This editorial was originally published in Seeking Truth on 1 October, China’s National Day.
In his important speech at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that: “propaganda and ideology work means that we must consolidate the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area and consolidate the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the people in the entire country”. Under new circumstances, the environment, targets, scope and methods of propaganda and ideology work have all seen great changes, but the basic task of the “two consolidations” has not changed in any way, and should not change either. This article discusses a few viewpoints on consolidating the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area.
I, The more diversified social ideologies and ideas become, the more we must persist in and consolidate the guiding position of Marxism
The birth of Marxism was the most majestic sunrise in the history of human thinking, it illuminated people’s path to explore the universal laws of the natural world, human society and the development of human thought, and triggered huge changes in human societies. The victory of the Chinese Revolution and the achievements of Socialist construction and reform have been obtained by the Chinese Communist Party leading the people of all ethnicities in China in persisting in truth, rectifying mistakes and vanquishing many difficulties and obstacles under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. The history of united struggle of the Party and the people under the guidance of Marxism has been entered into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
Any country and society has an ideology that occupies a dominant position, the guiding thought in the ideological area is always monist, it cannot be pluralist. A country’s political and legal system, its regime structure, etc., are all established under the guidance of the ideology occupying the dominant position. In our country, the ideology that holds the dominant position is Marxism. The Marxism mentioned here, is a general designation for Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics that includes Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents” thought and the Scientific Development View. Marxism is the banner and soul of Socialist ideology and the fundamental guiding ideology on which we founded the Party and the Country.
In the historical process of reform and opening up, our country’s social and economic sectors, employment methods, distribution methods and interest relationships are diversifying on a daily basis, the independence, selectivity, variability and divergence of people’s ideological activities are incessantly strengthening, people’s ideological concepts are also displaying trends towards diversification. On the one hand, Marxism incessantly developed through innovation, and formed systematized Socialist ideological concepts such as the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Socialist core value system, in the area of social ideology, it has had a guiding and leading effect; on the other hand, the social ideological sphere is still beset with anti-Marxist and non-Marxist thinking trends, consolidating the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area faces various kinds of challenges.
Looking from history and reality, anti-Marxist thinking trends mainly come in two areas: the first fundamentally deny the scientific nature of Marxism, oppose Marxism’s political standpoints, ideological structures and basic principles, and oppose the guiding position and function of Marxism. In reality, some people propagate the theories that Marxism is “out of date” or “useless”; some people say that Western institutional models are “universal values” and advocate using “universal values” to supersede the guiding position of Marxism. Their essence and crucial point is that they advocate wholesale Westernization, and advocate that Western capitalist institutional models supersede the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the institutions of Socialism which Chinese characteristics. The second treat Marxism with a dogmatic approach, and wave Marxist banners to oppose the substance of Marxism, they fundamentally deny our country’s reform and opening up and deny Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Reality demonstrates that considering Marxism to be an ossified dogma, and criticizing the vivid historical creation and activity of the Party and the people with books and dogmas not only does not conform to Marxism, but it is a great enemy of Marxism and a great enemy of the undertaking of the Party and the people.
In thinking circles at present, there are also large amounts of non-Marxist thinking trends and theories. Domestically ideological and theoretical areas and schools emerge one after another, and hot spots frequently appear; internationally, thinking trends of every shade and description are enlivened in economics, politics, culture, environmental protection and other such areas, and the influence of religion on the global scale remains profound and deep. We cannot attribute all things that do not conform to or even violate Marxism to anti-Marxism, that way, there would only be enemies on all sides, and we would isolate ourselves. A Marxist development history is a development following the time, practice and science, it absorbs all civilized achievements created by humankind, and a history that is incessantly enriched, perfected and innovated through mutual agitation and struggle with all sorts of ideologies and theories. We must struggle against anti-Marxist things; against non-Marxist ideologies, we must struggle, but must also respect them, be inclusive, learn from them and absorb them. We must respect differences and tolerate diversity, and powerfully resist the influence of all sorts of mistaken and degenerate ideologies; this is the due principle in the issue of persisting in and developing Marxism and consolidating the guiding position of Marxism.
