(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)


[This article first appeared in Unity And Struggle]

When Mao said "Grasp Revolution, Push Production", while in the midst of the cultural revolution whose theme was to overthrow those people in power in the party taking the capitalist road, the struggle came down to pit those who put production FIRST as principal, as Dung (saying “white cat black cat; it makes no difference”). Mao said Dung put Productive Forces over Relations of Production.  The Productive Forces Theory which privileges and thinks that Productive Forces are always principal is a left-over from the Second International.  Both Stalin and Trotsky upheld this line, in essence.

But aren't the Relations of Production fundamentally what Revolutionaries want to transform?  The highest level of Productive Forces is in the US and other imperialist countries.  Without transforming the Relations of Productions, which is what the Cultural Revolution seeks, any rise in the Productive Forces would see the restoration of capitalism.  THE SOVIET UNION IS A TRAGIC EXAMPLE!

The masses of people must be drawn into the revolution not merely as an armed force, but as an ideological force that can grasp the theoretical meaning and political requirements of continuing on the socialist road, e.g., the difference between a United Front government and a socialist state and what is necessary in the transition from one upward to the other, the difference between Marxism and revisionism.  

Lin Piao was another notorious Productive Forces upholder.  Lin's line was a replay of the line that arose in the USSR that held that the Productive Forces, Administrative Transformation, Military over Political and Cultural Revolution & Education of the masses, &c. (Lenin saw these errors and dangers in Better Fewer... that there was a State Bourgeoisie, 3ome new, some rising from the dead, i.e., the "old" private sector.) Deng and other capitalist roaders sought to sidetrack the political focus of the Chinese revolution, i.e. the critical task of educating and transforming the masses so that they, themselves, could administer state power.  To move past the People's Republic to actual direct Proletarian Democracy.  Deng & co felt the essentially Revolutionary Democratic Anti-imperialist phase of the revolution accomplished in 1949 was all the mass politics China needed and from then on the main thrust had to be economic, that the priority had to be the raising of the productive forces!  Which meant, as in the USSR, the creation of a powerful State Bourgeoisie.

When Mao died, the centrist Ho Ku Feng destroyed what Mao thought was a balance between the "Left" and the "Right" within the party, arresting the so-called Gang of Four(*) (who were guilty of Left errors, but were revolutionaries) thereby opening the door for the restored Deng and his cronies, a substantial group inside the Communist Party of China (CCCP) and the remaining large sector of the national bourgeoisie, who were allies during the anti-imperialist revolution but would certainly go along with any mainly economic thrust that downplayed the need to continue the revolution to the actual dictatorship of the proletariat.  Because the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is impossible without Cultural Revolution, so that the people themselves, not the party, can take power directly!

Deng's control of the party did not lead to the same disaster as in the USSR because of the degree of cultural revolution that did take place, the struggle against the revisionist lines of the USSR including the Anti Lin Piao Confucius struggle and the general familiarity of large sectors of the Chinese population with the concept of people in the party taking the capitalist road.

Another important factor in understanding China's situation is that it is unlike the USSR.  In the USSR the integration of the essentially European (i.e. "Great Russian") national bourgeois classes with the international capitalist bourgeois took place (the sugar-coated bullet") because there was no continuing cultural revolution.  Without the revolutionary transformation of the superstructure (which remains, even after the seizure of power, essentially bourgeois) and the popular education necessary for the critical transformation of the revolutionary masses so that larger and larger sectors can understand and grasp the mechanisms of state power, revisionism and revanchism will take place.

