Nigel Harris


The Mandate of Heaven


Part IV
Equality, Democracy
and National Independence


12. Democracy

The subject of “democracy” is more confused than any so far discussed. There are few régimes in the world which do not call themselves “democratic”, regardless of local institutions. As a result, it is tempting to make a clean sweep and argue that “democratic” means nothing of any importance. Yet to do that is to abandon what Marx saw as the essence of the struggle for socialism: freedom, the self-emancipation of the majority.

The Marxists indicted the form of “democracy” practised in the representative institutions of capitalism as parliamentarianism. Parliament was a “talking shop”, a decorative façade for the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”. Real power was exercised behind the scenes in the offices of the State and the boardrooms of great companies. Here, the decisions were made which determined the material conditions of the majority; they were not exposed to public debate, which was restricted to the superficial questions of what bourgeois democracy called “politics”.

The critique of parliament, however, was not a rejection of democracy itself Lenin wrote: “The way out of parliamentarianism is not, of course, the abolition of representative institutions and the electoral principle, but the conversion of the representative institutions from mere ‘talking shops’ into working bodies.” [46] For, Lenin continues: “We cannot imagine democracy, not even proletarian democracy, without representative institutions, but we can and must think of democracy without parliamentarianism.” [47] The task was two-fold: to fuse real power with the assembly so that it became an executive, so that the execution of policy was directly related to those who elected the members of the assembly; and to establish open elections to the assembly on a free debate of the real issues. Such a procedure would indeed be rejected both by the bourgeoisie and by those on the Left who believed socialism was incapable of winning majority support in an open contest and must therefore be imposed by a minority.

But what was the “real power” the assembly must direct?



(i) The State

The State is the instrument of power of a ruling class. Its existence, according to Engels, “is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it is cleft into irreconcilable antagonism which it is powerless to dispel”.

How does it subordinate society? Through its legal monopoly of the use of physical power, what Lenin calls “armed bodies of men” – the army, the police, the secret police, the prisons, backed by the law and the courts. This is the ultimate line of defence of the ruling class and its answer to the “irreconcilable class antagonisms”.

Many socialists agreed with this argument in the late nineteenth century. One group then went on to propose that, where open elections and the right to form a government existed, socialists should contest in order to capture power within the existing institutions. Once in control of the “armed bodies of men”, they could be used to advance the purposes of the working class as easily as they had previously been used to defend the ruling class. Gradually, the balance of class power could be shifted by successive waves of reforms without open violence of civil war, because now the worken controlled the State’s army and police.

It would have been an excellent course of action if practicable. But it was absurd to suppose the State, constructed and designed to achieve one set of purposes, could be transformed into its opposite just by the addition of a group of different directors. The State was not a machine, depending for its direction on whoever sat in the driving seat. It was a set of men and women, themselves dedicated to the purposes for which the State had been created. Adding a few socialists to the existing State was not a method of changing its direction; it was a method by which the existing State colonized the socialists.

The only possibility of a real revolution came, not through endeavouring to redirect the existing State, but, in the words of Marx, Engels and Lenin, smashing it. It followed that, in the struggle for power, the socialists could not make themselves dependent upon the existing State for their power without entirely losing their purpose. They must base themselves upon the working class, keeping working-class institutions firmly independent of the existing State and rooted, not in the existing army and police, but in the workers’ control of production, control of the very surplus upon which the existing State depended.

That was not the end of the question. Destroying the old State machine did not destroy its social foundations, the bourgeoisie. They would endeavour to mobilize armed force to reconquer power. To prevent such a reconquest, the workers would need a new apparatus of State power, itself the product of the “irreconcilable class antagonisms”. On this question, Engels’ logic was implacable: “As before, the State is only a transitional institution which is used in the struggle, in the revolution, in order to hold down one’s adversaries by force. it is pure nonsense to speak of a free people’s State: so long as the proletariat needs the State, it does not need it in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom, the State as such ceases to exist.” [48]

But to create a new State, whether described as “workers” or not, would surely be to perpetutate the oppression that the revolution was supposedly designed to end? Would not the new State simply degenerate once more into a force oppressing the majority? Such a state of affairs could not be prevented if the State became independent of its social basis, the working class. The bourgeoisie had succeeded in keeping its State subordinate to its purposes. How could the working class achieve the same alignment of the State and its own interests?

