Western experts must understand the construction of socialism in China

The Chinese national flag. /APC

The Chinese national flag. /APC

Editor’s note: Keith Lamb graduated from Oxford University with an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His main research interests are China’s international relations and “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. The article reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

On January 11, Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the opening study session at the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called for a greater effort to deepen the examination, study, education and promotion of the history of the CCP. in order to better understand and enhance the historical experience of the Party over the past century. With China’s rapid rise, this advice also applies to Western socialists and China watchers.

China’s rise will usher in multipolarity, but oddly few Western experts, including Western socialists, understand China from its own historical perspective. This is evidenced by the many prophetic appeals that have so far been proven wrong.

For example, China becoming more like a western liberal democracy has never happened. The “China collapse” theory routinely fails, only to be put on life support to prolong it indefinitely into the future. Second, “China is a neoliberal state working for capitalist restoration,” posed by some Western Marxists, now sounds like a historical inaccuracy.

Why then has the West, including Western socialists, failed to understand China’s rise? One reason is the contested nature of socialism in China and the rest of the world as well. However, resolute action against wrongdoing and efforts to eradicate absolute poverty have shown that China can counter these forces.

Today, it is an irony of geopolitics that the West, claiming to stand for justice, is now more belligerent towards a China that has achieved positive results against the forces of corruption and poverty. Indeed, while no one would say, from a moral standpoint, that inequality and corruption are good, history can prove that these diabolical forces acted as a temporary smokescreen for the rise of China. which has clouded the perceptions of the imperialist powers that today seek the downfall of China.

Failing to study China’s theoretical and governmental system is not only about material conditions in China that do not match future ideals, it also amounts to a general disengagement with knowledge produced in non-democratic systems. liberals. Many western socialists seeking to build socialism within the bounds of liberal democracy, burdened with the interests of capital, have been co-opted by the “universal” application of this system of government and thus disparage knowledge from outside this “political container” as inauthentic.

While Western socialists have made progress at home, such as building universal health care in Western Europe, these advances are constantly threatened by capital. What is even more devastating is that when socialist parties, like the British Labor Party under Tony Blair, came to power, they failed to prevent neo-colonial wars, like the looting of Iraq, from take place. It is this global context that undermines the prospect of real socialism and democracy not only in the countries of the South but also in the West.

A newly built community for poverty alleviation relocation in Shexiang Town, Dafang County, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, Dec. 24, 2020. /Xinhua

A newly built community for poverty alleviation relocation in Shexiang Town, Dafang County, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, Dec. 24, 2020. /Xinhua

When I pointed out the hypocrisy of Blair’s concerns about “China’s abuses in Xinjiang” in the British newspaper the morning star, the social democratic organization “Workers’ Liberty”, which denies that states like China, Cuba and Vietnam even belong to the socialist camp, attacked me for “whataboutery” falsely accusing me of being an employee of the Chinese state. They then shamefully supported claims of genocide and slavery concocted by the military-industrial complex.

First, the pretense of whataboutery is too often a way to limit the boundaries of an argument because it negates the contextualization that highlights imperial contradictions. Second, I do not justify one “evil” (genocide and slavery) against another (the invasion of Iraq) because the allegations of genocide and slavery, like the weapons of mass destruction of the Iraq, are false allegations that seek to trigger more atrocities against the Global South that could, through nuclear war, lead to Armageddon. Needless to say, if the mainstream Western left is captured as part of imperialist propaganda, it will see little theoretical value flowing from states demonized by the same system.

Another problem is that the West has been dominant for so long and therefore it seems difficult even for true socialists to grasp the significant changes taking place in the world that require a look at other theoretical systems. . Some regard Marx’s writings more as a religion than as a historical method that must be constantly updated.

As such, they fail to recognize that the nature of capitalism and class relations has radically changed. Needless to say, they find it hard to recognize the contributions of Chinese Marxism, which is aware not only of history-based theory, but also of its cultural and spatial aspects where the construction of socialism in present-day China requires methods different from those of Western Europe.

Of course, it is not necessary to agree with the conclusions of China’s philosophy of government, but it must be recognized that this philosophy, which is dynamic and strongly mixed with strategy, deeply informs the system of government and China’s development process. When Europe appeared, bringing significant changes to the world, all kinds of theories emerged from Europe, including the writings of Karl Marx, which were put forward to explain this phenomenon.

Likewise, the rise of China also brings important changes and therefore its material success demands to be studied not only from the aforementioned theories, which have been proven wrong, but from one’s own grounded theoretical perspective. on its own historical, cultural and spatial values. conditions.

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