Original Chinese Language Article By: Tian Xinming (田心铭)
Source: ‘Red Flag Article’ 2015/19
(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
Translator’s Note: This is an English translation of the original political Chinese language text entitled ‘警惕“共产主义虚无缥缈”论’, or ‘Be Vigilant Against the “Communism is an Illusion” Theory’. I have retained the original Chinese language text to assist historical and political researchers. This text was published on the Chinese internet in 2015, and concerns (General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party) Xi Jinping’s guidance and advice concerning the correct interpretation and application of Marxist-Leninist thinking in relation to the historical and socio-economic conditions that exist in China. Although there are many such texts like this extant in China, very few exist in the West due to capitalist political bias, and the racist attitudes of the Western bourgeoisie. This has left an unchallenged and ignorantly defined ‘free interpretive space’ in the West, which has been filled with all kinds of anti-China propaganda and deliberately false political and cultural misinterpretation, alternative commentary, disinformation and non-fact related paradigms. All this has been to the continued misrepresentation and detriment of Communist China. This rightwing and racist misrepresentative attitude toward China has been actively assisted by the Trotskyite left, and elements of Eurocentricism hiding-out within the otherwise legitimate Marxist-Leninist movements in the West. In fact, the anti-Chinese racism that exists in the West is extraordinarily potent and hate-filled. It is aimed at ALL Chinese people – whether capitalist or Communist – but is particularly virulent in its continued attacks upon Mainland Communist China. As Xi Jinping points-out, ignorance is a matter of bad education, that is rectified through the application of good education. This text provides a reliable foundation for the factual reality that China is a Socialist country that is pursuing the Revolutionary path toward Communism as defined by Marx-Engels and Marxist-Leninism. General Secretary Xi Jinping explains that China is adhering to a ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’ developmental plan. Lenin mentions this plan in his 1904 text entitled ‘Two Steps Forward and One Step Back’. This plan was adopted at the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, and more details can be found in the text entitled the ‘History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), Short Course (Page 41). The maximum aspect of this programme deals directly with a working class party achieving a Socialist Revolution, through the over-throw of capitalism and the full and effective establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, whereas the minimum aspect of this programme covers the immediate aims of the Party, and the policy direction required to achieve the over-throw of capitalism and the establishment Socialism. This means working towards making life better for the workers within a post-revolutionary society, as it develops toward a Socialist society. Obviously China has achieved her ‘Socialist’ Revolution, but has not yet achieved a fully ‘Socialistic’ society. According to General Secretary Xi Jinping, China is in the initial stage of building a Socialist society, and is applying Marxist theory to progress to Socialism as a precursor to the realisation of Communism in China. This process, according to Marx and Engels, will take a varying length of time depending upon local socio-economic conditions, and the conditions prevailing in various world-wide historical epochs. ACW 16.8.2016
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), Xi Jinping (习近平), the General Secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC), has continuously stressed to Members and Leading Party Cadres at all levels of the CPC, that they must be determined to uphold all noble ideals of Communism, and strengthen its presence across the broad masses. He has also criticised those who have expressed the false notion that ‘Communism is an Illusion’. In this regard, Xi Jinping has stated:
‘Communism as an ideal, is not as simple as cooking ‘potatoes and roast beef’. The principles of Communism are not that easy to obtain, and the development of Communism cannot be rushed, as its construction requires a long and drawn-out process that does not immediately exist at your finger-tips. To think that Communism is an illusion simply because it is not readily observable here and now (in its fully developed state), is a betrayal of the Communist Party and all that it stands for. Furthermore, such an opinion betrays the true Revolutionary ideals of the past, which must be retained with vigour, from one generation to the next. The realisation of Communism is the ideal of all true Communists without exception, and its pursuance of this struggle from one generation to the next, represents the upholding of the highest Revolutionary ideals.’