Marx used the Paris Commune – in his view, the first historical example of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” – as the model for this relationship. Having suppressed the standing army of the old régime (the first decree of the Commune), workers’ militia became the armed forces defending the Commune; all officials in the militia were to be elected, and subject to recall by their electors; all workers were at some stage to participate in the militia. The Commune itself was composed of delegates, a majority of them working men and women, elected on universal suffrage, subject to recall and replacement by the electors at any time, and remunerated by pay no higher than that received by an ordinary worker (with no special or additional privileges). Furthermore, the officials of the Commune were also to be elected, subject,to recall and replacement by the electors, and to be supervised by the majority; all were expected in due course to serve as officials of the Commune. Finally, the Commune delegates were not elected to comment on policy (or such aspects of policy as the government was pleased to divulge to them), but to formulate and implement it, to be responsible’ directly for carrying out the wishes of the majority.

There was one necessary precondition for such a system to work. All the main items of Commune policy, practice and finance must be public, accessible to majority consideration and discussion. Otherwise, knowledge itself became the secret power of the bureaucracy, and the majority could no longer make a responsible decision on what its State should do. The exercise of power had to be dragged into the light of public discussion, so that the officials were distinguished solely by temporary task, not by knowledge, privilege or power.

Whatever else the Commune achieved, it laid down a set of criteria by which “democracy” can be judged in any country. Such a system offered the promise of something else, the dissolution of the State itself – as Lenin put it: “Democracy, introduced as fully and consistently as is generally conceivable, is transformed from bourgeois democracy into proletarian democracy; from the State [i.e. a special force for the suppression of a particular class] into something which is no longer really a State.” [49]



(ii) The Soviet Republic

The Bolsheviks refused to seize power until they had won a majority in the elected institutions of the working class, the Soviets. Their slogan was not, “Replace the Provisional Government” (that is, taking over the existing State machine), but “All power to the Soviets”. The Soviets already consisted of working men and women, elected and subject to recall, and around it there already existed workers’ militia, an alternative to the established army. Once in power, the new government laid it down that all army commanders were to be elected; all ranks, titles, decorations and special privileges in the officer corps were to be abolished.

The moment was brief. The tight hold of civil war closed in on the infant republic, threatening to strangle Moscow. The struggle of the new government to survive imposed a different logic. For example, too few men volunteered for the armed forces to fight the White armies; either the régime reconciled itself to defeat and destruction, or it had to introduce conscription. Again, there was a shortage of military experience and competence; the White armies left no time for the new worker soldiers to learn how to fight. With great reluctance, the new government began to recruit former Tsarist officers. But such recruits were not elected by the troops in their units; they had to be appointed from above, with a special commissar attached to watch their every move, lest, in the exercise of power, they betray the purpose of the revolution. Yet the régime did not pretend that this was “socialism”; it was a temporary expedient, made necessary only by the most urgent threat to the survival of Soviet power; a popular militia in which all participated remained the aim.

