Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism

Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism

Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism

Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism

Excerpt

The year 1927 ended the first phase of the history of the Chinese. Communist movement. The tiny Communist groups that had been organized seven years before by Ch’en Tu-hsiu and Li Ta-chao from among a handful of their more devoted student followers had grown with a speed unparalleled in the history of Communist parties. In the appearance of militant labor and student organizations, in the peasant risings, and in the seething anti-imperialist crusade that marked China’s great revolutionary upsurge of the mid-192o’s, the Chinese Communist party was centrally involved and frequently exercised a dominant influence.

The early successes of the Chinese Communists were all the more remarkable in that they occurred in a country which lacked a Marxist Social-Democratic tradition and in which the material prerequisites for the realization of the Marxist program were almost totally absent. Although such deficiencies have since been converted into positive advantages by Chinese Communist ideologists, those of less “dialectical” persuasions may be inclined to attribute the early Communist successes, in part, to the political vacuum left by the collapse of the Ch’ing dynasty in 1911 and the chaotic years of separatist warlord rule and civil war that followed. In part, the early triumphs of the Chinese Communists in what was then called the “national revolution” were dependent upon the same tactical factor that soon led to their near destruction — the Cominternsponsored alliance with the Kuomintang. The united front with the party of Sun Yat-sen helped to provide the Communists with access to the popular movement, but the military power of the alliance . . .

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