Generals Rise Of The Reds ((HOT))
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In its first rise already, in the discovery of the entire earth in the 16th century, capitalism had knocked at the gates of Japan; it kindled wars between the feudal lords and princes; the spreading of Christendom over against Buddhism was an expression of the paralyzing disruption of the empire. A couple of consecutive strong Shoguns averted the danger by subjecting the rebellious lords to their centralised power; the foreigners were driven out, and with a booming blow -- prohibition and extermination of Christendom -- the gate was closed for two centuries and a half. Then modern capitalism in its world conquest again knocked at the gate, and with its guns forced it open. American and Russian men-of-war came in 1853, others followed, treaties for commerce were made with the Western powers. And now the old worm-eaten system of government broke down, the Shogunate disappeared, clans hostile to it got the upper hand, and through the "restoration" of 1868 established a strongly united state under the government of the Mikado.
This meant the introduction of capitalism. First the juridical basis for a middle-class society was laid : the four orders were abolished and all inhabitants became free citizens with equal rights. Freedom of trade, of living and travel, private property, also of the land, that could be bought and sold now, were established. Instead of the tiller of the soil paying half the product in kind, land taxes in money were laid upon the owner. The samurai lost their feudal privileges, and instead got an amount of money to buy a lot of land or to start a business; as artisans and employers they formed part of the rising bourgeoisie. The state officials, the army and naval officers, the intellectuals in the new society chiefly came from this samurai class. The upper ranks remained in power; part of the feudal princes now formed the Secret Council, which, behind the scenes directed government; their retainers, still linked together by the old clan ties, became cabinet ministers, generals, party chiefs and influential politicians.
Capitalism was introduced from above. Capable young men were sent to Europe to study science and technics. The government erected factories, in the first place armament works and shipyards; for military strength against the other powers was most urgent. Then railways and ships were built, coal mines constructed, afterwards the textile industry developed, chiefly silk and cotton, banks were founded. Private business was encouraged by subsidies, and state industries were turned over to private hands. In this way the government spent much money, got partly by taxes, partly by borrowing, or by the issue of paper money, which rocketted prices. This policy was continued later on; capital was fattened by government subsidies, especially navigation, with its ensuing artificial prosperity. The system often developed into sheer corruption; the new-made capitalist class, through the absence of inherited business maxims in its dealings, exhibited a brazen lack of ordinary honesty; plundering public funds for personal enrichment is considered a common affair. Even the highest officials and politicians take part in big enterprises and procure orders for them by means of political influence.
This policy of conquest is often defended with the argument that the rapid increase of the population -- a doubling in 35 years -- that cannot find a sufficient living on the small lots of tillable soil in these mountainous islands, compels emigration or the increase of industrial labour for which markets and raw material must be available. Everywhere the rise of capitalism, with its abolition of old bonds and its increasing possibilities for living has brought about a rapid increase of population. Here, on the reverse, this consequence, considered as a natural phenomenon, is used as an argument for conquest and subjugation of other peoples. The real reason, however, of this policy of conquest, first of Manchuria, then of the northern provinces of China, consists in Japan's lack of iron ore. All industrial and military power nowadays is based upon the disposal over iron and steel; hence Japan wants the rich mineral deposits of Jehol and Shansi. At the same time Japanese capital invaded China and set up factories, chiefly cotton mills, in Shanghai and other towns. And there a vision loomed of a future of greatness and power : to make of these 400 millions firstly customers of its industry, and then to exploit them as workers. So it was necessary to become the political master and leader of China. And most experts in Eastern affairs did not doubt that Japan, with its military power, its big industry, its proud self-reliance, would succeed in dominating the impotent and divided Chinese empire.