The more social ideological viewpoints diversify, the more thinking trends emerge in the ideological area, the more we must persist in and consolidate the guiding position of Marxism. If we waver in the guiding position of Marxism, we will waver in the theoretical basis of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and waver in the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the people in the entire country. Only by persisting in the guiding position of Marxism is it possible to effectively lead and integrate social thinking trends, broaden social identification while respecting differences, shape ideological consensus while tolerating diversity, and concentrate magnificent forces to build the country.
II, Marxist belief is the lifeblood and spirit of Communist Party members.
Marxism is the unity of a worldview and value system. As a worldview, it is a rigorous science, and is a scientific reflection of the objective world, objective reality and objective laws; as a value system, it represents the basic interest of the working class and the labouring people, it reflects the pursuit of common prosperity, fairness and justice for the working class and the labouring people. Marxism represents the ideals and convictions of every progressive person concerning the ideology of eliminating all unjust social institutions, and realizing the liberation of all of humanity and people’s freedom and complete development.
From its day of birth, the Chinese Communist Party has written Marxism on its banner, and has made realizing Marxism into its highest ideal. If we deviate from the belief in Marxism and deviate from the ideal of Communism, our Party cannot be considered as a Communist Party. A belief in Marxism and Communism is the lifeblood and spirit of Communist Party members. Consolidating the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area requires first and foremost that Party members and cadres have firms ideals and convictions, and take the lead in using Marxist and Communist ideals and morals to guide their own words and deeds.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has said repeatedly that ideals and convictions are the spiritual “Calcium” of Communist Party members, without ideals and convictions, or if ideals and convictions are not firm, there may be a spiritual “Calcium deficiency”, which may result in “rickets”, and may lead to political deterioration, economic greed, moral degeneration and lifestyle corruption. A firm belief is the decisive factor for Party members and cadres to stand firm on their political stances and resist all sorts of temptations. “Revolutionary ideals are higher than heaven”, this sentence vividly reflects the huge inspiration and encouraging effect of noble beliefs on our Communist Party members.
There is no need for reticence, a lack of belief among our Party members and cadres is a problem that must attract high attention. Among some people, Marxism has become the target of criticism and mockery, some people even make this into a “fashion”; some are spiritually hollow, and think that Communism is a purely imaginary fantasy, “they do not pay attention to the common people but to spirits and ghosts”, they are fond of fortune-telling or physiognomy, they pray to Buddha for help, they have a superstitious belief in “qigong masters”, corrupt officials who are investigated and prosecuted are mostly superstitious; some waver in their belief, have their family emigrate abroad, store their money abroad, to “leave a way out” for themselves, so they are prepared to “jump ship” at any time; some are enslaved by material things, they venerate the supremacy of wealth, fame and pleasure, they do not have any reverence in their hearts or any bottom line in their acts.
Comrade Deng Xiaoping experienced many vicissitudes of life and had a strong belief, he established a sublime model for us. In the face of constantly changing international events, and in the face of the grave setbacks suffered by the global Socialist undertaking, he dispelled the clouds and the fog, and foresightedly pointed out that consolidating and developing the Socialist system requires a very long historical stage, it requires that some generations, a dozen of generation or even dozens of generations unwaveringly strive and struggle, the path is tortuous; at the same time he said that he believed that the people who approved of Marxism globally would increase in number, because Marxism is science, some countries have seen grave complications, Socialism seemed to be crippled, but people were toughened, and lessons were learned from this, which will stimulate Socialism to develop in a healthier direction, after Socialism has undergone a long process of development, it will certainly replace capitalism, this is the general trend of social and historical development.
Lei Feng, Jiao Yulu, Yang Shanzhou and others are also lively models, they struggled for the Party and the people all their lives, without noble belief and firm belief, this would be unachievable. Their deeds indicate that noble belief and firm belief is not unattainable.
