Mao Zedong, in a speech given at the Supreme State Council on February 27th 1957, confirmed item-by-item, the doctrinal deviations that put the Chinese “communism” completely out of Marxism. Chinese revisionism rises from the desperate effort to display as a transition phase to socialism a form of state and a stage of society that are instead in a transition phase to capitalism. Mao Zedong and other Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders describe current China as a form of society – which we experienced in Western Europe in Eighteenth and Nineteenth – passing from feudalism to capitalism, but then they claim that the People’s Republic of China is a form of state that is building socialism. They break openly with the fundamental statements of Marxism, but nevertheless keep on professing a hypocrite formal deference to it.
At the moment we can leave aside Chinese counterfeits concerning the specific field of the communist economic program. It’s clear that only the future will show that the economic form today being “built” in China is pure capitalism, barely disguised by semi-statist forces of the industrial management and by co-operatives forms in which are attempted to be re-tightened the immense potential of agricultural production. It will come the day, we are sure about that, when CCP leaders will proclaim to have reached the “socialism”, following the example of Stalin, Malenkov and Khrushchev. We deny even now that the CCP can keep its demagogic promises. But then it will be the case to compare the findings of the “built up” Chinese socialism with Marxist propositions about the features of socialist society, and to see the way CCP leaders bluff.
Now it’s worthwhile to do a different but not less useful work. CCP leaders will always be able to argue that it’s possible to reach socialism through the political means they have molded, so following the “Chinese way.” Unavoidably the material events will prove we to be right and them to be wrong. But even now it is possible to verify that the “Chinese way ” to reach socialism is something quite different from the one predicted by Marx. This task is possible. On one hand we have Marxist texts concerning the issue about the transition to socialism, on the other one the “People” state machine.
Fundamental point of the CCP’s doctrine and political propaganda is the claim that China is currently in the “building socialism” historical stage. Necessarily, it follows that nowadays China’s society is – according to the CCP’s version – in a transitioning phase to socialism, which is materialized, on the political field, in the form of the People’s Republic. Well, let’s compare the latter with the “model” of the State to which Marx, in the “Critique of the Gotha Program”, committed the task of the transition from capitalism to socialism.
As we read in the abovementioned work: “Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”
The Popular Republic of China presents itself as a dictatorship, but not as a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Mao Zedong, in his mentioned speech, gives more than one definition. He proclaims: “Ours is a people’s democratic dictatorship led by allies, based on the alliance of workers and peasants”. Therefore, it is the dictatorship of the people. We will see below just as the concept of the “dictatorship of the people” is in irreconcilable contrast with Marxist classism principles, according to which the dictatorship is exercised by some of the people against another part of it. It remains clear, for the moment, that in the “democratic dictatorship of the people”, the proletariat has functions and rights of a shared power management, in which other classes also take part.
Which are the other classes involved in wielding the dictatorship? On this point, Mao Zedong is strangely reticent. He vaguely talks about “civil rights” and about “those who enjoy civil rights,” and then he admits this latter join that dictatorship which the “people” bring to bear on the “reactionary classes.” As a good revisionist, afraid of being caught red-handed, he says and does not say the things; and when he says it, he takes upon himself to sow them in a flood of words. So, a patient puzzle-like work is necessary to piece the truth together.
“Our Constitution – he writes in the chapter ” Two different types of contradictions “- establishes that the People’s Republic of China citizens enjoy freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, demonstrations, religious faith and so on. Our Constitution establishes also that organs of the state must put into practice democratic centralism and they must be based on the masses. Our socialist democracy is a democracy in the broadest sense, as you cannot find in any capitalist country. “
And he continues: “Our dictatorship is known as a workers-led people’s democratic dictatorship, based on the alliance between workers and peasants. And this means that democracy works IN THE RANGE OF THE PEOPLE, while the working class, UNITED WITH ALL THOSE WHO ENJOY THE CIVIL RIGHTS – farmers first – strengthens the dictatorship against the reactionary classes and elements, and against all those who resist the socialist transformation and oppose the socialist construction. We regard as civil rights political freedom and democratic rights”.
Mao Zedong’s words remove all doubts. The dictatorship is exercised to the detriment of the reactionary classes – that would be the “bureaucratic” capitalists and the class of landowners – but the relations between those classes protected by such dictatorship, are mediated by democracy, the so called democratic centralism. Mao Zedong forgets to list systematically those who, enjoying civil rights, are allowed to participate in democracy, therefore to print newspapers, to organize themselves into political parties, to make demonstrations and marches and so on. He says only that among those who enjoy democratic rights, peasants are listed first. But we know that immediately after (or just before) there are the “national” capitalists and intellectuals, classes that swore fidelity to the Constitution and enjoy the rights conferred on citizens.
Meanwhile, which role does the “national bourgeoisie “plays in the production process??
At the beginning of the chapter entitled “The problem of industrialists and businessmen”, Mao Zedong stated: “In year 1956, the transformation of private industrial and commercial enterprises into STATE AND PRIVATE JOINTLY owned enterprises, and the organization of cooperatives in agriculture and crafts as part of the transformation of our social system”. He goes on: “The speed and ease helping to carry out this process, are closely related to the fact that we faced the problem of the contradiction between the working class and the national bourgeoisie as a contradiction among the people.”
Formally, the workers and peasants allied exercise the dictatorship of people. But “national” capitalists’ class is elevated to the rank of people’s state co-owner, owing industrial and commercial companies too; so therefore this class shares profits with the state. This means that the bourgeoisie maintains, in the production process, the class position of owner and manager. But it enjoys the participation in economic power, being equal in this to the peasants but not to the workers, who are economically exploited class. Peasants and “national” bourgeoisie, apart from the differences of social development, have at least a productive relation in common, because they directly control and legally own the means of production.
Workers remain a destitute class. And it does not matter that the landlords’ property, industrial and commercial companies of the “bureaucratic “capitalists are transferred in people’s state property. Leaving aside that the “state property” has a negligible weight in Chinese economy, we have seen that it is closely related to private property. How can proletariat be defined “dominant class” in a society where state finance is a partner of the private finance is hard to comprehend. Rather, it is hard to comprehend if you examine it from a Marxist point of view.
