Li Jie: The Successes of Mao Zedong in Exploring the Path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics May Not Be Written Off.

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Originally published on 16 September

[Core Summary] The Chinese Communist Party members with Mao Zedong as representative have explored the path of constructing Chinese Socialism, this is an important and inseparable component part of the scientific structure of Mao Zedong Thought, it is the continuation and development of the first historical leap of the Sinification in Marxism after the foundation of the New China, and is an ideological driver and source of wisdom for the Chinese Communist Party to incessantly conduct theoretical innovation in a new era of reform, opening up and modernization construction.

After Mao Zedong passed away, ‘de-Maoization’ thinking trends emerged now and then, which mainly manifested themselves in three ways. First, there was wilfully describing the mistakes that Mao made in the process of exploration as “evil crimes”. For example, because the major policy mistakes of the “Great Leap Forward” and the People’s Commune movement resulted in grave difficulties and the situation of famine occurred, it is described as an intentional act “treating human life as if worth less than straw”. Second, there was the Western “power struggle” theory which distorted and oversimplified the Party’s history, the Yan’an Rectification, the Gaorao incident and even the mistaken criticism of Peng Dehuai at the Lushan Conference, the case of injustice against Liu Shaoqi during the “Cultural Revolution”, etc., are all said to be part of an intra-Party struggle by Mao Zedong for the sake of “individual power”. Third, there was the wilful obliteration of the achievements of the Socialist revolution and construction obtained under the leadership of Mao Zedong, it described the new China under the leadership of Mao Zedong as completely black, and devoid of any merit.

Against this background of ‘de-Maoization’ thinking trends, in fact, it is the thinking trend of historical nihilism that has been in vogue for the law few years that is haunting us. Historical nihilism thinking trends fly the manner of “rethinking history”, they especially collect the history of mistakes made by our Party to make a big fuss. Under their pens, the main themes and strands of recent Chinese historical developments disappear, and are replaced by a period of so-called “retrograde development history” in which the present isn’t as good as the past and even not as good as again becoming a colony of Western powers; the image of Mao Zedong as a most magnificent national hero and leader of the people in recent Chinese history disappears, and is superseded by a “feudal autocratic despot” who is seemingly even more ruthless than the Qin Emperor. This, it can be seen that what they want to vitiate is the spine and spirit of the Chinese nation, and are the prides and hopes of the Chinese nation.

The Qing Dynasty thinker Gong Zizhen said it well: “If you wish to know the Great Way, you must first know history”. Conversely, “to annihilate a country of men you must first remove its history”. Thus it can be understood that ‘de-Maoization’ absolutely is not a question of history, but a question of a historical view. A historical view is the concrete reflection of the value concept of a nation, an era and a country. It involves the basic issue of national ideological construction, and is a fundamental issue in constructing the Socialist core value system. Which kind of historical view there is, such kind of value view there is as well. Speaking ill of historical persons, historical phenomena and historical events directly influence the value judgment about related present people, phenomena and events. We must absolutely fully understand, from the height of constructing the Socialist core value system, the importance of establishing a Marxist historical view and conduct corresponding education among the people.

In order to achieve the objective of ‘de-Maoization’, some people also go after his image, they cut it apart from history, and concoct the slogan “Mao Zedong has not contributed in the slightest to Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, this is clearly contrary to historical fact. China has progressively explored and marched its own path of Socialist contribution, and this was begun by the Chinese Communist Party with Mao Zedong as representative. When discussing the starting point of the exploration of a Chinese path of Socialist construction, people naturally may think of 1956. In fact, before then, that exploration had already begun. Its results are concretely reflected in the first Constitution of the republic in 1954, and are reflected in the Socialist institutional structure that was established through the Three Great Socialist Transformations