(Xi Jinping: To Jiao Yulu [焦裕禄] – County Party Secretary – 2015, p. 15)
This speech, delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping, had a strong practical relevance to it. It inspired the majority of Party Members and Cadres firmly toward the continuing pursuance of the Communist ideal, so that the nation may advance along the road of Socialist development (with Chinese characteristics).
1) Communism is premised Upon the Rational Theory of Scientific Socialism.
Marxism is the guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China. The ultimate aim of the Party is to realise Communism (through the study and application of the Scientific Socialism of Marx) – these two aspects are inseparable. Some have advocated the false ‘Communism is an Illusion’ theory, claiming that this is an observable fact. This is in reality a denial of all Communist ideals, and is an attack on Marxism. For instance, these people have stated such things as ‘Marxism is utopian’, or ‘Communism is a fiction’, etc. This misrepresentation of Communist ideals stems from a lack of understanding of Marxism. To firmly understand the genuine Communism ideals, there must first be an in-depth study of Marxism, so that it is understood that its ideals and beliefs are premised upon scientific theory, and the rational use of the mind.
General Secretary Xi Jinping, stated that Leading Cadres must study deeply the ideals and perspectives, so that the Marxist theory may be mastered in all its profound aspects. For Leading Cadres, he demanded that very high standards should be expected and upheld. He said:
‘Learn to master Marxist theory as a special skill’, ‘Continue to comprehend, and constantly penetrate through study, so that everything is learned properly, and thought is enlightened’ and ‘Truly devout Marxists are dedicated to developing a deep ideological understanding and sound conviction’. (Ibid., P. 5)
Why should individuals only study the correct Marxist communist ideals? It is because the core ideals of Communism emerge from within the theory of Marxism. Marxist rational thought is Scientific Socialism (which is also termed Scientific Communism). Before Karl Marx formulated his theory, the material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat were not yet present, and therefore notions of Socialism and Communism were only utopic or fantastical in nature (i.e. lacking any scientific basis). In his 1890 Preface to the German Edition of the ‘Communist Manifesto’, Frederick Engels, whilst discussing 1847 (the year that Karl Marx and himself wrote this text), states that Communism ‘was still a rough-hewn, only instinctive and frequently somewhat crude communism’ pursued by the workers. He continued ‘Yet, it was powerful enough to bring into being two systems of utopian communism — in France, the “Icarian” communists of Cabet, and in Germany that of Weitling.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels. Vol. 2, p. 21). From this observation it can be seen that the workers did not yet possess a scientific theory to guide them. Marx and Engels created a new scientific world view, and transformed utopic Socialism and Communism from fantasy into a science. They also created the world’s first Marxist Workers’ Party – known as the Communist League. The drafting of the ‘Communist Manifesto’ was requested by the General Assembly on behalf of the Alliance, as a means to clearly explain and define its political programme. The publishing of the ‘Communist Manifesto’ was both a sign of the advent of Marxism, and also a sign of the birth of the Communist Party. This fact indicates that the Communist ideal of Marxists, from the outset, was premised entirely upon a scientific theory that drew a line between ‘utopic’ Communism and Socialism, and the Communism of Scientific Socialism. Marxism is a complete and rigorous scientific system. Marx provides a comprehensive Communist theory premised upon a rigorous and logical argument. Practical Marxism was born well over a hundred years ago, and millions of people have striven to apply the teachings of Socialism, and transform it from a theory to reality, as it has spread from one country to another. Of special interest, is the development of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, a process which has not only enriched the content of Marxism, but which has also provided a strong practical example of its efficacy in material reality.
