The ICFI/SEP program and party of world socialist revolution either refuses or at least is reluctant to accept that the governance of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is communist and or socialist, usually referring to China as being Stalinist and or capitalist. This ICFI/SEP categorisation of China is not in keeping with how the vast majority of Chinese people and the world in general identify and name the governance of the PRC.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) clearly identifies itself as being a communist party. More importantly, the people of China not only accept their ruling party as being communist, they evidently have a relatively high level of trust and confidence in their rulership. During recent years a reputable international barometer has ranked China among the top two or three populations in the world when measured for levels of trust and confidence in their respective governments. In 2020, around 604,000 people were disciplined by China’s top anti-graft body, the resolute fight against corruption has resulted in surging public support. According to a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, 97.3 percent of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the improvement of Party conduct, the working practices of government officials, and social morality.
This relatively high level of trust and confidence among the general population of China for the CPC is consistent with a country that for the past 7 decades has enjoyed an average annual growth of disposable income of 6%>. Besides income increases, during the last three decades Chinese people have also enjoyed other benefits, such as access to better education, medical care, improved living conditions and a safer environment. China now has the largest social security system globally, with basic medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people and basic old-age insurance covering about 1 billion. The average life expectancy of the Chinese has risen to 77.3 years. As of 25/08/2021 China has all but defeated an outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19, that began one month earlier. China’s relatively proficient management of the pandemic from its earliest months in 2020 is not only providing better protection for its people, it will also increase an already high level of trust and confidence among them for their government.
As China embarks on the next stage of its journey toward a 2049 centennial celebration of what the CPC refers to as becoming a – ‘moderately prosperous socialist state’,
their leader Xi Jinping will be sharing his thoughts on how China intends to get there through what he calls ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’, this by way of having Xi’s thoughts included in China’s formal educational curriculum. Given the success of China’s program of ‘national rejuvenation’ over the past seven decades and providing it can continue making similar progress over the next three decades using Xi’s Socialism with Chinese characteristics, there is little or no reason to doubt that the concept and use of the word ‘socialism’ will be just as readily accepted and related to by the people of China as is the concept and use of the word ‘communism’.
In addition to the 1.4 billion Chinese population, most of the world population recognise the PRC as being governed by a communist party – the CPC, this for better or for worse depending on one’s political perspective and preference. When informing and preparing the international working class for world socialist revolution, there is little or no merit in the ICFI/SEP reporting via the pages of WSWS – a daily online source of political information that is second to none, that the CPC is not communist or socialist and worse still by referring to China as ‘Stalinist’ and or essentially ‘capitalist’. Trotskyists should keep in mind that the PRC includes about 20% of the total international working class, for those Chinese working class who do get around to reading ICFI/SEP/WSWS reports on China, they are more than likely to be offended by such unnecessary political spin.
Deliberately denigrating the one and only nation state that publicly claims to be influenced by a Marxist inspired communism, that also happens to now be the largest and most successful communist party throughout modern history, could well be a counter-revolutionary act.
Most of the other than Chinese international working class – about 80%, are constantly being fed anti communist, anti socialist, propaganda by their respective capitalist cum imperialist governments. For decades the real crisis in revolutionary political leadership has been the struggle against such propaganda in an effort to win over the international working class.
Trotskyists know better than most why a world perspective is superior to a nationalist perspective and why Trotsky’s theory of permenant revolution should have prevailed over Stalin’s socialism in one country. The fact that it didn’t is a historical no brainer, more appropriately described as a ‘crisis of revolutionary political leadership’. The cost of such weak political decision making and leadership over the past century in terms of lives lost, property destroyed, human expertise, skills and money wasted on wars defending antagonistic nation states and failed revolutions, is almost unfathomable. These two critical political concepts while coming from very different perspectives and being so politically opposed to each other, nevertheless had at least one thing in common – ‘Socialism’.
For the international working class to achieve world socialism, the revolutionary political leadership of the ICFI/SEP will need to gain the approval of and thereby be able to prepare the international working class for world socialist revolution. As things stand in 2021 the size and political influence of the ICFI/SEP program and party of world socialist revolution is minuscule when compared with the size and political influence of the CPC. The program and party of world socialist revolution cannot afford to alienate 20%> of the international working class because it is being unnecessarily cynical toward a political party that has clearly already gained the trust of its working class.
The ICFI/SEP cannot afford to depend on responding to catastrophic events to pave the way for establishing rank and file committees within China and internationally. Maybe us Trotskyists can start healing our crisis of revolutionary political leadership by learning from a country and people that has enjoyed many an epoch as the world’s most advanced culture, without needing to be an imperialist coloniser. In terms of world status the past two centuries has been an aberration for China, a nation state that has literally ‘been there, done that, got the teeshirt’ several times over. The ICFI/SEP should seriously consider taking some Chinese medicine, even if it is a bitter pill to swallow.