Some Views on the Issue of Constitutionalism

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Wang Tingyou

Red Flag Manuscripts, 13 June 2013

Where Socialist countries are concerned, is Western capitalist constitutionalism a good and beneficial thing? Or is it a bad and even harmful thing? Does it conform to China’s national circumstances? To scientifically understand the question of constitutionalism, we must persist in taking Marxism as guidance, use Marxist standpoints, viewpoints and methods to analyse it.

I, The source, content, essence and substance of capitalist constitutionalism

According to the explanation in the “Encyclopaedia Britannica”, there mainly are two contents for constitutionalism: the first refers to a constitutional monarchy, the second refers to constitutional government. This encyclopaedia also provides textual research, the earliest use of the term constitutional monarchy in writing is by the Briton John Lock, mainly in the second half of the 17th Century. The earliest use of the terms constitutional government or constitutionalist doctrine are in France, Portugal and other such countries in the beginning of the 19th Century. The historical source of constitutionalism is traced back even further. In November 1869, in his “Notes on Goldwin Smith’s Book ‘Irish History and Irish Character'”, Engels mentions to the book “Constitutional History of England, Henry VII to George II”, published in two volumes in London by the British scholar Henry Hallam in 1827, which traces the history of English constitutionalism back to the end of the 15th Century (see “The Complete Works of Marx and Lenin”, Vol. 45, People’s Publishing House, 1985, p. 750).

England is the country that established the first constitutional monarchy system in the world, and consequently is the first country to implemented constitutionalism. In the second half of the 18th Century, the French bourgeois revolution started the thorough elimination of the monarchy system, and replaced with a bourgeois democratic republic (which was finally established in 1875). Afterwards, after the bourgeoisie in quite a few countries gained victory in their own national revolutions, they successively established capitalist government systems with democracy and republicanism as basic characteristics. In the face of these tides, in order to avoid the fate of elimination from history, traditional constitutionalist thinking began to absorb republican concepts such as popular sovereignty, etc., and progressively evolved into the many interpretations of constitutionalism in today’s West, such as  the support for separation of powers, democracy and the rule of law, restraining government power with a constitutional and legal system, guaranteeing citizens’ fundamental rights, etc.

In the process of the emergence and development of constitutionalism, constitutions have played an extremely important role. Constitutions are the outcome of bourgeois revolutions. The “Bill of Rights” passed in England in 1689, the “Constitution of the United States” formulated in the US in 1787 as well as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man” published in France in 1789 are all important documents in the Wests’ establishment of constitutional monarchies and democratic republican systems, they are milestones in Western constitutional history, and laid the political and legal foundations for the current Western constitutionalist systems.

How should we look at Western constitutionalism and constitutionalist systems? Historical materialism tells us one basic principle, which is that the economic base decides the superstructure. The social mode of production and the social economic base constituted by economic relationships decides a society’s politics, laws, morality, etc., as well as all sorts of institutions related with these. To scientifically understand political and legal phenomena in a society, and political or legal institutions, we must start from the society’s material production methods and its economic base. Marx pointed out that: “the relationships in law are the same as the form of nations, we can neither understand them in an of themselves, nor can we understand them as the common development of the so-called human spirit, conversely, they spring from relationships in material life”; (“Selected Works of Marx and Engels”, Vol. 2, People’s Publishing House, 1995, p. 32. “This sort of legal relationship that is contractual in form (regardless of whether that contract has been determined using the law) is a deterministic relationship that reflects economic relationships. The content of this sort of legal relationship or deterministic relationship is decided by this sort of economic relationship” (Id., p. 143). Engels also clearly pointed out that “economic relationships are reflected in legal principles, and at the same time, will inevitably revers this sort of relationship. The process of emergence of this reflection is outside of the consciousness of the actor; legal scholars believe that they rely on a priori principles in their actions, still, this is merely a reflection of economic matters.” (“Complete Works of Marx and Engels”, People’s Publishing House, 1971, p. 488).

Starting from the above principles, Marx and Engels further elaborated on issues such as the origin and genesis of law, etc., they point out that law, like countries, is a phenomenon characteristic to class societies, and is the outcome of irreconcilable class contradictions and class struggles. In order to uphold its own class interest and social order, under the name of representing the entire society and the universal will of the people, and with the backing of the means of State violence, the ruling class often formulates and promulgates norms that members of society must commonly uphold and standards for action, such as people’s rights and obligations as well as their boundaries, etc., in order to standardize and restrain people’s actions. This creates favourable conditions for law to emerge as a tool for class rule. This is the class nature of law, and its essence as well.

Constitutions began to emerge as human societies developed into the capitalist stage, and are the result of the bourgeoisie’s struggle to oppose feudalism. In order to fundamentally dominate royal power and impose norms on the entire body of citizens, the bourgeoisie needs to formulate a general charter for the country, which on one hand clarifies the nature of the national political system (in opposition to feudalism), the basic social system (capitalism) as well as the organizational form of the regime (multi-Party systems, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, etc.), in order to indicate the position of all classes in the country and in society and the relationships between them, as well as to provide a basis and a yardstick for the formulation of further concrete laws. This general charter or basic law is the constitution.

What came in the wake of constitutions was the capitalist concept of rule of law. In societies before Socialism, even though law and the phenomenon of law existed, law in the slavery era and law in feudal societies only constrained the ruled classes and did not constrain the ruling classes, both in terms of form and nature (although there were also provisions that regulated relationships among the ruling classes), and slave owners and feudal lords clearly enjoyed privileges exceeding the law. Ruling power was higher than the power of the law, class privileges overrode the power of the law, and the law did not have a supreme position (this sort of societies can be named rule of man societies). By the capitalist era, humankind’s rule of law concept had seen great progress. The class nature of the law had not changed, but at least in terms of form, all members of society including the bourgeoisie were brought into the scope of applicability and constraint of the law, and in political terms, it was declared that all persons would be equal before the law, and it would not be permitted that individuals, groups or organizations enjoyed privileges in excess of or separate from the law (this sort of societies can be named rule of law societies).

The rule of law replaced the rule of man, which was a great step ahead in human civilization. Even so, what must be considered is that the law was formulated by people, but not every person had the power to formulate laws, from the angle of formulating a constitution and legislation, the constitution and the laws are not supreme, the supreme power is grasped in the hands of the ruling class who formulate the constitution and the laws. Even at the judicial level, the bourgeoisie would always be able to use its own special economic and social position to avoid the constraints and limitations that the constitution and the laws place on its class power. Whenever articles in the constitution or the laws would fundamentally conflict with the interests of the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie would rudely revise or abolish the relevant articles, in order to adapt to the needs to develop its class interests. Financial privileges, i.e. capital privileges have replaced the privileges and hereditary powers of the feudal orders, this is the essence of bourgeois law.