For example, in the political system, the most important is the People’s Congress system. The 1954 Constitution clearly provides that: “the People’s Republic of China is a people’s democratic country led by the working class and with the union between workers and peasants as a basis.” “All power within the People’s Republic of China belongs to the people. The organs in which the people exercise power is the National People’s Congress and all local levels’ People’s Congresses.” This not only clarified the nature of the republic, but also established the People’s Congress system that was different from the Soviet Union Soviet Congress system in fundamental institutional terms. Furthermore, there is the multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the Consultative Conference system. As early as 1949, the “Common Programme” it formulated provided that: “Representatives of the Chinese Communist Party, all democratic parties, all people’s organizations, all localities, the People’s Liberation Army, all ethnicities, all overseas Chinese and other patriotic and democratic elements compose the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which is the organizational form of the people’s democratic united front.” In this way, the multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the Consultative Conference system were born together with the new China, and continued as China entered into a Socialist society, becoming a basic system that has continued for a long time. Furthermore, there is the ethnic autonomous region system. The 1954 Constitution provides that: “The People’s Republic of China is a unified, multi-ethnic country.” “Regional autonomy is implemented in all localities inhabited by ethnic minorities. All ethnic autonomous localities are inseparable parts of the People’s Republic of China.” This established the ethnic autonomous region system which is fundamentally different from the Soviet Union federal system.

All of the above are political structures which have unique characteristics and are rich in innovation compared with the Soviet Union and various other Socialist countries at that time, they are the institutional crystallization of China’s new democratic revolution and the result of the Socialist revolution.

The exploration of the path to construct Socialism in China by the Chinese Communist Party with Mao Zedong as representative is an inseparable and important component part of the scientific structure of Mao Zedong Thought, is an inheritance and development of the first historical leap of the Sinification of Marxism after the establishment of the new China, it is an ideological driver and source of wisdom for incessant theoretical innovation by the Chinese Communist Party during a new era of reform, opening up and modernization construction. As Hu Jintao pointed out in the 17th Party Congress Report: “We must forever remember that the magnificent undertaking of reform and opening up is conducted on the basis of Mao Zedong thought, which was collectively established by the first generation Party leadership with Comrade Mao Zedong at the core, which lead the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in establishing the New China, and has obtained magnificent achievements in the Socialist revolution and construction as well as precious experience through the hardships of exploring the laws of Socialist construction.

At the same time, we must also consider that, just as with all great thinkers, Mao Zedong’s arduous exploration of the path of Chinese Socialist construction was limited by the times and history. This is mainly reflected in two aspects: first, even though he put forward the historical task that we must explore our own Socialist development path, reflecting a high level of consciousness in theoretical innovation, and began to have its own characteristics in many aspects, in economic structural terms, he was unable to break through the restrictions of traditional Socialism, and those structures having Chinese characteristics could either not be continuously perfected or could not be sustained very well because of incessant “leftist” attacks. Second, after the second half of 1957, the mistaken tendency of the expansion of class struggle began to develop, the 8th Party Congress’ correct judgment on the main domestic social contradictions was fundamentally overthrown, and this was experienced several times, and in the end, after the 10th Plenum of the 8th Party Congress in September 1962, the Party’s guiding ideology of “taking class struggle as the key link occupied the guiding position, which finally resulted in the start of the “Cultural Revolution”, and evolved into “internal chaos started by leaders’ blunders, used by counterrevolutionary factions, and bringing grave disaster to the Party, the country and the people of all ethnicities.” Essentially realizing that Chinaese Socialism made the great historical shift from a highly concentrated planned economic structure into a Socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from “taking class struggle as the key link” into putting economic construction at the centre, is historically placed on the shoulders of the Chinese Communist Party members with Deng Xiaoping as representative, and thus a new era of reform, opening up and modernization construction began from there, which initiated the second historical leap of the Sinification of Marxism.