Noble belief and firm belief cannot emerge spontaneously. To train “an indestructible body of gold and steel”, Marxist theory must be used to arm minds, incessantly fostering a spiritual garden characteristic to our Communist Party members. But among some Party members and cadres, the atmosphere for study is not thick enough, few people earnestly read books or newspapers, study theory or scrutinize policy, many people are busy with vulgar intercourse and entertainment. Some people have an impetuous psychology, they are eager for quick success and instant benefit, they spend too little time and energy on study and reflection, when they read newspapers, they only read titles, when they go online, they only look for hot spots, when they read books or articles, they read ten lines in one go, they are hasty and cursory, this is called “fast food-type” reading. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said: “if no attention is paid to study, and everyone is busy with general affairs, ideology is easily debased. If we discuss deterioration, ideological debasement is a dangerous starting point”. Therefore, the issue of paying no attention to study or not being interested in study, or being busy with general affairs and not studying, the issues of hasty and cursory study, superficial study and study without reflection are absolutely no small issues, but they are big issues relating to the ideals and convictions of Party members and cadre teams, and must be earnestly researched and resolved.
Now, our leading cadres have all received higher education, they all have the ability to study and understand the basic principles of Marxism. But some comrades are not interested in studying and researching Marxism, what they are interested in is Western academic theory, they believe that only Western things are modern and fashionable, on the contrary, in recent years, a “Marxism craze” has sprung up in Western countries. Leading cadres and especially middle and higher-level cadres must master the basic theories of historical materialism and dialectical materialism, they must make a systematic grasp of basic Marxist theory into their special skill, otherwise, they will not be fit for purpose.
Our Party is the national governing party, Party members and cadres’ display in terms of ideals and convictions has a large influence on the whole of society. The comrades in the entire Party must strengthen theoretical study, persist in integrating theory and reality, persist in the unity of study and reflection and the integration of study and application, change dead and other persons’ things from books into living things of their own, use them for our purpose, study for the purpose of application, use this to transform the objective world and the subjective work, and achieve that they are devout and persevering, trustworthy and profound. We must, with the exemplary and driving effect of the entire Party, deeply launch propaganda and education on Socialism with Chinese characteristics across the whole of society, unite and concentrate the people of all ethnicities in the entire country around the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and incessantly seize new victories for Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
III, Struggle earnestly and sincerely to realize the Party’s basic programme for the present stage.
We stress that Party members and cadres must have a firm belief in Marxism and Communism, but this is not to say that they must loudly shout Communist slogans every day, or to engage in “leaping towards Communism” and similar stuff. Our Party has already clearly pointed out earlier that Communism can only be realized by fully developing the present Socialist society and on a highly developed basis. We must earnestly and sincerely strive without tiring to realize the Party’s basic programme for the present stage, reliably do all work well, and obtain excellent results in our stage of the “relay race”.
To persist in and develop Marxism, we must absolutely put the real issues of our country’s reform, opening up and modernization construction, and the things we are currently doing at the centre, we must fix eyes upon the application of Marxist theory, fix eyes upon theoretical reflection about real issues, and fix eyes upon new practices and new developments. Only by using developing Marxism to guide new practice, will it be possible to truly consolidate the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area.
The struggle to realize the basic the Party’s basic programme for the current stage, in the end, means persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the dialectical unity of the logic of scientific Socialist theory and the logic of China’s social development history, it is a scientific Socialism rooted in Chinese soil, reflects the wishes of the Chinese people and is suited to the development and progress needs of China and the times, and it is the necessary path to comprehensively construct a moderately prosperous society, accelerate the move toward Socialist modernization and realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
We are currently conducting a great struggle that has many new historical characteristics, we must absolutely persist in Marxism’s development viewpoints, persist in practice being the sole criterion to test truth, and give rein to the initiative and creativity of history, soberly understand the changes and continuities in global circumstances, national circumstances and Party circumstances, we must forever have a spirit of breaking roads through mountains and bridges across rivers, move forward tenaciously, explore boldly, incessantly discover, create and progress, incessantly move theoretical innovation, practical innovation and systemic innovation forward.
Following the incessant development of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and the fact that our institutions will become increasingly mature, our country’s Socialist system’s superiority will inevitably become further clear, and our path will inevitably become increasingly broad as we march along it. We must have such self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about theory and self-confidence about the system, to truly ensure that “we remain resolute after thousand troubles and ten thousand attacks, from whichever direction the wind may come”. As long as we cherish our ideals, have firm beliefs, do not waver, do not slacken and do not waste, struggle tenaciously, struggle valiantly and struggle unwaveringly, we will absolutely be able to comprehensively construct a moderately prosperous society by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, and will absolutely be able to construct a strong, wealthy, democratic, civilized and harmonious Socialist modern country by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the New China!