Given the backwardness of Russia and the failure of the revolution in industrialized Europe, the temporary slowly became the permanent, the “retreat” became rationalized as an advance. The spirit of the régime’s “armed bodies of men” changed, and whether the commanders were former workers or Tsarist officers, their minds were slowly reshaped to accord to their real social life, that of an elite. One old Bolshevik recalls: “They [the Red Army commanders] became members of the new officers’ group, and no agitation whatsoever, nor beautiful speeches about the necessity of contact with the masses, would be of any avail. The conditions of existence are stronger than kind wishes.” [50] The political cornmissars appointed to represent the supervision of the working class over the commanders in due course succumbed, and were colonized by the commanders. The real changes were faster than those in the symbols; distinctive and pretentious uniforms, medals, epaulettes, gold braid, the elaborate hierarchy of rank, these came later. By the Second World War, the process was fully accomplished; commanders now, far from being elected, were vested with virtually absolute power over the troops. Indeed, even friendliness between men and officers was frowned upon. As one general put it: “The hail-fellow-well-met spirit in the relationships between a commander and a subordinate can have no place in the Red Army. Discussion of any kind is absolutely prohibited among subordinates.” [51]

The transformation of the “armed bodies of men” was only one symptom of social change in Russia. It could not take place in isolation; the changes were impelled by factors which had similar effects on the most important index of democracy, the Soviets, the assemblies of worker, soldier and peasant delegates.

The congress of Soviets met five times in 1918 and, thereafter, once a year until 1922. The USSR was formally declared in 1923, and the Congress met in 1924 and 1925, then every two years up to 1931. By then it was already clear that all the major decisions of the government were taken independently of the sessions of the Soviet. The members were no longer subject to recall; nor were they bound to receive no more than the average pay of working men; nor did they implement policy. The Central Executive Committee, which was supposedly the “supreme organ of the Soviet Republic”, met for only about ten days a year, a period quite insufficient even to appraise government policy, let alone initiate it. After Stalin’s purges, its decisions were invariably unanimous. None of the major changes of policy were discussed before they were implemented, and usually the government’s budget was ratified only long after it had come into effect.

Whether through the Soviet or the party, it was impossible for the majority of the citizens of the Soviet Union to exercise power. The sheer information needed to decide the main issues of policy – investment, defence, welfare, wages – was not publicly available, even supposing the institutions to express majority opinion had existed. There was – and is today – no way of removing or changing the Russian leadership except through a purge or a coup, an operation which can only be carried out within the bureaucracy.

Such a system does not prevent the national leadership from criticizing its subordinates, indeed blaming them for actions which prompt more than usual popular resentment. Stalin often attacked “commandism”, “arrogance” by the cadres, bureaucratism, and occasionally purged large numbers of the party. His criticism was of a bad style of leadership, not of the structure of power. When he anathematized “bureaucracy” he was not attacking the State of which he stood at the apex. Nor was he attacking the central decisions that compelled the cadres to behave in the way they did.

The changes in the Soviet Union muddled the key concepts, just as the evolution of representative institutions in Western capitalist countries had done. Now “democracy” became, not the rule of the majority, but a government that, whatever its policy, “represented” the people. In practice, at best it consulted them. Criticism of the style of the officials of the State was substituted for the critique of the existence of the State itself The existence of “armed bodies of men” came to be not the expression of “irreconcilable class antagonisms” but the democratic’ instrument of – what for Marx and Lenin was a contradiction in terms – a “classless State” of the “People”.



(iii) The Chinese Communist leadership and democracy

The Chinese Communist party’s view of democracy was taken from the Russia of the 1930s. Democracy is a style of relationship between cadres and non-cadres, between party leaders and cadres, not the subordination of power to the majority. In this sense democracy’ is not directly about power at all.

Mao, for example, argues: “All leading members within the Party must promote democracy and let people speak out. What are the limits? One is that we must observe Party discipline, the minority must obey the majority, and the whole Party should obey the Centre.” [52] The majority here is ambiguous. In practice, it means the leadership’s decision, since there is no mechanism available to identify what the majority of party members want. In the PLA Mao also calls for democracy, and explains what he means: [the leadership] “must have a democratic style of work when something comes up, they must consult the comrades, give full deliberation to matters, and absolutely listen to the various views. Opposition views must be presented. Do not practise, ‘what I say counts’.” [53]

The same applies to the relationship between cadres and non-cadres: “An overwhelming majority of these people must be made to attend meetings and air their views. Only thus can opposition views be established, contradictions exposed, the truth uncovered and the movement unfolded.” [54] Of course, in the original conception of democracy, it did not depend upon the leadership “practising” it: majority control ensured that the leadership had no alternative.

