Archive for the Socialism with Chinese Characteristics Category

Beijing hosts First World Congress on Marxism [Global Times]

Posted in Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Education, Marx, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on February 8, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhang Hui
Published: 2015-10-12

*** Ideology to help China through social, economic challenges: analysts ***

China attaches great importance to the …first World Congress on Marxism in Beijing in solving its growing social and economic problems during the transition period, and the event offered a chance for China to spread Marxist ideology, observers said on Sunday.

As the biggest academic conference on Marxism held in China, the congress, “Marxism and the Development of the Human Race,” attracted more than 400 Marxist scholars from 20 countries.

The discussions center on China’s development path, theories and systems, together with the worldwide influence exerted by Marxism to promote human development, the Guangming Daily reported on Sunday.

Observers said that the congress helped address China’s concerns during a critical transition.

“China faces an increasing number of problems in the midst of its economic slowdown and deepening reform, such as corruption and the growing income gap, which require the country to use Marxism to explain and solve them,” Xin Xiangyang, a research fellow on Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The congress also provided an opportunity for Western countries to learn from China, as China’s adherence to Marxism for decades has made huge headway in both social and economic development, while the Western world has not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, Xin said.

Observers said that since President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of Marxist ideology, there has been a resurgence of the ideology as the theoretical foundation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in China.

President Xi said in January that Marxist philosophy provides CPC members with the right approach to problem-solving, as China continues its path of reform and development.

He stressed several times “sinicization” and modernization of Marxism in his speeches since 2013.

However, China still faces challenges in adopting Marxism.

China has not reached a level of “common prosperity” as stated in Marxist thought. Corruption still exists, while Marxism has called for clean government, Wang Zhanyang, director of the Political Science Department at the Central Institute of Socialism, told the Global Times.

Peking University, sponsor of the congress, has attached increasing importance to Marxism.

It held a foundation-laying ceremony in May for a building named after German philosopher Karl Marx, to celebrate his 197th birth anniversary.

Edited by Zuo Shou. Original article title: “Beijing hosts 1st Marxism congress”

Full article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/946549.shtml

See also related article from event host Peking University website, link: http://english.pku.edu.cn/news_events/news/global/3979.htm

Marxism key to problem solving: Xi [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Corruption, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Economy, Employment, Environmental protection, Mao Zedong, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on March 3, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(Global Times) January 26, 2015

~Ideology a theoretical tool to unite officials in time of change: analyst~

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent stress on dialectical materialism has brought about a resurgence of Marxist ideology as the theoretical foundation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) amid the nation’s deepening reform, said observers.

Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said Friday that all CPC members should value ideological work and promote “core socialist values” as he presided over a meeting attended by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, reported the Xinhua News Agency on Saturday.

The president reiterated that China will remain at the primary stage of socialism for a long time to come. Through 30 years of reform and opening up, China has made breakthroughs in productivity, comprehensive national strength and people’s living standards, but the situation and challenges both domestically and abroad are changing.

“We should grasp new traits in new phases of development, and stipulate guidelines in accordance with reality,” Xi said, adding that ideology should be at the heart of the Party.

The meeting followed a previous session in 2013 when the bureau delivered a similar lecture on Marxist philosophy.

Dialectical materialism, a key tenet of Marxist philosophy along with historical materialism, is a philosophical approach that views all changes in the world as the result of conflicts between opposites.

The president said that dialectical materialism, a strand of Marxist philosophy, should provide CPC members with the right approach to problem solving as China continues on its path of reform and development…

…The CPC, founded in the early 1920s, has advocated Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics as an ideological guidance to strengthen and modernize China…

Excerpted; full article link: http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0126/c90785-8840860.html

News Analysis: Business opportunity grows in DPRK despite challenges [Xinhua]

Posted in China, DPR Korea, Kim Jong Un, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on February 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yoo Seungki

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — Business opportunity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is growing for potential foreign investors as the closed economy is pushing a new type of socialist economy through reform and opening despite challenges such as lack of information, communication tools and transparency, global DPRK experts said Wednesday at a forum held in central Seoul.

Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un is known to have introduced a so- called “May 30 Measures” in May 2014 to grant more autonomy in managing factories and more incentives for farmers. South Korea’s Unification Ministry has said there is no clear evidence of such measures being adopted by DPRK.

Despite no official announcement from the DPRK, a few clues were found. Choson Sinbo, a pro-DPRK newspaper based in Japan, reported in January that the DPRK will “set up a collectivist system that can respond flexibly” and that “socialist enterprises will take the lead.”

The new socialist economy scheme is believed to be an extension of the so-called “June 28 Measures,” adopted in June 2012 and made known to outside world by Choson Sinbo. The new plan is estimated to scale down the size of farming work unit to a ” family size” of 4 to 6 people, which could be allowed to leave up to 60 percent of their production on their hands. It is higher than the previous 30 percent ceiling.

Companies could be given more leeway in management, paying workers a wage in accordance with performance and handling inputs and outputs in a freer way than before. Andrei Lankov, professor at Kookmin University, said in a Nov. 30 Al-Jazeera editorial that the May 30 Measures were “revolutionary” and that the DPRK seems to have decided to begin “Chinese-style reforms…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2015-01/28/c_133954121.htm

“Xi: Holding high the banner of Mao ‘forever'” – 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Mao Zedong [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, CPC, Mao Zedong, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on December 26, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that the Communist Party of China (CPC) will hold high the banner of Mao Zedong Thought “forever” in pursuing the Chinese nation’s rejuvenation.

While commemorating the 120th anniversary of the birth of the late Chinese leader, Xi hailed Mao and other members of the older generation of revolutionaries as “great figures” in fighting national and class oppression, as well as standing at the wavefront of the positive tide in the Chinese nation and world.

At a symposium held by the CPC Central Committee in Beijing, Xi said Mao, the principal founder of the CPC, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), was “a great proletarian revolutionary, strategist and theorist.”

Xi also hailed Mao as “a great patriot and national hero” and the core of the first generation of the Chinese leadership.

“Mao is a great figure who changed the face of the nation and led the Chinese people to a new destiny,” said Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

He pointed out that a correct historical view must be adopted to appraise a historical figure.

“Revolutionary leaders are not gods, but human beings,” Xi said.

“(We) cannot worship them like gods or refuse to allow people to point out and correct their errors just because they are great; neither can we totally repudiate them and erase their historical feats just because they made mistakes,” Xi said.

“(We) should not simply attribute the success in historical favorable circumstances to individuals, nor should we blame individuals for setbacks in adverse situation,” he said.

“(We) cannot use today’s conditions and level of development and understanding to judge our predecessors, nor can we expect the predecessors to have done things that only the successors can do,” he said.

Mao’s greatest contributions are that he led the Party and the people to find the correct path of New-Democratic Revolution, completed the anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism tasks, established the PRC and the basic socialism system, achieved fundamental success in socialist construction, and pooled experiences and created conditions for China’s exploration of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, according to Xi.

“The banner of Mao Zedong Thought could not be lost and losing it means a negation to the Party’s glorious history; The principle of holding high the banner of Mao Zedong Thought should not be wavered at any time and we will hold high the banner to advance forever,” the president quoted late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping as saying.

However, Xi said it cannot be negated that Mao took detours during the exploration of the path of building socialism, admitting he made “serious mistakes” in his later years, especially during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

“Comrade Mao Zedong’s mistakes in his later years have their subjective factors and personal responsibility, and complicated social and historical reasons both at home and abroad also played their part. They should be viewed and analyzed comprehensively, historically and dialectically,” Xi said.

Xi said it was not easy to find a correct path. “The path decides the nation’s destiny,” he said.

“Socialism with Chinese characteristics does not just fall from the sky,” Xi said, adding that it was achieved through the toil and sacrifice of the Party and the people…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-12/26/c_132998764.htm

Xi urges China to keep red [Xinhua]

Posted in China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Mao Zedong, Marx, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on July 23, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

SHIJIAZHUANG, July 12 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the 85 million members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to work hard and serve the people wholeheartedly to “ensure the color of red China will never change.”

