Chinese scholars discuss Engels in Eastbourne

The English coastal town of Eastbourne was the venue for an international conference on the life and work of Friedrich Engels’, Karl Marx’s closest comrade, friend and collaborator, in early June. The conference was co-hosted by the University of Brighton, which has a campus in Eastbourne, and the International Association of Marx & Engels Humanities Studies (MEIA).

Marxist scholars from more than 10 countries participated, marking the 175th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto, authored by Marx and Engels, and which remains a programmatic document of the communist movement worldwide. 

Eastbourne was chosen as the location as it was Engels’ favoured holiday location. After his death, and in accordance with his wishes, his ashes were scattered in the sea by Marx’s daughter and others from Beachy Head, a famous nearby landmark. An ongoing campaign to honour Engels with a commemorative plaque in the town has the support of Eastbourne Labour Party, Eastbourne Trades Council and local union branches, including those of Unite, Unison and the University & College Union (UCU). The conference was held at the View Hotel, which is owned by Unite.

Chinese scholars played a prominent role in the conference, addressing the influence of Marxism on China’s development path among other topics. 

According to Christian Høgsbjerg, the conference was, “an incredible opportunity to have so many Chinese scholars of Marxism here in Britain and to have those dialogues and make connections.” Høgsbjerg, who is senior lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Brighton, is most well-known for his work on CLR James, the famous Trinidadian Marxist, and his pioneering work on the 1791-1804 Haitian revolution, first analysed by James in his seminal work, Black Jacobins.  Høgsbjerg is an author or editor of numerous books, including CLR James in Imperial Britain and Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions. The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic (Racism, Resistance and Social Change), co-edited by Høgsbjerg, together with David Featherstone, outlines how the Russian revolution of 1917 was not just a world-historical event in its own right, but also struck powerful blows against racism and imperialism, and thereby inspired many black radicals internationally.

According to the publishers, Manchester University Press, it “explores the implications of the creation of the Soviet Union and the Communist International for black and colonial liberation struggles across the African diaspora…Challenging European-centred understandings of the Russian revolution and the global left, [it] offers new insights on the relations between communism, various lefts and anti-colonialisms across the Black Atlantic – including Garveyism and various other strands of Pan-Africanism.”

The following article was originally published by the Xinhua News Agency. We also embed a video report from New China TV, which is the broadcasting arm of Xinhua.

The seaside resort of Eastbourne in East Sussex, England, is hosting an international conference titled “Engels in Eastbourne,” which kicked off on Thursday and runs to Saturday.

Nearly a hundred professors, experts and scholars from more than 20 universities and research institutions in more than ten countries, including the United Kingdom, China, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Romania, Denmark, Turkey and India, hold in-depth discussions to commemorate the 175th anniversary of “The Communist manifesto.”

The conference is co-hosted by the University of Brighton and the International Association of Marx & Engels Humanities Studies (MEIA).

According to the MEIA, a British independent non-governmental organization, the subjects discussed include Friedrich Engels’ life and experiences, his contribution to the development of Marxism, the influence of Engels’ theories on the development of the contemporary world, and the influence of Marxism on China’s modernization path.

Continue reading Chinese scholars discuss Engels in Eastbourne

Interview with Roland Boer on the nature of Chinese socialism

In this very interesting and detailed discussion, Roland Boer and Ben Norton delve into a number of the key issues from Roland’s book Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners. The core of the discussion is around answering the left critique of China’s post-1978 economic reforms: that these constitute a return to capitalism; that Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues were capitalist roaders who sought to overturn socialism via the introduction of market mechanisms.

Roland points out that markets go back thousands of years, long pre-dating capitalism. As such, there’s no equals sign between capitalism and markets; markets existed before capitalism and they can exist after capitalism. The question for socialists is how to use markets within a socialist context; how to use market mechanisms within a framework of an overall planned economy which is directed at meeting the immediate and long-term needs of the people, and preparing the ground for an eventual transition to a classless society.

Roland makes an important distinction between two key aspects of socialism: that of common ownership of the means of production, and liberation of the productive forces. The two do not necessarily always advance in neat and predictable correlation. This is something that is understood by all existing socialist societies – in China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and the DPRK. Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues understood very well that a high level of the productive forces was a material prerequisite for China’s development of an advanced socialism and ultimately for communism. The whole purpose of the reform process has been to develop China’s productive forces whilst simultaneously pursuing the fundamental socialist objective of improving people’s lives. On both counts, the process has been phenomenally successful.

Ben contrasts the level of development and living standards in India and China, noting that hundreds of millions in India continue to face devastating poverty, while China is responsible for at least 70 percent of all poverty alleviation in the last four decades. He points out that this disparity is primarily a manifestation of the two countries having different social systems.

The two take on a number of other key questions, including the nature of socialist democracy, the treatment of migrant workers, the household responsibility system, corruption, and the consolidation of Marxism in China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

The video was first posted on Ben’s Geopolitical Economy Report channel.

Book review: China’s Economic Dialectic, by Cheng Enfu

We are pleased to republish Andrew Murray’s thoughtful and critical review of ‘China’s Economic Dialectic’, a recent book by Cheng Enfu, one of China’s foremost Marxist scholars, published by New York-based International Publishers. It was originally published in the Morning Star.

Andrew begins by noting that “there are few more important endeavours for the international left than understanding China’s extraordinary development and its meaning for world socialism,” and bemoans the general lack of reference to the work of Chinese scholars and the Communist Party of China in this regard.

Noting that Professor Cheng “locates the present mix of public ownership with substantial private enterprise and preponderant market relationships as appropriate for the primary stage of socialism, but looks forward to advancing to a fully public model to be attained under advanced socialism and finally communism,” Andrew points out that the author is “far from blind to the problems that have emerged as a result of the reforms” and “not afraid to criticise the Chinese government from within a position of overall support.”

In outlining his view of the shortcomings in Cheng’s work, Andrew cites a lack of “real reflection on the strengths and shortcomings of the ‘planned product economy’ as it actually existed in the USSR and in China itself until 1978.”

In conclusion he recommends it as “rewarding for those wanting to really grapple with the exceptional dynamics of China’s development and its socialist nature.”

The editors of this website do not necessarily agree with all of Andrew’s observations and assertions, but we unequivocally welcome the serious attention given to this subject by one of Britain’s most erudite Marxists and his contribution to a vital debate.

AS THE late Giovanni Arrighi stated: “If China is socialist or capitalist it is not like any previously encountered model of either,” and there are few more important endeavours for the international left than understanding China’s extraordinary development and its meaning for world socialism.

Such work is often bedevilled by an over-reliance on Western-generated analyses of China, as if the studies and understandings of Chinese scholars and the Communist Party of China themselves were of little use.

Cheng Enfu’s book is extremely helpful in this context. Cheng is a leading Chinese Marxist academic who has clearly thought deeply about China’s development as a socialist state.

His book examines economic policy in China from a variety of angles.

He locates the present mix of public ownership with substantial private enterprise and preponderant market relationships as appropriate for the primary stage of socialism, but looks forward to advancing to a fully public model to be attained under advanced socialism and finally communism.

Correctly, he claims that “the tremendous achievements China has realised during its 30 years of reform and opening up are not the result of following Western mainstream economics, or of implementing policies the derive from it”, and not least in respect of making the finance sector serve the productive economy.

Continue reading Book review: China’s Economic Dialectic, by Cheng Enfu

Cheng Enfu: Marx’s Capital still shines with the light of truth

We are pleased to publish this speech by Professor Cheng Enfu on the contemporary relevance of Marx’s Capital, given at a recent webinar organised by the International Manifesto Group.

The core theme of Cheng’s presentation is that Capital has lost none of its relevance or applicability, and indeed is enjoying a resurgence of interest in response to the imperialist crisis. “Whenever the world faces a major dilemma or encounters a major setback, Marx always reappears in a new way, and people always look to Capital to find a way out of the global problems of the day.” Although Volume 1 of Capital appeared over 150 years ago, there is still “no theory in mainstream Western economics comparable to Capital in terms of understanding the reality and development of the contemporary world.”