The political power of the bourgeoisie is expressed in various ways. First of all, as a class owning and managing industrial and commercial business, bourgeoisie is able to influence state’s economic policy.
The reader would remember, according to the previous article, what we reported about Mao’s odd theory of the differences of social contradictions’ types that would exist in China. There would be a kind of contradiction of antagonistic nature, therefore solvable only by the violent means of the dictatorship. This type, according to Mao, belongs to the contrast dividing the “people” by his enemies: the “bureaucratic” capitalists and the class of landowners. We would have also a type of non-antagonistic contradiction in which the dictatorship has no jurisdiction and it is replaced by the democratic centralism. But to argue, as Mao does repeatedly, that class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat falls in the case of “contradiction among the people” or “antagonistic contradiction” or “a contradiction that can be resolved peacefully and democratically”, is to acknowledge the bourgeoisie the right to participate in political life of the country and, directly or indirectly, to the government of the state, isn’t it?
The bourgeoisie is not placed in the field of social classes that are subject to the people’s democratic dictatorship, but rather in the people who exercise this dictatorship. This means, in doctrinal and practical terms, to place the “national” bourgeoisie in the field of political forces being SUBJECT, not OBJECT, of political power; it means to admit the bourgeoisie among the forces exercising dictatorship over the rest of society.
Bourgeoisie does not only participate in the power indirectly, but also as a class keeping control of the means of production, which constitute the technical equipment of current Chinese society. In China, bourgeoisie is also a class excluded by the discrimination against the “enemies of the people”, and furthermore subjects the latter to dictatorship’s harshness. Bourgeoisie is an organized political Party. Indeed, it’s well known that in China there are more than a half a dozen parties, among which stands out the Democratic National Construction Association. On 14th March 1956 the newspaper “L’Unità”1informs us that this party includes mainly industrialists and businessmen. For those who are keen on statistics, the article also reports that during 1956 this party, which Nenni would call “economic rightist”, has triplicated its members. Do not think it’s strange that, while is occurring the full transition to socialism, a capitalist party sees its members increasing. Indeed, “L’Unità” warns that many of the members of this Association are among “those who have taken an active role in the socialist transformation of private industry and commerce.”
Only in China could be rooted the strange social species of capitalists who build socialism!
To give the reader the Chinese political spectrum complete outline, we list the other parties: Guomindang Revolutionary Committee (senior officers and officials of the Guomindang) Democratic League (traditional intellectuals), the Association for Promoting Democracy (professors, teachers, educators), Workers and Peasants Democratic Party (rural and urban petty bourgeoisie), Zhigongdang (“Solidarity”: deriving from ancient religious sects and consisting mostly of Chinese returned from emigration), Jiusan Society (university professors and scientists), Taiwan Democratic Self-government League (Chinese native of Formosa). This list, including captions in parentheses, was transcribed from “L’Unità” of the 20th of October 1956, in which we also find data about the political composition of the Chinese Parliament. On 1,226 members, there are 659 Communists, 453 from other parties and 114 without parties. The government has 15 non-communist ministers and 21 non-communist vice-ministers.
All these parties, including the capitalist Democratic National Construction Association and the China Communist Party, are united in the Unique National Front. In other words, the Unique National Front puts into practice the principle of the people’s democratic dictatorship, based on classes’ collaboration building up the “people”. These classes regulate their mutual relations according to democratic centralism, but they all together exercise the dictatorship over the “enemies of the people”.Which are the classes “strengthening” the “led by the workers” dictatorship, helping to keep under the rigors of law reactionary classes opposing the construction of socialism? We have seen: they are the capitalist bourgeoisie, the urban petty bourgeoisie and rural intellectuals: those classes possesses well-organized parties, print newspapers, send their representatives to Parliament and even ministers and vice-ministers to Beijing government.
Thus, for the first time in the not brief history of Marxist revisionism, appears the monstrous theory that: during the transition phase to socialism the dictatorial power is no longer exercised by the proletariat alone, or at least with the people’s lowest classes, but rather by the people as a whole. But it is not the people, as described by the Cagliostro-like2 CCP theorists – as a whole of the bourgeoisie, the peasantry, the proletariat, the petty bourgeoisie, the intellectuals – a certified copy of the bourgeois society we know in the West? When you have the courage to write, as “L’Unità” does, that the capitalist Party’s members – who then are the industrialists and businessmen benefitting from the protection of the people’s state – take “an active role in the socialist transformation of Industry and Trade” (strange, however: we thought that socialism suppresses, rather than transforms, trade…), when you dare to pass the capitalists -no matter if “national-capitalists”- off as build-helper of socialism, any Blasphemy is possible. No wonder if, according to the logical consequences of the CCP leaders statements, you go as far as socialism is no longer seen as the historical outcome reached through the revolutionary work of only one class of the bourgeois society, but of all these together.
It is also conceivable that such an enormous nonsense does not elude the critical sense of a part of the CCP militants. The point is that the false theory concerning the possibility of the transition to socialism through an alliance policy with the bourgeoisie and other similar social stratums, did not pass by without a inner struggle in the Central Committee of the CCP, as we will see afterwards. Revisionist is such precisely because it is convinced that there are interests higher than the preservation of doctrine’s integrity. And that’s what happens to the CCP leaders who might also realize – we wouldn’t make a too ruthless hypothesis – that, having the pretext that Marxism is not a dogma, modified it to such an extent of making it unrecognizable. But now they are the most stubborn conservative force of a state which formidable foreign powers contribute, albeit aiming opposite purposes, to keep alive. And it’s difficult, indeed, to determine whether the material support offered by Russia to Beijing’s government was more decisive, for the People’s Republic, than United States opposition. The latter, threatening China from outside through the Formosa government, allowed the CCP to hold the flag of the patriotic national union.