Party members should improve their work styles to withstand tests the Party faces and ensure the CPC’s nature is not compromised, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

He was speaking during a two-day inspection tour of north China’s Hebei Province, which concluded on Friday.

During the trip, Xi visited Xibaipo, an old revolutionary base, where the CPC leadership were based from May 1948 to early 1949 to draw the blueprint of the new country and prepare for the CPC’s new role as the ruling party.

Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s remarks on Party members’ work styles prior to the founding of New China in 1949 still have far-reaching ideological and historical significance, he said.

At an important meeting of the CPC in March 1949, Mao called on the whole Party to resolutely carry forward the work style of displaying modesty and prudence while guarding against conceit and impetuosity, and resolutely carry forward the style of working hard and plain living.

Xi said the comments bear lessons learnt from thousands of years of Chinese history, a summary of the process of the CPC’s growth, and profound thoughts on keeping the Party’s advanced nature and purity as well as on maintaining the prolonged stability of an upcoming state power.

Xi said he had been to Xibaipo many times. “Each time, I came with a lot of respect and left with many thoughts.”

Calling China’s revolutionary history the “best nutrient,” Xi said studying and recalling such history can bring “positive energy” to Party members.

Previous Chinese top leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao both visited Xibaipo shortly after they took office.

Xi’s visit symbolized the Party’s commitment to its traditions, said Prof. Wang Yukai, with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

Last December, Xi chose Guangdong, which served as the testing grounds for reform and opening-up policies more than 30 years ago, as the destination of his first inspection tour out of Beijing after taking the office of general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

“The new leaders are learning from political wisdom and experiences of their predecessors,” Wang said.

Besides Xibaipo, also on Xi’s schedule was Zhengding County, where Xi had been Party chief in the early 1980s.

The President dropped in the house of a local farmer, visited a village community center and the provincial civil affairs department.

The Party’s performance at the grass-roots level matters very much, Xi said.

“If every CPC member and every grass-roots organ have a strong sense of responsibility and do a good job, the Party will be strong, the country will be strong and people will be strong. Thus, the Party’s rule will have a solid foundation,” he said.

The CPC leadership is unfurling a large-scale campaign against harmful work styles, aiming to improve Party-people relations.

At a meeting with provincial officials of Hebei, Xi asked the senior provincial officials to set the example in the campaign.

They should raise the bar higher, examine their own conduct and correct their problems with unselfishness and bravery, the president said.

Senior officials should show the people their courage and resolve to face up to their own problems and their willingness to take advice from the people as well as make actual moves, he said.

The people should be encouraged to take care of the cause of the CPC and be guided to exercise their duty of supervision, according to Xi.

While acknowledging the performance of Hebei, the President urged the province to focus on the quality and efficiency of its development, improve people’s well-being and protect the environment.

The country’s new leadership has sent out a clear signal that the key to the Party’s rule is to improve its capacity to rule and maintain its internal vitality, Prof. Wang said.

Article link, with photos: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-07/12/c_132536880.htm

Also see “Behind Xi Jinping’s call for a return to Marxism” [Workers World] — http://www.workers.org/2013/07/20/behind-xi-jinpings-call-for-a-return-to-marxism/

Marxism and the social character of China [Workers World]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, France, Germany, Japan, Lenin, Mao Zedong, PLA, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, State-owned Enterprise (SOE), U.K., US imperialism, USA on June 15, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Fred Goldstein

June 13, 2013

The issue of China is one of the most important questions of the 21st century for the working class and the oppressed peoples, as well as the hostile imperialist ruling classes of the world.

The progressive and revolutionary movements, especially in the U.S., have a great stake in arriving at a correct policy toward China.