In terms of the relevance of Marx’s economic teachings to contemporary Chinese socialism, Cheng points to the contradictory nature of capital: as a force for technological progress, and as a force for reproducing poverty and vast inequality. The unlimited expansion of financialized capital “has led to the intensification of the basic contradictions of capitalism in all countries and the whole world, with widening gap between rich and poor in wealth and income distribution within and between countries, leading to increasingly serious global problems.” The key lesson for China’s socialist market economy is the crucial importance of “overcoming the greedy nature and the disorderly expansion and monopoly of non-public capital” such that capital can better serve the interests of the people.

Professor Cheng joins the dots between Marx’s economic analysis and today’s global anti-imperialist struggle, stating that “we must resolutely oppose private monopoly capital, international financial monopoly capitalism and neo-imperialism, work together to actively safeguard the rights and welfare of the working class and the working people at large, resist the US-led West’s efforts to contain the peaceful development of China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Syria, and bring into better play the economic role of progressive Third World countries such as China.”

Professor Cheng Enfu is Principal Professor of the University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Editor-in-Chief of World Review of Political Economy and International Critical Thought.

Hello everyone. Today, the title of my presentation is The Essence of Capital and Its Contemporary Value.                   

The capitalist world has changed dramatically since the publication of Capital, but this work of Marx has not become obsolete. Whenever the world faces a major dilemma or encounters a major setback, Marx always reappears in a new way, and people always look to Capital to find a way out of the global problems of the day. As long as capitalism and the market economy exist, Capital as a work that reveals its mysteries and economic laws, is unlikely to leave the stage. As a “Marxist encyclopedia,” the methodology and principles contained in Capital still shine with the light of truth and are of great practical significance.

First, Capital provides a scientific approach to understanding societies. In Capital, Marx organically integrates philosophy with economics, applies dialectics to the study of political economy, and has historical materialism and dialectics highly unified in the analysis of the evolution of the life and death of the capitalist market economy. Capital is mainly a study of the economic mode of capitalist society. Marx regarded the development of society as the result of contradictory movements and believed that the law of contradictory movements of the productive forces and relations of production as well as that of the economic base and superstructure is the general law of development of human society and its fundamental driving force. It determines the change of social formation and the basic trend of historical development. Marx analyzed the operation and development of capitalist economy by applying the law of unity of opposites, the law of quantitative and qualitative changes, and the law of the negation of negation, as well as methodologies such as class analysis; he studied the process of capitalist social and economic development by applying the scientific findings of historical materialism, and came to the scientific conclusion that capitalist system is not eternal, but is bound to be replaced as the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production evolves. To date, there is no theory in mainstream Western economics comparable to Capital in terms of understanding the reality and development of the contemporary world. I recently edited a textbook titled New Political Economy. The English version will be published soon. It is a synthesis of Marx’s Capital and his planned six volumes on political economy, creating a new system of “five processes” in modern political economy. I wish that the textbook may be available to you in some way since your comments and suggestions would be very valuable.

Second, it establishes the subject status of workers. Labor theory is at the core of Capital, and is a line running through historical materialism, political economy and scientific socialism, which is of great significance to the world today in firmly establishing the subject position of workers in the creation of wealth and value. Marx once pointed out that as long as society does not yet revolve around labor as the earth around the sun, it can never reach a state of equilibrium. Marx’s comparison of labor to the sun is sufficient to see the position of labor in his thought. Labor is the core of the Marxist paradigm and system. Not only does labor determine and condition the structure, nature and appearance of society, but the labor conditions would determine the conditions of human development. Marx presents the labor theory of value in Capital, arguing that living labor is the only source of value creation, making it the cornerstone of the theory of surplus value, and on that basis proposed the idea of labor emancipation. Even under the increasingly mature digital economy, intelligent economy and other high-tech conditions, as long as it is in a capitalist society or a capitalist enterprise in a socialist country centering on private capital, labor would still be characteristic of the dependence on things, workers be enslaved by private capital, and various forms of alienation persist. In future society where the factors of production are publicly owned, labor will become the “sun,” that is, labor will be completely liberated, thus truly realizing the free and comprehensive development of human beings. We must always stand in the position of international working people, establish a view in our value system that respects labor and workers, insist on the subject position of workers in social development and wealth creation, and refute the fallacy of “exploitation creates wealth” that has been popular for thousands of years.

Third, it clarifies the contradictory movement of capital. The theory on capital, as a key term in Marx’s works, is one of the three main categories throughout the book, i.e., labor, capital and surplus value, and is of great importance to our understanding of the nature and role of capital in the context of globalization. Capital is a product of a certain stage of human history. It is a historical category. Capital is a factor of production, a value that can bring surplus value. Capital in essence is not a thing, but a certain social and economic relationship, which in turn must be manifested through things. This gives rise to a double logic: a logic of creating material and economic civilization by the power of things, and a logic of value-added with pursuit of profit maximization. From private capital to private monopoly capital, national monopoly capital, and then to international monopoly capital, the expansionist nature of capital keeps driving forward the process of economic globalization, which constantly intensifies the globalization of production, trade, finance and business operation, with an ever more greedy capital today that is based on private appropriation and characterized by virtual capital. The unlimited expansion of such capital has led to the intensification of the basic contradictions of capitalism in all countries and the whole world, with widening gap between rich and poor in wealth and income distribution within and between countries, leading to increasingly serious global problems. Under the conditions of China’s socialist market economy, while attaching importance to the role of public capital, we must pay close attention to overcoming the greedy nature and the disorderly expansion and monopoly of non-public capital. The relationship between capital and labor as social axis must be well handled, and making various forms of capital better serve the national economy and people’s livelihood.

Fourth, it reveals the laws of development of market economy. In Capital, Marx has scientifically explained many economic laws of human society, such as the general law of commodity production, the common law of socialized mass production, the law of economic globalization and the world market. The laws of capitalist economic operation are systematically analyzed, which covers wage, cost, profit, credit, interest, land rent, reproduction, virtual capital and virtual economy, economic cycle and crisis. All these provide guidance for a correct understanding of the laws of operation of socialist market economy.

Fifth, (Marx’s ideas in) Capital must be applied in a flexible manner in practice. At present, we must resolutely oppose private monopoly capital, international financial monopoly capitalism and neo-imperialism, work together to actively safeguard the rights and welfare of the working class and the working people at large, resist the US-led West’s efforts to contain the peaceful development of China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Syria, and bring into better play the economic role of progressive Third World countries such as China. Today, China has become a major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions, ranking first in the world in total trade in goods and leading the world in attracting foreign investment and outbound investment. Between 2012 and 2021, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew from 54 trillion yuan to 114.9 trillion yuan, accounting for 18.5 percent of the world economy and firmly ranking second in the world. In 2021, China’s total GDP at market exchange rates reaches $17.8 trillion, equivalent to 77 percent of the US GDP. Between 2013 and 2021, China’s average contribution to global economic growth reaches 38.6 percent, more than the combined contribution of the G-7 members. China has signed more than 200 cooperation documents with 151 countries and 32 international organizations to build the “Belt and Road.” The Belt and Road Initiative will lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty, increase global trade by 1.7–-6.2%, and increase global income by 0.7%–2.9%. Currently, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has grown from 57 founding members to 106 members from six continents, making it the second largest international multilateral development institution in the world. The above achievements have been made through the dominant role of China’s state-owned capital, collective capital and equity-based cooperative capital. In light of that, I would argue, as in an already published paper, that China has got rid of its “dependent” and “semi-dependent” position in the world economic system and is now in a “quasi-center” position and will reach the “center” by 2035. By 2050, it will achieve a status of one of the top “countries in the center,” completing the three major tasks, i.e., Chinese modernization, reunification of the mainland and Taiwan of China, and international anti-hegemonic struggle.

That is all I have to say here. Thank you.

The enduring significance of the Communist Manifesto to young people in China

We are very pleased to publish below the text of a presentation given by Xin Yuzhou, a young candidate member of the Communist Party of China, on the enduring significance of the Communist Manifesto, particularly to young people in China. The presentation was made at a webinar organised by the International Manifesto Group marking the 175th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto.

Xin Yuzhou notes that the Manifesto continues to have tremendous resonance and influence in China; it is conceived of as “a monumental work that has a scientific perspective on the development of human society and was written to benefit the people and seek liberation for humanity.” Indeed, the CPC considers itself to be “a loyal inheritor of the spirit of the Communist Manifesto”. He further emphasizes that, in spite of having been published for the first time 175 years ago, the fundamental principles outlined in the Manifesto remain entirely valid; and yet he reminds us that Marxism should never be considered a dogma, citing Engels: “Marx’s whole way of thinking is not so much a doctrine as a method. It provides not so much ready-made dogmas as aids to further investigation and the method for such investigation.” In the case of China, Marxist principles have to be integrated with “China’s realities, historical and cultural traditions, and contemporary needs.”

