International Committee of the Fourth International
The World Capitalist Crisis and the Tasks of the Fourth International: Perspectives Resolution of the ICFI

Stalinism in China

Upon the outcome of this struggle depends the survival of what remains of the conquests of the working class in all the countries ruled by Stalinist bureaucracies. Throughout Eastern Europe and in China, Vietnam and Laos, the bureaucracies are moving, even more rapidly than in the USSR, to the integration of their national economies into the structure of world capitalism. This process is most advanced in China. The corpse of Mao may still be embalmed for public display, but his legacy is already in an advanced stage of putrefaction. His successors have moved to dismantle whatever existed of the planned economy. Virtually all land collectivized after 1949 has been returned to private ownership, and, under the banner of the government-inspired slogan, “To get rich is glorious,” capitalist relations are flourishing in the countryside. In the urban centers, virtually all restrictions on capitalist enterprise have been lifted and large portions of what was once state-owned industry is being auctioned off to foreign and native capitalists. There are privately owned factories now employing as many as 1,000 workers. Regulations issued in June 1988 removed all limits on the number of workers who can be employed in capitalist enterprises.

The Chinese Stalinist agents of world imperialism have established special economic zones (SEZ) in which they welcome the unfettered exploitation of the working class. Of exceptional significance is the rapidly expanding role of Taiwanese capital in the economy of the mainland. In 1987, indirect trade between Taiwan and China, in which Hong Kong served as a transfer point, grew by 58% to $1.5 billion. Over 80 Taiwanese companies have already invested in production in the mainland and more than 200 are in the process of doing so.

The welcome mat for capitalism is being accompanied by a public assault on Marxism. The bureaucracy used the occasion of the one-hundred-fortieth anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto to denounce its supposed errors. “It was wrong for Marx and Engels to predict that capitalism was declining and socialism was arriving, because this did not conform to the facts,” a leading journal recently protested. In a significant statement which exposes the real nature of the policies being pursued by the Stalinists, a leading “theoretician” explained that the government’s policy “allows profits to be distributed according to labor and capital.” As for the effect on the working class, the theoretician commented that the government “allows exploitation, but socialist exploitation”!

This “socialist exploitation” has resulted in more than three million children quitting school to work for private capitalist employers. The press admits that the employers “take advantage of child labor to get rich.” The growth of child labor is a reflection of the dramatic fall in workers’ living standards. While workers have received only fractional increases in their wages, inflation is soaring. During the first quarter of 1988, the price of non-staple food rose 24.2% and vegetables, 48.7%.

For decades, the Pabloites glorified Maoism as an alternative to Trotskyism. As far back as 1952, Pablo refused even to publicize the appeal of Chinese Trotskyists who had been imprisoned by the Maoists after the establishment of the People’s Republic. The Pabloites, outraged by the Chinese Trotskyists’ defense of a proletarian class line against Mao’s eclectic combination of Stalinism, bourgeois nationalism and peasant radicalism, denounced these intransigent Marxists as “refugees from the revolution.” In 1957, the Ceylonese Pabloites met with China’s Foreign Minister Chou En-lai, but again refused to raise the issue of the imprisoned Trotskyists. Now, the historical implications of the Pabloites’ capitulation to Maoism are revealed in the policies of the “Great Helmsman’s” heirs. The policies of the Chinese Stalinists, whose frenzied reintroduction of capitalism is driving the country into an economic catastrophe, must lead to a massive eruption by the proletariat. In the next revolutionary upsurge, it will be the Chinese working class who will take the leadership of the impoverished peasantry in a titanic struggle to cleanse the country of the bureaucrats and the grasping class of capitalists spawned by Stalinism.