This is a translation of 중국 사회성격과 노동계급 Ⅲ. 중국과 좌익+Ⅳ. 노동계급의 임무 After AI’s translation, we proofread it. There might be errors. All comments are welcome.
China's birth as a workers’ state/ “New Democracy”: Chinese Class Cooperation/ Class collaboration of Bureaucracy and “socialism in one country”/ Stalin's Check on China: Seeds of Sino-Soviet Conflict/ Fantasy of “Class Coexistence”/ Political consciousness of the United States and the Kuomintang/ Realization of ‘Permanent revolution’/ Outcome of the Revolution/ Three Ways to Improve Productivity/ 1) The First Way to Promote Productivity: Helping Developed Countries by Revolution/ Productive force and Permanent Revolution/ Failing of Follow-up Revolution in Advanced Capitalist Countries/ Sino-Soviet Conflict and Breakdown of Economic Cooperation/ Mao’s Evaluation of the Sino-Soviet Conflict/ Isolated China/ 2) The Second Way to Promote Productivity: ‘Great Leap Forward Movement’/ Catastrophe, Mao's downfall and Right Turn/ Policies of Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping Leadership/ The Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong Faction/ Deified Authority/ China in a state of panic: Background of the ‘Cultural Revolution’/ Changes in the ‘Three Kingdoms’ relationship/ China Helping the U.S.-made Blockade of the Soviet Union/ Mao's Death and the Power of the Pragmatic Faction/ Road to ‘Reform and Openness’
II. Changes in Chinese society as a result of 'reform and opening up': China's social character as a deformed worker state has not changed
IST and Workers’ Solidarity: ‘Democracy over Ownership’/ RCIT and the Workers’ Revolutionary Party: ‘Always Anti-China/Anti-Russia’/ SF and LCFI: ‘Risk of Misleading the Working class’/ WSWS/ Left Voice/ Worker’s Institue of Social Science: ‘Imperialist propaganda benchmarking’/ MLKorea and Dr. Kim Jung-ho of Peking University
Through Part I: From the 1949 Revolution to the 1978 ‘Reform and Opening-up’and Part II: Changes in Chinese Society as a Result of ‘Reform and Opening-up’, we analyzed China diachronically and synchronically. Through them, we explained that China is not only a phenomenon in one country but also the result of advance and retreat of the world revolution.
China was liberated from imperialism by the 1949 Revolution, which was based on the result of the Russian Revolution in 1917. The world’s working class advanced further by this. The global labor-capital power relationship significantly changed, creating a more favorable phase for the working class.
However, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, North Korea, China, Cuba, and Vietnam, where workers states were established, were all underdeveloped countries. Although the form of ‘socialist ownership’ was established through the abolition of private property system, the problem of low productivity was not solved. As Marx said in “German Ideology”, “the development of productive force which is an absolutely necessary practical premise” for socialist construction, did not resolve, then poverty persisted and “old filthy business” ‘bureaucracy, oppression of workers’ democracy, and the remnants of capitalist elements’ reproduced.
To solve this problem, a revolution in advanced capitalist countries was needed. However, due to the betrayal of the imperialist labor aristocracy, the revolution of the advanced capitalist country have been failed. The revolution was isolated without aid. The isolated revolution was plagued by imperialist aggression outside, poverty and tyranny by bureaucracy inside.
“The post-war revolutionary crisis did not lead to the victory of socialism in Europe. The social democrats rescued the bourgeoisie. That period, which to Lenin and his colleagues looked like a short “breathing spell”, has stretched out to a whole historical epoch. The contradictory social structure of the Soviet Union, and the ultra-bureaucratic character of its state, are the direct consequences of this unique and “unforeseen” historical pause”—Socialism and the State, Chapter 3 of The Revolution Betrayed
China is the result of this class relationship of force. Although it maintains a form of socialist ownership, the productivity that lags significantly behind advanced capitalist countries is not socialist. China is a contradictory system that is socialist and simultaneously not socialist. Trotsky’s definition, which calls the Soviet Union, which is the product of the advance and retreat of the Russian revolution, “a preparatory regime transitional from capitalism to socialism” is also applicable to China today.
