Upholding the Revolutionary Proletarian Line is Not a “Purity Fetish”: A Response to Carlos Garrido’s “Why Western Marxism Misunderstands China’s Use of Markets”
A terrible article written by a modern revisionist “theoretician” named Carlos Garrido appeared on the Hampton Institute’s website on November 29th. In this article, which is titled “Why Western Marxism Misunderstands China’s Markets”, Garrido makes not one reference or citation from Mao Zedong, or any of his Chinese contemporaries. I repeat, this is an article supposedly about Chinese “Marxism” which fails to make use of Mao. That sets the tone for this abominable excuse of an article and marks the author as a charlatan from the very beginning.
While Garrido does not make use of Mao and his groundbreaking economic analysis and the lessons of the period 1949–1978, also known as the socialist period in China, he makes very good use, in true charlatan fashion, of a number of Chinese words (for which translations are lovingly provided to attempt to convey the sense that he knows what he’s talking about) and references to Hegel. Garrido does not make use of Mao and writings from the socialist period, because he knows that Maoist economics is directly in opposition to the snake oil that he is peddling. He also fails to make use of Maoist theoreticians and economists, because they have this to say about what socialism is (From Rethinking Socialism):
The goal of capitalist projects is toward capitalism. Capital projects are concrete ways to establish, to maintain, or to expand the capitalist relations of production, and to establish, to maintain, or to reinforce the dominating and dominated relation between the owners of the means of production and the direct producers. The purpose of production in capitalist projects is value valorization. If the state is able to continue implementing capitalist projects in a consistent way during the transition, it will eventually remove the direct producers from having any control over the means of production or the product of their labor. By expanding the capitalist projects, the state (or private capital) is in a position to speed up its capital accumulation by extracting more and more surplus value from workers. The distribution of capitalist project is based on the size of capital (constant and variable), not on the amount of work contributed.
Diametrically opposed to the capitalist projects are socialist projects, whose direction is toward communism, when the direct producers will have control over the means of production and the product of their labor. Under socialist projects, the distribution will be, at first, according to the amount of labor contributed with serious consideration given to meeting the basic needs of people. Later, when productive forces are fully developed, distribution will then be made according to need. Socialist projects are projects designed to enhance the long-term class interest of the proletariat and they are not the same as the so-called social welfare programs in the advanced capitalist countries. Socialist projects are economic policies (programs) derived from political decisions; this is the meaning of what Mao said about “politics in command.” Socialist projects are designed to restrain, contain, and interrupt the accumulation of state and/or private capital.
Works were also produced by the Chinese Communist Party during the socialist period exposing thoroughly the revisionist systems in Eastern Europe that Garrido claims are systems that are worthy of studying (as more than negative examples), learning from, and following. Garrido does not engage with the Maoist thesis that class struggle continues under socialism and vigilance must be exercised lest the socialist system revert to the capitalist one. Things can and will transform into their opposites, as happened in the Soviet Union and China. The medicine that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism calls for is cultural revolution, maintaining the proletarian revolutionary line as the guiding line, and struggling for the communist road and away from the capitalist road. Garrido, being a capitalist roader himself, considers such theses and principles to be “wrecking” and “carrying State Department propaganda”. Would he level this charge against Mao Zedong for developing the thesis of social imperialism? Would he level the same charge against the revolutionary CCP after reading “On Khruschev’s Phoney Communism’’?
In its Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement dated June 14, 1963, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party states:
For a very long historical period after the proletariat takes power, class struggle continues as an objective law independent of man’s will, differing only in form from what it was before the taking of power.
After the October Revolution, Lenin pointed out a number of times that:
a) The overthrown exploiters always try in a thousand and one ways to recover the “paradise” they have been deprived of.
b) New elements of capitalism are constantly and spontaneously generated in the petty-bourgeois atmosphere.
c) Political degenerates and new bourgeois elements may emerge in the ranks of the working class and among government functionaries as a result of bourgeois influence and the pervasive, corrupting atmosphere of the petty bourgeoisie.
d) The external conditions for the continuance of class struggle within a socialist country are encirclement by international capitalism, the imperialists’ threat of armed intervention and their subversive activities to accomplish peaceful disintegration. Life has confirmed these conclusions of Lenin’s.
In socialist society, the overthrown bourgeoisie and other reactionary classes remain strong for quite a long time, and indeed in certain respects are quite powerful. They have a thousand and one links with the international bourgeoisie. They are not reconciled to their defeat and stubbornly continue to engage in trials of strength with the proletariat. They conduct open and hidden struggles against the proletariat in every field. Constantly parading such signboards as support for socialism, the Soviet system, the Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism, they work to undermine socialism and restore capitalism. Politically, they persist for a long time as a force antagonistic to the proletariat and constantly attempt to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat. They sneak into the government organs, public organizations, economic departments and cultural and educational institutions so as to resist or usurp the leadership of the proletariat. Economically, they employ every means to damage socialist ownership by the whole people and socialist collective ownership and to develop the forces of capitalism. In the ideological, cultural and educational fields, they counterpose the bourgeois world outlook to the proletarian world outlook and try to corrupt the proletariat and other working people with bourgeois ideology.
