And this is the first article in the series. Updated to reflect corrected Russian names.
Starting from the late Nineties of the last century, following the official emergence of liberalism, the concept of constitutionalism also began to be widely adopted in China. In the constitutionalism debate of so many years, the opposition between Marxism and liberalist thinking trends has been by and large reveals.
Marxist scholars oppose the promotion of constitutionalism in China. They believe that constitutionalism has a market system with private ownership as basis, that constitutions aimed at ensuring that the bourgeoisie’s property rights are holy and inviolable, will have the paramount position, and that Socialist China must renounce constitutionalism. Liberalist scholars’ viewpoints are opposite, they believe that the Socialist system can only lead to “totalitarianism” or “dictatorship”, and only implementing “constitutionalism” can bring democracy and freedom; in order to implement free and democratic constitutionalism, China’s Socialist Constitution and Socialist system can only be overthrown.
Both theories are sharply opposed, but on this point, they have obtained a rare consensus: constitutionalism only belongs to capitalism, and Socialism is not compatible with it.
Apart from the two main viewpoints outlined above, there are a small number of scholars who put forward the viewpoint of “Socialist constitutionalism”. The absolute majority of scholars advocating “Socialist Constitutionalism”, in fact, still identify with liberalist thinking trends, it is only the case that they want to reach the goal of “capitalist constitutionalism” through peaceful evolution methods. Furthermore, there is a small number of scholars who advocate “Socialist constitutionalism” because they believe that our constitutionalism is Socialist constitutionalism, that it is a constitutionalism in which the people are the masters of their own affairs under the leadership of the Communist Party, and that it is totally unrelated to Western capitalism
It can be seen that among scholars who only advocate “constitutionalism” three different tendencies emerge: the left, the centre and the right. All of these constitutionalist arguments constitute an integral theoretical “trap”; because “capitalist constitutionalism” could not be received by the entire Party and the entire people for a long time, all sorts of “Socialist constitutionalism” theories successively emerged.
This sort of complex and elaborate theoretical “trap” not only arises around the issue of “constitutionalism”. For example, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the great play of neoliberal shock therapy was grandly performed in Russia, but in the process of dissolving the Soviet Union, those with a key role were Gorbachev, Yakovlev, Yeltsin and others, and in fact, from the beginning, they acted inside the Soviet republics under the face of democratic Socialists. If at that time, Gorbachev had directly emerged with his neoliberal face, it would have been very difficult for them to gain such power.
All of this, unfortunately, does not shape itself spontaneously. Looking from the point of view of the US’ implementation of information, public opinion and psychological warfare, in order to infiltrate and subvert Socialist countries, only relying on those ultra right-wing literati or “Party leavers” and other such turncoats from Communism, propagating undisguised capitalism will unfortunately run counter to their objective. Consequently, “socialist constitutionalism” “democratic socialism” and all other infiltration routes of every shade and description have been opened up.
As early as the cold war era, US intelligence agencies gradually came to understand that “democratic Socialism is the most effective fortress resisting totalitarianism”, this sort of person was much more useful than those Communist turncoats. The US Government’s wise advisors, Arthur Schlesinger, Isaiah Berlin, George Kennan and other such people all held this sort of opinion. The strategy to put such persons in important positions became “the theoretical basis of the CIA’s anti-Communist political action”. According to this sort of strategy, isn’t “Socialist constitutionalism” a devious and most effective weapon to subvert “the people’s democratic dictatorship?”
Starting from the middle of the 80s of last century, in order to effectively serve the globalization of US capital, US intelligence agencies began to export their specific ideology abroad under the name of civil organizations, which realized the globalization of US liberalist economics and legal scholarship. A relatively typical case is that starting from 1987, the Ford Foundation funded global comparative constitutional research, with its main objective being the promotion of constitutionalization on a global scale.
At that time, a number of famous Soviet law scholars became Gorbachev’s trusted advisors and participated in this process, among those, there were Veniamin Yevgenjevich Chirkin, Vladimir Entin, Boris Nikolayevic Topornin, etc., The above Soviet law scholars had an important function in promoting the process of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
At that time, Gorbachev, Yeltsin and others with constitutionalist theory as a weapon, abolished the Socialist factors in the Soviet Constitution, cancelled the governing position of the CPSU, and in the end, the Soviet Union collapsed. The strong Soviet Union once overwhelmed the US militarily, but still, starting in the 80s, it crumbled under the attack of the two information and psychological warfare weapons of “democratic Socialism” and “constitutionalism”. China’s constitutionalist thinking trend also emerged and expanded through funding from all sorts of foundations fostered by US intelligence agencies (such as the Ford Foundation-funded “Modern Global Comparative Constitutionalist History Research”). Here, we cannot let people not be vigilant.
(The author is a Senior Research Fellow at the Haiyang Security and Cooperation Research Institute, and an Invited Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Global Socialism Research Centre)