By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Forum on the GPCR, Amsterdam, May 29, 20016
It is important to celebrate and review the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) on its 50th anniversary. The GPCR gives us confidence in the current struggles for national liberation, democracy and socialism and gives us hope for the ultimate goal of communism. While the world capitalist system is now afflicted by unprecedented crisis, the GPCR gives humankind the hope that socialism can be attained and developed until communism is attained.
1. GPCR INFLUENCE IN THE REESTABLISHMENT OF CPP
Underscoring of Mao’s correct leadership in the ND and socialist revolution
The Chinese revolution under the leadership of the working class, Communist Party of China and Comrade Mao Zedong has had a strong influence and impact on the Filipino people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the patriotic and progressive forces because it is a revolution that prevailed over semicolonial and semifeudal conditions and against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism at the stage of the new democratic revolution and proceeded to the stage of socialist revolution and construction.
Position against modern revisionism and theory and practice of GPCR
Filipino proletarian revolutionaries have always had the highest appreciation for Comrade Mao in leading the struggle against the rise of modern revisionism centred in the Soviet Union since the 1950s. So have they welcomed and supported Mao’s theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in order to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism in China from 1966 to 1976.
The young proletarian revolutionaries reestablished the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968 by learning from the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao and pronouncedly from the Chinese revolution. All these were underscored by their resolve to struggle and win the people’s democratic revolution and proceed to the socialist revolution and build socialism in transition to communism.
Vindication of Mao through the Dengist counterrevolution and capitalist restoration
From 1966 to 1976, the GPCR was on the whole victoriously upholding, defending and advancing the socialist cause. But underlying the GPCR were the persistent efforts of the bourgeoisie to bring China to the road of capitalism. After the death of Mao in 1976, the Rightists headed by Deng Xiaoping in alliance with the Centrists carried out a coup d’etat.
The coup brought to power the capitalist roaders and the class dictatorship of the proletariat was replaced by that of the bourgeoisie. By December 1978 the policy of capitalist-oriented reforms and opening up to the US-dominated capitalist world was proclaimed. The way was thrown wide open for the development of capitalism within China and for the integration of Chinese capitalism in the world capitalist system. In 1984, the communes were dismantled, thus breaking the alliance of working class and the peasantry.
The success of capitalist restoration in China proved that Comrade Mao was correct in posing the problem of revisionism and capitalist restoration and in putting forward as solution the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship. We owe to Comrade Mao a weapon by which to answer those who say that history cannot go further than capitalism and that socialism is dead. In fact, the people’s struggle for national liberation, democracy and socialism is once more resounding in the world as crisis and wars beset the capitalist world, as monopoly capitalism knows no bounds for its greed and violence under the auspices of neoliberalism and neoconservatism.
2. CURRENT CPP VIEW OF CHINESE SOCIETY
China is no longer socialist and CPC no longer a real CP: More on bureaucrat and private capitalism in China. Is China an imperialist power?
The view of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is that Chinese society has ceased to be socialist since it came under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie through the successful coup in 1976. Since then, the bourgeoisie has taken over and changed the character of the ruling party despite the continued use of the name Communist Party. It has removed the proletarian revolutionaries from positions of leadership in the government, army and police, the state economic enterprises and from the cultural institutions, the schools and mass media.
China has developed both bureaucrat monopoly capitalism based on the state-owned enterprises and a thriving private monopoly capitalism. These mutually support each other. The state sector of the economy has ensured the continued development of national industry and military production and has resisted the worst impositions of the imperialist powers, while Chinese private capitalism
has enjoyed the benefits of collaborating with the state sector in promoting the big comprador capitalism in maintaining sweatshop production of consumer manufactures for export as well as in developing a big industrial bourgeoisie involved in heavy and basic industries providing supplies to the frenzy of private and public overconstruction.
