2005 December 04 Sunday
China To Develop New Interpretation Of Marxism

The official ideology will not be abandoned as a source of political legitimacy.

BEIJING, Dec. 4 -- The Communist Party has launched a campaign among political leaders and senior academics to modernize Chinese Marxism, seeking to reconcile increasingly obvious contradictions between the government's founding ideology and its broad free-market reforms.

The campaign involves the allocation of millions of dollars to produce new translations of Marxist literature and to update texts for secondary school and university students obliged to study the official philosophy, officials said. In addition, the campaign will promote more research on how Marxism can be redefined to inform China's policies even as private enterprise increasingly becomes the basis of its economy, they explained.

This reminds me of the Protestant Reformation and the resulting Catholic Reformation in their later stages. Certainly it is not an exact analogy. But they are trying to reconcile their official (albeit secular) faith with modernity. Where will the Chinese go with this? Will they produce a new revisionist interpretation of Marxism where the leaders are still the vanguard of proletariat and hence still justified in ruling by dictatorship? If they are the vanguard and the masses have to go through a capitalist phase before seeing the communist light then that would justify having the leaders rule over the emerging middle class reactionary bourgeoisie.

Imagine the Muslims still had a Caliphate that could order an updating of Islam just as the Chinese are trying to modernise Marxism. Such a modernization might make dealing with Muslims a lot easier for the rest of us.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 December 04 08:00 PM  China

John S Bolton said at December 5, 2005 12:43 AM:

More likely, it will be a codification of the 'socialism with Chinese characteristics' which they speak of today; a species of fascism. The result can be a more aggressive, militaristic and outward-looking leftism which rejects autarchy in favor of military adventures in search of resources. They may say that China must have colonies to secure resources needed in wartime, which may otherwise be subject to blockade.

Brock said at December 5, 2005 1:03 AM:

I fear John may be correct. Since the Chinese Leadership are unlikely to give political power to their subjects any time soon, something must be found to justify the State and distract the masses while providing a role for the Leadership. Just economic growth is not enough, since pretty much every Chinese person knows at this point that governments can only get in the way when it comes to generating wealth.

Either that or the "New Marxism" may actually be a (small) move towards liberal, representative form of government. Maybe "the Chinese proletariat" are actually going to get a chance that Stalin never gave the Russians. The Leaders have allowed democratic experiments at the local level, and have promised it will move upwards. It doesn't seem likely, but then neither did 9% annual growth for decades on end back in the 1970's.

Big Bill said at December 5, 2005 1:52 PM:

Ahem. Let's not take out eyes off the ball, gentlemen. Surely China is a problem--a remote problem. But as our President, Mr. Sharon and Mr. Netanyahu know, Iran is the Great Satan that threatens all of Western Civilization with its military might.

Kurt said at December 6, 2005 5:22 PM:

The leadership in Beijing is simply trying to justify its grip on political power, while doing whatever they can to promote economic growth, knowing full well that their wellbeing depends upon being able to "deliver the goods". Ultimately, China's political system will become "Singapore-like" where the "communist" party becomes like Singapore's People's Action Party (PAP), which actually did start out as a socialist party in the 1960's, when Lee Kwan Yew founded it.

WebMan said at February 17, 2006 10:00 PM:

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