Party Members and Cadres should establish a thorough and conscientious study of the Marxist Communist ideal (as contained in the Classic works of Marx and Engels), as directed by the General Secretary Xi Jinping. This study should be both honest and sincere. This study should not be superficial, but deep and profound, as it must be understood how Marx and Engels developed the Communist theory of Scientific Socialism, and how this Socialism is separate and distinct from ‘utopic’ Socialism. True Scientific Communism can be established in the material world, if the Marxist theory of Scientific Socialism is properly understood. In 1877, Engels wrote a brief biography of Karl Marx, and in March, 1883, Engels published his ‘Speech at the Grave of Marx’. Engels clarified that Marx identified two important and fundamental elements of the theory of Scientific Socialism, which were the materialist conception of history, and the special capitalist mode of production that gives rise to bourgeois society. Engels said that the application of the materialist conception of history, revealed the hitherto hidden concept of capitalist production and profit accumulation through surplus value. These are the ‘two great discoveries’ of Marx’s life. ‘Modern Scientific Socialism is based on these two important evidence-based findings.’ ‘Because of these two discoveries, Socialism became a Science.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 3, pp. 545,461,546). These facts demonstrate to us that to establish the Marxist ideal of Communism, the key is to study and master the materialist conception of history and the theory of capitalist production.
Shortly after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), General Secretary Xi Jinping, in a profound and precise Study Seminar Speech, advised the New Central Committee Members, and Alternate Members that they should ‘uphold the noble ideals of Communism’, through the correct application of historical materialism, and the law of capitalism production. First, it is important to fully understand and master the subject of the materialist concept of history. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out:
‘Some comrades think that Communism is unobtainable, and even that it is a matter of ‘faith’ in something that cannot be seen, because their understanding is incomplete. This is a false argument that mistakes the theory of Communist historical materialism with that of historical idealism. World history is the unfolding of historical materialism, and not that of historical idealism. This false attitude towards Communism occurs because of a poor and weak understanding of historical materialism, and a sinking into wavering idealism that lacks the scientific understanding to correctly interpret and explain history.’
(Selected Important Documents from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), p. 116)
Historical materialism is a ‘fundamental’ and key aspect of the theory of Scientific Socialism.
Before the emergence of Marxism, due to historical conditions involving the limitations associated with the exploiting class prejudices, theories within the field of the study of social history had been dominated by idealism. The power of this idea can be observed influencing even an outstanding materialist in the field of social history, such as Feuerbach, who eventually fell into idealism. With the development of the machine, there simultaneously emerged on the stage of history, the large-scale industrial proletariat, as an independent political force. It is exactly the development of this proletariat that inspired the revolutionary thinker Karl Marx to formulate his theory, which included a summation of the outstanding achievements of human civilization, as interpreted through the rubric of historical materialism. Therefore, the concept of historical materialism ‘Changed the entire manner in which world history was interpreted’, so that ‘For the first time in human existence, the interpretation of history was premised upon its true foundation.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 3, p. 457, 459). Marx convincingly proved that people must first eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, and that first there must be work before there can be a fight for domination, or the pursuance of politics, religion and philosophy. Therefore, the mode of production of material life (which is defined by its conditions), constitutes the social, developmental process of life. It is not the consciousness of women and men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their social consciousness. The antagonistic (dialectical) forces that exist between the productive forces and relations of production, together with the economic base and superstructure, promote social development and social forms of replacement. The development of social forms is a process of unfolding natural history, which is intrinsically governed by this general rule. Since Marx formulated this clear and objective scientific theory of social development as a historical necessity, Communism could no longer be viewed as a fantasy, or a utopic matter of wishful thinking. In fact, historical materialism marks a radical shift in the study of the history of world thought. This is a matter that all Party Members must study and thoroughly understand. Through the ‘turning about’ of understanding (in the mind), the entire reality of the world (and its functionality) becomes clear. Those who think that Communism is unattainable, or a matter of ‘faith’ are mistaken, because they are interpreting Communism from the false perspective of historical idealism, and not from the correct (scientific) perspective of historical materialism. The foundation of Communism (through which it will be attained) is that of historical materialism.