Exactly because of this, Marx pointed out that bourgeois societies’ “constitutions first and foremost establish bourgeois rule. Because of this, the right to association mentioned in a constitution clearly only refers to tolerance of those associations that can coexist with capitalist rule and are in line with the bourgeois system” (“Complete Works of Marx and Engels”, Vol. 1, People’s Publishing House, 1995, p. 423). Marx also exposed the falsehood of the Constitution of the French Republic passed on 4 November 1848, saying that: “The eternal contradictions of this Constitution of Humbug, show plainly enough, that the middle-class can be democratic in words, but will not be so in deeds — they will recognise the truth of a principle, but never carry it into practice — and the real “Constitution” of France is to be found, not in the Charter we have recorded, but in the organic laws enacted on its basis, an outline of which we have given to the reader. The principles were there — the details were left to the future, and in those details a shameless tyranny was re-enacted!”  (Complete Works of Marx and Engels”, Vol. 10, People’s Publishing House, 1998, p. 692) Engels even more unforgivingly pointed out that the so-called rational kingdom “was merely an idealized bourgeois kingdom; eternal justice was realized in the bourgeois judiciary; equality would be bourgeois equality before the law; it was declared that the most important human right was the bourgeois right to property; and the rationality of the country and Rousseau’s social contract are expressed in practice, furthermore, they can only be expressed as a bourgeois democratic republic.” (“Complete Works of Marks and Engels”, Vol. 3, People’s Publishing House, 1995, p. 356).

The rule of law is not supreme either. As a method of governing the country and managing politics, the rule of law falls into the category of the superstructure, it is built on a certain economic basis, and is directed by a certain ideology, what it upholds is the fundamental interest of the class the occupies the ruling position economically.

After having clarified the essence and nature of law and constitutions, it is no longer difficult to understand the nature and essence of Western constitutionalism. The basis of constitutionalism is a constitution, which originally served to restrain royal power (which is embodied in political terms as constitutional monarchy), and in countries where royal power has been abolished, came to be used to restrain the whole body of citizens (embodied in political terms as democratic republics), it is the outcome of the integration of the class domination tool of law (constitutions) with the capitalist system, it is the legalization of the bourgeois dictatorship system, its objective is to uphold the bourgeois ruling order, in order to provide an escort for the development of capitalism.

Concerning the nature and essence of capitalist constitutionalism, we can find concrete interpretations in the classic documents of Western constitutionalism, the “Bill of Rights”, the “Constitution of the United States of America” and the “Declaration of the Rights of Man”. Although these three documents differ more than a century in age, the formulation of their content and their degree of perfection are dissimilar, and differences exist in the national system, historical traditions and political systems that they reflect, they basic spirit and principles that they establish are completely consistent, they all uphold the capitalist economic system based on the bourgeois ownership system, they uphold a capitalist political system based on multi-party systems, parliamentary democracy and the tripartite separation of power, and they uphold capitalist ideology and culture with bourgeois ideology in a dominant position. In the present western world, any country’s constitution, without exception, provides for or contains these principles and contents. Western constitutionalism, in fact, is a synonym for the capitalist system, and is another sort of formal expression for the social system of bourgeois dictatorship.

II, An analysis of a few main viewpoints advocating for the implementation of constitutionalism in China

The viewpoints that advocate the implementation of constitutionalism in China can generally be divided into two categories. The first category advocates that China implements the constitutionalism of European and American countries, and guide China towards the path of capitalism through this sort of constitutionalism. This sort of viewpoint openly violates the Four Cardinal Principles, and should be repudiated with clear banners flying. The other viewpoint does not endorse China’s indiscriminate imitation of Western constitutionalism, but advocates that China can combine this with its own national circumstances, and do “Socialist constitutionalism” with Chinese characteristics. It can be clearly said that these two kinds of “constitutionalist” views are not identical in terms of standpoints and objectives, and are even fundamentally opposed, therefore, we concretely judge concrete situations in theory and practice, and cannot treat both in the same way. But some viewpoints mong them are certainly confused, and require theoretical clarification. This article only discusses individual views on some representative viewpoints, which are offered for deliberation.

1. Does having a constitution mean having constitutionalism?

Looking at the present situation of various countries worldwide, the countries that have implemented constitutionalism do not necessarily all have a clear and systematic written constitution, and countries having a complete written constitution are not necessarily all constitutionalist countries. The United Kingdom is the country that is generally recognized as having the longest history of constitutionalism in the Western world, but even so, the United Kingdom until today does not have a written constitution (the “Bill of Rights”) is not a written constitution, in fact). Furthermore, New Zealand, Israel and other such countries are similar, and yet this does not influence them being listed among the ranks of constitutionalist countries. Conversely, present Socialist countries, including Socialist countries that existed historically, universally promulgated relatively concrete written constitutions after their establishment, but both in the past and in the present, the Western world never recognized that these countries were constitutionalist countries. Because of this, the essence of not being constitutionalist does not lie in not having a constitution, the key is what the nature of this national system and political system is, and which social system is implemented. Having a constitution or not is only a symbol of constitutionalism, the fundamental standard to judge whether or not there is constitutionalism is whether or not a social system of bourgeois dictatorship is implemented.

Although they are equally constitutions, there are differences in nature between the constitutions of Socialist countries and capitalist countries. Because of the fact that the ruling class is not the same, the essence and content of the constitution reflecting its will cannot be the same either. Lenin profoundly pointed out that: “Proletarian rule is manifested through the abolition of the system of landlord and capitalist ownership.” “The reason why our Constitution has the power to exist in history, and why it has won this power, is because the abolition of this system of ownership was not only written on paper.” “The Constitution has recorded the resolution of the problem of abolishing the capitalist and landlord ownership system in real life” (“Complete Works of Lenin”, Vol. 38, People’s Publishing House, 1986, p. 281). Mao Zedong also pointed out that: when drafting the first constitutional draft of the New China, “there were two fundamental principles: the principle of democracy and the principle of Socialism. Our democracy is not bourgeois democracy, but people’s democracy, which means that it is the people’s democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the proletariat and on the basis of the alliance between workers and peasants. The principle of the people’s democracy runs through our entire Constitution. The other is the principle of Socialism” (“Collected Works of Mao Zedong”, Vol. 6, People’s Publishing House, p. 326). “Our Constitution is of a new Socialist kind, which is different from the bourgeois kind,” “it summarized the experiences of the people’s revolution which opposed imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism under the leadership of the proletariat, and summarized the most recent experiences of social reform, economic construction, cultural construction and government work in the past few years”, (Id., p. 325), this established the achievements of the New Democratic Revolution as well as the Socialist revolution, and developed them.