In the 19th century Western capitalism begins to attack and invade China. The strict prohibition of opium import led to a war with Britain, 1840, and to the opening of a number of ports for European commerce. This number increases in later wars and treaties; European merchants and missionaries invade the country, and by their use and abuse of their specially protected position incite the hatred of the population. Cheap European wares are imported and undermine home handicraft; heavy war contributions imposed upon China aggravate the tax burden. Thus revolutionary movements flare up, such as the Taiping insurrection ( 1853-1864 ), having its own emperor in Nanking, and the Boxer revolt, 1899; both were suppressed with the help of European military power, which showed itself as barbarian destroyers of old Chinese culture. When the war with Japan lays bare Chinese impotence, all the Western powers, including Japan, seize parts of it as "concessions," tearing it asunder in "spheres of influence." Foreign capital builds some few railways and instals factories in the great harbor towns; Chinese capital, too, begins to take part. And now the obsolete Manchu dynasty crumbles in 1911, and is replaced in name by a Chinese republic proclaimed in Nanking, in reality, however, by the rule of provincial governors and generals, the so-called "war lords," often upstart former bandit chiefs, who now with their gang of soldiers in continuous wars pillage the country.
For the rise of a Chinese capitalism the elements were present : a class of wealthy or even rich merchants in the cities, mostly agents of foreign capital, which could develop into a modern bourgeoisie; a numerous class of poor urban proletarians and artisans, with a low standard of life; and an enormous population as customers. Western commercial capital, however, was not a driving force towards a development to higher productivity; it exploited the primitive forms of home industry for commercial profit, and impoverished the artisans by its imports. Hence the dominating position of this Western capital, on the way to make China into a colony, had to be repelled through organisation of the Chinese forces. This work of organisation fell as their task to the young intellectuals who had studied in England, France, America or Japan, and had imbibed Western science and Western ideas. One of the first spokesmen was Sun Yat-Sen, formerly a conspirator persecuted by the Manchu government, a well-known figure in European socialist circles, then the first President in name of the Chinese republic. He designed a program of national unity, a mixture of middle-class democracy and government dictatorship, and after his death in 1925 he became a kind of saint of the new China. He founded the Kuomintang, the political organisation and leading party of the rising Chinese bourgeoisie.
But now the long smouldering and ever again suppressed fight of the classes broke loose. The workers of the big towns, especially the industrial workers of Shanghai, the emporium of the East, took communism in its proletarian sense, as the workers' class fight. Their wages hardly sufficed to appease direct hunger, their working time was 14 to 16 hours daily; now they tried to raise their miserable conditions by striking, notwithstanding that Russian propaganda always had taught coalition with the bourgeoisie. The C.P. of China had been instructed from Moscow that the Chinese revolution was a middle-class revolution, that the bourgeoisie had to be the future ruling class, and that the workers simply had to assist her against feudalism and bring her into power. The C.P. had followed this lesson, and so had entirely neglected to organize and to arm the workers and the peasants against the bourgeoisie. It kept faith with the Kuomintang, even when this party ordered the generals to beat down the peasant revolts; so the communist militants were left at a loss, wavering between contradictory class sentiments and party commands. The mass actions that broke out in Canton and Shanghai were quenched in blood by the Kuomintang armies of Chiang Kai-shek, financed for that purpose by the Chinese and international bankers. A sharp persecution of communism set in, thousands of spokesmen and militants were slaughtered, the Russian "advisers" were sent home, the workers' organisations were exterminated, and the most reactionary parts of the bourgeoisie took the lead in government. These were chiefly the groups of rich merchants, whose interests as agents of foreign commercial and banking capital were bound to this capital and to the preservation of' the old conditions.
This world war means the rise of China as a new capitalist world power. Not immediately as an independent power on an equal par with its allies, Russia on the one, America on the other side, though it exceeds both in population. Its economical and political dependence on America, to which it is heavily in debt because of its war supplies, will mark the new future; American capital will then have the lead in building up its industry. Two great tasks are standing in the forefront; the construction of railways and roads, combined with the production of engines and motor cars, to modernize the primitive expensive traffic; and introduction of mechanical power in agriculture to free the human beast-of-burden and make its labour efficient. The accomplishment of these tasks requires a big metal industry. China possesses all the resources necessary for capitalist development. It has coal, iron and other minerals, not enough to make it an industrial country for export as England or Germany, but enough for its own needs. It has a dense population with all the qualities necessary for capitalism : a strong individualism, painstaking diligence, capability, spirit of enterprise, and a low standard of needs. It has, moreover, a fertile soil, capable of producing an abundance of products, but requiring security by wide scientific care and regulation of the water, by constructing dykes and excavating and normalizing the rivers. 2b1af7f3a8