“Constitutionalism” Essentially Is a Weapon of Public Opinion War

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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)

从上世纪90年代后半期开始,随着自由主义正式浮出水面,宪政理念也开始在中国大行其道。在持续多年的宪政争论中,大体上展示了马克思主义与自由主义思潮的对立。

马克思主义学者反对在中国推行宪政,他们认为,宪政以私有制的市场经济为基础,旨在使保障资产阶级财产权神圣不可侵犯的宪法拥有至高无上的地位,社会主义中国要拒绝宪政。自由主义学者的立场则相反,他们认定社会主义制度只能导致“极权”、“专制”,而唯有实行“宪政”,才有民主和自由;为了实行自由、民主的宪政,只能颠覆中国的社会主义宪法和社会主义制度。

两种理论尖锐对立,但在这一点上却取得了难得的共识:宪政只属于资本主义,和社会主义无法兼容。

上述两种主要的观点之外,有少数学者提出了“社会主义宪政”的主张。绝大多数主张“社会主义宪政”的学者,其实认同的还是自由主义思潮,只不过要通过和平演变的方式最终达到“资本主义宪政”的目的。另外还有少数主张“社会主义宪政”的学者,他们认为,我们的宪政是社会主义宪政,是在共产党领导下人民当家做主的宪政,与西方资本主义的那一套毫不相干。

可见,单单主张“宪政”的学者中,就呈现出右、中、左三种不同的倾向。所有这些宪政论述,构成了一个完整的理论“陷阱”:由于“资本主义宪政”一时难以被全党全民接受,于是各类“社会主义宪政”理论纷纷出现。

这种复杂而精妙的理论“陷阱”,不仅仅出现在“宪政”问题上。例如,苏联解体后,新自由主义休克疗法的大戏在俄罗斯隆重登台,但是在瓦解苏联过程中发挥关键作用的戈尔巴乔夫、雅科夫列夫、叶利钦等人,却是一开始以民主社会主义者的面目在苏共内部活动的。假如当年戈尔巴乔夫们直接以新自由主义者的面目出现,他们很难获得那样大的权力。

这一切恐怕不仅仅是自发形成的。站在美国实施信息舆论心理战的角度看,为了渗透并颠覆社会主义国家,仅仅依靠那些极右翼的文人或“脱党分子”等共产主义叛徒,宣传赤裸裸的资本主义,恐怕会适得其反。于是,“社会主义宪政”、“民主社会主义”等形形色色的渗透路径就被开发出来了。

早在冷战初期,美国情报机构就逐渐认识到,“民主的社会主义是抵御极权主义的最有效的堡垒”,这类人比那些共产党叛徒们更有用。美国政府智囊如亚瑟·施莱辛格、艾赛亚·柏林、乔治·凯南等人都持类似观点。重用此类人物的战略成为了“中央情报局反共政治行动的理论基础”。按照此类战略,“社会主义宪政”不正是颠覆“人民民主专政”最有效的武器吗?

自上世纪80年代中期开始,为了有效地服务于美国资本的全球化,美国情报机构以民间组织的名义开始大规模对外输出其特定的意识形态,即实现美国自由主义经济学和法学的全球化。比较典型的案例就是从1987年开始、由福特基金会资助的全球性比较宪政研究,其主要意图就是推动全球范围的宪政化进程。

当时苏联的一些著名法学家兼戈尔巴乔夫智囊积极参与了这个进程,其中有韦尼阿明·叶夫格尼耶维奇·奇尔金、弗拉基米尔·恩廷、鲍里斯·尼古拉耶维奇·托波尔宁,等等。上述苏联法学家在推动苏联解体过程中都发挥了重要作用。

当年的戈尔巴乔夫、叶利钦等人,就是以宪政理论为武器,废除苏联宪法中的社会主义因素,取消了苏共的执政地位,并最终瓦解了苏联。强大的苏联曾经一度在军事上压倒美国,然而从80年代开始,却在“民主社会主义”与“宪政”这两大信息心理战武器的攻击下土崩瓦解。中国的宪政思潮,也是在美国情报机构扶植的各种基金会的资助下产生并发展壮大的(例如福特基金会资助的“当代世界比较宪政史研究”)。这不能不让人警醒。

(作者为海洋安全与合作研究院高级研究员、中国社会科学院世界社会主义研究中心特邀研究员)

4 thoughts on ““Constitutionalism” Essentially Is a Weapon of Public Opinion War

    […] “Constitutionalism” Essentially Is a Weapon of Public Opinion War: China Copyright and Media […]

    Lee Marshall said:
    August 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Socialism is incompatible with Chinese culture. That’s the bottom line and to see the author try to push a square peg into a round hole is pathetic. The growing number of Chinese millionaires and billionaires, the greed they show when they establish themselves in other countries in grotesque displays of materialism is all proof how this author is just spitting into the wind as he counts angels dancing on the head of a pin. “Socialism” is used in China to justify protecting a small group of oligarchs who turn everytign they touch into gold…for themselves.

      Jose Maria Rodriguez Gomez said:
      August 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Socialism is not only compatible with Chinese culture, socialism was and is Their salvation. The UK-USA can not give lessons of “democracy” to China, Because They are you and the Japanese who drugged and enslaved the Chinese people and today is Committing massacres imperialist wars.

      Democracy in China can only be socialist. The “Democracy” of you capitalists and their mercenaries, only has hurt China .

    […] attacks on constitutionalism (one likening it to “trying to catch fish in the trees”). The first of these editorials baldly declared: “Constitutionalism only belongs to capitalism, and it is not compatible with […]

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