First of all, China is a formerly oppressed country that achieved liberation from British, French, German, U.S. and Japanese imperialism in 1949 by making one of the greatest revolutions in history. At that time, one quarter of the human race was torn from the clutches of imperialism. As a formerly oppressed country struggling for national development, it must be defended against all varieties of imperialist military, economic and political aggression, regardless of what one thinks about its social character.

China today is a new, complex and contradictory phenomenon in history. It has fundamental socialist structures alongside capitalist development and imperialist penetration. The leadership calls it “market socialism” or socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Socialism is inscribed firmly as China’s foundation in its constitution. The international capitalist class is profoundly hostile to China and never ceases to try to undermine its fundamental socialist structures.

Yet workers in Chinese private industry are subjected to capitalist exploitation and the workers in the state industries have lost much of the economic support that once attached to their workplaces. Horrendous industrial accidents take place and environmental problems are severe.

– Dual character of China’s economic foundation –

Only Marxism enables us to approach an analysis of China.

Marxism has shown that the character of any society is determined by its economic foundation and that the superstructure of society, its politics, ideology, etc., are determined by the economic foundation.

How can such an analysis be applied to China and how can it help to clarify how to view China?

To begin with, the economic foundation of China is not homogeneous. It is partly socialist and partly capitalist. The question for us and for the world working class is: Which is dominant? — the socialist foundation, or the capitalist enterprises seeking private accumulation of profit through the exploitation of the working class?

Similarly, the superstructure is not homogeneous. On the one hand, there are the Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army and the ideological doctrine that declares socialism to be the foundation of China. On the other hand, there is the relentless promotion of opening up to imperialism and capitalist market reforms. And, above all, there is a struggle over political reform, meaning the right for the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie to organize politically, either inside the party, outside the party or both. There is a steady drumbeat for “political reform” from the imperialists and their class allies inside China.

– Economic crisis of 2008-2009 was a critical test –

How can we assess this situation? We should start by empirical examination of China, on the one hand, and the rest of the capitalist world on the other.

A critical test came when the Chinese leadership was forced to deal with the effects of the worst capitalist crisis since World War II.

When the crisis hit in 2008 to 2009, many tens of millions of workers in the U.S., Europe, Japan and across the capitalist world were plunged into unemployment.

China, which had dangerously allowed itself to become heavily dependent on exports to the capitalist West, suddenly was faced with the shutdown of thousands of factories, primarily in the eastern coastal provinces and the special economic zones.

More than 20 million Chinese workers lost their jobs in a very short time.

So what did the Chinese government do?

We described what happened in a series of articles in Workers World entitled “The Suppression of Bo Xilai and the Capitalist Road — Can Socialism Be Revived in China?” The article, published on March 27, 2012, explained that plans drafted as far back as 2003, to go into effect in future years, were pushed forward and implemented.

We then quoted from Nicholas Lardy, a bourgeois China expert from the prestigious Peterson Institute for International Economics, who described how consumption in China actually grew during the crisis of 2008-09, wages went up, and the government created enough jobs to compensate for the layoffs caused by the global crisis.

Said Lardy: “In a year in which GDP expansion [in China] was the slowest in almost a decade, how could consumption growth in 2009 have been so strong in relative terms? How could this happen at a time when employment in export-oriented industries was collapsing, with a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture reporting the loss of 20 million jobs in export manufacturing centers along the southeast coast, notably in Guangdong Province? The relatively strong growth of consumption in 2009 is explained by several factors. First, the boom in investment, particularly in construction activities, appears to have generated additional employment sufficient to offset a very large portion of the job losses in the export sector. For the year as a whole the Chinese economy created 11.02 million jobs in urban areas, very nearly matching the 11.13 million urban jobs created in 2008.

“Second, while the growth of employment slowed slightly, wages continued to rise. In nominal terms wages in the formal sector rose 12 percent, a few percentage points below the average of the previous five years (National Bureau of Statistics of China 2010f, 131). In real terms the increase was almost 13 percent. Third, the government continued its programs of increasing payments to those drawing pensions and raising transfer payments to China’s lowest-income residents. Monthly pension payments for enterprise retirees increased by RMB120, or 10 percent, in January 2009, substantially more than the 5.9 percent increase in consumer prices in 2008. This raised the total payments to retirees by about RMB75 billion. The Ministry of Civil Affairs raised transfer payments to about 70 million of China’s lowest-income citizens by a third, for an increase of RMB20 billion in 2009 (Ministry of Civil Affairs 2010).”

