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Full text of "China and American imperialist policy"

■•The following* article was writ lea by Oumrath? HmwiliM' 
in Hankow, on May 9, and was puhiisheil in 'V«hinj*se Cor- 
resijoiukmn.*", weekly organ of the Central Kxwulm* Coin- 
initio* of lite KnoniintanK, in imnv No. H„ Mav if*, tit ^7, 
Thus, in acMilion fo its value* as a disrsHsbm nf a vital cur* 
reni poll Heal problem, it has the atlileii interesf 
playH a role* in the internal iie.velopmenl of fin 



of having 
Kuomiu 



China and American Imperialist Policy 

By Earl Beowder 

Hankow, May 9, 1927* 

WHEN the American gunboats joined with the British in 
shelling Nanking on March 24, there was great joy in 
the interventionist camp, particularly in the Shanghai British 
-.newspapers. This act and the later identic notes, was taken 
as a sign that the U« S. Government had bowed before the Brit- 
ish policy in China. Indeed, there was good reason for such be- 
lief, for if the shelling of Nanking and the following notes were 
not to be merely a first step toward a broad application of armed 
force to crush the Chinese revolution, then it became a silly, 
futile, irresponsible act, without even imperialist logic. 

The closing days of April, however, have shown that Ameri- 
can Imperialist policy ia not so simple in relation to China, 
Coolidge's public speeches, coupled with the instructions sent 
to Mac-Murray in Peking, have again halted the projected Brit- 
ish intervention, which was 'to have occupied ' Hankow. The 
Shanghai British press, in high rage, is denouncing the U« S* * 
Government in unmeasured terms for this "treason**. 

Thus, again, has American imperialist policy performed one 
of its characteristic wobbles on the question of China* Thin 
m not an accident . These seemingly uncoordinated and incom- 
prehensible contradictions in American policy in China are 'the 
result of the struggle within American imperialist circles a 
struggle between two lines of policy toward China, This strug- 
gle has not yet been decisively settled; American policy still 
wavers uncertainly between the two. It is very important that 
these two policies, and the forces behind them, be understood 
better, 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN RIVALRY 

AMAJOK feature of world politics is the struggle between 
Great Britain and America for control of the world 
markets. This struggle was, for many years, centered in Central 
and South America and the islands of the Carribean Sea. Up 

until 1900, American policy in China consisted mainly of drag-, 
ging along in the rear of Great Britain* Quickly ' after the 
Spanish-American war, however, the United States awoke to its 



"manifest destiny" in the Pacific; that struggle which began 
primarily as one for control of the Carribean, had ended by 
giving America the Phillippine Islands and Hawaii— major po- 
sitions in the Pacific. From this point onward, the- Anglo- 
American rivalry changed its center to the Pacific Ocean. 

American imperialist policy in the struggle for control of 
Latin-America had been crystallized in what is known as the 
Monroe Doctrine. This is the "closed door" of the Americas, 
against European powers — and Japan, But in the Par East, 
American imperialism found all the positions already occupied, 
mainly by Great Britain and Japan. And these two rivals of 
the rising American power, were still in close alliance with one 
another. America was still, in spite of holding the Philippines, 
a rank "outsider" in the Far East. Hence the cry for the "open 
door" in China, the demand for a "fair share" of the imperialist 
loot, became sharp and imperative on the part of the United 
States. What had been in Latin-America the "closed door", in 
the Far East was suddenly transformed into the "open door". 
But in this there is no contradiction, when one looks beneath 
the surface, for the driving force in imperialist politics is not 
logic, nor "justice", etc., but plain, unadorned greed and lust 
for markets. 

As the United States became a Pacific power, especially with 
the opening of the Panama Canal, a new Pacific orientation be- 
gan to take place in her foreign policy* An "independent" line 
in China became more and more insistently demanded. Great 
markets of untold riches were to be had— but Great Britain 
was already in ahead, with a monopolistic position, and a power- 
ful ally, Japan* 

The World War withdrew imperialist attention for a few 
years from the Far East, except that of Japan. The latter, 
however, was busy with the notorious "21 points" and in oc- 
cupying Shantung and Manchuria. American imperialism was 
quite shocked when, at the Versailles peace conference in 1919, 
she realized to what an extent she had been frozen out of China. 
Not only was Great Britain Hitting tighter than ever, but also, 
with British support, Japan was taking everything else in wight. 



JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES 

PRESIDENT Wilson at Versailles knew quite well that Amer- 
ican imperialism was opposed to sanctioning Japan's grab 
in China. But, as the price of support by Great Britain and 
Japan for his League of Nations idea, he acquiesced in it This 
was his undoing, for American imperialism turned against him 
and destroyed him. By this time, imperialist interests were 



keenly aware that in the Pacific, particularly in China, the 
destinies of the world would soon be fought out. 