At no stage has it been suggested that the officials of the State should be elected, subject to recall, paid no more than average wages. The bureaucracy of the Chinese State is appointed, works in secrecy, and is privileged by income and status. Mao objects not to the existence of such a bureaucracy, but to the style inevitably engendered by its monopoly of power: “The overlord style, the three bad styles of work, the five undesirable airs, and the contempt for the common labourer.” The theme recurred throughout the history of the People’s Republic. Yet at no stage did Mao propose the classical solution, manifested in the Paris Commune – elections. The most he offered was “consultation”, which in no way bound the leadership: “We consult the people, the workers, the peasants, the capitalists, the petty bourgeoisie and the democratic parties, on whatever we plan to do. You can call us the consulting government. We do not put on a stern face and lecture the people. We do not give anyone a stunning blow if his opinions are not sound.” [55] It was disingenuous, since those who received “stunning blows” were classified as “counter-revolutionaries”, not part of the “people”. For example, in the Hundred Flowers campaign, Mao recalled later: “After the events in Hungary, we allowed scattered free expression of opinion and tens of thousands of little Hungaries appeared ... over 400,000 rightists had to be purged.” [56]

Because Mao regarded the preservation of the State and its bureaucracy as an absolute priority he could not urge the building of an alternative basis of popular power with which to supervise the bureaucracy. For the Chairman, the aim was always: “We should get rid of the enemy. Rigid bureaucrats should be reformed into creative bureaucrats. If after a long time they can’t be creative then we should get rid of them.” [57] Leaders are required to change, not their objective position of superior power and income, but simply their subjective attitude – they must adopt an attitude of genuine equality towards the cadres and masses, and make people feel that relationships among men are truly equal ... No matter how high one’s position, one must appear among people as an ordinary worker. One must not assume airs; one must get rid of bureaucratism. [58]

As in the West, it is all a matter of projecting the right image. if democratic control actually existed, it would be unnecessary to deliver such homilies, for mass power would establish both equality of income (so that there would be no trouble about curbing conspicuous consumption) and a style of leadership appropriate to the task.

Mao has rarely shown any interest in establishing elections as a mechanism of control. Perhaps, in the heady days of 1966, he was persuaded to adopt the electoral principle, for clause 9 of his famous Sixteen Points did argue that “it is necessary to introduce a system of general elections like that of the Paris Commune, for electing members to the Cultural Revolution Committees and Groups and delegates to the Cultural Revolution Congresses”. Red Flag went further: “All leaders must be elected by the people; the elected must be servants of the people and be submitted to their supervision; the electors have the right to recall at any time.”

The moment was brief More characteristically, Mao says, “As far as I am concerned, election is merely a fancy word, and I do not feel that there is any genuine election.” [59] The press duly supports the Chairman in one of his characteristically misleading tags: “Blind faith in elections is also a form of conservative thinking.” [60] Indeed it is, but that is not an argument against having elections, any more than the critique of parliamentarianism is an argument against any form of democracy! That however is the conclusion Mao draws – for example, in his discussion with President Pompidou over the instability of government under the Fourth Republic: “Napoleon’s methods were best. He dissolved all the assemblies, and he himself chose the people to govern with.” [61] How can he praise the method of counter-revolution independently of its purpose?

The confusion of “participation” with “majority control” affects each issue. For example, on occasions Mao has espoused the decentralization of power. At other times, he cites an aphorism from Lenin: “Absolute centralization and the strictest discipline of the proletariat constitutes one of the fundamental conditions for victory over the bourgeoisie.” The contradiction is only resolved when we examine Mao’s definition of “decentralization”: “Concentrate important powers in one hand;/Diffuse less important ones.” [62]

The relationship between cadres and mass “is comparable to that between fish and water”. It is clearly absurd to suggest that the water should control, direct or supervise the fish. Its role is merely to supply a medium for the fish, to support the qualitatively different élite; no matter how hard the water tries, it can never become a fish. If any are so misguided as to try, they promptly become “rightists” and “counter-revolutionaries”. Indeed, the masses are dangerous in such circumstances – “Once the masses are aroused, they become blind” – and being blind, no longer supply that passive water which supports the fish, which swims in it to power. As always, embedded in the Populism is élitism.

