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Upholding and Developing Marxism Unswervingly

Submit Time:13-06-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Chen Shuguang | Source:People's Daily (May 14, 2018)


Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out at the conference commemorating the bicentenary of Marx's birth, "Marxism has profoundly changed the world as well as China." "Marxism has guided China to successfully embark on the road to fully building a modern socialist China. The Chinese communists, as loyal believers and steadfast practitioners of Marxism, are making persistent efforts to uphold and develop Marxism!" Although we are in an era in which great and profound changes have taken place compared with Marx's era, we are still in the historical era specified by Marxism from the 500-year vision of the world socialism, and Marxism remains an ideological system and a discourse system with major international influence. To uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, we must uphold and develop Marxism. 

Studying Marxism 

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that the most valuable and influential spiritual legacy Marx left for us is the scientific theory named after him—Marxism. Like a magnificent sunrise, this theory has illuminated the way humans explore historical laws and seek their own liberation. Since the birth of the Communist Party of China, Marxism has been written on its own banner. 

Studying Marxism is the sacred mission of communists. Comrade Xi Jinping emphasized that communists must read Marxism classics and comprehend Marxism principles as a life style and a spiritual pursuit, in order to foster integrity, strengthen ideas, sublimate spirit, and guide practice. In the early 1990s, the French philosopher Jacques Derrida warned the world, "It will always be a fault not to read and reread and discuss Marx… It will be more and more a fault, a failing of theoretical, philosophical, political responsibility." As a Marxist political party which rules a big socialist country, our Party must strengthen the study of Marxism to realize its historical mission. 

We must study Marxism as Marxism stands at the commanding height of science. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out, "Marx created the historical materialism and the theory of surplus value, which reveal the general laws of the development of human society as well as the special laws of the operation of capitalism, and pointed out the path for the mankind to leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom, as well as the path to freedom and liberation." Marx did not compel others to believe in his own idea, but his voice spread throughout the world and greatly influenced the course of human history; Marx did not compel others to elevate him, but he was placed by the people around the world to a lofty position as the "No. 1 ideologist in the millennium history"; Marx did not compel others to bear in mind his own contributions, but Marxism has extended its reach to the contemporary era and Marx's idea and name have been eternal. As Comrade Xi Jinping said, "Two centuries have passed, and human society has undergone tremendous and profound changes. However, Marx's name is still respected by people all over the world, and Marx's theory still shines with dazzling rays of truth!" 

We must study Marxism as the Marxism theory is still strongly interpretive. Gareth Jones, Professor of Political Science at Cambridge University, said, "If you read The Communist Manifesto, you can't escape the sense that this is a brilliantly powerful document. It was written 1848, but all the modern talk we have now about globalization and downsizing, and world corporations and capitalism breaking - or the world economy moving this way or that, is all there in the text; it's something that has an amazing actuality which I think very few other documents written in the ninetieth century possess." Today, when people are talking about the future and destiny of economic globalization, the world market, and capitalism, they cannot circumvent Marx's thinking. Marx surprisingly foresaw many aspects of today's society, and the world today is also progressing according to the development path he once described. 

Developing Marxism 

The purpose of studying Marxism is to use the developing Marxism to guide new practices. Comrade Xi Jinping emphasized, "The vitality of theory lies in continuous innovation. Promoting the continuous development of Marxism is the sacred duty of Chinese Communists." We must observe, interpret and lead the era with Marxism, promote the development of Marxism with fresh, rich and contemporary Chinese practices, and absorb all outstanding civilization achievements created by mankind with a broad vision. We must base on the tradition, make innovation and surpass ourselves in reforms, as well as learn widely from others' strong points and constantly improve ourselves in opening-up. We must constantly deepen our understanding of the "three laws," and constantly open up new realms of Marxism in contemporary China and Marxism in the 21st century. 

We must develop Marxism as people in the 19th century could not be demanded to solve the problems in the 21st century. The basic principles of Marxism provide the general guidelines for the revolution and building of socialist countries. However, they do not and cannot provide ready-made concrete solutions. In practice, the specific characteristics of each country must be considered. Comrade Mao Zedong said, "When Marx was alive, he could not see all the problems that would come up later, and he could not solve all those problems at that time. The problems in Russia can only be solved by Lenin, and the problems in China can only be solved by the Chinese." Similarly, the problems in contemporary Chinese society can only be solved by the Chinese today. 

We must develop Marxism as it cannot be treated as a dogma. Engels profoundly pointed out, "Marx's entire worldview is not a doctrine but a methodology. It does not provide a ready-made dogma but a starting point for further research and a methodology for use in such research." He also pointed out that our theory is "a product of history. It has completely different forms and completely different contents in different times." The experience of the Communist Party of China in leading revolution, building, and reform has proved that we must firmly grasp the particularities of contradictions in different stages at any time, enrich the treasure-house of the theory of Marxism with new ideas, new viewpoints, and new opinions, and creatively solve our own problems. The path of new-democratic revolution, the path of socialist revolution, the path of socialist building, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics opened up by our Party are all great creations that combine the basic principles of Marxism with the concrete reality of China. Today, facing many problems that Marx had never faced, China urgently needs to use Marxism as a guide to find new solutions to solve problems and lead development. 