But to fight immediately against both Great Britain and 
Japan was too dangerous. They must be separated, the alliance 
must be broken, This was achieved by a combination of threats 
and concessions to Great Britain, At the Washington Confer- 
ence, 1921, the Anglo-Japanese alliance was broken; and here 
also, again, China was sacrificed to a compromise between Great 
Britain and the United States. This was the logical outcome; 
the XL S* was and is interested in China only insofar as she 
can use China against her rivals, or gain direct advantages for 
herself. (Here let me add a word on August 8: the inability 
of the U. S. and Britain at the recent Naval Conference to find 
even a temporary formula of compromise is due, primarily, to 
the re-establishment of the alliance with Japan, a "secret" un- 
derstanding that is known to the whole world.) 

American imperialism's rivalry with Japan is not so broad 
or deep as that with Great Britain. But it in mora immediate 
and more acute, it contains a mare immediate threat of war. 
The fundamental reasons for this are, that the XL S. must de- 
feat one at a time, and chooses Japan for the first struggle be- 
cause (a) Japan is the weaker, the more easily defeated, and 
(b) because it is easier and more profitable to find temporary 
compromises with Great Britain than with Japan; the latter 
has contacts with America only where the interests clash sharp- 
ly, while British can still give a quid pro quo. 

It is of more than ordinary interest to remark again, that 
the imperialism of the United States is firmly convinced that it 
will soon fight a war against Japan, It was barely two years 
ago that an official in the Navy Department created a great 
scandal by declaring publicly that the American Navy was 
preparing for such a war* One of the most widely-read and 
discussed books in years, has been Hector By water's descrip- 
tion of an imaginary war between the XI $, and Japan, sup- 
posed to occur in 1981-32. And the following news despatch 
from an American news-service emphasizes the same point; 



"Washington, Feb. 2 1 :— Favoratolo rnport has hinm mudc 
by the Senate nommiMoo on Naval Affairs rrn th*» bill pro- 
viding for a $3,500,000 depot in iho Sl.al.n of Nevada In 
store naval munitions. 

"Storing of naval munitions for Mm Pacific flt»«>i. and 
Pacific Coast defenses at, a point in th& do serf., far inland 
and across the mountains from any Pacific Port, ha? nmver 
before hoen seriously suggested. Fear of a .Tapani* attack 
upon the Pacific coast determined Iho decision." 



IN TRANSITION BETWEEN TW.0 POLICIES 

FROM all this tangle of rivalries and greeds (with many 
more complications and factors which we have no time to 
go into now) rise the hesitations, the vacillations, the seeming 
contradictions of American actions and policy in China. Ameri- 
can imperialism is in a pei*iod of transition between two poli- 
cies, the old policy of accord and accommodation with the other 
imperialist powers, and a new policy of driving for complete 
American dominance in the Pacific. It is very probable that for 
several years, the United States will waver and shuffle about on 
each critical question in regard to China, and, according to the 
exegencies, of the moment, will make a trade with Britain, 
whereby British policy in China gains a temporary support, or, 
on the contrary, will take another step in the establishment of 
that much-heralded "independent" policy, which is coming to 
realization slowly — but surely. 

This characteristic wavering of American policy toward 
China is especially expressed in events since 1919; it is seen in 
Wilson's negotiations at Versailles; it comes out sharply at the 
Washington Conference; it is seen in the attitude towards the 
Nationalist movement; it was expressed in the shelling of Nan- 
king and the identic notes, followed by withdrawal from the 
joint action. It will be expressed again and again in the events 
to come* 

All these apparent waverings, hesitations, vacillations, can 
he understood only if studied, not as manifestations of a policy 
toward China considered as a "separate question**,' but rather 
as a part of a very complicated three cornered struggle of 
America against Japan and Great Britain, and each against all 
the others, And the arena of this great battle is not only China, 
hut the entire world. 



WHAT DOES AMERICAN IMPERIALISM REALLY WANT? 

IT is dear that America is gradually developing a policy in 
the Far East that sharply contradicts that of Great Britain. 
What does this new policy mean for Chinese people, for the 
Chinese revolution? Is it directed toward helping the Chinese 
people to throw off their old fetters and emerge as a free, strong, 
united Nation? 

There are two sides to the answer to these questions. First, 
it must be said that the existence of deep, sharp struggles be- 
tween the imperialist powers, is decidedly favorable to the 
Chinese revolution. Imperialist rivalries constitute one of the 
great international factors which insure the success of the 
Chinese revolution. (The other chief international factors are 
(a) support by the Soviet Union, which has broken the im- 



perialist world front; (b) the national liberation movement in 
other lands} (c) the inner decline of British economic life; and 
(d) the growing revolutionary workingclass forces). 