The two fundamental contradictions within capitalist society will ensure a) its collapse and b) the inevitable victory of Socialism. General Secretary Xi Jinping said:
‘The observable and verifiable facts have repeatedly confirmed to us, that Marx and Engels’ analysis of the fundamental contradictions of capitalist society, are not obsolete. Therefore, the study of historical materialism demonstrates that the collapse of capitalism will eventually happen, and that the victory of Socialism is inevitable. This theory is not outdated for the study of the historical development of society. The general trend is that of reversal (away from the dominance of capital), but the road to the eventual demise of capitalism is very difficult and arduous at times, meaning that the final victory of Socialism requires a very long historical process.’
(Selected Important Documents from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), p. 117)
This statement clearly presents the inevitable development (toward Socialism) as being driven by basic contradiction, and demonstrates how Marx revealed the underlying functionality of capitalist society, whilst pointing out the inevitability of the realisation of the Communist ideal in the long-term.
Prior to Marx, economists and sociologists were steeped in idealistic thinking, and defined ‘normal society’ from the perspective of pure fantasy. Marx abandoned this fictitious ‘generalised notion of society’, and instead dedicated himself to the study of the material conditions of existential capitalist society. In his ‘Das Kapital’ (Preface to the first edition – Volume 1) he states: ‘I want to study in this book, the capitalist mode of production, the relations of production, relations of exchange, and how these forces interact and transform one another.’ ‘The ultimate goal of this book is to reveal the economic law of motion within modern society.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 5, p. 8, 10) Marx devoted his entire life to the study capitalist, a developmental process that was the basis for his writing of ‘Das Kapital’. He studied a literal mountain of material evidence, and analysed in considerable detail, the functionality of the law of capitalism. As Lenin pointed out, Marx reveals the development of capitalism in the law, his analysis ‘Is limited to production relations between members of society’, and ‘Marx did not use any of these relations of production factors, for anything other than to illustrate the problem.’ (Collected Works of Lenin topic · On dialectical and historical materialism, page 162). With this study, Marx thoroughly clarified the relationship between capital and labour, and reveals the fundamental contradiction that exists within capitalism. Engels pointed out that the forces of production are generally active within society, but that the social products are owned solely by the individual capitalists. Socialized production and capitalist possession are incompatible, therefore, ‘This is the generation of all the contradictions within modern society. This fundamental contradiction within modern society is the basis of all transformative movement.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 3, p. 565). This explains the basic contradiction of all conflicts within capitalist society. It is this unstable nature of capitalism which determines its inevitable demise, and the equally inevitable victory of Socialism. Marx clarified the relationship between capitalists and wage-labourers, as being the main mode of capitalist production, which is succinctly expressed as the exploitative (and antagonistic) relationship between ‘capital’ and ‘labour’. This means that regardless of how subjectively unique an individual appears to be, or what position within society they occupy, he or she possesses a mind (and body) very much conditioned by the relations of production as they manifest as ‘society’ and ‘social relations’. It is never a matter of isolated individuals confronting the all-embracing capitalist state, but is rather the confrontation (or ‘antagonisms’) that exist between the social relations within which an individual exists. Therefore, the inherent contradictions that exist within the exploitative system that is capitalism, possess the transformative power to bring capitalism to an end, and transition productive forces (and social relations) into the state of Socialism. Thus, in the final demise of capitalism, Socialism will eventually triumph. This process is not determined by what an individual subjectively decides or wills, but is the direct consequence of the conflict of productive forces and the production of conflicting social relations. The class antagonisms that exist between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, inevitably lead to confrontation and struggle. This trend of confrontation and struggle is an observable law of social development within a capitalist society.
