This Blog Essay site devotes every February to a series of integrated but short essays on a single theme. For 2015 this site introduces a new theme: On a Constitutional Theory for China--From the General Program of the Chinese Communist Party to Political Theory.
This Post includes Part 30, CCP Party Building--CCP Leadership. It considers Paragraph 28 of the General Program.
Table of Contents
Part 30, Paragraph 28 of the General Program--CCP Party Building: CCP Leadership.
We have been reviewing the initial paragraphs of the CCP Constitution's General Program. The first two paragraphs of the General Program set out the outer framework of two critical aspects of Chinese constitutional theory. The five theories identified in paragraph 2 are the elaborated in paragraphs 3-7. Each, in turn, represents the “crystallization of the collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China” at each successive stage on the road toward communism. And the path itself makes clear that the process of successive crystallization is far from complete. Paragraph 3 elaborated on the place of classical Marxism-Leninism as the first stage of the path of socialism and serves as the foundation for Chinese political and constitutional theory. If the foundations of Chinese political and constitutional theory is built on European and received wisdom--the classical philosophy of Marxism-Leninism—the foundations of classical Chinese political and constitutional theory is built on Mai Zedong Thought.
Paragraph 4 considered Mao Zedong Thought as a necessary bridge between European theory and its transposition within the Chinese context, one that brings Marxism-Leninism forward from out of Europe into Asia, and places that forward evolution within the historical constraints of its time.It expressed the Leninist foundations of Chinese constitutional theory within notions of collective development and its role in establishing the socialist path toward which Mao Zedong Thought points, but which it does not in itself constitute. Paragraph 5 introduces the next stage in the development of Chinese constitutional and political Theory--Deng Xiaoping Theory. If Mao Zedong Thought provided a bridge from revolutionary to governing vanguard party, Deng Xiaoping theory provides the principles through which socialist modernization can be realized. Paragraph 6 introduces the succeeding layer of development of Chinese constitutional and political theory--the Important thought of Three Represents (Sange Daibiao). Paragraph 7 introduces the last of the current layers of theoretical development of Chinese political and constitutional theory--the scientific outlook on development. Paragraph 8 serves to sum up the initial paragraphs and as a bridge to the elaboration of the basic CCP line and working style in the paragraphs that follow. It is directed specifically to cadres and provides an easy conceptual framework within which they can understand their role in socialist modernization. Paragraph 9 the General Program moves from theory to action infused by theory. It considers the first of the three fundamental tasks of the CCP derived from its theory, that is the first operational element of the CCP line.
With Paragraph 10 we come to the first full expression of the CCP's basic line in the context of the current stage of development of China. The subsequent paragraphs amplify the basic line. Paragraph 11, the General Program begins the elaboration of the CCP's basic line, starting with economic development as the central task. Paragraph 12, we come to the second amplification of the CCP basic line--the four cardinal principles. Paragraph 13 we consider reform and opening up as an aspect of the CCP's basic line. These four paragraphs are meant to provide a declaration of the CCP's basic line--the product of the more general statements of principle and historical context of Paragraphs 1-9. provide guidance--and a more detailed elaboration of its more important elements.
The CCP's basic line goes to the substantive objectives of the party in fulfilling its role as the party in power. What what is the CCP's working style? How is it expected to act? Working style can be divided along two distinct but related lines. The first goes to the working style of CCP cadres, from the most junior to cadres to those serving in the most senior roles. Working style in this sense has been the subject of both the foundational paragraphs (¶¶ 1-8) and those establishing the CCP's line (¶¶ 9-13). In its second sense, working style goes to the working style of the CCP in its institutional manifestation; that is, it goes to the working style of a vanguard Leninist party within the context and subject to the constraints of its objectives (socialist modernization) and normative principles, its guidebook (¶ 2).
The foundation of the CCP's grounding working style is leadership. Paragraphs 14-19 elaborate the character and practice of the nature and practice of leadership by the CCP as an institutional actor. Paragraphs 14-19 construct the CCP's leadership obligations key specific general areas of activity; ¶ 14 (socialist market economy); ¶ 15 (socialist democracy); ¶ 16 (socialist culture); ¶ 17(harmonious socialist society); ¶ 18(socialist ecological progress); and ¶ 19 (People's Liberation Army). We considered each in turn.
