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On Building a Human Community with a Shared Future – Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping
On Building a Human Community with a Shared Future
CCTP – Central Compilation & Translation Press, Beijing, 2019

 

[The Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China]

 


CLICCA QUI PER LA VERSIONE IN ITALIANO


Since ancient times, the Chinese nation has upheld the belief that “ail under Heaven are of one family” and has advocated the ideas of peace among all nations and harmony under Heaven. The Communist Party of China (CPC) regards making new and greater contributions to humanity as its abiding mission. Since the CPC’s 18th National Congress in November 2012, Xi Jinping has called for the building of a human community with a shared future. As General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the People’s Republic of China, and the highest military leader of China, Xi Jinping has put forward this concept from the perspective of humankind’s development throughout history. It is based on the profound changes in the international situation, on the trend of our times toward peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and on an in- depth reflection of the major questions concerning the future of humanity, namely what kind of world should we build and how should we build it.
The concept reflects the shared values of humankind — peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom; and it embodies the aspirations for peace, development, and prosperity, which represent the common interests of the people of all countries. In February 2017, the concept of building a community of shared future for mankind was written into a United Nations resolution for the first time. Later, it was also included in UN Security Council Resolution 2344 (2017) and the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council’s 34th and 37th sessions.
This book is a collection of translations of 85 articles and speeches written by Xi Jinping since 2012. The purpose of the book is to help readers gain a clearer understanding of President Xi’s thinking on building a human community with a shared future.

[The Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China]
March 2019

 

***

 

WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD A HUMAN COMMUNITY WITH A SHARED FUTURE

by Xi Jinping

Your Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly,
Your Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General,
Your Excellency Mr. Michael Moller, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva,
Ladies and Gendemen,
Friends,
As a new year begins, everything takes on a new look. And as we start 2017, it gives me great pleasure to be able to visit the United Nations Office in Geneva to discuss with you an issue for our time — the building of a human community with a shared future.
I just attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. In Davos, many speakers pointed out that today’s world is full of uncertainties and that people long for a bright future but are unsure about what lies in store. What is happening to the world? And how should we respond? These are questions that everyone is reflecting on and that are also very much on my mind.
I believe that to answer this question, we need to first clarify some basic questions: Where did we come from? Where are we now? And where are we going?
Over the past century or more, mankind has endured both bloody hot wars and a chilling Cold War; but it has also achieved remarkable development and tremendous progress. In the first half of the last century, humanity suffered the scourge of two world wars. What the people of that era yearned for most was the end of war and the advent of peace. In the 1950s and 1960s, people across the colonies were awakened, and with a powerful voice, proclaimed that they would shake off their shackles and struggle for independence. Since the end of the Cold War, the most ardent aspiration of people everywhere has been to foster greater cooperation and pursue common development.
Peace and development: throughout the past century this has been the prevailing aspiration of humanity. However, this is a mission far from fulfilled. It is now up to us to respond to the people’s call, take up the baton of history, and continue on the marathon toward peace and development.
Mankind is currently in an era of great development, profound transformation, and dramatic change. The trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization is deepening. IT application in social development and cultural diversity continues to progress. A new round of scientific and industrial revolution is in the making. Interconnection and interdependence between countries have become crucial for human survival. And the forces for peace far outweigh the factors causing war. In a word, the trend of our times toward peace, development, cooperation, and mutually beneficial outcomes grows only stronger.
At the same time, however, mankind is also in an era of myriad challenges and proliferating risks. Global economic growth is sluggish, the impact of the financial crisis lingers, and the development gap continues to widen. Armed conflicts are a frequent occurrence, the mentality of the Cold War and power politics persist, and non- conventional security' threats, particularly terrorism, refugee crises, major communicable diseases, and climate change, are spreading.
Our universe has only one earth and we humans have only one homeland. Stephen Hawking has raised the proposition of a “parallel universe,” in the hope of finding another place where mankind may setde. When, or if, this wish can be realized is anyone’s guess. Whatever the case, at present, earth remains the only home mankind has, thus caring for and cherishing this earth is the only option we have. In the dome of the Federal Palace of Switzerland is inscribed the Latin motto, “Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno” (One for all, and all for one). We must not only think about our own generation, but also fulfill our responsibility to the generations of the future.