Comrade Xin states that communists “must take reading Marxist classics and understanding Marxist principles as a way of life”, and notes that in the Bureau for North American, Oceanian and Nordic Affairs of the International Department of the CPC in which he works, young people collectively read and discuss key political texts including the Communist Manifesto. He concludes that “Chinese young communists today can still learn a lot from and be inspired by the Communist Manifesto.”

Dear Comrades,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am XIN Yuzhou from the Bureau for North American, Oceanian and Nordic Affairs of the IDCPC. It is such an honor for me to join you and exchange ideas with friends from around the world. As a young, probationary Party member of our Bureau’s Party branch, I would like to share with you why Communist Manifesto still matters today and what our Chinese young people should learn from it.

I. The Importance of the Communist Manifesto

When presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the importance of the Communist Manifesto, saying that reviewing the Communist Manifesto is to understand and grasp the power of the truth of Marxism, write a new chapter of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, firm up Marxist belief, and trace back to the source of theory for a Marxist party to maintain the advanced nature and purity.

The CPC is a loyal inheritor of the spirit of the Communist Manifesto. It is necessary to “apply the scientific principles and the spirit of the Communist Manifesto to the overall planning of activities related to the great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream,” General Secretary Xi Jinping said, calling the Communist Manifesto a monumental work that has a scientific perspective on the development of human society and was written to benefit the people and seek liberation for humanity. Xi called for efforts to further study and interpret the works of Marxism, popularize them and have them embraced by hundreds of millions of people. More efforts should be made to develop Marxism in the 21st century and in contemporary China, and write a new chapter of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context.

Continue reading The enduring significance of the Communist Manifesto to young people in China

The Communist Manifesto at 175

We are very pleased to publish the below presentation, which was made by the Toronto-based historian John Riddell to a February 26 webinar organised by the International Manifesto Group, with which Friends of Socialist China works closely, marking the 175th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

In his contribution, John explains that it was the 1917 revolution in Russia and the creation of the Soviet state that truly internationalised the core message of the Manifesto. Taking China as his focus, he notes that some 50,000 Chinese migrant workers in Russia joined the Red Army to defend the revolution from internal and external threats. Eight Chinese delegates joined the Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East, held in 1920, whilst the much smaller and less well-known Congress of the Peoples of the Far East, held two years later, attracted 42 Chinese participants.

These congresses were pivotal in introducing and popularising the programme on the national and colonial questions adopted by the Communist International (Comintern) at its second congress in 1920. This programme, John shows, found practical expression in the work of International Red Aid and the ‘Hands off China’ movement, initiated following a 1925 massacre of workers in Shanghai. Citing the work of Chinese Marxist scholars Cheng Enfu and Wang Jun, John recalls Lenin’s statement that, “the interests of the proletarian struggle in any one country should be subordinated to the interests of that struggle on a world-wide scale, and, second, that a nation which is achieving victory over the bourgeoisie should be able and willing to make the greatest national sacrifices for the overthrow of international capital.” (Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions for the Second Congress of the Communist International, Collected Works, Volume 31) Despite “missteps and errors”, John concludes, the Comintern made a significant contribution to the Chinese revolution.

John is the founding Director of the Communist International Publishing Project and a member of our advisory group. A lifelong socialist activist, he is one of the world’s foremost scholars of the early Comintern. Joining him on the panel, which was chaired and introduced by Professor Radhika Desai, were:

  • Professor Cheng Enfu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences;
  • Sara Flounders, Contributing Editor of the US communist newspaper Workers’ World and a key anti-war organiser for decades;
  • Professor Alexander Buzgalin of Moscow State University;
  • Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER coalition and a central leader of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in the US;
  • Frank Chapman, Executive Director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and Central Committee member of the US communist group Freedom Road Socialist Organisation; and
  • Xin Yuzhou, a member of the Communist Youth League working in the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

The full event can be viewed on YouTube.

“Workers of the world, unite!” This celebrated call, first voiced by Marx and Engels almost two centuries ago, continues today to resound worldwide in the struggles of working people seeking political and social liberation. To be sure, at first the Communist Manifesto’s appeal was heard only in Europe and European settlements overseas. However, following the Russian revolution of 1917, the Manifesto’s call for universal workers’ unity quickly gained a hearing in every part of the globe.

The principles of the Communist Manifesto found expression in the global struggle to defend the newly established Soviet republic from a host of invading anti-Soviet armies, including a contingent from Canada. The Soviet republic’s defenders included about fifty thousand Chinese workers resident in Russia, who joined in the Red Army to defend the Russian soviet republic.

Two years later, in 1919, the Communist International was launched as a vehicle to unite working people worldwide and carry the message of the Communist Manifesto to every continent.[1]

As our colleague Cheng Enfu has pointed out, the International set its strategic goal as nothing less than “the overthrow of international capital and the establishment of workers’ power throughout the world.”[2]

A year later, in 1920, the Communist International rallied two thousand delegates from Central Asia and the Middle East at a historic congress convened in Baku, Azerbaijan.[3]

The International’s call for the Baku Congress appealed to all victims of colonialism the world over to join in the struggle for “complete equality of all peoples and races, whatever language they may speak, whatever the color of their skin and whatever the religion they profess.” The Baku Congress called for “liberation of all humanity from the yoke of capitalist and imperialist slavery, for the ending of all forms of oppression of one people by another … and of all forms of exploitation.”[4]

The Baku Congress rallied close to two thousand delegates, mostly from the Mideast and central Asia. Significantly, it numbered eight Chinese delegates among its participants. Two years later, a similar congress of delegates from the Far East and Central Asia, convened by the Communist International in 1922, included 42 Chinese delegates.[5]

In 1925, Chinese anti-colonial demonstrators in Shanghai were assaulted by imperialist military forces stationed in the city. Dozens of protesters were killed and many more wounded. Horror at this colonialist atrocity spread not only in China but across Russia, Europe, and beyond. In response, a formidable solidarity movement sprang up on several continents. The resulting “Hands Off China” campaign gathered significant support worldwide. These efforts were coordinated by a solidarity organization called International Red Aid, led by members of the Communist International. Red Aid gathered significant material assistance and funds, which were sent off to the embattled people of China.

The central leader of Red Aid, the German Communist Willi Münzenberg, declared its goal in these words:  “We want to form a holy alliance, we, the white, yellow, black, and differently coloured underdogs… for the liberation of all those who suffer.”[6]

Workers’ meetings in Europe were addressed by Chinese socialists. In Beijing a rally of 100,000 Chinese workers greeted a European socialist speaker with passionate enthusiasm. In this manner, the central concept of the Communist Manifesto – Workers of the World Unite! – won an expanded audience on a global scale.

Enfu Cheng and Jun Wang have drawn our attention to the underlying principle of internationalism, namely that “the interests of the proletarian struggle in any one country should be subordinated to the interests of that struggle on a worldwide scale” and that “a nation which is achieving victory over the bourgeoisie should be able and willing to make the greatest national sacrifices for the overthrow of international capital.”[7]

As Enfu Cheng and Jun Wang have pointed out, the application of this internationalist principle by the Communist International was marked by missteps and errors. Nonetheless, they state, the Communist International provided material support in various forms as well as systematic theoretical and strategic guidance to the Chinese revolution.

The ideas of the Communist Manifesto live on today, finding expression in struggles against oppression and for liberation in every country and on every continent. It is thus with joy that we join together today in giving expression to the core ideas of communism’s great Manifesto.


[1] . John Riddell, ed., Founding the Communist International: Proceedings and Documents of the First Congress, March 1919, New York: Pathfinder, 1987.

[2] Enfu Cheng and Jun Yang, “The Chinese Revolution and the Communist International,” Third World Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 8, pp. 1338–1352.

[3] John Riddell, ed., To See the Dawn, Baku 1920, New York: Pathfinder, 1993.

[4]  Riddell, ed., To See the Dawn, pp. 231–32.