In the name of national policy and its ambitions of big power, Mao’s China needs the support of all of the social classes. While Chiang Kai-shek forces in Formosa waiting in ambush the right moment to invade the continent rely on American support, Beijing rulers have to maintain the “domestic front”, i.e. must avoid like the plague the class struggle. If any other “non-Marxist Party” was in the place of “communists” and had to fight an external enemy would do exactly as CCP leaders do.
Now let’s say something may sounds “new” to someone: even an unedited Marxism based party would apply a policy of alliance BUT ONLY IF THE GUOMINDANG AND THE FORMOSA GOVERNMENT REALLY REPRESENTED A MOVEMENT OF FEUDAL RESTAURATION. But the whole last decades’ Chinese history is there, reminding that these forces belong to the bourgeois revolution field. The big industrial bourgeoisie and the “compradors“, big financiers and speculators who worked in the wake of the imperialist influences in China (do not forget that capitalism in China was imported from imperialist colonialism), certainly cannot be regarded as representative of feudalism.
CCP labels them as “bureaucratic capitalists” not by accident. On the other hand, the landowners dispossessed through agricultural land reform cannot be considered feudal class. The landowner is, at the origin of capitalism, a bourgeois financial capital owner who can grab farmland from the feudal aristocracy by buying it. In a few words, making it a commodity. Now these are the two classes of “bureaucratic capitalists”, who after all are not a class, but a political orientation of the Chinese bourgeoisie and the landlords, both placed by CCP in the “reactionary” field, politically represented by Guomindang government led by Chiang Kai-shek. As you can see, they are social elements coming from a common bourgeois and capitalist matrix. Nevertheless, theorists like Mao based the theory of antagonistic contradiction between the PEOPLE and the ANTI-PEOPLE on the supposed irreconcilable conflict between them and … the classes’ consortium taken under people’s state protection.
Marxism admits that if feudalism – overthrown by the bourgeois revolution – counter attacks, the proletariat must agree to align with a “united front” with the bourgeois forces.
Now, Guomindang and the Chiang Kai-shek government, it’s worthwhile to repeat it, do not represent the feudal restoration. In a separate article the history of the function performed by the Guomindang in the Chinese bourgeois revolution need to be done. But even if, hypothetically, were encamped at Formosa the Chinese equivalent of French “emigrants”, even in that hypothesis, every good Marxist would be obliged, while recognizing the need of insurgent alliance with the bourgeois forces, to harshly criticize and reject the CCP policy.
One of two is the right one: or the Guomindang represents the field opposing socialist revolution, as claimed by Mao Zedong, and then China is actually passing through a transition to socialism, and, in this case for Marxism only the mono-classist dictatorship of the proletariat can victoriously support the fight; or – as those unfamiliar with the recent history of China may think – the Guomindang stands in the field facing the bourgeois revolution. In this case it would be the task of Marxist party to be the leader of all the anti-feudal forces. But even in the latter case, Marxist party rejects CCP’s false theories about alliances. It has been shown, indeed, both in the theory and in the practice, that an insurgency alliance between proletariat and bourgeoisie is only a temporary one. It neither can provoke a surrender of the absolute autonomy of the proletariat nor – after the revolution – a ruling classes co-partnership.
What’s “alliance” real sense?
The “four classes” alliance, postulated by CCP leaders has solid historical precedents. It is not only a program cornerstone, but also a historical phenomenon happened several times during the transition from feudalism to capitalism. So, CCP leaders are dead wrong, standing in the end of the long line of Marxism falsifiers, when they claim even to establish a state on the basis of such a formula. This has never happened in history, and if it happened, it would break into pieces Marxist classism. And it is not enough. They reach the extreme limit of impudence, claiming that such prodigy- state represents a “way to socialism.”
In the Marx’s and Engels’ writings concerning the 1848-52 period is repeatedly stated the thesis about the support of the revolutionary proletariat to the bourgeoisie against feudal reaction. But Marx and Engels never cease to stir up workers to class struggle against the bourgeoisie while giving the latter the necessary support in order to provoke the defeat of the “revanchist” feudalist forces. Furthermore, Lenin himself made use of of these Marxist teachings in a no less explicit way.
The February 1917 Russian Revolution and the 1911 Chinese Revolution, except much different stages of development, have common features. Indeed, both of them are belated anti-feudal revolution cases, i.e. revolutions occurring during a historical period in which the conditions for the communist revolution already exist elsewhere. On the other hand, both in Russia and in China, albeit in different forms and grades, a counterrevolutionary alliance between the feudal indigenous power and the foreign capitalist imperialism is operating.
An example of “united front” involving bourgeois forces having an anti-feudal function and a Marxist party, here the Russian Bolshevik Party, is given by the episode of the fight against Kornilov. The world scenery is completely changed, if compared to the one present at the age of the French Revolution. Now, in world economy, the prevailing mode of production is no longer the small agricultural and handcrafts production, but the modern capitalism. In the world most powerful countries the dominant form of the state is no longer the absolute monarchy, but the super-imperialist state, an expression of financial capital dominating the world. The feudal economy, although still involving vast regions of the planet, it is now only surviving.
But this does not facilitate the task of the revolutionary democratic forces struggling for a bourgeois-democratic revolution, because of the feudal-imperialist alliance, under the protection of imperialism and financial capital monarchies and principalities perpetuating the antiquated pre-capitalist relations, replaced the absolutist holy alliances as an obstacle to the bourgeois-democratic revolution in the colonial or quasi-colonial countries. Under these historical circumstances, in the colonies, revolution clashes with pre-established positions and influences t gained by imperialism in backward countries.
The new states’ struggle, emerged from the anti-colonial revolution, fits perfectly with the Leninist doctrine on the small nations struggling against the stifling domination of imperialism. Of course, the notion of “smallness” is not limited to the mere territorial fact, but to the economic and political efficiency. China, where an immense territory is coupled to an extreme economic weakness and, until recently, to an unprecedented political nullity, exactly represents the clearest form of this phenomenon. Everyone knows that the Chinese democratic revolution had to fight for over twenty years against the Japanese and the U.S. imperialism intrusions to finally reach the triumph.