Our country’s current constitution affirmed and consolidated the fruits of the Party’s leading the people of all ethnicities in conducting the revolution, construction and reform, and stipulated the nature of the country, its basic system, basic tasks, leadership power, guiding ideology and other such important matters. It pointed out that: the People’s Republic of China is a Socialist country with a people’s democratic dictatorship that is led by the working class and based on the alliance between workers and peasants. The Socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. The basic task of the country is to concentrate forces to conduct Socialist modernization construction along the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. All power in the People’s Republic of China belongs to the people. The principles of democratic centralism are implemented in the State organs of the People’s Republic of China. The Socialist economic system of the People’s Republic of China is based on the Socialist ownership system of the means of production. The public property of Socialism is sacred and inviolable. The State advocates the virtues of love for the motherland, love for the people, love for work, love for science and love for Socialism, it conducts education about patriotism, collectivism and internationalism among the people, it conducts education about dialectical materialism and historical materialism, it opposes capitalist, feudal and other corrupt ideologies.

The above provisions in our country’s Constitution are clearly completely opposed to the principles and content of Western constitutions that establish and develop capitalism. The Western bourgeoisie cannot approve of the establishment of the leadership of the Communist Party, the people mastering their own affairs, the development of Socialism and other such principles and content in our country’s Constitution, and they can certainly not recognize that our country has constitutionalism because it has a constitution. Some people advocate that having a constitution means having constitutionalism, perhaps they have the good intention to resist the West’s criticism that our country has no constitutionalism or democracy, but this cannot stand theoretical deliberation, and objectively speaking may bring about the opposite result. Exactly because Western countries put their hopes on China’s proclaiming and implementing constitutionalism, they may use this as a breach, and progressively abolish the leadership of the Communist Party and the Socialist system, this requires our vigilance and attention.

2. Is constitutionalism “democratic politics”?

We cannot abstractly deal with this phrase of Mao Zedong concerning “constitutionalism is democratic politics”, and make this into a basis to say that China should practice constitutionalism.

Equating constitutionalism with democratic politics does not conform  with the basic intention of Mao Zedong. In fact, Mao Zedong firmly opposed dealing with this theses of “constitutionalism is democratic politics” in an abstract manner, and advocated the use of class viewpoints and the method of class analysis to clearly understand the issue of democracy and constitutionalism. On 20 February 1984, Mao Zedong said in his speech at the foundational meeting for the association to stimulate constitutionalism: “What is constitutionalism? It is democratic politics. […] But the democratic politics that we want now, what kind of democratic politics are these? They are New Democratic politics, and this is New Democratic constitutionalism. It is not old, out-of-date, Euro-American, bourgeois dictatorship so-called democratic politics; at the same time, it is also not yet Soviet-style, proletarian dictatorship democratic politics” (“Selected Works of Mao Zedong”, Vo. 2, People’s Publishing House, 1991, p. 732). Mao Zedong used “if there is food, let everyone eat” as a metaphor for New Democracy, and afterwards, used Sun Yat-sen’s phrase “for the common ownership of the common man, not for the private gain of the minority” to explain the New Democratic constitutionalism, pointing out that: “a few revolutionary classes have united in the democratic dictatorship that opposes the traitors and the reactionaries, which is the constitutionalism that we pursue today. Such constitutionalism is also the constitutionalism for the United Front to Resist Japan” (Id., p. 733). Mao Zedong also especially demonstrated the essence of the constitutionalist programmes put forward by the various political factions in China at that time: “The constitutionalism that China’s die-hards talk about, is foreign, old-style bourgeois democratic politics. They say that they want this sort of constitutionalism, but they don’t really want this sort of constitutionalism, they use this to deceive the people. In fact, what they want is Fascist one-party dictatorship. The bourgeoisie in the Chinese nation truly wants this sort of constitutionalism, it wans implementing bourgeois dictatorship in China, but they will not succeed. Because no-one among the Chinese people wants this sort of thing, and the Chinese people do not welcome the dictatorship of the bourgeois class” (Id., p. 732). It can be seen that Mao Zedong opposes the abstract discussion of the relationship between constitutionalism and democratic politics, and clarified the class nature of democracy and constitutionalism.

3. Does having the slogan of “New Democratic constitutionalism” amount to the fact that we should have “Socialist constitutionalism”?

Even though Mao Zedong put forward New Democratic constitutionalism, he strictly limited constitutionalism to the scope of the New Democratic society. He said: “Now, the democratic politics that our China needs, is neither old-style democracy, nor non-Socialist democracy, but the New Democracy that conforms to China’s national circumstances. The constitutionalism of which the implementation is being prepared at the moment should be New Democratic constitutionalism” (Id., p. 733). He also emphatically pointed out that: “What is Socialist democracy like? It is naturally very good, in the future, the entire world will implement Socialist democracy. But this sort of democracy, in present-day China, is unfeasible, and because of this, we have to reject it for the time being. Only in the future, when certain conditions are present, will it be possible to implement Socialist democracy” (Id., pp. 732-733). It can be seen that Mao Zedong believed that New Democratic constitutionalism was a form of democratic politics that was situated between capitalist constitutionalism and proletarian democratic politics, which in the end was transitional towards the latter, and did not have an independent form.

The reason that the New Democratic society could implement constitutionalism, was decided by the nature of the New Democratic society. Mao Zedong repeatedly discussed that: the New Democratic society was different from the “semi-fascist semi-feudal capitalism” that Chiang Kai-shek engaged in, New Democracy had “as a sort of capitalism, its own vitality, and its revolutionary nature”, “its essence was to assist Socialism, it was revolutionary, useful and beneficial to the development of Socialism”, (“Collected Works of Mao Zedong”, Vol. 3, People’s Publishing House, 1996, pp. 384-385), but “its basic essence still is capitalist” (Id., p. 56). The New Democratic Revolution was “a democratic revolution of the proletariat, in which the broad people in the entire country participates, that basically did not destroy the capitalist essence of the private property system” (Id, p. 59). The New Democratic country and government “were a country and a government that implemented a thorough democratic system but did not destroy the principle of private property. (“Collected Works of Mao Zedong”, Vol. 2, People’s Publishing House, 1993, p. 134). The capitalist nature of the New Democratic society indicated that it corresponded to and was linked with to capitalist constitutionalism. That is to say, constitutionalism might serve  the capitalist democratic politics of constitutional monarchies or democratic republics, but might also serve the New Democratic society that had a capitalist nature as well. Both were connected in nature, which decided that the New Democratic society could choose constitutionalism as a real form of democratic politics.