He further explained that the Ministry of Railroads introduced eight specific plans, to be completed in 2020, to be implemented in the crisis. The World Bank called it “perhaps the biggest single planned program of passenger rail investment there has ever been in one country.” In addition, ultrahigh-voltage grid projects were undertaken, among other advances.

The full article by Lardy can be found in “Sustaining China’s Economic Growth after the Global Financial Crisis,” Kindle Locations 664-666, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

– Socialist structures reversed collapse –

So income went up, consumption went up and unemployment was overcome in China — all while the capitalist world was still mired in mass unemployment, austerity, recession, stagnation, slow growth and increasing poverty.

The reversal of the effects of the crisis in China is the direct result of national planning, state-owned enterprises, state-owned banking and the policy decisions of the Chinese Communist Party.

There was a crisis in China, and it was caused by the world capitalist crisis. The question was which principle would prevail in the face of mass unemployment — the rational, humane principle of planning or the capitalist market. In China the planning principle, the conscious element, took precedence over the anarchy of production brought about by the laws of the market and the law of labor value.

But the institutions based on the remaining structures of Chinese socialism, which saved the masses from economic disaster, are the very institutions that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Wall Street and London want to reduce and eventually destroy. They are the state-owned enterprises, government planning and the control by the Chinese Communist Party.

One might say that the Chinese leadership did this to avoid unrest. Surely the capitalists in Europe and the U.S. also want to avoid unrest. But that did not cause them to put tens of millions of workers back to work, raise pensions, raise stipends and social welfare payments. It only caused them to institute austerity to secure the profits of the bankers.

Coming back to Marxist analysis, it is clear from the way the Chinese leadership handled this crisis that the socialist side of the economic foundation is still dominant in China. And the same can be said for the political superstructure.

The enemies of socialism claim that capitalism is responsible for the great successes in China.

But that is a falsehood. China has succeeded in its economic development because the socialist sector has broadly contained domestic capitalism and imperialist investment within the framework of the national economic goals of the leadership.

Without that, China would look like India — which also has planning but is a thoroughly capitalist country.

In India, poverty is so deep that people live on garbage dumps, wash their clothes in polluted water, and the urban slums in Kolkata and Mumbai rival rural poverty. The masses of India are desperately poor — living on $1 to $2 a day — even as the glittering high-tech industry develops alongside the abysmal economic conditions faced by hundreds of millions of Indians.

There is no comparison with China. But if the imperialists have their way, if they can destroy the socialist foundation and the Communist Party, they will turn China into another India. That is what is at stake in the struggle to stop the counterrevolution in China.

– ‘Market socialism’ a false and dangerous concept –

This analysis should not be understood in any way as support for the doctrine of “market socialism.” In our view the anarchy of the capitalist market is antagonistic to the planning of a socialist society and socialist construction. Capitalist private property is antagonistic to socialist property and production for private accumulation is antagonistic to production for social use and human need.

There are historical circumstances of extreme underdevelopment which compel a socialist government to employ both private and state capitalist methods to promote development of the productive forces and the creation of the working class from the rural population.

It is one thing, however, to use these methods as a temporary expedient, to make a retreat from socialism in order to make socialism triumphant in the struggle against capitalist methods. That was Lenin’s idea behind the New Economic Policy. It began in 1921 in the USSR, during the direst times after the civil war left the country in ruins and the working class that survived was going back to the country to get food.

But Lenin always regarded this as a retreat and a crucial struggle. The question, as Lenin put it, was “Who will win?”

China long ago developed economically after the capitalist reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping. But what should have been a temporary retreat has become an enshrined policy of treating capitalism as a partner with socialism. Private capital grows automatically and with it the economic strength and political influence of the capitalist class, its petty bourgeois hangers-on, as well as the petty bourgeois intelligentsia. This carries great long-term dangers for China.

