The most significant component of Chinese Communist Party’s (CPC) Centenary Celebration held on July 1 2021 was the hour-long speech of Xi Jinping, the “core leader”, delivered to the crowd of thousands assembled in Tiananmen Square in a celebratory atmosphere. In his address Xi, as General Secretary of CPC standing ahead of its 25-member Politburo, President of China (the term-limit of which was removed through the 2018 Constitutional Amendment by NPC) and supreme leader of the Armed Forces, called on the members of the CPC to draw strength from the party's history and strive for “China's modernisation and national rejuvenation”. Among other things, the crucial highlights of Xi’s speech were an unequivocal praise of the model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” (so assiduously brought up by CPC since the time of Deng Xiaoping in the post-Mao period) which according to him enabled “China to transform itself from a highly centralised planned economy to a socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from a country that was largely isolated to one that is open to the outside world across the board”, “national rejuvenation” (a theme consistently upheld by Xi since his ascension in 2012) based on a “strong military” to “guarantee the security of the nation” as a “historical inevitability”, accomplishment of “the first centenary goal in 2021” of eliminating poverty, a task undertaken since the 2012 Congress (an already achieved goal during his tenure), a firm resolve to mobilise towards “the second centenary goal in 2049” (centenary of People’s Republic of China) by transforming it “into a great modern socialist country in all respects” based on a further “acceleration of the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces so as to achieve the target of “complete military modernisation” by 2035, and above all a warning to the rival powers that “no one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Exactly one week before (i.e., on June 25) when rehearsals of the upcoming formal celebration were taking place in Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square which was barricaded and closed to the public, China's State Council Information Office had issued a white paper entitled "China's Political Party System: Cooperation and Consultation," elaborating on the distinctive characteristics and strengths of the country's political system, including a highlight on the advantages of the CPC's path in terms of confidence and governance ability. The white paper claimed the political system as the product of a combination of Marxist political party theory and China's reality, which is able to realize the universality of interest representation and guarantee the effectiveness of national governance. On the same day, at a press briefing on the white paper, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee Xu Yousheng said that China's achievements prove that China's political party system is the "best cat to catch mice" (revealingly echoing the famous quote from Deng Xiaoping when he initiated the process of “four modernisations”: "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice." Further, while mentioning China's party system as a "great contribution of political civilization of mankind"), i.e., the most effective tool capable of accomplishing neoliberal development. Xu also stressed that “the world's political party system is diverse, and there is not and cannot be a universal model”. Meanwhile, global corporate media continue with their hate-campaigns on what they call the “disastrous political campaigns” in the early years of Communist rule on the one hand and, showering eulogy on China’s rise to “market reforms” during the neoliberal period that have created the world’s second-largest economy, with a superpower status rivalled only by the United States, on the other. At the same time, many self-professed communist parties which still uphold China as their role model, have extended their wholehearted greetings to CPC on this auspicious occasion. A typical example is that of the CPI (M), which has fully appreciated China’s success in dealing with the current political-economic issues counterpoising it to “International finance capital-led imperialist neoliberal globalisation showing its total bankruptcy in providing any solution”, as if China is resisting neoliberal-corporatisation.
A Brief History
The Communist Party of China (CPC) founded mainly by the initiatives of two revolutionaries, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, with the help of the Far Eastern Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Far Eastern Secretariat of the Communist International in July 1921 has turned 100 during the month of July 2021. Mao Zedong was among the 12 delegates who attended the founding meet held in Shanghai. During both the first phase of CPC from the 1920s to 1949 when Chinese Revolution was successfully completed liberating the country from feudalism and imperialism, and the second phase from 1949 to the 1970s during which the fulfilment of revolutionary and democratic tasks was proceeding, Mao Zedong was at the helm ideologically and politically guiding the Communist Party. Thus, during this long period spanning 1920s to 1970s, in spite of shifting trends of rightist obstruction and leftist deviation, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought remained as the guiding ideology of CPC.
Chinese Revolution of 1949 that broke the imperialist hierarchy inherited from the colonial world order on the one hand, and demolished internal feudal bastion on the other, was an exceptional world historic event having no parallels. After 1949, China traversed a unique path of social, economic and cultural transformation that brought about unparalleled changes in people’s lives. Collectivisation of agriculture, ensuring people’s needs, raising production through appropriate scientific and technological intervention, overcoming malnutrition and illiteracy, integration of manual and mental work, construction of factories and workplaces near farms and schools, comprehensive expansion of health and education, etc., all under proper integration with the commune system, state-led advances in scientific research and higher-professional education, development of heavy industry and provision of a whole set of social and economic services, and in similar other fields, Chinese experience was unparalleled during the quarter century of socialist transformation that abruptly ended in the seventies. Committees of peasants and workers controlled their workplaces while peoples’ movements together with intellectuals undertook social and cultural requirements. One of the major roles of the army was aiding the people in their dwelling and workplaces. To be precise, the self-reliant commune system, ‘the iron rice bowl of socialism’ that China built up during the quarter century of socialist transformation ensured food, housing, health education and employment to all.
During this period of socialist construction, the CPC undertook many political interventions through social and cultural revolutions with a view to transform the relations of production, revolutionise the superstructure and expand democracy for the people exposing and dealing with bureaucratic tendencies in the Party. Revolutionary committees of party cadres at appropriate levels, technical experts and peoples’ communes were involved in this process. For instance, taking in to account the glaring issues involved in the accepted ‘mainstream development paradigm’ that came to be as conceptualised in the idea of “catching up with the West” that got recognition in Soviet Union, Mao brought out his revealing proposal on “On The Ten Major Relationships” in the 1950s such as: 1. The Relationship between heavy industry on the one hand and light industry and agriculture on the other; 2. The relationship between industry in the coastal regions and industry in the interior; 3. The relationship between economic construction and defence construction; 4. The relationship between the state, the units of production and the producers; 5. The relationship between central and local authorities; 6. The relationship between the Han nationality and the minority nationalities; 7. The relationship between party and non-party; 8. The relationship between revolution and counter-revolution; 9. The relationship between right and wrong; and 10. The relationship between China and other countries. Though rudimentary, the conceptualisation on “The Ten Major Relationships” put forward by Mao was capable of challenging the mainstream capitalist development paradigm and to deduce effective strategies for advancing along the road of transition to socialism.
