China: the Struggle Within: The New Turn in U.S.-China Relations

The New Turn in U.S.-China Relations

April 23, 1971


The People's Republic of China has been in the forefront of the world revolutionary movement ever since the victory of the Chinese Revolution and the ouster of the Chiang Kai-Shek regime. No socialist state since the death of Lenin has been such a mighty fortress of the socialist revolution as has the People's Republic of China. It has been an inspiration and an example to all the liberation movements of the world.

By its very existence, as well as by its general political policies, it has been a source of incalculable political, moral and material support in the struggle against imperialism. The PRC, however, has had to fight for its very existence ever since it established itself as the People's Government of China. Throughout these many long and difficult years U.S. imperialism and its satellites have been China's main and fundamental opponent.


U.S. monopoly capital has never, ever for a moment, let up in the struggle to overthrow People's China. By every conceivable military, political and diplomatic means Washington has sought to contain, isolate and, if possible, wreck the PRC. The fact that China has survived it all, and has surmounted all the obstacles put in its way is eloquent testimony to the strength and durability of its new social structure. People's China has become a world power of such tremendous importance that the U.S., can no longer pretend to ignore its existence. Faced with terrifying domestic and international crises of an unprecedented character, it was inevitable that the U.S., ruling class would make an overture to People's China by choosing to accept at this time the invitation extended to the table tennis team.

This in a large measure explains some, but not all, of the reasons behind the recent turn in the relations between the U.S., and China. The PRC initiated attempts at diplomatic relations with the U.S., as early as 1950 and sought recognition for China on the basis of its full sovereignty, which includes the restoration of Taiwan as an integral part of the People's Republic and the seating of China in the UN instead of the quisling Chiang regime.


In the light of the continuing ascendancy of revisionism in the international communist movement, a considerable section of the revolutionary movement here is apprehensive that the new turn in the relationship between China and the U.S., may herald a retreat from revolutionary principle. Capitalist, revisionist and social democratic propaganda on that subject is very strong, naturally. However, many sincere and revolutionary friends of China are also apprehensive. Only subsequent developments can ultimately dispel this apprehension. In the meantime, there is no objective evidence whatsoever that would give these fears any solid foundation.

Ever since the table tennis team got its invitation to visit China the capitalist press, its social democratic lackeys and the revisionists have let loose a torrent of speculation over the alleged motivation behind China's offer to begin the normalization of relations with the U.S. These speculations boil down to this: that China's bid to normalize relations with the U.S., is calculated to aid Nixon in Indochina just at a time when the U.S., has suffered a catastrophic defeat in Laos; that it is also an attempt to counteract the growing Soviet influence in the Mideast and to pave the way for a U.S.-China alliance against the USSR.

The Chinese People's Republic has absolutely no interest whatsoever in giving any aid to Nixon in his mad adventure in Asia. There is not an iota of evidence to sustain this charge. We have every reason to believe the statement of the Vietnamese spokesman at the Paris Peace Conference who answered this precise allegation by categorically stating that China's foreign policy in relationship to Indochina is "invariable" and its support "unlimited."

Everything that China has said and done during these many years in relationship to giving fraternal aid and assistance to the Indo-Chinese people in the fight against U.S., imperialism is incontrovertible proof of China's loyalty to the Indo-Chinese liberation struggle and underscores the statement of confidence made by the Vietnamese. Any illusion on this score in the camp of the bourgeoisie and its satellites will soon be dispelled.


The Soviet revisionists are the ones who are most dismayed by the whole development. They think that this may be the beginning of a bloc against the USSR. Even if that were true -- and it is as yet a long way from it -- they would have no one to blame but themselves. An alliance, to the extent that it exists, is still between the U.S., and the USSR against China.

Do these people think that the world has forgotten the long, vicious campaign by the Moscow leadership to overthrow the revolutionary leadership of Mao Tse-tung? Can anyone have forgotten that it was only a few years ago that Kosygin, the Premier, in a visit to London openly proclaimed his solidarity with Liu Shao-chi and virtually called for the overthrow of the Mao regime. So brazen were Kosygin's remarks that the New York Times asked wistfully "Are you calling for an alliance against China?" and virtually answered "We're going to play it coy."

