The Ukraine War and the Second Sino-Japanese War: A Historical Analogy


The dual tactic of Marxists in the Ukraine War today draws on the approach of their predecessors in the war between China and Japan in 1937-41


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 10 March 2022,




The Ukraine War which takes place in combination with the dramatic escalation of the inter-imperialist tensions between the U.S., the European Union and Russia, has provoked widespread confusion among self-proclaimed Marxist forces. If we leave aside the Putinistas – the open or concealed supporters of Russian imperialism – we can identify, generally speaking, two misunderstandings of the nature of the current conflict.


There are those who recognize the legitimate character of the Ukrainian defense struggle but who ignore (or consider as irrelevant) the inter-imperialist rivalry. And there are those who recognize the importance of the political and economic warfare between the Great Powers, but ignore or subordinate the relevance of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invasion.


In contrast to such forces, the RCIT has based its strategy on the recognition of the dual character of this conflict. We support the Ukrainian people and their resistance against the invasion of imperialist Russia. At the same time, we oppose both camps in the ongoing inter-imperialist rivalry between the Great Powers – Russia as well as NATO. We summarized our position in the following slogans: [1]


* Defend the Ukraine! Defeat Russian imperialism! International popular solidarity with the Ukrainian national resistance – independent of any imperialist influence!


* Down with all imperialist powers – NATO and EU as well as Russia! In all conflicts between these powers, revolutionaries fight against both camps!


We have emphasized that it is crucial for Marxists to avoid any mechanical simplification and to recognize the dialectical nature of the conflict. In the RCIT Manifesto we stated: “It is impossible to have a correct orientation in the current world situation without understanding the complex nature of regional and global contradictions between the classes and the powers. The basis of a correct analysis is the recognition of the fact that we currently face two lines of contradictions. The two processes are interdependent and influence each other but they are not identical. Every opportunist deviation – either towards Russian imperialism or towards Western imperialism – has its theoretical basis in the failure to understand the contradictory character of the current situation. [2]


At this point we will neither repeat our analysis of the war nor will we reiterate our critique of various opportunist forces. We rather want to draw attention to a historical analogy which, in our opinion, is highly useful for understanding the contradictor nature of the current conflict as well as for the dual tactic which Marxists have to apply under such conditions. [3]




The Second Sino-Japanese War 1937-41




As it is widely known, China became a victim of Great Power aggression since the so-called Opium Wars in the 1840s. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, the U.S. and later also Japan waged repeated attacks against the Middle Kingdom, occupied some ports and cities of strategic importance and forced Beijing to accept highly disadvantageous treaties. In the period after World War I, Japan became the most aggressive imperialist power trying to occupy large parts of China.


The first phase of this aggression began in 1931 when Japan invaded Manchuria. Chinese forces were defeated, and Japan created a puppet state (Manchukuo). However, the main war started in July 1937 when Tokyo launched a major offensive resulting in capturing Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing within a few months. However, while Japanese troops occupied major cities, they could not control China's vast countryside. As a result, the war continued for years with offensives and counter-offensives. [4]


In this period, U.S. imperialism sided with China. Washington did so not because of any anti-imperialist sympathies for oppressed people but rather because it viewed Japan as its main rival in the Asian-Pacific region. For this reason, the U.S. supported China through various means. It imposed a number of economic sanctions against Japan. “In 1939 the United States terminated the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan. On July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, authorizing the President to license or prohibit the export of essential defense materials. Under this authority, on July 31, exports of aviation motor fuels and lubricants and No. 1 heavy melting iron and steel scrap were restricted. Next, in a move aimed at Japan, Roosevelt slapped an embargo, effective October 16, on all exports of scrap iron and steel to destinations other than Britain and the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Finally, on July 26, 1941, Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the United States, thus bringing commercial relations between the nations to an effective end. One week later Roosevelt embargoed the export of such grades of oil as still were in commercial flow to Japan.” [5] Furthermore, Washington lent indirect military support to the Chinese resistance by sending American mercenaries and warplanes (e.g. the so-called Flying Tigers).


As it is well-known, Washington’s political and economic aggression provoked Japan to attack Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and to declare war on the U.S. – an event which opened also a new phase on the Second Sino-Japanese War.




The Fourth International on the Second Sino-Japanese War




The revolutionary Marxists at that time were organized in the Fourth International. This movement was led by Leon Trotsky, the organizer of the October Revolution, and continued the struggle for socialist world revolution after the Stalinist degeneration of the USSR and the Third International. The Trotskyists took a clear position of supporting the Chinese war of defense against the Japanese invasion. In a document adopted at its Founding Conference in September 1938, the Fourth International declared: “It is the bounden duty of the international proletariat and above all of the revolutionary vanguard, to support the struggle of China against Japan. (…) The perspectives outlined above obligate the workers in all countries, and especially the revolutionary vanguard, to support China’s struggle against Japan by all possible means.[6]


The Fourth International supported the Chinese resistance despite the fact that the dominating force was the thoroughly bourgeois and treacherous Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek which had butchered tens of thousands of communists during the Chinese Revolution in 1925-27. Fearing the working class and the poor peasantry, the Kuomintang strongly relied on U.S. and British imperialism. “While holding down the oppressed masses and retreating step after step before the Japanese invaders, the Kuomintang drew closer to British and American imperialism in the hope that these powers, fearful for their own interests in China, would be obliged to halt Japan’s onward march.