The long-term success of the attainment of Communism is never a matter of idealistic or ‘blind’ faith. Such an attitude demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the (rational) mechanisms of Scientific Socialism. Therefore, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that ‘The demise of capitalism is inevitable, just as the victory of socialism is inevitable’, while also noting that ‘This must be the product of a very long historical process.’ He emphasised:
‘We must profoundly study the ability of capitalist societies to self-regulate, and rationally engage the Western, developed countries, to understand the objective advantage that the capitalist system produced for a long time, in economic, scientific, technological, and military development. We must earnestly prepare for two kinds of social systems operating over the long-term, clearly defining the conditions that suggest cooperation, and the conditions that suggest struggle, in all their various aspects.’
(Selected Important Documents from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), p. 117)
The final victory of Socialism ‘Must be a very long historical process’, is, in itself, the objective law of social development in operation. Marx states in his ‘(Abstracted) Preface of A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’ that ‘No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 2, 592). After the development of the monopoly stage of capitalism, the imperialist era of economic and political development ushered in a period of the imbalance (between economic and political forces), creating the conditions for the first socialist revolutions to break-out. As Czarist Russia was a weak link in the chain of imperialist countries, it was the first place to successfully achieve a Socialist Revolution, to be later followed by semi feudal and semi colonial countries such as China. This fact indicates the special circumstances prevalent in these countries which formed the material conditions necessary for Socialism. On the other hand, capitalism still occupies the dominant position in the contemporary world, particularly after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries, which created drastic change. Economic globalization and the revolution in information technology (as well as other high-tech revolutions) has promoted the development of the productive forces contained within capitalist society. This has meant that the basic contradictions within capitalist society, to a certain extent, have eased, demonstrating that capitalism can still productively accommodate change, and that its productive forces have not yet been brought fully into play. Therefore, after quite a long time, the primary stage of socialism must also be more productive to match the development of capitalist countries, in a long-term policy of cooperation and struggle. We must have a deep understanding and be well prepared. Marx continues in his ‘(Abstracted) Preface of A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’: ‘The bourgeois relations of production are the last antagonistic form of the social process of production — antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonisms, but of one arising from the social conditions of life of the individuals; at the same time the productive forces developing in the womb of bourgeois society create the material conditions for the solution of that antagonism. This social formation brings, therefore, the prehistory of society to a close.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 2, 592). This explains how the capitalist means of production, has within it, the seeds of its own demise. And the inevitable demise of capitalism, the inevitable victory of socialism both “inevitable” unified together, this unity is the development of the objective laws of social performance. The conditions that will inevitably develop Socialism are directly found within the contradictions that define capitalism – so that the two states are inherently linked – with capitalism forming the former (earlier) stage, and Socialism the later (developed) stage.
The two issues are these; in the long-term, capitalism will wither away due to its own fundamental contradictions, and this withering away of capitalism is due to its contradictions that are observable here and now. After the international financial crisis in 2008, ‘Das Kapital’ became a bestseller in the Western developed countries, as Marx’s critique of capitalism again attracted worldwide attention. This is because people have re-engaged the writings of Marx to seek answers to contemporary social issues. This fact once again proves that Marx’s analysis of the basic contradictions of capitalist society, is not obsolete. We must recognize that the ideal of communism is both long-term and inevitable. We must stay united, with a strong strategic focus upon assisting the creation of the conditions that lead to Communism.
2) Unify the Pursuance of Socialism (with Chinese Characteristics), with the Building of Communism
Be vigilant against the so-called ‘Communism is an illusory’ theory. This false idealism has the potential to erode the progressive thought of Party Members and Cadres, who must instead adhere to correct Communist theory, practice, ideals and material reality. It must be understood in the clearest terms, that the pursuance of Socialism (with Chinese characteristics), is the highest ideal of unity at this stage, which requires an in-depth understanding of the relationship between Communism and Socialism, so that the ideal of Communism can be eventually achieved.
