We are not a party like other parties.. Our aim is the full material and spiritual liberation of the toilers and exploited through the socialist revolution. Nobody will prepare it and nobody will guide it but ourselves. Leon Trotsky– 1938.
The above ‘aim’ delivered by Leon Trotsky during the launch of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in 1938, is by definition a profound and difficult aim to achieve, not least because of it being underpinned by Trotsky’s even more profound ‘theory of permenant revolution’ and hence only achievable on an international scale, throughout the entire planet.
The ICFI and its international branches of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) as a programme and party of ‘world socialist revolution’ has take upon itself the task of preparing the international working class for the overthrow of state power and the replacement of global capitalism with a global socialism. Eight decades later, it has become painfully obvious why ‘the full material and spiritual liberation of the toilers and exploited’ is having to be achieved as Marx and Engels suggested it would in The Communist Manifesto – ‘by degrees’.
‘The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoise, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the state, ie; of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible..’
The Communist Manifesto including its ‘by degrees’ advice would have almost certainly influenced Trotsky when he later gave us his own revolutionary advice through his writings of 1939-40, not long before he was murdered by a Stalinist thug in Mexico –
‘The perspective of the permanent revolution in no case signifies that the backward countries must await the signal from the advanced ones, or that the colonial peoples should patiently wait for the proletariat of the metropolitan centers to free them. Help comes to him who helps himself. Workers must develop the revolutionary struggle in every country, colonial or imperialist, where favorable conditions have been established, and through this set an example for the workers of other countries. Only initiative and activity, resoluteness and boldness can really materialize the slogan “Workers of the world, unite!”
Trotsky was evidently expecting or at least hoping for at least one or more ‘country, colonial or imperialist’ to be further developed in revolutionary struggle and thereby able to set an example for ‘the workers of other countries’. This begs the question which country or countries have developed the revolutionary struggle sufficient to set such an example for the workers of other countries? Or better still, the ‘Workers of the world..’
I put it to my fellow SEP comrades that there is really only one such country that has over the past seven decades become a suitable example of having developed such revolutionary struggle, namely the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). The PRC and its Communist Party of China (CPC) cadre have – albeit unwittingly, taken Trotsky’s advice and helped themselves rather than ‘await the signal from the advanced ones’ and in doing so China is now setting ‘an example for the workers of other countries’ to follow. This year 2021, the CPC celebrated its first centenary of revolution, reconstruction and reform, during which it has enabled the people of China to recover from being a conquered, impoverished, backward colony, to becoming the largest state productive force ever. The CPC is now the second largest – 95> million members, political party in the world and for the past three decades has been having a direct and positive influence on the lives of at least 18%> of the total world population including and especially the Chinese working class. As of 2021 the PRC has consistently registered relatively higher levels of trust and confidence in their government than most other advanced state populations measured by the same international trust barometer.
Between 2021 and 2049 (the next 28 years), providing the CPC/PRC can avoid going to war against other so called major powers, avoid or at least mitigate the negative impact of a collapsing global capitalism and above all, continue earning the trust and support of its 1.4> billion population, it is most likely to be celebrating the first 100 years of the PRC (1949-2049) having reached their well planned objective of becoming a ‘modern socialist state that is moderately prosperous in all respects’.
This is how the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee expresses it in their August 2021 ‘Mission and Contributions Statement’ –
‘The salvoes of Russia’s October Revolution in 1917 sent Marxism-Leninism to China, and the CPC came into being. The Chinese people were awakened, and a torch was lit for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation..
The CPC is dedicated to the people and forever puts their interests first. It follows the underlying trends of social development and respects the people’s principal role in making history. It pursues the lofty goal of working for the wellbeing of the Chinese people; and does everything in the interests of the people.
The CPC is rooted in the people. It was born in 1921 in the great struggle against feudal rule and foreign aggression, at a time when Marxism-Leninism became integrated with China’s workers movement. From the very day of its creation, the CPC has represented China’s working class, the Chinese people, and the Chinese nation. It has no special interests of its own, nor does it represent any interest group, establishment group, or privileged social group. Its only goals are to deliver happiness for the people and achieve national rejuvenation..
Over the past hundred years, the CPC has grown from a small party with just over 50 members into the largest governing party in the world, with more than 95 million members in a country of more than 1.4 billion people. It is a party of major international standing.
It has governed the world’s largest socialist country for more than seven decades. It has led the Chinese people onto the path towards national rejuvenation and modernization, and it enjoys extensive support from the Chinese people..
By carrying out the socialist revolution in China, they brought to an end several thousand years of feudalism – a system exploitative and repressive by its very nature and established socialism as China’s fundamental political system. In the course of building socialism, they overcame subversion, sabotage, and armed provocation by imperialist and hegemonic powers, and brought about the most extensive and profound social changes in the history of the Chinese nation. This great transformation of a poor, backward and populous country in the East into a modern socialist China created the fundamental political conditions and laid down the institutional foundations necessary for realizing national rejuvenation.’
If the working class of China are deemed by the ICFI/SEP not to be a worthy example for the international working class as a whole of a country and people who have developed revolutionary struggle to the point where they can now be a positive example of how we might yet achieve world socialism, then there has never been such a country, nor government, nor people since Trotsky gave us his revolutionary instruction eight decades ago and Trotskyists might have to receive The Communist Manifesto’s ‘by degrees’ as being more like ‘by centuries’.
If the working class of China were deemed to be an example befitting Trotsky’s 1939-40 instruction, then this could provide a whole new incentive to the formation and development of the ICFI/SEP strategy of International Workers Alliance of Rank and File Committees (IWA-RFC). Rather than just reacting to social crises before forming such RFCs, the ICFI/SEP/WSWS could start to encourage the forming of RFCs among the 1> billion Chinese workers and students on the basis of them being empowered to make sure that their CPC stays on track to keep its promise to the Chinese people of them being able to share a ‘common prosperity’ within a ‘modern, moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2049′. Moreover, to make sure the CPC reduces the gap between China’s highest and lowest income quintiles to a minimum that is acceptable to the Chinese working-class and that the private ownership of production is gradually reduced to being strictly limited to non essential (luxury type) goods and services on the periphery of China’s centralised socialist market economy.
IWA-RFCs throughout the rest of the world could be encouraged on the basis of – watch this space called China.