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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

China, democracy, justice and the communist movement

by Andy Brooks

Last month a number of communist parties including the New Communist Party took part in an online conference organised by the Communist Party of China around the theme of Democracy, Justice, Development and Progress. This is the contribution from NCP leader Andy Brooks.

FIRST OF ALL I would like to thank the organisers of this conference for giving me the opportunity to say a few words about our Party’s views on democracy, the issue of the day that the imperialists are once again trying to use as a smokescreen to mask their plans for world domination.

Their latest stunt has been to hold an online Summit for Democracy, organised by the USA to provide a platform for a new propaganda offensive against People’s China and the rest of the world that refuses to submit to Western economic and political control. Whilst this virtual summit posed as a forum for free debate on democracy and human rights, the participants were all hand-picked by the White House and the outcome was therefore totally predictable.

The attendees, including some of the worst human rights abusers in the world, such as Israel, Ukraine and, of course, the USA itself, are closing ranks around a new anti-communist campaign to prop up the austerity regimes of the ailing capitalist system that is floundering in a world-wide slump that began in 2008.

American politicians like to pose as defenders of what they call the “free world”. During the Cold War they portrayed their country as some sort of capitalist utopia and claimed that their “American dream” summed up the hopes of working people throughout the world. It wasn’t true then and it certainly isn’t true now.

The ruling circles in the USA rejoiced when the counter-revolutions that they had worked so long to achieve took place in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They told us that socialism was finished and that history was dead. They preached about the superiority of the capitalist system. But now they cannot point to a single country where it works – least of all the USA, whose cities, where millions live in abject poverty, are plagued by drugs and crime.

They say that socialism means dictatorship and that capitalism stands for freedom. But it is freedom only for the exploiters to continue to rob and plunder working people across the globe to ensure that a tiny handful of parasites can live the lives of Roman emperors on the backs of the millions upon millions of working people.

They claim that they stand for intellectual freedom – but it is the freedom of the straitjacket and the dungeon. They preach this freedom with their bombers and drones, their special forces and blockades against all those who dare to stand up for themselves. We see what the ruling class mean by freedom in occupied Palestine, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

They talk of peace whilst spending billions upon billions on weapons of mass destruction to back up their blockades, embargoes and trade wars on countries striving to develop their own independent economies.

They say they have free speech and democracy, but it’s democracy and freedom only for themselves. If the Western powers really were democratic, we would expect to see the majority of representatives in their bourgeois parliaments and assemblies drawn from the majority of the population – the working people. In fact, outside the ranks of the communists, you could count the number of workers in parliament on your fingers.

Bourgeois democracy is democracy only for the exploiters. It’s dictatorship in all but the formal sense for the exploited. Bourgeois elections are used so that the smallest number of people can manipulate the maximum number of votes. Parliaments may reflect the divisions in the ruling class but ultimately all these assemblies are a fraud to mask the fact that bourgeois government rests on the bourgeois state, which exists solely to serve the interests of the ruling class. Whether it’s bogus bourgeois democracy or open bourgeois dictatorship depends on the economic situation and the balance of forces in any given country.

We meet today in a world where the primary contradiction is between US imperialism and the rest of the world it seeks to dominate. But a new economic and political counter to US‑led imperialism is being built by China, whose Belt and Road initiative provides an alternative to imperialism’s so‑called free trade agreements and “partnerships” that solely serve the interests of the trans‑national corporations of the imperialist world.

In the past China’s wealth was the preserve of a ruthless, feudal ruling class. These days China’s wealth is being used to finally eradicate the last vestiges of poverty, raise the standard of living of everyone in the people’s republic, and help the development of the Third World through genuine fair trade and economic assistance.

The Chinese revolution that established the people’s government on 1st October 1949 has transformed the country that was then the poorest in the world. Since then China has risen from being a weak semi-feudal, semi-colonial country to become a force for peace in the global arena with the second largest economy in the world.

People’s China, the fifth permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is the only veto-power actively supporting proposals for multilateral nuclear disarmament. Pledging never to be the first to use nuclear weapons in any conflict, China stands for the complete prohibition and total destruction of all atomic weapons.

backed by many

China, backed by many other countries, has repeatedly challenged the West to implement the entire non‑proliferation treaty, which was signed in 1968 not only to halt nuclear proliferation but also committed the signatories to work towards universal nuclear disarmament. In the meantime China calls on all the major nuclear‑weapon states to abandon their policy of nuclear deterrence.

The struggle to abolish nuclear weapons is crucial for the survival of humanity. But central to averting a Third World War is the need to eliminate the causes of war. And that is why communists have always understood that the struggles for peace and socialism are indivisible.

Whilst millions of people scrabble to earn a living just to keep a roof over their heads, a tiny elite live lives beyond the reach and often beyond the imagination of most workers. Only socialism can end this. Only through socialism can the will of the masses, the overwhelming majority of the people, be carried out. Only socialism and mass democracy – not the sham democracy of the bourgeoisie – can end the class system and free working people from their slavery.

The great socialist philosophers, Marx and Engels, spent much of their creative lives in Britain as practical revolutionaries. They knew they would never see socialism in their own lifetimes, but they never doubted the inevitability or the necessity for change. And the torch of freedom that fanned the fires of the Paris Commune lit the flames of the 1917 Russian Revolution that continues to blaze in Democratic Korea and Cuba, and the people’s democracies in Laos. Vietnam and above all, the People’s Republic of China.

After 70-plus years of practice and development, China has successfully charted a path of democracy with Chinese characteristics, which suits China’s national conditions and meets its people’s aspirations. It is called the whole-process people’s democracy.

In People’s China we see mass democracy at work. Back in 2014 Communist Party of China (CPC) leader Xi Jinping said: “The very purpose of the CPC’s leadership of the people in developing people’s democracy is to guarantee and support their [the people’s] position as masters of the country.”

The people administer state affairs and manage economic, cultural and social affairs through various channels and in various ways. In practice, more than 99 per cent of Chinese citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election.

Voter turnout is around 90 per cent in every direct election of deputies to the county- and township-level people’s congresses. The will of the overwhelming majority of the people is fully reflected in the election results. Apart from democratic elections, people have the right to participate in the management of national and social affairs in day-to-day political activities.

This is the people’s power that enables the Chinese people to improve their lives in a concrete and realistic way. Democracy is not an ornament used for decorative purposes. It should be used to address concerns of the people.

Whole-process people’s democracy favours substance over form. It is genuine democracy and not the shameful charade that passes for it in the West. It is, in fact, the will of the people.

Or as the Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping says, whole-process people’s democracy in China is “the broadest, most genuine, and most effective socialist democracy” safeguarding the fundamental interests of the people.