a) Persist in the correct study of Communist theory and practice, so that the theory and the reality are forever unified. The Constitution of Communist Party of China stipulates that the Probationary Party Member must face the Red Party Flag, and take certain oaths, before being admitted to the Party. The Party Constitution oath states: ‘The struggle to establish Communism is a lifelong endeavour’. This is why it is inappropriate for Party Members and Cadres to ‘laugh and entertain the false idea that ‘Communism is an illusion’, or that Marxist theory is ineffective, or not dependent on the achieving of Communism.’ Some Party Members and Cadres do not clearly understand the epistemological roots of this fallacy, and therefore confuse the Marxist theory of the acquisition of Communism, making all kinds of errors and mistakes in their assessment and analysis. Marx and Engels founded Scientific Communism, and from the base-up, emphasised the unity of theory and practice. In their mature work on historical materialism, entitled ‘The German Ideology’, they criticize Young Hegelians for using ‘shocking words’, but not taking any decisive action in the physical world – the Young Hegelians attacked the outer, superficial expressions of the time, but did not get to the root of the systemic problem. The historical idealism practised by the Young Hegelians was opposite to the historical materialism advocated by Marx and Engels, who stated: ‘The practice of historical materialism is the correct Communist path that questions all underlying causes and effects extant in the physical world, as a means to make revolution, and change things permanently.’ They also pointed out that: ‘We are called Communists because we want to completely eliminate the extant conditions prevalent in the physical world.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 1, p. 527-539). Obviously, Communism is not only a scientific ideology, but is also an instruction for social practice that carefully guides the development of society toward Communism. Since the birth of Marxism, there has been a Communist movement that continues to substantially move forward in both its practice and development. As noted during the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China: ‘The spread of Communist ideology has the primary goal of building and achieving Communism in the material world. This process began with the establishment of the Communist Party of China, and continued through the New Democratic Revolution. Now this movement in our country is emerging out of the stage of Socialism, into the primary stage of Communism.’ Therefore, the thought and practice of Communism already exists in our everyday experience of life, and it is true to say that Scientific Communism has been subjected to more than one hundred years of practical testing.
There are some people who do not understand the theory of Communism, and who have only an incorrect idealistic interpretation of it. As they cannot see their mistaken ‘ideal’ manifesting in the material conditions of society, they then think ‘Communism’ is not real. This is tantamount to denying the validity of all social theory and social function. Idealist imaginations are not scientific because they are not based upon material research. Scientific Socialism is a science simply because it is a set of observations premised upon a careful empirical research of society (and its function) as it exists now, as it existed in the past, and as it will exist in the future. Science is not imagination or speculation, and it is not a ‘faith’ in something non-existent, nor is it premised upon an irrational ‘belief system’ for its efficacy. Individuals who remain unaware of how society ‘evolves’, do not understand the subtle changes that occur from one epoch to another, or even from one generation to another. This is why some ignorant people cannot understand or see the reality of Scientific Communism. They do not understand that today’s theoretical understanding can become tomorrow’s social reality. This is why it is said that today’s social reality is premised upon the function of theory that might not be apparent in its ‘immediate’ manifestation. As this is not a matter of belief in the operation of metaphysics within material society, Scientific Communism cannot be said to be ‘non-existent’ (like a god construct), but is entirely visible to individuals living within progressive societies, who have been educated and trained to understand the theories associated with Communism and its development within society. Ignorance of this theory does not invalidate the theory, or prove that it is not valid. Ignorance of the efficacy of the Communist theory simply means that misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge exists in the mind of the person who does not yet comprehend. This is exactly the same situation regarding any subject whereby an individual has a lack of knowledge. A bias against Communist theory is simply a matter of a lack of appropriate education, nothing more. However, such a biased attitude is often used by the supporters of capitalism as a means to advocate ‘greed’ over the scientific understanding of the Communist theory (outside of China). One such supporter once declared the ‘end of history’ following the collapse of the USSR. This was a mistaken (and foolish) ideological attack upon the Marxist theory of historical materialism, which continues to function regardless of any and all social change.
