We are publishing an exchange of letters between a Chinese Communist, RY, and Fred Weston of the Marxist.com Editorial Board. They give an insight to the problems that many genuine Chinese Communists are facing, as China moves further and further down the road of capitalism.
January 23, 2006
I'm from China. I want to know which kind of revolution you support. What do you think about the left organizations such as Communist Party of Peru (Luminous Path) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)? Are you western Marxists?
January 24, 2006
Thanks for your message. I am replying from www.marxist.com as I was sent your message from the newyouth.com website. We represent the same political tendency, the International Marxist Tendency.
We are Marxists and we base ourselves on the fundamental ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. We believe that the only solution to the present crisis of capitalism is the socialist transformation of society. The working class, led by a revolutionary Marxist party needs to take power in all countries of the world and we need to build a world socialist federation.
On the Peruvian Luminous Path and the Nepalese Maoists we have some criticisms. In Peru the overwhelming majority of the population lives in cities. There is an urban proletariat and Marxists should base themselves on that as the central force to overthrow capitalism. The Luminous Path took up the idea of guerrilla warfare in the rural areas. This isolated them from the proletariat in the cities and explains also their defeats.
In Nepal, the situation is slightly different as the rural population is much bigger. But even there, genuine Communists should base themselves on the workers in the cities and build a Communist opposition within the unions. We do not exclude the rural guerrilla struggle but it should play the role of supporting the working class, which should be central in the strategy of the Communists.
Unfortunately we see that the Nepalese Maoists have the perspective of struggling for "democracy" first and later for socialism. This leads them to make compromises that can lead even to defeat of the movement in the future. We have articles on Nepal which you can find at: http://www.marxist.com/nepal.asp/
On the question of "Western Marxists", we do not make this distinction. Marxism is a revolutionary philosophy and policy. You are either Marxist or you are not. Unfortunately there are many currents within the movement that claim to be Marxist, when in reality they are something else, reformists, Stalinists, ultra-lefts, etc.
Our aim is to defend the genuine traditions of Marx and Lenin and develop a revolutionary strategy for workers in all countries.
I would be keen to know what ideas you defend and how you think Marxism should be applied to today's conditions.
at In Defence of Marxism - www.marxist.com
January 25, 2006
Thanks for your quick reply. In fact, I am not a member of the CPC, but I believe in Communism. I long for Communism. In my opinion, Marxism is my basic guiding ideology. I am not an opportunist. I believe in it because it is a great thought and it makes me know the meaning of life.
Of course, Marxism is a practical and open “ology”. What we can do is to improve and perfect it, not only in theory but also practice. So I support all actions and organizations for Communism. So I think if someone does something wrong in his actions in fighting for Communism, we must discuss and help them, not only criticize. And maybe, the thing we thought wrong may not really be wrong under another situation.
In your reply, you mention working class many times. Yes, the working class is the main force to bury the capitalists. But I don’t think it is the only force. Communism is for all exploited and oppressed.
The progressive quality of the working class decides its leadership. But we don't ignore the positive role of other classes, such as peasants and petty bourgeoisie. What we do is to liberate the whole human race, not only the working class. I think it will be better to say we are for all the people and to stress the leadership rather than to purely emphasize the working class.
In addition, I agree with the idea that Socialism or Communism cannot exist in only one country or area. Reformism and guerrilla struggle are all ways of struggling. Nowadays, reformism should be a feasible way in the developed countries. After all, it can improve the living condition of the working class and other oppressed layers. But reformism should not be equated with compromise. Guerrilla struggle may be a good way in some poor countries. However, the exploited want to obtain the victory and armed struggle is the ultimate way.
Ok, above-mentioned is the draft of my ideals. I long for exchanging our thoughts on Communism and Marxism.
January 25, 2006
Thanks for your reply. I agree with you that if there are comrades who we consider are making mistakes in the struggle for Communism our attitude should be to make friendly criticism. That is the aim of our website. We try to develop Marxism and use it to fight for genuine Communism in the conditions of today.