However, we define China a ‘deformed workers state’, while we define Soviet Union a ‘degenerated workers state’ in which revolutionary leadership of working class existed and the revolution retreated.(see 5. Degenerated and Deformed Workers’ state in The Program of the Bolshevik-Leninist) We defend China’s state-owned system of ‘deformed workers state’ against imperialist aggression and capitalist counter-revolution.
Our analysis and political position, which explains the reality without contradiction, are scientific and therefore the most revolutionary. Unfortunately, however, this political position is a minority in the left.
ICL, IBT, BT and IG which are rooted in the Spartacist League(SL) tradition, hold this position. The SL tradition inherited Lenin-Trotsky’s revolutionary continuity against the two opportunism, the submission to Stalinist bureaucrats and abandonment of defensist position on workers’ states such as Soviet Union, East European countries, North Korea, China, Cuba, and Vietnam.
However, the SL tradition is contaminated with opportunism that gave in to imperialist labor aristocracy, as they confessed themselves by The Struggle Against the Chauvinist Hydra(ICL) and In Defense of (Seymour’s) Marxism(IBT). In that sense, these organizations cannot be the leadership of future revolution. We have explained that point in detail through a number of documents.
Meanwhile, Class Conscious published China: Capitalist, Socialist, or “Weird Beast”? This organization also defines China as a ‘deformed workers state.’
Meanwhile, most leftists deny the Trotskyist analysis that defines China as a “transitioning system from capitalism to socialism” or a ‘deformed workers state.’ These positions can be largely divided into three categories.
First is the view that China has been a capitalist since 1949. Tony Cliff’s International Socialist Tendency(IST) is typical. They have defined workers states’ such as the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and North Korea as ‘state capitalism,’ and it is same on China.
Second is the view that China was once ‘socialism’ or at least a workers’ state, but it changed to capitalism at some point after Mao Zedong’s death through “reform and opening-up.” This is the case with RCIT, SF, LCFI, Left Voice, WSWS, etc.
Third is the view that China has been and is now, and will continue to follow the path of “Chinese socialism” without wavering. This is the official position of the Communist Party of China, and Dr. Kim, Jung-ho represents this position in Korea.
The theory of state capitalism which IST and it’s South Korean affiliate Woker’s Solidarity, is famous. Using this theory as a shield, IST founder Tony Cliff exempted himself from the obligation to defend workers’ states that expanded to Eastern Europe and North Korea shortly after World War II.
Their position is that ‘the state property system is secondary to the character of the state, and where is no workers’ democracy, there is nothing to defend in that society.’
“Basic political and civil rights are not guaranteed in China. Can we call China socialism without these rights and democracy?”—Workers’ Solidarity, Is China Socialism?
“The workers did not have any active roles in this  revolution, and the regime that came to power was not socialist in any way. Workers did not run factories and offices, and farmers did not run villages.”—Tomashi Tengli-Evans, Was Mao’s China a socialist society?
“For Marx, socialism had nothing to do with the state-ownership system. It involves nationalization if necessary, but the essential aspect was self-liberation of the working class. In other words, socialism meant that workers controlled the economy and production. The important point was who controls the country, and whether or not the country was nationalized or not was not important.”-Marx 21, Interviewed Choi Il-bung, a member of Workers' Solidarity management committee
Anyone who has studied Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, Lenin’s State and Revolution, and Trotsky’s Revolution Betrayed, at once will be able to see how anti-Marxist the arguments cited above are. What determines the character of a state is, above all, the ‘form of property system.’