The socialist component of the economic foundation is dominant at the present. But capitalism is continuing to erode that foundation and do damage to the workers. Furthermore, the new leadership of Xi Jiping and Li Kequang have sent signals that they want to move to the right in the economy. Expanding the opportunities for imperialist investment and moving more and more in the direction of bourgeois economic reforms is playing with fire.

– Revive spirit of Mao, workers’ power –

Bo Xilai, the former head of the party for Chongqing Province, is now languishing in detention. He has been held for over a year because he sought to revive the cultural and egalitarian spirit of Mao Zedong and because he had a program to retard the march down the capitalist road. (See articles from Workers World.)

Bo represented a left resistance to the current policies at the level of top leadership. His defeat has paved the way for a further turn to the right.

What is really needed is a sharp turn to the left. The workers must reclaim the socialist rights first established by the Chinese revolution and deepened during the period of Mao. This is the only thing that can revive and secure Chinese socialism in the long run.

But in the meantime, there must be a firm defense of China against every scheme by imperialism and by the domestic capitalist class in China to undermine the socialist foundation that still exists there.

* Based on a talk by Fred Goldstein at the Left Forum in New York City on June 9. *

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/06/13/marxism-and-the-social-character-of-china/

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Journalists rebel in Guangzhou as right wing in China raises its voice [Workers World]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, China, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Journalism, Mao Zedong, Marx, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Special Economic Zones, Taiwan, USSR on January 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I am posting this article as an alternative to the capitalist press regarding the recent censorship kerfluffle at ‘Southern Weekend’ in China. I am totally grossed out by pork sausage/dandruff shampoo/toothpaste-shill Yao Chen quoting Solzhenitsyn on her blog in response to that as reported here. I am obligated to reprint the article entire, and at this time will restate my blog’s caveat that posting does not constitute full endorsement of the opinions expressed by the writer. – Zuo Shou

by Fred Goldstein

Jan. 14, 2013

Those in China who advocate bourgeois democracy, deepening capitalist reforms and opening up further to imperialism staged a journalists’ rebellion the first week of January at the nationally circulated magazine Southern Weekend, based in Guangzhou. Guangzhou, which is across the bay from Hong Kong, is the capital of Guangdong province, the stronghold of capitalism in China.

The mini-rebellion took the form of a near strike and protest when the Propaganda Department of the Guangdong branch of the Chinese Communist Party intervened at the last minute to prevent a New Year’s editorial from going to press.

The editorial, which was severely modified by the authorities, was entitled “My Dream, the Dream of Constitutionalism.” While the English translation has not been published in any of the Western media, numerous sources reported it stressed “political reform.”

In the context of the present-day political struggle in China, “political reform” is code for creating openings for the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeois intelligentsia to organize politically, either through the governmental electoral process, within the party, or both.

In fact, one of the few practical applications of “political reform” took place in Guangdong on an experimental basis under the guidance of its previous “reform” leader, Wang Yan. Wang preached democracy — but the class orientation of his democracy was illustrated by an experimental local election he authorized in the city of Dudan in September 2011. Fewer than 7,000 local inhabitants were reportedly allowed to vote, while 60,000 sweatshop workers who had immigrated from other Chinese provinces were disenfranchised. (The Economist, Nov. 26, 2011)

The Southern Weekend, with a circulation of 1.6 million, has been a leading voice for bourgeois liberalism in China. The confrontation of the editors and sections of the staff with the CCP became a cause célèbre of the right. Demonstrations were organized for “democracy,” “freedom of the press” and political reform.

* Protesters hail Tiananmen Square *

This incident served as a message and a challenge from the right to the incoming leader of the CCP, Xi Jingping, who will become China’s president in March.