[5]  Riddell, ed., To See the Dawn, p. 242; John Sexton, ed., Alliance of Adversaries: The Congress of the Peoples of the Far East, Chicago: Haymarket, 2018.

[6]  Riddell, “International Red Aid,” at johnriddell.com,  https://johnriddell.com/2021/07/29/international-red-aid-1922-1937/.

[7] Enfu Cheng and Jun Yang, ibid.

Carlos Martinez: China and the Future of Socialism

The video embedded below is of a presentation and extended question and answer session with Carlos Martinez, co-editor of Friends of Socialist China, on assorted topics connected to socialism in China. The session took place at the Critical Theory Workshop‘s Summer School in Paris, on 18 July 2022. The themes covered include: is China socialist? What is the specific importance of China in terms of global politics? Is China ‘authoritarian’? What is the basis of China’s foreign policy? How can we assess the overall record of actually existing socialism? What’s the nature of the New Cold War?

On the application of Xi Jinping Thought in an imperialist country

On 10 December, the first of two online seminars on the theme ‘The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its World Significance’, organised jointly by Friends of Socialist China and the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was held. We are pleased to publish below the contribution by Dr Hugh Goodacre, Managing Director of the Institute for Independence Studies and lecturer in the History of Economic Thought at University College London. Hugh’s speech provides a profound and thought-provoking analysis of the global relevance of Chinese socialism, situating the new developments in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era within the overall and ongoing 170-year evolution of Marxism. He observes: “Xi Jinping Thought is deeply grounded in the scientific socialist tradition, standing in direct continuity with the work of its founders, and is indeed the Marxism of today.”

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this Seminar on the world significance of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China. This was indeed an event of historic significance, in particular for its having firmly established the core position of Comrade Xi Jinping in the Central Committee and the Party as a whole, as well as of Xi Jinping Thought.

As the Resolution on the Party Constitution amendment noted: “The Congress unanimously agrees that the new developments in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era since the Party’s 19th National Congress should be incorporated into the Party Constitution, so as to better reflect the major contributions made by the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core to advancing the Party’s theoretical, practical, and institutional innovations.”

As a contribution to the assessment of its significance, my following comments aim to establish three interlinked points:

First, Xi Jinping Thought, the guiding ideology of socialism with Chinese characteristics, epitomises the outstanding features of socialism in the world today.

Secondly, Xi Jinping Thought is deeply grounded in the scientific socialist tradition, standing in direct continuity with the work of its founders, and is indeed the Marxism of today.

Thirdly, Xi Jinping Thought provides the basis for substantial steps forward in our work in this country to forge a socialist ideology and political line, on the basis of which we can build a genuinely socialist movement in this, the oldest imperialist country.

Continue reading On the application of Xi Jinping Thought in an imperialist country

Sergio Rodríguez Gelfenstein: Socialism is alive in China

This article by Sergio Rodriguez Gelfestein, former director of international relations in Venezuela’s presidential office and former ambassador to Nicaragua, discusses the recent 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, situating it within the broader process of socialist construction in both China and the world.

The author connects Socialism with Chinese Characteristics to the overall Marxist tradition stretching back to the first works of scientific socialism of the 1840s. Although the global socialist movement suffered a terrible blow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the European people’s democracies, the CPC has now “shouldered the responsibility and has the confidence and ability to contribute to the development of scientific socialism.”

As such, the emerging US-led New Cold War is not simply a matter of economic competition, or even “inter-imperialist rivalry” as some in the Western left believe; rather it occurs “within a framework of systemic confrontation between development models that emerge from antagonistic ideological proposals.”

The English translation of this article was published by Workers World.

Many important issues were discussed at the recently concluded 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Chinese and foreign analysts have written extensively on the subject. As almost always when giving an opinion about China, the analyses mostly deal with state issues that — in this case — were discussed at the event.

But if I were asked what was the highlight of this event, I would have no hesitation in affirming that the great event of the Chinese Communist Party had a keen orientation toward the internal strengthening of the organization, so that it can play its role as leader of the Chinese society on its way to socialism.

CPC part of a long process

In this context, it seems necessary to highlight the strong ideological content of the debates in this Congress. It continued discussions held in the past and in previous similar events, and has presented a solid vindication of Marxism-Leninism as part of the support that has allowed the Communist Party of China “to comprehensively dominate the great struggle, the great work, the great cause and the great dream” . . . that “has culminated in the historic task of completing the comprehensive construction of a society modestly well-off and the consequent fulfillment of the objective of struggle established for the first centenary (year 2021) and has undertaken the new expedition of the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist country toward the objective of struggle set for the second.” (2049)

Continue reading Sergio Rodríguez Gelfenstein: Socialism is alive in China

Ideological work in the new era of socialism in China

We are pleased to publish this important and well-researched article by Gabriel Martinez on ideological work and struggle in China since the beginning of ‘reform and opening up’ at the end of the 1970s. Gabriel is a postgraduate student from Brazil, currently finishing his studies in Marxist Philosophy at Beijing Normal University. He has lived in China for the last five years.

He notes that the important changes in the country’s economic sphere have been accompanied by a series of ideological changes, with both positive and negative aspects and bringing new challenges for the development of socialism in China. Noting the emergence of a trend of bourgeois liberalization, the author stresses that this has always been opposed by successive generations of Chinese leaders. “However, while recognizing that the Party has always called attention to the need to strengthen ideological work, one cannot fail to recognize that Xi Jinping’s coming to power represents a turning point in the Communist Party of China’s political line… Xi Jinping has been paying close attention to this problem, aiming to restore and consolidate the authority and leading role occupied by Marxism as the theoretical basis guiding socialist construction and modernization in China.”

Analyzing the effects of the existence of capitalist relations of production in the primary stage of socialism on the ideological sphere, Gabriel notes that “it is necessary, therefore, to differentiate between what are the positive effects that capitalist private property can create for the development of the productive forces, from what is the ideology it inevitably produces, and the negative effects generated by capitalist relations of production in the most varied domains of social life.”

A great deal of other important material is covered in the article, which we consider well worth careful study and discussion. It was previously published in Chinese on the website of Kunlunce, a Chinese think tank that publishes articles by Marxist professors and researchers, and in Portuguese on the website Resistencia, which is associated with the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB).

The Reform and Opening policy, initiated by the Communist Party of China in 1978, has produced important transformations in the economic sphere of the country. The transformation in the structure of property, little by little, caused the basic structure of property relations in the country to change to a system where the state public economy was considered its backbone, but coexisting with multiple forms of property, which exist and develop together (including domestic and foreign private property). These transformations were accompanied by a series of ideological changes, changes that have an influence on the most varied sectors of social life. This influence can be seen in the way of life of the population, in the economy, in culture, in the arts, and also in politics. Chinese society, from an ideological point of view, has become more “diversified”, and such diversification, obviously, not only has positive aspects, but also produces negative consequences and brings new challenges for the development of socialism in China. In this article I will try to outline some aspects of the formulations of the Communist Party of China on ideological work and how this work is acquiring a new role in China led by Xi Jinping.

The struggle against bourgeois liberalization in the new era of socialism

After the beginning of the reforms, an ideological trend emerged in China called “bourgeois liberalization. The phenomenon of bourgeois liberalization, to this day, exerts a pernicious influence on China’s development process and the building of a socialist culture. How does the Communist Party define this liberalization? According to Deng Xiaoping:

Since the fall of the Gang of Four an ideological trend that we call bourgeois liberalization has emerged. Its exponents idolize the “democracy” and “freedom” of Western capitalist countries and reject socialism. This cannot be tolerated. China must modernize, but she must not promote liberalization or take the capitalist path, as Western countries have done. [1]

Deng Xiaoping’s quotation clearly shows us that, from the very beginning, the problem of bourgeois liberalization has always been the object of attention by the leaders of the Communist Party of China. Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, etc., dealt with this problem several times. However, it is not wrong to say that over the years, far from being solved, it still exists and exerts considerable influence. Faced with the new political line approved after the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CCP held in 1978, which established a break with the previous line of “taking class struggle as the main link,” placing economic construction and socialist modernization at the center of the Party’s activity, a very active political tendency arose, which defended the idea that besides reforms in the economic sphere, it was also necessary to carry out reforms of a political nature, calling for more “democracy” and “freedom. This ideological current became quite politically active, especially from the 1980s onwards, seeking to divert the Reform and Opening from its original path and direction of perfecting the socialist system, to the path of restoring capitalism and the bourgeois-type political system, as happened in the Soviet Union.