"We are aware there are today in China," said Kosygin during a visit to London in January-February 1967, "in the Communist party of China, and in the Chinese Government, people who are struggling against the dictatorial regime of Mao Tse-tung." And then he added, "We sympathize with them."

The New York Times, commenting upon this remarkable statement editorialized early in February 1967:

"Mr. Kosygin spoke in his capacity as Premier of the Soviet Union while in the capital of a 'capitalist' nation.

"His point could scarcely have been registered in more arresting fashion if he had said the same thing in front of the White House with President Johnson at his side."

The attacks by the revisionists against the PRC for trying to normalize relations comes in bad grace. Their denunciations are entirely actuated by reactionary considerations -- since the USSR leaders have been promoting an accommodation with the U.S., for years in order to isolate People's China. The relationship between Moscow and Washington has become truly scandalous. How can the Soviet leaders turn around now and say "Don't do it," when they themselves have been and still are doing it.

Naturally the revisionists cannot conceive of having normal diplomatic relations with an imperialist country without engaging in class betrayal. In this they are trying to impute their own practices to the Chinese leaders.

Of course U.S., imperialism has always tried to play off the USSR against China and China against the USSR and always will. This is one of the cornerstones of imperialist foreign policy in the epoch of the emergence of socialist states. It is this policy, aided by the growth of revisionism in the USSR, which is objectively responsible for the split in the socialist camp in the first place.

That being the case, all the more is it incumbent upon the Soviet leadership to abandon its policy of class collaboration with imperialism and return the Soviet Union to a policy of proletarian class collaboration with China, the other revolutionary socialist countries and the world revolutionary movement. Only in that way will the machinations of U.S., imperialism be frustrated.


Another voice -- a neo-social democratic tendency in this country which has been violently opposed to revolutionary China -- is that represented by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). In their publication the Intercontinental Press of April, 1971, they characterize China's attempt at normalization of relations with the U.S., as a "timely assist for Nixon." The SWP too is trying to discredit Chinese attempts to normalize relationships with the imperialist West. They too are arguing from utterly reactionary and counterrevolutionary considerations.


One should ask these people, who now throw revolutionary phrases at China: "What was your role during the Cultural Revolution -- the revolution which saved China from bourgeois restoration? Which side did you take? Did you not join with the revisionists and give objective aid and assistance to the counterrevolution, although giving different arguments?" The true test of a revolutionary was the position on the Cultural Revolution. Both Moscow and Washington, including all their liberal social democratic allies in this country, were dead set against that revolution. Now suddenly these neo-social democrats are denouncing China for not being revolutionary!

At the time when the social democrats of all hues, including Moscow revisionism, were attacking the Cultural Revolution, we wrote the following in Workers World of January 20, 1967:

"The cardinal fact that emerges from the sum and substance of the dispute is that the Chinese CP may be fighting the crucial battle for socialism, which, if lost, would set the proletarian and liberation movements of the world back for decades. The alternative to the present leadership and its political line, it must be faced squarely, is a neo-bourgeois restorationist regime. That is what really is at stake in the Cultural Revolution in China." Our article was headlined: "The Stakes in China's Internal Struggle: Revolution vs. Restoration."


But is the approach made by People's China to the U.S., correct in principle? Yes. China is trying to normalize its relationship with the imperialist West -- with the U.S. -- and this is perfectly correct. It is correct for a socialist government to enter into a diplomatic agreement with an imperialist country for purposes of maintaining normal commercial, trade and social exchanges. The criterion as to whether these agreements are proper and appropriate is the manner in which they affect the international class struggle against imperialism. If they blunt the class struggle, if they make the struggle against imperialism more difficult or confuse the masses of the people on the true character and intentions of the imperialists, or materially affect the course of socialist construction -- then they are counterproductive from a proletarian class point of view and in the long run harmful to the socialist government in question. These are some of the questions that are raised every time a socialist country negotiates with an imperialist country.

Based on the above criteria, there is nothing in the conduct of China in its normalization efforts with the U.S., so far as anyone can see at present, which is improper or harmful to proletarian and socialist class interests.

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