Ladies and Gendemen,
Friends,
To let the torch of peace pass from generation to generation; to let the forces of development flow eternally; and to let the light of civilization shine through the ages — this is what the peoples of all nations long for; thus this is the responsibility all statesmen of our generation must shoulder. To see this fulfilled, China’s solution is this: to build a human community with a shared future and to realize mutually beneficial development.
Vision guides action and direction determines the future. As modern history shows, to establish a just and equitable international order is the goal mankind has always striven for. From the principles of equality' and sovereignty established in the Peace of Westphalia over 360 years ago to international humanitarianism affirmed in the Geneva Convention 150-plus years ago; from the four purposes and seven principles enshrined in the UN Charter more than 70 years ago to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence championed by the Bandung Conference over 60 years ago, many principles have emerged in the evolution of international relations and become widely accepted. These principles should guide us in building a human community with a shared future.
Sovereign equality has been the most important norm governing state-to-state relations over the past several centuries and the cardinal principle observed by the United Nations and all other international organizations. The essence of sovereign equality is that the sovereignty and dignity of all countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, must be respected, their internal affairs are not subject to interference, and they have the right to independently choose their social system and development path. In organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Meteorological Organization, International Telecommunication Union, Universal Postal Union, International Organization for Migration, and International Labor Organization, all countries have been afforded an equal voice in decision-making, thus they constitute an important force for the improvement of global governance. Under new circumstances, we should uphold sovereign equality and work for equality in rights, opportunities, and rules for all countries.
Geneva witnessed the adoption of the Final Declaration on the Problem of Restoring Peace in Indo-China, the first summit meeting for reconciliation between the two blocs during the Cold War, and dialogue and negotiations on hotspot issues like the Iranian nuclear issue and the Syrian issue. What we can learn from both past and present is that dialogue and consultation are an effective way to bridge differences and political negotiation is the fundamental solution to end conflict. When we have sincere desire, goodwill, and political wisdom, no ice is too thick to break, no conflict too big to settle.
An ancient Chinese philosopher said, “Law is the very foundation of governance.”[1] Here in Geneva, countries, on the basis of the UN Charter, have concluded many international conventions and legal documents on political security, trade, development, social issues, human rights, science and technology, health, labor, intellectual property, culture, and sports. The essence of the law lies in enforcement. It is thus incumbent on all countries to uphold the authority of the international rule of law, to exercise their rights in accordance with law, and to fulfill their obligations in good faith. The essence of law also lies in fairness and justice. All countries and international judicial institutions should ensure equal and uniform application of international law. They cannot apply double standards or apply international laws in a selective way; they should ensure that they are “without bias or favor, just as was espoused in the great way of governance of old.[2]
“The ocean is vast because it admits all rivers.” Openness and inclusiveness have made Geneva a center of multilateral diplomacy. We should advance democracy in international relations and reject dominance by just one or several countries. All countries should involved in shaping the future of the world, writing international rules, and managing global affairs, and should share in the outcomes development.
In 1862, in his book A Memory of Solferino, Henry Dunant pondered the question of whether it was possible to set up humanitarian organizations and formulate humanitarian conventions. The answer came one year later with the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Over more than 150 years, the Red Cross has become a symbol and a banner. In the face of frequent humanitarian crises, we should champion the spirit of humanitarianism, compassion, and dedication and give love and hope to ordinary innocent people caught in dire situations. We should uphold the basic principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence, refrain from politicizing humanitarian issues, and remain committed to the non-militarization of humanitarian assistance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,
Great visions are simple and pure; all they require is action. Action is thus the key to building a human community with a shared future. It is my belief that the international community should work on promoting partnership, security, growth, intercultural exchanges, and ecological conservation.
We should build a world of enduring peace through dialogue and consultation. When countries enjoy peace, so too will the world; when countries clash, the world suffers. From the Peloponnesian War in the fifth century BC to the two world wars and the Cold W'ar that lasted more than four decades, we have drawn painful and profound lessons. “History, if not forgotten, can serve as a guide for the future.[3]” By establishing the United Nations, those before us won more than 70 years of relative peace for the world. W'hat we must do is to improve our mechanisms and methods to more effectively resolve disputes, reduce tensions, and put an end to conflict and war.
The Swiss writer and Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse stressed the importance of serving “not war and destruction, but peace and reconciliation.” Countries should foster partnerships based on dialogue, non-confrontation, and non-alliance. Major countries should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, keep their differences under control, and build a new model of relations based on non-conflict, nonconfrontation, mutual respect, and mutually beneficial cooperation. As long as we maintain communication and treat each other with sincerity, the “Thucydides trap” can be avoided. Big countries should treat smaller ones as equals and avoid acting as hegemons imposing their will on others. No country should open Pandora’s box by willfully waging war or undermining the international rule of law. Nuclear weapons are the Sword of Damocles that hangs over mankind. They should be completely prohibited and, ultimately, completely destroyed to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Guided by the principles of peace, sovereignty, inclusiveness, and shared governance, we should make the deep sea, the polar regions, outer space, and the Internet new frontiers for cooperation rather than arenas of competition.
We should all build and share together a world of common security. There exists in this world no haven of complete freedom from danger. A country cannot build its security on the turmoil of others, as the threats that beset other countries have every possibility' of one day coming to haunt itself also. When neighbors are in trouble, instead of tightening our own fences, we should extend a helping hand. As the saving goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.[4]” All countries should pursue a common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable approach to security.
Terrorist attacks that have shaken Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East in recent years have shown time and again that terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. Fighting terrorism is the shared responsibility of all countries. In fighting terror, we should not be content to just treat the symptoms, but must get to its root causes. We should enhance coordination and build a global united front against terrorism so as to create an umbrella of security for people around the world. The number of refugees has hit a record high since the end of the Second World War. Addressing this crisis is imperative, but we should also take time to ponder its roots. Why would anyone choose be displaced if they have a home to return to? The UNHCR and International Organization for Migration should act as the coordinators of an effort to mobilize the whole world in an effective response the refugee crisis. China has decided to provide an additional RMB 200 million of humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced people in Syria. Terrorism and refugee crises alike are both closely tied to geopolitical conflict, thus the fundamental solution to these probblems lies in the resolution of conflicts. Parties directly involved in conflict should return to the negotiating table, other parties should work to facilitate talks for peace, and we should all respect the role of the UN as the main channel for mediation. The alarm has been sounded for international health security by pandemic diseases such as bird flu, Ebola virus, and Zika virus. It is important that the WHO plays a leading role in strengthening epidemic monitoring and the sharing of information, practices, and technologies. The international community should step up support and assistance for public health in African countries and other developing countries.
We should build a world of common prosperity through mutually beneficial cooperation. The idea that development is the top priority is applicable to all countries. Instead of beggaring thy neighbor, countries should stick together like travellers in the same boat. All countries, the main economies in particular, should strengthen macro policy coordination, pursue both current and long-term interests, and focus on resolving deep-seated problems. We should seize the historic opportunity presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, transform our growth models, drive growth through innovation, and unlock greater social productivity and social creativity. We should uphold WTO rules, support an open, transparent, inclusive, and nondiscriminatory multilateral trading regime, and build an open world economy. Trade protectionism and self-isolation will benefit no one.
Economic globalization is an inevitable historical trend that has greatly facilitated trade, investment, the flow of people, and technological advancement. Since the turn of the century, and under the guidance of the UN, the international community has capitalized on the wave of economic globalization to set the Millennium Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These initiatives have helped lift 1.1 billion people out of poverty, provide access to safe drinking water for 1.9 billion people, ensure access to the Internet for 3.5 billion people, and we now are on course to eradicate extreme poverty' by 2030. All this demonstrates that economic globalization is moving in the right direction. Of course, challenges such as the development disparity, governance dilemma, digital divide, and equity deficit are also objective realities. But they are growing pains. We should squarely face these problems and come up with solutions, instead of succumbing to inaction. As we Chinese like to say, one should not stop eating for fear of choking.
We should draw on the lessons of history. Historians told us long ago that rapid economic development makes social reform inevitable; but people tend to support the former while resisting the latter. Instead of watching on with hesitation, we should have the mettle to forge ahead. Answers can also be found in reality. The 2008 international financial crisis has taught us that we need to strengthen coordination and improve governance so as to ensure economic globalization unfolds in a way that is open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all. We need to make the cake bigger, but, more than that, we need to see it is shared fairly and that justice and equity are ensured.
Last September, the G20 Summit in Hangzhou focused on global economic governance and other major issues. It adopted the Blueprint on Innovative Growth, placed development within the global macro policy framework for the first time, and formulated action plans for a number of important areas.
We should strive to build an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning. Delicious soup is made by combining different ingredients [5]. The diversity of human civilization not only defines our world, but drives the progress of mankind. Our world has over 200 countries and regions, over 2,500 ethnic groups, and many different religions. Different histories, national conditions, ethnic groups, and customs have given birth to different civilizations, and for that, our world is a richer and far more colorful place. There is no such thing as superior or inferior when it comes to civilizations, only differences in traits and location. Civilizational diversity should not be a source of global conflict, but an engine powering the advance of human civilizafi- as a whole.
Every civilization, with its own appeal and essence, is a human treasure. Diverse civilizations should draw on each other’s strengths to achieve common progress. We should see that exchange among civilizations serves as a source of inspiration for advancing human society and a bond that keeps the world in peace.
We should strive to build a clean and beautiful world by pursuing green and low-carbon development. Man coexists with nature, which means that any harm it does to nature will eventually come back to haunt it. We hardly nonce natural resources such as air, water, soil, and blue skies when we have them. But once they are gone, they are gone forever. Industrialization has created material wealth hitherto unseen, but it has also inflicted irreparable damage on the environment. We must not exhaust all the resources left to us by previous generations and leave nothing to our children — we cannot pursue development that destructs and destroys. As is often said, clear waters and lush mountains are as precious as mountains of silver and gold. We must respect the unity of human and nature by pursuing a path of sustainable development.
We should advocate a green, low-carbon, circular, and sustainable approach to life and production, advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced manner, and continue to explore a model of sound development that ensures growth, prosperity, and a good environment. The Paris Agreement is a milestone in the history of climate governance. We must ensure this endeavor is not derailed. All parties should work together to implement the Paris Agreement. For its part, China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honor its obligations.
The Swiss Army Knife is the embodiment of Swiss craftsmanship. I remember when I got my first Swiss Army Knife, I marveled at how its makers had been able to endow it with so many functions. I could not help but thinking how wonderful it would be if we could make an omnipotent Swiss Army Knife for our world. Whenever there was a problem, we would be able to use one of the tools on the knife to fix it. It is my belief that, with the unremitting efforts of the international community, we may one day create just such a knife.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,
The Chinese people have always believed that China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa. Looking to the future, many people are interested to see what direction China will move in its policies, and there has been much discussion among the international community' about this. Here, I wish to give you an explicit answer.
First, China remains unchanged in its commitment to uphold world peace. Amity with neighbors[6], harmony in diversity[7], and peace are the cherished values of Chinese culture. The Art of War, a Chinese classic, begins with this observation, “The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road to either survival or ruin. Hence it demands careful study.” What this means is that every effort should be made to avoid war and great caution must be exercised when it comes to fighting war. For several millennia, peace has coursed the veins of the Chinese people and been imprinted in our very DNA.
Several centuries ago, China was strong, such that its GDP accounted for 30 percent of the world total. Even then, China never engaged in aggression or expansion. In the century and more after the 1840 Opium War, China suffered at the hands of aggression and brutality and endured the curse of war and chaos. Confucius said, “Do not to others what you would not have others do to you.” We Chinese firmly believe that peace and stability- is the only way to prosperity and development.
China has grown from a poor and weak country to the world’s second largest economy. What it relied on was not military expansion or colonial plunder, but the hard work of its people and our efforts to uphold peace. China will never waver in its pursuit of peaceful development. No matter how strong its economy grows, China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence. History has borne this out and will continue to do so.
Second, China remains unchanged in its commitment to pursue common development. An old Chinese saying tells us that when enjoying the fruit, you should remember the tree; when drinking the water, you should remember its source[8]. China’s development has been possible, because of the world, and China has also contributed to the world’s development. We will continue to pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, in order to share our development opportunities with other countries and welcome them aboard the express train of China’s development.
Between 1950 and 2016, China provided foreign countries with over RMB 400 billion of aid, and we will continue to increase assistance to others as our ability permits. Since the outbreak of the internati financial crisis, China has contributed over 30 percent of global growth each year on average. In the coming five years, China will import US$8 trillion of goods, attract US$600 billion of foreign investment, make US$750 billion of outbound investment, and Chinese tourists will make 700 million outbound visits. All this will bring more development opportunities to the countries of the world.
China pursues a path of development in keeping with its national conditions. We always put the rights and interests of the people above everything else and have worked hard to advance and uphold human rights. China has seen the basic living needs of its 1.3 billion-plus people met and helped lift over 700 million people out of poverty. These stand as significant contributions to the global cause of human rights.
The Belt and Road Initiative I have put forward aims to achieve development with mutually beneficial outcomes to be shared by all. Over 100 countries and international organizations have so far supported the Initiative, and a large number of “early harvest” projects have been launched. In order to provide more public goods to the international community, China is providing support to ensure the successful operation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other new multilateral financial institutions.
Third, China remains unchanged in its commitment to foster partnerships. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and is ready to enhance friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is the first country to make partnership-building a principle guiding state-to- state relations. It has formed partnerships of various forms with over 90 countries and regional organizations. It seeks to foster a circle of friends that links every corner of the globe.
China will endeavor to put in place a framework for major-country relations based on general stability and balanced development. We will strive to build a new model of major-country relations with the United States, a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia, a partnership with the EU based on peace, growth, reform, and civilization, and a partnership of unity and cooperation with BRICS countries. China will continue to uphold the right approach to justice and the pursuit of interests, and it will boost practical cooperation with other developing countries to achieve common development. We will further enhance mutually beneficial cooperation with our neighbors under the principles of amity, sincerity', mutual benefit, and inclusiveness. We will pursue common development with African countries on the basis of sincerity, real results, affinity', and good faith. Further, we will elevate our comprehensive cooperative partnership with Latin America to higher levels.
Fourth, China remains unchanged in its commitment to multilateralism. Multilateralism is an effective way to preserve peace and promote development. For decades, the United Nations and other international institutions have made a universally recognized contribution to maintaining global peace and sustaining development.
China is a founding member of the United Nations and the first state to sign the UN Charter. We will firmly uphold the international system of which the UN is the core, the basic norms governing international relations of which the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are the cornerstone, and the authority and position of the UN and its core role in international affairs.
The China-UN Peace and Development Fund has been officially inaugurated. Through this, China will give priority to making funds available to peace and development initiatives proposed by the UN and its agencies in Geneva. China’s support for multilateralism will only increase as it continues to develop.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,
Geneva invokes a special memory for us. In 1954, Premier Zhou Enlai led a Chinese delegation to the Geneva Conference, and worked with the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to find a political solution to the Korean issue and negotiate a ceasefire in Indo-China. This demonstrated China’s desire for peace and saw it contributing its wisdom to world peace. Since 1971 when China regained its lawful seat at the UN and began to return to international agencies in Geneva, China has gradually involved itself in disarmament, trade, development, human rights, and social issues, putting forward Chinese proposals for the resolution of major issues and the making of important rules. In recent years, China has taken an active part in dialogues and negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, the Syrian issue, and other hotspot issues, providing its input in order to achieve political settlements. China has successfully applied to the International Olympic Committee to host both the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Furthermore, we have gained endorsement from the International Union for Conservation of Nature for over a dozen applications for world natural heritage sites as well as world cultural and natural heritage sites, thus allowing China to present its splendor to the world.

Ladies and Gendemen,
Friends,
The ancient Chinese believed that “one should be good at finding the laws of things and solving problems.”9 Building a community with a shared future is an exciting goal, one that will require the unceasing efforts of generation after generation. China is ready to work with all other UN member states as well as international organizations and agencies to advance the great cause of building a human community with a shared future.
On 28 January, we Chinese will celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster. The rooster symbolizes bright prospects and auspiciousness. As a Chinese saying goes, the crow of the golden rooster heralds a great day for all. With this, I wish all of you the very best and a very happy Chinese New Year!
Thank you.


Note

[1] See note 1, p254.

[2] The Book of Documents (Shang Shu).

[3] Strategies of the States (Zhan Guo Ce).

[4] Wei Shou, Book of Wei (Wet Shu). Wei Shou (507—572) was a historian and writer during the Northern and Southern Dynasties.

[5] Chen Shou, Records of the Three Kingdoms (San Guo Zhi).

[6] Rites of Zhou (Zhou LT). This work is a description of the putative organization of the government during the Western Zhou period (1046-771 BC).

[7] See note 7, p.91.

[8] Yu Xjn, “Poems to the Tune of Zhi ” Yu Xin (513—581) was poet during the Northern and Southern

Foto del presidente Xi Jinping

The Anti-Trump: Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era

Confronting the crisis of imperialist globalisation

The Anti-Trump: Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era

 

by Andrea Catone, Director of the magazine MarxVentuno

 


VERSIONE ITALIANA


VERSION FRANÇAISE


Motivated by a series of questions asked in an interview during the IX World Socialism Forum - an annual event now organized in autumn in Beijing by the World Socialism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and other political and cultural organizations in the PRC - I propose the following reflections on the thinking of Xi Jinping about the entry of Chinese socialism into a new era.

Foto del presidente Xi Jinping

The thinking of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party has a strategic value not only for China - and this in itself, given the size of the Chinese territory, population and economy, impacts on the rest of the world - but also for the Communist parties and workers, for the anti-imperialist movements of struggle and against neo-colonialism, for all the authentic democratic and progressive forces of the world.

“New era” implies that we leave behind an “old era”, that we enter a new phase in the history of China and of the world: not only of China, but of the whole humanity. And this not only because the history of China cannot but influence the destinies of the world, but also because, as Xi writes, the destinies of China and the world are interconnected: “We in China believe that China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa” [1].

The era we enter is new for both China and the world.