But lets’ go back to Czarist Russia. Here the imperialist-feudal alliance is crystal clear. The Czarist State is embroiled in the international bank loans to such an extent that the outbreak of the first imperialist war drags it into catastrophe. Because of the relations between the nascent Russian industry and the imperialist financial bourgeoisie, Russian bourgeoisie – which has already experienced the terrible “shock” by the 1905 Revolution and the rise of the workers and peasants Soviets – tends to compromise with Czarism inland and imperialism abroad. In short, these circumstances deeply change the historical framework in which take place the anti-feudal revolution of the 20th Century, if compared with those occurred in past centuries. But this does not prevent Lenin to apply to Russia, in a period before the October Socialist Revolution, the same tactic that Marx and Engels predicted since 1848, concerning the cases of attack on the feudal power or latter’s restorer attempts.
When, in September 1917, Gen. Kornilov, Russian army Commander in chief, attempts to crush the Soviets aiming for Czarism restoration, Lenin does not hesitate to link the Russian situation to the 1789 France and 1848 Germany cases together, and in perfect coherence with Marxism, launches the keyword: “united front” with the bourgeois democratic forces.
September 1917 is a clear case of anti-feudal revolution threatened by the offensive Czarist feudal power counterattack. The bourgeois-democratic revolution is at a turning point. The Czarist regime is overthrown, but still has reserves to counterattack. The revolutionary camp is split. In July, Kerensky’s government is able to suppress Petrograd Soviet’s workers and soldiers armed insurrection, supported by Kronstadt sailors too, and it forces the Bolshevik Party to go underground. Lenin and Zinoviev must hide. Trotsky and Lunaciarskj are arrested. But the government reaction fails to seriously affect the offensive potential of Bolshevism. On the other hand, the same anti-Bolshevik field appears divided by irreconcilable political dissension. In Moscow, between 25th and 27th August, the Conference of State gathers. It includes representatives from all political groups except the Bolsheviks, but the right and the left does not reach an agreement. Czarist forces see this fact as auspicious for a restorer action. This brings us to September 6th when General Kornilov lead his troops marching on Petrograd, Revolution’s Capital.
In such a dramatic circumstance, Bolshevism, despite being outlawed, apply a tactic of “united front” with the forces of bourgeois democracy. But this maneuver is carried out with a masterful execution of the Marxist dictates, so that the defeat of the absolutist and feudal counter-offensive increases the possibilities of struggle of the socialist proletariat and that this emerges strengthened by the common struggle and can successfully revolt against the bourgeois camp. We read, by the way, in the “Theses on the Left” and specifically in the chapter entitled “Nature, function and tactics of the revolutionary Party of the working class” this passage:
“Bolshevik Party, in realizing anti-Kornilov United Front, actually fought against a concrete reactionary-feudal resurgence and furthermore had not to fear a Menshevik and Socialists-Revolutionaries organizations additional reinforcement. This reinforcement would have affected Bolshevik action as an eventual reinforcement of feudal power would have let this latter taking advantage of a contingent alliance with Bolsheviks in order to turn against them.” (Prometeo, 1947, n. 7)
In other words, the Bolsheviks not only managed to avoid the carnage that the bourgeoisie has reserved in other historical periods to proletariat, even when helped it to abolish feudalism; as the case of “Babuefists” under the Thermidorian reaction. Not only they were able to come out stronger from the “united front” against Kornilov, but also were able to use their increased political influence for the conquest of power and the outlawing of the bourgeoisie itself, as it happened in the following October.
This should make deeply think those who find “new” our thesis, according to which the proletariat must support, in the colonies, the anti-colonial movement even if it doesn’t propose socialist aims. The problem is not if to accept or to reject this principle, which is perfectly consistent with Marxism. It’s rather to know how to approach and resolve it as the Bolsheviks did in Russia, until the proletariat was not able to do ITS OWN revolution and establish the dictatorship on the bourgeoisie. We’ll never cease to repeat that this revolutionary tactics does not concern in any way the social areas where capitalism has completely accomplished its cycle, but only in the Afro-Asian countries, where is taking place a transition from feudalism to capitalism.3
We have already certified the policy carried out by CCP leaders. They describe Chinese nowadays society breaking down into the two areas of “people” and “enemies of the people” and conclude saying that this “antagonistic contradiction” requires the exercise of democratic dictatorship based on the alliance of those classes making up the people.
The Marxist classism knows only one historical situation, in which the society is split into opposing camps of the “people” and “anti-people”, as they define the field of landed aristocracy. And this situation is that of a society in transition to capitalism. China is at this stage and will be for a long time. Just think of how Mao himself says about the industrialization of China. According to him, it will take “three five-year plans or a little more” to transform China from an agricultural backward country to an industrial one. This means that it will take, to be optimistic, about twenty years to erase the pre-capitalist legacy.
Is the world proletariat concerned in these transformations? Must Marxists have a good judgment about the “capitalization” of the immense Chinese space? Or are they obliged to entrench themselves behind an anti-dialectic indifferentism like some of our squinting critics? These latter, can only look towards the direction of Western society and capitalist states that accomplished historical evolution, and are powerless to observe what happens in two whole continents where outmoded relations of production explode due to internal contradictions and new social classes see the light. The only wish that we can make to them – insult them would mean to put ourselves to their level – is to live long enough to see Asia and Africa, finally awakened from their secular sleep, playing its role in the socialist revolution. Already now it’s clear that the future Communist International will be able to work with more revolutionary achievements in transitional societies, where nothing is solidified and everything is boiling, instead of social fossils, as few years ago were the colonies, where classes seemed to be carved in the granite of immutability.