(The author is a vice-head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the head of the Modern China Research Department)

 

李捷:毛泽东探索中国特色社会主义道路的成绩不容抹杀
【核心提示】以毛泽东为代表的中国共产党人对中国社会主义建设道路的探索,是毛泽东思想科学体系不可分割的重要组成部分,是马克思主义中国化第一次历史性飞跃在新中国成立后的继续和发展,是中国共产党在改革开放和现代化建设新时期不断进行理论创新的思想动力和智慧源泉。

自毛泽东逝世后,“非毛化”思潮时有泛起,主要表现在三个方面。一是有意把毛泽东在探索过程中犯的错误说成是“罪恶”。例如,把因“大跃进”和人民公社化运动的重大决策错误所造成的严重困难,甚至出现了饿死人的情况,描述成“草菅人命”的故意所为。二是用西方的“权力斗争”说来歪曲和图解党的历史,把延安整风、高饶事件,乃至庐山会议错批彭德怀、“文化大革命”造成刘少奇冤案等等,统统被说成是毛泽东为了“个人权力”而搞的党内斗争。三是有意抹杀毛泽东领导下取得的社会主义革命和建设成就,把毛泽东领导下的新中国说得一团漆黑、一无是处。

在这种“非毛化”思潮的背后,实际上是近年来盛行的历史虚无主义思潮在作祟。历史虚无主义思潮,打着“反思历史”的旗号,专门捡我们党犯错误的历史来大做文章。在他们的笔下,中国近现代历史发展的主题和主线没有了,取而代之的是一段比欧洲中世纪还要黑暗的所谓“血淋淋的历史”;中国近现代历史上发生的历史性巨变没有了,取而代之的是一段今不如昔甚至还不如重做西方列强殖民地的所谓“倒退发展史”;中国近现代历史上毛泽东作为最伟大的民族英雄和人民领袖的形象没有了,取而代之的是一位似乎比秦始皇还要残暴的“封建专制暴君”。由此可见,他们所要虚无掉的正是中华民族的脊梁与精神,正是中华民族的骄傲与希望。

清代思想家龚自珍说得好:“欲知大道,必先为史。”反之,“灭人之国,必先去其史”。由此可知,“非毛化”绝不仅仅是个历史问题,而是个历史观的问题。历史观是一个民族、一个时代、一个国家价值观念的集中体现。它所涉及的是国家意识形态建设的根本问题,是社会主义核心价值体系建设的根本问题。有什么样的历史观,就会有什么样的价值观。对历史人物、历史现象、历史事件的褒贬,直接影响到对当今相关人物、现象和事件的价值判断。一定要从社会主义核心价值体系建设的高度,充分认识树立马克思主义的历史观并对国民进行相关教育的极端重要性。

为了达到“非毛化”的目的,有人还从表象入手,割裂历史,炮制“毛泽东对中国特色社会主义建设毫无贡献”的说法,这显然有悖于历史事实。中国逐步探索走自己的社会主义建设道路,是从以毛泽东为代表的中国共产党人开始的。说起探索中国社会主义建设道路的起点,人们很自然地会想到1956年。其实在此之前,这种探索就已经开始了。其成果具体地体现在1954年共和国第一部宪法里,体现在通过社会主义三大改造所确立起来的社会主义制度体系里。

例如,在政治制度上,最重要的是人民代表大会制度。1954年宪法明确规定:“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国家。”“中华人民共和国的一切权力属于人民。人民行使权力的机关是全国人民代表大会和地方各级人民代表大会。”这不仅明确了共和国的性质,而且从根本制度上把有别于苏联苏维埃大会制度的人民代表大会制度确立起来了。再有中国共产党领导下的多党合作和政治协商制度。早在1949年制定的《共同纲领》规定:“由中国共产党、各民主党派、各人民团体、各地区、人民解放军、各少数民族、国外华侨及其他爱国民主分子的代表们所组成的中国人民政治协商会议,就是人民民主统一战线的组织形式。”这样,中国共产党领导下的多党合作和政治协商制度就和新中国一起诞生,并在中国进入社会主义社会后延续下来,成为长期坚持的基本制度。还有民族区域自治制度。1954年宪法规定:“中华人民共和国是统一的多民族的国家。”“各少数民族聚居的地方实行区域自治。各民族自治地方都是中华人民共和国不可分离的部分。”这就把有别于苏联联邦制的民族区域自治制度从根本上确立起来。