The Trotskyists also warned in this document that the intervention of U.S. imperialism in China is motivated by its own interests as a Great Power. “American imperialism, although having fewer and smaller actual interests in China than Great Britain has, is alarmed at the prospect of Japanese domination of the Pacific. Repeated breakdowns in American Economy, occurring at shorter intervals, serve warning that if American capitalism is to survive and expand, it must soon play a more commanding role, not only in the Pacific area, but on the entire world arena. Roosevelt’s speech at Chicago in October, 1937, directed against “aggressor powers”, furnished the key to the future politics of American imperialism.


Likewise, the Fourth International warned that the clash between the imperialist powers could result in a World War – a warning which was confirmed by reality only a few years later. “At the same time, by the pursuit of their predatory aims in China, the Japanese imperialists have accentuated the inter-imperialist antagonisms which are forcing mankind to the brink of a new world war.


In addition, the Trotskyists drew attention to the fact that if the working class does not succeed in driving out the Japanese invaders but leaves this task rather to the Western imperialists, China would end up as a colony of the latter. “The imperialists of the West will intervene against Japan only to preserve their own robber interests in the Far East. If Japanese imperialism should be defeated in China by its imperialist rivals, and not by the revolutionary masses, this would signify the enslavement of China by Anglo American capital. China’s national liberation, and the emancipation of the Chinese masses from all exploitation, can be achieved only by the Chinese masses themselves, in alliance with the proletariat and oppressed peoples of all the world.


As mentioned above, Washington imposed a series of sanctions against Japan as part of the inter-imperialist rivalry. We did explain in other articles that the Trotskyists always opposed any support for imperialist sanctions. [7] In 1936, in the context of Italy’s invasion in Ethiopia, the American Trotskyists published a pamphlet in which they emphasized their opposition to such imperialist sanctions.


But sanctions are war measures. They include withdrawal of financial credit, embargoes on trade, various forms of boycott. To enforce them genuinely would require a blockade of the country against whom the sanctions were invoked. The probable, the almost certain outcome of such a blockade, as history has so often proved, is war – since the blockaded nation cannot accept such a measure peacefully without surrendering political sovereignty. (...) In both cases, support of sanctions to be applied by capitalist governments (whether or not these are League members) is in effect support of these governments themselves. This means that such support necessarily leads to a betrayal of the revolutionary struggle against war, and the revolutionary defense of Ethiopia, which is always a struggle against the capitalist governments and the bourgeoisie whose governments they are. (...) Marxists, then, reject and expose as betrayal any and all advocacy of League or governmental “sanctions.” [8]


At the same time, Marxists advocated that, in the case of just wars of oppressed peoples, workers impose their own sanctions against the imperialist aggressor. To quote again from the pamphlet of the American Trotskyists: “Marxists are not neutral in the dispute between Italy and Ethiopia. They are for the defeat of Fascist Italy and the blow to imperialism which such a defeat would be; and they are therefore for the victory of Ethiopia. But they propose to aid in such defeat and such victory not by appealing to capitalist governments and the imperialist League for their assistance and sanctions; but to the working class to apply its proletarian “sanctions”. Only sanctions which are results of the independent and autonomous actions of the working class are of any value in the revolutionary struggle against war—since only these separate the class from the state and the class enemy, and only these build the fighting strength of the workers, which is alone the road to workers’ power and thus to the defeat of war. Mass demonstrations, strikes, labor boycotts, defense funds for material aid to Ethiopia, refusal to load munitions for Italy, revolutionary agitation for Marxism as it applies to the war crisis, these are such sanctions as the working class must make use of.”


The Fourth International took the same approach in the case of the Second Sino-Japanese War. It stated in the above-mentioned document of 1938: The international revolutionary campaign for aid to China must proceed under the banner of workers’ sanctions against Japan and find its full expression in the promotion of the class struggle and the proletarian revolution.




An instructive analogy




It is not difficult to recognize the similarities between the current Ukraine War and the Sino-Japanese War in 1937-41. In both cases, a semi-colonial country (Ukraine resp. China) was attacked by an imperialist power (Russia resp. Japan). In both cases, the resistance of the oppressed country was led by treacherous bourgeois forces (Zelensky resp. Chiang Kai-shek). In both cases, the national liberation war has been combined with inter-imperialist rivalry between Great Powers resulting in escalating tensions and economic sanctions (NATO vs Russia resp. U.S. vs Japan).


