We Are Witnesses of History
We Are Witnesses of History
We Are Witnesses of History
by Wan Nengshan and eight other veteran Wuhan workers who took part in the valiant struggle to recover the British concession in Wuhan in 1927
Source: Peking Review, No. 47, November 22, 1968
WE want to expose and denounce Liu Shao-chi's towering crimes of collaboration with the imperialists, the Kuomintang reactionaries and the old-line Right opportunist Chen Tu-hsiu in bloodily suppressing the worker's' revolutionary movement in Hankow in 1927. Wc are witnesses of the history of those times.
In 1926, the worker-peasant revolutionary movement rose vigorously throughout the country. In his brilliant work Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society, Chairman Mao pointed out: '"The leading force in our revolution is the industrial proletariat." Later in another brilliant work, Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan which he wrote while running the Central Institute of the Peasants' Movement in Wuchang, Chairman Mao also pointed out: "A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another." He called on the peasants to rise in "overthrowing the armed forces of the landlords and establishing those of the peasants." The fact that our great leader Chairman Mao backed us up in rising in revolution and rebellion was an immense inspiration to us. Chairman Mao's instructions expressed what was in our minds. They gave powerful guidance to the worker-peasant revolutionary movement that was already gathering momentum at that time.
The workers' revolutionary movement in the Wuhan area of Hupeh Province surged forward tempestuously. We all joined the railway trade union organizations and the workers' pickets. Trade union membership jumped to the figure of 300,000. A mighty offensive was launched against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, and towards the end of 1926, a big strike broke out, rocking all China.
On January 3, 1927, British imperialist sailors savagely shot and killed many of our compatriots. This was the "Tragic January 3rd Incident." It infuriated the Wuhan working class. We railway workers' pickets took the lead in arming ourselves with clubs and stones and marched at the head of a demonstration of the revolutionary masses to the British concession, shouting the revolutionary slogans "Down with British imperialism!" and "Take back the British concession!"
Pillboxes stood at the entrance to the British concession. The British policemen did their utmost to obstruct us and trained their machine guns against the workers' pickets. Fearless of death, we charged into the concession resolutely, drove the policemen away and took back the concession. The revolutionary action of the workers' pickets threw the British imperialists into a panic. The Kuomintang Right wing represented by Chiang Kai-shek had the deepest hatred for this revolutionary action. They hoped in vain to strangle the vigorously growing workers' movement. Chen Tu-hsiu and Liu Shao-chi, old-line Right opportunists in the Party, echoed the imperialists and Chiang Kai-shek in condemning the workers' movement in Hankow. The scoundrel Liu Shao-chi openly ordered the workers' pickets to withdraw completely from the British concession. On January 7, three hundred workers' pickets withdrew in tears. Thus the fruits of the victory won at the cost of our blood and lives were handed over to the Kuomintang reactionaries by the big renegade, traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi. as a token of his surrender to the imperialists and the Kuomintang reactionaries.
What happened after this stirred us to even greater anger.
Our great leader Chairman Mao teaches us: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." We realized from our own bitter experience that we had suffered long from oppression and exploitation by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism because the working class had not taken political power into its own hands, and that the only way to seize political power was by relying on the gun. In line with Chairman Mao's instructions, we workers' pickets took up rifles and went in for military training. The workers’ pickets, numbering over 5,000, at that time had over 3,000 rifles. In addition, there was a 10,000-strong young working people's corps armed with clubs. The imperialists and Kuomintang reactionaries, however, deeply hated and feared these armed workers and wished to wipe them out immediately.
At this crucial moment when revolution and counterrevolution were locked in a decisive battle and on the cardinal and principled question of who should hold the gun, Liu Shao-chi threw himself into the arms of imperialism and the Kuomintang reactionaries. He not only went himself to persuade the workers' pickets to hand over their rifles, but also in the name of the Hupeh
Provincial Federation of Trade Unions, sent in a succession of messages "To the Workers," "To the Army Comrades" and so on for the disarming of the workers' pickets. He talked such nonsense as that the workers* pickets "hinder the united front of workers and soldiers," that disarming the pickets was "in the interests of the revolution," and that there was no need to "fuss about" this. Even more shameful, he asked the reactionary Kuomintang for "government protection."
On June 28, 1927, when we heard of Liu Shao-chi's order to disband the workers' pickets and hand over all their rifles and ammunition, we were burning with rage. We truly understood the importance of the gun. We knew that once the workers' pickets handed over their rifles, the imperialists would ride roughshod over us again, the Kuomintang reactionaries would puff themselves up again, and we workers would be trampled underfoot by them.
Just as we had foreseen, soon after the pickets handed in their rifles, the Kuomintang reactionaries started a bloody massacre in Wuhan. Countless Communists and workers' pickets were killed in cold blood. The surging workers' revolutionary movement was thus betrayed by Chen Tu-hsiu, Liu Shao-chi and company. The blood of those martyrs is sufficient proof that Liu Shao-chi is our sworn enemy, the enemy of the working class, a faithful lackey of imperialism and the Kuomintang reactionaries, a renegade from the workers' revolutionary movement.
Posted: 2009-02-25 12:42 |
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