Consequences of the crisis of global capitalism
The focus on the proliferation of sweat shops on the eastern coast of China and overheating due to the rapid spread of construction projects fuelled inflation and corruption which led to mass uprisings in Beijing and scores of cities in 1989. But the policy of incurring large public debt and continuing the private and public construction seemed to be able to keep high China’s economic growth rate and tide China over during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the global financial crisis generated by the US mortgage meltdown in 2008 and the ensuing public debt crisis of Europe. And now the China bubble bloated by extreme amounts of public debt for private and public construction to counter the shrinkage of export demand from US and the EU is bursting and causing further stagnation. The bad debts of local governments and private corporations can no longer be covered by further loose lending and the construction overdrive has to slow down as a huge number of office and residential buildings are unoccupied.
The dramatic decline of the Chinese economy since 2014 has come in the wake of the celebration of China as the second largest economy in terms of GDP although still far from the level of the priorly advanced capitalist economies in terms of per capita GDP. By Lenin’s definition of the five economic features of imperialism, China qualifies as an imperialist power but still falls short of being fully such by virtue of the fact that it has not yet launched any war of aggression to occupy any country and turn it into a colony or semicolony in the course of expanding economic territory in the struggle for a redivision of the world. At rate, China and Russia have further complicated and aggravated the inter-imperialist contradictions in the world.
Polarization and class struggle
At every stage in the development of Chinese capitalism, social polarization has occurred between the few who benefit most from exploiting the great mass of workers and the peasants who still number some 750 million. The most exploited have been the 150 million migrant workers and the great number of them who have been laid off by state and private enterprises due to the decline of exports and construction. The most militant and bloodiest uprisings on the widest scale so far have been those in 1989. But workers’ strikes against deteriorating wage and living conditions and resistance of peasants to landgrabbing by local governments for the benefit of capitalist development projects have been spreading.
3. SINO-PHILIPPINE RELATIONS AND THE MARITIME DISPUTE
Chinese taipans as factors in the Philippine economy
Chinese taipans who are entrenched in the Philippines, like Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, the Salim group and others, are financed by China’s banks and have grown big in finance, trade, real estate development, semi-manufacturing, plantations and mining. Philippine imports (mostly consumer manufactures) from China have increased because they are cheaper than those from elsewhere. In the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, Philippine exports to China increased in the form of semimanucfatures for the final assembly platforms in China and also in the form of mineral ores which are underdeclared for the purpose of tax evasion.
The maritime dispute in the South China Sea
The Philippine and Chinese authorities collaborate in economic policy and trade relations even as the former cry foul whenever the latter make an encroachment on the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS) in the West Philippine Sea. By claiming to own 90 percent of the South China Sea, China is offending the Philippines and other ASEAN countries which have their EEZ and ECS under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Prospects in the Arbitral Tribunal and possible further developments
The Philippines has brought up a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (Arbitral Tribunal) in The Hague, pleading for the definition of the Philippine EEZ and ECS in accordance with the UNCLOS. The decision of the tribunal is expected to come out soon in favor of the Philippines. If that were the case, China would go intro tantrums and continue to prate that almost the entire South China Sea is under the indisputable sovereignty of China.
But ultimately, China would calm down in the face of the world opinion and that of ASEAN. The Philippines will be able to have better diplomatic and trade relations with China. More than ever the US will have no reason to have its military forces based and deployed in the Philippines.
4. US AND CHINA: COLLUSION AND CONTENTION
US-Sino relations in economic and security issues
The relationship between the US and China in economic and security issues is one of collusion and contention. As the US increasingly declines strategically, it tends to be wary of countries it deems to be actual or potential rivals. Thus, it has become increasingly inclined to a policy of containment rather than of engagement towards China. It is determined to pressure China to restrain itself from siding with Russia and to undertake further liberalization of the economy and politics so that internal forces more friendly and more subservient to the US would prevail.
Further US entrenchment in the Philippines under various pretexts
Since the end of the Cold War, the US has used a series of false pretenses in order to justify further military entrenchment and intervention in the Philippines. It has used such pretexts as joint military exercises for training purposes, humanitarian missions, war on terror and now stridently for the protection of the Philippines from China in connection with the maritime dispute.
But in fact the US maintains a neutral policy in the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines. It has not acted against the Chinese occupation of Scarborough Shoal and the reclamations in the Spratlys and has declared the maintenance of the freedom of navigation as its main interest.
