[Marxism] private property now protected by theChineseconstitution

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Tue Mar 16 11:26:51 MST 2004

Tim Kennelly wrote, "I must disagree. China is now communist in name
only. It is actively engaging in a capitalist counterrevolution, and
marxists should denounce it as a fraud."

...which isn't really that different than what you say you're
disagreeing with, "...that many of those with power in China aren't
making any fine distinctions. They seem to have in mind what's gone on
in the former USSR more than creating some hybridized system." 


Response Jim C: When Lenin announced the NEP, with brutal honesty, he
characterized it as a "tactical retreat" in the context of hostile
imperialist encirclement and intent to destroy socialist construction,
combined with the need for immediate rapid development of material
forces and conditions requisite for socialist construction and dealing
with hostile external and internal forces. Indeed socialist construction
is a long protracted process with "weeds" (capitalist and pre-capitalist
institutions, forces, relations, values, traditions etc) continually
cropping up and threatening the new socialist garden. These weeds need
to be continually identified and uprooted (roots and all) if socialist
construction is to proceed especially in the context of imperialist
encirclement and extremely sophisticated technologies for planting and
nurturing hostile capitalist (foreign and domestic) values, relations,
institutions etc; that is why, in my opinion, the Cultural Revolution
was/is necessary for continual reinvigoration of socialist construction
and for identifying and removing forces and relations that would take
China--or any society--back to pre-socialist barbarism and backwardness
and sabotage socialist construction.

In the case of China, it seems that during the Cultural Revolution, in
many cases punishment and reeducation were likely to have been too harsh
on some, but were decidedly not harsh or decisive enough on others. In
some cases, Mao's dictum--"Cure the disease to save the
patient"--facilitated some leniency that allowed some capitalist roaders
to become "rehabilitated" and move back into positions of power to push
for the same kinds of policies and views from which they were supposed
to have been rehabilitated.

What I am not sure about is whether the present policies are analagous
to a sort of NEP--a tactical retreat in the face of some extreme
conditions (population dynamics versus resource base, imperialist
encirclement and increasing recklessness and hostile intent, increasing
globalization and the imperative to be competitive in capitalist-based
international trade, the imperatives to address the needs of masses
still in poverty, homelessness, unemployment etc)--or whether this means
that the capitalist roaders and their allies have managed to hijack
State power and begin exactly what they accused the Soviet Union
of--"bureaucrat capitalism" or "state capitalism" or "socialism in
words, capitalism in deeds."

But I am reminded of China's history--ancient as well as recent. And I
am reminded that building socialism in one country, in the content of
extremely hostile, sophisticated, deadly, determined and reckless
imperialist encirclement, with over 1 billion people, with a legacy of
internal strife and divisions and diverse groups with diverse agenda,
socialist construction is not some kind of linear, smooth and
upward--only--process; setbacks are inevitable and may not necessarily
mean total abandonment of socialism but rather an attempt to deal with a
series of short-run crises in order to get to the long-run strategic

I for one, just do not know what this means. All I can say to China and
to the Chinese People who argue that tactical retreat to some forms and
levels of capitalism for the purposes of building the forces and
conditions for ultimate socialist construction is: "be careful of what
you wish for, you just might get it."

Jim C.

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