Nowadays China quickly flows into the channel of transition to capitalism. It is walking through all the historical paths that France, for example, ran from 1789 to 1870. Of course, today’s technical level will shorten in a few decades such a long historical period. But we deny, indeed the reality denies it, that Chiang Kai-shek Guomindang government, which threaten from outside the People’s Republic, and count followers even within it, represent a danger of reactionary return of feudalism. The Guomindang, actually, is a political pole of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of China, as CCP is the other one. And this is not a historical exception. France, England, Germany, Italy and other countries, in the history of their transition to capitalism, include many examples of struggles between the parties in the field of revolutionary democracy, struggles that often intrude into civil war. Just think of the terrible conflict between the Girondins and the Jacobins.
In other words, since THE GUOMINDANG DOESN’T REPRESENT A DANGER OF FEUDAL RESTORATION, the only historical condition that CCP’s revisionists could invoke to justify their lynch mobbing politics of alliance is dropping. Them, passing off ideologies betraying and misrepresenting non-adulterated Marxism’s tactical and doctrinal principles and struggle traditions as original Marxist, are proving ad abundantiam4 to be fallen in the filthiest bourgeois nationalism. In other words, they – assuming for a moment that they are communists – are subordinating and sacrificing the proletariat’s world revolution interests to those of China industrialization and put China’s national interests – making themselves even promoters of a sort of “Pan-Sinicism”- before those of proletarian internationalism.
Chinese “communists” guilt is not to take power and use it to “build capitalism”, and so therefore: modern industry based on wage labor, agriculture which overcame village’s narrow borders and entered a national market, transformation of all social labor products into commodities. In nowadays China, an agricultural country among the most backward in the world, there is no other alternative. We must have the courage to say so, and we Marxists say it easily. For Chinese “communists” to build capitalism is not “guilt” or a “crime”: they cannot do otherwise. Socialism will arrive in China, as far as is possible to predict the future, on the explosive wave that the socialist revolution will raise in the capitalist metropolis of the West and in Russia itself. Then what is CCP role? Chinese “communists” are in a contradictory position. They have double personality. On one hand they are revolutionaries. And this is clear when you consider the work they do in view of the final abolition of feudal survivals in the country. On the other side they are dangerous counter-revolutionary because they meaningfully work for Marxism corruption and falsification, daily carried out from the political area subordinated to the fake Russian communism.
The proletariat has the obligation to take power wherever the conditions of the class struggle permit it. If the proletarian dictatorship is imposed in a PRE-CAPITALIST country, which is not able to “jump” to socialism with its own resources, the proletariat must not necessarily relinquish the power. The whole history of the Bolshevik Revolution is there to teach this lesson.
Looking forward to see the revolution flood into developed capitalism countries, the proletarian dictatorship, aground in the shoals of a backward country, is not able to carry out any other task except abolishing feudal relations and taking the direction of economic management. In other words, it cannot do anything but encourage the industrialization process, which will not cease to be essentially capitalist although the industrial companies will be managed in the state form. And in this work party’s words must reflect its actions. But the proletarian Party, forced to this difficult task by economic necessity, which pretends – as the rulers of the CCP – “to build socialism”, would pronounce a colossal false doctrine to the detriment of Marxism. It would work for counter- revolutionary defeatism and renegade workers’ internationalism. How? With the spread of ideological confusion in the workers movement, by lending a hand to the enemies of the socialist revolution, to whom nothing is more important than preventing workers revolutionary Party rises and strengthen itself. And anyone who contributes, in any measure, to falsify Marxism, brings his stone to the wall that capitalism erects against the socialist revolution.
The CCP revisionism has a poisoning power no less deadly than the one we have experienced by the revisionists standing on this side of the Great Wall. Yes, because the CCP – unlike the European communist parties leaders, which are not even able to win a strike – can dazzle the astonished eyes of the world proletariat with the inevitable successes of industrialization of China. Thanks to that, they present the capitalist evolution achievements as material proof of the legitimacy of the policy based on alliance with bourgeoisie and non-proletarian classes. And with that, they give a great help to our own opportunists, who base their political activity precisely on the false doctrines of: inter-classism, popular fronts and “dialogues” with the bourgeois forces.
Of course, in political relations, there is an exchange of mutual benefits between the Chinese revisionism and the multicolored field of international opportunism. The benefit gained by Chinese has to be found in the global campaign that Russian-communist parties have orchestrated in the West -and now including large areas of the bourgeois intelligentsia- to exalt “People’s” China. It can only help the ambitious policy of nationalism pursued by Beijing government under the camouflage of humanitarian rhetoric.
The economic and social transformation step
We cannot finish this article without analyze filo-Russian communist parties’ attitude. For this purpose Italian Communist Party’s (ICP) case is really useful, so therefore we have chosen a Scoccimarro text taken from a report given at ICP Central Committee after he just came back from China, where he attended the 8th Congress of CCP. This document is published in the “L’Unità” 10/20/1956 edition.
At the beginning of the abovementioned report we read about the two divergent tendencies appeared within CCP in 1952, concerning the problem regarding “the peaceful and democratic transition from democratic-bourgeois revolution to socialist-proletarian revolution, from democratic-popular dictatorship to the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
It’s necessary not to forget what official historiography tells about the transition of historical phases in China. According to its instructions, the year 1949 – when Mao’s armadas completed Chinese whole territory occupation and Chinese People’s Republic was proclaimed – marks democratic-popular revolution’s victory. But Chinese courtier-historians don’t reveal the historic meaning of 1911 revolution, which inspired Lenin’s famous writings (we should reissue it afterwards). Whatever, they all at one state that in 1952 historical scene changes again and China goes on the socialism stage. But, at the beginning, to reach this single-thought position wasn’t smooth at all, if Scoccimarro refers the truth about CCP ideological split occurred at that time in the CCP.
He said verbatim: “A deviation on the right asserted the need to stop at the bourgeois-democratic revolution and rejected the policy of control and limitation of capitalist forces in the cities and in the countryside: this trend expressed the lack of confidence in the ability of the Party to lead the peasants and the whole people to socialism. A deviation on the left demanded the immediate implementation of socialism, the disappearance of the national bourgeoisie through confiscation, the removal of capitalist industry and commerce: this position expressed the lack of confidence in the ability of the Party to establish socialism by stages and in a peaceful and democratic way”.