But perhaps Mao’s conception of democracy is not borne out in practice? Perhaps the actual institutional structure of modern China goes much further than the Chairman was prepared to put into words. What is the record?



(iv) Democracy in China

When the Communist party came to power, as we have seen, it did not “smash” the old State, nor dissolve the Kuomintang’s “armed bodies of men” . The new government took over the existing State machine and absorbed the Kuomintang armies into the PLA. There were no workers or peasant delegate bodies which played other than a purely supporting role in the conquest of power. In most of China, the PLA administered without supervision.

However, four years after coming to power, the government set about creating some basis for its own legitimacy by setting up the National People’s Congress (NPC). So far as Mao was concerned, “the Soviet of the Soviet Union and the People’s Congress are both representative assemblies. Only in name are they different.” [63] In origin, however, the institutions were completely different. The NPC did not exist in 1949. It played no role as an independent power contesting with the Kuomintang government for national authority. It was invented by the new government under the electoral law of March 1953, and invested with no more than a puppet’s life. The Soviet had to be emasculated by the party leadership. No such problem arose in China.

The membership of the Congress was to be elected by a series of electoral colleges at different administrative levels, based finally upon the universal suffrage of all adults over eighteen. There was no provision for the recall of the elected (indeed, the system of intervening electoral colleges made it impossible to establish any relationship between a representative and a section of the voters), nor for them to be paid an average working man’s wage. The Congress was to be elected every four years, and to meet in annual session. One of its tasks was to elect the Head of State and his deputy, the Prime Minister and the State Council, the ministers of the government.

The first round of elections created some five million representatives at the lowest levels, who then proceeded to vote for 16,806 deputies to meet at the provincial and city level. These then elected 1,141 deputies to attend the first NPC, which was held between 15 and 28 September 1954. The Congress created a Standing Committee to meet twice a month when the Congress was not in session, to supervise the government, protect the constitution and decide on the sacking and appointment of ministers.

In practice, however, the first NPC did not meet annually; it met only twice (in 1954 and 1956). Elections were held for the Second NPC and it met six months behind the constitutional schedule, in April 1959. The second, like the first, managed only one other session (in 1960). However, the Third Congress was nearly two years late (meeting from 21 December 1964 to 4 January 1965), and was not preceded by any lower level elections. The number of deputies had been increased to about 3,000 (with 1,000 observers). So far as can be seen, the Third NPC had no subsequent sessions. The Fourth NPC did not meet for another eleven years. When it did meet, in January 1975, the 2,864 deputies were required to ratify, seven years after the event, the removal of the Head of State (Liu Shao-ch’i) and the Defence Minister (Lin Piao), and the decimation of much of the government. The Fifth NPC – scheduled for 1978 – was to be composed, according to Hua, of “outstanding people from various fields of work, and representative personages ... elected deputies ... through full discussion and democratic consultations”.

Since the NPC meets for a fortnight at most even when it is summoned, there is no question of it supervising the government or changing the leadership. Its position is, if possible, even more insignificant than that of the Supreme Soviet in Russia (which has, however, a slightly better record in meeting). The NPC is part of the decorative façade of the State; indeed, it is more an empty “talking shop” than those parliaments in Western countries criticized by Lenin. The major items of policy – the Korean War, the agrarian reform, the first Five Year Plan, the Great Leap Forward, the break with the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution, the détente with the United States, all took place without the participation of the NPC.