Naturally, the New Democratic society could accept constitutionalism, which absolutely was not equal to the indiscriminate copy of the constitutionalism of European and American countries, it was necessary to start from the reality of the New Democratic society to carry out a revolutionary transformation of constitutionalism and endow it with revolutionary content. Because of this, Mao Zedong put forward that New Democratic constitutionalism was “the joint dictatorship of a number of revolutionary classes” and “the constitutionalism of the United Front to resist Japan”. This fundamentally differentiates New Democratic constitutionalism from Euro-American bourgeois dictatorship constitutionalism, the constitutionalism of the Chinese bourgeoisie and the constitutionalism of the Guomindang reactionary fascists.

Exactly because Mao Zedong at that time limited constitutionalism strictly to the scope of the New Democratic society, and so to the scope of capitalism, the wordings “Socialist constitutionalism” or “proletarian dictatorship constitutionalism” where never used in any of Mao’s open documents, and he never even mentioned the word constitutionalism after the foundation of the New China.

4. Does rule of law equal constitutionalism?

As our country has put forward the strategy of ruling the country according to the law, should implementing “Socialist Constitutionalism” become a part of building a Socialist rule of law country? The author believes that constitutionalism is not the same thing as rule of law, and that both cannot be confused with each other.

It has been mentioned before that the rule of law means that the ruling class manages the country and the society according to the laws it formulated itself, and thus realises one method of class rule. The rule of law in capitalist societies has been put in a supreme position in formal terms. The rule of law is a sort of social phenomenon, and exists in all societies rules according to the law. Now, constitutionalism is a social and political system that is particular to capitalist societies that accompanied constitutions. Evidently, the rule of law is not a concept of the same order as constitutionalism. The former is a sort of method to govern a country and a society, the latter falls into the category of social systems, and has specific institutional implications.

Even though this is the rule of law, under different social conditions, because the objects of its service are different, and its objectives and tasks are different, it will have a different essence and manifestation. The objective of rule of law in capitalist societies and its basic task is to uphold bourgeois rule and peace and order for capitalist societies. The objective and basic task of Socialist rule of law is to carry forward Socialist democracy, guaranteeing that the people are masters of their own affairs,  and peace and order for Socialist countries. Comrade Jiang Zemin pointed out that: “Ruling the country according to the law means that the Party leads the people in governing the country, guaranteeing that the people implement democratic elections, democratic policymaking, democratic management and democratic supervision according to the law, and safeguarding the fundamental interest of the broad popular masses.” “To rule the country according to the law, we must implement two principles: the first is that we must persist in the leadership in the Party and the Socialist orientation, the second is that we must guarantee that the broad popular masses fully exercise democratic rights” (“Jiang Zemin on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics (Topical Extracts)”, Documentary Press of China, 2002, pp. 329, 328). Comrade Hu Jintao also pointed out: to develop Socialist democratic politics, we must persist in the political development path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, it is crucial that we must persist in the organic unification of the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs and ruling the country according to the law. The Party’s leadership is the fundamental guarantee for the people mastering their own affairs and ruling the country according to the law, the people mastering their own affairs are the essence and core of Socialist democratic politics, ruling the country according to the law is the basic strategy of the Party leading the people in governing the country. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed in his speech at the capital conference to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the current Constitution: “To persist in the political development path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, it is crucial that we must persist in the organic unification of the leadership of the Party, the people mastering their own affairs and ruling the country according to the law, make guaranteeing the people mastering their own affairs into the basis, make strengthening the vitality of the Party and the country, and mustering the vigour of the people into the objective, broaden Socialist democracy and develop the Socialist political civilization.

It can be seen that rule of law in different societies has different class contents and social properties. In this sense, building a Socialist rule of law country is not equal to implementing constitutionalism.

5. Are the terms “Socialist constitutionalism” and “constitutionalist Socialism” tenable?

As we are able to have a Socialist market economy and the Socialist rule of law, why can we not have Socialist constitutionalism? One basic precondition is that constitutionalism belongs to a different level in a social system than the market and rule of law, the former belongs to the category of basic institutions, and the latter belong in the category of systems and mechanisms.

Take the market economy, for instance, it belongs in the category of economic systems and operational mechanisms, it is a method and means  to develop production and regulate the economy. Although the market economy is a product of capitalism, Socialist countries can have it, and can use it to serve the development of Socialism. Furthermore, under the precondition that the public ownership system maintains the dominant position, implementing a market economy that is integrated with the basic Socialist economic system cannot change the essence of our country’s Socialist economic system, on the contrary, it benefits giving full rein to the basic role of the market in allocating resources, it benefits the invigoration and flourishing of the urban and rural economy, and stimulates the development of social productive forces.

The same is true for the rule of law. Although the rule of law has a class nature, as a method and means of class rule and social management, it can serve different classes. Historically, the bourgeoisie has paid extreme attention to absorbing and using the experience of rule  of law under feudal rule and even during the era of slavery. Engels pointed out: “In England, the institutions before the revolution are continued in the institutions after the revolution, landlords and capitalists have come to compromise, this is manifested in the fact that litigation is still dealt with according to precedent, and that the form of a number of feudal laws has been piously preserved. In France, the revolution completely broke with the traditions of the past, and swept away the last vestiges of the feudal regime, furthermore, its civil code has taken the law of ancient Rome and ingeniously used it for modern-day capitalist conditions” (“Selected Works of Marx and Engels”, Vol. 3, People’s Publishing House, 1995, p. 710).

The Socialism that we follow is Socialism with Chinese characteristics. What is Socialism with Chinese characteristics? The Report of the 18th Party Congress pointed out that: “Socialism with Chinese characteristics means persisting in the basic principles of scientific Socialism, endowing them with distinctive Chinese characteristics on the basis of the conditions of the times, and deepening our understanding of the laws of Communist Party governance, the laws of Socialist construction, and the laws of development of human societies with a completely new vision, systematically answering the fundamental questions of what kind of Socialism to build and how to build Socialism in this large Oriental country of China with its large population and its low starting base by integrating theory and practice, to ensure that our country develops rapidly,, and ensure that the people’s livelihoods and living standards in our country rise rapidly.” On 5 January 2013, General Secretary Xi Jinping further stressed in his speech at the discussion class for the new members and alternate members of the Central Committee to study the spirit of the 19th Party Congress: “Socialism with Chinese characteristics is Socialism and not any other ism, the fundamental principles of scientific Socialism cannot be lost, if they are lost, this isn’t Socialism.” Can the fundamental principles of scientific Socialism be combined with constitutionalism? The answer is negative. The “Communist Manifesto” published in February 1848 succinctly elucidated the fundamental principles of scientific Socialism, in political terms, it stresses that the working class is to organize into its own political party, a Communist party, to wrest political power from the hands of the bourgeoisie, ensure that it becomes the ruling class itself, establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, etc. There is no way in which these principles of scientific Socialism are compatible with upholding the constitutionalism of the bourgeois dictatorship.