  1. The new era for China

What is new and changes for China?

Forty years after the start of the policy of reform and opening up the face of China has profoundly changed. The PRC has made an extraordinary leap forward in the development of productive forces. From an economic and social point of view it has been the greatest transformation that the history of mankind has ever known, which took place in extremely short times from the point of view of history, which measures the great transformations in terms of centuries and not years or decades. A transformation that has involved one billion and 300 million people, which has brought the vast majority of the Chinese population out of poverty and has led hundreds and hundreds of millions of farmers to urbanize quickly. Seen through the eyes of the historian, it was an extraordinary achievement, which we may not yet be fully aware of. Like all major transformations, it does not only embrace economic data and an extraordinary uninterrupted GDP growth of around 10% on average per year. The great Chinese transformation embraces all fields: social, cultural, political, collective mentality…

We can observe another extraordinary characteristic of this great transformation: the compactness, the wisdom, the ability to correct errors, of the Chinese “ruling class”, that is, the Chinese Communist Party. When I say this, I do not ignore the moments of tension and even acute struggle that have manifested within the Chinese leadership group on the lines to be followed; this is part of history and life, which develops through contradictions. But the Chinese ruling group has had the wisdom and the ability to positively overcome contradictions, to maintain the unity of the party firmly, to broaden the membership base, to extend its influence in society. And it has done so by keeping the roots of its history and its foundations firmly in place, combining them with the most advanced and progressive characteristics of the rich and articulated Chinese national culture: it was the sinization of Marxism.

The CPC studied the experience of Soviet socialism very carefully and drew lessons from the dissolution of the USSR and popular democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans between 1989 and 1991. (Among the many studies, I would like to mention the international conference promoted by the CASS in 2011, the proceedings of which were published by Li Shenming [2]). Among the various and complex causes that led to the 1989-91 disaster, a decisive role is played by the political, ideological and organizational failure of the CPSU, which should have played the leading role in the process of socialist transition.

Xi’s Thought devotes particular care and attention to the Communist Party, from every point of view: it reminds every member of the party, and in particular the leaders, that party rules and discipline must be strictly observed [3], that in a Communist Party there must be no room for corruption, that it must be fought with extreme vigour [4]; it calls for daily work for an ever closer link between the Communist Party and the masses [5]. In addition, Xi reconfirms the fundamentality of Marxism: “We should never forget our origins and we must remain committed to our mission. Chinese communism has its origins in a belief in Marxism, communism and Chinese socialism, and loyalty to the Party and the people” [6]. Xi Jinping works for the study and development of Marxism, giving a boost to the schools of Marxism that are spreading among institutes and universities throughout China.

The extraordinary economic, social and political advance of China in recent decades has allowed it to reach a certain stage in the development of productive forces. The path of this extraordinary advance has been marked - as always happens in every complex historical process - by contradictions: between social classes, between city and country, between coastal and inland areas, between more and less advanced regions. In Xi Jinping’s report to the 19th CCP Congress (October 2017) they were condensed into the formula of “unbalanced and inadequate development”. The quality and effectiveness of development is not as it should be, environmental protection is inadequate, there are still large disparities in income distribution, in the development of urban and rural areas and between the different regions of the big country; the level of welfare is still inadequate. The CPC, which was formed on the study and concrete analysis of contradictions (I remember the well-known writings of Mao On Contradiction, 1937, On the correct handling of contradictions among the people, 1957), in the 19th congress grasped the character of contradictions and the change in the main contradiction:

The main problem is that our development is unbalanced and inadequate. This has become the most serious limiting factor in meeting the growing needs of the people for a better life. We must recognize that the evolution of the main contradiction afflicting Chinese society represents a historical change that affects the entire scenario and places many new demands on the work of the Party and the country. Based on continuous efforts to support development, we must devote great energy to addressing the imbalances and inadequacies of development and push hard to improve the quality and effects of development. With this, we will be in a better position to meet the ever-increasing economic, political, cultural, social and ecological needs of our people and to promote comprehensive human development and all-round social progress.

The new era for China is therefore the overcoming of unbalanced and inadequate development and the transition to harmonious development, respectful of man and the environment, environmentally friendly, which puts qualitative rather than quantitative growth first. The modern construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics is divided into three phases: by 2020 it aims to complete the creation of a society with a level of widespread well-being; from 2020 to 2035 it aims to create the foundations of socialist modernization, while from 2035 to the middle of the century it aims to transform China into a modern socialist country based on harmony, beauty and democratic civilization.

 

In his report to the XIX Congress Xi listed 14 points:

  1. party leadership on all aspects of society;
  2. politics must be people-centered;
  3. deepen the reform as a whole;
  4. a new concept of development (innovation, coordination, green economy, openness and sharing);
  5. the people are the sovereign of the country;
  6. adhere to the rule of law, govern the country as a whole according to the law;
  7. develop a system of socialist values and trust in our own culture;
  8. to support and improve the livelihoods of the people;
  9. harmonious coexistence of man and nature (ecological civilization);
  10. national security;
  11. full leadership of the Party over the army;
  12. “one country, two systems”: promoting reunification with Taiwan;
  13. to fight for an international community with a shared future for all of humanity (this has been included in the new CPC statute);
  14. govern the party fully and rigorously.

 

  1. The new era for the world

The new era is not just about China, it’s about the whole world. Which era is coming to an end and which one is it to start? What is the character of the new era?

About 30 years ago, after 1989-91 which brought the end of the USSR and the popular democracies in Europe, imperialist globalization, led by the USA, which presented itself as the absolute winners of the Cold War, gained momentum in the world.

That globalization, implemented through heated wars, has shaken important regions of the planet, the area of the MENA countries (Middle East and North Africa); it has led to the absorption into NATO and the EU, under the control of Western capital, of the former socialist countries of Eastern and Balkan Europe and some former Soviet republics; it has shaken the economies of the African countries.

But the advance of imperialist globalization has stopped before the resistance of Russia, which since 1999 has fired El’cin and has been governed under Putin’s leadership; nor has it managed to cope with the growing contradictions within the capitalist system. The crisis that began in the USA in 2007-2008 (financial bubble following an indiscriminate expansion of credit - subprime mortgages - to dope an insufficient demand) has been passed on to the economies of the EU, whose internal system inspired by German “ordoliberalism” has allowed some stronger countries - Germany in primis - to pass the crisis on to the most fragile countries, the so-called PIIGS, forced to adopt policies of austerity, of reduction or cancellation of welfare, of lowering wages. This has aggravated the crisis in these countries, with a fall in domestic demand and GDP in a recessive spiral. This in turn has led to a vertical fall in support for the political parties that governed during the crisis, with an exponential growth of populist and “sovranist” movements, which proclaim the break-up of the EU as the only possible solution.

Liberal globalization has also affected the economic structure of the United States, which has become increasingly financialized, focusing on the issue of dollars, whose world weight as a reserve currency and denomination of international prices of raw materials, starting from oil, is supported by military force (the U.S. alone spend almost as much in arms as the rest of the world put together). Despite the enormous military force, however, the USA has had to deal with the resistance of the occupied countries, which the USA and its most loyal allies, the United Kingdom, have not been able to normalize. So they have replaced the goal of normalizing and pacifying these countries under the direct or indirect control of the United States with the “strategy of chaos”. (adopted by Obama and Hillary Clinton), which no longer aimed to normalize, but to make ungovernable a crucial area of the world in order to prevent other countries from benefiting from it. It is a desperate strategy, which has affected the consensus within the US establishment. Trump’s electoral victory was the answer to the American internal malaise [7]. Trump is now attempting another path, including trade war to regain US leadership (“America first”).

Both Trump’s rise to the US presidency and the advance of populist forces in Europe and beyond are a response to the crisis of hegemony of the ruling classes of the West, who had focused everything on imperialist globalization and on the unipolarity of the US and its NATO armed wing. This response is not progressive, but regressive: with respect to an increasingly interconnected world and the possible construction of a community of shared destiny for humanity, Trump and the populist-sovereignists propose a protectionist closure in their inner courtyard, the absolute priority of their state in opposition to the others (Donald Trump: “America first”; Matteo Salvini: “ the Italians first”). Faced with the crisis of liberal democracies, a return to populist demagogy is proposed, which characterized the fascism in the 1920s and 1930s of the 20th century. Also in the 20th century, with the First World War, a first cycle of globalization was closed, of what Marx defined as the tendency inherent in bourgeois development to the realization of a world market. To the first globalization of the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century there were two answers: a progressive, socialist and internationalist one, represented by the USSR; a reactionary one, represented by Fascism and Nazism. A century later, we find ourselves - with all the appropriate differences - in a similar situation: on the one hand, the crisis of imperialist globalization, of its false internationalism, which in the name of human rights has bombed Serbia and Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and has promoted colorful revolutions from Georgia to Ukraine, also trying to attack Hong Kong; on the other hand, the reactionary responses of the protectionist closure, of the reaffirmation of unipolarism that sets no limits to the absolute exercise of sovereignty, with the consequent disallowance of the existence of a world community (Trump denies the international treaties on climate and environment, recognizes no other right than that of its superstate). Both these positions - imperialist globalization and populist sovereignty - are reactionary and wrong for the peoples and the development of the planet.

  1. China and the world in the new era

Faced with the structural crisis - economic, political and cultural - of imperialist globalization we have seen in recent decades the extraordinary growth of China - and other countries in which it won the revolution led by communist parties, such as Vietnam.

The reform and opening initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 meant China’s opening to the world market; but this opening was not indiscriminate, it was instead directed and controlled by the CPC, which had its own clear strategic project for the development of the productive forces. While the US-led globalization was characterized by imperialism, and therefore was, as the economist Chossudovski wrote, the “globalization of poverty” [8], the opening of China to the global market can be defined as an “anti-imperialist globalization”, in the sense that China has adopted strategies and methods that, opening regions and sectors of its economy to world capital, has directed it to the internal development of the country.

In the three decades since 1978, up to the threshold of the 18th CPC Congress (2012), China has tried to maintain a low profile at the international level, has carefully avoided becoming a protagonist, while weaving - the Shanghai Forum, the BRICS - an important network of ties with other countries. This was a wise choice, which allowed China to focus on internal development issues, and to provide an economic basis for a further leap forward. The development of the Chinese productive forces was the main concern and to it - as in the times of the united anti-Japanese front - everything had to be subordinated. But just as, after the defeat of the Japanese, the CCP resumed its strategic objectives of the Chinese Revolution, once it reached an adequate level of development, China is preparing for a new phase that requires the development of a new policy.

This is where the Chinese program of a non-imperialist “new globalization” intervenes, as opposed to the failed globalization of the United States. The founding idea of this “new globalization” is innervated and articulated in a great initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative, the new Silk Road. It is a concrete development initiative for China and the world, and at the same time a cultural proposal, closely linked to China’s new internationalism, to the struggle to build a community of shared destiny for all humanity.

Today China is the only country in the world that proposes to the whole world, to the whole of humanity, an extraordinary human development project that can become hegemonic, a key idea accepted and shared by the peoples of the world.

We are at a crossroads. The old road - which despite the smoke of novelty is also that of the “America first” of Trump - is closed, is bankrupt. Both imperialist globalization and sovranistic and exclusionary protectionism are disastrous: they are two specular reactionary forms.