In both cases, Marxists supported the legitimate war of defense by the oppressed people while taking a revolutionary defeatist position in the conflict between the Great Powers. In both cases, Marxists opposed imperialist sanctions but advocated workers sanctions against the aggressor.


The RCIT continues the methods and the program of the Fourth International. We call all authentic socialists who agree with such an internationalist and anti-imperialist perspective to join us in the struggle against the Russian invasion, against all Great Powers and for the program of international socialist revolution. Forward in building a Revolutionary Workers Party!


[1] We refer readers to a special page on our website where more than 30 RCIT documents on the current NATO-Russia conflict and the Ukraine War are compiled: The most important documents are: RCIT Manifesto: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance. Socialists must combine the revolutionary defense of the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion with the internationalist struggle against Russian as well as NATO and EU imperialism, 1 March 2022,; RCIT: Ukraine War: An Action Program for Authentic Socialists, 1 March 2022,; Medina Gunić: A new turning point in Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, 25 February 2022,; RCIT: Down with Putin’s Imperialist War against the Ukraine! Neither Russia nor NATO - against all imperialist powers! For an independent popular struggle to defend the Ukraine! For a workers government to defeat the Russian invaders! No to imperialist sanctions! For an independent socialist Ukraine! 24 February 2022,

[2] RCIT Manifesto: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance. Socialists must combine the revolutionary defense of the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion with the internationalist struggle against Russian as well as NATO and EU imperialism, 1 March 2022,

[3] On the issue of dual tactic in conflicts with combined and contradictory character see also chapter 12 iv) in our book by Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, pp. 321-330,

[4] There exists a vast literature on the Second Sino-Japanese war. See e.g. chapter 10-12 in John K. Fairbank and Albert Feuerwerker (Eds.): The Cambridge History Of China, Vol. 13, Republican China 1912-1949, Part 2, Cambridge University Press 1986, pp. 492-722; see also Akira Iriye and Warren Cohen (Eds.): American, Chinese, and Japanese Perspectives On Wartime Asia, 1931-1949, Scholarly Resources Imprint, Wilmington 1990. A brief overview can be read on Wikipedia: Second Sino-Japanese War,

[5] Robert Higgs: How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor, 1 May 2006,

[6] Fourth International: The War in the Far East and the Revolutionary Perspectives (1938), in: Documents of the Fourth International: The Formative Years (1933-40), Pathfinder Press, New York 1973, All quotes in this chapter, if not indicated otherwise, from the Fourth International are taken from this document.

[7] See on this Michael Pröbsting: Can Socialists Support Imperialist Sanctions? The “Fourth International” in the tradition of Pablo and Mandel supports Western sanctions against Russia, 4 March 2022,; by the same author: Ukraine War: Dockworkers Boycott Imperialist Russia. Workers at ports along the US west coast refuse to handle any Russian cargo in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 9 March 2022,

[8] John West (James Burnham): War and the Workers (1936), Workers Party Pamphlet,; See also Maurice Spector: Sanctions and the Coming War (1935), New International, Vol.2 No.7, December 1935,


La guerra en Ucrania y la segunda guerra chino-japonesa: una analogía histórica


La táctica dual de los marxistas en la actual Guerra en Ucrania se basa en el enfoque de sus predecesores en la guerra entre China y Japón en 1937-1941.


Por Michael Pröbsting, Secretario Internacional de la Corriente Comunista Revolucionaria Internacional (CCRI), 10 de marzo de 2022,




La Guerra de Ucrania, que tiene lugar en combinación con la dramática escalada de las tensiones interimperialistas entre EE. UU., la Unión Europea y Rusia, ha provocado una confusión generalizada entre las fuerzas autoproclamadas marxistas. Si dejamos de lado a los putinistas -los partidarios abiertos o encubiertos del imperialismo ruso- podemos identificar, en términos generales, dos malentendidos sobre la naturaleza del conflicto actual.


Hay quienes reconocen el carácter legítimo de la lucha por la defensa de Ucrania, pero ignoran (o consideran irrelevante) la rivalidad interimperialista. Y hay quienes reconocen la importancia de la guerra política y económica entre las Grandes Potencias, pero ignoran o subordinan la relevancia de la resistencia ucraniana frente a la invasión rusa.


Frente a tales fuerzas, la CCRI ha basado su estrategia en el reconocimiento del carácter dual de este conflicto. Apoyamos al pueblo ucraniano y su resistencia contra la invasión de la Rusia imperialista. Al mismo tiempo, nos oponemos a ambos campos en la actual rivalidad interimperialista entre las Grandes Potencias: Rusia y la OTAN. Resumimos nuestra posición en las siguientes consignas: [1]


* ¡Defender Ucrania! ¡Derrotar al imperialismo ruso! ¡Solidaridad popular internacional con la resistencia nacional ucraniana, independientemente de cualquier influencia imperialista!


* ¡Abajo todas las potencias imperialistas: ¡la OTAN y la UE, así como Rusia! ¡En todos los conflictos entre estos poderes, los revolucionarios luchan contra ambos campos!