And much before this, in 1950, to avoid a repetition of the mistakes in Soviet Union, Mao had raised the question of streamlining state apparatus and reducing military and administrative expenditures as fundamental prerequisites for achieving a “better financial and economic situation”. Mao was very critical of the manner in which peasants were “squeezed” in Soviet Union in the guise of industrialisation and development. At a time when peasant agriculture at a global level is confronting the biggest existential threat today as a result of the onslaught from corporate capital, the observation made by Mao 70 years ago on sustaining agriculture is relevant even now. And regarding the building up of people’s political power at the local level, Mao said: “ We must not follow the example of the Soviet Union in concentrating everything in the hands of the central authorities shackling the local authorities and denying them the right to independent action.” While appealing to the people to firmly reject the decadent bourgeois systems and ideologies of foreign countries, Mao pursued a dialectical approach of “learning the advanced sciences and technologies” and adopting whatever scientific from foreign countries. He opined: “Neither the indiscriminate rejection of everything foreign, whether scientific, technological or cultural, nor the indiscriminate imitation of everything foreign...has anything in common with the Marxist attitude…” – a perspective that Mao upheld even in CPC’s relation with the Comintern from the very beginning. However, though aware of the deviations in Soviet Union, the CPC led by Mao was always in the forefront of acknowledging the great achievements made by the first socialist country under Lenin and Stalin and was quick to defend Soviet Union against anti-communist propaganda by imperialist centres.
But with the ascendancy of Khrushchevian revisionism that, along with a vicious campaign against Stalin, put forward many prognoses such as “weakened imperialism”, “civilized imperialism”, “disappearance of colonialism” and theorised on “peaceful transition” from capitalism to socialism along with the apolitical prognosis of economic development as the principal task of national liberation movements abandoning class struggle against imperialism, etc., the socialist camp faced a grave setback. In this context, through its polemics against the Soviet leadership called Great Debate of the 1960s that laid down the General Line of the International Communist Movement, the CPC led by Mao Tsetung systematically exposed capitalist restoration in Soviet Union and put forward the general approach towards the neocolonial phase of imperialism. Situating neocolonialism as the new phase of imperialism which is a “more pernicious and sinister form of colonialism” led by US imperialism in the postwar period, the CPC went on characterising the revisionist Soviet leadership as “apologists of neocolonialism”, and explained how social imperialism (socialism in words and imperialism in deeds) converges with bourgeois ideology and practice. Meanwhile from 1956 onward, led by Liu Shao Chi, rightist trends with unilateral emphasis on “productive forces” came to the fore within CPC too, and in the inner-party struggle that followed often saw Mao holding a position of a minority within the Party even as he continued his effort for “an integration of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution”.
It was in this context, and in view of the emerging internal and external threats, that Mao upholding mass line launched the Cultural Revolution to unleash the revolutionary democratic power of the politicised masses for carrying forward socialist advancement and thus to ward off a repetition of the capitalist restoration in China. Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, in brief, was a vigorous political struggle against the capitalist tendencies and bureaucratic corruption by raising the class consciousness of the people and revolutionalise the superstructure along with increase in production through transforming production relations. However, as already noted by Marxist-Leninists, struggle against rightist deviation led to the emergence of left sectarian tendencies including even intolerances committed on scholars and cultural activists. Taking advantage of the fierce inner-party struggle, rightist forces even penetrated into the armed forces curtailing people’s initiatives and mass movements. Meanwhile, Lin Biao, who was keeping a low profile after his military initiatives in the 1940s, came forward and took on a leading role in the late 1960s with his adventurist positions.
These domestic repercussions had their international ramifications too. The CPC’s formulation on neocolonialism and analysis of the the postwar phase of imperialism that unravelled the neocolonial strategy and tactics employed by both US imperialism and Soviet social imperialism which were inspiring to proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world, could not be carried forward in the proper perspective. The ascendancy of left sectarian line led by Lin Biao that interpreted “imperialism heading for total collapse and socialism advancing towards world-wide victory,” was a camouflaged acknowledgement of the prognosis of “weakened imperialism” already put forward by Khrushchevian revisionism in the 1950s. And the erroneous conceptualization of “Soviet social imperialism” as a bigger evil than American imperialism also got acceptance among the left adventurists at a global level. This approach including a host of retrograde moves had its concrete manifestation in July 1971 when Henry Kissinger made his secret visit to Beijing to prepare Richard Nixon’s head-of-state visit to China in February 1972. The “theory of three worlds” which Deng Xiaoping put forward at his UN General Assembly Speech on April 10, 1974 that suggested “Soviet social imperialism” as more dangerous than US imperialism that altogether disoriented both the task of the international proletariat and national liberation movements was the logical corollary of this rightist deviation garbed in sectarianism. With this, the whole understanding on neocolonialism evolved by CPC as part of its erstwhile critique of Soviet revisionism was also thrown into the dustbin. It was also helpful to US-led imperialism that was facing one of the biggest postwar crises during the early seventies to reorient the neocolonial accumulation process altogether throwing away the welfare mask and resorting to naked global plunder through embracing neoliberalism.
In the meanwhile, with the 10th Congress of CPC in 1973, the sectarian trend led by Lin Biao who “waved the red flag to defeat the red flag” being already fallen in 1971, the stage was set for the rehabilitation of the rightist Deng and his cohorts who had to face severe setbacks during the Cultural Revolution and against whom (the Liu-Deng team) Mao had been consistently carrying his ideological struggle since the 1940s. Taking advantage of the weaknesses of Cultural Revolution, Deng emerged powerful, and colluding with the centrist forces many of whom were elected to the 1973 Central Committee, it was relatively easy for him to mount a counterrevolutionary coup following the death of Mao in 1976, leading to the rehabilitation of all revisionist guards and ushering capitalist restoration in China. After consolidating the reins of power in his hands, from 1978 onward, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” was added to the core ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought fundamentally altering the political-ideological line that CPC was pursuing since 1949.
China’s Capitalist Road
Much has already been written on China’s capitalist transformation during the post-Mao period and hence a detailed analysis is not intended here. Restoration of capitalism meant transformation of the People’s Republic into a state capitalist one led by a Party which transformed itself as bureaucratic bourgeois in character. Revolutionary literature of yester years including writings on Cultural Revolution as well as ideological thinking with a revolutionary orientation were censored and suppressed and many supporters of Mao were persecuted. Workers’ strike and critique of economic policies were dealt with based on the official diktat of “development as an absolute principle”. People’s communes that worked in harmony with state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across China were dismantled and all erstwhile guarantees to food, shelter, health, education and other basic needs were systematically taken away. Along with the catchword “it is glorious to get rich”, Deng’s, already noted oft-quoted dictum, "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice," was widely popularised on accounted of its implicit depoliticising mission. As a corollary of this, at the international level, since the 1980s, China altogether abandoned the support and solidarity that PRC had been extending to revolutionary movements and national liberation struggles.