Garrido ignores the revolutionary writings and theses of the Chinese Communist Party when the proletarian line was still in command, because Garrido is a horrible dialectician and theorist, a charlatan who does not know the difference between capitalism and imperialism. Garrido washes out the goal of socialism, Communism, babbling in old style revisionist fashion about how the Chinese revisionists have “lifted 800 million people out of poverty”, using bourgeois methods and standards as a yardstick by which success is measured. If our only goal was to lift people out of poverty using the fruit and wages of imperialism, we would be social democrats as in Europe. Communists promote the conquest of political power by the proletariat, and the maintenance of this power in the hands of that class, and that class alone. We do not advocate “parties of the whole people”, or “states of the whole people”, as in China and the old USSR.
Garrido mentions revolutionary proletarian line in command not once, seeing success in capitalist fashion as being measured by how many people live above the arbitrary poverty line. He ignores the fact that capitalists worth billions of dollars exist within the Chinese Communist Party, which itself is rotted and bloated with corruption, using force to stymie the organizing of new Maoist elements within China and settling instead for superficial nostalgia and making anti-American noise. This is not revolutionary noise, or proletarian noise, it is inter-imperialist squabbling over markets and access to the Third World, nothing more. The fact that Garrido cannot tell the difference between the two calls to mind Mao’s description of Deng Xiaoping as someone who “doesn’t know the difference between socialism and imperialism”. Behind this author’s obscurantist pseudo-intellectual ramblings show a mind wilfully ignorant of the basic principles of the makings of proletarian revolution and the struggle towards Communism, instead settling for ever so safe, toothless, stale, and weak loyal opposition to Yankee imperialism and living vicariously through Chinese imperialism. This is the equivalent of voting for Democrats using the specter of Trump, and just as useless.
Garrido says much about the Western Left and its supposed “purity fetish”. Of course, as someone who cannot tell the difference between socialism and imperialism, any defense of the proletarian line and the proletarian ideology from those who would overthrow and bastardize it is a “purity fetish”. It also is telling that Garrido does not engage with the works of the CPI (Maoist) and the Communist Party of the Philippines, neither of which belong to the West, and both of which have correctly and thoroughly described China as a social-imperialist country. Garrido also ignores the Africans who have risen against the social-imperialists’ theft of their resources and abuses of their workers. These, to Garrido, are simply ungrateful clients of Chinese largesse, or “ultras” stuck in the past. When the revisionists admit that the Chinese “aid” and “development loans” are backed by the infrastructure of the countries that it is lending to, they engage in whataboutism and call for “tactical support” and “backing China” as Garrido does at the end of the article. The funny thing is that, from my own personal experience, lines similar to this author’s are more common among the “Western Left” than the anti-revisionist, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist position. Those “Western Leftists” that Garrido is referring to are in revisionist organizations such as CPUSA and the Marcyite bastard twins of the PSL/WWP, promoting his line and considering electioneering, getting their ugly yellow signs on the front page of the newspapers, and sharing revisionist tripe on Facebook while meming about Daddy Fidel Castro in between covering for sexual assaults to be political work. Maoism is still a minority line in the United States, and in Europe, social democrats and radical liberals hold sway. This being said, more and more people are becoming interested in, studying, and organizing themselves as Maoists every day, mainly due to the obvious snake oil and lies peddled by revisionists like Garrido and the consequences of such lines in practice.
In short, there is no “misunderstanding” of China’s use of markets. Garrido plays the condescending professor, throwing around references to Hegel and butchering both Lenin and Marx in the service of capitalism-imperialism with a faded and tattered red flag. Maoists the world over are well aware of the purpose of China’s use of markets, and which class it has enriched and served. We have Mao’s lessons, and those of the people’s wars that were inspired by the Chinese project. Garrido closes with yammering about a new Cold War, his words for inter-imperialist conflict. Revisionists lambast Maoists for living in the past, yet live there themselves, it seems. I remind you of Mao’s lesson from the last Cold War.
People all over the world are now discussing whether a third world war will break out. On this question, too, we must be mentally prepared and do some analysis. We stand firmly for peace and against war. However, if the imperialists insist on unleashing another war, we should not be afraid of it. Our attitude on this question is the same as our attitude towards any disturbance: first, we are against it; second, we are not afraid of it. The First World War was followed by the birth of the Soviet Union with a population of 200 million. The Second World War was followed by the emergence of the socialist camp with a combined population of 900 million. If the imperialists insist on launching a third world war, it is certain that several hundred million more will turn to socialism, and then there will not be much room left on earth for the imperialists; it is also likely that the whole structure of imperialism will utterly collapse.