Developments in China affect the Philippines
China is bound to become increasingly unstable in the years to come as a result of the long internal social polarization and class struggles and the current bursting of its big financial bubble. There will be intensifying contradictions within the ruling party and between the ruling party and the forces outside of it. The US has been trying to promote the Rightist forces within China that wish to cast away the Red flag or repudiate the Communist Party. But such a development could be the occasion of the dramatic resurgence of the proletarian revolutionary forces under the Maoist flag.
5. CHINA IN THE CONTEXT OF EAST ASIA AND THE WORLD
ASEAN, US-Japan security alliance, TPPA and US strategic pivot to East Asia
To pursue its policy of containing China, the US is trying to use its traditional influence over the ASEAN, hype the US-Japan security alliance, exclude China from a TransPacific Partnership Agreement and carry out its so-called strategic pivot to East Asia. The so-called rebalancing of forces in the strategic pivot aims to concentrate 60 per cent of naval assets and 50 per cent of ground and air assets in the Asia-Pacific region. The so-called strategic pivot is actually a waste of resources because China will avoid a war with the US and the US is still very much bogged down in the bloody quagmires it has made for itself in the Middle East and Africa.
Sino-Russia links in SCO, BRICS, AIIB and Silk Road and Belt projects
The strategic partnership of China and Russia has emerged for quite sometime. Becoming wary of the propensity of the US to unleash wars of aggression, they have been mainly responsible for putting together the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, pointedly against the US and the NATO. They have also formed the BRICS as an economic bloc, consisting of of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to counter the worst US impositions. They have also formed the BRICS Bank to counter the IMF and US dollar dominance. China has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank by way of attracting investors in its plan to build the Silk Road and Belt as an outlet for surplus capital and as a new field of capital expansion.
Worsening crisis: neoliberalism, state terrorism and persistence and possible spread of wars
The crisis of the world capitalist system has been worsening at a rapid rate. The neoliberal economic policy has brought out the worst of monopoly capitalism by accelerating the accumulation and concentration of capital in the hands of the few and the disemployment of workers, impoverishment of the peoples and further underdevelopment of most countries. State terrorism has spread as the US and the puppet oligarchs try to suppress dissent and rebellion. And the US has stepped up war production as a major economic engine and has unleashed wars of aggression to expand economic territory for the multinational banks and firms.
The Filipino people must pursue the Philippine revolution and explore united front with Duterte government
The Filipino people must pursue the Philippine revolution. They cannot expect to win national liberation and democracy without relying on the exploited and oppressed masses of workers and peasants and developing various types of alliances.
For the first time in the history of semicolonial politics in the Philippines, there is a president who has publicly expressed the wish to become the country´s first Left president. We can explore the possibility of building a powerful patriotic and progressive alliance that may result in a government of national unity, peace and development.
Arouse, organize and mobilize the masses against US imperialism and the local oligarchs, be vigilant and be ready for any eventuality
We should persevere in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the broad masses of the people against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords. We must ready for all eventualities. The conditions for the advance of the Philippine revolution are always becoming favorable because the social and economic crisis of the world capitalist system and the Philippine ruling system does not cease and keeps on worsening. The people are pressed by intolerable suffering to fight back and win political power against their exploiters and oppressors.
Avail of all positive forces in the Philippines and abroad
We must avail of all positive forces in building solidarity and gathering support for the Philippine revolution from our compatriots in the diaspora and from all the peoples of the world, including their parties, mass organizations and movements. The Filipino people must carry out the Philippine revolution not only for their own benefit but also for inspiring the people of the world to wage their revolutionary struggle. The Philippine revolution plays a signal role in the impending rise of revolutionary movements on an unprecedented global scale.
In concluding this presentation, let me stress that victory belongs to the Filipino people and the peoples of the world in the entire range of struggles for national liberation, democracy and socialism. The GPCR assures humankind that when socialism is attained there is a theory and practice to learn from and develop further in order to combat modern revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism until the stage of communism can be reached. ###