In a high-level meeting last week, leading Communists from China and Britain spent more than two hours discussing Marxism past, present and future.
The online talks took place at the invitation of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its Vice-Minister Guo Yezhou. The Communist Party of Britain was represented by General Secretary Robert Griffiths, Chair Liz Payne, International Secretary John Foster and Political Committee member Ben Chacko.
The focus of discussion was on the prime importance of Marxism for the development of the political practice of both parties.
Vice-Minister Guo stressed the commitment of the CPC to the development of Marxist theory and practice in the concrete circumstances of China over the past century. He outlined the broad popular alliances formed by the CPC, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, in order to defeat both Japanese fascism and the internal forces of reaction and imperialist control.
The creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 was the outcome of these mass popular struggles combining the strength of workers, peasants and sections of the anti-imperialist bourgeoisie. Mao creatively integrated Marxism with the realities of Chinese society, Vice-Minister Guo explained.
Vice Minister Guo also stressed that it was during the 11th Central Committee of the CPC in 1978 that Comrade Deng Xiaoping initiated the ‘reform and opening up’ strategy of market socialism to transform economic development.
These new guidelines ultimately ensured that China’s industrialisation was completed, absolute poverty eliminated and a moderately prosperous socialist society created.
In the new century, President Xi Jinping has sought to renew Marxism for a new era so that, by 2050, China becomes a prosperous, developed modern socialist society. Vice Minister Guo stressed the CPC’s commitment to Marxism, to the achievement of socialism and ultimately to the development of a communist society.
The membership of the CPC is now more than 90 million strong. The party is collectively dedicated to the development of Marxist practice – understanding that universal principles must always be applied, developed and tested in concrete situations.
At the request of his Chinese hosts, Robert Griffiths outlined the history and development of Marxism in Britain. This included the role played by the Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School which Vice-Minister Guo described as a ‘treasure’, highly valued by the CPC.
Most recently, the Communist Party in Britain has been carrying out theoretical work on such concepts as perspectives as capitalist globalisation, ‘popular sovereignty’, the anti-monopoly alliance, ‘progressive federalism’ and the class-based oppression of women.
He also underlined the need to apply Marxism to the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, including climate change. Liz Payne highlighted the Marxist-Leninist analysis of imperialism as a permanent threat to peace.
Responding to concerns about a new ‘Cold War’, Vice-Minister Guo contrasted China’s policy to that of Western powers such as the US and Britain: ‘It’s not China which has military forces and alliances around the world’.
Vice-Minister Guo outlined CPC plans to celebrate its centenary this year and conveyed his party’s best wishes and solidarity to the Communist Party of Britain and its work.
Both sides looked forward to resuming visits to each others’ countries, including broad-based fact-finding delegations to China in the light of Western propaganda claims.