The capitalist media swung immediately behind the protest. The Financial Times of Jan. 11 reported: “‘This feels exactly like the beginning of [the Tiananmen student movement in] 1989,’ said Yu Gang, a 44-year-old democracy campaigner who took part in the Tiananmen protests. He made pro-democracy speeches outside the Southern Weekend headquarters until police broke up the protest on Thursday.” A pro-Mao counter-demonstration also took place.

The right-wing blogosphere went into gear as well. A nationally known movie actor went one step beyond raising the 1989 counter-revolutionary uprising at Tiananman Square. Yao Chen, who has the the country’s most-followed Twitter-like microblog, quoted Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s saying that “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.”

The Financial Times continued, “Ms Yao sent the former Soviet dissident’s words with the logo of Southern Weekend, the paper respected as the vanguard of Chinese investigative journalism and for its probing stories but now involved in a rare open fight with censors. Her post marks a warning to China’s new leadership under Xi Jinping, the new Communist party chief who took over from Hu Jintao in November..” (Financial Times, Jan. 11, 2013)

Solzhenitsyn was a counter-revolutionary novelist in the USSR who depicted the tsar’s family in a sympathetic light in his book “1914.” Even war criminal Henry Kissinger once described him as “to the right of the czar.” He was jailed by Soviet authorities and eventually given a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He is identified with the overthrow of socialism in the USSR.

* Xi’s trip to Shenzen heartens the right *

Following the protest, an open letter in defense of Southern Weekend and signed by 16 reactionary professors, authors and journalists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan was addressed to the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee. It demanded the dismissal of the official they claimed was responsible for censorship.

The letter was a virtual manifesto which referred to the trip made by Xi to Shenzen in Guangdong province in December of last year — his first trip after being elected the new head of the CCP. The trip was a replica of one made by Deng Xiaoping in 1992 on his “southern tour” to promote the further opening up to capitalism and imperialism, under the slogan “opening up and reform.” That trip led to the rapid development of Guangdong province as an export/sweatshop center of China. On his recent trip, Xi laid a wreath dedicated to Deng and promised to pursue “reform” and “opening up.”

This trip undoubtedly strengthened the right and was probably partly responsible for the brazen challenge by the Southern Weekend group.

The China Media Project, based in Hong Kong, wrote on Jan. 7: “In China today, the lingering sense of rise and regeneration relies to a great extent on Guangdong. For Xi as for Deng before him, southern tours marked great events that began in Guangdong. The entire nation, and people both here at home and overseas, regards Guangdong as the most crucial touchstone of reform and opening. The power of this one province ripples across our whole country, and the contributions of Southern Weekly are an undeniable part of that.”

The manifesto ended with praise for the magazine as “one of the country’s top groups … closely connected with the current of reform and the spirit of opening up” and condemned the propaganda official, asking if he “did not harbor such hostility for reform and opening, would things have come to this point.”

But these mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie have things completely backwards. If the reactionaries of Southern Weekend were not so fervently dedicated to the deepening of capitalism, widening imperialist penetration and promoting political openings for the bourgeoisie, if they had not made such a brazen move to test the Xi leadership, then would things ever “have come to this point”?

* Challenge to Xi *

Until now the magazine has harassed the government with exposures of abuses of workers, damage to the environment and official corruption. Thus, it has curried favor with the populace, using progressive exposures to foster its reactionary program of undermining the CCP from the right.

Because of the CCP’s policy of so-called “market socialism,” permitting capitalist development, violation of workers’ rights, corruption and the growth of the very capitalist class championed by Southern Weekend, the party is vulnerable to justifiable criticism. The right wing collects the grievances of the masses and uses them as a battering ram against the party.

But with the New Year’s message, the right wing went over the line. Southern Weekend has been under heavy censorship from party propaganda authorities because of its openly bourgeois liberalism. The magazine, according to most accounts, has been adept at pushing a right-wing line without making any major confrontational challenges to the party. But this time they upped the ante.

The right surfaced for the moment. The dispute spread to Beijing News. A web publication run by a party official was shut down for backing the right wing. A Confucian grouping issued a reactionary manifesto.

