woensdag 10 september 2008

About revisionism (2)

In February 2004 Boudewijn Deckers (leading cadre of the WPB) wrote an article in Solidair, the weekly newspaper of the WPB about the development of socialism in China. (You can read it here in French) It was a résumé of his article in Marxist Studies. (You can read the first article her about this topic)
I react, not with an INTERN note as a member, but with an e-mail as an attentive reader of Solidair. I sent this mail to the chief-editor of Solidair (David Pestieau) and to the editorial staff. My intention was to have a discussion IN the columns of Solidair. This would be good and very possible, I thought. My intention was NOT to have a personal polemic OUTSIDE every control of the other readers and the editorial staff….. Boudewijn Deckers, as you will see, thought otherwise….

Now follows a short exchange of mails.

My mail:

Date: Monday 16 February
To: d.pestiau@solidair.org, marx.studies@marx.be, redactie@solidair.org
Subject: To Boudewijn about his article about socialism in China

As Boudewijn write an article about China in Solidair, than is that in fact the point of view of the WPB. He is an openly known national cadre of the WPB.
So then, the purpose of an article about socialism in China is:
- To make people enthusiastic about the alternative for capitalism with a concrete example of existing socialism
- To indicate clearly how the building of socialism proceeds
- To indicate the problems and contradictions that can occur
- To evaluate how a sister-party is working, in a spirit of critic and self-critic, mutual respect but with a sharp analysis of the struggle between to lines were he is aware of. And so he gives a friendly support to a sister-party.
While learning as much as possible as communist party.
This is what Ludo Martens (president of the WPB) did in 1989. He took the responsibility to correct an ameliorate the political line of the editorial article then (I think it was called « A bloody drama in Beijing »)
He explained the contradictions in the Communist Party of China and the double role that Deng Xiaoping plaid in it. A certain right-opportunism was the reason of not good handling the political situation. This gave fuel to the development of a contra revolutionary movement that made a clever use of a certain discontent by a relatively little part of the population. There was then a contra revolutionary uprising. It was CORRECT of the government of the Peoples Republic of China to react on the VIOLENT acting of that contra revolution. It was NECESSARY to protect the existence of socialism in China.
Boudewijn disregard all this:
« In 1989, after what happened on Tien AnMen, we had the impression that capitalism developed wildly and was threatening to become the chief aspect in China » (hereby then the note: Ludo Martens, Solidair nr 23, June 7th 1989)
Of course Boudewijn does not say it clearly, but with HIS very short résumé -in one sentence - of all the articles that wrote Ludo Martens at THAT moment (and you have to be a weirdo as me to do a research in all those articles of 1989) he disregard all analyze about the struggle between two lines in the CCP… and just repeats the points of views of Deng Xiaoping (in the article in Marxist Studies). In Solidair he writes: « The CCP seems to be rather unified about the actual policy of reforming ».
On a very essential question « China had the last thirty years very thorough reforms. Don
t lead this to a deviation of socialism? » he answers very vaguely and evasively. He is not analyzing (and as a cadre of a party that bases itself on scientific socialism he should know to analyze)
You can learn MORE about the development of the points of view of the CCP and about an analysis of it reading the OLD articles of Ludo Martens of many years ago…
Boudewijn is starting from only his personal impressions during his last visit, actual statistical facts and from the answers he gets on personal asked questions in China. That is the base of HIS analysis. For me is that empiric, not Marxist!
« You cannot understand the policy of the CCP and recognize the realizations when you don
t accept this reality », he wrote.
The economic policy of the CCP TODAY is based on (an) analyze(s) that the CCP, or at least a certain number of cadres made in the years 1978-begin eighties. Those analyses are available. In those analyses they put forward what they see as laws of development of socialism, and how they argued about the Marxist character of their analyses and conclusions.
It is from THOSE analyses that Boudewijn ought to start
I send as attachment with this mail the conclusions of a study made by some economists of the CCP on instruction of the CCP. In this study they justify how far they base themselves on Marxism and for example on the book of Stalin « Economic problems of socialism in the USSR ».
That study of Stalin is very pertinent. I think that you can use it as scientific analysis, as reference, about the laws of development of socialism. In those conclusions the Chinese communists are arguing how THEY understand that analysis and how they want to applied it in the concrete Chinese situation: for example about the law of value, about market economy en their possibilities and limitations in a socialist plan economy.
I think that you cannot « understand the policy of the CCP and recognize the realizations » when you have not made that study. (The theory as concentrated direct experience, read about this in « about the practice » of Mao, a text that he wrote AGAINST dogmatism and empirism in the CCP)
I want also recommend the studies made by William Hinton about the effect of the reforms on the agrarian sector.
The points of view of Boudewijn give fuel to the reasoning of the bourgeoisie that China is the proof that for « modernizing » « socialist » solutions - the « inefficiency » of a socialist plan economy with state-enterprises - fail and therefore privatizations and private ownership of means of production and wage-labor leading to private appropriation of the surplus value has to be implemented.
« According to the CCP, the reforming of the state-enterprises is globally finished. The biggest part is privatized. The around 15.000 big enterprises that according our conversation-partners are still in the hands of the state have made PROFIT for the first time, what give working-space to the state. »
Can you speak about state-capitalism or still about socialism? Is this a correct method strengthening socialism or can you speak about opportunism endangering socialism later? I think that a study of Stalin
s « economic problems of socialism in the USSR » can bring forward some Marxist developed point of view (as the possibility of making of PROFIT by socialist state-enterprises… for example)
Or for example a comparison of the principles developed by Stalin in that study and the implementation of those principles in the USSR by a Communist Party that made hereby right opportunist mistakes. (Thereabout gives the book of Ludo « another view on Stalin a lot of elements)
Now Boudewijn is only complaining: « It is impossible for us to judge all aspects of this question. We don
t know why the experience of industrialization, the collectivization and the centralized plan economy of the thirties can not be applied a way or another in China of today. We can also not make a complete balance of the whole Chinese experience until the end of the seventies, nor the later ones. »
And this should satisfy our curiosity…