Xi proposes a “new globalization”. It is not only an economic but also a cultural project of concrete universalism in the recognition of diversity and in the proposal to fight for the construction of a community of shared destiny for humanity. It is the strategic vision of the future of the entire world as an increasingly interconnected world, which requires a new type of globalization, completely different from that led by the United States and Western countries, which has been underway since 1991. Relations between countries around the world must be based on win-win reciprocity. In this sense, Xi Jinping’s thinking is the opposite of Trump’s thinking of “America first”: Xi thinks of the community of common destiny of humanity, not just the destiny of his nation. Xi’s thinking is universalistic, not particularistic. This universalism is not, however, an abstract universalism, but a concrete universalism, which considers the concrete economic and social conditions, the contradictions between social classes and states.

In his speech to the UN for the 70th anniversary, Xi Jinping said on September 28, 2015:

We should increase inter-civilization exchanges to promote harmony, inclusiveness, and respect for differences. The world is more colourful as a result of its cultural diversity. Diversity breeds exchanges, exchanges create integration, and integration makes progress possible.

In their interactions, civilizations must accept their differences. Only through mutual respect, mutual learning, and harmonious coexistence can the world maintain its diversity and thrive. Each social model represents the unique vision and contribution of its people, and no model is superior to others. Different civilizations should engage in dialogue and exchanges instead of trying to exclude or replace each other. The history of humanity is a process of exchanges, interactions, and integration among different civilizations. We should respect all civilizations and treat each other as equals. We should draw inspiration from each other to boost the creative development of human civilization [9].

For China, Xi’s thinking is an innovation and at the same time is in continuity with the thinking of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and other leaders and theorists of socialism with Chinese characters. Continuity is in a vision of China as a developing country that needs a relatively long period to develop the productive forces and must concentrate on this enormous goal: here China has achieved many successes in a few decades, and it is now the second most important economy in the world, and it is developing more and more. But the change that Xi has brought about is no less important, because, considering the level of development of the Chinese productive forces, Xi indicates that China has entered a new phase, which needs a new globalization. The Belt and Road Initiative is not only a concrete proposal for the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa; it is also a metaphor for the idea of projecting China into the world. It’s the idea of the new globalization that Xi has exposed in many speeches against the protectionist policy of the Trump administration.

In short, we can say that today in the world there are two opposing conceptions about the future, and consequently two opposing policies: the new globalization proposed by China and an exclusivist nationalism, which is a real regression for humanity.

Xi’s internationalist conception is not the erasure of China’s national interests and of socialism with Chinese characteristics; on the contrary, it is the recognition that these interests can be better developed in an interconnected world. It is the dialectic of universal and particular, national and international.

In the “new era” we meet the new phase of China’s development, aimed at overcoming its current main contradiction, as indicated by the 19th CPC Congress, and the proposal to the peoples of the world, to the workers’ movement and to all authentically democratic and progressive forces of a progressive exit onwards (and not reactionary and regressive) to the crisis of imperialist globalization.

It is the duty of the Communist parties and workers of the world, of the genuinely democratic and progressive forces, to take up the strategic challenge that Xi’s thought proposes.


NOTES

[1] Xi Jinping, The governance of China, vol. II, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing 2017, p. 597.

[2] See Nad etim razmyšljaet istorija. Zametki k 20-tiletiju s momenta razvala SSSR [This is what history is about. Notes for the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR], Social Sciences Academy Press, Beijing, 2013.

[3] Xi Jinping, The governance of China, vol. II, op. cit., pp. 164-170.

[4] Xi Jinping, The governance of China, vol. II, op. cit., pp. 176-184, and several other writings and speeches.

[5] Xi Jinping, The governance of China, vol. II, op. cit., pp. 456-478.

[6] Xi Jinping, The governance of China, vol. II, op. cit., p. 355.

[7] I would like to refer to my “Changes in the global framework. Trump, EU, Italy”, in MarxVentuno n. 1-2/2018, also available at https://www.marx21books.com/mutamenti-nel-quadro-mondiale-la-politica-internazionale-di-donald-trump-la-ue-litalia/ or http://www.marx21.it/documenti/catone_mutamentinelquadromondiale.pdf.

[8] The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order, Global Research, 2003.

[9] See “A New Partnership of Mutual Benefit and a Community of Shared Future”, in The governance of China, vol. II, p. 573.

The Chinese magazine World Socialism Studies is in its third year

Click here for the main contents and abstracts of the magazine World Socialism Studies

Andrea Catone, editor of MarxVentuno Review

VERSIONE IN ITALIANO

 

Since several years, Chinese Communists have intensified an activity aimed at making their positions and their elaborations better known to the Communists, Marxists and anti-imperialists of all the world, both on the processes underway in China along the path of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, as well as on the changes in the world framework and on the strategies of the international workers’ movement and of the anti-imperialist struggles and resistance.

The Italian comrades and scholars who follow us on the website www.marx21.it and in the magazine MarxVentuno (with the website www.marx21books.com) have had the opportunity to know and deepen the themes related to the Chinese way to socialism – the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” – and to the “sinicization of Marxism” thanks to the initiative taken by the Institute of Marxism of CASS (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), directed by Professor Deng Chundong, who, since 2014, has promoted annually, in collaboration with “Marx XXI” and other organizations, the “European forums” on these issues, held in France, Germany, Spain, Italy. The marx21.it website has published several reports and speeches, and the book La Via Cinese (The Chinese Road: realizations, causes, problems, solutions) has been published by the “MarxVentuno editions” (Proceedings of the 2015 Conference, ISBN 978-88-909183-1-5). The book by Francesco Maringiò of interviews with the Chinese Marxists Cheng Enfu, Deng Chundong, Lv Weizou (ISBN 978-88-909183-3-9) is equally useful and interesting.

The World Socialism Research Center (WSRC) at CASS, led by Li Shenming (whom the readers of MarxVentuno magazine know for some articles in previous issues[1]), does not spare efforts to promote and develop international exchange opportunities at 360 degrees, with representatives of communist and workers parties, representatives of liberation and emancipation movements, intellectuals and organizers of Marxist, communist, anti-imperialist study centres and magazines from all over the world, to deepen the most interesting and burning issues. In recent years, on an annual basis, World Socialism Research Center, in collaboration with other bodies, including the CPC Foreign Department, has organized world forums in Beijing – usually in October, after the National Day for the Founding of the Peoples Republic of China – which have involved hundreds of communists, Marxists, left-wing representatives from around the world and allowed the study of fundamental issues such as: Analysis and implications of the great international financial crisis; Changes in the world framework; Characteristics of contemporary imperialism; the Imperialist Strategy of “Colored Revolutions”; Tasks and action of the communist parties and the workers’ movement in the present phase; Meaning and developments of the October Revolution; Developments of socialism with Chinese characteristics. These forums were joined by in-depth forums on Mao Zedong and the Mass Line (2014) or, in Ningbo, on Reform and Opening up and Practice of Chinese Socialism (2017).

As Lv Weizhou (formerly deputy head of the Department of the International Communist Movement of the CASS) and Qin Zhenyan (Institute of Marxism, CASS) observed, the World Socialism Forum has become an important platform for dialogues among global Marxists and leftists, as well as for solid link between world socialist political parties and organizations. It is a positive response to the new world order and the new international and domestic opportunities and challenges, which is conducive to further innovation and development of Marxism. The World Socialism Forum has become a principal centre of analysing the present situation and future development of world socialism (World Socialism Studies No 1/2017). Two volumes in English have been published by Li Shenming, entitled Frontiers of World Socialism Studies, published by Canut International Publishers.

In addition, thanks to the initiative of other CASS leaders, two World Cultural Forums (2015 and 2017) were held, which clearly set the theme of the struggle for the spread and development of a Marxist and socialist culture worldwide, taking the field of culture as one of the fundamental grounds in which the class struggle for socialism is practiced.

An important role in the diffusion of the elaboration of the Chinese Marxists is played by the magazine Marxist Studies (in Chinese), of which the magazine Marxist Studies in China (Consultants: Wang Weiguang, Li Shenming, Zhu Jiamu, Zhang Yingwei; Editors: Deng Chundong and Cheng Enfu) publishes a precious selection in English.

CASS also sponsors International Critical Thought magazine, published by Routledge and edited by Cheng Enfu (Institute of World Socialism, CASS; Department of Marxist Studies, CASS), David Schweickart (from Loyola University in Chicago) and Tony Andreani (from Paris 8). It publishes some texts by Chinese Marxists.

Since mid-2016, on the initiative of the World Socialism Research Centre, a new magazine has been published in Chinese with abstracts in English, which we reported some time ago on the sites marx21.it and marx21books.com, publishing the Italian translation of the abstracts of the first issue. This was followed by another number in 2016, 9 numbers in 2017 and 2 in 2018.

The 13 issues of the magazine so far – about 1400 large pages and 200 articles – clearly show the ideological, political and cultural orientation of World Socialism Research Center.

The magazine also has the contribution of several foreign authors. We remember here in particular Samir Amin (director of the Third World Forum and president of the World Forum of Alternatives, as well as scholar of contemporary imperialism, whose our website and magazine have often published the punctual speeches[2]), with his articles on the imperialism of financial monopolies and the need to build a vast united anti-imperialist front; Egon Krenz, the last general secretary of the Socialist United Party of Germany (SED) in the GDR, whose speech at the 8th World Socialism Forum is reported: “To pass to socialism or return to barbarism” (No. 8/2017); Martin Jacques (University of Cambridge, former director of Marxism Today from 1977 to 1991 and author of the widely circulated book When China Rules The World, 2009) with a crude analysis on the future of the United States after the election of Trump (No. 1/2017); Carl Ratner (Institute for Cultural Research and Education, Trinidad, California) who proposes an interesting analysis of multiculturalism in the United States, which – the author writes – is not a true diversity, because it does not pose any challenge to the American political and economic hegemony (No. 1/2016).

The presence of Russian communists and academics is significant, intervening so much on the history of the USSR and on the catastrophe of the collapse of 1989-91 (Vladislav Schweide, “The historical role of Mikhail Gorbachev”, No. 2/2016), as well as contemporary imperialism (Mikhail Kostrikov, of the CC of the CPRF, “The nature of imperialism remains unchanged”, No. 1/2016; Oleg Alexandrovich Zimarin, of Russia Worldwide Press, “Lenin’s vision of imperialism and modern globalization”, No. 1/2017), but also on the interpretation of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the sinicization of Marxism (Alexander Vladimirovich Lomanov, of the Far East Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with his essays: “The Chinese Plan: A New Attitude towards Global Governance and Economic Development”, No. 2/2016; “The traditional Chinese ideal of Da Tong – Great Harmony – and the contemporary world”, No. 8/2017).

