[Marxism] Fwd: The Struggle for Actually Building Socialist Society: An Interview with Fred Engst | rupeindia

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 25 06:11:37 MST 2018

This is a very long interview with an unabashed Maoist named Fred Engst, 
who was a red diaper baby of American parents who moved to China to 
become part of a "Communist Revolution". He makes the case that China's 
powerful capitalist economy was enabled by Mao's socialism, echoing the 
analysis of Adam Ulam who saw Stalin as carrying out "primitive 
accumulation". I thought this excerpt might be interesting to Marxmailers:

FE: I think Trotskyist criticisms of Stalin also miss the target. 
Trotskyists totally misunderstand the real problem. Their solution is, 
like social democrats, neglecting the need for a vanguard party. They 
keep on talking about democracy in the sense of “workers’ congress” etc. 
But they do not mention what to do when workers have different opinions. 
In my arguments with Trotskyists in China, I always come upon this problem.

OÜ: Really? Is there a Trotskyist movement in China today?

FE: Yes, there is. I mean, they were not strong before, but in last few 
years Trotskyism has become more widespread here. Probably because the 
Trotskyist critique of bureaucracy sort of—I mean just sort of—explains 
China. So that’s a further ground for them to gain attention. They just 
hate bureaucracy. But Chinese Trotskyists have a very difficult time 
understanding the Cultural Revolution. They just totally ignore it.

Regarding the legacy of Maoism… This is a hard question. I think it 
crystallizes in the experience of the Cultural Revolution. All the other 
catch phrases like “mass line” are not sufficient to explain the 
contribution of Mao. First of all, Maoism is a continuation of Marxism 
and Leninism. It is not a departure from them. Secondly, it is the 
understanding of class and class struggle in a socialist society. It 
carried Marxism-Leninism forward to resolve certain class contradictions 
and antagonisms under socialism. Socialism is a long historical period, 
and during this period class and class struggle will continue to exist. 
Capitalism can come back any time. And this really happened in China. 
What I say is also against a version of “Maoism.” Some people think in 
today’s China it is not capitalists but revisionists who are in power; 
so what we need to do is wage an inner-party struggle to defeat them. 
But in fact, today China is an industrialized capitalist country where 
the capitalist class is in power.


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