Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding – SACU News
The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding is a friendship association of people in Britain toward China. It was founded on May 15, 1965, and in its early years it was sympathetic to the Chinese Revolution and socialism. Its early leaders included Dr. Joseph Needham and Professor Joan Robinson (who were both also involved, at the same time, with the China Policy Study Group).
The abrupt ending of the SACU News monthly magazine coincides with the start of the publication of China Now – copies of which we have not be able to access.
As SACU followed a very much ‘pro-China’ line during the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution the wishy-washy liberals, who had joined in the early years, drifted away only to return to take control of the organisation when the Chinese ‘capitalist-roaders’ took the country away from the construction of Socialism and towards the full scale restoration of capitalism.
The organisation still exists but seems to function more as a mouthpiece of the Chinese government in Britain and providing its members with official visits to capitalist China.
In the 1970s SACU was criticised for publicising the revolutionary, Socialist, developments of the People’s Republic of China when the country was attempting to improve the conditions for the vast majority of the population. Now it praises the erstwhile Socialist country for its capitalist (and imperialist) development.
The renegades, traitors and ‘capitalist-roaders’ within the Communist Party of China
Opposite the title page of my copy of the odious Trotsky’s so-called ‘biography’ of Comrade Stalin, entitled ‘Stalin – an appraisal of the man and his influence’, is a reproduction of a poster showing the members of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party just after the victory of the 1917 October Revolution. Below that is a schematic giving their names – a number of whom I cannot remember hearing about before (and so indicating that they might have been on the CC but they were not necessarily that important in the construction of Socialism in the nascent Soviet Union).
At the bottom of the page is written;
‘Of the thirty-one members and alternate members of the October Central Committee, some of whose portraits appear above, only two were alive in 1946 – Stalin and Alexandra Kollontai.’
Now that’s just under thirty years. I don’t quite understand the point being made by the publisher of this version of Trotsky’s vitriolic attack upon Comrade Stalin.
And there’s no explanation about why they were no longer alive in 1946. For example, VI Lenin died prematurely because he was the victim of an assassination attempt, M Uritsky died of an assassin’s bullet, FE Dzerzhinsky (Iron Felix) died of heart failure after a major speech at a Central Committee meeting where he attacked the ‘United Opposition’ of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamanev.
The implication seems to be that there should be no change in the leadership of a Communist Party but the very same people who take an anti-Soviet stance would argue that some leaders of Communist parties stay in their positions of responsibility for longer than is healthy – which does have a certain validity but which is a debate for a different place.
A social revolution, and especially a Socialist Revolution, is a very complex thing. It has been so throughout history, is at present (in those few revolutionary movements still in existence) and will be in the future.
Individuals join a revolutionary movement for a myriad of reasons. Some are/will/might;
committed revolutionaries who hate the system of oppression and exploitation and have a perspective of a different future for the vast majority of the population
opportunists who think the train they have jumped on is the best for their self-advancement
downright spies and traitors planted by the ruling class in their attempt to prevent the inevitable
dilettantes who chose to join a revolutionary movement because other organisations don’t offer anything substantial but who don’t fundamentally accept what joining the movement actually means
just hangers on, who are ignorant of the consequences of their actions and can swing either way when the going gets tough
ideologically weak and crack when the pressure of the ruling class becomes too great
betray the movement when put under the slightest pressure
empty-headed and never thought of the consequences of what they had signed up to do
hate the present oppressive system but don’t realise that the only way to destroy it is to substitute the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with the dictatorship of the proletariat
think a revolution is a game and don’t understand the implications of what Chairman Mao meant when he said ‘a revolution is not a dinner party’
a waste a space and a waste of time
intellectuals who think they know better and are astounded when the people don’t accept their sophistication and superior leadership
start off being honest but end up getting seduced by the power that a little learning provides them, thanks to their involvement in the movement but forgetting their background
forget their background (I hate the term ‘roots’, but that’s the general sense) and think they are better than the hoi poloi
think they have an innate right to be in positions of leadership and take umbrage when that’s challenged
like to criticise but don’t like to be criticised
don’t consider that self-criticism is an integral part of being a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary
think they don’t need to study to understand the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and that they will learn from the process of osmosis
get tired and take the easy way out which often turns to a counter-revolutionary stance
get old and find that the revolution they thought about in their youth is not the revolution through which they are living
resent ‘unknowns’, strangers, new entrants and others who haven’t earned their positions taking over positions of responsibility as they represent the general momentum of the revolution
can’t keep up with the pace of change
challenged by youth who they see as being ignorant
try to take the easy way out
have doubts, about themselves and the reason for carrying on
But it’s the Revolution, that inanimate but also living organism, that is always in control.