The Chinese political-economic developments since the adoption of the slogan “it is glorious to get rich” and announcement of the so called “four modernisations” have been dramatic. Throughout the 1980s the major focus of CPC and the Chinese regime was to lay the badly needed essential foundations for sustained expansion of capitalism. An effective initial move was the merger/integration of the bureaucratic state with private businesses and orienting state-owned banks toward liberally supporting private businesses. Along with this, from the very beginning, unlike neocolonially dependent countries like India, with its own capability to take independent political-economic decisions, the bureaucratic state of China could enter into various joint ventures between state-owned enterprises and foreign corporate capital and adapt itself to the most modern and state-of-the-art technologies on its own terms. Efforts were also initiated to transform the country as a low-cost export platform making use of China’s inexhaustible source of cheap labour and a number of special economic zones came in to being in many coastal regions of the country. The privatisation strategy got a relative shift since the 1990s, with more focus on FDI inflows. Taking advantage of the cheapest labour, liberal tax and environmental regulations, corporate MNCs and global consultancies quickly made China their favourite destination. This enabled China to become one of the major partners in the neoliberal international division of labour and integrate itself with global finance capital. In conformity with the inherent speculative character of corporate accumulation, real estate, financial markets and other money spinning businesses also flourished in China. To put in brief, thus, from the 1980s, Party-led bureaucratic state of China was transformed into an apparatus committed to safeguard the interests of corporate capital at the expense of workers, peasants and toiling people.
Thus by the turn of the 21st century, China’s bureaucratic state monopoly capitalists had succeeded in building up a number of Chinese monopolies exporting capital to almost a hundred countries (and to more than 125 countries as of 2021). As world’s low-cost production base, China has become successful in capturing proportionately greater share of commodity markets not only in Afro-Asian-Latin American dependent countries, but even in the US itself. At the same time, this Chinese integration with global market has coincided with the emergence of fast moving ‘frontier’ or new generation technologies including digitisation that were practically insignificant in the 20th century. And closely integrated with the bureaucratic state, many MNCs from China have become pioneers in economic innovation and technological application of these technologies to production at a maddening speed. Many Chinese conglomerations like “BAT” (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have reportedly eclipsed or are at par with their US-based counterparts called “Silicon Six” (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Microsoft) both at economic and technological levels. In close integration with these digital giants China has become the leading country in pioneering digital currency initiatives that is capable of challenging the hegemony of US dollar as the international currency.
As a manifestation of the capitalist transformation and growth in the share of private sector in country’s GDP which now hovers around 70 percent, wealth concentration and inequality (and the concomitant corruption too) in China have risen to horrific levels often greater than that of the US. According to 2021 Hurun Global Rich List, during the last five years, China has added 490 billionaires (compared to 160 in the US) to be the first country in the world to have 1058 billionaires, more than the combined total of US, India and Germany. In view of this emerging trend, to achieve close integration of the bureaucratic state and corporate capital or the merger between political power and economy, the 16th Party Congress of CPC held in 2002 had resolved to formally extend party membership to corporate CEOs too (the process of inducting wealthy people into the party was initiated by Deng in 1978 itself). Consequently, within two decades, around half of the Chinese billionaires have become members of the higher committees and the proportion of millionaires and billionaires holding membership in the 92 million-member party today is very high compared to the general population.
No doubt, the socio-economic repercussions of the more than four decades of capitalist development are of unparalleled dimensions. One of its conspicuous outcomes has been the prevalence of what is called ‘uneven development’ on account of the abandonment of the principle of ‘walking on two legs’, an aspect highlighted by Mao in his speech on The Ten Major Relationships. Amidst the spectacular GDP over the last four decades, as is obvious, the self-sufficient and self-reliant communes were almost destroyed leading to horrific displacement of the people from agriculture and country-side and being forced to migrate to urban centres and special economic zones to be subjected to extreme forms of slave labour and super-exploitation. Despite the spectacular economic growth, unlike the western imperialist countries where only 2 percent of the working people is employed in agriculture, around 35 percent of the Chinese working people is still subsisting on agriculture whose contribution to GDP has dwindled to around 10 percent. On the other hand, in spite of the lowest wage rate which is the major attraction on the part of both foreign and domestic capital, the Chinese labour absorption rate in industry, similar to other countries, is relatively low. And the tertiary sector, though growing, is not capable enough to absorb the vast ‘reserve army’ of the unemployed. At the same time, speculation, real estate, financial swindles, etc. are flourishing in China and it is also not immune to the intensifying neoliberal crises as its economy is also interwoven with the global commodity and financial markets. All these are accentuating the contradiction between Chinese state monopoly capitalism on the one hand, and working class and broad masses of people on the other.
Imperialism with Chinese Characteristics
Obviously, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is a convenient camouflage used by the “capitalist roaders” to cover-up the capitalist trajectory of China since the 1980s and its eventual transformation as a leading imperialist power, thereby claiming political legitimacy for hoodwinking not only the people of China but the working class and oppressed peoples of the world too. The same rhetoric of ‘socialism’ was effectively used to deal with the Tiananmen flare-up of the late eighties mainly led by liberal intellectuals, students and dissenting sections within the party who aspired political freedom commensurate with ‘market reforms’ and encouragement given to private capital. And for the western imperialists as well as for imperialist think-tanks and neoliberal ideologues the world over, China’s claim on socialism has become an ideological weapon in their anti-communist propaganda. Meanwhile, based on the laws of motion of capital in the imperialist era as elucidated by Lenin, bureaucratic state monopoly capitalism of Chinas strengthening itself from its growing integration with global market was transforming itself into imperialism. During the late 1990s, the reunification of Hong Kong (1997) and Macao (1999), both being nerve centres of global finance capital, gave further impetus to this process. China’s formal entry in 2001 into WTO, often characterised as the third neo-colonial pillar together with IMF and World Bank, extended it more manoeuvrability in imperialist market and finance capital. By the time of the world economic crisis of 2008, China had become the biggest commodity exporter and was on its way to become the largest capital exporter at par with the US. Along with its active participation in US-led neocolonial political-economic institutions, today, imperialist China is leading several institutions, groupings and initiatives such as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), BRICS including New Development Bank (NDB), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), etc., Despite its rhetoric on “socialism”, completely repudiating Marx’s perspective on military spending as “non-productive waste of part of the social product”, in tandem with its growing imperialist status, during 2000 and 2020 Chinese military spending galloped by 20 times reaching around $260 billion second to US. In the fields of war and space technologies including missiles, bombers, aircraft carriers, etc., Chinese advancement is at par with that of US.