Perhaps the party Congress provides an alternative mechanism for popular control? Under the 1945 party constitution (passed at the Seventh Congress), the Congress was to meet annually, the delegates being elected by lower party congresses every five years. But the Eighth party Congress did not meet for eleven years, until 1956, and there was only one other session, in 1958. The Congress sessions lasted less than two weeks, so that it could scarcely do more than react, after the event, to a fraction of the work of its instrument, the Central Committee. The Eighth Congress ended its official term of life in 1961, but the Ninth Congress did not meet until 1969, again eleven years after its predecessor. At the Ninth Congress, it was acknowledged that the “delegates” were not elected by lower party congresses, but, in the euphemism of the text, “through democratic consultation”. The Ninth Congress had long been rumoured but, given the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, apparently could not be called with a secure majority for the leadership. When General Hsueh Fu-chih, head of the Peking Municipal Revolutionary Committee, announced the Ninth Congress to the Red Guards in October 1968, he promised it would be reorganized from the top so that the party old guard would not dominate it, and that the “delegates” would be increased from 1,000 to 10,000. By the time of the Ninth Congress, however, the Red Guards had been defeated, and there was no need for such a concession.

The Ninth Congress was required to ratify the removal of the party Chairman’s deputy, Liu Shao-ch’i, the general secretary, Teng Hsiao-p’ing, and a majority of the Central Committee. It was also required to ratify a new second-in-command to Mao, Lin Piao, whose elevation had occurred two years earlier. It was only four years to the Tenth Congress (the first time a Congress had been held on time since 1945) and the removal of Lin Piao and his associates in August 1973.

The Congress had the official task of electing a Central Committee to represent the Congress between sessions. The Central Committee numbered about seventy-seven members and alternates in 1945, 170 in 1956 (twenty-five more alternates were added at the second session in 1958) and 279 in 1969. The Central Committee was required to meet at least twice per year under the 1956 constitution. In fact, it met only twelve times in the thirteen years (1956-69) between the Eighth and Ninth Congresses. Furthermore, its Eleventh Plenum (August 1966) permitted the attendance of an unknown number of unelected Red Guards, responsible to no one except the party Chairman. At the Twelfth Plenum in October 1968, when Liu Shao-ch’i was officially denounced, non-members are said to have been granted voting rights, thus disenfranchising the supposed electors, the delegates to the party Congress.

Power was no more vested in the party Congress than it was in the NPC. Nor was it located in the Central Committee. Central Committee membership, like membership of the Standing Committee of the NPC, was merely a high honour. It was the Political Bureau of the Central Committee which came closer to power. Within the Politburo, its Standing Committee was, at various times, the key institution. However, in the Cultural Revolution, even that was not enough, and an entirely new body, the Cultural Revolution Group, was created, without a semblance of democratic legitimacy, to transmit “Mao Tse-tung thought”. In the final analysis, only Mao himself represented the majority; what he thought was, by definition, the will of the majority, and no actual majority at any level of Chinese society was summoned to give a real verdict. In the unions, as we have seen, there was no mechanism for electing a representative leadership. On the revolutionary committees set up during the Cultural Revolution, “established”, as the party said, “not by elections but by relying upon action by the broad revolutionary masses”, mediated by the “leadership of the PLA” at all levels, there was similarly no method for even formulating, let alone expressing, a majority will. [64] All such bodies were “transmission belts”, not for the controlling power of the majority over the leadership of China, but for the party centre over the majority. All the machinery of mass assemblies, criticism and self-criticism, cadre participation in manual labour, big character posters, popular education, are necessary precisely because democracy in any serious sense does not exist.