On 24 March 1884, Engels wrote this paragraph in his letter to Eduard Bernstein: ” it must not be forgotten that it is precisely the democratic republic which is the logical form of bourgeois rule; a form however that has become too dangerous only because of the level of development the proletariat has already reached; but France and America show that it is still possible as purely bourgeois rule. The ‘principle’ of liberalism considered as something ‘definite, historically evolved’, is thus really only an inconsistency. The liberal constitutional monarchy is an adequate form of bourgeois rule: 1) at the beginning, when the bourgeoisie has not yet quite finished with the absolute monarchy, and 2) at the end, when the proletariat has already made the democratic republic too dangerous. And yet the democratic republic always remains the last form of bourgeois rule, that in which it goes to pieces.” (Complete Works of Marx and Engels”, Vol. 36, People’s Publishing House, 1974, p. 131). This paragraph by Engels discusses and indicates that constitutionalism is incompatible with scientific Socialism. Engels believes that, even thought democratic republics are the fundamental form of bourgeois political rule, they are the last form of bourgeois political rule, and they will be replaced by class rule by a new and even more advanced class, this is the political rule of the proletariat, which is reflected in terms of national system in proletarian democratic republics.

(Wang Tingyou, Assistant Professor at the Renmin University of China Institute of Marxism)

对宪政问题的一些看法
汪亭友
西方资本主义的宪政对于社会主义国家来说,究竟是好的、有益的东西?还是不好的、甚至有害的东西?它是否适合中国国情?要科学地认识宪政问题,必须坚持以马克思主义为指导,运用马克思主义的立场、观点和方法对之进行分析。
一、资本主义宪政的由来、内涵、本质及其实质
据《不列颠百科全书》解释,宪政的涵义主要有两个:一是指君主立宪,一是指宪制政府。该百科全书还考证,最早在著作中使用君主立宪一词的是英国人约翰·洛克,时间大体在17世纪后半期。最早使用宪制政府或立宪主义等词的是在19世纪初的法国、葡萄牙等国。宪政的历史起源则被追溯得更为久远。1869年11月,恩格斯在《高德文·斯密斯<爱尔兰历史和爱尔兰性格>一书札记》中,提及英国学者亨·哈勒姆1827年分两卷在伦敦出版的《自亨利七世即位至乔治二世逝世的英国宪政史》一书,把英国的宪政史追溯到了15世纪晚期。(参见《马克思恩格斯全集》第45卷,人民出版社1985年版,第750页)
英国是世界上最早确立君主立宪政体的国家,因而也是世界上最早实行宪政的国家。18世纪后半期,法国资产阶级革命开始彻底废除君主制国体,代之以资产阶级民主共和国(1875年最终确立)。之后,不少国家的资产阶级在取得本国革命胜利以后,纷纷确立了以民主共和为基本特征的资本主义政治制度。面对这种潮流,为避免遭历史淘汰的命运,传统的宪政思想开始吸收共和制的人民主权等观念,并逐渐演变成当今西方关于宪政的诸多解释,如提倡分权、民主、法治,以宪法法律体系约束政府权力,保障公民的基本权利等。
在宪政的产生和发展历程中,宪法扮演了十分重要的作用。宪法是资产阶级革命的产物。1689年英国通过的《权利法案》、1787年美国制定的《美国宪法》以及1789年法国颁布的《人权宣言》,是西方确立君主立宪和民主共和制度的重要文献,在西方宪政史上具有里程碑意义,奠定了现代西方宪政制度的政治与法律基础。
如何看待西方的宪政及宪政制度呢?历史唯物主义告诉我们一个基本道理,即经济基础决定上层建筑。社会的生产方式、经济关系所构成的社会的经济基础,决定着社会的政治、法律、道德等,以及与之相适应的各种制度。科学地解释社会的政治法律现象、政治法律制度,必须从社会的物质生产方式和经济基础出发。马克思指出:“法的关系正像国家的形式一样,既不能从它们本身来理解,也不能从所谓人类精神的一般发展来理解,相反,它们根源于物质的生活关系”;(《马克思恩格斯选集》第2卷,人民出版社1995年版,第32页)“这种具有契约形式的(不管这种契约是不是用法律固定下来的)法的关系,是一种反映着经济关系的意志关系。这种法的关系或意志关系的内容是由这种经济关系本身决定的。”(同上书,第143页)恩格斯也明确指出:“经济关系反映为法原则,也同样必然使这种关系倒置过来。这种反映的发生过程,是活动者所意识不到的;法学家以为他是凭着先验的原理来活动,然而这只不过是经济的反映而已。”(《马克思恩格斯全集》第37卷,人民出版社1971年版,第488页)
