By Charles F Moreira, Editor
This is the second part of an article that covers the resolutions from the 19th CPC National Congress
In international relations, China will continue to pursue its path of peaceful development, hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and uphold its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development.
She will remain firm in her commitment to strengthening friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative and continue to take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system.
In foreign policy, China will continue to work on the development of mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation and a community with a shared future for mankind. She will work together with the people of all countries to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.
The Congress called on the entire party and the Chinese people of all ethnicities to rally closely around the party Central Committee with party secretary general Xi Jinping at its core, hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to keep working with great determination to accomplish the three historic tasks of advancing China’s modernisation, realise China’s reunification, preserve world peace and promoting common development, to realise the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and see that China’s people realise their aspirations for a better life.
Some background context
Some western commentators have described the communist government of China as being the ‘best implementor of capitalism’, whilst orthodox western communists, especially western Maoists and within China, the banned Maoist Communist Party of China which operates underground, all regard the ruling Communist Party of China as having sold out to capitalism.
However, when seen in the historical context of the communist movement, especially since the early days of the Soviet Union, the approach adopted by the Communist Party of China to eventually achieve a socialist China with Chinese characteristics, appears to be a rather nuanced approach towards transforming China into an advanced socialist society.
When Karl Marx wrote his analysis of capitalism in his three-volume book Capital and when Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels co-wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848, they believed that the then ruthlessly exploited workers in the industrialised countries of Europe would rise up and overthrow the capitalist order in their respective countries and establish a socialist order based upon workers’ ownership and control of the factories, mines and so forth seized from the capitalists, which the workers would then use for production to serve society’s needs, rather than capitalist profit.
However, what Marx and Engels could not see at the time, was the development of imperialism which took the form of colonialism of mostly agrarian-based economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America, from which the imperialists from the super-exploit the labour of the colonised peoples drew upon their natural resources for raw materials for their factories and be able to market the goods produced in the colonies as well.
It was Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin who saw this and predicted in his pamphlet Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism, that the effects of imperialism would shift the locus of the worst exploitation to the colonies and least developed countries. hence the locus of revolutions against such exploitation and oppression, since imperialism enabled the capitalists in the industrialised countries to bribe the leaders of the labour movements in their respective countries to keep a lid on their disputes of the workers whom they led, so that it remained short of the overthrow of capitalism in their respective countries.
As it turned out, it was communists in industrially backward countries such as Russia and in the mostly agrarian and resource-rich colonies who either led or played a significant role in the revolutionary or anti-colonial movements in these countries and where the communist won, such as in China, Vietnam, Cuba and others, they found themselves running a country in which they did not have the advanced industrial base required to provide the necessities to support a socialist society, so they were forced to make compromises with capitalism, such as during the New Economic Policy (NEP) during the early years of the Soviet Union.
China’s current economic policy bears certain similarities to the NEP introduced in Soviet Russia in March 1921 by Lenin as a means for Russia’s economy to recover from the near ruin of Russian Civil War from 1918 to 1922.
Most private enterprise involved farmers who were allowed to sell some of their produce in the free market and coupled with the breakup of quasi-feudal estates, the NEP period saw agricultural production surpass pre-revolution levels.
Under the NEP, Russia’s state-owned enterprise operated under a profit-oriented basis, whilst a free market and capitalism was allowed, all of which were subject to state control.
The Soviet Union also needed advanced technologies to develop her industries, so allowed foreign direct investment, such as that of American millionaire Armand Hammer who in 1921 brought millions of bushels of American wheat to relieve the effects of famine in the Soviet Union in return for Siberian furs, caviar, and valuables seized from the former Russian capitalist, landlords and aristocracy.
In 1926 Hammer opened a pencil factory in the Soviet Union and by the end of the 1920s he had become the most influential American in Russia, representing 37 leading U.S. companies, including Henry Ford’s group.
During his stay in the Soviet Union, Hammer gained the confidence of Soviet leaders such as Lenin and Hammer, a capitalist and Republican Party supporter, was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Soviet Union’s highest civilian decoration.
Communist Party of the Soviet Union general secretary Joseph Stalin ended the NEP in 1928 and replaced it with the collectivisation of farms and introduced a massive programme of industrialisation in the five-year plan beginning in 1928.
Whilst China, even under Mao was in no such dire straits as the Soviet Union was in 1921, however China needs advanced industry and technology to develop beyond its largely agrarian and resource-based roots, just like other socialist countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba and North Korea; as well as almost all capitalist developing countries, all of which lack a strong industrial and technological base to develop further, so must rely on imported technologies.
It is within this rather convoluted and nuanced context, that China’s “capitalist road to socialism” can somewhat be understood, though whether China eventually becomes a modern socialist society by around 2050 or a fully capitalist one, is left to be seen.