16 September 2009

People’s Republic

[CU for Friday, 18 September 2009]

In all countries of the world, there is division into classes. The form of study that enumerates, names, describes, and narrates the changing absolute and relative condition of all the classes is correctly called Political Economy, meaning, literally, the arrangement of the classes within the overall polity. In Marxist terms this study has to be an “ascent from the abstract to the concrete”, or in other words it must make possible a view of the whole social phenomenon as a “unity and struggle of opposites” at a particular moment in time.

The classes are formed as a consequence of various modes of production. The study of the bourgeois mode of production in isolation, and the imagined generalisation of its laws to the entirety of current human experience, and to history, is what is known as (bourgeois) “Economics”. The confinement of political thought within the bounds of bourgeois economics would cripple it and render us incapable of projecting forward our way to socialism.

Hence revolutionaries from time to time, and with varying degrees of precision and detail, are apt to prepare a balance sheet of the Political Economy at that particular moment. This is what Karl Marx did in the “Class Struggles in France 1848-1850”, and in “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” (1852). These were exemplary calculations, which apart from their practical revolutionary value at the time, served forever after to educate and to re-educate revolutionaries about the facts of class-struggle life.

Mao [pictured] Zedong’s extraordinary political economy of China in 1939, called “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party”, is another great example, in general, of this kind of exercise (click on the first link below).

In addition, and taken together with the piece Mao wrote ten years later, in the year of the victory of the Chinese Revolution, 1949, it allows us to get a sense of the dynamics of plural class formation, ascent and decline in China, and the consequent practical inevitability of the National Democratic Revolution as the viable way forward. Mao called it the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, and China was re-named, and is still 60 years later named the People’s Republic, and not a socialist republic.

In 2009, according to the information of a Chinese delegation currently touring South Africa, the number of people living in the rural areas of China is 800 million; but the number of people in cities is 500 million, an enormous increase that reflects the growth of the proletariat from the pitifully small relative size it had in 1939.

As we become more aware of what is really happening, it becomes more and more apparent that the National Democratic Revolution need not be, and should not be, seen as a regrettable compromise, or as a temporary or an interim measure, or even as a stage, if a stage means a halt. The National Democratic Revolution is a positive, revolutionary move forward, and it is the only direct move forward that is possible in our circumstances, that can be accomplished in a peaceful, willed and rational way.

Rosa Luxemburg’s “Reform or Revolution?” is highly relevant to this discussion because it, too, and among other things, describes a clear Political Economy of Germany at the time (1900). It also contains some unique and valuable remarks about the position of the petty bourgeoisie in the class struggle. The party of the working class has to consider the welfare of the entire body politic, including that of other classes, and especially of those classes, such as the petty-bourgeoisie and the peasantry, which find it next to impossible to organise themselves politically. The working class leads.

The National Democratic Revolutions cannot properly be defined by a set of tick-boxes next to self-justifying stand-alone goods such as “non-racial”, “non-sexist” and “unified”. Its nature and its consequent trajectory can only be properly and fully seen in the light of Political Economy. The NDR should always be defined, and from time to time redefined, in relation to a specific class alliance for unity-in-action.

Click on these links:

The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party, 1939, Mao Zedong (8011 words)

People's Democratic Dictatorship, 1949, Mao Zedong (5164 words)

Reform or Revolution, Intro, C2, C7, C9, C10, Rosa Luxemburg (10250 words)


Post a Comment

Post a Comment