从上述原理出发,马克思、恩格斯进一步论述了法的起源、实质等问题,指出法同国家一样,都是阶级社会特有的现象,是阶级矛盾、阶级斗争不可调和的产物。统治阶级为维护本阶级的利益和社会统治秩序,往往以整个社会代表或国民普遍意志的名义,以国家的暴力机器为后盾,制定并颁布社会成员必须共同遵守的规则和行为准则,如规定人们的权利和义务及其界限等,以规范并约束人们的行为。法作为阶级统治的工具就应运而生了。这是法的阶级实质,也是它的本质。
宪法是人类社会发展到资本主义阶段才开始出现的,是资产阶级反封建斗争的成果。为了从根本上约束君权和规范全体国民,资产阶级需要制定一部国家总的章程,一方面明确国家政权的性质(反封建)、社会的根本制度(资本主义)以及政权的组织形式(多党制、议会民主、三权分立等),以表明社会各阶级在国家和社会中的地位与相互关系,另一方面为具体法律的制定提供依据和准绳。这个总章程或总法就是宪法。
伴随宪法等而来的是资本主义的法治观念。在资本主义以前的社会,虽然也存在法及法的现象,但无论是奴隶制时代的法律还是封建制时代的法律,在形式和实质上都只约束被统治阶级而不约束统治阶级(虽然也有调整统治阶级内部关系的规定),奴隶主或封建主都明确享有超越法律的特权。统治权高于法权,阶级特权凌驾于法权,法不具有至上地位(这样的社会可被称为人治社会)。到了资本主义时代,人类的法治观念有了很大进步。法的阶级实质没变,但至少在形式上把包括资产阶级在内的所有社会成员纳入法所适用和约束的范围,并在政治上宣布法律面前人人平等,不允许个人、团体或组织享有超越或游离法律之上、之外的特权(这样的社会可被称为法治社会)。
法治取代人治,是人类文明的一大进步。然而需要看到的是,法律都是由人来制定的,但并非每个人都有制定法律的权力,从制定宪法即立法角度看,宪法法律并不是至上的,至上的权力掌握在制定宪法法律的统治阶级手里。即便在司法层面,资产阶级也总能运用自己特殊的经济和社会地位,规避宪法法律对本阶级权力的约束和限制。一旦宪法法律条文同资产阶级的利益发生根本冲突时,资产阶级便毫不客气地修改或废止有关条文,以适应发展了的阶级利益的需要。金钱特权即资本特权取代了封建的等级特权和世袭特权,这是资产阶级法的本质。
正因为如此,马克思指出:资产阶级社会的“宪法首先要确立的是资产阶级的统治。因此,宪法所说的结社权显然只是指容许那些能与资产阶级统治,即与资产阶级制度相协调的社团存在。”(《马克思恩格斯选集》第1卷,人民出版社1995年版,第423页)马克思还揭露了1848年11月4日通过的法兰西共和国宪法的虚伪性,他说:“这个虚伪的宪法中永远存在的矛盾足以说明,资产阶级口头上标榜自己是民主阶级,而实际上并不如此,它承认原则的正确性,但是从来不在实践中实现这种原则,法国真正的‘宪法’不应当在我们所叙述的宪章中寻找,而应当在我们已经向读者简要地介绍过的以这个宪章为基础制定的组织法中寻找。这个宪法里包含了原则,——细节留待将来再说,而在这些细节里重新恢复了无耻的暴政!”(《马克思恩格斯全集》第10卷,人民出版社1998年版,第692页)恩格斯更是毫不留情地指出:所谓的理性王国“不过是资产阶级的理想化的王国;永恒的正义在资产阶级的司法中得到实现;平等归结为法律面前的资产阶级的平等;被宣布为最主要的人权之一的是资产阶级的所有权;而理性的国家、卢梭的社会契约在实践中表现为,而且也只能表现为资产阶级的民主共和国。”(《马克思恩格斯选集》第3卷,人民出版社1995年版,第356页)
法治也不是至上的。作为治国理政的方式,法治属于上层建筑的范畴,它建立在一定经济基础之上,并接受一定意识形态的指导,维护的是经济上占统治地位的阶级的根本利益。
明确了法、宪法的本质及其实质后,就不难理解西方宪政的本质和实质了。宪政以宪法为基础,起初是为了约束王权(政治制度上体现为君主立宪),在废止了王权的国家用来约束全体国民(政治制度上体现为民主共和),它是法(宪法)这一阶级统治工具与资本主义制度相结合的产物,是资产阶级专政制度的法治化,目的是要维护资产阶级的统治秩序,为发展资本主义保驾护航。
关于资本主义宪政的本质和实质,我们可以从资本主义宪政的经典文献《权利法案》、《美国宪法》和《人权宣言》中找到具体注解。这三部文献尽管时间上相差百年,内容表述和完善程度各不相同,体现的国情、历史传统以及政治制度等也存在差异,但它们确立的基本精神和原则是完全一致的,都是维护以资产阶级私有制为基础的资本主义经济制度,维护以多党制、议会民主、三权分立为基本内容的资本主义政治制度,维护资产阶级意识形态占据统治地位的资本主义思想文化制度。在当今西方世界,不论哪一国的宪政都无一例外地规定或内含着这些原则和内容。西方宪政其实就是资本主义制度的代名词,是资产阶级专政的社会制度换了一种形式的表述。
二、对主张中国实行宪政的几种主要观点的分析
目前主张中国实行宪政的观点大体可以分为两类。一类是主张中国实行欧美国家的宪政,通过此种宪政把中国引上资本主义道路。这种观点公开违反四项基本原则,应旗帜鲜明地予以批驳。另一类观点不赞成中国照搬西方宪政,但主张中国可以结合自己国情,搞有中国特色的“社会主义宪政”。可以明确地讲,这两种“宪政”观,立场和目标并不一致,甚至还根本对立,因此,在理论和实践中要具体情况具体判断,不能一概而论。但其中确实有一些观点是模糊的,需要从理论上澄清。本文仅就几个有代表性的观点谈谈个人的看法,供商榷。
1.有宪法即有宪政吗?
从当前世界各国的情况看,实行宪政的国家未必都有明确而系统的成文宪法,而有完备的成文宪法的国家未必是宪政国家。英国是西方世界公认为宪政历史最为悠久的国家,然而英国至今没有一部成文宪法(《权利法案》并不是成文宪法)。此外,新西兰、以色列等国也是如此,然而这并不影响它们被纳入宪政国家的行列。相反,当今社会主义国家包括历史上存在的社会主义国家,在建国后普遍颁布了比较完备的成文宪法,然而无论是过去还是现在,西方世界都不曾认可这些国家为宪政国家。因此,有没有宪政的实质并不在于有没有宪法,关键是这个国家的国体和政体是什么性质的,确立了什么样的社会制度。有无宪法只是宪政的表象,有没有实行资产阶级专政的社会制度,才是判断有无宪政的根本标准。