With Paragraph 20 the General Program moves into new, though related, territory--socialist ethnic relations. These, in turn, are part of a larger project that frames party building, the organization framework and working style of the CCP itself taken up in ¶¶ 23-28 on party building. But Paragraphs 20 through 22 deal with the issue of the external relations of the CCP, and its obligations with respect to those relations in its vanguard role. These three paragraphs describe the primary objective of relations with outsiders--cooperation and unity of purpose. These are elaborated in the inter-ethnic relations within China of ¶ 20, and the three unities described in paragraphs 21 and 22--¶ 21 focuses on political and territorial unification--the United Front and national unification, and ¶ 22 focuses on foreign relations and communist internationalism. These point to political, territorial and international unities.
With Paragraph 23 the General Program turn inward to the methods and objectives, to the techniques and principles, of party building. These are the provisions that elaborate the conditions for CCP self-constitution, institutionalization, operation and perpetuation. Together they apply the principles of socialist modernization, especially in its principles of developing productive forces to the productive capacities of the CCP itself. These paragraphs suggest something deeper as well; they suggest that the the CCP itself must be at the center of the movement to and embody the practices necessary for socialist modernization as an economic, political, cultural, and societal project. If the CCP cannot lead by example then it fails in its core responsibility as a vanguard party under Paragraph 1 of the General Program.
Paragraph 23 speaks to the obligation of the CCP to build itself. The object of that obligation is socialist modernization. The essential requirements of CCP building are divided into four parts: (1) fidelity to the principles through which socialist modernization is realized (¶ 24); (2) fidelity to a working style that reflects the movement forward toward socialist modernization (¶ 25); (3) fidelity to the core obligation to serve the masses (¶ 26); and (4) fidelity toward a collectivization of decision making (¶ 27).
With Paragraph 28, the General Program returns to the CCP's leadership role--the essential element of the CCP's vanguard role first elaborated in ¶ 1 of the General Program. There is thus a symmetry in the General Program that ties its beginning to its end. Paragraph 28 elaborates on the role of the CCP in its paramount function as the vanguard of the state, people and nation of China in its march toward the establishment of a communist society in China.
 Leadership by the Party means mainly political, ideological and organizational leadership. The Party must meet the requirements of reform, opening up and socialist modernization, persist in scientific, democratic and law-based governance, and strengthen and improve its leadership. Acting on the principle that the Party commands the overall situation and coordinates the efforts of all quarters, the Party must play the role as the core of leadership among all other organizations at the corresponding levels. It must concentrate on leading economic development, organize and coordinate all forces in a concerted effort to focus on economic development and promote all-around economic and social development. The Party must practice democratic and scientific decision-making; formulate and implement the correct line, principles and policies; do its organizational, publicity and educational work well and make sure that all Party members play an exemplary and vanguard role. The Party must conduct its activities within the framework of the Constitution and laws of the country. It must see to it that the legislative, judicial and administrative organs of the state and the economic, cultural and people's organizations work with initiative and independent responsibility and in unison. The Party must strengthen its leadership over trade unions, the Communist Youth League, women's federations and other mass organizations, and give full scope to their roles. The Party must adapt itself to the march of events and changing circumstances, improving its system and style of leadership and raising its governance capability. Party members must work in close cooperation with non-Party persons in the common endeavor to build socialism with Chinese characteristics.