Hemos enfatizado que es crucial para los marxistas evitar cualquier simplificación mecánica y reconocer la naturaleza dialéctica del conflicto. En el Manifiesto de la CCRI afirmamos: “Es imposible tener una orientación correcta en la situación mundial actual sin comprender la naturaleza compleja de las contradicciones regionales y globales entre las clases y los poderes. La base de un análisis correcto es el reconocimiento del hecho de que actualmente nos enfrentamos a dos líneas contradictorias, dos procesos que son interdependientes y se influyen mutuamente, aunque no resultan idénticos. Toda desviación oportunista, ya sea hacia el imperialismo ruso o hacia el imperialismo occidental, tiene su base teórica en la incapacidad de comprender el carácter contradictorio de la situación actual.” [2]


En este punto no repetiremos nuestro análisis de la guerra ni reiteraremos nuestra crítica a varias fuerzas oportunistas. Más bien queremos llamar la atención sobre una analogía histórica que, a nuestro juicio, es de gran utilidad para entender el carácter contradictorio del conflicto actual, así como la doble táctica que los marxistas tenemos que aplicar en tales condiciones. [3]




La Segunda Guerra Sino-japonesa 1937-41




Como es bien sabido, China se convirtió en víctima de la agresión de las grandes potencias desde las llamadas Guerras del Opio en la década de 1840. Gran Bretaña, Francia, Alemania, Rusia, EE. UU. y más tarde también Japón lanzaron repetidos ataques contra el Reino Medio, ocuparon algunos puertos y ciudades de importancia estratégica y obligaron a Pekín a aceptar tratados muy desventajosos. En el período posterior a la Primera Guerra Mundial, Japón se convirtió en la potencia imperialista más agresiva que intentaba ocupar gran parte de China.


La primera fase de esta agresión comenzó en 1931 cuando Japón invadió Manchuria. Las fuerzas chinas fueron derrotadas y Japón creó un estado títere (Manchukuo). Sin embargo, la guerra principal comenzó en julio de 1937 cuando Tokio lanzó una gran ofensiva que resultó en la captura de Beijing, Shanghai y Nanjing en unos pocos meses. Sin embargo, aunque las tropas japonesas ocuparon las principales ciudades, no pudieron controlar el vasto campo de China. Como resultado, la guerra continuó durante años con ofensivas y contraofensivas. [4]


En este período, el imperialismo estadounidense se puso del lado de China. Washington no lo hizo por simpatías antiimperialistas hacia los pueblos oprimidos, sino porque veía a Japón como su principal rival en la región de Asia y el Pacífico. Por esta razón, Estados Unidos apoyó a China a través de varios medios. Impuso una serie de sanciones económicas contra Japón. “En 1939, Estados Unidos rescindió el tratado comercial de 1911 con Japón. El 2 de julio de 1940, Roosevelt firmó la Ley de Control de Exportaciones, autorizando al presidente a autorizar o prohibir la exportación de materiales de defensa esenciales. Bajo esta autoridad, el 31 de julio, se restringieron las exportaciones de combustibles y lubricantes para motores de aviación y chatarra de hierro y acero de fusión pesada No. 1. A continuación, en un movimiento dirigido a Japón, Roosevelt impuso un embargo, a partir del 16 de octubre, a todas las exportaciones de chatarra de hierro y acero a destinos distintos de Gran Bretaña y las naciones del hemisferio occidental. Finalmente, el 26 de julio de 1941, Roosevelt congeló los activos japoneses en los Estados Unidos, poniendo así fin efectivo a las relaciones comerciales entre las naciones. Una semana después, Roosevelt embargó la exportación de los grados de petróleo que todavía estaban en flujo comercial a Japón.” [5] Además, Washington prestó apoyo militar indirecto a la resistencia china mediante el envío de mercenarios y aviones de combate estadounidenses (por ejemplo, los llamados Flying Tigers).


Como es bien sabido, la agresión política y económica de Washington provocó que Japón atacara Pearl Harbor en diciembre de 1941 y declarara la guerra a EE.UU., hecho que abrió también una nueva fase en la Segunda Guerra Sino-japonesa.