以上这些,都是同当时苏联等社会主义各国相比独具特色、富有创造性的政治制度,是中国新民主主义革命和社会主义革命成果的制度结晶。

以毛泽东为代表的中国共产党人对中国社会主义建设道路的探索,是毛泽东思想科学体系不可分割的重要组成部分,是马克思主义中国化第一次历史性飞跃在新中国成立后的继续和发展,是中国共产党在改革开放和现代化建设新时期不断进行理论创新的思想动力和智慧源泉。正如胡锦涛在党的十七大报告中所指出:“我们要永远铭记,改革开放伟大事业,是在以毛泽东同志为核心的党的第一代中央领导集体创立毛泽东思想,带领全党全国各族人民建立新中国、取得社会主义革命和建设伟大成就以及艰辛探索社会主义建设规律取得宝贵经验的基础上进行的。”

同时,我们也要看到,同所有伟大的思想家一样,毛泽东对中国社会主义建设道路的艰辛探索,也具有时代的和历史的局限性。这主要表现在两个方面:其一,尽管提出了要探索自己的社会主义发展道路的历史任务,体现了理论创新上的高度自觉,并且在许多方面开始具有自己的特点,但从经济体制上说未能突破传统社会主义的制约,而那些具有中国特点的制度也因为不断受到“左”的冲击,或者未能继续完善,或者未能很好坚持。其二,在1957年下半年以后,阶级斗争扩大化的错误倾向开始发展,中共八大对国内社会主要矛盾的正确判断被根本动摇,此后几经反复,终于在1962年9月中共八届十中全会以后,使“以阶级斗争为纲”在党的指导思想上占据了主导地位,最终导致了“文化大革命”的发动,演变成为“由领导者错误发动,被反革命集团利用,给党、国家和各族人民带来严重灾难的内乱”。根本实现使中国的社会主义发展从高度集中的计划经济体制到充满活力的社会主义市场经济体制、从“以阶级斗争为纲”到以经济建设为中心的伟大历史转折,就历史地落在了以邓小平为代表的中国共产党人肩上,由此开创了改革开放和现代化建设的新时期,也开启了马克思主义中国化的第二次历史性飞跃。

(作者系中国社会科学院副院长、当代中国研究所所长)

One thought on “Li Jie: The Successes of Mao Zedong in Exploring the Path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics May Not Be Written Off.

    […] This article by Zhu Jidong was first published on 24 September in Red Flag Manuscripts. While it focuses solely on the USSR, it contains many barely-veiled references to present-day China and the lessons it should draw from the Soviet collapse. For example, it points to the fossilization of Soviet propaganda, which resulted in wooden language and laboured official-speak. There have been repeated warnings against ideological fossilization in China, amongst others in this Liu Yunshan speech and the 2011 Central Committee Decision on Culture. The need to keep propaganda tools lively and interesting has also been one of the political drivers behind the emphasis on reform and growth in the cultural industries. Zhu also refers to the Westernization of propaganda officials and the increasing pressure towards peaceful evolution by Western countries. In particular, he refers to Alexander Yakovlev as the puppeteer behind the scenes, who orchestrated the liberalization of Party media, and to Gorbachev’s decision to stop jamming foreign broadcasts as one of the key moments in which the CPSU lost control and started crumbling. The implied lessons for China are clear: keep a close eye on the foreign-related activities of officials (Zhu finely observes that Yakovlev had studies in the US), and ensure that foreign media voices gain no foothold in the domestic public opinion sphere. Lastly, Zhu notes that media liberalization led to a slander campaign of revisionist history against Marxism-Leninism and Socialism, in which all the CPSU’s achievements were denied and its leaders smeared as criminals. Apparently, there is a growing concern that such tendencies may strengthen in China as well, as evidenced by Xi Jinping’s statements on Mao as well as recent articles in Party media. […]

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