It may seem a paradox, but it is a matter of fact that if you submit to a critical analysis these two positions, we get that in the “right deviation” there is a minor deviation from Marxism. Aside from an exceeding liberalism, consisting of the request to relieve any control on the capitalist forces, it reflected the objective reality better that the lefties positions.
We have already seen how Mao himself admits that China can reach the status of industrial country within no less then twenty years, and since to be official estimates, so too optimistic. To complete the picture we give data provided by Scoccimarro report. We already know that out of a population of almost 600 million inhabitants (counting the overseas Chinese, according to the habit firmly established by the pan-Sinicist rulers in Beijing), 500 million people are employed in agriculture. But to get an idea of the tremendous conservative force inevitably emanating from every agricultural economy, it’s necessary to be aware of the degree of scattering reached by this huge mass of peasants. Consider then that there were in China at the time of land reform, 120 million farms. After the reform, 110 million (97.7 per cent) of them are organized in 1 million of cooperatives. But, the juridical superstructure of cooperatives’ boundaries and the actual concentration of the agricultural means of production, which is a phenomenon connected to the industrial transformations, are really different things. Moreover, Chinese society situation is reflected by CCP social composition, which enrolls 10 million and 730,000 subscribers (year 1956), divided into: 14% of workers, 12% of intellectuals and an impressive 69% of peasants.
It’s clear that the tremendous weight held by agrarian conservation, keeping China development level among the lowest in the world, will be neutralized in two ways. One is the long path traced by five-year plans established by central government, which cannot be anything different from the martyrdom of wage labor, as in most ferocious traditions of Stalinism and the Stakhanovism. The other way is The World Revolution. Only revolutionary power conquered by the workers of Europe and America will be able to snatch from Chinese proletariat shoulders, in front of which there are long and dark decades of ruthless exploitation, the cross of the hyper-industrialization forced march, established by Beijing megalomaniacal leaders plans. But as long as these continents will remain under the yoke of capitalism, and until a new revolutionary wave will have wiped out the national bourgeois power, camped in Russia and fueling an imperial expansion policy at the expense of smaller nations, the Chinese proletariat will not to be able even to think about the impossible effort of “building socialism” in China – such as the mermaids of revisionism are singing – relying only on its own resources.
In absence of the socialist revolution in developed capitalist countries and remaining the relations between Russia and China at a state to state level, as it is inevitable to happen between two nation-states, any worker government can only, despite all the good intentions and also heroic sacrifices, work in the direction of capitalism. CCP leaders do not seek alliance with the bourgeoisie because they have discovered a new “road to socialism” that allows to get there “using the bourgeoisie itself”. No. They, cold, invent absurd and monstrous theories peddling under the name of Marxism, to hide the ugly truth from the proletariat, to proclaim boldly to be the “Builders” of socialism in a country where it is impossible to eradicate the bourgeoisie from the production process. By the way, let’s hear what Scoccimarro says in the full session of the Central Committee of the Italian “Communist” Party: “The national (Chinese) bourgeoisie is politically and economically weak, but has a large ideological and cultural influence in STILL BACKWARD CHINESE SOCIETY. ITS COOPERATION IS PRECIOUS DUE TO ITS TECHNICAL AND PRODUCTIVE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS, ESPECIALLY IN THE ECONOMIC FIELD”.
The Chinese contribution to the falsification of Marxism
In the light of these admissions, what we said earlier appears validated. So that, the CCP rightist tendency is less “deviated” from Marxism than the leftist one. Socialism “immediate implementation” in a backward country like China, where the bourgeoisie is still irreplaceable, is a statement of utopian extremism. Socialism is not to be realized through law decrees, but through a production relations’ revolutionary transformation, whose starting point is represented by a high degree of means of production concentration. Now, in China, this is what is missing: the concentration of production, which is scattered in a feudal-like manner in the villages and just now takes a run towards an industry led accumulation.
For a whole century, while elsewhere there were laying modern industrialism foundations, the vast Chinese space was subjected by great powers’ colonial domination. The latter, forcing the Manchu dynasty to indiscriminately “liberalize” Western goods imports, have systematically prevented the emergence of a Chinese national industry. As long as China’s subjection to Western and Japanese imperialism lasted, in China there had not been an autonomous industrial capitalism. Commercially and industrially, the pre-revolutionary China was a kind “of large western industrial monopolies dependence“5. To build a national industrial machine, it had to be risen a protective wall that would have protected the nascent local industries from foreign goods competition. But foreign imperialism has never allowed it, frustrating every Chinese resistance effort through armed intervention. The long series of war – starting from the nefarious Opium War of 1840-42, ending with the Japanese-Chinese war 1937-45 and the one fought against the Americans in Korea – that China had to fight for over a century had no other purpose and invariably with disastrous consequences. Today, the protectionist wall, which will defend China against foreign invasion more effectively than the Great Wall did in the past, begins to rise and due to this shelter the industry starts to grow up.
The rightist tendency of the CCP is based evidently on a realistic consideration China’s historical conditions, but reaches a conclusion that makes it completely out of the way of Marxism. Rejecting the “control policy and limitation of capitalist forces in the cities and in the countryside”, it stands by Russian Menshevism side. It is known that the Mensheviks, starting from the correct principle that the anti-czarist revolution belonged to the democratic anti-feudal revolutions framework, opposed Bolsheviks, who stated that only workers and poor peasants dictatorship could overthrow Czarism and, by inserting itself into European and American proletariat anti-capitalist revolution, could establish Socialism. But the defeat of the “Chinese Menshevism” certainly did not mean the victory of Marxist communism. So therefore, the Chinese “Communists” have not to be compared to the Russian Bolsheviks for any reason, since Bolsheviks were those of Marxist communists fighting for socialism in a historical context of an anti-feudal revolution and succeeded in establishing a socialist state.