Greetings of a concerned reader of Solidair and Marxist Studies


PS In attachment the conclusions out of the book « Chinas socialist economy »

In the attachment was the chapter « Conclusions » out of the book “China's socialist economy”, First Edition 1981 Revised Edition 1986 ISBN-083SI-1592.5 (Hard Cover) ISBN-098351.1703.0 (Paperback) Copyright 1986 by Foreign Languages Press Published by the Foreign Languages Press, 24 Baiwanzhuang Road, Bering, China. Printed by the L. Rex Offset Printing Co. Ltd. Man Hing Industrial Godown Bldg., 14/F. No.4, Yip Fat St., Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong
Distributed by China International Book Trading Corporation (Guoji Shudian), P. 0. Box 399. Beijing, China[1]

Apparently my mail to Solidair was forwarded to the personal email account of Boudewijn Deckers.
So Boudewijn react on my readers-mail, not with a reaction in, for example, the readers-section of Solidair. No, he preferred to make a « personal » reaction, far away from discussion or struggle between two lines.

From: (Boudewijn Deckers)……@brutele.be (so NOT with ……@solidair.org
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2004.…
To: (Nico)…….@hotmail.com


Thanks for your reaction.
I don
t have any time to answer to all your remarks
To answer a remark or a question seriously can need more time than the making of the remark itself.
« So then, the purpose of an article about socialism in China is:….. »: as far as I know, there are no general rules to what an article about China necessary must correspond. Of course you have the right to have your expectations. But when an article not corresponds with those, it doesn
t mean that it is not to the point. The interview-article is an elaboration of a rapport that the delegation made after her visit to China, prepared and followed by a study of some documents of the Chinese CP- but NOT of an all-side study. To reassure you: Ludo Martens himself found this rapport important enough to publicize it. This doesn’tt mean that it should be necessary his vision, if he could work further on the subject.
Fifteen years ago we were totally engaged with the beginning of the anti-communist campaign. Today there are about five countries that refer to communism. Today the mean question is restoring the unity of the communist world movement, above all differences of opinion.
Today it is necessary to be on our guard for dogmatist behavior certainly toward other
s and toward those 5 socialist countries of the Third World.-who each for themselves search their own way to socialism. The facts are that China developed not into that chaos that we (and I also) with the Politic Bureau and Central Committee feared that would be created, in 1989.Ludo Martens made the remark after our visit of 1996, that we made tó left and narrow sight evaluations at that time (we spoke to quickly about « restoring of capitalism »), not beginning with the spectacular realizations. While revisionism in the Soviet Union was coupled with a fast and continue degradation on economic level, with growing demobilization and loss of motivation by the population, in China however we conclude already 20 years the opposite. He judged that the reality forced us to recognize that things are more complex. Better that we made not to fast our conclusions….
s a complete mystery where that you get it from that I take distance in the article in Marxist Studies from the repression of the counterrevolutionary uprising of Tien Anmen. As far as I know it is not treated in the article-interview. You can be sure: We have repeated again in China that we supported the reaction of the government on that moment and that we stay supporting it.
The Chinese CP does not repeat the analyses that she made at the beginning of the reforms. They say today that the way that the Soviet Union has followed is not applicable on China. There are clearly points of view in the CCP that say that Stalin made there some important mistakes. But I have no documentation about that although I know that those documents exist - only in Chinese. As I say in Marxist Studies that question stays for us unanswered.
As Ludo Martens wrote in « the Collapse of the Soviet Union » Lenin himself suggested that there are more and different experiences in socialism needed, before real laws can be theorized. « State capitalism or socialism » is precisely a too simple way of schematizing that we want not to apply. As we say in the article, in China exist now a mixed economy in a socialist state leaded by the Communist Party. As ludo Martens said earlier: « in a Third World country the building up of socialism needs probably a certain level of development of capitalism ». In the industrial countries we have highly developed modern production forces. In a Third World country, still mainly agrarian, it is not the case! How China will develop I don
t know. I have also my questions and fears - but that is another matter.
And yes we (the president included) think that we should be very careful in our judgment of the developments in China be on our guard for to fast analyzing. I think that we asked in our text in Marxist Studies enough critical questions our made enough critical remarks, starting with an attitude of support to the Chinese Marxist-Leninists. We make our image of how and what socialism in Belgium and in the imperialist country will be more or less. We are responsible for the line that we give to the revolutionary struggle in Belgium. But we have to be on our guard not to judge to fast about the line that the CCP follows in a totally other situation.
That a serious study of the economic and political evolutions in China is preferable, I can agree. That it will lead to argued critics on the actual policy of the CCP, it seems to be evident to me. But that was not the subject of this rapport-article-interview. And it has not to be necessarily so.
These were some fast remarks at your remarks.