At first, especially among intellectual circles, an anti-Mao Zedong wave swept the country, leading to an open contestation of the resolutions presented by the CCP in its historic document On Some Problems in the History of Our Party from the Founding of the PRC to the Present Day in 1981. The document, while stating that Mao Zedong made some mistakes at the end of his life, is quite clear in its recognition and exaltation of the Chinese leader’s historical role in the history of Party and Republic building. The document clearly states that Mao Zedong’s successes far outweigh his mistakes. Says the resolution:

Continue reading Ideological work in the new era of socialism in China

Listening to our CPC comrades on the nature of China’s socialist path

We are very pleased to republish this instructive article by Professor Roland Boer, which was first carried by the Australian Marxist Review (AMR), journal of the Communist Party of Australia. 

The article considers three main points, namely “what our comrades in the Communist Party of China say about their own system; what insights the Marxist-Leninist method provides; and how Chinese communists see the economic development of China from 1949 through to today,” and is based not least on the author’s last 12 years of engagement with China, living there for up to six months of the year and learning the language. 

Roland locates the background to how the Chinese communists approach, assess and analyse issues arising in their development within the basic framework of Marxism-Leninism, including that the seizure of power by the proletariat is not the end, but rather the beginning of a long and complex struggle to actually build a socialist society. He further analyses the three main stages in the development of New China, from 1949-1978, 1978-2012 and 2012-, noting the achievements scored in each, the problems that arose, and how they were addressed, particularly in the subsequent stage. 

In his conclusion he notes: “I suggest that it is important to listen to what our CPC comrades think about their own system, based upon immense amounts of research on the concrete reality in China, and not let bourgeois criticisms and Western imperialist assumptions set the agenda.” We agree!

This article formed part of a special May 2022 edition of AMR, devoted to China, and containing many interesting articles. It may be read in full here

I would like to make a small contribution to a topic of discussion and debate in a number of Communist parties in the world today, including the CPA. It concerns the nature of socialism in China, or what is also known as Socialism with Chinese Characteristics – better translated as ‘socialism in light of China’s conditions’. My contribution arises from more than a dozen years of experience in China. I would like to do so in three main parts: what our comrades in the Communist Party of China say about their own system; what insights the Marxist-Leninist method provides; and how Chinese communists see the economic development of China from 1949 through to today. The assumption in what follows is that inner-party discussions such as this are undertaken in a comradely manner. I hope that what is provided here can aid our discussion in some ways.

Listening to Our CPC Comrades

The CPC is a fraternal party with the CPA, so it would be helpful to listen carefully to what our CPC comrades say about the nature of their system. There are a number of ways we can do so. As for me, I prefer engaging in person-to-person discussion with members of the CPC. This has meant that over the last 12 years of my engagement with China (living and working there for up to 6 months a years), I have learnt the language and researched in depth Chinese Marxism and its socio-economic system. I have spoken with CPC cadres at many levels of the party, in the city and in the countryside, at major meetings and at local party branches. We have discussed many, many topics concerning the Marxist method and the difficult tasks of constructing socialism.

Another approach is to keep up with the many developments via CPC sources. Given the size of the party and its close involvement at all levels of Chinese society, there are very many of these sources. The following comprise only a small sample: the Central Committee journal Qiushi,[1] which comes out twice a month (www.qstheory.cn/) – note that English translations lag by a few months (http://en.qstheory.cn/) and not all of the articles on the Chinese site are translated into English; Red Flag (www.qstheory.cn/dukan/hqwg/2021-07/09/c_1127638960.htm);CPC news (http://cpc.people.com.cn/); the party history site (http://dangshi.people.cn/); the party’s newspaper, ‘Renmin Ribao’ (http://www.people.com.cn/), and so on. If you need to use an online translator, it would better to use more reliable ones, such as fanyi.youdao.com or fanyi.baidu.com (google translate is not reliable). Of course, there are even more local party sites and social media apps for local branch members. After all, the CPC has 92 million members.

Continue reading Listening to our CPC comrades on the nature of China’s socialist path

What is “new” about the new path of Chinese-style modernisation?

We are pleased to publish this paper by Hong Xiaonan, Dean of the School of Marxism at China’s Dalian University of Technology (DUT), part of our occasional series of selected presentations from the Cloud International Workshop on ‘New forms of human civilization from a world perspective’, held by the School, October 29-31, 2021.

In his paper, Professor Hong argues that Chinese-style modernization is new in five aspects. It is mega-scale; is one where the entire population enjoys common prosperity; where material and spiritual civilization are in harmony; where humanity and nature co-exist in harmony; and that follows the path of peaceful development. In a few words, it is socialist modernization and modernization for developing countries.

Professor Hong outlines the stages of modernization theory, through the paradigm of “America First”, the emergence of capitalist and socialist camps headed respectively by the United States and the Soviet Union, the wave of decolonization and national liberation movements, through to the emergence of Chinese-style modernization.

The author notes that General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that China’s modernization means that more Chinese people than the population of all developed countries combined would enter the ranks of modernization. By way of comparison, the pre-18th century rise of the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, with a combined population of about one million, was at best equivalent to the rise of a county in China today.

He compares China’s modernization, aimed at “the all-round development of human beings”, to the western model, which is “entirely oriented towards the logic of capital, with the market economy as the only driving mechanism. This inevitably leads to an ever-greater division between rich and poor… Western capitalist modernization was constructed on the foundation of primitive accumulation, in terms of blood-soaked colonial plunder external to capitalist countries and ruthless exploitation of the people within these countries. As Marx observed… ‘capital comes [into the world] dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.’… The British ‘Enclosure Movement,’ the United States’ ‘Westward Movement,’ and the criminal slave trade are all examples of the ‘original sin’ of Western capitalist modernization.”

In contrast, Professor Hong echoes Xi Jinping’s words in his report to the 19th Party Congress, in pointing out that China’s modernization, “offers a completely new option for those countries and peoples in the world that want to accelerate development while maintaining their independence.”

Once again, we are grateful to the DUT translation team and to Professor Roland Boer for their work to make this important paper available in English.

Abstract: The new path of Chinese-style modernisation is “new” in that it is different from the Western path of modernisation. The “new” characteristic has five aspects: 1) modernisation on a mega-scale; 2) modernisation in which the entire population enjoys common prosperity; 3) modernisation in which material and spiritual civilisation are in harmony; 4) modernisation in which humanity and nature coexist in harmony; 5) and modernisation that follows the path of peaceful development. Chinese-style modernisation is socialist modernisation, with unique characteristics that are different from capitalist modernisation. Chinese-style modernisation has changed the long-standing dominance of the model of Western modernisation and the power of its discourse monopoly. It has broken the stereotype and “beautiful myth” that “globalisation = Westernisation,” that “westernisation = modernisation,” and that “modernisation = marketisation.” It has overcome the inherent and innate defects of capitalist modernisation, and provided a completely new option for modernisation, thereby showing a promising prospect for the modernisation of human society. Chinese-style modernisation is a modernisation for developing countries, opening up a completely new path towards modernisation for late-developing countries.

Keywords: New path of Chinese-style modernisation; Western modernisation; new forms of human civilisation.


The new path of Chinese-style modernisation is “new” in that it is different from the Western path of modernisation

Modernisation as a world historical process reflects the tremendous changes that human society has undergone from traditional agricultural societies to modern industrial societies. This process began in Western Europe, expanded across North America and the rest of Europe, and spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The study of the theory of modernisation emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, with the main academic fronts in the United States, West Germany, Japan, and other countries. The object of this research concerned the newly independent post-war countries, that is, the developing countries of the Third World. The task was to examine the new paths, strategies, and models for the development of these new countries. Generally speaking, Western research on modernisation began as a sub-discipline, mainly using theories and methods from different Western disciplines such as sociology, economics, political science, and psychology to construct theoretical frameworks so as to analyse and compare the modernisation of non-Western developing countries and to conduct field research.

