This contribution was made to the online event hosted by the international department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Chinese embassy in London, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CPC’s founding.
Your Excellency, minister, comrades and friends
I am deeply honoured to be participating in this event, and to be marking with you an occasion of such historic significance, not only to the Chinese people, but to workers and oppressed people all over the world.
It is not possible to say very much on such a large topic in only a few minutes, so of necessity I can only discuss a very few of those today.
But the need to be brief also focuses the mind on what it is that is most significant. What do I care about most when I think about the huge contributions of the CPC and the gains of the Chinese revolution?
And what do I want workers in Britain to care about?
I think the number one thing I would point to is the way in which China’s experience has demonstrated irrefutably the unbeatable combination of Marxist theory and a vibrant mass movement.
Marxism-Leninism is a powerful weapon. It is the ideology of the modern working class. It lays bare the economic bones of the capitalist-imperialist system; it exposes that system’s inner logic; it reveals the contradictions that are at the heart of its insoluble problems; it shows us how the system came into being … and it shows us not only how we will be able to put an end to that system but what we should build in its place.
Marxism gets its power from science, from being rooted in objective reality, from telling workers the truth.
But no amount of being right will bring us socialism if we are not able to connect this understanding with the masses.
As the Bolsheviks did, as the Chinese communists did, we too need to find a way to put this powerful tool into the hands of the people – and they need to be organised in significant numbers in order to make proper use of the knowledge they have gained.
The CPC’s example showed us unequivocally that both these conditions need to be met: the condition of holding firm to Marxist-Leninist science and the condition of organising the workers and connecting them with the theory that will enable their liberation from capitalist-imperialist exploitation.
All the great achievements that have accrued to the CPC and to new China – from the defeat of the feudal landlords at home and the imperialist colonisers from abroad; from the successes of the first five-year plan and the modernisation of agriculture and industry to high-speed railways and the Three Gorges dam; from the ending of famine to the abolition of absolute poverty; from the telecommunications revolution to space exploration; from new strides in artificial intelligence to the successful fight against Covid-19 …
All these successes have flowed from the first and most important success of correctly implementing this vital strategy; from successfully connecting Marxism with the masses – and this is a profound lesson that socialists everywhere must never lose sight of.
Secondly comrades, I would like to say a word or two about the imperialist drive to war against China, which is something we workers in Britain cannot ignore, especially since our own rulers are at the forefront of those seeking to make trouble between the west and China.
China is not targeted because of her economic system but because of her independence.
In the era of imperialism – that is, the era of the domination of a handful of finance capitalists over the globe – any corner, no matter how small, of the world that dares to hold out for its independence is perceived as a threat.
And China, of course, is not a small country but a very large one, home to many workers and resources.
This hostility of imperialism is not rational when viewed through the lens of human logic. It does not respond to rational or diplomatic overtures; it is not assuaged by disarmament or assurances of peaceful intent.
That is because it stems from an entirely separate logic: the logic of capitalist-imperialism.
The desperate quest to expand, to seek out ever more markets, sources of raw materials and opportunities for making maximum profits, is an urge that cannot be argued with in the era of imperialism.
Not for nothing did Lenin tell us over a century ago that “imperialism seeks domination not democracy”.
Imperialism is driving towards war with China because it cannot stand to be denied the opportunity to control every last resource and to exploit every last worker in China’s territory, and in the countries that China helps to develop outside of imperialist control.
It cannot stand to see China offering fraternal assistance so that other countries can raise themselves up instead of remaining forever as chattels and debt slaves to the global corporations.
It is driving to war because the deep economic crisis of capitalism – which is a global crisis of overproduction – is driving the competition to control materials and opportunities for profit-taking to fever pitch.
We socialists in Britain are duty-bound to explain these things to our fellow workers.
We are duty-bound to show them how our rulers are inundating them with hostile lying propaganda against China in order to blame China for the failings of the capitalist system, and in order to create a mood of sympathy towards a possible war against China.
We must show our fellow workers that such a war would be very much against their interests, and we must mobilise them by every means possible to oppose the launching of such a war.
We must show our fellow workers that the people of China are their friends, not their enemies, and that socialism is our shared future.
Comrades, we congratulate you wholeheartedly on this historic occasion and wish your party and your people continuing successes in preserving China’s independence, in building a strong country and in providing a decent and civilised life for every Chinese person.
Long may the CPC continue to serve the people!