The Relevance of the Western Left

S Chatterjee schatterjee2001 at
Tue Feb 13 16:57:10 MST 2001

Henry, please let us not get into a personal slanging
match on this reply to your post. Time is valuable and
short and it would be pointless.

The question and confusion of whether China is
socialist today or not has to be judged by concrete
actions and the direction of the Chinese leadership
from 1976 upto the present time and not by what their
pronouncements are. Their practice has been amply
documented in "The Great Reversal" by William Hinton"
and "Red Cat, White Cat : China and the Contradictions
of 'Market Socialism'" by Robert Weil (MR Press).

Henry C. K. Liu wrote

>China, the sole remaining major socialist nation, is
>now the favorite.....

What is the basis of this statement which is against
the empirical findings of Hinton and Weil that China
has been moving in a capitalist direction since the
death of Mao Tse Tung? According to them, after 1978,
Deng and his group have systematically, in a planned
fashion, started dismantling socialism in China. For
example, break up of the peoples' communes and
introductioin of the family contract system,
exploitation of wage labor especially in the tax-free
zones where western businesses operate, a floating
population of hundreds of millions of peasants
uprooted from the countryside by the new economic
'reforms', privatization of the state owned factories
and assets, re-appearance of class divisions, etc.,

>Title: Renmin Ribao on Historical Development of
>Marxism in China During 20th Century
>In China, Marxism has been carried forward and
>developed in the form of Mao Zedong Thought and  Deng
>Xiaoping Theory.

Actually the theory of Deng (expelled twice from the
CPC during Mao's time and one of the capitalist
roaders during the GPCR), and that of Mao are in
fundamental opposition and not a continuity. Deng's
philosophy can be summarized in his own comments like:
"To get rich is glorious", and the (in)famous
statement  that the color of the cat is not important,
what is important is whether the cat can catch mice.
Mao had criticized this comment by saying that such
people did not understanbd the class struggle (if you
want the exact quote, I can dig it up). Later on, the
sons and daughters of the top party leadership like
those of Deng, became "rich and glorious" (i.e.,
multi-millionaires) through the process of capitalist

>he also committed subjectivist errors, which
>resulted in the failure of the "great leap forward"
>and the people's communes, and, particularly, this
>finally led to the great political  chaos of >the
"cultural revolution" that was immensely harmful >to
the  cause of socialism in China.

>From the point of view of Liu and Deng (and western
observers), the GPCR was an unmitigated disaster for
China. However, from the point of view of Mao and the
Chinese masses the GPCR was actually a gigantic class
struggle undertaken against bourgeois ideology and
elements like Deng, i.e., against "Party people taking
the capitalist road".

>The special conditions of the 20th century epoch and
>the special historical conditions in China created
>the great genius of Mao Zedong. Just like with any
>other outstanding historical figures who lead
>brilliant glorious lives, they inevitably leave some
>regrets behind; the later years of Mao Zedong also
>left such regrets.   The errors of Mao
>Zedong's later years are not only his personal
>tragedy, they are a tragedy of our party and our

Tribute to Mao and then the condemnation. So what were
these errors?

>The fate of Marxism in China is ultimately a happy

1949-1976. After that, it has been revisionism and not
Marxism (see Hinton and Weil).

>Another form of Marxism in China is Deng Xiaoping
>Theory.   Deng Xiaoping Theory is a continuation and
>development of Mao Zedong Thought,

This is hilarious! A break (and reversal towards
capitalism) is passed off as continuity.

>it is the result of combining the common principles
>of Marxism with the  practice of building socialism
>in China; it is a new stage in the evolution of

So 'Deng Xiaoping Theory' is a 'new stage in the
evolution of Marxism'? What are its special features
and Deng's main contributions to Marxism? They
certainly cannot be "to get rich is glorious".