Imperialist camps, including the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Japan, have been constantly hostile to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, North Korea, China, Cuba and Vietnam since the October 1917 revolution. The camps educated their working people incessantly to abhor those workers’ states. The hostility and hatred are not because the country’s regimes are ‘undemocratic.’ This is because they have a system that abolished private ownership and imperialism can never tolerate such a property system. Trotsky has already explained this issue.
“In spite of all the efforts on the part of the Moscow clique to demonstrate its conservative reliability (the counterrevolutionary politics of Stalin in Spain!), world imperialism does not trust Stalin, does not spare him the mist humiliating flicks and is ready at the first favorable opportunity to overthrow him. Hitler―and therein lies his strength―simply more consistently and frankly expresses the attitude of the world bourgeoisie to the Soviet bureaucracy. For the bourgeoisie―fascist as well as democratic―isolated counter-revolutionary exploits of Stalin do not suffice; it needs a complete counter-revolution in the relations of property and the opening of the Russian market. So long as this is not the case, the bourgeoisie considers the Soviet state hostile to it.”―Not a Workers’ and Not a Bourgeois State?, Trotsky
Unless these “complete counter-revolution in the relations of property and the opening of the market” were achieved in the Soviet Union, the imperialists did not think they had won. Contrary to the pathetic perception that “whether or not the country was nationalized or not was not important.”
Revolutionary Communist International Tendency(RCIT) and the South Korean affiliate the Workers’ Revolutionary Party are at the forefront of anti-China and anti-Russia within the so-called international leftists. In most international events, including Syria, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Taiwan, although the root of the problem lies in imperialism, especially U.S., they claim the responsibility to ‘imperialist China’ or ‘imperialist Russia’ or they see the matter a problem of both U.S. imperialism and China/Russian imperialism. RCIT and WRP elevate even the neo-colonial South Korea to imperialism.
The RCIT’s ‘elevation’ of all U.S. imperialist counterparts to imperialist countries is to use Lenin’s ‘revolutionary defeatism.’ This is because the U.S. counterpart must also be imperialism to apply Lenin’s tactics which is on imperialist rivaly. This is because only then they can disguise their opportunism of surrendering to the real predator, the U.S.
In this way, they are blurring the eyes of working class against U.S. imperialism, which is the pinnacle of the imperialist system sustaining global capitalism and the apex predator. In this way, they, intentionally or not, act as a left cover for American imperialism.
RCIT sees China as ‘capitalism and imperialism,’ like IST. However, contrary to the tendency of IST and other state capitalism, RCIT recognizes that the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries were workers’ states. While the IST also claims that China has been capitalist since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, RCIT believes that China has been a workers state or a non-capitalist state for some time since 1949. They say, at some point, that China, Vietnam, and Cuba were transformed into capitalism. But it’s a little different about North Korea. For some time, it was claimed to be a workers’ state. Then, in 2018, when the South Korean branch, led by IST-related state capitalists, joined, they changed their position and declared that North Korea is a capitalist state.
Socialist Fight(SF) is a British-centered group advocating Trotskyism, and the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International(LCFI) is an organization separated from SF in 2020. The latter is a combination of local organizations in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States.
SF and LCFI have almost the same position as us against the Anglo-chauvinism of SL tradition regarding the cases of anti-imperialist struggle. In November 2018, shortly after our split from IBT, SF published IBT Split: the Asian Anti-Imperialist Marxist Position. Posting a full text of our internal debate, they expressed “100% support.”
In imperialist neo-colonial regime change using “assassination, coup d'etat, civil war, etc,” breaking off from SL’s Anglo-chauvinism that erases imperialist elements and taking neutral position is one of the core platforms of revolutionary politics(see Defend Lenin-Trotsky revolutionary thoughts against Anglo-American chauvinism!/ The long lasting hegemony of British-US imperialism, Anglo chauvinism and the degeneration of Trotskyism) The international communist leadership will only be built on its foundation. In that respect, it is very welcome for SF and LCFI to support our position.