In my previous reply I emphasised the working class because according to Marx and Marxism in general it is the class that has the power to overthrow capitalism, through strikes, factory occupations etc. It has a position in production which allows it to do this.
This does not mean that we exclude other classes from the struggle. On the contrary, the peasants, the urban poor, the small businesses, the middle classes must all be won over to the cause of the working class. The way to do this is shown by the Bolsheviks in 1917. They raised the slogan of "land to those who till it". With this they won over the overwhelming majority of the peasants. In a certain sense Mao did the same in the struggle against the Kuo Min Tang.
We do not exclude these layers at all. What we do say is that the working class, because of its position in production, is the class that can give a lead.
I agree with you when you say that, "Socialism or Communism cannot come true in only one country or area". This was the problem, after all with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The attempt to build "socialism in one country" failed! This is also relevant for China today. China has been forced to participate on the world market. The world market is dominated by capitalism. As a consequence capitalism has now entered China, and even many capitalists have joined the Communist Party. Many of the gains of the 1949 revolution have already been lost.
On this question I would like your opinions. From what we can read here in the west it seems that capitalism has now penetrated every aspect of Chinese society. How would you define Chinese society today?
The one positive thing about present developments in China today is the creation of a massive industrial and urban proletariat. A massive working class, the biggest in the world is being created. These workers often work in terrible conditions. Many come from the countryside looking for jobs. Compared to the poverty in the rural areas a job in the cities must mean a big step forward for them. But their conditions remain terrible. Sooner or later this will lead to a social explosion.
On Reformism, the problem is that today's "reformists", like Blair in Britain, are not defending the workers. They defend the interests of capitalism. Capitalism cannot be reformed into socialism. We support all genuine reforms, but to consolidate them capitalism must be eradicated. That means socialist revolution is the only way.
On guerrilla struggle, we think it can play a role, as it clearly did in China in 1949 and in Cuba in 1959 and so on. But we think it has to be part of an overall strategy in which the workers in the cities, in the factories play a central role. If the workers do not actively take part in the social transformation then there is a very strong risk of a bureaucracy developing. This we have seen in many so-called "communist" countries.
I would be very interested in having more of your comments and having a dialogue with you. We need people like you to help in the common struggle for a better society, a genuinely Communist one.
One last thing, could we publish your letters on our website? Let me know what you think.
January 26, 2006
Ok, you can publish my letters. As for a believer of Communism, I hope we can get more people interested in Communism and Marxism.
China, now, in my eyes, is a capitalist country wearing a coat called “Socialism”. It is even more capitalist than many capitalist countries. But, now, Hu Jintao, I think, is a worthy-to-except leader.
Yes, as you say, I agree with what you say on the leadership of the working class. I think Chairman Mao’s united front is an effective way. We must unite all forces that can unite for our aim.
The former Soviet Union and present China make many people misunderstand what Communism really is. If capitalism doesn’t fall, we just have to live under the capitalist economy. The so-called “socialist countries” are like a joke. But, I hope there will be more and more “socialist countries”. After all, communism must first start on the national level. The proletariat of every country coming to power is an important step to making communism come true.
I don’t know whether you support armed struggle. I support it. Armed struggle is the ultimate way to overthrow capitalism. Of course, in some countries, armed struggles may not come about because the breakdown of capitalism in the world compels them to hand out the regime.
The reformists that I don’t oppose are real left-wingers, not the hypocritical politicians like Blair.
Rome wasn’t built in one day. Communism needs our effort, needs more people to join the struggle to overthrow capitalism.
- China – "Socialist market economy" or just plain capitalism? by Michele Fabbri (January 20, 2006)
- Letter from China on the class nature of the Chinese state (October 27, 2005)
- Letter from China – the myth of capitalist superiority (October 13, 2005)
- China: disparity between rich and poor preparing renewed class struggle by Fred Weston (October 13, 2005)
- Letter from China – What is happening in Chinese society? (September 21, 2005)