The Guardian September 12, 2001


China's communists defend Leninism

It is not uncommon to hear Marxism-Leninism described as a dogma or 
outdated and irrelevant to the issues of the 21st century. This is 
particularly so since the setbacks in the former Soviet Union and socialist 
states of Eastern Europe. The following article from the theoretical 
journal of the Communist Party of China makes an evaluation of the science 
of Leninism in today's context.

Lenin actively participated in the Socialist world movement and supported 
the struggle of the working class in all countries: he stood up against 
imperialist aggression and expansionism and upheld revolutionary principles 
within the Second International. After the October Revolution Lenin 
directed the formation of the Communist International and lent sincere 
support to the founding, development, and maturation of Communist parties 
in many countries. He energetically supported the struggles for national 
liberation of colonial peoples, and fostered the rise of the Socialist 
movement and of national liberation movements on a world scale.

Lenin upheld the basic principles of Marxism and linked them to the 
international workers' movement, to national liberation movements, as well 
as Russia's revolutionary practice. He drew upon practical experiences, 
comprised the wisdom of peoples, and applied Marxism creatively, enriching 
and developing its theoretical basis.

Lenin solved scientifically a number of great theoretical and practical 
questions of the Socialist world movement in the era of imperialism, 
thereby achieving the transition of Marxism to the stage of Leninism.

Lenin was not only the teacher of the international proletariat, but also 
the sincere friend of the Chinese people. Just as Marx and Engels, Lenin 
attentively followed the changes in Chinese society.

From 1900 onwards Lenin had written a number of articles which unmasked the 
crimes of the imperialist aggressors against China and gave many profound 
and scientific theoretical analyses of the Chinese Revolution. Lenin had 
great expectations for the future development of Chinese society. ... This 
the Chinese people will always remember.

During the past decades there have been occasional conflicting assessments 
of Lenin and Leninism throughout the world. In particular, after the 
drastic changes in the Soviet Union, and its disintegration, Lenin's 
achievements, and Leninism, were confronted with serious challenges and 
were denigrated by many.

An evaluation of Lenin is not merely a question of Lenin the person, but 
also a question of evaluating the cause he represented, and the theory he 
created. It is not merely a matter of sentiment towards a historical 
personality but highly relevant political question and a complex and 
profound theoretical one.

Essentially these issues touch upon an assessment of the total history of 
Socialism in the 20th century. Without doubt Lenin, too, made mistakes. 
Some Socialist states also committed errors, underwent serious deformities 
to the stage when drastic changes led to their disintegration.

However, the causes underlying the evolution of historical processes are 
highly complex. In a certain sense the mistakes occurred because the 
successors failed to observe the basic principles of Leninism.....

If one negates Lenin and Leninism one also negates, simultaneously, the 
entire 20th century history of the heroic struggle of communists for the 
establishment and construction of Socialism. Faced with such an important 
question of principle we have to adopt a very serious scientific position 
and maintain political sensitivity and determination.

Studying Lenin and maintaining the basic principles of Leninism does not 
mean that with Lenin and Leninism the investigative process of humanity in 
search of truth is concluded. Exactly the opposite is the case.

Marxism-Leninism is not a closed system, but a science which is constantly 
enriched and further developed by practice.

Deng Xiaoping said: "One cannot demand of Marx to provide ready-made 
answers to questions which have arisen more than one hundred years ... 
after his death. Neither can Lenin assume the task of providing ready-made 
solutions to problems which arose fifty or one hundred years after his 
death".

The task of enriching and further developing Marxism-Leninism demands a 
vital and creative mind. In its essence theoretical work is creative work 
which requires the continuous raising of new questions, collecting of new 
material, the opening-up of new areas of activity and the development of 
new ideas, the bringing forth of new theories. It also means to investigate 
the unknown and to raise hitherto undiscovered treasures.

If Lenin would not have created something new on the foundation of Marxist 
theories he would not have been able to show his followers the way to 
success.

Opening-up and creating what is new are the fundamental requirements of the 
scientific method of Marxism-Leninism. It is the value of theoretical 
investigation that it is always in the front-line of its time and not 
trailing behind practice.

For the Communist Party of China the study of Lenin means, first of all, 
the link of Marxism-Leninism with the characteristics of the present epoch 
and with Chinese reality, so as to assiduously promote the construction of 
Socialism with Chinese characteristics The theory of Deng Xiaoping and 
Marxism-Leninism, the ideas of Mao Zedong, are a unified ideological system 
of the same school.

* * *
First published in "Qiushi Zazhi" (8/2000), the Theoretical Journal of the Central Committee of the CPC, translated by Ambassador(ret.) Rolf Berthold from Chinese into German (abridged) and then translated from German to English by Vera Butler.

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