 

Situation and tasks of the global workers’ movement

Several articles are dedicated to knowing and analyzing the situation of the workers’ movement in the different realities. “The world today is witnessing an upsurge of mass and socialist movements, and China’s steady development has proved the advantage of socialism and created favourable conditions for the growth of the world socialist movement” – write Li Qiang and Li Shuqing (editorial committee of the magazine), in “Opportunities, problems and challenges in the spread of the Socialist Movement World”. However, world socialism still lacks good platform for its propagation, whereas Western media has kept presenting distorted information about socialism and the Chinese society. As a result, socialism is considered distant and unrealistic among ordinary people in the West, with limited knowledge and a myriad of misunderstanding of socialism with Chinese characteristics”. For this reason, the two authors propose to create an effective communication platform, such as forums and magazines, inviting scholars and left-wing political activists from the West to participate (No. 1/2018).

From the Beijing observatory one looks strategically at the overall characteristics that global socialism can assume. According to Jiang Hui[3], party secretary at the CASS Institute for Information Studies and Deputy Director of the WSRC, they are based on the following elements: 1) the wider systemic advantages of socialism compared to capitalism are the sign of the revitalization of world socialism; 2) China becomes the backbone and flagship for the development of world socialism; 3) the balance of power between the two camps of the world will have an historical turning point after a long period of rivalry; 4) the number of socialist countries and the level of achievement of the socialist ideal become the criteria for assessing the state of development of socialism. The future of global socialism in the 21st century will be determined by the organic unity of national and international, workers’ movement and a broad mass movement, social development and building ecological civilization in global socialism (No. 1/2016).

However, it must be recognized that the state of organization and coordination of the world workers’ movement is not adequate to the challenges and tasks that the new situation requires and that it is necessary a great effort and unitary work to reverse the current trend. As Li Caiyan (Chinese Social Sciences magazine) writes, while a global capitalist class is gradually taking shape, the global working class has not yet formed: the unity of the proletariat is still at a relatively low level and the process of its formation is rather slow. The antagonism between workers and capitalists is intensifying, but the unity of the working class is encountering many difficulties, so it is necessary and urgent to strengthen the unity of the proletariat. This necessary unity is a concrete possibility, provided that it is able to properly face the numerous problems and well manage the relations between the different subjects (“The need and possibility of the unity of the proletariat in the context of globalization”, No. 9/2017).

The same internationalist requirement is in the article of Samir Amin “It is imperative to rebuild the International of Workers and Peoples” (No. 9/2017). Globalization over the last 30 years has led to the following problems: the great ecological challenges cannot be resolved; scientific progress and technological innovations are limited; global governance is severely affected; there is extreme centralization of power; the historical imperialist powers plunder the resources of the Global South in an organized and planned way; the work of the Global South is being over-exploited; all other countries are being prevented from escaping the status of a dominated periphery. However, throughout the world, the struggle of the workers and the peoples who are victims has been extremely fragmented and has not made any substantial progress. It is therefore necessary to build an international front of workers and peoples from all over the world to strengthen international unity against imperialism and to address global issues together.

The long essay in three issues (1-2-3 of 2017) by Zhang Wenmu (Strategic Research Centre at the University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Beijing) is certainly interesting on the changes in the world situation from a historical perspective and on the tasks of the world socialist movement in the current phase. He argues that, despite the great historical changes in the world since the October Revolution, the fundamental characteristics of imperialism have remained the same. Imperialism of 21st century has developed from a stage where financial capital influenced all other forms of capital to one where financial capital is completely dominant. “According to historical experience, current balance between capitalism and socialism may well continue for twenty to thirty years, which gives China – if it remains to be socialist – considerably large space to rise. That is to say, there will be a fairly cairn international environment for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. But the most interesting part for the communist militants and the Italian and European scholars is in the forecast that the decline of the United States and the rise of China will lead to the reorganization of the international financial capital, which, “if China does not collapse like the Soviet Union”, will move to Europe, with considerable implications for the ongoing unification process. From the analysis of the absolutely dominant character of financial capital, the author also deduces the strategy of the workers’ movement in the 21st century, which in a first phase should create a broad front of all the working and ruling classes of the real economy to concentrate the fight against financial capitalism and its class comprador, with the objective of subjugating it to the real economy, transforming it into a useful complement to industrial capital. In this first phase, the objective of the workers’ movement in the non-socialist countries is not to create a fully socialist society, but to create favorable conditions for the real economy, “that is, a socialist society with certain capitalist characteristics”. Only in a second phase does the objective become that of establishing a genuine socialist system. A united international front including industrial capital can prepare a new wave of advances in socialism.

The World Socialism Studies pages are very focused on the strategies and activities of the political parties and organizations of the workers’ and communist movement in the world. Starting with those in power in China and elsewhere: Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea. Referring to their party congresses held in 2016, Zhang Fujun (Institute of Marxism, CASS) notes that everyone decided to apply Marxism-Leninism to national conditions, adhere to the idea of development that places the people at the centre, scientifically plan their path of socialist construction and pursue an independent line of diplomacy. These four countries are exploring ways of developing that are adapted to their national conditions (No. 9/2017).

More than one article is dedicated to Cuba and to the figure of Fidel Castro, who died on 25 November 2016. Mao Xianglin (Institute for Latin America, CASS), in No. 1/2017 notes that Fidel has forged a revolutionary model in Cuba, leading the Cuban people in a victorious revolution, that from the democratic revolution proceeded to the socialist revolution. He reorganized the Cuban Communist Party and started building a socialist system. Under his leadership Cuba has become a revolutionary example for other Latin American countries in the relentless struggle against imperialism. Fidel Castro contributed to the development of socialist thought worldwide: by adhering to scientific socialism, he grasped the question of building socialism on the basis of the national characteristics of his country (“indigenization” of socialism).

Pan Jin-e (Marxist Institute, CASS), points out some similarities between China and Vietnam (“The Vietnamese Communist Party’s Theories and Practice of Party Building”, No. 8/2017). Since the 1980s, the Vietnamese Communist Party has attached great importance to party-building and the 12th Congress has accentuated its role, emphasizing the importance of a close relationship between party and people, as well as the party’s new spirit of government against corruption and luxury. “As the problems and challenges that the Vietnamese Communist Party is facing in the new time have certain similarities with those for the Communist Party of China, we should, like the Vietnamese Communist Party, pay more attention to and spent more effort in self-improvement of all party members in addition to continuously enhancing various party building initiatives”. See also Njuyen Wenqin: “Leadership of the Party as the Decisive Factor to Ensure Democracy in Vietnam” (No. 2/2016).

Pan Xihua (Academy of Marxism, CASS) writes that it is very important to study socialism in developing countries and regions. See its review of the Conference of “Socialism in Developing Countries: Past Present and Future” (No. 2/2018).

The magazine publishes several articles that focus on the situation and tasks of the communist parties and the socialist movement in different areas of the world, from the Philippines (Wang Jing, of the Institute of Marxism of the CASS: “The Communist Party of the Philippines and the Left Socialist Movement in the Philippines”, No. 8/2017) to Australia (Wang Yonggang on the times and socialist practice of the Communist Party of Australia, No. 8/2017), to the Japanese Communist Party, whose position on the construction of socialism in China is set out by Tan Xiaojun, of the Institute of Marxism of the CASS. He notes the positive judgment of the Japanese Communists on the eradication of poverty in China and he pays particular attention to the correctness of China’s direction in the construction of socialism. As for the problems that China is facing now and in the future, the Japanese Communist Party argues that socializing the means of production and guiding the people to properly understand the shortcomings and damage of capitalism is the key to achieving socialism in China (No. 7/2017).

European countries are another important field of investigation. One cannot ignore the fact that the workers’ movement was born in Europe, met the elaboration of the scientific socialism of Marx and Engels and developed with trade unions and political organizations, but today, particularly in Italy, it is going through a deep crisis: despite the prolonged and very severe capitalist crisis that exploded in 2007-2008, the Communist and workers parties of Europe, with few exceptions, are reduced to a minimum and they are now spectator-commentators rather than active players in the political struggle.

The magazine hosts reports and analyzes on the French presidential elections (Samir Amin, No. 4/2017); on the New British Communist Party (Andy Brooks, No. 5/2017); on the 5th Congress of the Party of the European Left (Liu Chunyuan and Shi Fangfang, No. 5/2017); on the 17th Congress of the World Trade Union Federation (Liu Chunyuan and Hou Zewen, No. 6/2017); on the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Yang Chengguo and Zhang Huizhong, No. 6/2017); on the Portuguese Communist Party, “firmly convinced of the correctness, vitality and bright future of the ideal and the cause of communism” (Tong Jin, No. 8/2017); on the 20th National Congress of the Greek Communist Party. In his report, Liu Chunyuan writes that in order to strengthen the organization and unity of the working class, the KKE actively participated and guided the labor movement, working hard to reorganize it and strengthen the fight front of all workers with the objective of overthrowing capitalism and establishing a revolutionary workers’ government (No. 9/2017).

 

The USA of Trump

The magazine pays particular attention to the analysis of the USA after the election of Trump. Song Lidan (CASS Marxism Institute) writes that Trump was elected with the support of the financial oligarchy, the military-industrial complex and the conservative middle class, leveraging the three main ideologies of the United States: racism, liberal individualism and anti-communism. The election of Trump is the choice of the lesser evil for the capital. Its position as a member of the super-rich class means that its policies must be in line with the interests of American monopoly capital. As regards the relationship with China, Trump’s policy of “making America strong again” will not be possible without China’s full containment (“Issues to be clarified on the election of Trump”, No. 1/2017).

According to Ma Zhongcheng (Institute for Maritime Security and Cooperation), the racist tradition of the United States, an important tool to induce the white working class to support the monopoly capital, has led both the monopoly financial groups and a large number of voters of the subordinate classes to support Trump (“Why Trump Is Able to Go Up On the Historical Stage. Reflections on Trump, American Conservatism and Fascism”, No. 4/2017).

Zhou Miao (CASS Institute of Marxism) invites us to face the election of Trump in Marxist and class analysis terms, as a product of the crisis of the American neoliberal accumulation system, which resulted in the international financial crisis of 2008, sign of a further decline in US hegemony, which requires major adjustments and transformations of the international political and economic structure (“The Class Politics in the United States and International Situation during the Trump Administration”, No. 4/2017).

Fang Guangshun and Su Li (Liaoning University) believe that the US will not change its hegemonic strategy. The nature of the United States as an imperialist country remains unchanged, as does the class nature of the bourgeois monopoly. And the class nature of Trump as the main representative of the monopolistic capitalists remains unchanged (No. 5/2017).

Cheng Enfu and Duan Xuehui (Huaibei University) criticize harshly the “American-style democracy”, which, presenting itself as an electoral and procedural democracy, is essentially a monetary and family democracy and a democracy of the oligarchy. It damages production and trade and leads to periodic economic crises; it damages the financial order and causes financial crises; it damages public finance and leads to debt crises; it damages ecological civilisation and the environment and translates into a global ecological crisis; it causes material damage to life and well-being and significantly widens the gap between rich and poor (No. 5/2017).

Yu Li (University of Zhengzhou) believes that a comprehensive, multi-level strategy for China’s peaceful development needs to be formulated in a timely manner as a response to the decline of US hegemony (No. 6/2017).

Luan Wenlian, of the Institute of Marxism of the CASS, observes that crisis and long-term stagnation have been resolved in greater contradictions and conflicts between the major capitalist powers in the West. China should remain vigilant over American hegemony and capitalist contradictions, because in the potential comparison between China and the United States, most Western countries would take the side of the latter (“Deepened Crises and Contradictions in Europe and America. Notes on the Visit to Britain by the Research Group of “Current Situation of Capitalism since the 2008 International Financial Crisis”, No. 3/2017).