CCP “centrists”, which then made up the dominant part holding the Party and government levers, had, for sure, to condemn and reject both Menshevik liberalism of the “rightists” current and lefties” childish extremism “, but did not reach a Bolshevik position. Indeed, the theoretical approach and the political program of the CCP establishment are just a hybrid mixture of the respective positions of the right and left. In practice, it digs the ground under the feet of its left by the request of the “construction of socialism”, and ensures the rightists’ support by carrying out a policy of alliance with the non-proletarian classes. In this way, the left tendency is neutralized by proclaiming the state’s socialist nature and by the popular policy statement about the “building of socialism”. But, at the same time by giving full satisfaction to rightists demands, which practically require bourgeoisie class rights to be recognized. The result is that those last few milligrams of unconscious Marxism – that existed in the ideological composition of both left and right positions- completely evaporated. We don’t understand how it could be found even a trace of Marxism in a political platform of a party claiming to “build socialism” in alliance with the bourgeoisie and other non-proletarian classes.
This policy gains the Italian Communist Party full consent. The alliance between Chinese Communist Party and the “national” bourgeoisie, far from being seen as one of the usual revisionist “amendments” of Marxism, is presented as an “original contribution” to it. Here we go again! Marxism, going out to China, is “enriched” with new theoretical tools. And this would be due to a peculiarity of the Chinese bourgeoisie – its anti imperialism – that Marx or Engels obviously could not foresee.
On other occasions we sketched the broad outlines of modern Chinese history. We must rearrange that archive material, but even now it is enough to make us understand how Chinese bourgeoisie’s anti-imperialism was and is still the ideological coating of its jealousy and impotent rage against the overseas capitalists who, not satisfied with just opening China’s ports to international trade, forced the monarchy to keep import tariffs as low as to prevent the development of indigenous industry. The anti-imperialism Chinese bourgeoisie has nothing to do with the socialist struggle against imperialism. This conveys in the form of the political ideology, the Chinese bourgeoisie awareness of its inferiority towards the foreign capitalist bourgeoisie and the certainty that China’s industrial future is resulting from the expulsion of the imperialists’ economic influences. In other words, anti-imperialism is the colonial or ex-colonial countries bourgeoisie’s nationalism. In order to measure how deep is the abyss dividing communism from anti-imperialism, is enough to consider that anti-imperialists see, as a result of the struggle against imperialism, the creation of independent states and the formation of national markets protected by protectionist barriers. While the communist revolutionaries – i.e. the Communists who remain faithful to Marx and Lenin and who do not think their doctrines need any correction or “enrichment” – call for the destruction of all the states and all the national markets in the end of the victorious struggle against the capitalist imperialism.
For “communists” like Mao Zedong or Togliatti, there is a kind of anti-imperialism supposed to be shared by bourgeois and workers. But if we look closely, we realize that it is the bourgeois anti-imperialism, nursed by the bourgeoisie of the colonial countries.
In Scoccimarro’s report, approved by the Central Comity of the Communist Party with the usual unanimity, we can read: “Both trends (CCP right and left) ignored a an essential peculiarity of Chinese situation: the existence of a middle class, politically and economically weak but anti-imperialist; therefore possible ally of the working class. The two trends have been rejected: the judgment of the Congress was that, following the one or the other of those ways, it would not build socialism, or at least not in the favorable conditions that we have today.”
The Italian “communists” are very pleased that Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, victoriously emerged from the fight against the extreme wings, established, as Scoccimarro reports, its policy in order to:
1) Develop in a peaceful and democratic way the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution and the people’s democratic dictatorship into the proletariat’s dictatorship
2) Keep all alliances, including the one with the national bourgeoisie
3) Proceed gradually, through persuasion and conviction, towards the construction of socialism
4) Strengthen the cohesion of the democratic parties, to facilitate their action, to stimulate their politics and their control.
As you can see they are the same positions that Mao Zedong had to develop in the examined speech.
It is not very impressive for Scoccimarro that the transition from democratic revolution to the socialist one took place peacefully. Acting as nothing happened, he proclaims that: “The transition from the bourgeois-democratic revolution to the socialist revolution took place (in China) through a revision of the constitution, legally approved by the National Assembly”. Obviously, to him and to the Central Committee of the Communist Party listening to him, the fact that an elected assembly, in which all China’s classes, including the bourgeoisie were represented, decided by a vote to put an end to the revolution and give the starting signal to another one, was not something exceptional. Instead, it seems to us that if this statement were the truth, we should take all the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin and throw them into the fire. It’s clear that, if we admit that a inter-classes elected assembly, even in China, may pave the way for a social revolution, we must say openly that we believe in the Marxist classism as we believe in fairy tales. But for the ICP Central Committee such considerations are dogmatic froths.
“The new fact – Scoccimarro says emphatically – is the maintenance of the alliance with the national bourgeoisie, a issue related to the transition to socialism by peaceful means. Here you will find the CCP most original contribution.”
This shout reveals the bond that joins our Italian revisionists with the Chinese ones. In their desperate search of election platforms based on classes “common interests”, the treacherous ICP leaders accept as “manna” from heaven the “original contributions” that come from Beijing. The Stalinists of yesterday and Khrushchevites of today need ideological pretexts to justify the policy of alliance with the non-proletarian classes that they stubbornly pursue, both for incurable opportunism and subjection to the Russian state. The deformed doctrine of anti-imperialism meets the needs of the Russian Communists. Just that the bourgeoisie of any state tied to NATO starts to oppose the United States, the Russian Communists discover an anti-imperialist vocation. This eventuality is not to be discarded. World War II presented several cases of alliances front reversal. Just a few examples: the Petain regime in France, Quisling’s one in Norway. Anyway, muscovite communism has not created the anti-imperialism doctrine in recent times. It was broadly applied even at time of Stalin-Hitler alliance, assuming that Germany’s war pursued anti-imperialist aims. No one has forgotten that until Hitler’s armies tore up the agreements and invaded Russia, Communist parties argued indeed that the struggle against imperialism of Western democracies was a common interest of Nazism and Communism in Moscow.