Unfortunately, however, SF and LCFI define China as capitalism. Fortunately at least, unlike RCIT and IST, these comrades define China as a neo-colony. Thus, they take a China defensist position in the US-China conflict that is taking place in almost all international arena.
BT published The Myth of Capitalist China in 2021. And SF refuted the BT’s through an article titled The BT: Capitalist Roaders in The Myth of Capitalist China.
What embarrasses the organizations that define China as capitalism is the vast state ownership that still exist in China. So the conventional trick used by state capitalists is to inflate some of the negative and exaggerate it as if it were a key of the whole. The Chinese billionaire, it is known that the number is bigger than the United States, is satisfying argument of state capitalists. The expression “billionaire” appears 21 times in the SF’s article
The Soviet Union or China is the product of the advance and retreat of the world revolution. As a result, there are negative factors to overcome as the world revolution moves forward: “capitalist distribution norms, pro-capitalist forces, and bloated and corrupt bureaucrats.” The same goes for Chinese billionaires.
For Lenin, they would be “illegal, or lawless, or God-knows-whence-derived speculators or private capitalist businessman” who will try to “seize the wheel” of a workers state in the future(Platform of the Joint Opposition). Meanwhile, Trotsky compared them to “malaria poisioning liver.”
“A liver poisoned by malaria does not correspond to a normal type of liver. But it does not because of that cease to be a liver. For the understanding of its nature, anatomy and physiology are not sufficient; pathology too is necessary. Of course it is much easier upon seeing the diseased liver to say: “This object is not to my liking,” and to turn one’s back upon it. But a physician cannot permit himself such a luxury. Depending upon the conditions of the disease itself, and the resulting deformation of the organ, he must have recourse either to therapeutic treatment (“reforms”) or to surgery (“revolution”). But to be able to do this he must first of all understand that the deformed organ is a sick liver, and not something else.”—Trotsky, Not a Worker's State, Not a Bourgeois State? 1937
For Lenin and Trotsky, the negative factor is just the object to be overpowered to protect positive achievements. They never give up the “whole” of the machine and the liver because of the negative factor of the “part.” However, state capitalists deny the car and the liver under the pretext of their negative factors. When it is tricky and difficult to analyse, they turn their backs to saying, “This object is not to my liking.”
Of course, serious inequality and the growth of the emerging capitalist class are risky in that they strengthen the counter-revolutionary forces in the workers state. As Lenin and Trotsky did, we must treat the issue of driving the capitalist counter-revolution with keen awareness. But we should not conclude that everything is over. We are not “empty idealists(Trotsky, ibid).”
Let’s compare it to the sand flag play. If you scoop out a lot of sand, the flagpole is at stake. However, even if the bottom of the flagpole has been pumped out so much sand that it reveals, there is a situation where it is still standing dangerously depending on the remaining sand. Until then, the game is not over. The outcome has not yet been decided. Then, there may be a moment when the flagpole collapses by scooping out more sand. This is the moment of change from quantity to quality. But we don't rush to declare that the flagpole had fallen before that moment.
Like our analysis, China is now at a crossroads between capitalism and socialism. It's not decided where to go. Fate will be determined by the progress and retreat of the world revolution, as well as the power relationship within China. The sand and flagpole are the achievements of the existing revolution and the world working class. The working class will defend the flagpole in a way that punish those who squander the assets and reinforces the assets.
SF and LCFI comrades are now standing on the same barricade as us in the U.S.-China conflict, as they did in the Ukrainian war. However, there is a high risk of misleading the global working class in the future if they deny the nature of a workers state of China and recognize it as a capitalist colony.
Although choices may be easy in external conflicts between the U.S. and China, there is a high risk of getting lost and wandering in internal conflicts in China. There is a high risk of misjudging the Chinese version of “Yeltsin” pro-capitalist forces, which call for ambiguous slogans such as “democracy, freedom,” as if they were working-class and progressive. Just as they confused during the Hong Kong protests, which heated up the year 2019.