La Cuarta Internacional sobre la Segunda Guerra Sino-japonesa




Los marxistas revolucionarios en ese momento estaban organizados en la Cuarta Internacional. Este movimiento fue dirigido por León Trotsky, el organizador de la Revolución de Octubre, y continuó la lucha por la revolución socialista mundial después de la degeneración estalinista de la URSS y la Tercera Internacional. Los trotskistas tomaron una posición clara de apoyo a la guerra china de defensa contra la invasión japonesa. En un documento adoptado en su Conferencia Fundacional en septiembre de 1938, la Cuarta Internacional declaró: “El deber fundamental de los revolucionarios es apoyar la lucha de China contra Japón (...) Las perspectivas mencionadas anteriormente obligan a los trabajadores de todos los países y especialmente a la vanguardia revolucionaria a apoyar la lucha de China contra el Japón por todos los medios posibles.” [6]


La Cuarta Internacional apoyó la resistencia china a pesar del hecho de que la fuerza dominante era el Kuomintang completamente burgués y traicionero dirigido por Chiang Kai-shek, que había masacrado a decenas de miles de comunistas durante la Revolución China en 1925-27. Temiendo a la clase obrera y al campesinado pobre, el Kuomintang confió fuertemente en el imperialismo estadounidense y británico. “Mientras retenía a las masas oprimidas y retrocedía paso a paso ante los imperialistas japoneses, el Kuomintang se acercaba al imperialismo británico y estadounidense con la esperanza de que estos poderes, temerosos por sus propios intereses en China, se vieran obligados a detener la marcha de Japón.”


Los trotskistas también advierten en este documento que la intervención del imperialismo estadounidense en China está motivada por sus propios intereses como Gran Potencia. “El imperialismo estadounidense, aunque ahora tiene menos y menores intereses reales en China que Gran Bretaña, está alarmado ante la perspectiva de la dominación japonesa del Pacífico. Las interrupciones repetidas en la economía estadounidense, que ocurren a intervalos más cortos, sirven para advertir que, si el capitalismo estadounidense va a sobrevivir y expandirse, pronto tendrá un papel más importante, no solo en el área del Pacífico, sino en todo el mundo. El discurso de Roosevelt en Chicago, dirigido contra los "poderes agresores", proporcionó la clave para la futura política del imperialismo estadounidense.”


Asimismo, la Cuarta Internacional advirtió que el choque entre las potencias imperialistas podría desembocar en una Guerra Mundial, advertencia que fue confirmada por la realidad solo unos años después. “. Al mismo tiempo, al perseguir sus objetivos predatorios en China, los imperialistas japoneses han acentuado los antagonismos interimperialistas que están forzando a la humanidad al borde de una nueva guerra mundial.


Además, los trotskistas llamaron la atención sobre el hecho de que, si la clase obrera no logra expulsar a los invasores japoneses y deja esta tarea en manos de los imperialistas occidentales, China terminaría siendo una colonia de estos últimos. “Los imperialistas de Occidente intervendrán contra Japón solo para preservar sus propios intereses en el Lejano Oriente. Si el imperialismo japonés fuera derrotado en China por sus rivales imperialistas, y no por las masas revolucionarias, eso significaría la esclavización de China por parte de la capital angloamericana. La liberación nacional de China y la emancipación de las masas chinas de toda explotación solo pueden ser alcanzadas por las propias masas chinas, en alianza con el proletariado y los pueblos oprimidos de todo el mundo.


Como se mencionó anteriormente, Washington impuso una serie de sanciones contra Japón como parte de la rivalidad interimperialista. Sí explicamos en otros artículos que los trotskistas siempre se opusieron a cualquier apoyo a las sanciones imperialistas. [7] En 1936, en el contexto de la invasión de Italia a Etiopía, los trotskistas estadounidenses publicaron un panfleto en el que enfatizaban su oposición a tales sanciones imperialistas.


Pero las sanciones son medidas de guerra. Incluyen el retiro de crédito financiero, embargos comerciales, diversas formas de boicot. Para hacerlas cumplir realmente se requeriría un bloqueo del país contra el cual se invocan las sanciones. El resultado probable, casi seguro de tal bloqueo, como tantas veces ha demostrado la historia, es la guerra, ya que la nación bloqueada no puede aceptar tal medida pacíficamente sin renunciar a la soberanía política. (...)En ambos casos, el apoyo a las sanciones que deben aplicar los gobiernos capitalistas (sean o no miembros de la Liga) es en efecto el apoyo a estos mismos gobiernos. Esto significa que tal apoyo conduce necesariamente a una traición a la lucha revolucionaria contra la guerra, ya la defensa revolucionaria de Etiopía, que es siempre una lucha contra los gobiernos capitalistas y la burguesía de los que son gobiernos. (...) Los marxistas, entonces, rechazan y denuncian como traición cualquier y toda defensa de la Liga o de las "sanciones" gubernamentales”. [8]


Al mismo tiempo, los marxistas propugnaban que, en caso de guerras justas de los pueblos oprimidos, los trabajadores impongan sus propias sanciones contra el agresor imperialista. Para citar nuevamente del panfleto de los trotskistas estadounidenses: “Los marxistas no son neutrales en la disputa entre Italia y Etiopía. Están por la derrota de la Italia fascista y el golpe al imperialismo que sería tal derrota; y son por lo tanto para la victoria de Etiopía. Pero proponen ayudar en tal derrota y tal victoria no apelando a los gobiernos capitalistas y la Liga imperialista para su asistencia y sanciones; sino a la clase obrera aplicar sus “sanciones” proletarias. Solo las sanciones que son el resultado de las acciones independientes y autónomas de la clase obrera tienen algún valor en la lucha revolucionaria contra la guerra, ya que solo ellas separan a la clase del estado y del enemigo de clase, y solo ellas construyen la fuerza de lucha de los trabajadores, que es el único camino al poder obrero y por tanto a la derrota de la guerra. Manifestaciones masivas, huelgas, boicots laborales, fondos de defensa para ayuda material a Etiopía, negativa a cargar municiones para Italia, agitación revolucionaria por el marxismo aplicado a la crisis de la guerra, estas son sanciones de las que la clase obrera debe hacer uso.”