Today, China’s capital export, transforming many countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, etc., as heavily dependent on Chinese capital investment, crossing the borders of Asia, has penetrated to the entire African continent and parts of Europe, is now spreading even to Latin America. While Italy has become part of BRI, disregarding US diktats in NATO, both Germany and France have come forward for broad-based EU-China economic and trade relations. Relegating both US and EU imperialists to the background, Chinese imperialism with its advanced technologies have already become the biggest capital exporter to Africa including the establishment of military bases in countries like Djibouti. The decade since the 2008 World Economic and Financial Crisis followed by the Pandemic saw massive Chinese corporate capital penetration under the camouflage of “development aid” to ports, railroads, roads, pipelines and telecommunications. Quite logically, together with intense plunder of Africa’s precious natural resources and raw materials and super-exploitation of labour, this Chinese neocolonial penetration is also resulting in ruination of the peasantry, unemployment and mass poverty. CPC‘s “Made in China 2025” initiative that envisages a relative alteration from China’s role as a cheap-labour economy to a technology intensive producer and capital exporter also aims at grabbing a greater share in global capital market from its imperialist rivals, especially the US.
Western Notions of Capitalist/Imperialism versus China
A striking aspect to be noted here is that mechanical/western notions of class/property relations and corporate governance do not fit in with the privatisation/corporatisation process in China. The most crucial point is that China being an erstwhile socialist country was delinked from the postwar laws of motion or logic of finance capital during the quarter century from 1949 to mid-1970s. Hence it had the opportunity to evolve a fundamentally different and independent political-economic trajectory till its capitalist restoration in the post-Mao period. As such, rather than a stereo-typed or mechanical analysis that is incapable of unravelling China’s capitalist path and eventual transformation to imperialism, what requires is an analysis of Chinese capitalism/imperialism according to concrete conditions. Moreover, Chinese capitalist roaders and bureaucratic bourgeoisie have learned lessons from the altogether disintegration of the Party itself in Soviet Union. Therefore, since the beginning of its capitalist transformation effectively utilising the industrial and technological base already laid down during the socialist period, the party bureaucracy’s strict supervision was strictly enforced for unleashing the privatisation process, at all levels. Its handling of the Tiananmen unrest was also possible due to this. As such, to ensure constant and strict surveillance, party units or party cells are functioning in almost all business enterprises irrespective of domestic or foreign. Presence of appropriate party representative in the board meetings of companies is the accepted norm, and the decision to give party membership to corporate CEOs is connected with this. Even Walmart, world’s biggest US-based MNC which a few years back was having more than 70 percent of its procurement from China, and which never allowed even unions in its US stores, had to allow party cells in its Chinese stores. Thus there is no compromise on enforcing the bureaucratic-bourgeois state dictatorship on the unhindered corporatisation flourishing in China.
Under Xi Jinping this trend of bureaucratic streamlining of private corporate sector has strengthened further. For instance the high profile Jack Ma of Alibaba (whose e-commerce empire at one time was estimated as bigger than that of the US and EU combined) who until recently was the acclaimed “global face” of corporate China, has suddenly fallen from grace, and being dropped from public view, for the last eight months there is no information on him. Meanwhile, according to reports, the Chinese “regulators” have embarked on “rectification” on account of his outspokenness and public criticism of the bureaucratic financial regulations and reluctance to follow them. This has resulted in a sudden downturn in the fortunes of Ma and as reported shares of Alibaba have slumped around 30 percent since November 2020. Reports also mention on the warnings issued to more than a dozen technology companies to comply with financial regulations now supervised by the People's Bank of China.
However, this does not in any way construe to mean any reversal of the corporate wealth accumulation process in China that is proceeding at a fast pace. What took place has been a removal of the hurdles that stand in the way of an appropriate blending of China’s powerful bureaucratic state regime and private corporate capital that is successfully fulfilling the “success story” of Chinese imperialism. The latest addition of Xi Jinping Thought to the core ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is intended to accomplish this task. In fact, this new formulation is the antithesis of the ideological-political line pursued under Mao during 1949-76. In the meanwhile, presidential term-limit and so called ‘collective leadership’ that have been there were being taken away by Xi, which liberal analysts are interpreting as a move away from “Deng era” to “Mao era”. This makes little sense in the socialist direction since its aim is to promote an image of ‘socialism’ by appeasing the degenerated and depoliticised ‘left’ even as an all-out agenda of bureaucratisation, corporatisation and militarisation and, above all, an assertive role of Chinese imperialism at the global level are in store, which is evident from Xi’s speech, as noted in the Introduction of this article.
[Presently right deviation, revisionism, is the main danger in the communist movement internationally and nationally what do we mean? There are numerous instances we can point out to substantiate it. But, what is this revisionism, is a question raised by many friends. The following article by Lenin written by 1908 on Marxism and revisionism gives a very good analysis of what is revisionism and how it manifests in various fields.- KN]
There is a well-known saying that if geometrical axioms affected human interests attempts would certainly be made to refute them. Theories of natural history which conflicted with the old prejudices of theology provoked, and still provoke, the most rabid opposition. No wonder, therefore, that the Marxian doctrine, which directly serves to enlighten and organise the advanced class in modern society, indicates the tasks facing this class and demonstrates the inevitable replacement (by virtue of economic development) of the present system by a new order—no wonder that this doctrine has had to fight for every step forward in the course of its life.
Needless to say, this applies to bourgeois science and philosophy, officially taught by official professors in order to befuddle the rising generation of the propertied classes and to “coach” it against internal and foreign enemies. This science will not even hear of Marxism, declaring that it has been refuted and annihilated. Marx is attacked with equal zest by young scholars who are making a career by refuting socialism, and by decrepit elders who are preserving the tradition of all kinds of outworn “systems”. The progress of Marxism, the fact that its ideas are spreading and taking firm hold among the working class, inevitably increase the frequency and intensity of these bourgeois attacks on Marxism, which becomes stronger, more hardened and more vigorous every time it is “annihilated” by official science.
But even among doctrines connected with the struggle of the working class, and current mainly among the proletariat, Marxism by no means consolidated its position all at once. In the first half-century of its existence (from the 1840s on) Marxism was engaged in combating theories fundamentally hostile to it. In the early forties Marx and Engels settled accounts with the radical Young Hegelians whose viewpoint was that of philosophical idealism. At the end of the forties the struggle began in the field of economic doctrine, against Proudhonism. The fifties saw the completion of this struggle in criticism of the parties and doctrines which manifested themselves in the stormy year of 1848. In the sixties the struggle shifted from the field of general theory to one closer to the direct labour movement: the ejection of Bakuninism from the International. In the early seventies the stage in Germany was occupied for a short while by the Proudhonist Mühlberger, and in the late seventies by the positivist Dühring. But the influence of both on the proletariat was already absolutely insignificant. Marxism was already gaining an unquestionable victory over all other ideologies in the labour movement.