The World Socialist Web Site(WSWS) is an online propaganda outlet for the Socialist Equality Party(SEP). The SEP insists on the succession of the “Fourth International International Committee” and acknowledges that the Soviet Union was a "degenerated workers state." However, at every crisis, they have given up defending the workers state by supporting Yeltsin and Lech Wałęsa. Like many other self-proclaimed Trotskyist organizations, such as RCIT and SF, the WSWS believes that China has become capitalism at some point by its reform and opening-up.
“Deng’s victory was consolidated at the 14th CCP congress in October 1992. The message from the gathering was, according to China specialist Michael E. Marti, “nothing short of opening China to a foreign capitalist invasion”. The “socialist market economy” meant embracing every aspect of capitalist economy, from the establishment of financial and securities markets, to the destruction of state enterprises.”―WSWS, Twenty years since Deng Xiaoping's "Southern Tour"
II–3: China's property relationship in this article reveals how unrealistic and irresponsible WSWS's words such as “opening China to a foreign capitalist invasion," “destruction of state enterprises,” and “embracing every aspect of capitalist economy.”
Left Voice also believes that China was once a deformed workers’ state, but now it has become capitalism. Last year, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, Left Voice published From Revolution to Capitalist Restoration: 100 Years of the Chinese Communist Party, which was translated and introduced by the South Korean supporter Nohaetu(Fighting Alliance for Workers’ Liberation)
This document explains the harm the Stalin-Bukharin’s popular Front policy has done to the Chinese Communist Party, or the secret of its victory even though it has been transformed into a peasant-centered organization away from the urban working mass. This is also an excellent rebuttal to the conventional logic of Nohaetu, which say, “There is no self-liberation of the working class, so there is no workers state.”
“In breaking this alliance, the CCP also called for extensive land reform in the entire Chinese territory, not just those territories under its control. This sparked a huge movement among the peasant masses.…
The remainder of the national bourgeoisie, which was pushed out to Taiwan by Mao’s victory just a year earlier, saw allies in U.S. imperialism, believing they could defeat Mao and regain their interests in China. This alliance finally forced Mao to break with any illusions in the national bourgeoisie and to expand the expropriation and socialization of all private property in China. Yet, while Mao’s victory had successfully pushed out the KMT and its capitalist allies and had also squashed capitalist modes of production within China, it had not prepared the working class to seize political power, which now lay squarely with the CCP bureaucracy led by Mao.
The Chinese Revolution had made great gains in defeating feudalism and capitalism. It had decisively defeated imperialist aggression. In the years after, the CCP made important advances in fulfilling democratic demands to keep with the aspirations of the revolutionary masses, and it established a socialized, planned economy, which included the nationalization of banks and industry. Yet, it wasn’t the self-organized working class, but the CCP bureaucracy that held all political and administrative power and would shape the future of the new Chinese state, leading to the formation of a deformed workers’ state.”―From the Revolution to the Restoration of Capitalism: 100 Years of the Communist Party of China
Left Voice also rightly criticizes the frivolous claims widespread among leftists, namely the existence of an abyss between Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
“Many on the Left today argue that the blame for China’s degeneration lies not with Mao but with Deng. Yet, the seeds of such a process had already been sown during Mao’s regime.”- ibid.
However, Left Voice reverts to the common claim that capitalism returned as Deng Xiaoping took power, pushed for reform and opening-up, suppressed the Tiananmen Square protests, and consolidated his power.
“After rising to power in 1978 after Mao’s death, Deng launched sweeping reforms that opened the path to the liberalization of the Chinese economy.…In 1989, the Tiananmen uprising marked a crucial moment in this process of capitalist restoration.”-ibid.
The main work that the WISS has done is to defend Stalinism. The conventional logic of defending Stalinism is that “Trotsky and Trotskyists deny the defense of their socialist homeland of the Soviet Union and collude with the imperialists to overthrow the regime (see 'No Black Propaganda, No Stalinist Defense').” At the same time, they pretend to be defenders who fight the most thoroughly against traitors to protect their revolutionary achievements.