The difference between Scientific Communism and utopic Communist theories, lies not in a ‘seen’ or ‘unseen’ theoretical basis, but rather in whether that theory has been derived from the concrete fact of material existence, or simply from religious imagination. Communist theory has an objective basis, which is the rational and logical analysis of the material reality of existence within a capitalist society. Lenin said: ‘Marx treated the question of communism in the same way as a naturalist would treat the question of the development of, say, a new biological variety, once he knew that it had originated in such and such a way and was changing in such and such a definite direction.’ (Collected Works of Lenin topic · Marxism’, p. 255-256). According to Marx, Communism is an inevitable historical development out of capitalism, driven by social forces that function within society. These basic contradictions not only mean the eventual end of capitalism, but also that capitalism plays a vital role in the establishment of Communism. However, Marx did not make a dogma about what exactly a Communist society would look like, as he had no intention of establishing a prediction about the future. Instead, Marx pointed out certain important characteristics and trends, and avoided speculative fantasy. In 1881, the Dutch Social Democrats wrote to Marx to ask: ‘If you came to power, in order to ensure the victory of Socialism, what should be the first legislative measures with regard to the correct economic and political direction?’ Marx replied with a stern letter, stating that the question itself was irrelevant because it was premised upon a fantasy. Marx said: ‘The only answer to this question should be critical of the question itself.’ Because, (he continued) ‘No equation can be solved unless the elements of its solution are involved in its terms.’ (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, Vol. 10, p. 458). Precisely because of that strict scientific spirit, the Marxist Communists did not fall into fantasy, but advanced step by step, toward the realisation (and practical application) of the Scientific Communist theory. Prior to the establishment of New China in 1949, no one could envisage the democratic dictatorship of the working people – and yet such an achievement historically unfolded. Again, no one foresaw the moderate economic success of China in the late 20th century – and yet it historically happened. The Chinese people must continue this struggle to establish Communism and never give-up on this most important of transformative tasks. This onward struggles requires the continued building of a moderately prosperous society, as well as a truly democratic, civilized, and harmonious modern Socialist country. This is how to achieve a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We must all work toward the Communist-inspired ‘China Dream’. Although this is still just a beautiful ambition, as a nation, the Chinese people are already closer to its realization than at any other time in Chinese history. The goal will be established through the guidance of Marxism – step by step – from the theory into reality. This is the most powerful proof of the practice of hundreds of millions of Chinese people working together, which will make the achievement of Communism inevitable.
b) Adhere to the theory of the establishment of Communism, which will be achieved through the development of Socialism (with Chinese characteristics).
Two misconceived questions that arise from those who think ‘Communism is an illusion’: 1) ‘Why hasn’t the Communist government confiscated all private property?’, and 2) ‘Why are there Communists in China who are co-owners of private businesses?’ The purpose of these types of misconstrued views, are to undermine the development of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This shows a thorough misunderstanding of the theory of Scientific Communism and its application to the development of a ‘Socialist’ society. Although it is true that some people hold these views because of a lack of genuine understanding, it is equally true that some people deliberately propagate such views to directly attack and do harm to the Chinese Socialist State. The Marxist theory of radical transformation, is not only one of permanent revolution, but also the continued revolutionary development of a unified society. The achievement of Communism is the highest stage of development pursued by Scientific Communists, which unfolds during different and specific phases of history, and that represent the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in their struggle. Therefore, the Programme of the Communist Party of China, carefully recognises each historical stage, and ensures the unity of the people by representing their best developmental interests as a collective. Mao Zedong (毛泽东) devised the New China Democratic Revolution theory, which placed the revolution in a correct context for Chinese Communists. This understanding eradicated the ‘left-deviation’ confusion that existed between ‘Democratic Revolution’ and ‘Socialist Revolution’, and specifically pointed out that China’s revolutionary process must be divided into the ‘New China Democratic Revolution’ and the ‘Socialist Revolution’ developmental stages. This theory proposes a minimum programme and the maximum programme, as a two-part organic structure of guiding principles, designed to ensure the success of the Chinese Revolution. Since beginning in our country to construct Socialism comprehensively overtime, there has necessarily been a thorough analysis of mistakes made, such as the early emphasis upon ‘excessive and inappropriate common ownership’, and other ‘left deviation’ errors. These mistakes and setbacks have educated us, and caused us to become mature. The Chinese Communist Party has passed through many stages of difficult exploration, and through careful analysis of prevailing conditions, has clearly recognized that China is in the initial stages of Socialist development. This initial stage of Socialist development directly represents the fundamental realities that currently exist within the country. Socialism with Chinese characteristics, is the implementation of the minimum programme for building Socialism within China. It recognises the unique historical and socio-economic conditions that are relevant for the Chinese people here and now, and is a matter of material fact, and not idealistic speculation.