* Bo Xilai and defeat of the Chongqing model *

At this point it is necessary to put this struggle in the context of the suppression of Bo Xilai. Bo was the head of Chongqing province. The struggle against him was popularly regarded, on one level, as one between the Chongqing model and the Guangdong model.

Bo had promoted state economic development as the instrument for achieving the welfare of the masses. He built quality, low-cost housing for the workers. He increased social benefits. He made it easier for the rural population to obtain urban status and the benefits that come with that. He waged a campaign against the axis between corrupt party officials and capitalists with criminal elements.

Bo also promoted Maoist culture, songs and sayings, and shifted Chongqing television from a commercial station to a public station. This station was nationally broadcast and allowed an egalitarian message to get wide exposure, such as the message of “Red GDP” — development through state investment, rather than private investment, that gives greater priority to the welfare of the masses.

The Guangdong model, by contrast, emphasized economic development, mainly by capitalist means and relying on exports. The social rights of millions of immigrant workers from the interior of the country took a back seat. In general, the bourgeois spirit is dominant in the Guangdong model.

The detention of Bo last spring and vilification of the Chongqing model represented a defeat for the left within the framework of the party leadership. It represented a victory for the Guangdong model, the model promoted by Southern Weekend and its bourgeois allies. The victory was achieved by a bloc of the center and the right. Now that the challenge from the left has been temporarily suppressed, the right wing has gained confidence and courage.

This is not to say that the Southern Weekend incident represents any serious immediate threat to the party. But it represents a future danger and has brought to the surface a thoroughly reactionary current that, despite its limited numbers, occupies strategic positions in the media, the universities, communications and, of course, business.

It should be noted that when Bo was detained and his spouse, Gu Kailai, put through a show trial, these forces made no defense of the democratic rights of these leaders.

* Political contradictions of ‘market socialism’ *

There are many contradictions to so-called “market socialism” or “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” as it is euphemistically referred to by the leadership. The principal one, which is developing irresistibly, is the contradiction between economics and politics.

The mainstream of the top party leadership is trying to hold on to the socialist side of the economy: the state-owned enterprises, economic planning through “guidance,” and development and control of the commanding heights and strategic sectors of the economy. This is what has enabled the Chinese economy to weather the world capitalist crisis so far and continue its forward development. This is presumably the “socialist” side of the “socialist market economy.”

On the “market” side, the party has promoted the private sector, allowed private money to penetrate the public sector, and let the imperialists have a significant presence in the economy. It has let the rights of the working class that should be guaranteed under socialism go by the boards in the interest of economic development through capitalism, and has made many other economic concessions.

This has led to the growth of a capitalist class and the equally dangerous growth of a capitalist-minded petty bourgeois elite that is spread throughout the professions. This stratum provides mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie, promoting its ideology and its political interests.

As long as the CCP leadership promotes the capitalist market, which is diametrically opposed to socialism, the spirit of capitalism will continue to pervade society. It is in the very nature of the bourgeoisie, of capital, to expand. This not only manifests itself on the enterprise level as a desire to expand profits and accumulation. It also expresses itself on a class level, as a desire to expand its political influence commensurate with its economic development.

Both the state and the private sectors have grown in the last decade. Which has grown the stronger is a matter of dispute. But what is indisputable is the growth of the corporate and financial bourgeoisie.

In this latest dispute, one publication loyal to the party line warned the authorities at Southern Weekly that there is “no special political zone.” This refers to the special capitalist economic zones in Guangdong.

Here is where the problem lies. You cannot give the bourgeoisie more and more special economic zones without them demanding commensurate political influence. Marxists know that politics is concentrated economics. The economics of the bourgeoisie leads inevitably in the direction of trying to transform China’s political structure into a bourgeois political democracy.

Only a thoroughgoing return to proletarian democracy and the political, economic and social empowerment of the workers, as envisaged by Mao and his collaborators, can put an end to the political grasping by the bourgeoisie.
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Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/01/14/journalists-rebellion-in-guangzhou-as-right-wing-in-china-raises-its-voice/