For the Soviet Union, which had already collapsed and did not exist, it is the WIIS that keeps such loyalty. However, for China, which is the follow-up result of the world revolution following the Soviet Union and the main enemy of the imperialist camp, they do not take part in defending it. Not only does it not defend, but it also lightly liquidates a workers’ state with a huge population of 1.4 billion on vast land bordering many parts of the world, defining it as capitalism. They overthrow a system achieved by decades of struggle and tens of millions of sacrifices.
They claim to be Marxist-Leninist. However, they put forward the pitiful logic that since the constitution has changed, the social character has changed.
“Since Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening-up policy, China's capitalization has taken a leap forward, and this reality is clearly reflected in China's constitutional amendment. …In addition to these amendments, legislation for substantial protection of private property, the Real Rights Act, began to be drafted around 1993, and in 1998, the 8th National Congress Standing Committee formed a Civil Code Foundation team to draw up the Real Rights Act and other parts of the Civil Code.”―Short Thought on Hong Kong Protest
It is an argument made by an open right-wing reformist such as Bernstein, and Sim Sang Jung, a surrender to bourgeois camp who say “progress in the constitution,” that the social system can be changed by revision of the constitution without social revolution. If such a thing were really possible, it would be wise to stop wasting time building a revolutionary party. It would be necessary to enter the National Assembly and seek the path of socialism through “progressive legislation.”
We criticized this non-Marxism as follows.
“This is a serious challenge to the ‘Marx-Leninist’ view.…China’s capitalist revolution, or counter-revolution, as WIIS explains, is “long-term, slow and peaceful.”…There is no “leaps and storms” in the transformation of the Chinese social system as described by the “Short Thought on Hong Kong Protest”. However, it is “slow and gradual.”…“The great debate between the opposition and the pro-opposition…Thousands of debates...The 3,700 petitions and so on” constituted the cataclysm [that they claimed]. Even in the eyes of WIIS, there has been no physical clash between the hostile classes or destruction of the state, or “destruction of the bureaucracy, the military and the police.” [According to WIIS] Despite the counter-revolution of the capitalist class taking power, it still takes power under the monstrous name of the Communist Party. The army is still the People’s Liberation Army (established and named as the Communist Party’s army). The red flag with five stars, a symbol of the 1949 revolution, still flutters throughout China.
By any chance, is the revolution of the capitalist class so long-term, gentle and peaceful compared to the revolution of the working class? Is it that the working class is such a stupid class that they don’t get angry, they don’t say they’re hurt, they just fly the same flag and stay as peaceful as they were yesterday, even when they lost all of their precious?”―Criticism of the “Short Thought on Hong Kong Protest” of Workers' Institute of Social Science
WIIS have become more vigorous through the Chinese Economy: from Refuge of Excessive Capital to the Epicenter of it(Kwon Jung-ki, August 2022). Beyond the claim that China is capitalism, they have now come to say that China is a “super-powerful imperialist intensity beyond the United States.” They uncritically cites imperialist media as the basis for China to “benchmark” the “senior imperialist robbers.” In this way, they “benchmark” imperialist propaganda.
Now it feels like they have gone to far away. They interpret that the protest agaist Park Geun-Hye was due to the plan of the ruling class(2017), the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was not a losing war but an old plan of imperialists(2021), and Latin America’s Pink Tide is not a progress of the working class, but a deliberate and involuntary creation of US imperialism(2022).
These are analysis that have been paralyzed by fear of imperialism, the world’s ruler. For them, imperialism is undefeated and omnipotent.
Until a few years ago, the MLKorea(National Workers’ Political Association) had the same position as the WIIS on China. While defining China as capitalism, they repeatedly criticized the view of it as socialism. Then, as the relationship with WIIS grew apart, the position on China also changed. Of course there have been no any explanation of the process of the change or self-criticism of former views as they always do.