After the Second World War, the new scientific and technological revolution in the Western capitalist world brought about rapid development of the productive forces and rapid growth of the capitalist economy, which not only quickly healed the wounds of war in the capitalist world, but also strengthened the confidence in Western civilisation, which had for a time been lost as a result of the economic crisis and war. In particular, through the Second World War, the United States leapt ahead to become the centre and leader of the Western capitalist world. Many Western scholars, including some in the United States, were filled with a sense of novelty and admiration for the United States, creating the illusion of “America first” and arguing theoretically for the superiority and rationality of the Western capitalist system. In terms of this background, research on the emergence of modern society began to flourish in a number of universities in the United States, and from this research the so-called “modernisation theory” – or to be precise, “Western modernisation theory” – gradually took shape.

Continue reading What is “new” about the new path of Chinese-style modernisation?

Xi Jinping: Hold high the great banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects

We are pleased to reproduce below the full text of the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, given by General Secretary Xi Jinping on 16 October 2022. At nearly 25,000 words, it is a long document but deserves careful reading, as it sets out in detail the CPC’s vision for the coming period. You can also read a summary, written by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett.

The English translation of the report was originally published in Xinhua.

Comrades,

On behalf of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), I will now deliver a report to the 20th National Congress.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a meeting of great importance. It takes place at a critical time as the entire Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups embark on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal.

The theme of this Congress is holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implementing the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carrying forward the great founding spirit of the Party, staying confident and building strength, upholding fundamental principles and breaking new ground, forging ahead with enterprise and fortitude, and striving in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.

Since its founding a century ago, the Communist Party of China has taken a remarkable journey. Our Party has dedicated itself to achieving lasting greatness for the Chinese nation and committed itself to the noble cause of peace and development for humanity. Our responsibility is unmatched in importance, and our mission is glorious beyond compare. It is imperative that all of us in the Party never forget our original aspiration and founding mission, that we always stay modest, prudent, and hard-working, and that we have the courage and ability to carry on our fight. We must remain confident in our history, exhibit greater historical initiative, and write an even more magnificent chapter for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

I. The Work of the Past Five Years and
the Great Changes in the First Decade of the New Era

The five years since the 19th National Congress have been truly momentous and extraordinary. The Party Central Committee has pursued a strategy of national rejuvenation amid global changes of a magnitude not seen in a century. It has convened seven plenary sessions, at which it adopted decisions and resolutions on major issues such as revising China’s Constitution, deepening reform of Party and state institutions, upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives through the Year 2035, and conducting a thorough review of the Party’s major achievements and historical experience over the past century. At these sessions, major strategic plans were also made for advancing the cause of the Party and the country. The Central Committee has brought together the entire Party, the military, and the Chinese people and led them in effectively responding to grave, intricate international developments and a series of immense risks and challenges. With great effort and determination, we have steadily advanced socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: Hold high the great banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects

Interview with Gennady Zyuganov on Chinese socialism

The recently concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) attracted the close attention of communist and progressive forces around the world.

In that regard, shortly before the opening of the Congress, Comrade Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), gave an extensive interview to the leading Chinese newspaper, Guangming Ribao.

Acclaiming the CPC’s century of struggle, the Russian communist leader noted that: “Over the past hundred years the CPC dramatically changed the destiny of the Chinese people. It liberated them from the shackles of semi-colonial dependence, national humiliation and economic enslavement and made the people masters of their land and their destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC the working people of China have driven out foreign invaders, established and consolidated their power and built a middle-income society.”

Speaking of his Chinese counterpart, Zyuganov said: “Xi Jinping is flesh of the flesh of the great Chinese people.” He further noted that the Chinese leader’s father, Comrade Xi Zhongxun, is “a representative of the first generation of Chinese revolutionaries. He was among the founders and leaders of the revolutionary base in the liberated regions of the Shanxi and Gansu provinces and organizers of political work in the People’s Liberation Army of China.”

Noting that the ideas contained in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era are “universal in character,” and that they “constitute a major innovative contribution to the development of the Marxist theory”, Zyuganov continued: “Writing about socialist society in 1890, Friedrich Engels pointed out that it is not ‘something given once and for all.’ And the great thinker stressed: ‘Like any other social system it should be seen as subject to constant changes and transformations’ … Marx, Engels and Lenin have repeatedly stressed that the characteristics of the socialist social and economic system manifest themselves in the practice of socialist construction in each individual country. Life has vindicated these theoretical premises: a socio-economic system cannot be created according to a single template. Historical experience shows that transition to socialism calls for a combination of the fundamental ideas of Marxism-Leninism and the real state of affairs.”

After speaking about the present situation regarding relations between Russia and China, and such related topics as the conflict in Ukraine, the heightened imperialist hostility and threats to both Russia and China, and the related moves to rehabilitate and revive fascism and militarism and reverse the correct verdicts passed in 1945, Comrade Zyuganov concludes:

“The CPRF is preparing to mark the centenary of the formation of the USSR. Moving along the path of building socialism our country has achieved great successes which have an intransient significance for the whole human race. In 1917 Russia was the first to breach the international front of imperialism and embark on the building of a new society. Following this path under the leadership of the Communist Party the Soviet people have created the most advanced economy for that time, raised living standards, developed science and culture, vanquished fascism and conquered outer space. In the 21st century the relay of victories and accomplishments has been confidently taken from the USSR by socialist China…

“It is only by working persistently to strengthen the unity of the Russian and Chinese people and build up our joint efforts in the struggle against the West’s neo-colonial aspirations that we can uphold the sovereignty of our countries. As Stalin would have said in a similar situation, we will either do it quickly, or we will be crushed.”

We are pleased to republish the full text of this important interview. It was originally published in English on the website of the CPRF.

Speaking at the International Forum of the CPC and Marxist Parties organized by the Communist Party of China you noted that the centenary of the CPC which was marked a year ago was an outstanding milestone in the history of the Chinese people which had great resonance in many countries. How do you assess the successes achieved by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China during the 101 years of revolutionary development?

During its more than a century-long existence the Communist Party of China has traversed a glorious path of creative endeavor. Following its initial goal and fulfilling its mission of social restructuring it managed to unite the popular masses and launch the struggle for a great resurgence of the country on the basis of the values of peace, labor, justice, humanism and progress. In this struggle it has achieved outstanding historic results. Over the past hundred years the CPC dramatically changed the destiny of the Chinese people. It liberated them from the shackles of semi-colonial dependence, national humiliation and economic enslavement and made the people masters of their land and their destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC the working people of China have driven out foreign invaders, established and consolidated their power and built a middle-income society. Today the Chinese look to the future with complete confidence and are making the history of their great Motherland in the new era. Within a historically brief space of time a massive leap has been made toward creating a high-tech industry and dramatically raising people’s living standards. Along with dynamic economic growth long-term stability of the Chinese society has been ensured. This is extremely important for the country as a whole and for each concrete individual. Socialist China is an indisputable leader on many key parameters.

Continue reading Interview with Gennady Zyuganov on Chinese socialism

Summary of Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC

The following article by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett provides a brief summary of Xi Jinping’s highly significant and substantial report given at the opening of the CPC’s 20th National Congress on 16 October 2022.

As soon as the official English translation of the report is available, we will republish it on this site.

Entitled Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive in Unity to Build a Modern Socialist Country in All Respects, Comrade Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a political document of great significance, summing up the work of a 96-million strong party over the last period and outlining its course ahead.

Comrade Xi begins by noting that the congress, “takes place at a critical time as the entire Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups embark on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal”, which is that of building a fully modernized socialist country. In this course, it is imperative that the party “never forget our original aspiration and founding mission”, and “always stay modest, prudent, and hard-working.”

Calling the five years since the last congress, “truly momentous and extraordinary”, he noted that the Party had led the Chinese people in “effectively responding to grave, intricate international developments and a series of immense risks and challenges.” It had promoted high-quality development, whole-process people’s democracy, improved public well-being as a matter of priority, put the people and their lives above all else, and launched an all-out people’s war to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Moreover, it had dealt with “drastic changes in the international landscape, especially external attempts to blackmail, contain, blockade, and exert maximum pressure on China”, by showing a “fighting spirit” and a “firm determination to never yield to coercive power.”

Over the last five years, the party had led the people “in solving a great number of problems that had long gone unsolved, securing many accomplishments that hold major future significance, and achieving impressive advances in the cause of the Party and the country.”

Continue reading Summary of Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC

Why is the great project of Ecological Civilization specific to China?