La Cuarta Internacional adoptó el mismo enfoque en el caso de la Segunda Guerra Sino-japonesa. En el mencionado documento de 1938 decía: “La campaña revolucionaria internacional de ayuda a China debe avanzar bajo la bandera de las sanciones obreras contra Japón y encontrar su plena expresión en la promoción de la lucha de clases y la revolución proletaria.”




Una analogía instructiva




No es difícil reconocer las similitudes entre la actual guerra de Ucrania y la guerra chino-japonesa de 1937-1941. En ambos casos, un país semicolonial (Ucrania y China) fue atacado por una potencia imperialista (Rusia resp. Japón). En ambos casos, la resistencia del país oprimido estuvo dirigida por traidoras fuerzas burguesas (Zelensky resp. Chiang Kai-shek). En ambos casos, la guerra de liberación nacional se combinó con la rivalidad interimperialista entre las grandes potencias, lo que resultó en una escalada de tensiones y sanciones económicas (OTAN contra Rusia, respectivamente, EE. UU. contra Japón).


En ambos casos, los marxistas apoyaron la guerra legítima de defensa de los pueblos oprimidos mientras tomaban una posición derrotista revolucionaria en el conflicto entre las Grandes Potencias. En ambos casos, los marxistas se opusieron a las sanciones imperialistas, pero abogaron por sanciones obreras contra el agresor.


La RCIT continúa los métodos y el programa de la Cuarta Internacional. Llamamos a todos los socialistas auténticos que estén de acuerdo con tal perspectiva internacionalista y antiimperialista a unirse a nosotros en la lucha contra la invasión rusa, contra todas las Grandes Potencias y por el programa de la revolución socialista internacional. ¡Adelante en la construcción de un Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores!




[1] Remitimos a los lectores a una página especial en nuestro sitio web donde se compilan más de 30 documentos de la CCRI sobre el conflicto actual entre la OTAN y Rusia y la Guerra de Ucrania: Los documentos más importantes son: Guerra de Ucrania: un punto de inflexión de importancia histórica mundial. Los socialistas deben combinar la defensa revolucionaria de Ucrania contra la invasión de Putin con la lucha internacionalista contra el imperialismo ruso, la OTAN y la UE. 1 de marzo de 2022,; Guerra de Ucrania: un programa de acción para auténticos socialistas, 1 de marzo de 2022,; Un nuevo punto de inflexión en la invasión rusa de Ucrania. Por Medina Gunić, 25 de febrero de 2022,; ¡Abajo la guerra imperialista de Putin contra Ucrania! ¡Ni Rusia ni la OTAN, contra todas las potencias imperialistas! ¡Por una lucha popular independiente para defender Ucrania! ¡Por un gobierno obrero para derrotar a los invasores rusos! ¡No a las sanciones imperialistas! ¡Por una Ucrania socialista independiente!, 24 de febrero de 2022,;

[2] Guerra de Ucrania: un punto de inflexión de importancia histórica mundial. Los socialistas deben combinar la defensa revolucionaria de Ucrania contra la invasión de Putin con la lucha internacionalista contra el imperialismo ruso, la OTAN y la UE. 1 de marzo de 2022,

[3] Sobre el tema de la doble táctica en conflictos de carácter combinado y contradictorio ver también el capítulo 12 iv) en nuestro libro de Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, pp. 321-330,

[4] Existe una vasta literatura sobre la Segunda Guerra Sino-japonesa. Véase, por ejemplo. capítulo 10-12 en John K. Fairbank and Albert Feuerwerker (Eds.): The Cambridge History Of China, Vol. 13, Republican China 1912-1949, Part 2, Cambridge University Press 1986, pp. 492-722; ver también Akira Iriye and Warren Cohen (Eds.): American, Chinese, and Japanese Perspectives On Wartime Asia, 1931-1949, Scholarly Resources Imprint, Wilmington 1990. Se puede leer una breve descripción en Wikipedia:

[5] Robert Higgs: How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor, 1 May 2006,

[6] La Cuarta Internacional: La guerra en el lejano oriente y las perspectivas revolucionarias (1938), Todas las citas de este capítulo, si no se indica lo contrario, de la Cuarta Internacional están tomadas de este documento.