Kim Jong-ho, who earned his doctorate from Beijing University, is one of a handful of “Chinese experts” who contribute to Minplus, Redian, and recently MLKorea. MLKorea approaches Kim Jung-ho, on the one hand, and on the other, it shows an attitude to distance itself.
“We have also presented a critical stance on the trend of unilateral prejudice and distortion against China, especially the disintegration of isolation against China, centered on the U.S. and the U.S., while recognizing China as capitalism within the 'progressive camp'. However, while we maintain our position to defend China against the imperialist offensive and to look at China in a realistic way, we are critical of China's "reform and open" and "socialist market economy" lines.”―Editor’s remark
This may be because they want to take the argument for criticism of Chinese capitalism from Kim Jung-ho, but are wary of remarks like a royal historian of Chinese Communist Party, such as advocating “market socialism.”
It is fortunate not to define China as capitalism. However, MLKorea is frightened by the so-called “Trotskyism,” the only scientific analysis on the “degenerated and deformed workers’ state. So they create a “Trotskyist straw man” with the theory of state capitalism and attacks it day after day.
It is impossible to obtain factual results by bypassing the existing science verified by historical practice. Stalinist perceptions of “socialism or capitalism” are unscientific and rough. It is impossible for such a driving method to steer precisely so that easy to get lost. Like bourgeois economists who stubbornly deny Marxist analysis on capitalism face economic panic which never be abled to explain in bourgeois paradigme, they have to inevitably be in a theoretical panic.
The program about Soviet Union, a degenerated workers’ state can be applied almost exactly to China today. In the “Transitional Program” cited below, if the word “Soviet Union” be changed to China and some adjustments are made, it will soon become our program for China.
“The USSR thus embodies terrific contradictions. But it still remains a degenerated workers’ state. Such is the social diagnosis. The political prognosis has an alternative character: either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the workers’ state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism.…
The public utterances of former foreign representatives of the Kremlin, who refused to return to Moscow, irrefutably confirm in their own way that all shades of political thought are to be found among the bureaucracy: from genuine Bolshevism (Ignace Reiss) to complete fascism (F. Butenko). The revolutionary elements within the bureaucracy, only a small minority, reflect, passively it is true, the socialist interests of the proletariat. The fascist, counterrevolutionary elements, growing uninterruptedly, express with even greater consistency the interests of world imperialism. These candidates for the role of compradors consider, not without reason, that the new ruling layer can insure their positions of privilege only through rejection of nationalization, collectivization and monopoly of foreign trade in the name of the assimilation of “Western civilization.’’ i.e., capitalism. …
Atop this system of mounting antagonisms, trespassing ever more on the social equilibrium, the Thermidorian oligarchy, today reduced mainly to Stalin’s Bonapartist clique, hangs on by terroristic methods.…
If we are to examine “Trotskyism” as a finished program, and, even more to the point, as an organization, then unquestionably “Trotskyism” is extremely weak in the USSR. However, its indestructible force stems from the fact that it expresses not only revolutionary tradition, but also today’s actual opposition of the Russian working class. The social hatred stored up by the workers against the bureaucracy – this is precisely what from the viewpoint of the Kremlin clique constitutes “Trotskyism.” It fears with a deathly and thoroughly well-grounded fear the bond between the deep but inarticulate indignation of the workers and the organization of the Fourth International.…
From this perspective, impelling concreteness is imparted to the question of the “defense of the USSR.” If tomorrow the bourgeois-fascist grouping, the “faction of Butenko,” so to speak, should attempt the conquest of power, the “faction of Reiss” inevitably would align itself on the opposite side of the barricades. Although it would find itself temporarily the ally of Stalin, it would nevertheless defend not the Bonapartist clique but the social base of the USSR, i.e., the property wrenched away from the capitalists and transformed into state property. Should the “faction of Butenko” prove to be in alliance with Hitler, then the “faction of Reiss” would defend the USSR from military intervention, inside the country as well as on the world arena. Any other course would be a betrayal.