The following article, reprinted from MR (Monthly Review) Online – and also published by the Poyang Lake Journal in China – is an extensive interview by three Chinese scholars with Professor John Bellamy Foster on the specificity of the ecological civilization project to China. Bellamy Foster is a significant and original Marxist theoretician and edits the long-established independent socialist journal Monthly Review. Much of his work in recent years has been devoted to exploring the synergy between ecology and Marxism.

The interviewers note that he opposes and refutes the severing of connections between Chinese ecological tradition and Marxism, in a way that would place the latter in opposition to Chinese traditional culture. Bellamy Foster contends that synergizing the various factors involved is a daunting task, “but I would immediately dispel the notion that… [it is] insurmountable by pointing to one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of the twentieth century: Joseph Needham.”

Bellamy Foster’s citing of Needham in this context is significant. The main compiler of the monumental, multi-volume series, Science and Civilization in China, in its obituary, the Independent newspaper described him as “possibly the greatest scholar since Erasmus.” Yet his contributions to Marxism remain largely overlooked by the left. According to Bellamy Foster, “For Needham, it was the dialectical vision of Karl Marx that was most crucial in creating a renewed ecological vision in the present day. But it was also necessary to draw on… traditional Chinese thought,” including Daoism, a method that Bellamy Foster also employs.

Developing his argument that it is specifically China’s socialist orientation that enables the country to be today’s pioneer in the development of an ecological civilization, Bellamy Foster notes:

“As Needham insisted, there are deep ecological roots in Chinese culture. Nevertheless, it is socialism with Chinese characteristics and ecological Marxism that have put the concept of ecological civilization on the agenda today in China in a way that is entirely absent in the capitalist world system itself… [President] Xi spoke of ‘socialist eco-civilization,’ involving ‘a new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony… [with] nature.’ Here he was acknowledging that there can be no true ‘global endeavor for ecological civilization’ unless it is at the same time a movement toward socialism.”

In contrast, Bellamy Foster notes that: “Although it is true that the notion of a Green New Deal has been raised by progressives in the West, that conception is usually seen as simply a Green Keynesianism or green corporatism… Moreover, while China has made moves to implement its radical conception of ecological civilization, which is built into state planning and regulation, the notion of a Green New Deal has taken concrete form nowhere in the West. It is merely a slogan at this point without any real political backing within the system. It was talked about by progressive forces and then rejected by the powers that be.”

In the course of the interview, Bellamy Foster develops his thinking on the process of urbanization and the evolving rural/urban balance in China, in the course of which he makes the important point that: “One of the extraordinary results of the Chinese Revolution that still persists today, but is not commonly understood in the West, is that despite the breakup of collective farms and the earlier communal structure, the land in China still is collectively owned by the rural population. In this sense, de-collectivization did not extend to full privatization. Agriculture is still to a considerable extent organized by village communities.”

Questioned on his assertion that “ecological communism cannot be truly realized if there is no environmental proletariat, Bellamy Foster takes issue with the historic influence of economism in socialist thought, explaining that: “The concept of the proletariat was economistically reduced to the industrial proletariat or industrial working class and commonly restricted to the urban population. Yet Marx and Engels themselves had a much wider conception of the proletariat, not restricted to, say, the role of factory workers. Nor did they see material conditions simply in narrow economic terms, but rather as encompassing the larger environment of the workers.”

This, he asserts, can be most clearly seen in Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England, and continues: “Contrary to myth, Marx and Engels were not anti-peasant but wrote a great deal supporting peasant class struggles. Moreover, the great socialist revolutions in Russia, China, and elsewhere, involved proletarian-peasant alliances… The ‘wretched of the earth’ today are struggling over material conditions that are as much environmental as economic, with changing environmental conditions an indirect product of world capital accumulation.”

All in all, this is a very serious and thought-provoking interview that merits careful reading.

Guo Jianren: Professor Foster, thank you for doing this interview. This is my first interview with you and, as far as I know, the first interview you have completed with an ecological Marxism scholar from mainland China. The honor is mine, especially as I have a fairly long acquaintance with your great works. Back in 2004, in my doctoral dissertation, I introduced your works on ecological Marxism in a systematic way to the Chinese Marxist academic readers. In the following decades, we have studied your ecological Marxism closely, and your important contributions have been recognized, examined, and disseminated further. Thank you again for giving this lecture on “Ecological Civilization and Ecological Revolution: An Ecological Marxist Perspective” at the invitation of the Sunshine Valley Cobb Ecological Institute. This interview will mainly follow the key points of your speech.

Your lecture begins with the dialectical connections among ecological civilization, ecological Marxism, and ecological revolution, viewed from both historical and practical perspectives. You demonstrate the importance of ecological socialism or ecological Marxism in the conception of ecological civilization, and point out that in non-socialist countries, people can only talk about ecological civilization in an abstract and empty way. You oppose and refute the cultural theorist Jeremy Lent’s interpretation of the conception of Chinese ecological civilization, which separates the connections between Chinese ecological civilization, socialism, and the Marxist ideological tradition, placing Chinese traditional culture in opposition to Marxism. This makes Lent’s analysis seriously inconsistent with the historical process and practical reality of China’s ecological civilization’s conceptional development. In contrast, your analysis leads to an issue that we are very concerned about. In relation to your ecological-materialism method developed on the basis of historical materialism and dialectical materialism, and in accordance with the theoretical research into ecological Marxism and Chinese ecological civilization, the question arises: How is this connected to ideological and cultural elements other than Marxism, such as achievements in natural science, incorporation of Chinese traditional cultural concepts, or the role of Whiteheadian organic philosophy? This is a critical issue for studies of ecological Marxism in China right now, and one in which there is an urgent need for theoretical breakthroughs. Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping’s thoughts on ecological civilization in China, the practice of eco-civilization is making progress day by day. China’s practice of rapid renewal in this area requires continuous progress in theoretical updating, so that the development of practice and theory are advanced at an accelerating synergetic pace.

Continue reading Why is the great project of Ecological Civilization specific to China?

Cheng Enfu: The new pattern of international economy and politics is conducive to the development of world socialism

The International Manifesto Group (IMG), a discussion group of academics and activists in which Friends of Socialist China participates, held an online symposium on Sunday October 16 to mark one year since the launch of its manifesto, Through Pluripolarity to Socialism.

Joining an impressive line-up of speakers, Professor Cheng Enfu, a leading academician at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and President of the World Association of Political Economy (WAPE), lauded the Manifesto for its “clear theme, profound ideas and magnificent momentum” in appraising the past, present and future of socialism.

According to Professor Cheng, the response to Covid and the Ukraine conflict have both served to expose imperialism and led more people in the world to support socialism. 

Faced with imperialist aggression, the close relationship between China and Russia objectively constitutes the core of the world progressive forces today, he argues.

According to Professor Cheng, the Soviet Union did not collapse due to any failure of socialism, but rather to the treachery of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin leading groups combined with the long imperialist encirclement.

We are pleased to publish Professor Cheng’s speech below.

In September 2021, I spoke at the launch meeting of the Manifesto: Through Pluripolarity to Socialism. The Manifesto has a clear theme, profound ideas, magnificent momentum, and clearly articulated the history of world socialism, its present status quo and future. The international situation over the past year has continued to confirm the fundamental point of the Manifesto. In the following I would like to share with you a few points of mine on the development of socialism in the world, for the sake of discussion.

First, the severe situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the West has led more people around the world to realize the advantages of the socialist system and its way of governance. So far Russia has exposed dozens of US biological labs in Ukraine, scientists from various countries have revealed that the coronavirus originated in the United States, and the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry has also raised questions about whether the coronavirus originated in the United States. The United States has evaded all these questions. It is now the third year of the pandemic, and no one knows how long it is going to last. As the Manifesto rightly says, “As ramshackle capitalisms responded to the pandemic inevitably shambolically, matters nosedived. Whether they denied it or falsely pitted lives against livelihoods—the capitalist class’s euphemism for profits—their response to the pandemic amounted to the social murder of millions and induced economic crises of historic proportions.”

More and more people around the world are realizing that the developed capitalist countries in the West are responsible for the pandemic and the high mortality rate. The class position and prejudice of Francis Fukuyama, Joseph Nye, etc. lead them to defend the Western system, claiming that the difference between governments of Western countries such as the US and that of China is only the capacity of governance. Such defense is futile. In contrast to the situation in the West, socialist countries like China, Vietnam, Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea follow the human rights principle that prioritizes people’s life and health and have achieved the dual goal of epidemic prevention and control and economic development.