Even if the institutions existed, the basic information upon which the majority could make a responsible decision is not available. The Chinese State adopted from Russia the machinery of censorship and information control. No continuous sets of figures on the major sectors of the economy, on the course of popular consumption or any other matter of importance have been published since 1959. Finding out what has happened requires full-time specialized work for anyone not in the inner circle of leadership, a task certainly beyond the majority of Chinese. Mao has supported that control of information. Not only has he not raised the question, on some occasions he has positively increased the controls. For example, in 1956 he instructed the party centre to circulate Khrushchev’s secret speech criticizing Stalin at the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist party only to local and county party committee secretaries; it must not be discussed in the press or “among the masses” [65] Again, he urged the cadres to unite to protect “the secrets of the State” in the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Neither the budget figures nor the Five Year Plans are publicly available. As one sympathetic observer remarked of the Second Plan: “For the first time in a socialist régime, a whole people was ordered to embark on a Five Year Plan without being informed of the targets.” [66]

The cadres of the party have a better chance of being informed. For example, at some levels they have access to a daily reference bulletin, Tsan Kao Hsiao Hsi, and to reprints of foreign newspaper articles, while senior PLA officers have a confidential internal publication. But such privileged information in no way represents democracy in China, even if it is a precondition for the party leadership carrying the support of its immediate followers. Nor does it mean the cadres do not get confused by the shifts and changes of policy. One of the official commentators on the Tenth Party Congress reproved those cadres who believed the leadership struggle was too complicated to understand. “In fact”, he pronounced, “this involves the long-standing question of whether or not the two-line struggle can be known ... Those who believe in the incomprehensibility of the two-line struggle are completely wrong.” [67] After all the newspaper words and radio diatribes, still it was a “longstanding question”, even for party cadres! How much more “incomprehensible” was it to those many millions who did not have access to the privileged information of the cadre?

The key institutions of the Chinese State, its “armed bodies of men”, its police force, its bureaucracy with its privileges and secrets, all survived the Cultural Revolution intact. It had been no part of Mao’s intention that they should not survive even if particular individuals were removed (and many of those, only temporarily). Whether before the Cultural Revolution or afterwards, none of China’s institutions accorded with the basic criteria of “proletarian democracy” as outlined by Marx and Lenin. They do not even accord with the weak criteria of “bourgeois democracy”. Nor can they, when the régime is dedicated to capital accumulation as the condition of its national survival. The few who did take Lenin’s criteria seriously, like Sheng-wu-lien and Li Yi-che, were hounded as “counter-revolutionaries” just as they would have been in the Soviet Union for that matter.

Neither in terms of “equality”, let alone “democracy”, it seems, is China distinguished qualitatively from many of the other States of the world. What of the central purpose of the party’s leadership since 1949, the strengthening of China’s national independence?




46. State and Revolution, SW7, p.44.

47. Ibid., p.46.

48. Letter to Bebel, 18-28 Mar. 1875, in Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p.294; stress added.

49. State and Revolution, op. cit., p.41.

50. Petrovskii, cited by D.H. White, The growth of the Red Army, Princeton, 1944, pp. 63-4.

51. V. Ulrich, in Soviet Army Daily (Krasnaya Zvezda), 22 April 1940, cited Cliff, Stalinist Russia, op. cit., pp.89-90.

52. In Mao Unrehearsed, p.183.

53. January 1964, in Miscellany II, p.364.

54. Letter to cadres, March 1959, in Miscellany I, p.172.

55. December 1956, in Miscellany I, p.41.

56. January 1961, in Miscellany II, p.238.

57. January 1961, ibid. II, p.240.

58. In Mao Papers, p.68; stress added.

59. May 1967, in Miscellany II, p.460.

60. Hung-ch’i 4, 1968.

61. Conversation with Mao by the President of France, Georges Pompidou, 1973, published extract in English, Sunday Times, London, 24 October 1976, p.56

62. Rule 28, from Sixty Points on Working Methods, 1958, in Mao Papers, p.68.

63. December 1964, in Miscellany II, p.417.

64. PR 43, 1968, p.7.

65. April 1956, in Miscellany I, p.35.

66. Deleyne, op. cit., p.29.

67. Su Hsi, JMJP, 11 January 1974, SCMP 5547, 6 February 1974.


Last updated on 22.1.2002