China proves that not only is a new world possible but it has already arrived

In this article for the Morning Star, Roger McKenzie draws on his experiences on the recent Friends of Socialist China delegation, which combined visits to historical sites with discussions on contemporary Chinese politics, as well as providing an opportunity to witness the Chinese modernisation process in action.

Roger notes “the lengths the Chinese were taking to celebrate their revolutionary history at the same time as looking for ways to be at the cutting edge of modernisation”. This highlights the Chinese communists’ insistence on remaining true to the original aspiration and founding mission. After all, the founders of the CPC “had a dream of a better and fairer society based on Marxist principles” – a dream that still guides the Party today.

The article concludes that those of us in the West can learn a great deal – and take inspiration – from the Chinese example.

“China proves to me that not only is a new world possible but it has already arrived — if we choose to look and if we dare to win.”

The CPC was formed in July 1921 on a red boat in Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. It was the start of a century-plus journey from widespread poverty and political weakness to China becoming, according to many experts, the largest economy in the world.
China is a country high on ambition. The sort of ambition that would not have been possible without the bravery to set up the CPC under threat of imprisonment or death.

After many visits to China, my comrade and friend Keith Bennett, a co-founder of Friends of Socialist China (FSC), was visiting the Red Boat for the first time.
Bennett said: “I think what’s very impressive is how the history of the founding of the CPC is remembered and respected and it’s been passed onto the younger generations. We’ve been here today and we’ve seen lots of middle school students and younger school students all taking a great interest in it.”
Another comrade and co-founder of FSC, Carlos Martinez, agreed with Bennett’s analysis adding that he was impressed by the “inspiration that Chinese communists took from the Russian October Revolution and obviously from Marx and Engels.”
He added: “So when they talk about being true to their foundations, their roots and founding mission this includes the whole legacy of our global movement.”
I couldn’t help but notice the pride that people of all ages were taking in the history of the founding of the CPC. I witnessed the lengths the Chinese were taking to celebrate their revolutionary history at the same time as looking for ways to be at the cutting edge of modernisation.
The CPC seemed to have no difficulty in combining seemingly contradictory positions, whether it’s combining the old with the new or the market with socialism. For China, the key priority seems to be making sure that the people are put first.
In my view, one of the keys of Marxism is not to reduce it to an immovable dogma. For me — and I do not doubt that someone will see fit to correct me — it is a scientific tool that can be used to analyse the material circumstances confronting us and to use it to develop policies that put people rather than profits first.
The fact that the CPC has its hands on the levers of the market and is able to divert resources where they are most needed rather than into the pockets of greedy capitalists, makes all the difference.
Housing is often seen as one of the measures of how well an economy is serving its people. As I write this from Jiaxing I have yet to see a single homeless person on the street.
What I have seen is a diversity of housing provisions including a high-tech development called the Luli Future Community where quality housing, with fitness and children’s facilities, are available at a good price.
Some of the cost is subsidised by the central government — particularly for young people and public service workers such as doctors.
The brand new Party-Masses Service Centre in Jiaxing, which opened in 2021, is a hub for training, exhibitions, NGOs and the provision of mental health services.
Martinez said: “FSC Delegates to China were amazed to learn that you can register for counselling and get an appointment booked for the next day — free of charge.”
On one wall in the centre I saw “Only with peace of mind can the people and the country be safe,” which seemed a good summary of the work being carried out.
Whatever I say here “haters are always gonna hate.” I’m also not arrogant enough to believe that anything I say makes the slightest bit of difference.
But I can only say what I see and what I am seeing is a country brimming with confidence and full of ambition.
I’m also seeing a nation that refuses to be diverted from its upward course after generations of poverty and humiliation.
The Chinese seem prepared to think big and to continue to confound the racist stereotypes of China as a backward nation.
Any person with the slightest knowledge of history will know just how totally wrong that is.
China is thinking hard about what the future can look like and not waiting for it to shape them but, instead, taking steps to lead the way.
I visited the Yangtze River Delta Science and Technology Centre where they have gathered some of the finest thinkers in architecture, health, industry and communications, to name but a few, to carry out research and to advise the government.
China is thinking big but not just for itself. It is prepared to share its knowledge with other countries in a spirit of win-win and mutual respect.
The incredibly popular but much-maligned Belt and Road Initiative is a prime example of this. The BRI is based on greater policy co-ordination with partners, connecting facilities, trade, financial integration and, importantly, building people-to-people bonds.
Far removed from the zero game US model of you’re either with us or against us. The US model is yesterday’s news. The global South, where most people on the planet live, has had enough and has already moved on.
Despite the goading and the sanctions led by the US, China is refusing to play a game that nobody wins. Instead, it is creating a new game with its global South partners.

Shifting the focus away from the old colonial powers to the people — billions of people. Along the way it won’t be perfect — tell me what is?
But we have to break with the idea that the old colonial rulers can sit at their table, divide up the world and tell everyone else what to do. Those days are gone forever. The US and its posse just need to understand this.
The only questions that really matter are how will the old world respond? Will they do what they know best and resort to violence and financial sanctions? This seems to be their response so far.
Alternatively, for those of us interested in building a new world, what might it look like? What more do we need to do to breathe life into that newborn?
What I have seen so far in China convinces me that socialism works. Those pioneers on the Red Boat had a dream of a better and fairer society based on Marxist principles.
I am not advocating copying China but we can apply the scientific methods of Marxism-Leninism to our own circumstances in the same way that the CPC has with its socialism with Chinese characteristics for the new era.
Some onlookers say China has abandoned Marxism. I don’t agree for the reasons I’ve already stated. Many have never been there but profess to know better than the people of China.

Clearly not everyone in the country of 1.4 billion people agrees entirely with the road being travelled.
I’m told there is a healthy debate within the nearly 100 million members of the CPC but it is clear to me that President Xi Jinping is providing clear direction and outstanding leadership.

Building a revolution against the stream is hard graft but it continues apace in China.
China is still red and will continue to attract partners interested in a different way, which may or may not be socialism. China proves to me that not only is a new world possible but it has already arrived — if we choose to look and if we dare to win.

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