Sunday, June 17, 2007

Democratic Socialism is Capitalism Part 3

(This is Section 3 of Wu Bing's rebuttal of an article by Xie Tao. For the Introduction, and Parts 1-2, scroll down).
3. The superiority of socialism over capitalism cannot be denied

In the Preface, Mr Xie Tao makes no secret of his praise for or defence of capitalism, and plays down the bourgeois world view and political stand of the denial of socialism. He attacks Soviet and Chinese socialism, founded by Lenin and Mao Zedong, as so-called “violent socialism” that pales into insignificance by comparison with democratic socialism. He says: “Seeing the vigorous development of our capitalist economy, some call out in alarm ‘It’s a disaster, capitalism is restored in China!’ If there was no slavery in ancient times, there’d be no modern Europe today. Without the material wealth created by capitalism, socialism here would be forever a fantasy, forever at the level of the lowest common denominator.”

He says: “Owing to its ‘equality of poverty’, bringing about socialism “creates several decades of stagnation and decline in production”, “the so-called ‘superiority of socialism’ is always only partially emerging, smashing the ‘socialist’ signboard etc etc”.

Indeed, the development of capitalist economy has created the material conditions for the realisation of socialism; it can also be said that capitalism is the mother of socialism.

At quite an early stage, Marxism has further elaborated in relation to this truth. The goal of Mr Xie Tao is not in this passage - it is that while thoroughly negating violent revolution, to completely deny the superiority of socialism, to deny the magnificent achievements of socialism. Isn’t Mr Xie Tao saying that for humanity, the “model competition” for the most outstanding social system in the long run, is to hear their words and watch their deeds, and by comparison make rational judgements and decisions?

Ok then, let’s use historical facts to make the judgement.

Firstly, the socialist countries over a number of decades of speedy economic development and magnificent achievements, have fully demonstrated the superiority of the social productive forces of the system of public ownership. Take the Soviet Union and China as an example. The Soviet Union began the implementation of Five Year Plans in 1928, and by 1938 had increased production by over 7.5 times, reaching first place in Europe and second place in the world, providing the important material guarantee for the victory of Soviet troops in the anti-Fascist Second World War. During the war, the losses suffered by the Soviet Army compared to those of England, France and other Western countries, were much more serious, but the speed with which it restored its post-war economy was much quicker than them. Prior to the October Revolution, Russia’s gross value of industrial output was only 6.9% of that of the U.S. By the 1980’s it was more than 80% of that of the U.S. Other socialist countries also obtained a relatively large growth in their national economies. The achievements of socialism in China over several decades attracted worldwide attention. Capitalism was carried on in old China for nearly 100 years, with the result that national capital only occupied 20% of the fixed capital of the national industry, transportation and shipping industries. The major part of China’s economic lifeline and finances and banking were controlled by imperialism and bureaucrat-capitalism. Up until the eve of Liberation, national industry was in a hopeless situation, and not only did factories in the chemical, electrical and other departments go bankrupt one after the other, but even the spinning and weaving and flour industries that Chinese national capital depended on for its growth were also smothered and could not gain a foothold. At the time of the Liberation of the whole nation in 1949, we received from the hands of the Guomindang, an economy in collapse, a shambles in which people could not earn a living. Many imperialist elements asserted that China would be unable to heal the terrible wounds created by war, and would be incapable of changing the stagnant conditions of the last couple of centuries. However, it only took two years to restore industrial and agricultural production to the highest pre-war levels. Then we started planned economic development, winning our fastest development. From 1949-1978, the total output value of our country’s heavy industry grew by 90.6 times compared to that before Liberation. The total output value of light industry grew 19.8 times, total agricultural output increased by 2.4 times. Industry’s fixed assets grew by more than 20 times. The total output value of industry and agriculture over 30 years averaged an annual increase of 9.5%. In less than 30 years we covered the distance that it took many capitalist countries half a century or even 100 years to traverse, and had established the beginnings of an independent category of a relatively complete national economic system and by the 1980s already had more than 300,000 industrial and communications enterprises. Not only is Old China’s economy unable to match all of these, it cannot even be done by the capitalist world. Not only are the economic achievements of the two great socialist nations, the Soviet Union and China, huge, moreover the entire socialist world tasted the superiority of socialism. Up until the 1980’s, with an original economic basis of almost one third of the world’s total population, the majority of which were all relatively backward socialist countries, the gross value of industrial output had already reached 2/5 of the world’s gross output value, and national income had already reached 1/3 of the total world national income. How can it be said that these facts are “overshadowed”? Comparing the two types of system, it is not the socialist countries that are “overshadowed”; rather, it is the capitalist countries.

Secondly, what is even more important in the superiority of the socialist system over capitalism is that the socialist system eliminated the bourgeoisie’s exploitation and oppression, and the working class and the broad mass of labouring people truly obtained democracy and freedom and had people’s rights and truly became masters of the country, controlling their own destiny. Is this Mr Xie Tao’s so-called “fantasy”? A “Utopia”? No, this is an absolutely true fact.

Thirdly, the existence and development of socialism stops and defeats imperialist wars of aggression and is a mighty force and mainstay for protecting world peace. In the Second World War, the people of the Soviet Union made the biggest contributions and greatest sacrifices in fighting against German, Italian and Japanese fascism.

In the US-initiated wars of invasion in Korea and Vietnam, the Chinese people stood together with the Korean and Vietnamese peoples and crushed the imperialist aggressors and safeguarded Asian and world peace. In the more than half a century since the ending of World War Two, the existence and development of the socialist countries and the emerging strength of the Third World supported by them have been the decisive factor in determining that there has been no new world war. This could not be imagined if there was no socialism.