By the nineties this victory was in the main completed. Even in the Latin countries, where the traditions of Proudhonism held their ground longest of all, the workers’ parties in effect built their programmes and their tactics on Marxist foundations. The revived international organisation of the labour movement—in the shape of periodical international congresses—from the outset, and almost without a struggle, adopted the Marxist standpoint in all essentials. But after Marxism had ousted all the more or less integral doctrines hostile to it, the tendencies expressed in those doctrines began to seek other channels. The forms and causes of the struggle changed, but the struggle continued. And the second half-century of the existence of Marxism began (in the nineties) with the struggle of a trend hostile to Marxism within Marxism itself.
Bernstein, a one-time orthodox Marxist, gave his name to this trend by coming forward with the most noise and with the most purposeful expression of amendments to Marx, revision of Marx, revisionism. Even in Russia where—owing to the economic backwardness of the country and the preponderance of a peasant population weighed down by the relics of serfdom—non-Marxist socialism has naturally held its ground longest of all, it is plainly passing into revisionism before our very eyes. Both in the agrarian question (the programme of the municipalisation of all land) and in general questions of programme and tactics, our Social-Narodniks are more and more substituting “amendments” to Marx for the moribund and obsolescent remnants of their old system, which in its own way was integral and fundamentally hostile to Marxism.
Pre-Marxist socialism has been defeated. It is continuing the struggle, no longer on its own independent ground, but on the general ground of Marxism, as revisionism. Let us, then, examine the ideological content of revisionism.
In the sphere of philosophy revisionism followed in the wake of bourgeois professorial “science”. The professors went “back to Kant"—and revisionism dragged along after the neo-Kantians. The professors repeated the platitudes that priests have uttered a thousand times against philosophical materialism—and the revisionists, smiling indulgently, mumbled (word for word after the latest Handbuch) that materialism had been “refuted” long ago. The professors treated Hegel as a “dead dog”, and while themselves preaching idealism, only an idealism a thousand times more petty and banal than Hegel’s, contemptuously shrugged their shoulders at dialectics—and the revisionists floundered after them into the swamp of philosophical vulgarisation of science, replacing “artful” (and revolutionary) dialectics by “simple" (and tranquil) “evolution”. The professors earned their official salaries by adjusting both their idealist and their “critical” systems to the dominant medieval “philosophy” (i.e., to theology)—and the revisionists drew close to them, trying to make religion a “private affair”, not in relation to the modern state, but in relation to the party of the advanced class.
What such “amendments” to Marx really meant in class terms need not be stated: it is self-evident. We shall simply note that the only Marxist in the international Social-Democratic movement to criticise the incredible platitudes of the revisionists from the standpoint of consistent dialectical materialism was Plekhanov. This must be stressed. all the more emphatically since profoundly mistaken attempts are being made at the present time to smuggle in old and reactionary philosophical rubbish disguised as a criticism of Plekhanov’s tactical opportunism.
Passing to political economy, it must be noted first of all that in this sphere the “amendments” of the revisionists were much more comprehensive and circumstantial; attempts were made to influence the public by “new data on economic development”. It was said that concentration and the ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production do not occur in agriculture at all, while they proceed very slowly in commerce and industry. It was said that crises had now become rarer and weaker, and that cartels and trusts would probably enable capital to eliminate them altogether. It was said that the “theory of collapse” to which capitalism is heading was unsound, owing to the tendency of class antagonisms to become milder and less acute. It was said, finally, that it would not be amiss to correct Marx’s theory of value, too, in accordance with Böhm-Bawerk.
The fight against the revisionists on these questions resulted in as fruitful a revival of the theoretical thought in international socialism as did Engels’s controversy with Dühring twenty years earlier. The arguments of the revisionists were analysed with the help of facts and figures. It was proved that the revisionists were systematically painting a rose-coloured picture of modern small-scale production. The technical and commercial superiority of large-scale production over small-scale production not only in industry, but also in agriculture, is proved by irrefutable facts. But commodity production is far less developed in agriculture, and modern statisticians and economists are, as a rule, not very skilful in picking out the special branches (sometimes even the operations) in agriculture which indicate that agriculture is being progressively drawn into the process of exchange in world economy. Small-scale production maintains itself on the ruins of natural economy by constant worsening of diet, by chronic starvation, by lengthening of the working day, by deterioration in the quality and the care of cattle, in a word, by the very methods whereby handicraft production maintained itself against capitalist manufacture. Every advance in science and technology inevitably and relentlessly undermines the foundations of small-scale production in capitalist society; and it is the task of socialist political economy to investigate this process in all its forms, often complicated and intricate, and to demonstrate to the small producer the impossibility of his holding his own under capitalism, the hopelessness of peasant farming under capitalism, and the necessity for the peasant to adopt the standpoint of the proletarian. On this question the revisionists sinned, in the scientific sense, by superficial generalisations based on facts selected one-sidedly and without reference to the system of capitalism as a whole. From the political point of view, they sinned by the fact that they inevitably, whether they wanted to or not, invited or urged the peasant to adopt the attitude of a small proprietor (i.e., the attitude of the bourgeoisie) instead of urging him to adopt the point of view of the revolutionary proletarian.
The position of revisionism was even worse as regards the theory of crises and the theory of collapse. Only for a very short time could people, and then only the most short-sighted, think of refashioning the foundations of Marx’s theory under the influence of a few years of industrial boom and prosperity. Realities very soon made it clear to the revisionists that crises were not a thing of the past: prosperity was followed by a crisis. The forms, the sequence, the picture of particular crises changed, but crises remained an inevitable component of the capitalist system. While uniting production, the cartels and trusts at the same time, and in a way that was obvious to all, aggravated the anarchy of production, the insecurity of existence of the proletariat and the oppression of capital, thereby intensifying class antagonisms to an unprecedented degree. That capitalism is heading for a break-down—in the sense both of individual political and economic crises and of the complete collapse of the entire capitalist system—has been made particularly clear, and on a particularly large scale, precisely by the new giant trusts. The recent financial crisis in America and the appalling increase of unemployment all over Europe, to say nothing of the impending industrial crisis to which many symptoms are pointing—all this has resulted in the recent “theories” of the revisionists having been forgotten by everybody, including, apparently, many of the revisionists themselves. But the lessons which this instability of the intellectuals had given the working class must not be forgotten.
