Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Monday, August 07, 2006

Comrade, You've Taken the Wrong Path!

In the library today I noticed the following work: 'Comrade, You've Taken the Wrong Path! A Four-Act Play by Yao Chung-ming, Chen Po-erh and Associates' (first printed and published in the People's Republic of China in 1962). The short, snappy preface grabbed my attention:


In July 1937, the Japanese imperialists launched a war of aggression against China. The external contradiction between China and Japan became the primary one while the class contradiction within the country temporarily became one of secondary importance. The people of the whole country loudly demanded national unity and resistance to Japan.

Crystallizing this desire of all the people, the Chinese Communist Party put forward the timely proposal for all parties and groups to cooperate and fight Japan. Because of the pressure of the people, the Kuomintang which was in power at that time was forced to cooperate with the Communist Party and resist Japanese aggression. The die-hards in the Kuomintang, however, had their own axe to grind. They wanted the Communist troops to go far into the enemy's rear to fight the invaders there under extremely difficult conditions, while the Kuomingtang army beat a hasty retreat before putting up any battle. They chose to stand aloof and watch the fight from the distance. They even secretly collaborated with the Japanese invaders in an attempt to wipe out and anti-Japanese forces led by the Communist Party, an action heading for national suicide.

The Communist Party, however, rallied all the patriotic forces in the land and, with great heroism, took upon themselves the task of national salvation. They carried out persistent guerilla warfare in the enemy's rear, wresting every possible inch of ground from him. They established permanent bases of resistance against the Japanese invaders and developed the anti-Japanese forces, thus standing in sharp contrast to the traitorous Kuomingtang.

But within the Communist Party itself a struggle developed over two lines concerning the problem of the national united front against Japan. One, advocated by Mao Tse-tung, was the correct line. It was one of combining struggle with alliance. This meant allying with the Kuomingtang to push it onto the path of resistance against Japan. To do this, it was also necessary to struggle with the Kuomingtang and oppose its treacherous actions of compromise and surrender to Japan.

The other was the Right opportunist line which was erroneous. According to those who advocated this line everything had to be subordinated to and done through the united front. There was no limit to the concessions they were prepared to make to the Kuomingtang. They did not dare to struggle against its traitorous policy and plots to compromise with the Japanese invaders, surrender to them and even collaborate with them in suppressing the patriotic forces. In a Communist-led guerilla unity in the enemy's rear, a violent struggle was carried out over these two different lines of thought.

The play Comrade, You've Taken the Wrong Path! takes this struggle as its theme. As the story unfolds, the Kuomingtang die-hards try by every possible means to destroy the anti-Japanese forces. But the Right opportunist in the unity is unable to see through their reactionary tricks. He turns a deaf ear to good counsel and insists on going his own way. As a result he is trapped, nearly losing his own life and the revolutionary force suffers serious losses. Fortunately, at this critical moment, those who have persisted in the correct line come to his rescue, and an exceedingly dangerous situation is saved.

Finally the Right opportunist sees the harm of his erroneous line and realizes that his class capitualationism would eventually lead to national capitulationism. He begins to understand deeply the great thought of Mao Tse-tung that the Communist Party must maintain its independence within the national anti-Japanese united front; only by acting according to this correct line can victory be gained in the War of Resistance Against Japan and the danger of national destruction be avoided.'

Now clearly this play looks like it is of the highest literary order, and Histomat readers are - like me - doubtless eager to find out how it might unfold. However, there is a problem. I would very much like to help bring Comrade, You've Taken the Wrong Path! out of the doubtless underdeserved obscurity in which it currently presumably lies, but as regular readers might know, before I can do this I have some other unfinished projects on this blog which have been somewhat neglected of late.

That such problems bedevil a revolutionary Marxist blog are not surprising. As bat once rightly pointed out to me, blogging is currently an over-whelmingly petit-bourgeois phenomenon, and so comrades are always in danger of succumbing to the pressure of hostile class forces, and yes, even 'taking the wrong path' on their blogs as a result. In order to try and make sure this blog stays on the correct revolutionary path I am going to list some upcoming plans of topics and projects to post on and so Histomat readers can comment on them and decide which I should prioritise. Readers are, naturally, encouraged to feel free to suggest any other possible topics they would like covered.

My upcoming short-list of planned tasks for Histomat.

1. Finish off Dead King Watch - I've missed the dates of a few but I could just get through the rest by the end of August in order to make the list complete. Or I could just stop fiddling around with it while the Middle East burns, and try and remember the anniversary of the missing monarchs next year...
2. A book review of P Blackledge's Reflections on the Marxist theory of History
3. Finish off transcribing A Worker Looks at History by Mark Starr.
4. Transcribe the play Comrade, You've Taken the Wrong Path!
5. A post about why work under contemporary capitalism in Britain sucks.
6. A critical appreciation of Neil Young's latest album, Living With War.
7. Some early thoughts on the group 'Hot Chip' after watching them one time on Jools Holland a while back.
8. Some thoughts on Ipswich Town's chances of doing anything this season under Jim Magilton based on watching the TV highlights of our 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace.

Which comes first? Which gets thrown into the dustbin of history? You decide.

If you like. Otherwise I fear you may end up reading more about the Right opportunist Wu Chih-Keh ('I never thought I'd die in the national liberation war in the hands of this evil class which is without a conscience') than is probably healthy ...



At 3:03 am, Anonymous Nathaniel said...

I liked Hot Chip when I saw them in Toronto. Definitely a completely different (bass-heavy) band live.

At 1:07 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

I kind of like them too, but sadly I am not convinced it is worth forking out 10 quid on them just quite yet.


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