But China was an outright victim of the national chauvinism that accompanies imperialism's conquest of the third world.  Remember the "Chinese Exclusion Act" in the United States?  It is a national chauvinism that is, said Lenin, the "finished form" of the opportunism that always opposes revolution, even if state power has been seized by revolutionary forces.  The rapid "integration" of a third world national bourgeoisie with the "Western" imperialist bourgeois proceeds differently first, because the rise of unregulated capitalism is not mainly an act of restoration (except in the cases of the old Comprador Bourgeoisie which was disgraced and isolated in the Democratic revolution) and second, because large­scale capitalism and monopoly in the third world are, for the most part, "new",

  Problem Integrating Chinese State Bourgeoisie with international imperialist bourgeoisie 

heretofore relatively scarce native products, since imperialism limits the existence of an independent national bourgeoisie in the first place.  For this reason the national bourgeoisie is a shaky ally in the democratic revolution, but must be watched carefully thereafter.

China, like the rest of the Third World, remains mainly peasants and agricultural.  Large-scale industry directed by the Chinese themselves is something that appears mainly after the democratic revolution!  The other problem with a rapid-fire "sugar-coated bullet" integration of a Chinese State Bourgeoisie with the international imperialist bourgeoisie is that the national bourgeoisie remains to some degree abused by imperialism's accompanying chauvinism.

Witness even Dung's rejoinder to US Secretary Of State Schultz's chauvinist comment that without positive relations with the Imperialist West China could not even be sure of its national sovereignty.  Dung answered, "China's independence is based on Millet and Rifles."

There is no doubt that Deng and the capitalist roaders' leadership has led to a deep penetration of international finance capital into China, but imperialism, fronted by the US superpower, has made egregious mistakes in its attempt to shoot the “sugar-coated bullet” into China’s socialist heart. In its state to state relations the US has tried to intimidate and cajole the Chinese with the trade issue, the human rights canard (coming from a country that leads the world in people in prisons, executions, and blunt domestic national chauvinism) and the Taiwan issue which zig-zags from very dangerous to slapstick---witness the big businessman in Taiwan calling for Taiwan to become a province of the U.S.

All this topped off by what seems like the intentional bombing of the Chinese embassy, immediately followed by the U.S. accusing the Chinese of nuclear sabotage(!) while providing no proof.  The U.S. again demonstrated to the world its obvious national chauvinism by specifically accusing, again with no proof, the only Chinese national working in the nuclear laboratories.

What frightens imperialism most about China and at the same time puts it between a rock and a hard place is the enormity of China's economy which is almost 10 times more productive than was that of the Soviet Union.  This is the basis of China's still rising influence in the Third World.  Plus China's insistence on projecting Socialism.

During the recent economic panic that international finance capital produced in Asia notably and other parts of the third world (to shove Japan, South Korea back into "their place" and to force these countries to give up their various social democratic "entitlement" systems and go directly into the "free market" and the client status under the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, &c) there was a great deal of pressure put on China to devalue its currency. And thus follow the submission of Japan, South Korea, but China refused.  And no matter how much cajoling and threatening of China the US mouthpiece of Imperialism does, it will not give up a market of one billion people.

The Chinese people, including large and influential groups inside the CCCP have no intention of eliminat­ing its socialist orientation.  And if one understands Lenin and Mao correctly, Capitalism, heavily regulated, must be permitted to exist in a socialist country, side by side with state ownership. (See Lenin's The Importance of Gold, &c.) It does not matter how the various petty-bourgeois trots, anarchists and costumed would-be-replicators of Stalin's errors try to confuse the issue with misunderstood references to the mistaken path Lenin described as "war Communism." And though the Productive Forces group in the party seems still to be in control, it is a control that is constantly challenged and for this reason must constantly adjust to this growing and continuous challenge.  Given the necessity for some development of private capitalism in China, the Capitalist Roaders will use this to hide out while they try to discover a way to ease away completely from the Socialist Road, but as Joe Louis said, "They can run, but they can't hide!" This was shown by the complex Tiananmen Square protests which were self­destructed by the overtly heavy hand of the CIA’s Lady Liberty.  These escaped targets of the Cultural Revolution cannot proceed directly into a new life as a client state of international finance capital without great disorder, which, one feels, will be the resumption of the Revolution.  ##  



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