Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Ted Grant and The Chinese Revolution
I was asked to have a discussion on this blog, about the differences between Maoism and Trotskyism, or the difference between the Maoist concept of mass line as opposed to the Trotskyist transitional program. The Maoist method is synthecizing opinion into an action program. The transitional program is raising demands that bridge reform demands with revolution demands. An example is the slogan Peace, Land and Bread during the 1917 Russian Revolution. Peace meaning end Russia's involvement in WWI, Land meaning land to the peasants, and Bread meaning better worker's lives. transitional demands challenge capitalism. That doesn't mean reform demands are ignored.
This is an excerpt from the writings of Trotskyist Ted Grant. What is remarkable, is that it was written before the victory of the Chinese Revolution.
Two Sides of the Coin
While supporting the destruction of feudalism in China, it must be emphasised that only a horrible caricature of the Marxist conception of the revolution will result because of the leadership of the Stalinists. Not a real democracy, but a totalitarian regime as brutal as that of Chiang Kai Shek will develop. Like the regimes in Eastern Europe, Mao will look to Russia as his model. Undoubtedly, tremendous economic progress will be achieved. But the masses, both workers and peasants, will find themselves enslaved by the bureaucracy.
The Stalinists are incorporating into their regime ex-feudal militarists, capitalist elements, and the bureaucratic officialdom in the towns who will occupy positions of privilege and power.
On the basis of such a backward economy, a large scale differentiation among the peasants (as after the Russian revolution during the period of the N.E.P.) aided by the failure to nationalise the land: the capitalist elements in trade, and even in light industry, might provide a base for capitalist counter-revolution. It must be borne in mind that in China the proletariat is weaker in relation to the peasantry than was the case in Russia during the N.E.P. owing to the more backward development of China. Even in Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries similarly, where the capitalist elements were relatively weaker, nevertheless the danger of a capitalist overturn existed for a time. The fact that the workers and peasants will not have any democratic control and that the totalitarian tyranny will have superimposed upon it the Asiatic barbarism and cruelties of the old regime, gives rise to this possibility. However, it seems likely that the capitalist elements will be defeated because of the historical tendency of the decay of capitalism on a world scale. The impotence of world imperialism is shown by the fact that whereas they intervened directly against the Chinese revolution in 1925-7, today they look on helplessly at the collapse of the Chiang regime.
However, it is quite likely that Stalin will have a new Tito on his hands. The shrewder capitalist commentators are already speculating on this although they derive cold comfort from it. Mao will have a powerful base in China with its 450-500 million population and its potential resources, and the undoubted mass support his regime will possess in the early stages. The conflicts which will thus open out should be further means of assisting the world working class to understand the real nature of Stalinism.
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