虽然同样是宪法,社会主义国家的宪法同资本主义国家的宪法也有着本质区别。因为统治阶级不一样,反映其意志的宪法的性质和内容也会不一样。列宁曾深刻指出:“无产阶级的统治表现在废除了地主和资本家的所有制。”“我们的宪法之所以有权在历史上存在,所以争取到了这个权利,就是因为废除这一所有制不是仅仅在纸上写写而已。”“宪法把实际生活中解决了的废除资本家和地主的所有制的问题记载下来”。(《列宁全集》第38卷,人民出版社1986年版,第281页)毛泽东也指出:起草新中国第一部宪法草案的“原则基本上是两个:民主原则和社会主义原则。我们的民主不是资产阶级的民主,而是人民民主,这就是无产阶级领导的、以工农联盟为基础的人民民主专政。人民民主的原则贯串在我们整个宪法中。另一个是社会主义原则”。(《毛泽东文集》第6卷,人民出版社1999年版,第326页)“我们的宪法是新的社会主义类型,不同于资产阶级类型”,“它总结了无产阶级领导的反对帝国主义、反对封建主义、反对官僚资本主义的人民革命的经验,总结了最近几年来社会改革、经济建设、文化建设和政府工作的经验”,(同上书,第325页)确立了新民主主义革命以及社会主义革命的成果并加以发展。
我国现行宪法确认并巩固了党领导各族人民从事革命、建设和改革事业的成果,规定了国家的性质、根本制度、根本任务、领导力量、指导思想等重要内容。指出:中华人民共和国是工人阶级领导的、以工农联盟为基础的人民民主专政的社会主义国家。社会主义制度是中华人民共和国的根本制度。国家的根本任务是,沿着中国特色社会主义道路,集中力量进行社会主义现代化建设。中华人民共和国的一切权力属于人民。中华人民共和国的国家机构实行民主集中制的原则。中华人民共和国的社会主义经济制度的基础是生产资料的社会主义公有制。社会主义的公共财产神圣不可侵犯。国家提倡爱祖国、爱人民、爱劳动、爱科学、爱社会主义的公德,在人民中进行爱国主义、集体主义和国际主义、共产主义的教育,进行辩证唯物主义和历史唯物主义的教育,反对资本主义的、封建主义的和其他的腐朽思想。
我国宪法的上述规定,显然同西方宪法确立的发展资本主义的原则和内容是完全对立的。西方资产阶级不可能认可确立了共产党领导、人民当家作主、发展社会主义等原则和内容的我国宪法,更不可能因为我国有宪法而认可我国有宪政。一些人主张有宪法即有宪政,也许有抵御西方指责我国没有宪政、没有民主的善良用意,但这在理论上经不起推敲,客观上也可能起反效果。因为西方国家恰恰是寄希望于中国宣布实行宪政,从而以之作为突破口,逐步取消共产党的领导和社会主义制度,这是需要我们警惕和注意的。
2.宪政就是“民主的政治”吗?
不能抽象地对待毛泽东关于“宪政就是民主的政治”这句话,并以此作为中国应推行宪政的根据。
把宪政等同于民主政治不符合毛泽东的本意。实际上,毛泽东是坚决反对抽象地对待“宪政就是民主的政治”这个命题的,并且主张运用阶级的观点和阶级分析的方法认清民主和宪政问题。1940年2月20日,毛泽东在延安各界宪政促进会成立大会上的演讲中说:“宪政是什么呢?就是民主的政治。……但是我们现在要的民主政治,是什么民主政治呢?是新民主主义的政治,是新民主主义的宪政。它不是旧的、过了时的、欧美式的、资产阶级专政的所谓民主政治;同时,也还不是苏联式的、无产阶级专政的民主政治。”(《毛泽东选集》第2卷,人民出版社1991年版,第732页)毛泽东用“有饭大家吃”比喻新民主主义,然后借用孙中山的“为一般平民所共有,非少数人所得而私”这句话解释新民主主义的宪政,指出:“几个革命阶级联合起来对于汉奸反动派的民主专政,就是今天我们所要的宪政。这样的宪政也就是抗日统一战线的宪政”。(同上书,第733页)毛泽东还特别指明了当时中国各政治派别提出的宪政纲领的实质:“中国的顽固派所说的宪政,就是外国的旧式的资产阶级的民主政治。他们口里说要这种宪政,并不是真正要这种宪政,而是借此欺骗人民。他们实际上要的是法西斯主义的一党专政。中国的民族资产阶级则确实想要这种宪政,想要在中国实行资产阶级的专政,但是他们是要不来的。因为中国人民大家不要这种东西,中国人民不欢迎资产阶级一个阶级来专政。”(同上书,第732页)可见,毛泽东反对抽象地谈论宪政与民主政治的关系,并且点明了民主和宪政的阶级实质。
3.有“新民主主义的宪政”的提法等于就应该有“社会主义宪政”吗?
毛泽东尽管提出了新民主主义的宪政,但他把宪政严格限制在新民主主义社会的范围。他说:“现在,我们中国需要的民主政治,既非旧式的民主,又还非社会主义的民主,而是合乎现在中国国情的新民主主义。目前准备实行的宪政,应该是新民主主义的宪政。”(同上书,第733页)他还强调指出:“社会主义的民主怎么样呢?这自然是很好的,全世界将来都要实行社会主义的民主。但是这种民主,在现在的中国,还行不通,因此我们也只得暂时不要它。到了将来,有了一定的条件之后,才能实行社会主义的民主。”(同上书,第732—733页)可见,毛泽东认为,新民主主义的宪政是介于资本主义宪政和无产阶级民主政治之间、最终要向后者过渡的、并非独立形态的民主政治。
新民主主义社会之所以可以实行宪政,是由新民主主义社会的性质所决定的。毛泽东多次谈到:新民主主义社会有别于蒋介石搞的“半法西斯半封建的资本主义”,新民主主义“这种资本主义有它的生命力,还有革命性”,“它的性质是帮助社会主义的,它是革命的、有用的,有利于社会主义的发展的”,(《毛泽东文集》第3卷,人民出版社1996年版,第384、385页)但“它的基本性质仍是资本主义的”。(同上书,第56页)新民主主义革命是“无产阶级领导的,有全国广大人民参加的,基本上不破坏私有财产制度的资产阶级性质的民主革命”,(同上书,第59页)新民主主义国家和政府“是实行彻底的民主制度与不破坏私有财产原则下的国家与政府”。(《毛泽东文集》第2卷,人民出版社1993年版,第134页)新民主主义社会的资本主义性质,表明它同资本主义的宪政有着相容相通之处。即是说,宪政可以为君主立宪或民主共和的资本主义民主政治服务,也可以为同属资本主义性质的新民主主义社会的民主政治服务。两者在性质上的相容相通,决定了新民主主义社会可以选择宪政作为民主政治实现形式。
当然,新民主主义社会可以接受宪政,决不等于可以照抄照搬欧美国家的宪政,而是必须从新民主主义社会的实际出发,对宪政进行革命性的改造,赋予其革命性的内容。因此,毛泽东提出新民主主义的宪政是“几个革命阶级的联合专政”、是“抗日统一战线的宪政”。这就从根本上把新民主主义的宪政同欧美资产阶级专政的宪政、中国民族资产阶级专政的宪政、国民党反动派法西斯主义的宪政区别开来。