General Secretary Xi Jinping stated that the ultimate realization of the great objective of Communism, must be based on the successful achievement of the Communist Party’s specific objectives at this stage:
‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the unification of the Party’s maximum programme and the minimum programme. The minimum programme of building Socialism with Chinese characteristics, has the objectives of building a modern Socialist country that is prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious. The highest ideal of achieving Communism will evolve from the correct establishment at this present time, of Socialism with Chinese characteristics’
(Selected Important Documents from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), p. 116)
The initial stage of Socialism in China, exists to build the conditions through which Communism can be realised overtime. Therefore, the initial stage of Socialism in China is an important step toward building Communism that cannot be ignored or negated – as it is a necessary historical stage. Deng Xiaoping (邓小平) pointed out the relationship between the advanced Communist stage and this initial stage of Socialism in China. He said that Socialism itself is the primary stage of Communism, and that China – existing as it does within the initial stage of Socialism – is economically underdeveloped. Every achievement must be planned for, from reality as it exists here and now. This is how careful planning is formulated by taking into account the prevailing conditions. During the Democratic Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party stated that the objective was to achieve a successful revolution, and build the conditions for the development of Socialism. Therefore, it was clarified that Communist theory had two separate and distinct objectives to be pursued from the Democratic Revolutionary base; 1) the immediate building of Socialism, and 2) the future realisation of Communism. When planning for the future, neither of these two stages can be ignored, and each must be clearly achieved.
Despite all of modern China’s achievements, it is important not to lose sight of the prevailing socio-economic conditions. This forms the material reality that is the basis of Socialist and Communist thinking. With regards to the achievement of Socialism, China is only in the ‘initial’ stage of its acquisition. Do not lose sight of the eventual goal of the establishment of Communism, or the essential spirit of the Revolution will be lost. China will establish Socialism and then Communism once the correct conditions have been produced by the Chinese people through their labour. The Chinese Communist Party is building Socialism with Chinese characteristics because this is exactly what the prevailing national (material) conditions demand at this present time. This is why General Secretary Xi Jinping said:
‘We must firmly follow the path of building Socialism with Chinese characteristics with conviction, whilst keeping the mind focused on the eventual attainment of Communism. The Chinese Communist Party will pursue this path with effort and tenacity, so that the initial stage of Socialism, (through the initiation of the minimum programme), will be successfully completed.’
(Selected Important Documents from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), p. 116)
Therefore, we persist in the initial stage of Socialism with the public ownership system for the main part, supplemented by a number of other ownership systems, all premised upon a basic communal, developmental, economic system. Therefore, the Party strives to build the initial stage of Socialism, whilst working conscientiously toward Communism. Those who think that property must be confiscated to achieve the future realisation of Communism, do not understand the prevailing socio-economic situation in China, or the theory of Marxism (and Marxist-Leninism). We must, therefore, as a nation, remain vigilant against the false propaganda that deliberately misrepresents the Chinese people, the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese Communism, and Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
(Author: Ministry of Education and Social Sciences & Formerly Director of the Development Research Centre)
©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.
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