Floyd Shivambu – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) join millions of progressive forces all over the world in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). With over 90 million members, the CPC is the largest communist party, one of the biggest political parties, and one of the most successful revolutionary movements in the world.
As revolutionary forces that subscribe to Marxism-Leninism, we are always inspired and driven by so many achievements of a revolutionary movement which defied all odds to lead one of the most successful and still growing socialist economies in the present age.
The CPC continues to demonstrate the superiority of Marxist-Leninist logic in the organisation of the party, management of the economy and leadership of society as a whole.
The story of the CPC is a constant reminder to all revolutionaries around the globe that a different world is possible, free of the exploitation of the majority by the minority. A world where the interests of the majority matter more than the greed of the minority.
China has exponentially grown its economy over the last 40 years to account for almost 20% of the global economy and trade and it has uplifted more than 700 million people from absolute poverty. All these happened under the superior logic of Marxism-Leninism, which were denounced as failed ideologies by neoliberal reactionaries who have no appreciation of the Marxist science.
The CPC was founded on the 1st of July in 1921 in Shanghai by Chinese intellectuals such as Chen Duxiu, who was referred to as China’s Lenin, as well as Li Dachao. The party drew its inspiration from the May 4th Movement, which was an anti-feudal movement founded by students in China.
The 4th May Movement was inspired by the Bolshevik Great Socialist Revolution in Russia. This speaks to the internationalist nature of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and the fact that it inspired worldwide revolt against repressive systems and awakened working-class consciousness across the length and breadth of the globe.
From the formation of CPC, we also learn that consciousness has been purposely planted in the minds and hearts of the people, particularly young people. The struggle for socialism in China owes its success and durability to the foundation laid by a number of leaders, key among which are Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and the present leader of the party, Xi Jinping. It is therefore important to highlight their achievements here.
Mao was a founding member of the CPC, and one of the key leaders of the revolutionary strides made by the CPC prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Mao was already an accomplished leader even before the end of the civil war in China.
However, his lasting contribution has to be the formation of the People’s Republic of China itself in 1949, and the firm commitment to Marxism as a guiding theoretical framework for the country.
His commitment to the leadership of the working class is best captured in his paper entitled “On the people’s democratic dictatorship”, wherein he says: “The people’s democratic dictatorship needs the leadership of the working class. For it is only the working class that is most farsighted, most selfless and most thoroughly revolutionary. The entire history of revolution proves that without the leadership of the working-class revolution fails and that with the leadership of the working-class revolution triumphs. In the epoch of imperialism, in no country can any other class lead any genuine revolution to victory. This is clearly proved by the fact that the many revolutions led by China’s petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie all failed.”
Mao is the undisputed founder and inspiration of China’s forceful entry into the realm of global power, and in a manner steeped in Marxism.
Deng Xiaoping then took over the leadership of China in 1978, and embarked on state reforms that would transform China from a low-income economy into what is today the second largest economy in the world.
He introduced the concept of the socialist market economy in 1978, and from the reforms he introduced, poverty was almost eliminated in China within a generation. Through his Four Modernisations in agriculture, defence, industry and science and technology, he marked the beginning of the reforms that would drive China’s development.
He was able to drive this development while deeply rooted in Marxist theory, and not flirting with quasi-capitalism, as some have argued. In his paper titled “In everything we do we must proceed from the realities of the primary stage of socialism”, Deng was clear on the pragmatic steps China had to take, and articulated them as follows: “China is developing its economy in three steps. Two steps will be taken in this century, to reach the point where our people have adequate food and clothing and lead a fairly comfortable life. The third step, which will take us 30 to 50 years into the next century, is to reach the level of the moderately developed countries. These are our strategic objectives and our high ambitions.”
Deng’s contribution to the CPC’s ideological and political direction is perhaps the most impactful in the past 40 years. The 1984 remark by Deng in the Sino-Japanese Council of Non-governmental Persons seems to have underpinned China’s growth and expansion in the last 30 years. In what was subsequently published as “Building socialism with Chinese characteristics”, Deng said: “What is socialism and what is Marxism? We were not quite clear about this in the past. Marxism attaches utmost importance to developing the productive forces. We have said that socialism is the primary stage of communism and that at the advanced stage the principle of, from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs will be applied. This calls for highly developed productive forces and an overwhelming abundance of material wealth. Therefore, the fundamental task for the socialist stage is to develop the productive forces.
“The superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of those forces than under the capitalist system. As they develop, the people’s material and cultural life will constantly improve. One of our shortcomings after the founding of the People’s Republic was that we didn’t pay enough attention to developing the productive forces. Socialism means eliminating poverty. Pauperism is not socialism, still less communism” (Deng, 1984).
The scientific socialism EFF subscribes to should necessarily lead to the development of the productive forces, and ensure greater workers’ control of the economy, and we have no hesitation about saying that. There are various interpretations and even distortions of what Deng meant, but the observation he made that “Socialism means eliminating poverty. Pauperism is not socialism, still less communism” is correct. There are also areas where China can make significant progress, particularly on democratic participation of the people in the economy and society, yet its rapid industrial development, agrarian reform, and state-led economic expansion since 1978 are admirable. China moved from being 100th in the world economy in 1978 to the second biggest economy in the world today.
Overall, the CPC has demonstrated since 1953 that a planned economy is almost a panacea to developmental challenges. China has a planned economy, implemented and monitored through five-year plans. From 1953 to date, China has implemented 13 five-year plans, and is now implementing its 14th. All these plans have dealt with practical ways of growing the Chinese economy, eliminating poverty, and making China a respected global economy.
As a growing Marxist-Leninist organisation, the EFF has a number of lessons to learn from the CPC, and these include:
* Marxism-Leninism remains the most logical ideological foundation for building a revolutionary movement and guiding the economy and society towards common prosperity.
* Marxism is not dogma and must always be adapted to changing domestic and global conditions and this is reflected in China’s adoption of and adherence to “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
* Revolutionary solidarity must define and guide all revolutionary forces in the world.
* Neoliberalism is not and cannot be a sustainable and correct mechanism to drive the development of the productive forces.
The rise of a socialist, humanitarian and more progressive China is a welcome relief after decades of dominance of American imperialism. There is practically nothing in the world that can stop the rise of socialist and progressive China as it celebrates 100 years of its formation.
Our call to the CPC is that it must play an ever-increasing role in nurturing and protecting emerging socialist economies in the world and lead the creation of an enabling environment for alternative paths to development. As the Economic Freedom Fighters, we will continue to draw inspiration from the CPC and its leadership.
By Floyd Shivambu is EFF deputy president.
** The views expressed here are not those of Central News
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