[7] Ver en este Michael Pröbsting: Can Socialists Support Imperialist Sanctions? The “Fourth International” in the tradition of Pablo and Mandel supports Western sanctions against Russia, 4 March 2022,; del mismo autor: Trabajadores portuarios combativos de EE.UU. boicotean barcos rusos. Los trabajadores de los puertos a lo largo de la costa oeste de EE. UU. se están negando a manejar cualquier carga rusa, en respuesta a la invasión de Ucrania por parte de ese país, 9 de marzo de 2022,

[8] John West (James Burnham): War and the Workers (1936), Workers Party Pamphlet,; ver también Maurice Spector: Sanctions and the Coming War (1935), New International, Vol.2 No.7, diciembre de 1935,


우크라이나 전쟁과 2차 중일전쟁: 역사적 유추

오늘 우크라이나 전쟁에서 맑스주의자들의 이중 전술은 1937-41 중일전쟁 당시 선배 맑스주의자들의 방법을 따른다


미하엘 프뢰브스팅, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT) 국제서기, 2022 3 10,




KOR trans of Ukraine War and the Second
Adobe Acrobat Document 111.2 KB




급격히 고조되고 있던 서방 러시아 간의 제국주의 세력권 다툼과 맞물려 일어난 우크라이나 전쟁은 자칭 맑스주의 세력들 사이에 광범한 혼란을 불러일으켰다. 러시아 제국주의의 지지자들 공공연한 지지자들이든 은폐된 샤이 지지자들이든 제쳐둔다면, 분쟁의 본질에 대한 가지 오해/몰이해를 확인할 있다.


우크라이나 방어 투쟁의 적법한 성격을 인정하면서도 제국주의 패권경쟁은 무시하는 (또는 관련 없다고 보는) 흐름이 하나다. 다른 하나는 강대국들 정치적·경제적 전쟁의 중요성을 인정하면서도 러시아 침략에 대항하는 우크라이나 저항투쟁의 정당성은 무시하거나 부차화하는 흐름이다.


이러한 조류들과는 대조적으로, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT) 분쟁의 이중적 성격을 인식해야 한다고 강조해왔다. 우리는 이러한 인식에 전략의 기초를 두고 있다. 우리는 러시이의 침략에 대항하여 우크라이나 인민과 그들의 저항투쟁을 지지한다. 동시에, 우리는 지금도 진행 중인 강대국들 러시아와 서방 제국주의 패권경쟁에서 진영 모두에 반대한다. 우리의 입장을 다음 슬로건으로 요약한 있다.[1]


* 우크라이나 방어! 러시아 제국주의에 패배를! (일체의 제국주의 영향력과는 독립적인) 우크라이나 민족 저항에 국제 민중연대를!


* 러시아뿐만 아니라 미국/EU , 모든 제국주의 열강 타도! 열강들 간의 모든 충돌·분쟁에서 혁명가들은 진영 모두에 맞서 싸운다!


우리는 기계적 단순화를 피하고 충돌·분쟁의 변증법적 성격을 인식하는 것이 맑스주의자들에게 중요하다고 강조해왔다. 며칠 RCIT 선언문에서 우리는 다음과 같이 밝혔다. "계급 , 열강 간의 지역적·세계적 모순의 복잡한 본질을 이해하지 않고는 세계정세 속에서 올바른 투쟁방향을 가질 없다. 올바른 분석의 기초는 현재 우리가 방향의 모순에 직면해 있다는 사실을 인식하는 것이다. 과정이 상호의존적이고 서로 영향을 미치지만 동일한 과정은 아니다. 기회주의적 일탈 러시아 제국주의로의 일탈이든, 서방 제국주의로의 일탈이든 무엇에 이론적 기초를 두고 있는가? 정세의 모순적 성격을 이해하는 실패한 있다."[2]


여기서는 전쟁에 대한 우리의 분석을 되풀이지 않을 것이며, 각종 기회주의 세력에 대한 비판도 반복하지 않을 것이다. 우리는 독자들에게 가지 역사적 유추에 주목할 것을 요청하는데, 우리가 유추는 충돌·분쟁의 모순적 성격뿐만 아니라, 맑스주의자들이 그러한 조건 하에서 적용하지 않으면 되는 이중 전술을 이해하는 매우 유용하다.[3]




2 중일전쟁 1937-41


널리 알려진 바와 같이, 1840년대의 소위 아편 전쟁 이후 중국은 강대국 침략의 제물이 되었다. 영국, 프랑스, 독일, 러시아, 미국, (그리고 나중에) 일본은 중국에 대한 반복적인 공격을 벌였고, 전략적 중요성을 갖는 항구와 도시들을 점령했으며, 매우 불리한 조약을 받아들이도록 강요했다. 1 세계대전 이후 시기에는 일본이 중국에 대해 가장 공격적인 제국주의 열강으로 나서며 중국 영토의 많은 부분을 점령하고자 시도했다.


