This speech by Xi Jinping was originally published by Xinhua on 3 December
The CCP Central Committee Politburo conducted the 11th collective study session on the basic theories and methodologies of historical materialism in the afternoon of 3 December. When he chaired the study session, CCP Central Committee General Secretary, Xi Jinping, stressed that promoting the entire Party’s study of the basic theories and methodologies of historical materialism, would lead to a better understanding of national circumstances, a better understanding of the larger development trends of the undertaking of the Party and the State, a better understanding of the laws of historical development, and greater ability to dynamically move work in all areas forward.
Professor Guo Zhan from the Renmin University of China and Professor Han Qingxiang from the Central Party School lectured on this issue, and discussed their opinions and suggestions.
All comrades from the CCP Central Committee Politburo heard their lectures, and engaged in discussion on these issues.
Xi Jinping made a speech as chair of the study session. He put forward that Marxist philosophy profoundly revealed the objective world and especially the universal development laws of human societies, which still have a strong vitality in the present day, and are still a strong ideological weapon guiding our Communist Party members to advance. Our Party has given high regard to ideological Party building since its foundation, and one extremely important matter is that it persisted in using Marxist philosophy to educate and arm the entire Party. Studying philosophy and using philosophy is a good tradition of our Party.
Xi Jinping stressed that in all historical periods, revolution, construction and reform, our Party has used historical materialism to systematically, concretely and historically analyse the movements of China’s society and its development laws, it has incessantly grasped laws and vigorously used laws in the process of understanding the world and transforming the world, and has gained one victory after another in promoting the undertaking of the Party and the people. History and reality both demonstrate that only by persisting in historical materialism will we be able to incessantly raise the understanding of the laws of Socialism with Chinese characteristics to new levels, and incessantly open up new frontiers for the development of contemporary Chinese Marxism.
Xi Jinping pointed out that social existence determines social consciousness. the theory, line, principles and policies that our Party put forward and implemented in the present stage are correct because they have all been based on social existence in the current era of our country. The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress put forward a general deployment to comprehensively deepen reform in our country, it started from our country’s current social existence, it has both started from the sum of our country’s current social and material conditions, and has started from our country’s basic national conditions and development requirements.
Xi Jinping stressed that we must study and grasp analytical methods to grasp fundamental social contradictions, and deeply understand the importance and urgency of comprehensively deepening reform. Only by observing the contradictory movements of productive forces and relationships of productions in integration with the contradictions of the economic basis and the superstructure, and by observing fundamental social contradictions as one integral whole, can we comprehensively grasp the basic features and development tendencies of the entire society. To persist in and develop Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must incessantly adapt to the development of social product forces in reshaping relationships of production, and incessantly respond to developments in the economic base to perfect the superstructure. When we put forward a comprehensive deepening of reform, this is because it is necessary to respond to the changes and movements of our country’s fundamental social characteristics in moving social development forward. Fundamental social contradictions always develop incessantly, therefore, adjusting relationships of production and perfecting the superstructure requires corresponding incessant efforts. Reform and opening up only have a progressive tense, they do not have a perfect tense, this is the attitude of historical materialism.
Xi Jinping pointed out that it is necessary to study and grasp the viewpoint that material production is the basis of social life, and correctly grasp the major relationships in comprehensively deepening reform. Productive forces are the most dynamic and most revolutionary factors to move social progress further. The basic task of Socialism is liberating and developing social productive forces. In the process of comprehensively deepening reform, we must persist in this major strategic judgment that development still is the crux to resolve all of our country’s problems, ensure that the market has a decisive function in allocating resources and giving rein to the function of government even better, promote the incessant forward development of our country’s social productive forces, promote the unity of realizing incessant material enrichment and comprehensive human development. Material production is the decisive factor for social historical development, but the superstructure may also have counter effect on the economic basis, there is a real process of effect and counter effect between productive forces and relationships of production, the economic base and the superstructure, there is not a one-way simple logic of deciding and being decided. We put forward the plan to comprehensively deepening reform, because it is necessary to resolve the prominent contradictions and issues that we face, it is difficult for reform that only relies on one area or one level to be successful, we must strengthen top-level design and integral planning, strengthen connections, systems and coordination in all areas of reform. Only by both resolving the problem that relationships of production are unsuited, and by resolving the problem that the superstructure is unsuited, can there be a comprehensive effect. At the same time, only by closely revolving around development being the first major task in deploying reform in these area, by liberating and developing social productive forces in order to provide strong drivers for reform, will it be possible to promote a better coordination between relationships of production and productive forces, between the superstructure and the base.
Xi Jinping stressed that it is necessary to study and grasp the viewpoint that the popular masses are the creators of history, and to closely rely on the masses in moving reform forward. The people are the creators of history. It is necessary to persist in making realizing, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the broadest people into the starting point and stopover point of moving reform forward, let the fruits of development be extended to the whole body of the people more fairly and in greater numbers, only such reform can bring forth great achievements. It is necessary to deal well with the relationship between objective laws and giving rein to subjective initiative. we must persist in starting from reality in everything, handling matters according to objective laws, grasping blueprints to the end, and grasping the building of foundations to benefit long-term work. At the same time, it is necessary to encourage the localities, the grass roots and the masses to boldly explore, and take the lead in trials, dare to move theoretical and practical innovation forward, and incessantly deepen understanding about the laws of reform.
Xi Jinping pointed out that our Party governs a large country, China, with 1.3 billion inhabitants, it faces extremely complex domestic and international environments, and shoulders an onerous mission of governance, if it lacks the powerful support of theoretical thinking, it will be difficult to vanquish all sorts of risks and difficulties, and it will be difficult to progress incessantly. All levels’ leading Party cadres and especially high-level cadres must study and research classic works from beginning to end, strive to make Marxist philosophy into their own special skill, persist in ideals and convictions, persist in the correct political orientation, raise their capacity to think strategically, their ability to make comprehensive policies, their ability to master the overall picture, and unite to lead the people into incessantly writing new chapters in the history of reform and opening up.