgot the name of the place where it was to be held, could not find any comrade, and missed it'), alliance and cooperation with the Kuomintang had again been discussed, but the majority of the delegates still remained opposed to united front strategy. But from the autumn of 1922, and throughout the next year, the violent suppression of fomented strikes, and the massacres of the railway workers on 4 February 1923, by Wu Pei-fu, had forced rethinking. The tiny Communist Party could not remain isolated. It was not growing fast, except in Hunan. Many activists were already being slaughtered.
The manifesto of the Second Congress already stated: ' The Chinese Communist Party must, in the interest of the workers and the poor peasants, support the national democratic revolution, and forge a democratic united front of workers, poor peasants, and the petty bourgeoisie'. But no united front policy was spelled out till the Third Congress, held in June 1923 in Kuangchow.
Coming via Shanghai to Kuangchow, Mao attended the Third Congress, where he gave a detailed report on the workers' movement in Hunan. ‘There must be a great revolutionary union. One cannot fight alone.' Mao is reputed to have stated. All this Third Congress, however, the right wing of the CCP headed by Chen Tu-hsiu advocated virtual dissolution of the CCP. Frightened by repression, Chen suggested that the KMT make his own bourgeois revolution first, and that the CCP begin its proletarian revolution 'after the historic period' of KMT rule. Chen Hu-hsiu, possessed by discouragement, told his friends that he hated 'violence'. The ultra-left wing, with Chang Kuo-tao, maintained that the Communist Party should be free from bourgeois entanglements, and again castigated the KMT.
Mao Tsetung, together with his friend Ho Shu-feng and a young intellectual called Chu Ciu-pai[5], opted for the united front, but with the Communist Party keeping its own autonomy, Mao and Chu were elected members of the Central Committee, and a majority voted for Mao's proposal. The Chen Hu-hsiu 'right'-wing and Chang Kuo-tao 'left'-wing theses were both criticised.
Some historians say this was due to Russian pressure. At the Comintern in Moscow, Karl Radek had scolded the Chinese delegation for its opposition to a united front. They were too theoretical, and just as the old Chinese scholars studied Confucius behind closed doors and pretended to know the world merely by reading books, they were reading Marxism but did not know how to apply it. This observation was pertinent, but it must be noted that Mao Tsetung had already indicated his option for a united front in 1922, as his articles indicate.
However, he stressed that the CCP must keep its independence of action and the leadership of the working class and the peasantry in its hands. Leadership of the Revolution could not be handed over to the .Kuomintang. He made this point forcefully. It agreed with the Leninist thesis on a united front. And Mao was already a Leninist. (....)
At the time of the Third Congress, there were only 342 Communist Party members in the whole of China.
An agreement between the CCP and the KMT was concluded at the end of 1923. In that autumn Michael Borodin, a Comintern agent, arrived in China with other Russian personnel to advise Sun Yatsen's Kuangchow government in shaping policies and institutions. The organisation of a nationalist army, under officers and cadres trained by the KMT, was a top priority. The goal was to fight the warlords and to unite China. Sun Yatsen was convinced that without an army to implement the national policies of the KMT the Revolution would always be at the mercy of sundry warlords.
This development gave a great impetus to the KMT. A new hope animated its ranks, and new personages were to come into the limelight, among them Chiang Kai-shek, known at the time as a disciple of Sun Yatsen. Chiang made a good impression on Borodin, and was sent to Russia in the autumn of 1923 to study Russian military methods. He stayed in Russia five months. By June 1924 thirty Soviet instructors were attached to the newly built military academy, known as the Whangpoo Military Academy, and Chiang Kai-shek had returned from Moscow to head it as director. Once again the prestige of the 'Russian-returned student' label resulted in promotion to a position of influence and command.
The admission of Communists to the KMT was formally blessed by Sun himself at the First Congress of the KMT in January 1924. Li Ta-chao, China's first Marxist, was personally inducted by Sun Yatsen into the KMT. Sun insisted that Communists should be admitted without any curtailment of their activities as Communists and no one dared to contradict him openly. (...)
One of the Communists who became member of both parties was Mao Tsetung, who was given the task of liaison between the CCP and the KMT. To be entrusted with this important and delicate work was a tribute to his merit as organiser, recruiter, persuader, orator and his staunch advocacy of the alliance. But due to the composition of the Kuomintang it was an almost impossible responsibility as the contradiction between the two parties became intractable[6] (...)
In later years Mao would analyse what was wrong with this first united front. The strategy of a united front had been correct, but the CCP had failed to recognize that leadership must never be relinquished. 'The Party .... was in its infancy .... inexperienced in the three basic problems of the united front, armed struggle and Party building, a party without much knowledge of China's historical and social conditions[7]. No other Communist Party member at the time seems to have given so much thought to Sun Yatsen's own programme, and to the structure of the Kuomintang Party, as well as to the study of Lenin's united front techniques, as Mao did.[8]

This text “On New Democracy” of Mao Zedong, you can read here, (or here, but to which I am adding my own study-notes while studying the text)

[1]     See further chapters.
[2] 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
[3]     The Comintern envoys also contacted the powerful warlord Wu Pei-fu and even Chao Heng-ti, the reactionary governor of Hunan.
[4]     See the Selected Works of Madame Soong Ching-ling (in Chinese). The book of Emily Hahn, The Soong Sisters, does not do justice to the greatest and noblest of the three sisters. Another sister, Soong Mei-ling, is de widow of Chiang Kai-shek.
[5]     Chu Ciu-pai had joined the Moscow precursor group of the CCP in 1921. See T. A. Hsia, 'Chu Chiu-pai's Autobiographical Writings', China Quarterly, January-March 1966.
[6]     A note on the Kuomintang: From 1885 to 1905 Sun Yatsen's organisation was known as the Hsin Chung-hui; it was after 1905 and in Japan that it was renamed the Tung Meng Hui. It became the Kuomintang (National Party) in 1912, on the eve of the first elections to China's first 'parliament', the National Assembly. Until 1911 it was an anti-Manchu, anti-dynastic alliance vaguely democratic and republican but without a very definite programme.
[7]     Introducing The Communist, 4 October 1939; also On New Democracy, January 1940; both in Selected Works, Vol II.
[8] 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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