As to the theory of value, it need only be said that apart from the vaguest of hints and sighs, à la Böhm-Bawerk, the revisionists have contributed absolutely nothing, and have therefore left no traces whatever on the development of scientific thought.
In the sphere of politics, revisionism did really try to revise the foundation of Marxism, namely, the doctrine of the class struggle. Political freedom, democracy and universal suffrage remove the ground for the class struggle—we were told—and render untrue the old proposition of the Communist Manifesto that the working men have no country. For, they said, since the “will of the majority” prevails in a democracy, one must neither regard the state as an organ of class rule, nor reject alliances with the progressive, social-reform bourgeoisie against the reactionaries.
It cannot be disputed that these arguments of the revisionists amounted to a fairly well-balanced system of views, namely, the old and well-known liberal-bourgeois views. The liberals have always said that bourgeois parliamentarism destroys classes and class divisions, since the right to vote and the right to participate in the government of the country are shared by all citizens without distinction. The whole history of Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century, and the whole history of the Russian revolution in the early twentieth, clearly show how absurd such views are. Economic distinctions are not mitigated but aggravated and intensified under the freedom of “democratic” capitalism. Parliamentarism does not eliminate, but lays bare the innate character even of the most democratic bourgeois republics as organs of class oppression. By helping to enlighten and to organise immeasurably wider masses of the population than those which previously took an active part in political events, parliamentarism does not make for the elimination of crises and political revolutions, but for the maximum intensification of civil war during such revolutions. The events in Paris in the spring of 1871 and the events in Russia in the winter of 1905 showed as clearly as could be how inevitably this intensification comes about. The French bourgeoisie without a moment’s hesitation made a deal with the enemy of the whole nation, with the foreign army which had ruined its country, in order to crush the proletarian movement. Whoever does not understand the inevitable inner dialectics of parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy—which leads to an even sharper decision of the argument by mass violence than formerly—will never be able on the basis of this parliamentarism to conduct propaganda and agitation consistent in principle, really preparing the working-class masses for victorious participation in such “arguments”. The experience of alliances, agreements and blocs with the social-reform liberals in the West and with the liberal reformists (Cadets) in the Russian revolution, has convincingly shown that these agreements only blunt the consciousness of the masses, that they do not enhance but weaken the actual significance of their struggle, by linking fighters with elements who are least capable of fighting and most vacillating and treacherous. Millerandism in France—the biggest experiment in applying revisionist political tactics on a wide, a really national scale—has provided a practical appraisal of revisionism that will never be forgotten by the proletariat all over the world.
A natural complement to the economic and political tendencies of revisionism was its attitude to the ultimate aim of the socialist movement. “The movement is everything, the ultimate aim is nothing"—this catch-phrase of Bernstein’s expresses the substance of revisionism better than many long disquisitions. To determine its conduct from case to case, to adapt itself to the events of the day and to the chopping and changing of petty politics, to forget the primary interests of the proletariat and the basic features of the whole capitalist system, of all capitalist evolution, to sacrifice these primary interests for the real or assumed advantages of the moment—such is the policy of revisionism. And it patently follows from the very nature of this policy that it may assume an infinite variety of forms, and that every more or less “new” question, every more or less unexpected and unforeseen turn of events, even though it change the basic line of development only to an insignificant degree and only for the briefest period, will always inevitably give rise to one variety of revisionism or another.
The inevitability of revisionism is determined by its class roots in modern society. Revisionism is an international phenomenon. No thinking socialist who is in the least informed can have the slightest doubt that the relation between the orthodox and the Bernsteinians in Germany, the Guesdists and the Jaurèsists (and now particularly the Broussists) in France, the Social Democratic Federation and the Independent Labour Party in Great Britain, Brouckère and Vandervelde in Belgium, the Integralists and the Reformists in Italy, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks in Russia, is everywhere essentially similar, notwithstanding the immense variety of national conditions and historical factors in the present state of all these countries. In reality, the “division” within the present international socialist movement is now proceeding along the same lines in all the various countries of the world, which testifies to a tremendous advance compared with thirty or forty years ago, when heterogeneous trends in the various countries were struggling within the one international socialist movement. And that “revisionism from the left” which has taken shape in the Latin countries as “revolutionary syndicalism”, is also adapting itself to Marxism, “amending” it: Labriola in Italy and Lagardelle in France frequently appeal from Marx who is understood wrongly to Marx who is understood rightly.
We cannot stop here to analyse the ideological content of this revisionism, which as yet is far from having developed to the same extent as opportunist revisionism: it has not yet become international, has not yet stood the test of a single big practical battle with a socialist party in any single country. We confine ourselves therefore to that “revisionism from the right” which was described above.
Wherein lies its inevitability in capitalist society? Why is it more profound than the differences of national peculiarities and of degrees of capitalist development? Because in every capitalist country, side by side with the proletariat, there are always broad strata of the petty bourgeoisie, small proprietors. Capitalism arose and is constantly arising out of small production. A number of new “middle strata” are inevitably brought into existence again and again by capitalism (appendages to the factory, work at home, small workshops scattered all over the country to meet the requirements of big industries, such as the bicycle and automobile industries, etc.). These new small producers are just as inevitably being cast again into the ranks of the proletariat. It is quite natural that the petty-bourgeois world-outlook should again and again crop up in the ranks of the broad workers’ parties. It is quite natural that this should be so and always will be so, right up to the changes of fortune that will take place in the proletarian revolution. For it would be a profound mistake to think that the “complete” proletarianisation of the majority of the population is essential for bringing about such a revolution. What we now frequently experience only in the domain of ideology, namely, disputes over theoretical amendments to Marx; what now crops up in practice only over individual side issues of the labour movement, as tactical differences with the revisionists and splits on this basis—is bound to be experienced by the working class on an incomparably larger scale when the proletarian revolution will sharpen all disputed issues, will focus all differences on points which are of the most immediate importance in determining the conduct of the masses, and will make it necessary in the heat of the fight to distinguish enemies from friends, and to cast out bad allies in order to deal decisive blows at the enemy.
The ideological struggle waged by revolutionary Marxism against revisionism at the end of the nineteenth century is but the prelude to the great revolutionary battles of the proletariat, which is marching forward to the complete victory of its cause despite all the waverings and weaknesses of the petty bourgeoisie.