 

The 100 years of the October Revolution and the causes of the dissolution of the USSR

 

In 2017, the centenary of the October Revolution was celebrated and the CPRF organised the international meeting of Communist parties in Russia (Liu Shuchun, No. 2/2017).

Tong Jin (Marxism School, University of Economics and International Trade), after noting that the October Revolution showed the potential and energy of the working class to fulfill its historical mission and carry out new struggles for socialism in different countries, argues that the valuable experience of October should now be integrated with the concrete reality (No. 2/2016).

This anniversary was the occasion for a comprehensive analysis, from a historical perspective, of the role of the October Revolution, as well as of the causes of the collapse of 1989-91, which – especially in the WSRC and in the Marxist institutes of the CASS – is not stopped investigating, also looking at what could happen to the Communist political power in China, if the errors of the CPSU are not avoided. Interesting, from the ideological point of view, what Mei Rongzheng, of the University of Wuhan, writes in defense of Soviet Marxism, that is considered in China, especially in the social sciences, as non-Marxist. This position – according to the author – is wrong, it is a subjective invention of idealism against Marxism-Leninism and aims to reject the Four Cardinal Principles introduced by Deng Xiaoping in March 1979: 1) follow the socialist path; 2) support the dictatorship of the proletariat; 3) support the leadership of the Communist Party; 4) support Marxism-Leninism and the thinking of Mao Zedong (No. 3/2017).

The role of Gorbachev is strongly condemned. Zhang Shuhua, deputy editor of the magazine, director of the Scientific Information Institute at CASS, writes: “History shows that the collapse of the former Soviet Union is the result of degeneration of Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in the later stage of its regime. In reforming its political development road, CPSU did not adhere to Marxism-Leninism, but changed to capitalism” (“Lessons from the political reform and democratization of the Soviet Union”, No. 1/2016).

Vladislav Schweide is even harder in his assessment of the historical role of Gorbachev: the “surrender” of the Soviet Union through political agreements with the Western powers was not a test of stupidity by Gorbachev, but a real crime to be subjected to legal proceedings and sanctions (No. 2/2016).

Ma Han (Central Committee of the CPC, Party School of Teaching and Research on Socialism) sees in perestroika a serious deviation from Marxism that determined the transformation of social consciousness (No. 5/2017).

According to Li Ruiqin (Academy of Marxism, CASS) the collapse of the Soviet Union not only caused enormous economic losses to CIS countries, but also transformed Russia into a special blood donor to prolong the life of declining Western capitalism (“Russia’s New Reflections upon the Dissolution of the Soviet Union”, No. 6/2017).

Li Shuqing (editor of the magazine, Chinese Agricultural University) highlights the harmful role played by the theories of Harvard University in the collapse of the Russian economy after the dissolution of the USSR, allowing, through privatization, Russian oligarchs in cahoots with the West to rob the people without mercy; she concludes that it is necessary to watch carefully in China on similar situations (No. 3/2017).

A reflection on the collapse of the USSR had already been extensively elaborated in the Beijing conference of 2011, whose proceedings are published in the book edited by Li Shenming On this reflects History.

 

Against “historical nihilism”: the cultural battle on the history of socialist revolutions

 

The history of the workers’ and communist movement in China and throughout the world is a terrain of struggle in which to move with care and attention, knowing how to master the toolbox of Marxism. Wang Weiguang, President of CASS, party secretary, honorary director of World Socialism Studies, already spoke on this subject in the first issue of 2016 with the article “Accelerating the Development of Marxist Historiographic Theories with Chinese Characteristics and the Construction of Disciplinary Innovation System of Historiography under the Guidance of Historical Materialism”, in which he states that in recent years historical materialism has been seriously challenged by historical nihilism, an expression by which is meant the work of deformation, falsification, denigration of the history of the communist movement in every part of the world. It is necessary to respond to this by developing Chinese historiographic research on a Marxist basis.

Since the late 1970s – write Zhang Jiansong and Zhang Weiying – historical nihilism has experienced three stages of development in the cultural market, and has added fuel to the bourgeois liberalization. The essence of historical nihilism is to negate the leadership of the Communist Party of China and China’s socialist system, thus constituting a great danger to our society (“Three Evolutionary Stages of Historical Nihilism In the Cultural Market”, No. 5/2017).

The history of the USSR and of the revolutions of the 20th century is one of the fundamental areas on which a strenuous cultural and political battle must be fought. It is a particularly lively battle in China today[4]. The historical judgment on the main protagonists of the socialist revolutions of the 20th century, from Lenin to Stalin to Mao, is at stake. On the first – on which CASS has organized an important conference on imperialism in 2016[5] with the broad participation of Russian scholars – Wang Tingyou (Marxism School at Renmin University) denounced the trend, gradually developed in China after the collapse of the USSR, to deny Lenin and Leninism, with the aim of removing ideological and theoretical obstacles to the promotion of democratic socialism and the subversion of the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system. The denial of Leninism opens the way to an attack on Mao Zedong’s thought and the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics (No. 8/2017).

On the role of Stalin in the history of Russia and the international communist movement, the magazine presents several articles aimed at dismantling and rejecting denigrations and demonization. See in this regard: Li Rui and Liu Fan «Fallacy and Essence of the “Anti-Stalin Paradigm” in the Western Academia: Lies in Blood Land Exposed Again by Grover Furr» (No. 2/2016); Wu Enyuan (CASS, Institute of Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia), “The demonization of Stalin as an attack on Russia and the Soviet Union” (No. 7/2017).

Bo Yang argues that the 20th Congress of the CPSU, where Stalin was reneged, is the starting point for the decline of the USSR. And he invites to draw the necessary lessons for China, “in which is now emerging the denial of Mao Zedong and other heroic figures of the Chinese revolution” (“Negating Stalin as the Turning Point for the Decline of the Soviet Union. Readings and Reflections of a College Student Born in the 1990s”, No. 7/2017).

 

Mao Zedong’s central role in the Chinese revolution

It is no coincidence that the figure of Mao Zedong occupies an important part of the magazine, in essays that deepen its historical role both in the long revolutionary phase that precedes the conquest of political power, and in the subsequent, in which the essential bases for the socialist transformation of the country are laid. Several articles are dedicated to rejecting attacks of historical nihilism in China. After all, the readers of MarxVentuno have already been able to know the position of the director of the WSRC Li Shenming regarding the Maoist direction of the first phase of the People’s Republic of China (1949-1978)[6].

Zhang Quanjing, a regular contributor to the magazine, dedicates three articles to the history of the Chinese revolution: “The Third Front Movement: a great strategic decision”, No. 1/2016; “The revolutionary turmoil in the central province of Hebei. Notes on the first rural section of the Chinese Communist Party”, No. 2/2017; “Studying Mao Zedong’s Thought and fighting to fulfill new historical tasks”, No. 7/2017.

Chen Yuan (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference: CPPCC), proposes the study of five Mao essays as Problems of Strategy in the Chinese Revolutionary War; On Practice; On Contradiction; On Long-Term War and On Problems of War and Strategy. Mao’s thinking is a valid reference for both Western economy and philosophy and Chinese economy and philosophy, although it should never be copied and mechanically repeated (No. 2/2016).

He Xin, also from the CPPCC, points out that one of Mao’s greatest successes was the rapid industrialization and the achievement of food self-sufficiency, thus transforming China from an economically poor and culturally backward country into a country with a vast industrial base, in about 20 years. He continues: «The existing “socialist” system is not the ideal one of equality and fairness without class distinctions that he tried to create, but one in which there are still extremely profound and complex contradictions, conflicts, confrontations and struggles. In this regard, Mao Zedong has left exceedingly rich political heritage. It is of great importance that his revolutionary spirit and ideology have been deeply integrated into the political culture of the Chinese nation» (No. 2/2017).

Ge Yuanren expresses a largely positive opinion on the sending of young educated citizens to rural and mountain areas after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. This movement, before and during the Cultural Revolution, shared the common goal of uniting workers and peasants, and this was not an error of the Cultural Revolution. Based on their hard work and knowledge, most educated young people cultivated abandoned land, practiced scientific agriculture, significantly improved local agricultural production, fostered the development of education in rural China and improved cultural and health conditions in the workplace. Although there were some problems, this was a passage in the history of the Chinese youth movement that is worth remembering, as educated young people went to work in the countryside to join workers and peasants, integrated into the national development process and embarked on a path for the development of their homeland and for the well-being of the majority of the population (No. 2/2017).

Li Xia, of the CASS degree course, praises the experience of university students in rural collective economy villages as an important basis for ideological and communist political education among university students; it builds a public opinion conducive to the development of the collective economy, helps clarify the direction of the deepening of the Reform for China’s new socialist campaigns and continues to attract talent to build a campaign rich in all respects (No. 6/2017).

And again: Zhang Yunsheng, “Contributions of Mao Zedong to the socialist way and the rebirth of the Chinese nation” (No. 4/2017); Zhang Yanzhong, “Recognizing correctly the relationship between the Long March and Mao Zedong” (No. 9/2017); Li Ya, “Mao Zedong’s Criticism of National and Cultural Nihilism in the Area of Traditional Chinese Medicine” (No. 2/2018).

In the struggle for the affirmation of Marxist economic theory, the article by Zhou Xincheng (Renmin University) against an approach based on economism is interesting. He takes his cue from Mao’s important notes on the first Soviet manual on political economy, a science that fundamentally studies the production relations rather than the development of productive forces (“Mao Zedong’s Comments on Socialist Political Economy Must Be Valued”, No. 4/2017).

 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics is first of all socialism

This anti-economicistic approach is not limited to the historical and theoretical revaluation of Mao’s role, but is at one – in the impetuous and complex Chinese transition – with the battle for the affirmation of public ownership, both in strategic industrial enterprises and in the countryside, where the collective economy and the model of cooperatives are exalted.

The magazine does not fail to point out that socialism with Chinese characteristics is first and foremost socialism, as Zhou Xincheng (Renmin University) writes, who observes that from the beginning of the Reform and Opening up many conceptions of socialism have emerged with Chinese characteristics both at home and abroad. The basic principles of scientific socialism cannot be set aside if you want to remain socialist. Based on scientific socialism, socialism with Chinese characteristics adheres to the basic principles of this, while taking on distinctive Chinese characteristics in accordance with the specific Chinese conditions and characteristics of the times: socialism with Chinese characteristics cannot be seen as an “independent form of socialism” or as a “completely new socialism”, nor be included in the sphere of capitalism (“How to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics”, No. 2/2016).

On the same line of defense of scientific socialism we can also place the article by Yuan Xiuli (Institute of Marxism, CASS), who denounces how Marx’s vision of socialism is sometimes distorted or even denied in China at present and invites us to defend its scientificity, taking position against “utopianism”, “vulgar pragmatism” and the tendency to separate Marxism from socialism with Chinese characteristics (“Correctly Understand and Uphold Marx’s View of Socialism”, No. 4/2017).