Anyone who has been part of the Marxist-Leninist movement – in whatever country, in whatever epoch – since the formulation of Marxist theory in the middle of the 19th century will have encountered variations of the above. Indeed they will display some of those traits themselves, often ones that are contradictory.
This doesn’t mean that certain individuals might have been useful, even fundamental, to the revolution in the past but the fact is that a revolution is an uncontrollable force; it crushes some of those who were it’s darlings in the past but who become obstructionist in the present; some get left behind as the revolution has decided to take a different course from that expected; some get bitter about their lack of understanding of the radical changes in the revolutionary process; and those who were once friends of the revolution become its enemies as their own personal interests take precedence over the revolution itself.
The leader of the gang of renegades, traitors and ‘capitalist-roaders’ represented below is, without a shadow of a doubt, Liu Shaoqi (Liu Shao-chi) who showed his true colours in the early days of the People’s Republic. Perhaps one of Comrade Mao‘s greatest failings was not ridding the Party of this revisionist and ‘capitalist-roader’ sooner. It was around him, and under his influence, that the others were able to spread their poisonous line within the Party.
Liu must have had supporters in the highest levels of the Party, probably in the form of Zhou Enlai (Chou En-lai).
Three Essays on Party-Building, by Liu Shaoqi, includes: How to Be a Good Communist (1939), On Inner-Party Struggle (1941), and On the Party (1945). This edition uses Pinyin versions of Chinese names. It may or may not have been altered in other ways from earlier English editions. (Peking: FLP, 1980), 316 pages.
Internationalism and Nationalism, by Liu Shao-chi. This pamphlet is probably the translation of an article that appeared in Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] on Nov. 1, 1948, or else is based on that article. (Peking: FLP, n.d. [but probably 1952]), 63 pages.
Report on the Work of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the Second Session of the Eighth National Congress, by Liu Shao-chi, May 5, 1958, 51 pages. [This speech is taken from pages 16-61 of the 1958 pamphlet Second Session of the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Peking: FLP, 1958), 99 pages.] Liu Shao-chi’s speech only, full Pamphlet
Speech by Teng Hsiao-ping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, at the Mass Rally of People of All Walks of Life Held in Peking to Support the Just Stand of the Soviet Union and Oppose U.S. Imperialism’s Wrecking of the Four-Power Conference of Government Heads, May 20, 1960, 6 pages. From the pamphlet Support the Just Stand of the Soviet Union and Oppose U.S. Imperialism’s Wrecking of the Four-Power Conference of Government Heads, (Peking: FLP, 1960), 45 pages. Deng’s speech, full pamphlet
Vice-Premier Chen Yun’s Speech at the Reception Given by Bulgarian Ambassador Celebrating the National Day of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (Excerpts), September 9, 1958. Included in the pamphlet Oppose U.S. Military Provocations in the Taiwan Straits Area – A Selection of Important Documents, (Peking: FLP, 1958), 83 pages. (See pages 9-13.)
Lin Biao [Lin Piao] (1907-1971)
Collections of his writings:
Selected Works of Lin Piao, ed. by the China Problems Research Center, (Hong Kong: 1970), 496 pages. This volume was prepared at a time when Lin Biao was Mao’s designated successor and before his disgrace and death in late 1971.
