Saturday, January 8, 2022

Communist Party of Sweden on Chinese imperialism: Open response to the Communist Party of China

In the struggle between the United States and China for the leadership in the imperialist system, we see each side “dressing” the interests of its monopolies with the appropriate ideological cover. Last December, during the first ten days, the U.S. held the so-called “Summit for Democracy”, selectively calling representatives of 110 capitalist countries and excluding some of them, such as China and Russia.

China, on the other hand, prepared its own “response” with a statement drawn up by the Communist Party of China and signed by 355 political parties, social organizations and think tanks. The Communist Party of China has not released the full list of these parties/organizations. 

However, according to some reports, the statement was signed by both bourgeois and overly anti-communist political forces (such as the “Muslim Brotherhood of Yemen"), as well as by some Communist Parties (e.g. CP of Argentina, CP of Brazil (PCdoB), CP of Spain (PCE), CP of Israel, Lebanese CP, Hungarian Workers' Party, CP of Ukraine, People's Party of Palestine, CP of the Russian Federation).

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Sweden (SKP) refused to sign the statement and provided the following response to the Communist Party of China:


Since the reestablishment of capitalism in China with the ascent of Deng Xiaoping in the late 70’s, China has emerged as one of the strongest capitalist and imperialist powers. They constitute a new imperialist center that challenges the old rulers.

To secure a continued expansion they carefully nurture all the political relations they can, while they at the same time eradicate all talk of class struggle, socialism and revolution in their official statements. This constitutes an ideological offensive that aims to tie friendly forces to China, strengthening the country in the ever-sharpening inter-imperialist competition.

After having received an invitation to sign a statement written by the Communist Party of China (CPC), we feel a pressing need to make our position completely clear. That is why we want to address central parts in this statement and we want to clarify the reasons why we refuse to sign it.

The statement can be read in its entirety here.

  • “Political parties, as they are in a position to build, preserve and develop democracy, have been charged with the important mission to realise democracy and promote development.”

The CPC reduces the question of democracy to a level suitable for the bourgeoisie and the party does not take into consideration the different characteristics that define different political parties. This means that the statement has neither a political nor a class aspect. Remaining is an artificial contradiction between democracy and dictatorship; between progress and reaction.

This is a false contradiction. Political parties do not build democracy and they certainly do not realise it. Political parties are representatives for the interests of various classes. By its wording and its politics, the Chinese statement hides this fact. Instead, the statement becomes a tool for Chinese foreign policy and the signatories become tools for the striving Chinese imperialism.

  • ”Since different countries and regions may not necessarily share the same history, culture, social system and development stage, there does not exist any system of democracy or pattern of development that is applicable to all countries.”

Behind the relativist formulation that accepts every form of class rule all over the world, can be seen the struggle for better political conditions for Chinese imperialism.

The relativism also hides another thing – the necessity of socialism. Without the possibility of criticizing and evaluating the systems of other countries, socialism becomes an abstract and at best a distant goal. In this way, it becomes easy to justify whichever path of development, whether it is specific to China or any other country.

That is why the CPC is struggling to establish this relativism as a political tool. Behind it, they can claim Chinese peculiarities and create illusions concerning socialism with Chinese characteristics. In this, we refuse to be part.

  •  “We are of the view that the best way to evaluate whether the political system of a country is democratic and efficient is to observe whether the succession of its leading body is orderly and in line with the law, whether all people can manage state affairs and social, economic and cultural affairs in conformity with legal provisions, whether the public can express their requirements without hindrance, whether all sectors can efficiently participate in the country’s political affairs, whether national decisions can be made in a rational, democratic way, whether professionals in all fields can be part of the team of national leadership and administrative systems through fair competition, whether the ruling party can serve as a leader in state affairs in accordance with the Constitution and laws, and whether the exercise of power can be kept under effective restraint and supervision.”

This is boundless bourgeois legalism and it obscures social reality. There exists no classless democracy characterized by an orderly transition of power between its administrators. Rather, every democracy is a democracy for a specific class, through which it rules. The political system is a reflection on the economic reality, which it is never possible to ignore.

In a comparison between a socialist and a capitalist democracy, it would have been impossible to ignore social reality. However, behind this attempt to describe a classless democracy, there are strong material interests – in the end, it has to do with a will to portray oneself as positively as possible. This is a propaganda war between the imperialists, and it is not for us to take sides in it.