According to Gong Yun (CASS, Research Center on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics), socialism with Chinese Characteristics is also the successful practice of scientific socialism in China, it is the dialectical unity of the theoretical logic of scientific socialism with the historical logic of social development in China. It is scientific socialism rooted in Chinese soil, which reflects the aspirations of the Chinese people and adapts to the development of China and the times, follows the basic principles of scientific socialism, while meanwhile confers it distinctive Chinese characteristics depending on the conditions of the era and sets as its ultimate goal the realization of communism (“Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era”, No. 8/2017).

He Ganqiang, professor at the University of Economics and Finance of Nanjing and researcher of the Marxism Institute of CASS, writes that “we need to stick to the basic tenet of historical materialism that social production determines circulation in the market and avoid confusing the dialectic relations between social production and market circulation with that between the government and the market. We should obtain a scientific understanding of the class nature of government functioning and uphold macro-economic control. We must ensure the dominant role of state-owned economy and incorporate foreign trade and the use of foreign investment into the macro-economic control. In addition, we must recognize the antisocialism nature of modern Western theories on market economy as well as the drawbacks of Western theories on macroeconomic regulation, and correct the problematic tendency of blind copying of Western economic theories. We should consciously apply the principle and methodology in Capital to guide our macro-economic control, firmly defend the right to discourse of Marxist political economy” (“Several Theoretical Issues that Require Special Attentions in Macro-Economic Control”, No. 1-2/2018).

Han Rusheng is against vulgar economism, that does not recognize the importance of ideology. In the Chinese state economy there is a contrast between socialist ideology and capitalist ideology. Ideological struggle is essential to promote the development and growth of the economy of the state sector (“Strong Socialist Ideology as the Prerequisite of Strong State-Owned Enterprises”, No. 1/2018).

Yu Hongjun, of the Party Committee of the University of Beijing, insists on the founding value for socialism of public, social property: As China is currently in the primary stage of socialism, private ownership and market mechanism are still necessary to some extent in the development of the socialist productive forces, but negative effects of private ownership and market economy must be avoided, and efforts should be particularly made to strengthen public ownership and state-owned economy so as to ensure the gradual realization of social justice. (“Strengthening public property as a prerequisite of social justice”, No. 3/2017).

Pan Wei (University of Beijing), strongly supports the role of collective land ownership in rural areas of China as a key economic base for the consolidation of CPC political power. It is the only means that guarantees equal allocation of farming and housing land, the last defense against capital’s deprivation of farmers right to survival, an economic and social bond among the villagers, and a bridge between the rural and urban areas (No 4/2017).

Xie Xiaoqing (Beijing University), referring to the last “popular municipality” of Zhoujiazhuang, defends the role of the collective agricultural economy, based on the principle that “no family should be left poor or suffering and no one should be left behind”. For half a century, Zhoujiazhuang has always contributed to common prosperity on the basis of the collective economy. The example of Zhoujiazhuang indicates the correctness of the strategic choice of the “second leap” in agriculture, namely “adapting to the needs of scientific farming and socialized production and developing moderate scale businesses as well as collective economy” (“The Zhoujiazhuang Road: Realizing the Urbanization of People’s Hometown with Dignity”, No. 9/2017).

Zheng Yougui (Institute of Contemporary China at CASS) supports the dominant role of public ownership in promoting common prosperity (“Response to new changes in the structure of wealth with the unique experience of promoting common prosperity”, No. 4/2017).

Zhong Nanshan (Chinese Academy of Engineering) calls for the public nature of hospitals to be maintained as a key factor in health reform: hospitals, together with schools, are the most important and absolutely necessary public service, which should be managed primarily by the state and government. Delivering them to domestic or foreign capital would soon empty public hospitals and schools of the best members of their staff, with high pay offers from those privately run. In this way, people suffering from serious and complicated illnesses would be forced to go to private hospitals (No 4/2017).

 

The leading role of the Communist Party

 

The question of political leadership and the character of the Communist Party in the transition process in China is at the centre of the magazine’s reflections with several articles.

The line that emerged from the leadership of Xi Jinping is a solid one to strengthen the leadership role of the Chinese Communist Party and a correct approach to research into the history of the party is an integral part of that line. Wu Degang sets out the main criteria (“Carry out Party History Research with Marxist Position, Outlook and Methodology: Learning from Xi Jinping’s Comments on the Party History Related”, No. 1/2018).

Zhu Jiamu, President of the National History Association of the PRC, former vice president of CASS, consultant of Marxist Studies in China and World Socialism Studies, spoke on the subject with several articles. In “Why Must the Leadership of the CPC Be Upheld and Strengthened? On the 95th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China” (No. 1/2016) he argues that, since the CPC still has a long way to go to accomplish its historic missions, its leadership should not be weakened, but strengthened. It is a necessary requirement of the socialist economic base, a form to achieve popular democracy and a fundamental guarantee of the great rebirth of the Chinese nation. In a subsequent article (“On the Ruling Party’s Being Revolutionary or Not and the Nature of the Present Epoch”, No. 1/2017) he states that the CPC is both a ruling party and a revolutionary party. The idea of saying goodbye to the revolution and the demand that the CPC should turn from a revolutionary party into a governing party are unsustainable in theory and harmful in practice. Along the same lines see also: “Modes of Political Life within the Party Consistently Promoted by Chen Yun” (No. 6/2017).

Jiang Hui and Wang Guang insist, on the basis of the speeches and indications of the General Secretary Xi Jinping, on the rigorous application of the Party discipline, which requires clear rules and a strong education in the ideal and principles of communism. The “key minority” of the party officials is of great importance for a systematic, strict and comprehensive party disciplining. (“The Scientific Connotation of Comprehensively Enforcing Strict Party Discipline”, No. 2/2016).

Wang Zhigang (Kunlun policy Institute) stresses that the policy of “Reform and Opening” is based on respect for the Four Cardinal Principles set out in 1979 by Deng Xiaoping – follow the socialist path; support the dictatorship of the proletariat; support the leadership of the Communist Party; support Marxism-Leninism and the thinking of Mao Zedong – who are the political guarantee against bourgeois liberalization, which “often puts on a reasonable and legitimate coat in the name of reform and opening up”, while promoting “westernization” and “polarization” between wealth and poverty in China (“Adhere to the Basic Line to Ensure National Security. Reflections upon the Study of the Series of Important Speeches made by General Secretary Xi Jinping”, No. 2/2017).

Gao Changwu (Document Research Center of the CPC Central Committee) writes about the theoretical and practical significance of Xi Jinping’s idea on the “great social revolution”, that  is a concise theoretical summary of the exploration and practice of CPC since its formation 97 years ago. CPC’s self-revolution is the means to carry forward the social revolution by the people under CPC leadership (No. 2/2018).

It is certainly interesting, also for the “Western Marxists”, Li Shenming’s reflection on the decisive importance of the formation of man in the life of the party: with respect to institutions, systems and mechanisms, man is the key that at the end determines the system and mechanism in the economic structure and superstructure. “Therefore, we must, under the correct leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, combine ideological construction with system building and embark on a new journey of keeping the party and the government from degeneration with high degree of vigilance, deep insight and extraordinary tenacity” (“Which Should Be the Key,Man or System and Mechanism? Reflections Based on the Study of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s  Speeches on the Ideological Construction and Institutional Discipline of the Party”, No. 3/2017).

Tang Shuangning (China Everbright Group) underlines the leadership role of the party – animated by the spirit of the Long March and the long lasting war – in the government of state enterprises (“Adhering to the Leadership of the Party and Strengthening the Party Construction Are the Root and Soul of China’s State-Owned Enterprises …”, No. 2/2017).

 

The Xi Jinping Secretariat and the 19th Congress of the CPC

 

Li Shenming summarizes the latest theoretical elaborations of the CC of CPC, led by Secretary General Xi Jinping, into five important ideas that constitute five different concentric circles: economic system; development oriented towards the needs of the population; theoretical system, which is reflected mainly in the cultural field, acting as a guide for socialism with Chinese characteristics; political system; adherence to the leadership of the CPC (“Upholding and Developing Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: The Essence of Xi Jinping’s Important Speeches”, n. 1/2016). A subsequent article by the same author (“Earnestly Study and Resolutely Implement the New Concepts, New Ideas and New Strategies on the Governance of China Proposed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China With Comrade Xi Jinping as the Core”, No. 5/2017) moves along this path. In another article, published after the 19th Congress, the author dwells on the role that the new China – which is moving from an independent nation to a prosperous and strong one – can play in the world, with which it relates to a Chinese way of building trust. The Chinese path to socialism, as a completely new reference, has contributed to human development with Chinese concepts of value, development and external relations. In the general context of structural change in the world, China is building a community with a shared future for humanity, actively participating in the construction of the global governance system, seeking to contribute with Chinese wisdom (“The Global Significance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, No. 1/2018). In his latest essay (No. 2/2018), the author stresses the importance of the thesis of the 19th Congress on the main contradiction in the current phase of Chinese transition: between the growing material and cultural needs of the people and inadequate and unbalanced development. For a correct path along the Chinese road to socialism, it is necessary the correct understanding and analysis of the contradictions between productive forces and relations of production, base and superstructure, man and nature, and between human beings, is fundamental. The study of the historical experience of the Chinese Revolution and the transition to socialism contributes to the correct understanding of contradictions in the present phase, framed by Xi Jinping’s thinking on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.

Xi Jinping proposed the idea of strengthening the “Chinese power”, writes Xu Guangchun (Advisory Committee for Marxist Theoretical Research), starting from the principle that the people comes first of all, everything must be done for the people and you have to rely on the people, fully realizing popular creativity. The Chinese People’s Power is strengthened by rigorously and completely applying the Party discipline, assuring the leading position of Marxism, continuing the development of the economy with scientific and technological innovation as its driving force, in a culturally cohesive nation, endowed with strong military defense apparatus. This is to be implemented through the “rule of law”, placing institutional limits on power and improving the capacity to govern the country (“Gathering up Invincible Majestic Power to Meet the Great Struggle with New Historical Characteristics. Brief Discussion on the Idea of the Chinese Power of the Party Central Committee With Comrade Xi Jinping as the Core”, No. 2/2016).

Wang Weiguang, on the basis of the speeches of Xi Jinping, stresses the importance of building a system of philosophy and social sciences for the development of Chinese socialism and proposes to adapt to the new tasks that arise the level of studies of these disciplines fundamental in the university and academic (“Further Studying and Carrying out the Spirit of the Important Speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping and Thoroughly Promoting the Construction of the Discourse System of Philosophy and Social Sciences in China”, n. 1/2017). This speech is taken up and expanded in the following text “Speed Up the Development of Philosophy and Social Sciences with Chinese Characteristics under the Guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” (No. 1/2018).

After the 19th Congress of the CPC (October 2017) with the long report read by the secretary[7], we can further specify the features of Xi Jinping’s thinking on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. Zhu Jiamu identifies the following distinctive characters: it stresses that development should be people-centered and reform should give the people a sense of achievement, reflecting a closer link with the people; it underlines the high ideal of communism and revolutionary militancy; more strongly supports the consistent position of principle of the Chinese Communist Party, the style of struggle and the fighting spirit (“The Distinctive Features of Xi Jinping Thought’s on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Notes on Studying the Report to the 19th CPC National Congress”, No. 8/2017). On this we can also see Jin Minqing, of the Institute of Marxism of the CASS: “The Great Innovation in the Party Building Theories of Sinicized Marxism”, No. 9/2017.