Fourthly, with the rise of the socialist countries, their great historical significance lies in the strength of their example, allowing the people of the whole world to see the light, to see hope. With the vigorous promotion and support of the socialist countries, the national democratic liberation movements of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples have developed vigorously, seriously attacking and shattering the imperialist and colonial systems. After the Second World War, more than 100 colonial countries achieved national independence and liberation, and the Third World quickly became a great political force that the world could not ignore. Today people often say that this phase of history is the so-called “Cold War”. The reason why this “Cold War” phase emerged, looked at in a certain sense, is precisely explained by the emergence and development of the socialist countries and the destruction of the pattern of world imperialism, leading to a serious attack on and weakening of the political, economic and military strength and ideology of imperialism, to a great reduction in their spheres of influence, forcing them over a long period of time to not dare to act rashly or in a self-serving manner.

Fifthly, we obviously completely affirm the historical inevitability of the replacement of capitalism with socialism, and at the same time completely affirm the superiority of socialism overt capitalism; we also need to keep a clear head and remain sober-minded. On the one hand we must see that socialism is still in the initial stage of communism, still needs to be constantly perfected and needs to constantly make progress. As Marx pointed out in the Critique of the Gotha Programme, owing to the fact that “it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.” So, as it advances along the road to the higher stage of communism, it still needs to continue the revolution, continue the struggle. On the other hand, owing to the fact that socialism first of all wins victory in the relatively economically backward countries, the economic basis of the socialist countries compared to the developed capitalist countries which have had several centuries of growth, is therefore quite weak and still pursuing a higher stage. In addition, owing to the existence of imperialism and class struggle, the road stretching out in front of the socialist countries is covered with prickles and thorns and hazardous tests. The struggle over “who defeats who” between the two social systems and the two main classes has still not finished nor has it relaxed; it will be conducted intensively.

Sixthly, in Mr Xie Tao’s view, the Soviet Union and other socialist countries took a path backwards, restored capitalism, and this is a so-called “defeat for violent revolution”, “violent socialism is at the end of its tether”, but it is a “victory for democratic socialism” which is “changing the world”. This is purely a prejudice of the bourgeoisie. It is clear that with a slight understanding of the ABCs of Marxism and of historical facts, that the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe certainly is not a defeat of the socialist system itself, even less is it a fault of Marxist theory; in fact, it’s just the opposite, it is precisely because of the betrayal of Marxism by the revisionist cliques in the Communist Parties of the original socialist countries and their departure from the correct path and the correct line of socialism, giving rise to tragedy and great social regression for the defeated parties and nations. On this question, aren’t the revisionists and the cream of the reformists in our country also in there shouting out loudly that the socialism of the Soviet Union and our country was not real socialism, but so-called “Stalinism” and “the Stalin model”? In the same year that Chairman Mao directed a powerful rebuff at the Krushchov renegade revisionist clique’s total repudiation of Stalin, he incisively pointed out: “So long as we have an all-round view of the problem, then, if we need to talk of “Stalinism”, we can say, firstly, it is communism, it is Marxism-Leninism. This is the main aspect.” (Manuscripts of Mao Zedong Since the Founding of the Nation, Vol 6 p 283-284 Chinese ed.). This passage of Chairman Mao’s was not only an objective and correct appraisal of Stalin and “Stalinism”, but moreover has firmly defended the historical status of Marxism and socialism. In addition, these “masters of reform” accused socialism in our country of being premature, of making a mess of things, saying that we needed to draw a so-called “lesson” from the economies of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe having failed to “move forward”, and advocating “making up the lesson missed from capitalism” and going by way of “the Caudine Forks” etc etc. Although these fallacies are all rubbish that disregards basic facts and are not even worth glancing at, this trend of thought certainly has a market in our country, and is bearing down menacingly! This is probably decided by the “big international environment” and the “small international environment”. (The Battle of the Caudine Forks occurred in 321 BC when a superior Roman force was ambushed and surrounded by the Samnites. The Samnites had the choice of freeing the Romans or of killing them all. They chose to free them, but forced them to depart by passing under a yoke, thus humiliating and demoralising them. Marx referred to this in his letter to Vera Zasulich in March 1881, when he said that the ancient form of the Russian commune, in the international environment of advanced capitalist production and technology, might enable the Russian people to leap over the Caudine Forks and proceed directly to socialism, i.e. without getting caught in, and having to proceed through, a capitalist stage, a Caudine Forks. A Uighur friend told me that the debate over whether or not China had to go through a capitalist stage had occurred in the Chinese Communist Party in the late forties and early fifties of the last century, and that Liu Shaoqi and others had argued that it should. The debate resumed at several stages in the life of the People’s Republic of China, and has re-emerged recently, with a Google search in Chinese revealing more than 134,000 hits for “Caudine Forks”. Xie Tao is here accused by Wu Bing of being amongst those who are arguing that China needs to go through the Caudine Forks of capitalism before it can begin to build socialism – Trans.)

In short, Mr Xie Tao actively opposes and negates “violent socialism”, and truly represents the “demands for the development of the advanced productive forces”, whilst we must support and guard scientific socialism; moreover, he actively advocates so-called democratic socialism, and was basically unable to represent the “demands for the development of the advanced productive forces”; this is real capitalism and fake socialism. Therefore, putting this together leads to our topic below: where are the main expressions of the differences between socialism and capitalism?

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