  • “We are of the view that the judgement on whether a country is democratic hinges on whether the people can become the real masters of the country. While it is necessary to observe whether the people can enjoy the right to vote, it is even more important to observe whether their right of extensive participation is guaranteed. While it is necessary to observe what verbal promises the people get during election campaigns, it is even more important to observe how many of the promises are fulfilled after elections. While it is necessary to observe what political procedures and rules are stipulated in regulations and laws, it is even more important to observe whether these regulations and laws are rigorously enforced. While it is necessary to observe whether the exercise of power follows democratic rules and procedures, it is even more important to observe whether the exercise of power is truly subject to the supervision and restraint by the people.”

If the bourgeoise follows its own rules and laws in its exercise of democracy, should we be satisfied? If the bourgeoisie carries out its election promises, should we be satisfied? If the bourgeoisie is monitored by the people, should we be satisfied?

At best, this statement by the CPC is a programme for a more democratic capitalism. The statement as such never questions the very foundation of bourgeois democracy. That is, the power and authority of capital. It never makes clear that the policies that are pursued are based on the power and authority of the bourgeoise and it corresponds to its needs.

The statement corresponds to a Chinese attempt to place the struggle within the framework of capitalism. The expansion of China is nothing less than the formation and strengthening of yet another imperialist bloc and that is why it is impossible for the CPC and the Chinese state to formulate a statement that goes beyond the framework of capitalism.

  • “The judgement on whether a country is democratic or not should be made by their people.”

The meaning of this is that democracy can be anything, as long as a people expresses that the system that they live in is a democratic one. In the end, it means that democracy can be everything and nothing. This means a break with not only social reality, where democracy is a tool for upholding the power of one class, but also with all objective standards. The purpose of this formulation is to establish that no one but the Chinese have the right to define the character of the Chinese system. By doing this, they have also guarded themselves against all forms of critique and it will be very easy to counter any criticism.

For those who uphold scientific socialism, the reasoning is a complete absurdity

  •  “We are of the view that the point of departure as well as the goal of the development of human society should be to improve people’s wellbeing and to achieve well-rounded human development.”

As before, the statement avoids any mention of either class struggle or socialism. Instead, it formulates general slogans that do not mean anything and that obligates to nothing but the continued development of Chinese capitalism and imperialism.

It is a fact that hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of absolute poverty in China. However, the same has been done in several other countries, whose capitalist character has never been in doubt. As a measure of human progress it is useless. Because of the expansion of Chinese imperialism in the world it is also natural that it brings home super profits, which can be used for domestic purposes.

By agreeing to a statement of this kind, our party would become a defender of Chinese imperialism. We would deny the need for socialism and workers’ power. Instead, we would be content with an even development of capitalism, despite the fact that reality has shown this to be an impossibility, time and time again.

To sign an agreement such as this would have made us into opportunists of the worst kind.

  • ”We are of the view that to make international relations more democratic is the trend of the times and the only way to realise this lies in putting true multilateralism into practice.”

The idea of the multilateral world, where several centers of power hold each other at bay, is a deeply reactionary one as it hides the true character of the system. The balance of power within the capitalist system has time and again changed and a revolutionary communist party should not strive to change this balance of power in any particular direction.

All alliances within the imperialist system are fleeting because of the ever-changing relations of power. It is not for us to try to adjust the relations between the imperialists, but to mobilise the working people in a struggle against the entire system, whichever expression it takes.

In doing this, a very important task is to break down the illusions concerning capitalism that are constantly being woven all around us. It is because of this that we openly proclaim our view of this statement. There cannot be any question of a realized democracy under capitalism and the participation of the capitalist states in a multilateral world does not equal any progress for the peoples of any nation.

International relations under capitalism are by definition undemocratic. The CPC tries to hide this fact and by doing this it attempts to strengthen its own position within the imperialist system.

  • “The shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom must serve as guidance in the endeavour to build such a community with a strong sense of responsibility for the future of humankind, so that countries with different social systems, ideologies, histories, cultures and levels of development can share interests, rights and responsibilities in international affairs and work together to build a better world.”

Can capitalism coexist with other economic systems? No, it pulls everything up by its roots and smashes everything that has been.

“The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”

This is what Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto. This basic truth has not changed since then.

Was peaceful coexistence between socialism and capitalism ever possible? No, it was not. Capitalism could never accept such a coexistence. Within the capitalist system itself, such a peaceful coexistence is even less possible, as the system itself is characterized by increasingly violent contradictions.

Capitalism can never make anything but naked profit into its real guiding principle and all attempts to tell us something else are propaganda and lies. When the need arises, the beautiful words become superfluous and reality catches up.

It is this reality that they now attempt to conceal from us, by trying to convince us that peace, development, democracy, justice and freedom are possible to achieve under capitalism.

Against the proponents of Chinese imperialism we hold up proletarian internationalism and scientific socialism, which give us not only the tools we need to understand the world, but also the tools we need to change it. We refuse to be an instrument of Chinese foreign policy.

Long live socialism! /