The largest human migration in the world gets under way every Chinese New Year, as China's 120 million strong army of migrant workers make their annual trip home. This year heavy snows led to railways and roads being overburdened and transport bottlenecks wreaked sudden nationwide chaos.

Although the dismantling of the old state owned planned economy was an enormous reactionary step backwards and Marxists are utterly opposed to it, there is one positive element in the process: the creation of the largest proletariat in the world. The development of capitalism in China brings with it class contradictions that are preparing a new revolutionary upheaval in Chinese society. Once this massive Chinese proletariat moves decisively it will shake the whole world.

Deng’s early “reforms” initiated in the late 1970s were aimed at improving efficiency in the economy. But once the Chinese bureaucracy had embarked down the road of capitalist incentives the whole process had a logic of its own, sucking China more and more down the road of capitalist restoration. This did not happen all in one go. There were several key turning points which are analysed here.

From a Marxist point of view the 1949 Chinese Revolution, in spite of its bureaucratic deformations, was the second most important event in human history after the Russian Revolution. It led to the abolition of landlordism and capitalism and the end of imperialist domination. Now, however, capitalism dominates in China. How did this happen? Here we present Part One of a document approved by this year’s world congress of the International Marxist Tendency which looks at events from the revolution up to the end of the Mao era.

This article, written in May 1965 by Ted Grant, shows how genuine Marxism was able to see the real processes going on in China and not be fooled by the words of the Chinese leaders. Then as now Marxism was a tool that allowed one to see through the fog of seemingly contradictory and incomprehensible events.

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