침략의 단계는 1931 일본이 만주를 침공하면서 시작되었다. 중국군은 패배했고 일본은 괴뢰 국가(만주국) 세웠다. 그러나 전쟁이 시작된 것은 일본이 대대적인 공세를 개시한 1937 7월이다. 이후 만에 일본은 베이징, 상하이, 난징을 점령했다. 일본군이 주요 도시를 점령하긴 했지만, 중국의 광대한 농촌 지역을 장악하진 못했고, 그에 따라 수년 동안 공격과 반격이 이어지며 전쟁이 계속됐다.[4]


시기에 제국주의는 중국 편을 들었다. 피억압 인민에 대한 반제국주의적 동정 때문이 아니라 일본을 아시아-태평양 지역의 라이벌로 보았기 때문이다. 이런 이유로 미국은 다양한 수단을 통해 중국을 지원했다. 일본에 대해서는 여러 면에 걸친 경제제재를 가했다. “1939 미국은 일본과의 1911 통상조약을 파기했다. 1940 7 2, 루즈벨트는 수출통제법에 서명하여 대통령에게 필수 방위 물자의 수출을 허가 또는 금지하는 권한을 부여했다. 권한에 따라 7 31일에는 항공모터연료와 윤활유, 1 중융 , 중철 스크랩의 수출이 제한됐다. 다음으로, 루즈벨트는 일본을 겨냥한 조치로 영국과 서반구 국가 이외의 다른 국가들에 대한 모든 고철 철강 수출에 대해 10 16일부로 금지령을 내렸다. 마침내 1941 7 26, 루즈벨트는 미국에 있는 일본인 자산을 동결했고, 따라서 양국 간의 상업 관계는 사실상 중단됐다. 1주일 루즈벨트는 여전히 상업적으로 일본에 수출되고 있는 것과 같은 등급의 석유 수출을 금지했다."[5] 나아가 미국은 미국 용병과 전투기 (예를 들어 플라잉 타이거) 파견함으로써 중국 항일군에 간접적 군사 지원을 제공했다.


알려져 있듯이, 일본에 대한 이러한 미국의 정치·경제적 공격은 1941 12 일본이 진주만을 공격하고 미국에 선전포고를 하도록 자극했다. 그리고 이로써 중일전쟁도 새로운 국면에 들어갔다.




2 중일전쟁에 대한 4인터내셔널의 방침


당시 혁명적 맑스주의자들은 4인터내셔널로 조직되었다. 10 혁명의 조직자인 레온 트로츠키가 이끈 운동은 소련의 그리고 3인터내셔널의 스탈린주의적 타락 이후 사회주의 세계혁명 투쟁을 이어갔다. 트로츠키주의자들은 일본의 침략에 대항하여 중국 방어전쟁을 지지하는 명확한 입장을 취했다. 1938 9 창립총회에서 채택된 문서에서 4인터내셔널은 다음과 같이 천명했다. "일본에 대항하여 중국의 투쟁을 지지하는 것은 국제 프롤레타리아트와 모든 혁명 전위의 필수 의무다.... 위에 서술된 정세인식에 입각하여 만국의 노동자와 특히 혁명 전위는 모든 수단을 다해 중국의 항일 투쟁을 지지할 의무를 진다."[6]


중국 혁명에서 4인터내셔널은 1925~27 수만 명의 공산주의자들을 도살한 장제스의 국민당이 항일 투쟁의 지배적 세력이라는 사실에도 불구하고 중국의 항일 투쟁을 지지했다. 국민당은 노동자계급과 빈농의 혁명적 진출이 두려워 · 제국주의에 강하게 의존했다. "국민당은 피억압 대중을 억누르며 일본 침략자들을 앞에 두고 후퇴하면서 · 제국주의로 가까이 다가갔다. 이들 열강이 자신들의 중국 이익을 지키고자 일본의 진군을 저지할 수밖에 없을 것이라는 희망을 품고서 말이다."


트로츠키주의자들은 문서에서 제국주의의 중국 개입은 강대국 이익의 관철에 동기가 있음을 환기시켰다. “ 제국주의는 영국에 비해 중국 실제 이해관계는 작지만, 일본이 태평양을 지배할 가능성에 대해 경계하고 있다. 짧아져 가는 간격을 두고 일어나는 미국 경제의 반복적인 붕괴는, 미국 자본주의가 살아남아 확장되려면 빠르게 태평양 지역뿐만 아니라 세계 무대에서 보다 지배적인 역할을 해야 한다는 경고로 작용하고 있다. 1937 10 루즈벨트의침략자 겨냥한 시카고 연설은 제국주의의 미래 정치를 파악할 있는 열쇠를 제공했다.”


나아가 4인터내셔널은 제국주의 열강들 간의 충돌이 세계대전으로 이어질 있다고 경고했는데, 경고는 년도 되어 현실로 확인되었다. "그와 동시에, 일본 제국주의는 중국에서 약탈 목적을 추구하여 제국주의 적대를 첨예화함으로써 인류를 새로운 세계대전의 직전으로 내몰고