>After the death of Mao Zedong, a serious situation
>arose in the development of Marxism in China.
>Chinese Marxism was faced with an important choice:
>should it continue along the erroneous path that Mao
>Zedong took in his later years or, while carrying on
>and developing the scientific system of Mao Zedong
>Thought, reject the errors of Mao Zedong's later

So, according to the above, there appears to be a
break between Mao and Deng. Yet earlier, it was
asserted that "Deng Xiaoping Theory is a continuation
and development of Mao Zedong Thought". So it is a
break and a continuity at the same time. But since we
are all dialectcians here, let it pass.

>This discussion resulted in the victory of the
>viewpoint  according to which "practice is the sole
>criterion of cognitive truth."  This removed the
>ideological obstacles interfering with the convening
>of  the Third Plenum of the 11th National Party
>Congress Central Committee  that had an epoch-making
>significance, while also forming the ideological
>foundation of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

So Pragmatism = Deng Xiaoping Theory? If so, then is
it Marxism?

>"Liberate Thought, Seek Truth From Facts" -- this is
>the ideological path established by the Third Plenum
>of the 11th National Party Congress Central
>Committee, which is at the same time the quintessence
>of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

"Liberate Thought" probably means liberate yourself
from the 'dogmatism' of the 'thought of Mao' (away
with political ideology!). Be pragmatic, make money
and be glorious and find cats that can catch mice.
This is the essence of DXT.

>It is according to this ideological line that Deng
>Xiaoping suggested that with regard to our past
>mistakes, we need to conduct a radical theoretical
>overhaul and bring order out of chaos.

That is, break with the past ('radical theoretical
overhaul'). This of course violates continuity between
Mao Tse tung thought and DXT. No more GPCRs ('chaos').

>He emphasized that from the standpoint of theory, our
>past mistakes stem from a lack of accurate
>understanding of what is socialism and how to
>build socialism.   For a radical reform and
>restoration of order, we would first need to pay
>special attention to this fundamental issue.

So what is socialism according to Deng?

>Moreover, he led the building of socialism in China
>onto the main road, opening new prospects for the
>cause of socialism in China.

How? According to Hinton and Weil, Deng has done the
very opposite, i.e., dismantled socialism in China.
See their books for concrete examples.

>According to Deng Xiaoping's views on socialism,
>given that China is at the first stage of socialism,
>everything must proceed from this reality:
>the basic task of socialism is that of developing
>productive forces,

This theory of the development of productive forces
(compared to development of socialist political
ideology) in Russia was criticized by Mao (see
'Critique of Soviet Economics'). So DXT is against the
thought of Mao.

>socialism, too, is to be reformed, and reform is also
>revolution; market economy is an economic  tool, it
>can be used by capitalism and socialism alike.

So reform (evolution) is revolution? So then why two
separate words? One can wonder what Marx could have
thought of the idea that market economy can be used by
capitalism and socialism alike. So then why two

>These and other views had an immense guiding
>significance for the new comprehension by the entire
>party of what socialism is and how to build
>socialism, while  at the same time raising socialism
>to a new level.

This is a cruel joke.

>The Deng Xiaoping Theory is the Marxism of
>contemporary China;  it is a new stage in the
>development of Marxism in China."

This is another joke. Revisionism is not Marxism

>Comrade Jiang Zemin said, "While upholding Deng
>Xiaoping Theory, continuously enrich
>and creatively develop this theory in practice --
>this is the solemn task of the Party's Central
>Committee leadership as well as all party
>comrades."   Comrade Jiang Zemin set a good example
>and has been a model for the entire Party.

Sometime ago, 'comrade' Jiang rang the morning bell on
Wall Street amongst the ruddy and smiling faces of the
stock brokers and bankers. But, of course, he was
following DXT.

>Under the guidance of the great banner of Mao Zedong
>Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, socialism has
>ultimately gained a huge victory in China, whose
>population equals roughly a quarter of the world's

A great tragedy is being enacted in China and the main
players are the corrupt and criminal top part
leadership. Mao had previously warned that if the
capitalist roaders in the party seized power (i.e.,
were victorious in the class struggle), then the
communist party would be transformed into a
fascist-type party (once again, if you want the exact
quote, I can find it). His prediction seems to have
come true. Capitalist restoration is being passed off
as a victory of "socialism with Chinese


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