Wang Lisheng (Institute of Economics, CASS) underlines the great theoretical and practical significance of the new thesis taken up by the 19th Congress according to which “the main contradiction in Chinese society has shifted to that between the growing need for a better life and an unbalanced and insufficient development” (“New Judgment on the Principal Contradiction in the Primary Stage of Socialism”, No. 9/2017).

Yin Yungong (Academic Steering Committee of World Socialism Studies) stressed the unprecedented importance that the party had attached to the role of ideology, the media and the Internet since the 18th Congress and accentuated by the 19th, and proposes to further improve the capacity in internal and international communication in the new era (“Guiding the Practice of News Media and Public Opinion with Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, No. 9/2017).

To carry out the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress – according to He Bingmeng, the former general secretary of the Presidium of Academic Divisions and researcher at the CASS – it is necessary firmly center the work on raising people’s quality of life as the key performance indicator of Chinese economy, social modernization and sustainable development. This is to conform to the requirement of new era and grasp the true meaning of “modernization” “scientific development” and “sustainable development” (“Carrying out the Spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and Raising People’s Quality of Life as the Key Performance Indicator of the Reform and Sustainable Development”, No. 2/2018).

 

The ideological struggle against the soft power of the West

 

In line with the reflections that the WSRC has been doing for some years and with the international forums it has promoted (remember in particular the VI Forum of World Socialism, 2015, dedicated to the “colored revolutions”, with a large contribution of political activists and scholars from the former Soviet area and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe), the magazine dedicates a number of articles to the fight against the ideological penetration of the West, which, with the help of all the tools at its disposal, from the Internet to NGOs, tends to impose its discourse, its narration.

Hence derives the great significance of the battle for the “right to speech”, which – Bian Qin writes – does not form automatically: the flow of speech is not a simple “exchange” of information, but the result of a sophisticated control system operated by national power and hegemony (“The Vital Significance of the Direction of Discourse Flow to the Survival of the Nation and Civilization”, No. 2/2016).

Li Yanhong, in an interesting essay, studies the way in which the USA imposed their narrative on the Soviet Union. Since the beginning of the Cold War, they have adopted different language strategies in different periods. The “Research on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and the Language Training Program” implemented since the 1980s is an important language strategy tool against Russia and embodies the strategic intention of the United States to achieve its policy objectives through language. In fact, the rise of the United States as a global power is not only due to its economic and military strengths, but also to its deep knowledge of the internal situation of other countries. The US language strategy also shows that national language skills are both hard and soft power, and full integration of language skills and regional knowledge is key to staff training in foreign languages and regional affairs (No. 2/2016).

Tang Qing (Chongqing Normal University) and Feng Yanli (Marxist Institute, CASS) analyze the three main measures taken by the U.S. to control the growth of Chinese soft power: 1) isolating China through value diplomacy; 2) strengthening the power of US institutional formation in the Asia-Pacific region through multilateral mechanisms such as trade agreements to weaken China’s regional influence; 3) launching cultural attacks through non-governmental organizations and cultural exchange programs with advanced networking technologies («Three U.S. “light weapons” to contain China», No. 2/2016).

For some years now, Chinese Marxists have been studying the role of the Internet, paying particular attention to the powers that effectively control it. This speech went through some of the world socialist forums in Beijing, as well as the European forum held in Rome in 2016[8].

Zhang Jie (CITIC Reform and Development Research Institute) notes (No 4/2017) that the US government, while formally handing over the administration of the Internet to ICANN (established in 1998 and which has become an international management body since 2 October 2016), remains de facto the effective controller of the Internet: it has not waived the right to administer the Internet, but has rather strengthened this right of US capital, so the PRC should not lower its guard. On the contrary, as Mou Chengjin (China Mobile Communications International Strategic Research Center) writes, it is necessary to accelerate the construction of China’s independent and controllable network security system, since “without network security, there is no national security”. The guiding principle for ensuring the security of China’s cyberspace is: systematically planned, independent, controllable and rapidly developing state-led networks (No 4/2017).

Of considerable interest is the criticism of abstract universalism, of the “universal values” of the West. CASS President Wang Weiguang, in the wake of the criticism of Marx and Lenin, denounces the false universalism of the West, that intends to propose as universal what is instead the product and the elaboration developed during a long history of Euro-Western culture. Under the banner of universal values, Eurocentric colonialism and imperialism are hidden. And here the West intends to impose the monopoly of political discourse («“The anti-scientific, self-righteous and deceptive nature of “universal value”», n. 5/2017). The concrete universalism that the Chinese Marxists propose passes through the relationship with Western culture (not its elimination, or cancellation, as ethnocentric extremism of cultures in contrast with Marxism wants) and its overcoming (Hegelian Aufhebung) in a new, broader culture: see Xi Jinping’s speeches on the community of destiny. The sinicization of Marxism, far from being the affirmation of a particularism, is also the moment of passage towards concrete universalism (of the concrescence of the different cultures that world history has produced and nourished).

Xue Xinguo (Tianjin Normal University) points out the strategic difference between social democratic values, which he essentially inscribes in the category of capitalist values, and fundamental values of socialism with Chinese characteristics, rooted in scientific socialism and far from the abstract idea of “human nature” and “ethical socialism” (“A Comparison between Socialist Core Values and the Basic Values of Social Democracy”, n. 7/2017).

Zhang Shuhua sets out the strategic task of breaking the monopoly of Western political discourse, freeing people from the myth of Western democracy, in order to overcome it (aufheben) in a more advanced real democracy (“Political Values Such as Democracy Are of Central Importance in the World Struggle over the Right to Discourse. On How to Supersede Western Democracy and Enhance Our Global Voice”, No. 7/2017).

The export of the ideology and values of the West (see Xiao Li, No. 2/2016) is also articulated through institutions that present themselves as neutral and super partes, such as the Nobel Peace Prize, which is, instead, a political instrument of the West (Wang Xiaoshi, No. 2/2017). But in general it is the whole Nobel Prize system that has become involved, becoming – writes Qi Guifeng – an important instrument of the American hegemony to monopolize the orientations, the construction of rules and the final judgment on the awards for world scientific research. He played an important role as a soft ideological power in improving the image of American hegemony, recruiting talents from around the world, appropriating the wealth of other countries, breaking down the Soviet Union and choking China and Third World countries. Therefore, it is necessary to scientifically understand the Nobel Prize and the speeches related to it and to build an independent system of incentives for scientific research adapted to the historical process of rejuvenation of the Chinese nation (No. 2/2016).

From the editorial line of the magazine emerges a growing awareness of the strategic importance of the cultural and ideological battle, and of the need to prepare and equip all cultural institutions adequately, including universities and academic research. This is why antisocialist tendencies should be correctly identified and contrasted. Zhang Hongi denounces the markedly erroneous trends in Chinese scholars’ research into the history of the modern world. In terms of academic research, the fundamental leading role of Marxism has been undermined and denied, while the bourgeois “universal values” are defended and the nature of the colonial invasion of the West is hidden. In political terms, the leadership of the party and the democratic dictatorship of the people are rejected, the leading role of state-owned enterprises is rejected and macroeconomic control of the state is denied. Furthermore, in research into European and American history there is little attention to research into Soviet-Russian history (“Great Emphasis Is Needed on Ideological Issues in Academic Research”, No. 2/2018).

The strengthening and development of philosophy and social sciences, as recommanded by the 19th Congress, is also the theme of the article of Liu Dezhong, Wu Bo and Zhong Hui, who propose to be based on the guidance of Marxism and on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era (No. 2/2018).

Hou Huiqin (World Socialism Research Center, CASS), commemorating the 170th Anniversary of the Publication of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, stresses that a real social revolution is necessarily an ideological revolution. Today we must read this classic work in terms of the revolution of world outlook (Weltanschauung), «stick to a world outlook based on dialectical materialism and historical materialism, resolutely criticize the various trends of de-materialization, de-ideologization and the blurring of “people” into individuals and carry forward the great course of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Whether to stick to dialectical materialism is the focus of the current struggle over world outlook. Whether to stick to the people-centered theory of history or individual-centered theory of history is the touchstone for genuine historical materialism. In order to undertake the great struggle we must focus on the struggle between two types of world outlooks» (No. 2/2018).

 

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As is normally the case with any study and debate magazine, the articles in World Socialism Studies can be fully shared or only partially shared - a magazine is made to fuel open reflections and discussions on the proposed issues -, but one thing we can observe and one lesson we should learn: Chinese Marxists are used to thinking strategically, not only for the immediate contingency, not only for reactive responses to a political-cultural agenda dictated by others. And to have a strategic thought – which for many years has been lacking in the Communists and the workers’ movement in Italy and the West – is an inescapable task if we want to reverse the disastrous course which, in the last decade in particular, the workers’ movement and the Communists have taken in Italy.

We believe that we can do something useful by attaching all the abstracts in English and in Italian of the main articles published in the 13 issues of the magazine , hoping to be able to equip ourselves to translate into Italian some essays present only in Chinese, that are of particular interest to us in Italy.

Click here for the main contents and abstracts of the magazine World Socialism Studies

10 April 2018

 

[1] See: Li Shenming, “Valutare correttamente i due periodi storici prima e dopo la riforma e apertura” [Properly evaluate the two historical periods before and after Reform and Opening up], in MarxVentuno n.1/2015, pp. 49-54 also available in https://www.marx21books.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Valutare-correttamente-i-due-periodi-storici-di-Li-Shenming.pdf; ID., Rivoluzioni colorate ed egemonia culturale” [Coloured revolutions and cultural hegemony], MarxVentuno n. 1-2/2016.

[2] See also the recent Ottobre 17. Ieri e domani [October 17. Yesterday and Tomorrow], ISBN978-88-909-183-4-6.

[3] See also by the same author the interview with Marxist Studies in China, 2016 (pp. 264-282) “The 21st Century will see revitalization of socialism”.

[4] See in this respect: Fan Jianxin, “10 Ideological Topics in 2014”, in Marxism Studies in China (2015), pp. 85-115, in particular, the paragraph 10: “New Characteristics of the Trend of Historical Nihilism”. Large parts are published in Marx in Cina (ed. MarxVentuno, 2015), pp. 71-93.

[5] See: Shan Chao, Jia Jia, “Review of the Sino-Russian Symposium on the 1OOth Anniversary of Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, in World Socialism Studies n. 1/2017.

[6] Li Shenming, “Properly evaluate the two historical periods before and after Reform and Opening up”, op. cit.

[7] An Italian translation of the proceedings of the 19th Congress is currently being published at the MarxVentuno Editions.

[8] See the papers at the Conference “The Chinese Way and the international context” (Rome, 15 October 2016) of Tana, Institute of Information Studies at the CASS: “Network Sovereignty and the New Configuration of International Governance”; Yang Jinwei, Director of the Office of Policy Studies, CASS of Shandong: “Community of common destiny of the Cyberspace and international governance of the Internet”; Liang Junlan, director of the Institute of Studies on Information, CASS: “The international path of defence of network sovereignty”.