In a potential crisis of NATO – the looming movement called “neo-Atlanticism” within the Italian bourgeoisie represents just a symptom of it – the manipulation of anti-imperialism theory will considerably help the Russian-like Communist Parties. Once again, it will serve to confuse the proletariat and force it to bite the bullet of the patriotic union of classes against American imperialism. It will certainly be very useful to justify the open collaboration with the bourgeois established powers and the abjuration of the class struggle. Then the Russian-like Communist Parties will have carried out their dual task of counterrevolution agents – assigned to maintain” classes’ “peaceful coexistence”, and imperialist mercenaries permanently occupied to find allies for the generals of Russian NATO.
This explains why the Italian “Communist” Party CC warmly welcomes, imitating the example of allied parties, the unprecedented falsification of Marxism coming from the Beijing headquarters. But in the praxis, namely the reality of social relations, how does the policy of alliance with bourgeoisie is applied in China? Which benefits do Chinese workers get? It will be necessary to mention, and readers will forgive us, another passage taken from Scoccimarro’s report. Here it is:
“Beside reactionary classes, in China there was a national bourgeoisie openly struggling with imperialism, the feudal forces and the large-scale capitalism (of course, the speaker alludes to the great foreign capitalism that subjugated and humiliated the Chinese bourgeoisie). Towards this national bourgeoisie, CCP applied a policy able to reconcile workers interests with those of the ruling class, in the common interest framework of reconstruction”.
Please allow us to break in two the golden passage. So, in the end what’s CCP’s original contribution? It’s merely social accommodation. How are Mao Zedong’s “communists” managing to reconcile bourgeoisie and workers, capital and waged labor interests? We hear:
“Workers avoided unemployment and capitalists avoided the ruin, workers achieved improvements and capitalists realized benefits. Enterprises kept themselves alive and were able to develop aided by the State. It’s the so-called policy of “using” the bourgeoisie capitalist.”
Another pause. Policy of “using” the bourgeoisie! But who does use and who is used in the happy People’s Republic? It is stated that capitalists’ enterprises were saved from ruin by State help, i.e. by money. But then it is clear that “national” bourgeoisie “used” the people’s state, that is the “dictatorship of the workers and peasants”, i.e. the power that “is building socialism!”
Let’s go on: “Does this mean that class struggle disappeared? No, class struggle continues, but takes on new forms. The intervention of a State that made it possible for capitalists to save their companies – reduced almost to failure by the civil war- has also imposed limitations and conditions, such as to subdue the particular and individual interests to the general and national one. Limits and conditions concern the direction of the production, prices, government contracts, sales, the tax system, workers conditions, and so on. This is the so-called policy of “limitation”, which is basically a control policy aimed at supporting to the healthy production activity and struggling against speculation, contract fraud, tax evasion, against the embezzlement of state assets, etc.”
In essence, the people’s state made available its finance and its own power to those capitalist companies reduced to bankruptcy. In doing so, it made itself alike all the states of the bourgeois world. Just think about what the Fascist regime after the democratic one did in Italy, through I.R.I.6, which was called precisely “the hospital of sick of companies.” The mixed companies that the Chinese blurt out as the result of “new forms of class struggle” are nothing more than a carbon copy, apart from quantitative differences, of I.R.I.’s companies, where the state capital is happily married with private capital. One would expect that a people’s state, builder of socialism, made on those companies different controls than those that are the ordinary administration of the bourgeois governments. Alas, it is not so. Among all the controls and limitations that Beijing government exerts on capitalists there is no one, which is not necessarily present in daily politics of modern bourgeois governments. In which capitalist state of Europe and America, government does not handle with production planning, analysis of price, tax revenue? A bureaucracy managing: orders, taxes, prices, etc. may vary from country to country: here less rapacious and more plodding, there more thief and slacker, but wherever it operates, it administers capitalism. We can also take Chinese Communists and their coaxers at their word, assume by true that Chinese bureaucracy has been unburdened from the traditions of “mandarinism”, becoming a model administrator. And then? An economy based on the triad of: prices, wages and profits is unquestionably a capitalist economy. On the other hand, socialism is a mode of social life organization in which economic goods production process takes place outside the mercantilism and monetarism. Consequently, only who demolishes mercantilism “builds up” socialism. Now this colossal challenge is not possible at present in China, and not expected to be possible until the proletarian revolution will shake the foundations of the western imperialist states. Indeed, the general trend of the Chinese economy is completely opposite to the one that Marxism provides for societies going towards socialism. What is taking place in China is the race for the marketization of the entire national economy, in which, you know, there are vast areas where production is still at a pre-capitalist level.
Supporting the “healthy productive activities”, fighting against the squandering of capitals, requiring a minimum of order in the sick of secular inertia Chinese administration, the people’s state performs the single task to facilitate the development of economic forces that tend to: concentrate the means of production; transform the working masses into wage earners; commercialize all the social labor products. But these elements unequivocally make up the picture of modern capitalism. And in vain, the “communists” like Mao Zedong attach to it the label of socialism: Its content does not change.
If “communist” parties constituted an international organization with classist purpose, the shameless revisionism of CCP would be universally condemned and rejected. But nothing like that happens, indeed our communist parties applaud enthusiastically to the unheard falsifications of Beijing. Chinese revisionism betrays the international proletariat and the Chinese proletariat interests, as it serves the national interests of the Chinese state and, under the mask of alliance policy, allows the bourgeois forces to develop freely, as was not possible during the China’s subjection to the foreign imperialism. On the international stage, it puts abominable theoretical abortions around, giving only the result of increasing the proletariat ideological confusion, extending capitalism and imperialism lifetime.
NOTES of the translator:
1. Italian Stalinist party’s newspaper.
2. Eighteenth Century’s Italian alchemist and magician, alias of Joseph Balsamo.
3. Our political current states that from the ’70 even in Africa and Asia we don’t have these conditions anymore.
4. Latin in the original. Meaning: “although no more needs to be added”.
5. French in the original
6. “Istituto per la ricostruzione industriale”, Institute for Industrial Reconstruction