July 2021 marks the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Within a few short years, the party attracted widespread support. The defeated Chinese Revolution of 1925-27 – led by the workers of Shanghai and Canton – represents, despite its tragic outcome, one of the most magnificent movements in the history of the international working class.
The successful Chinese Revolution of 1944-49, as far as socialists and Marxists are concerned, is the second greatest event in human history, after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, led by the Bolsheviks of Lenin and Trotsky.
Five hundred million Chinese workers and peasants, kept at the level of pack animals by landlordism and capitalism, their country dismembered into imperialist “spheres of influence” and “concessions”, shook off this yoke, and finally stepped onto the scene of world history.
Mao Zedong was the leader of the Red Army that presided over the “third” revolution of 1944-49. He was, by his own admission, a “Stalinist”, and constructed not a democratic workers’ state along the lines of Russia in 1917-23 but a regime similar to that existing in Stalinist Russia at the time.
However, it was relatively progressive because landlordism and capitalism were eliminated and the beginnings of a planned economy were put into place, although power was in the hands of a one-party, totalitarian regime.
In recent decades, the ruling ‘Communist Party’ has overseen a ‘state managed’ return to capitalism, albeit of a special type (for more analysis of the Chinese economy today, see https://www.socialistworld.net/2021/06/11/will-chinas-bubble-burst/).
Today the party has nothing to do with the ideas of those who founded the original CCP as a part of an internationalist movement to overthrow capitalism. While China is becoming a world economic power, domestic inequalities have grown, as have workers’ and youth discontent and social tensions.
The following articles from the CWI’s archives examine key aspects of the Chinese revolution and the rule of the Chinese communist party, and the alternative of workers’ democratic control, management, and planning of the economy and a socialist society.