Even a cursory glance through what is happening in the country will convince anyone what a challenging, dangerous, and in many ways, a desperate situation our country and people are facing. To understand this one need not be a Marxist intellectual. From their day to day sufferings, vast majority of the people, the working class and all other oppressed classes and sections are recognizing this, in spite of massive Sanghi media trying to conceal and distort facts. After last six years of Modi rule, especially its last one year’s actions leave no doubt before anyone that it is fascism in action with majoritarian Hindutva as its theoretical base. Its foreign policy has integrated India within the strategic partnership with US led Asia-Pacific axis more than ever, with US administration using the India-China border standoff also to advance its inter-imperialist contradictions with China for world hegemony.
As expected, the parliamentary opposition, in the main, is in total disarray. On 5th August they were found competing with each other to support Ram mandir construction. They were not daring to question the way it was done as a state function, in effect throwing away the basic tenets of the Constitution, as they are also upholding the soft Hindutva line and do not want to openly oppose the Manuvadi Hindutva of RSS pursued by Modi rule. Except some token opposition within the parliamentary forums, they do not oppose the neoliberal/corporatization offensive taking place in practice. In spite of planned moves of Modi govt. to weaken and subvert its ministries as in MP, or Rajasthan or elsewhere, Congress is only competing with Modi to show themselves as more chauvinist, and more pro-Hindutva! Still the social democratic Left Front parties are following their class collaborationist subservience to Congress and other ruling class parties. There is nothing new in their approach, than waiting for BJP to fall due to its own weaknesses, almost waiting for a repetition of what happened in 2004! They do not want to think whether such a repetition is possible even after the RSS neo-fascism has so much entrenched in the country penetrating the state machinery and even Constitutional institutions! In spite of it, the CPI(M) led Left Front parties are tailing behind Congress and other ruling class parties. In the concrete conditions of today, though all these parliamentary opposition parties shall continue to have their dominance over the numerous people’s struggles coming up against Modi rule, they have no alternative to RSS neo-fascism.
The only force who can challenge the corporate fascist Modi rule with an alternative perspective and program, and inspire the masses are the communist revolutionary forces. They have a history of waging uncompromising struggle against neo-revisionist CPI(M) leadership, organizing the Naxalbari Uprising, bringing revolution back to the agenda, and challenging the neoliberal corporate rule and state terror during the last 4-5 decades. Only they, along with the revolutionary intellectuals have the vision of extending the struggle against counter-revolutionary policies of Modi rule, extending it to fighting the reactionary, obscurantist theoretical base of RSS.
But even after the fascists are riding rough shod over the people, abusing, lynching, torturing, suppressing all opposition voices, taking the plunder of labour and nature to unprecedented levels, opening the country to foreign and native corporates, imposing Brahmanical Manuvadi terror, some of the CR forces have betrayed the Naxalbari movement and have become apologists of neoliberal agenda of the ruling classes. The many decades of the CPI(M) led governments in W. Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, have only defamed the communist movement. On the other extreme, the left sectarian, anarchist forces have reduced themselves to nothing more than a cover for the state to suppress the masses. It was expected that upholding the glorious history of the Naxalbari Uprising, and struggling against these right and left deviations, the remaining forces shall unite to create a revolutionary left core to build a broad based anti-fascist front similar to the one which came up against the CAA/NPR/NRC. But, while we could initiate building this RLC with few like - minded forces, others are still hesitant, so that we have to continue this effort.
When the neo-fascist Modi government is consolidating its hold everywhere very fast, launching various attacks on the working class and oppressed people as a whole, especially the Muslim minority, dalits, Adivasis, women and other oppressed classes and sections, we have to carry forward the task of uniting major section of the CRs in the RLC with a common program to challenge the fascist forces and develop te anti-fascist front, while upholding the approach of “independent communist assertion” inside the movement,
Analysing present situation, the Central Committee has called for giving priority to party building. It calls for intensifying the ideological, political struggle for building a Bolshevik style powerful party winning over all revolutionary communists and new comrades to its fold, and for developing various struggles, campaigns and movements against the central and state governments, giving top priority to fight against the RSS/BJP rule.
Secondly, we have to strengthen the class/mass organizations and various people’s movements at all India level in which our party comrades are playing leading role. Present situation demands continuous efforts to develop them, give political orientation to them to play more active role in the anti-fascist movement. It also calls for developing struggles in all fields and winning new forces to build united fronts at all levels.
It is a Marxist-Leninist teaching, a repeatedly proved historical fact that without a strong Communist Party built on Bolshevik lines, surrounded by class/mass organizations and people’s movements, and according to the conditions of our country, all round offensive of the party cannot be developed. These initiatives cannot be developed fast. The party building by winning over the communist forces and to attract the new generation to the movement, calls for an intensive ideological political struggle as explained in the Resolution for Theoretical Offensive adopted by the 10th Party Congress. How the new forces can be attracted to the communist politics if those who claim themselves communists uphold China, which is only socialist in name, but an imperialist power contending for world hegemony with US imperialism, resorting to fascist oppression of the Uighur like nationalities and not prepared to resolve the national question within it, and not prepared to settle border problems with the neighbouring countries through bi-lateral discussions?
The new generation are not familiar with much of Marxist literature and are mostly ignorant of what happened in Soviet Union and China during their socialist days. They are witnessing the ‘mainstream communist parties’ wherever still in power, even after the severe setbacks in W. Bengal and Tripura for many decades, are still pursuing the neoliberal/corporate policies. They have nothing to offer except playing parliamentary politics as allies of one ruling class party or other, in state after states. They cannot be attracted to communist path, when they see and read how even those who claim to uphold Naxalbari Uprising and CPI(ML) heritage rush to join the band wagon of the very same forces by fighting against whom this great movement had emerged.
In spite of the severe setbacks suffered by the communist movement all over the world with all former socialist countries abandoning the socialist path, in the atmosphere of powerful anti-communist propaganda onslaughts by the imperialists and their lackeys, the new generation shall give credibility to the communist vision, and be attracted to it, only if, along with ideological political offensive, we take up the struggle against gender inequality, caste oppression, division based on caste system, the soft Hindutva vote bank politics, the ecological destruction leading to severe catastrophe, the development path based on capitalist lust and consumerist greed etc as integral part of the class struggle. Uncompromising struggle is called for against those parroting the mechanical materialist rhyme that all these problems need not be taken up from now, but shall disappear automatically once the communists capture power. After all that has happened in the world during last few decades including the disappearance of socialist countries, when the capitalist-imperialist system through neoliberal/corporate loot of labour and nature has transformed the whole world in its own image, if accordingly the Marxist theory and practice are not developed, and a new vision of development paradigm and democracy with all power to the people is presented before the people, the new generation is not going to come forward, daring to think, daring to struggle and daring to win a socialist future. So, the party building calls for such a vigorous struggle against the right deviation which is presently the main danger in the communist movement, while guarding against the anarchist trend. So, the CC has asserted that the party building should be taken up vigorously, linking with ideological offensive.
