work in the "white areas," used the new situation to launch a devastating critique of earlier CCP policy. While his views were strongly refuted at the time, they anticipated Mao’s later assessment of the "leftist" trend in the party under Wang Ming and Bo Gu’s control.
CCP historians view the moderately successful strike in Shanghai at Japanese-run cotton mills in October 1936 as vindicating Liu’s new policy of shifting from class actions to those of national resistance. The strike was led by the National Salvation Association that had been set up some time earlier as a part of the process of the formation of a number of specific Salvation Associations drawn from different sectors of the population. In fact, the CCP had a minimal role in the Association but the actions fitted with its new strategy and the Association was to be the focus of CCP rebuilding activities during the war years. This approach was given a boost by the December 1936 anti-Japanese demonstrations that began in Beijing and soon spread to Shanghai. However, the Japanese invasion of the city meant that progress was slow and it was very difficult for the party to act in a concerted way. However, important links were laid for the later struggle against the GMD once the civil war erupted in 1945. Party membership grew from 130 in November 1937 to over 2,000 by the time of the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
It was not long before the new relationship began to sour. As the CCP began to spread its influence, it came into conflict with local GMD troops culminating in what CCP historians refer to as the "first and second anticommunist upsurges" (December 1939- March 1940 and January 1941). While these clashes did not end the united front they did reinforce Mao’s view that not all CCP resources should be channelled via the GMD. For Mao, the united front was more than an alliance with just Chiang Kai-shek. CCP policy turned towards isolating Chiang while trying to win over to its side significant sections of the anti-Japanese alliance.
This combined with the removal of GMD financial support affected policy within the CCP-held base areas. Policies were adopted for power-sharing and to moderate economic policies to win over other groups in the united front. For the party faithful, Mao stated that the "three magic weapons" that would bring victory were the united front, armed struggle, and party-building. For the broader public, Mao put forward his ideas on New Democracy. However, this document stated publicly the CCP’s claim to lead the revolution. According to Mao, the bourgeoisie had both revolutionary characteristics and a tendency toward compromise. As a result, the proletariat would have to assume leadership in China’s struggle against imperialism and feudalism by default. During this first stage there would be a "revolutionary democratic dictatorship" of several classes. In the second stage, the non proletarian classes would be transformed gradually and the new democratic revolution would progress into its socialist stage. Although Mao said that the first phase would last for a long time, he was vague about when the change of stages would come about and criticized as "leftist" those who thought that socialism could be implemented before the new democratic revolution was completed. However, the article did return the attainment to the CCP’s political agenda.