Continue reading Cheng Enfu: The new pattern of international economy and politics is conducive to the development of world socialism

As Western capitalism faces repeated crises, socialist China achieves spectacular success

We are pleased to reproduce this article by Professor Radhika Desai, which originally appeared in Global Times.

Radhika notes that, “After the disintegration of the USSR, the People’s Republic of China, under leadership of the CPC, not only survived, but succeeded spectacularly…(but) none of this was inevitable.”

The secret behind the success of socialism in China and the failure of capitalism, particularly the variety practiced in the United States and Britain, she argues, is best understood by returning to the teachings of Marx.

A further very important factor identified by Radhika is that “the Chinese revolution, even more than the Russian revolution, was at once socialist and anti-imperialist.” Her conclusion is that, “while China does not aim to be a model for other nations, its experience and policies do serve as a worthy example. Other countries can best benefit from their relations with socialist China if they also adapt China’s experience to their aspirations and circumstances.” This resonates with President Xi Jinping’s important observation that: “It [socialism with Chinese characteristics] offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.”

After the disintegration of the USSR, the People’s Republic of China, under leadership of the CPC, not only survived, but succeeded spectacularly. The party-state holding overall control of the economy composed of a pragmatic mix of state and private enterprise has managed to harness market forces to build socialism and brought a very poor society to the threshold of moderate prosperity. It has scored many technological achievements along the way. 

None of this was inevitable. All of it required leadership, who has been capable of well-judged decisions, political skill and wisdom, the ability to learn from mistakes, to listen to the people and, above all, to stand up to powerful capitalism and imperialism. It also required a long-standing commitment to China’s original revolutionary principles. 

Continue reading As Western capitalism faces repeated crises, socialist China achieves spectacular success

Xi Jinping: Consistently develop and uphold Socialism with Chinese characteristics

With the Twentieth National Congress of the Communist Party of China scheduled to open on October 16, the party’s leading theoretical journal, Qiushi, has recently published an extract from an extremely important speech made by General Secretary Xi Jinping on January 5, 2018, at a seminar for new central committee members and other leading cadres. 

Echoing the opening of Comrade Mao Zedong’s famous article, ‘Where do correct ideas come from?’, Comrade Xi asserts that, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics did not fall from the sky”, but rather is deeply rooted not simply in the four decades of ‘reform and opening up’, but in the whole history of the Chinese revolution and in the inheritance of 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. 

He goes on to explain that the socialist revolution constituted, “the most extensive and profound social transformation in the history of the Chinese nation.” After the establishment of the basic socialist system, the Party has, “made a long-term exploration of how to build socialism in China and has made important achievements as well as experienced serious twists and turns. The main problem here is that building socialism in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society like ours is an unprecedented undertaking, and there is no ready-made model to follow.”

Engels, he points out, noted that “‘the so-called ‘socialist society’ is not something that is set in stone, but should be seen, like any other social system, as a society that changes and reforms frequently.'” Socialism with Chinese characteristics has to be grasped, “in the course of the evolution of socialism in the world,” from Marx and Engels who turned socialism from an ideal into a science, to the October Revolution, which saw scientific socialism develop from theory to practice. Furthermore: “After the end of the Second World War, a number of socialist countries were born, especially our Party led the people to establish New China and the socialist system, which led scientific socialism from practice in one country to development in many countries. At that time, the socialist camp was flourishing, and together with the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist struggles of Asian, African and Latin American countries, it formed a basically evenly matched pattern with the capitalist world, which is why Comrade Mao Zedong said that ‘the east wind overwhelmed the west wind.'”

However, historical development is full of twists and turns. Events in the late 1980s and early 1990s not only led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries, they also, “brought a serious impact on the vast number of developing countries that aspired to socialism, and many of them were forced to take the path of copying the Western system.”

Noting that the previous year had seen the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, Comrade Xi explained, “I mentioned this major historical event at the beginning of the second part of the 19th Party Congress report in order to declare the historical impact of the October Revolution on the birth and development of the Chinese Communist Party. As Lenin profoundly pointed out in commemorating the fourth anniversary of the October Revolution, ‘this first victory is not yet final,’ but ‘we have already begun this enterprise. It does not matter when and for what period the proletarians of which country will carry this cause to its conclusion. What is important is that the ice has been broken, the voyage has been opened, the way has been shown.'”

Therefore, Xi notes, “The success of scientific socialism in China is of great significance to Marxism and scientific socialism, and to socialism in the world.” It is conceivable, he continues, that if the leadership of the CPC and China’s socialist system had also collapsed, then the cause of socialism as a whole could have been plunged into darkness. As it is, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics is becoming the banner for the development of scientific socialism in the 21st century and the mainstay for the revitalization of socialism in the world.”

The Chinese leader also addresses the question of the CPC being both a “ruling party” and a “revolutionary party”. He explains that those who assert that the party has transitioned from a revolutionary party to a ruling party are mistaken. They are not two distinct things. “We are communists and revolutionaries and should not lose our revolutionary spirit,” Comrade Xi notes, and continues: “Our Party is a Marxist ruling party, but at the same time it is a Marxist revolutionary party, and we must maintain the same vigor, revolutionary enthusiasm, and desperate spirit as in the past during the revolutionary war and carry out the revolutionary work to the end.”

This document has yet to be officially published in English translation. What follows is a machine translation from the Chinese original, received from the Dongsheng news group. As a result, it may contain some minor inaccuracies and should not be considered definitive. However, we are reprinting it on account of its great importance, rich content and timeliness.

When I met with Chinese and foreign journalists after the First Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, I said that practice has proved that our Party is able to lead the people not only in a great social revolution, but also in a great self-revolution of the whole Party. Let me first make some comments from the perspective of social revolution.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era is the fruit of the great social revolution led by our Party and the continuation of the great social revolution led by our Party, and must be carried out consistently.

Both history and reality tell us that a social revolution often requires a long historical process to achieve ultimate victory. Only by looking back at the road taken, comparing the road of others, looking far ahead of the road, to figure out where we came from, where to go, many issues to see deep, accurate.

Continue reading Xi Jinping: Consistently develop and uphold Socialism with Chinese characteristics

Why China isn’t capitalist

The below article by Stephen Millies was originally published by the US socialist journal Struggle/La Lucha. It is an interesting and provocative response to those comrades on the left who contend that capitalism has been restored in the People’s Republic of China.

Noting that China’s economy may already be larger than that of the United States, Stephen asserts that: “This tremendous economic growth is the result of China’s socialist revolution… You can’t explain China’s fantastic economic growth except by admitting there’s some other social system than capitalism in charge.”

An interesting aspect of the article is its presentation of how the Soviet Union, even in the late 1980s, played a major part in the liberation of southern Africa. It also notes that: “Sometimes retreats are absolutely necessary. For example, the Long March was a glorious retreat that saved the Communist Party of China from being destroyed.” In this context, Stephen also references Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP), along with an observation from Karl Marx that, following a socialist revolution, the working class might have to “buy off the band” of the wealthy.

Wall Street and the Pentagon view the People’s Republic of China as their number one enemy. China is the target of U.S. imperialism’s “Pivot to Asia.” 

China’s economy may already be larger than the United States. The American Enterprise Institute―one of the best-known capitalist think tanks ― admits China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest manufacturer back in 2010. 

That’s historically significant. Factories in the United States exceeded Britain’s production in the 1890s.

China is now the “workshop of the world.” In 2021, China built nearly 17 million more motor vehicles than the U.S.

This tremendous economic growth is the result of China’s socialist revolution. It’s not just a matter of China making more than a billion tons of steel a year or having more miles of high-speed rail than the rest of the world.

When Mao Zedong declared “China has stood up” in 1949 and the People’s Republic of China was born, Chinese people lived to be, on average, just 36 years old. 

By 2022 life expectancy had more than doubled to reach 77.3 years. That’s a longer lifespan than in the United States.

Despite these tremendous gains, some communists and revolutionaries contend that capitalism has been restored in the People’s Republic of China. They point to the 606 billionaires in China, including 67 in Hong Kong. 

Continue reading Why China isn’t capitalist