正因为毛泽东当时把宪政严格限制在新民主主义社会的范围,亦即资本主义的范畴,因此在毛泽东所有公开的文献中都不曾有“社会主义的宪政”或“无产阶级专政的宪政”的提法或类似表述,甚至他在新中国成立以后连宪政这个词都不曾提及。
4.法治等同于宪政吗?
我国既然提出依法治国方略,那么实行“社会主义宪政”是否理应成为建设社会主义法治国家题中之义呢?笔者认为,宪政同法治不是一回事,不能将两者混为一谈。
前文提过,法治是统治阶级按照自己制定的法律管理国家和社会,从而实现阶级统治的一种方式、手段。资本主义社会的法治在形式上被提到至上的地位。法治作为一种社会现象,存在于一切依法治理的社会。而宪政是伴随宪法而来的资本主义社会特有的社会政治制度。显然,法治同宪政不是同一层次的概念。前者是管理国家和社会的一种方式、手段,后者则属于社会制度的范畴,有着特定的制度内涵。
即便是法治,在不同的社会条件下,也会因服务对象的不同,目的、任务的不同,而有不同的性质和表现。资本主义社会法治的目的和根本任务,是要维护资产阶级的统治和资本主义社会的长治久安。而社会主义法治的目的和根本任务,是要发扬社会主义民主,保障人民当家作主,维护社会主义国家的长治久安。江泽民同志指出:“依法治国,就是党领导人民治理国家,保证人民依法实行民主选举、民主决策、民主管理和民主监督,维护广大人民群众的根本利益。”“依法治国,要贯彻两个原则:一是必须坚持党的领导和社会主义方向,二是必须保证广大人民群众充分行使民主权利。”(《江泽民论有中国特色社会主义(专题摘编)》,中央文献出版社2002年版,第329、328页)胡锦涛同志也指出:发展社会主义民主政治,必须坚持中国特色社会主义政治发展道路,关键是要坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一。党的领导是人民当家作主和依法治国的根本保证,人民当家作主是社会主义民主政治的本质和核心,依法治国是党领导人民治理国家的基本方略。习近平总书记在首都各界纪念现行宪法公布施行30周年大会上的讲话中强调:“坚持中国特色社会主义政治发展道路,关键是要坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一,以保证人民当家作主为根本,以增强党和国家活力、调动人民积极性为目标,扩大社会主义民主,发展社会主义政治文明。”
可见,不同社会的法治有着不同的阶级内涵和社会属性。从这个意义上说,建设社会主义法治国家,不等于就要实行宪政。
5.“社会主义宪政”、“宪政社会主义”的提法成立吗?
我们既然可以搞社会主义市场经济、社会主义法治,为什么不能有社会主义宪政呢?一个根本的前提,就是宪政同市场经济、法治属于社会制度的不同层面,前者属于基本制度的范畴,后者属于体制机制的范畴。
就市场经济而言,它属于经济体制和运行机制的范畴,是发展生产、调节经济的手段和方法。虽然市场经济是资本主义的产物,但社会主义国家也可以搞,可以利用它为发展社会主义服务。而且在公有制占主体地位的前提下,实行同社会主义基本经济制度相结合的市场经济,不会改变我国社会主义经济制度的性质,相反有利于充分发挥市场配置资源的基础性作用,有利于搞活和繁荣城乡经济,促进社会生产力的发展。
法治也是如此。法治虽然具有阶级属性,但作为阶级统治和社会管理的方式、手段,它可以为不同的阶级服务。历史上资产阶级就十分注意吸收和利用封建统治者甚至奴隶制时代的法治经验。恩格斯曾指出:“在英国,革命以前的制度和革命以后的制度因袭相承,地主和资本家互相妥协,这表现在诉讼上仍然按前例行事,还虔诚地保留着一些封建的法律形式。在法国,革命同过去的传统完全决裂,扫清了封建制度的最后遗迹,并且在民法典中把古代罗马法……巧妙地运用于现代的资本主义条件”。(《马克思恩格斯选集》第3卷,人民出版社1995年版,第710页)
我们讲的社会主义是中国特色社会主义。什么是中国特色社会主义呢?党的十八大报告指出:“中国特色社会主义,既坚持了科学社会主义基本原则,又根据时代条件赋予其鲜明的中国特色,以全新的视野深化了对共产党执政规律、社会主义建设规律、人类社会发展规律的认识,从理论和实践结合上系统回答了在中国这样人口多底子薄的东方大国建设什么样的社会主义、怎样建设社会主义这个根本问题,使我们国家快速发展起来,使我国人民生活水平快速提高起来。”2013年1月5日,习近平总书记在新进中央委员会的委员、候补委员学习贯彻党的十八大精神研讨班上的讲话中进一步强调:“中国特色社会主义是社会主义而不是其他什么主义,科学社会主义基本原则不能丢,丢了就不是社会主义。”那么科学社会主义基本原则同宪政能否结合到一块呢?答案是否定的。1848年2月发表的《共产党宣言》集中阐明了科学社会主义的基本原则,在政治上强调,工人阶级组织成自己的政党——共产党,从资产阶级手里夺取政权,使自己成为统治阶级,建立无产阶级专政,等等。科学社会主义这样的原则无法同维护资产阶级专政的宪政相容相通。
1884年3月24日,恩格斯在致爱·伯恩施坦的信中说过这样一段话:“不应该忘记,资产阶级统治的彻底的形式正是民主共和国,虽然这种共和国由于无产阶级已经达到的发展水平而面临严重的危险,但是,像在法国和美国所表明的,它作为直接的资产阶级统治,总还是可能的。可见,自由主义的‘原则’作为‘一定的、历史地形成的’东西,实际上是一种不彻底的东西。自由主义的君主立宪政体是资产阶级统治的适当形式:(1)在初期,当资产阶级还没有和君主专制政体彻底决裂的时候;(2)在后期,当无产阶级已经使民主共和国面临严重的危险的时候。不过无论如何,民主共和国毕竟是资产阶级统治的最后形式:资产阶级统治将在这种形式下走向灭亡。”(《马克思恩格斯全集》第36卷,人民出版社1974年版,第131页)恩格斯的这段论述也表明,宪政同科学社会主义是格格不入的。恩格斯认为,尽管民主共和国是资产阶级政治统治的彻底形式,但这是资产阶级统治的最后形式,它必将为新的更先进阶级的阶级统治所取代,这就是无产阶级的政治统治,在国体上表现为无产阶级的民主共和国。
(作者:中国人民大学马克思主义学院副教授)

 

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