Another aspect of party building which calls for attention is the taking up of a powerful campaign against the Manuvadi Hindutva, the ideological base of RSS. Based on Manusmriti, writings of Savarkar, Golwalkar and other leaders, also drawing lessons from Mussolini and Hitler, the RSS could grow in to the biggest and most powerful neo-fascist organization in the world, as not only Congress and other ruling class parties, but the socialist stream as well as the Communist stream refused to learn the importance of Renaissance movement and take up the caste struggle along with class struggle, while the caste-class relation is a unique feature of India. So, only by waging a powerful ideological struggle against the theoretical base of RSS, the new generation who are influenced or at least confused by the RSS dominance can be won over or at least neutralized. The decision of the CC in its August meeting to take up these two campaigns immediately shall help the building and expansion of the party with more ideological clarity, winning over new forces to our side.
“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies”.
Though 172 years have passed after Marx and Engels started The Communist Manifesto with these words, we are living in a period when the rabid and venomous anti-communist campaign is still powerful. The major difference is that presently this blitzkrieg is joined by the social democrats, petti-bourgeois intellectuals, and unlike the period up to 1950s, by hordes ex-communists to ex-Naxalites to ex-Maoists. The repeated setbacks suffered by the Communist movement have made the Communists defensive. As a result, it is failing to expose how the capitalist imperialist system these, these critics are upholding directly or indirectly has exposed itself as the most inhuman and barbaric, and it is in the middle of unprecedented crisis following the Covid19 pandemic, helping the neo-fascist wave sweeping across the continents more powerful.
At the same time, in spite of all the setbacks it suffered, its contributions in socialist construction during the revolutionary days in the former socialist countries, and the vision of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution and an exploitation free new world with sustainable relation between human and nature it promises, still inspires the masses who are thrown in to a hopeless condition by forces of capital. That is why every year we re-visit October Revolution in Russia and the Chinese revolution and all other revolutions and try to understand their contributions and reasons for their setbacks.
The October Revolution of 7th November (according to new calendar), 1917, liberated Russian people from the clutches of Tsarist dictatorship, led to the formation of Soviet Union and initiated socialist transformation in the most backward capitalist country. It took place when the imperialists had waged the First World War for re-division of the world. Though the War ended in 1919, it did not resolve the inter-imperialist contradictions, creating conditions for another World War, with some of these forces embracing fascist policies soon. But, what the Soviet Union could do for creating a new society during this period threw up hopes of emergence of an alternative to the capitalist-imperialist system. This expectation along with the sacrifices it made to save the world people from fascism, led to an upsurge of social revolutions and the emergence of a powerful socialist camp, with the Chinese Communist party led by Mao Tsetung leading the Chinese people to liberation from the domination of imperialism and feudalism and the formation of People’s Republic of China on 1st October, 1949. In spite of these victories, in the present objective situation when the conditions for a worldwide advance of communist forces is so bright, the ICM is in a condition when there is not a single communist party in any of these countries capable of using this excellent situation and capture political power. We have to search for the reasons for it.
The Communist Manifesto has explained that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations”.
Though capitalist revolutions transformed this situation in the countries it took place, with the bourgeoisie and the proletariat coming to the foreground as predominant classes, still vestiges of the old classes continued there, making the socialist transformation a complex task. As the capitalist forces were trying frantically to transform the whole world in its own image, it went on changing its tactics to achieve this, and considered the emergence of a socialist alternative antagonistically. So, using its hegemony in spreading its ideas and culture, it was waging a fierce struggle against the socialist forces, unleashing wild anti-communist campaign. So, the possibility for falling back, degenerating to capitalist path always existed, unless the communist movement is capable of “swimming against the tide”, and alert to evaluate every new move of the imperialist camp and develop its own theory and practice continuously.
The post Second World War period was a difficult time. Emerging as the leader of the imperialist camp, US imperialism had launched transformation of colonial countries to neo-colonially dependent countries, with IMF-World Bank in control of the export of imperialist finance capital and technology. The formation of WTO was also in the anvil. Unlike utilizing the pre-capitalist forces as is social base during the colonial days, under neo-colonialism, imperialist think tanks encouraged the junior partners of imperialism who had come to the leadership in the “newly independent” countries for land ceiling from above and promotion of capitalist mode of production in the agriculture to facilitate the entry of finance capital, technology and market forces. Welfare policies also were promoted to some extent to challenge the socialist countries. As the post-Stalin leadership in Soviet Union analyzed these as signs of weakening of imperialism, took the path of peaceful transition to socialism, abandoning the path of revolution, degenerating not only SU and East European countries to capitalist path, but the communist parties built up under Comintern guidance to revisionist path.
Even before overcoming this grave setback, based on the same erroneous evaluation of imperialist exploitation from colonial to neo-colonial forms as sign of its weakening (contrary to what the CPC had earlier evaluated in the “Apologists of Neo-colonialism” during Great Debate, that neo-colonialism is more pernicious and ferocious), the left sectarian Lin Biaoist line which dominated the CPC for a brief period from 1966 to 71, quite opposite to the Soviet revisionist line took a left adventurist sectarian line and called on the newly emerging Marxist-Leninist forces for mechanically copying the Chinese Path, soon leading them to disintegration or destruction. In spite of the brilliant victory of the liberation struggle of the Indo-Chinese countries against US imperialism and its lackeys by 1975, following the degeneration of China to capitalist path by 1976, the parties in these countries also came under right or left deviation.
In such a grave situation, the revolutionary communists in almost all countries, who could come out of the right and left deviations, are ‘seeking truth from facts and are in the process of developing new theoretical and practical advances according to present social, political and economic realities. It is in this situation, the ICOR, the international coordination of these organizations from more than 60 countries, has called on the constituents to make concrete analysis of the condition in each country and develop the program and path to develop the class struggle to higher levels, to become capable of leading the mighty people’s upsurges going to take place all over the world.
It is a great challenge. Instead of becoming despondent, let us dare to make a concrete analysis of the international and national developments, develop our theory and practice, dare to draft our path forward struggling against the right deviation, the main danger, as well as the left deviation, dare to build up communist party and dare to advance towards a new offensive to throw out the capitalist imperialist system and advance to people’s democracy and socialism