Then I reacted again with a mail in which I thanked him for his fast reaction and that I don’t want to make a personal discussion (between only our two) because that would lead to nothing.

Dear Boudewijn,

Thank you for your fast reaction It gives by the original sender, so by me, at least the subjective feeling to be taken seriously.
I just want to react on it. You have not to be afraid that I want to start now an email polemic. So I don
t expect now another elaborated answer to this.
But to make something clear: to the base of my first email laid a subjective feeling of disappointment and annoy.
Personally (and I should perhaps read the texts again) I found nothing new in your analysis.
As far as I know has the WPB never said (I think I have NOT read it nowhere in the articles from Ludo of
89 an 90 about CHINA) only perhaps to hastily about the USSR: « Restore of capitalism ».
If the Politic Bureau or the Central Committee feared that China would develop in a chaos, I don
t know. I dont have found it (yet) in any article that I red in 89 and 90. Contrary, I found the articles of Ludo very equilibrated and comforting. They were refreshment on all those « left » or « right » panic reactions elsewhere in the press.
At THAT moment the point of view of the WPB (at least that from Ludo) was: study the things thoroughly, not prepossessed or dogmatic, we can not know all things instantly.
I, for myself, collected al lot of material and study al lot. So I have made photocopies of a book, of which you have got the conclusions (in the former attachment). This book I have borrowed that time from someone who was himself member of the WPB or at least known in the circles of the WPB.
So I presumed that inside the WPB certainly by the delegations to China that book was studied IN ADVANCE. That was the reason that I expected a deeper analysis of the building up of socialism in China in Marxist Studies. So I bought it at once…..
I mean that if Ludo Martens should stay fifteen years to the same point of view « that we should be careful with our critical remarks about revolutionaries of a certain country », he never would have written those books about Congo or the rising of revisionism in Eastern Europe and the USSR.
For the revolutionaries in Congo and in the East, and for us those analyses form a contribution to KNOWLEDGE as base for their and our ACTING.
To give one example:
In that document of Stalin and (as far as I can see- I don
t have red so much yet) in accordance with the conclusions of Marx and Engels, the Chinese communists introduced again the principle of work remuneration « for each in accordance with his of her work ».
They add to it the principles of quantity and quality of the work done, the intensity of the work, the degree of technical skill or schooling and the complexity of the work.
In 1986 they add to it: the measure of contribution of the person to the state, so the economic results of the work of a person.
I want to make here some remarks to this (and perhaps I have not enough knowledge about China AND the applying of Marxism):
« to each according to his or her work » is applicable to WORK remuneration (so for people who just can live - also in the first stage of communism - of the selling of their workforce and whose work forms a part of the overall production of material richness of the country)
Is their not a danger hidden (and that should NOW well been KNOWN) in allowing the Chinese capitalists, to “enrich themselves” ?I it so or is it not so, that it is (legally!)allowed to them to keep for themselves a big part of the PROFIT of the enterprise, they manage (or even partly OWN) as personal income (and that is no remuneration of WORK as far as I know) Because the ECONOMIC results with which their enterprise contribute to the GNP is bigger when those capitalists lower the production costs (and not allow that the salary of the workers raise to fast) or raise the productivity (and the exploitation?) of the workers. Lays there not clearly the danger of development of the capitalists as a class?…..is that danger not becoming bigger when it is allowed to capitalists to become member of the communist party?

I mean that the WPB should know to make a judgment of the Marxist argumentation of the CCP to defend their economic policy. And when the conclusion of the WPB should be that it is a real Marxist analysis than during a next visit they could by asking questions or collecting material see if their actual economic policy is in accordance with their original justification. At that moment it would be possible to lay a base of the knowledge in a new Communist International about the « laws of socialism ».
t see it as a too personal critic. I just give here my personal (and so perhaps subjective) meaning about the articles in Marxist Studies and Solidair.

Friendly, Nico

In a next article (you can read here) I analyze further Boudewijns argumentation.
But first I will do some analyzing (you can read here) of the text I send in attachment to Boudewijn.

[1] In the next article (you can read here) more about this book or at least that chapter…..

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