Although it is thus impermissible to deny in advance the possibility, in strictly defined instances, of a “united front” with the Thermidorian section of the bureaucracy against open attack by capitalist counterrevolution, the chief political task in the USSR still remains the overthrow of this same Therrnidorian bureaucracy. Each day added to its domination helps rot the foundations of the socialist elements of economy and increases the chances for capitalist restoration.”―The Transitional Program: The USSR and Problems of the Transitional Epoch
In China, a deformed workers state, the power to move toward socialism and the power to return to capitalism coexist. In the process of reform and opening-up for more than 40 years, pro-capitalist forces have grown significantly. As it grew significantly, it became more frequent to squeak with the workers’ state system of “state-centered economy and the Chinese Communist Party regime.” In this conflict, it is increasingly aware of its own pro-capitalist identity. This accumulated contradiction is making Chinese society very tense.
The tendency of workers’ state and capitalism only temporarily coexists in a specific situation, but it is a hostile relationship. The hostile contradictions built up at the base of society will inevitably explode.
Pro-capitalist forces consist of “capitalist groups in China, pro-capitalist factions in the Chinese Communist Party and state institutions, some of the middle class attracted by the sweetness of capitalism and imperialist finance capital inside and outside China,” They have already taken advantage of the power of wealth to occupy important points in Chinese society. However, in order to realize their economic interest as much as possible, political power is urgently needed. Their protam is 1) to end the 1949 political system represented by the Communist Party of China and take full control of the superstructure of Chinese society. 2) Use the political power to privatize state-owned enterprises such as banks, transportation, communications, steel, military and oil and return to a private-owned economic system.
The regime of the Communist Party of China, which has the command of the People’s Liberation Army, reflects the contradictory structure of China. It is not monolithic but contradictory. It exists on the interface between the tendency to defend the state ownership system, which is the source of power of bureaucracy, and the tendency to privatize its power and privileges. The mighty power of the bureaucracy is not because they are united by one will. On the contrary, they stand on top of two opposing tendencies. Paradoxically, therefore, the mighty power of the Communist Party of China simultaneously expresses its vulnerability.
Until the time when the two contradictions can coexist, the power of the Chinese Communist Party mediates the two tendencies and exercises absolute power on the confidence of both tendencies. But as soon as it reaches its critical point, both tendencies will stop confidence in the Chinese Communist Party and pull it from both sides. At that moment, the bureaucracy will be divided into pro-capitalist factions and state-owned defense factions.
The Chinese Communist Party, which reigns on top of China's state-owned system, is an obstacle that must be brought down by both the working class to advance the world revolution and the capitalist class who want to return to capitalism. The longer the bureaucracy takes power, the greater the possibility of a capitalist counter-revolution. In order to defend the workers’ state, it is necessary to overthrow bureaucrats and establish a revolutionary democratic system of the working class based on internationalism. But when pro-capitalist forces in collusion with imperialist finance capital openly try to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party, shouting “democracy” or “freedom,” we do not remain neutral. We will confront the Chinese version of “Butenko” and the Chinese version of “Yeltsin” in the same barricade as the one defending China's state ownership system against the pro-capitalist faction.
The triangular conflict between the forces of “1) capitalist counter revolutionary forces―2) the defensive faction of the state-owned system in the Chinese Communist Party―3) the working class revolutionary camp” becomes the key of our tactics. The August 1917 “Kornilov—Kerensky—Bolshevik” conflict or the 1937 triangular conflict in China's “Japanese imperialism—Chiang Kai-shek—working class revolutionary” are significant examples of the use of the revolutionary tactic.
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China is the core issue in the revolution of this era. The fate of mankind as well as the working class depends on it. International leadership of the working class can only be built on these program.
October 15th, 2022