Long Live the Victory of People’s War!, by Lin Piao [Lin Biao], Sept. 3, 1965. This famous essay was written in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japan. It is often still viewed as an important statement of the role of people’s war in the world despite Lin’s own personal treachery later on. (Peking: FLP, 3rd ed., 1967), 76 pages.
Vice-Chairman Lin Piao’s Speech at the Rally Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, October 1, 1969, 10 pages. From the pamphlet Fight for the Further Consolidation of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat – In Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. (Peking: FLP, 1969) Lin’s speech only, complete pamphlet, 54 pages.
Four short notes from Minister of Foreign Affairs Chou En-lai to the U.N., regarding China’s rightful seat in the United Nations. These are included in the pamphlet Complete and Consolidate the Victory (Peking: FLP, May 1950), on pages 41-46.
Political Report, by Chou En-lai, delivered at the Second Session of the Second National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on January 30, 1956. (Peking: FLP, 1956), 51 pages.
Premier Chou En-lai’s Speech at the Reception Given by Korean Ambassador Celebrating the National Day of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Excerpts), September 9, 1958. Included in the pamphlet Oppose U.S. Military Provocations in the Taiwan Straits Area – A Selection of Important Documents, (Peking: FLP, 1958), 83 pages. (See pages 22-23.)
The Battle Front of the Liberated Areas, by Chu Teh. This was the military report given on April 25, 1945 to the Seventh Congress of the CCP. This is the 3rd edition (with a revised translation) of the English pamphlet. (Peking: FLP, 1962), 89 pages.
Vice-Chairman Chu Teh’s Speech at the Reception Given by Vietnamese Ambassador Celebrating the National Day of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Excerpts), September 2, 1958. Included in the pamphlet Oppose U.S. Military Provocations in the Taiwan Straits Area – A Selection of Important Documents, (Peking: FLP, 1958), 83 pages. (See page 21.)
The China Policy Study Group (CPSG) was a group of Left academics in Britain sympathetic and supportive of the Chinese Revolution. They were sponsored by Dr. Joseph Needham, Professor Cyril Offord, Professor Joan Robinson and Professor George Thomson. They published a number of books and pamphlets (including a series of three significant books by George Thomson). They also published a monthly magazine, China Policy Study Group Broadsheet, from January 1964 until December 1981, with one final, special issue in May 1982.
The CPSG probably played a positive role in spreading the ideas of the Chinese Revolution amongst the British Left but don’t seem to have a) really understood Maoism, b) didn’t really accept the true significance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and c) never understood the meaning and consequences of a ‘revolution is not a dinner party’.
After the death of Chairman Mao they didn’t see the coup d’etat of the ‘capitalist-roaders’ in the Communist Party of China against the revolutionaries within the Party – who were derided as the so-called ‘Gang of Four’. From 1977 to the final issue in may of 1982 they seemed to accept the moving of Chinese society from the revolutionary road to that of the full scale restoration of capitalism without any problems.
The cessation of the publication of the monthly Broadsheet was, therefore, no real loss.
Marxism In China Today, by George Thomson, 1965, 16 pages. This pre-Cultural Revolution pamphlet is a slightly expanded form of a lecture first given on March 15, 1965, under the auspices of the China Policy Study Group.
From Marx to Mao Tse-tung: A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics, by George Thomson, (London: China Policy Study Group, 1971), 96 double pages. Though written over 40 years ago, this is still a fine introduction to revolutionary Marxism. It includes a great many quotations from Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and others, all arranged in a way to illustrate the overall coherence and unity of MLM theory.
The Human Essence: The Sources of Science and Art, by George Thomson, (London: China Policy Study Group, 1974), 132 pages. The third and final volume of Thomson’s introduction to Marxism, which together cover the political, historical and ideological aspects of the subject. This volume, however, is based to a somewhat greater degree on Thomson’s own thinking and work.
When the CPSG announced the cessation of the monthly publication from the end of 1981 they suggested that there might be an occasional publication in the future. This ‘Special’ really came out to announce that the option wasn’t feasible and so this was definitely the last of the series that had been published since 1964.