We must develop Marxism as there is no end to practice and Marxism has no end. Marxism is the product of the times and has evolved with the development of the times. In any particular historical era, the historical picture it presents is always limited compared with the future with infinite possibilities and richness. Therefore, as the essence of the spirit of the times, Marxism can only gain eternal significance by keeping pace with the times and beyond the limits of the times. The development of Marxism along with the development of the times conforms to the epistemic logic of human—from not knowing to knowing, from knowing less to knowing more, from knowing not deeply to knowing deeply, from knowing not correctly to knowing correctly, and from knowing well to knowing genuinely; it also conforms to the evolutionary logic of history—from less abundant to more abundant, from simple to complex, from finite to infinite, and from national history to world history. 

Believing in Marxism 

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out, "Today we commemorate Marx in order to pay tribute to the greatest thinker in the history of mankind and declare our firm belief in the scientific truth of Marxism." He also pointed out that at present, the heavy tasks of reform, development and stability, the enormous contradictions and risks, and the major challenges in governing the country are unprecedented. To gain advantages, take the initiative, and win the future, we must constantly improve the ability to analyze and solve practical problems with Marxism, and always uphold the belief in Marxism and the ideal of communism. 

We must believe in Marxism as it stands at the commanding height of truth and morality. Marxism is scientific and truthful. It is committed to seeking benefits for the people and liberating mankind. Marx wrote in his high school essay Reflections of a Young Man on the Choice of a Profession, "The chief guide which must direct us in the choice of a profession is the welfare of mankind and our own perfection... Man's nature is so constituted that he can attain his own perfection only by working for the perfection, for the good, of his fellow men." Marx devoted his entire life to pursuing social fairness and justice, pursuing freedom and equality of the proletariat, pursuing the liberation of all mankind, and pursuing the free and full development of everyone. He spent the rest of his life drifting from place to place and enduring sickness and poverty, but he was faithful to his belief and dedicated himself to the cause of liberation of all mankind, thus achieving a splendid life. Marx was a noble person and his scientific theory and personality practice were highly unified. Therefore, Marx has been still admired by the world until today. In the West, Marx convinced many people. Heinrich Böll, Nobel laureate in literature and German writer, once pointed out, "Without the workers' movement, without the socialists, without their thinker Karl Marx, more than five-sixths of those living today would still be living in a dull state of half-slavery. Without struggle, without uprising, without strike, which need to be launched and guided, capitalists would never give in." Today, people have reached an unprecedented height in terms of freedom, equality, democracy, fairness, and justice, to which Marxism has made great contributions. 

To believe in Marxism, we must adhere to and pursue its ideals, beliefs, and scientific theories. We must firmly believe that the law of human development revealed by Marxism is unshakable, that the value position that Marxism upholds and always represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people is unshakable, that the value ideal of the free and full development of humankind and human liberation established by Marxism is unshakable, and that the status of the people is the highest, the power of the people is the greatest, the dignity of the people cannot be trampled on, the interests of the people are inviolable, and the will of the people cannot be violated. To believe in Marxism, we must take a clear-cut stand and dare to fight against all kinds of anti-Marxism words and deeds; we must resist statements that evade lofty and are ashamed of ideals with an attitude that pursues ideals and lofty. We must clearly see that Marxism is still a banner of human liberation and that the whole world is still playing marches pursuing freedom, equality, democracy, fairness, and justice. 

To believe in Marxism, we must not be confused by current illusions nor be overwhelmed by temporary difficulties. Problems that arise in real life must not be reasons for questioning, derogating, giving up or even betraying Marxism. It is undeniable that there are indeed some negative phenomena and problems in the society, and thus some people have doubts about upholding Marxism. As for the "Chinese miracle" that has astonished the world since the reform and opening up, some people think that this is the result of abandoning Marxism and moving closer to the West. Obviously, these understandings are all wrong. We cannot erroneously attribute the great achievements of the socialist cause to non-Marxism, nor can we doubt or even abandon Marxism because of negative phenomena in real life. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is not closed socialism, and the remarkable achievements in socialist construction are not the result of closed construction. However, learning from the achievements of human civilization does not mean imitation or copying. China's development has not replicated the development model of the West and has not repeated the old path of the West. For example, the shareholding system, distribution based on factors of production, and market economy are not patents of the West, but are products of the development of human society and means of economic development. They can be used both for capitalism and for socialism. What is more important is that every achievement of China's economic and social development since the reform and opening up has been achieved under the guidance of Marxism. Practice has proved that upholding and developing Marxism is what we are supposed to do to embark on the Chinese path. 

(Author: Researcher in the Research Center of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC)

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