[Marxism] Chinese tourists visit Karl Marx's house

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 26 12:43:44 MDT 2006

>CB: I must admit that I'd like to go on an archaeology dig sometime. And it
>was interesting to visit the old city of Rome when I was a high school Latin
>student. However, if I was touring today, I don't think old Roman and
>Christian ruins would be number one on my list of attractions or "a worthy
>destination by any standard" , as R. Bernstein put it.

One other thing about Chinese tourists and Marx. When Mark Jones, his wife 
and I went to visit Marx's grave, the only other people we saw that day 
visiting the site were Chinese. Despite all the "market socialism" nonsense 
that has been drummed into them, there are still lots of Chinese who still 
believe in communism. Speaking of that, check the archives of the DSP's 
Links journal at: http://www.dsp.org.au/links/ for the no. 27: January to 
April, 2005 issue. (This is the big problem with using frames, as the DSP 
does. You don't have a direct link to the page.) There's an article by Eva 
Cheng that references a document being circulated by CP party members that 
starts as follows:

Our views and opinions of the current political landscape

A letter to General Secretary Hu [Jintao] from a group of veteran CCP 
members, veteran cadres, veteran military personnel and intellectuals. 
October 2004

Translated for Links with an introductory explanation by Eva Cheng.


A great opportunity to adjust the line

Not a question of 'ruling capability' but a question of the line

Our opinion on what sort of adjustment is needed on certain issues


A great opportunity to adjust the line

Even though there have been gains economically in the past twenty-six years 
of reforms and opening up,1 the price for these moves has been enormous, 
and they also brought considerable problems. Many deepseated contradictions 
emerged in society, and the party's authority plunged. To seriously resolve 
these contradictions and restore the people's trust in the party, the 
party's line of march needs to be adjusted profoundly. Previously, due to 
various obstacles and interferences, you, respected leader, were 
handicapped in bringing about the needed adjustments; it was hard to make 
your impact felt. But now, after the fourth plenum of the sixteenth CCP 
Central Committee [September 17-19, 2004], such interferences are largely 
removed, so it's a time when you can shake things up.
Not a question of `ruling capability' but a question of the line

The fourth plenum of the sixteenth CC flagged the need to strengthen the 
party's ruling capability. This, to a certain extent, reflects the party's 
sense of crisis. As various complex and sharp contradictions unfold, and 
social polarisation gets worse, the people, especially the workers and 
peasants, i.e., the social base of the party, have their interests 
seriously undermined. State enterprise workers have been downgraded from 
being the masters of those enterprises to mere employees. Peasants, under 
the dual burden of indiscriminate taxes and fees as well as market 
competition, are heading towards ruin. The peasants turned city workers 
don't even have assurances of their basic rights. The bureaucrats' and 
capitalists' savage violation of the interests of the masses is a frequent 
occurrence. The masses often can't afford to see the doctor, to access 
education or to get a job, nor are they hopeful these problems will be 
resolved. To the people, the party's credibility has taken a deep dive, and 
the party's ruling position is in grave danger.

If there are problems, we have to reflect on them, but where are the 
problems? What's wrong with the party's line? Why are the consequences so 
serious? What is the nature of the problems? And how can these problems be 
corrected to turn things around? These are issues that a party that is 
responsive to its people should confront. Only by confronting these 
problems head on and boldly admitting any mistakes can a proletarian party 
demonstrate its strength. Only by openly admitting to the people its 
mistakes and taking serious corrective steps can the party regain the 
people's trust and strengthen its ruling capability in a fundamental way. 
Conversely, if one approaches the question of ruling capability in an 
abstract manner, or focuses on side issues rather than the basic line of 
march, then few substantive results can be expected.

The problems of society aren't isolated, atomised or accidental, but are 
interlinked and involve multiple dimensions. Behind these overwhelmingly 
complicated appearances is the fact that the fundamental direction of our 
reform has gone wrong. At issue is the question of the line of march, not 
the so-called "problem of ruling capability". The approach of "treating the 
head for headaches and treating the feet for sore feet" [i.e., short of a 
holistic approach] has been proven by history to be a dead end, allowing 
the problem to get increasingly out of hand. The essence lies in the line 
of march, while a weakening of the party's ruling capability is merely the 
appearance. Therefore, only by seeing through the appearance to focus on 
the essence, and reflecting deeply on the question of the party's line and 
fundamentally reorienting its direction, can we solve the problem at its 
roots. Only in this manner can we really "strengthen its ruling 
capability", achieve social stability and maintain the healthy and smooth 
development of society.

What's wrong with the line? The problem lies in the party's implementation 
of a revisionist line and its course to restore capitalism. In the name of 
socialism, its representatives actually practise capitalism. They claim 
they have Marxist lamb on offer at the front of the shop but are actually 
marketing revisionist dog meat under the table. To put it more 
transparently, their backsides are sitting on the wrong side; they are 
siding with the capitalists, bureaucratic compradors and corrupt elements, 
and fundamentally betraying the interests of the toiling masses of workers 
and peasants. As a result, the capitalist class and their spokespeople are 
getting more arrogant by the day while the position of the proletariat and 
the toiling people deteriorates correspondingly. This has plunged countless 
brothers and sisters into deep water and burning fire. They have eaten 
bitterness twice. If the party doesn't pull back in time and rapidly fix 
the problem, the death of both the party and the nation won't be far away!

Some policies introduced lately seem to be aiming for such an adjustment. 
We welcome them. But they seem to be still miles away from the substantive 
and powerful remedies that are required. Understandably, having had the 
wrong line for a considerable period, reversing course won't be easy, and 
fundamental readjustment can't be achieved overnight. It requires utter 
persistence and heroic efforts like "the stupid old man who moved a 
mountain"2 to overcome the numerous obstacles. A fierce struggle is 
expected in order to solve the line problem, which is hard to achieve 
without firm determination and boldness. But this is the only path to 
really find a solution. Avoiding confronting this hard choice now is likely 
to let the issue get out of hand, at which time regrets won't help.

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