But if the existence of different policies toward China on the 
part of Great Britain and America is, objectively, an aid to the 
Chinese revolution, this is a very different thing from saying 
that it is the policy of the United States to help the revolution. 
Nothing could be farther from the truth than such a statement. 
American imperialism wants to halt the revolution, far short of 
its goal of social and economic revolution; although quite willing 
to see British imperialism diiven out of China, her aim is to 
replace it with American imperialism; wishing to see a Chinese 
Government able to resist the aggressions of Japan, she wants 
that Government weak enough that it must lean for support on 
America; opposing the dismemberment of China, it is because 
American imperialism expects, itself, to hold the hegemony of all 
China, In short, American imperialist policy is just as ruthless, 
greedy and oppressive as that of Britain. Its goal is more am- 
bitious, being complete control of all China, It is ultimately more 
dangerous, because it is more powerful and fights with subtler 
weapons. -After British imperialism is defeated in China, 
American imperialism will press forward for its conquest, the 
campaign for which is already under way* 



CORRUPTION BY MACHINERY AND LOANS 

AMERICAN imperialism- relies, for its conquest of China, 
upon its enormous surplus of machinery and money, which 
are the two things of which China stands most in need. Ameri- 
can imperialism looks upon China as the field, which it needs 
above all dse, for great loans and investments which will create 
great markets for steel, Machinery, -etc* But American im- 
perialism will require "guarantees", which will be of audi a 
nature as to atop short the development of the Chinese revolu* 
tkm> and turn Chinese national independence into a thin shadow. 
Such conditions will doubtless include the following: 

:L Workers and. peasants must not have my decisive role 
in the Chinese Government Trade unions must he "tamed" or 
destroyed. 

2, AH talk about socialism, nationalising the railroads, 
hanks, and heavy industry, must be suppressed* Chinese in- 
dustry, transportation, and finance, must.be based upon private 
ownership* 

3-. Mortgages must he given to American imperialists on all 
important works, accompanied by American supervision and 
control* 

Given such conditions, American imperialism would doubt- 



less be glad to grant all other things as nonessential The 
American money lords expect, by finance and machinery, to ac- 
complish what Britain failed to do with warships and troops— 
the conquest of China. America also uses warships — but they 
follow after the mortgages. That is a later stage* Witness 
Haiti, Nicaragua, etc. 

AMERICA, CENTER OF WORLD REACTION 

IT will be well for Nationalist China to remember, when dealing 
with America, what is the latter's role in world politics to- 
day. It is the role of center, organizer, leader of the reaction- 
ary forces of the world. American imperialism today draws 
tribute from all parts of the world, and its accumulating wealth 
as constantly goes forth to further corrupt, enslave, exploit. 

It is not simply due to a whim on the part of Coolicige, that 
the United States refusese to have any relation with the Union 
of Soviet Republics, It is, on the contrary, because there is 
fundamental opposition, antagonism, of the United States to 
every power which is able to resist its aggressive expansion, its 
imperialist penetration; this antagonism deepens to Jbitter rage 
when, as in the case of the Soviet Union, this other power be- 
comes the center, organizer, and leader of the exploited peoples 
and classes of the world. 

Toward revolutionary China, American imperialism holds the 
same deep antagonism. This enmity of American imperialism, 
the Chinese revolution cannot avoid unless it is ready to deny 
itself, destroy and halt its own work, submit itself to the viola- 
tion of American imperialism in the place of British imperial- 
ism* 

But if this enmity cannot be avoided, it can be defeated. Al- 
though the most powerful imperialism in the world, even 
America, in alliance with all the other imperialist governments, 
broke her teeth on the Soviet Union and was forced to retreat 
in baffled rage* That was beeaua, not only were the people of 
Russia solidly united behind the revolutionary party, but also 
because they had the assistance of allies, the revolutionary 
workers within the imperialist lands. China has the same pow- 
erful allies, plus the greater national liberation movements, 
plus the successful revolutionary power of the Soviet Union. 
With these forces, China may resolutely press forward in her 
revolution, confident in the victory over British imperialism, 
and also over the more powerful enemy, American imperialism. 
To this end, the policies and forces of American imperialism 
should be closely studied in detail When the power of American 
imperialism is broken, that is the clay of victory for the world 
revolution. 



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Format: Monograph 

Author: Browder, Earl, 1891-1973. 

Title: China and American imperialist policy / 

Pub. Place: Chicago, III : Labor Unity Pub. Association, 

[1927?] 
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