SocialismToday           Socialist Party magazine

Socialism Today 115 - February 2008

The China debate

FROM THE (almost shockingly) frank and concise title, China’s capitalist counter-revolution, through to the in-depth analysis, the article in the China Debate series in issue No.114 of Socialism Today was a great example of using Marxist methods to get to the very core of a country’s development and the attitude of socialists towards it.

I was reading Trotsky’s book, In Defence of Marxism, when the magazine came out and it was instantly apparent to me that the article picked up the historical baton of scientific socialism and class perspectives.

In the late 1930s and regarding an almost opposite situation, Trotsky was defending his analysis of the USSR as a deformed worker’s state. With the expulsion of landlordism and capitalism and a planned economy, the gains of the October Revolution were gains that socialists should defend unconditionally against imperialism in the coming war (WWII) despite the monstrous bureaucracy. It is not incidental that using Marxism, Trotsky was able to predict WWII because of the failure of the working class to defeat capitalism, and the growth of fascism.

It was this fundamental class analysis that meant that he was able to approach complicated developments, such as the USSR’s invasion of Finland and Poland, with clarity and was able to argue against those with a middle-class outlook who called such actions ‘imperialist’ and used them to deny unconditional defence.

Using the correct terminology is vital, as clear descriptions help towards clear attitudes and policies. Just as when the bureaucratically deformed USSR (in the 1930s when it was a relative brake on society) invades a country doesn’t make it imperialist in the true sense, neither does a country with a one-party state ruled by a ‘Communist Party’ mean that the country itself is communist.

The Chinese Communist Party’s abandonment of the planned economy has aided worldwide capitalism for the past period and has plunged millions of people into poverty and exploitation. The new capitalist class of China have good reason to rely on the CCP to keep order, as the growth of a huge, concentrated working class with no right-wing labour bureaucracy or reformist traditions reminds me of the situation in Russia before 1917, but on a much larger scale.

With the current and future worldwide economic convulsions, China’s influence will still be felt around the world, but this time around it won’t benefit capitalism.

Richard Wheeldon



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