 党的领导主要是政治、思想和组织的领导。党要适应改革开放和社会主义现代化建设的要求，坚持科学执政、民主执政、依法执政，加强和 改善党的领导。党必须按照总揽全局、协调各方的原则，在同级各种组织中发挥领导核心作用。党必须集中精力领导经济建设，组织、协调各方面的力量，同心协 力，围绕经济建设开展工作，促进经济社会全面发展。党必须实行民主的科学的决策，制定和执行正确的路线、方针、政策，做好党的组织工作和宣传教育工作，发 挥全体党员的先锋模范作用。党必须在宪法和法律的范围内活动。党必须保证国家的立法、司法、行政机关，经济、文化组织和人民团体积极主动地、独立负责地、 协调一致地工作。党必须加强对工会、共产主义青年团、妇女联合会等群众组织的领导，充分发挥它们的作用。党必须适应形势的发展和情况的变化，完善领导体 制，改进领导方式，增强执政能力。共产党员必须同党外群众亲密合作，共同为建设中国特色社会主义而奋斗。Leadership is at the heart of the conceptual and systemic structures of the CCP as entity and of its role as a vanguard leading the state, people and nation towards its long term goal of establishing a communist society through--at this stage--the framework of socialist modernization. The CCP is the core of leadership for the socialist core (¶ 1) whose leadership is expressed by its role in forging the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics (¶ 8), leadership, in essence is the manifestation fo the vanguard role of the CCP. Leading the cause of socialism is central to the CCP Basic Line (¶ 10) and to the task of economic development in socialist modernization (¶ 11). Leadership responsibility is one of the four Cardinal Principles that serves as the basis of all politics and policy (¶ 12). The implementation of leadership is carried out in very specific ways. The CCP leads the people (a) in developing the socialist market economy (¶ 14); (b) in promoting socialist democracy, including multiparty cooperation and consultation (¶ 15); (c) in developing advanced socialist culture (¶ 16); (d) in building harmonious socialist society (¶ 17); in promoting socialist ecological progress (¶ 18);and over the People's Liberation Army (¶ 19). Though it doesn't lead, the CCP rallies class elements in the development of productive forces (¶ 21) and leads all ethnic groups in the drive toward socialist modernization (¶ 23). To the end it must improve the art of its leadership (¶ 23). One now understands what leadership means; but ¶ 28 touches on a different matter--what leadership is, that is the conceptual structures of leadership that makes its operational directives through the General Program coherent and manageable. The skeletal structures of the conception of leadership, of the vanguard role of the CCP with Chinese characteristics, is here sketched out in a way that serves to animate the system that has been constructed in Paragraphs 1-27.
Leadership, then, is the central element that joins the conceptual basis of the political order with the realities of its implementation through the institution of the CCP. The conceptualization of leadership, then, is a last necessary step to complete the structures of the self constitution of the party-state system that the General Program elaborates. It provides the final brick in the structures of a system that produces the political order from which the institutions of both the CCP and the state apparatus may be constructed and operated and from which the system it represents can exist in itself. The skeletal structures of the conception of leadership, of the vanguard role of the CCP with Chinese characteristics, is here sketched out in a way that serves to animate the system that has been constructed in Paragraphs 1-27.
First, the short initial definition of the concept of leadership suggests both functional constraints and flexibility ("Leadership by the Party means mainly political, ideological and organizational leadership"). This provision is remarkable for the clarity of its expression of the basis of the separation of powers within the Chinese constitutional system. The CCP is not the state, and its institutions are not state institutions. Rather the CCP embodies the political and normative authority of the Chinese nation that is manifested administratively (implemented through) an establishment of state organs. The CCP is a political enterprise, it is the source of ideological development and it provides organizational leadership. But it is not the state--nor its government. The apparatus of the CCP is organized for leadership--of the state, people and nation (Discussed here). And that leadership is confined to the exercise of political power (constrained for example, through ¶ 2 and by the normative structures of ¶¶12 and 15), of ideological power (constrained for example, through ¶¶ 25-26 and the normative structures of ¶¶2-8) and organizational /structuring power (constrained for example, through ¶15). Mainly ("主要是"). That mainly adds an important element of flexibility, but it also implies a caution. The flexibility comes from the need to adopt a working style that is innovative (e.g., ¶¶ 14, 16, 23, and 25) but one that is also bound to the core functions of the vanguard role of the CCP (e.g., ¶ 10). Leadership then means guidance in the operation of the state toward a particular end.
Second, ¶ 28 describes broadly the objectives of CCP leadership ("The Party must meet the requirements of reform, opening up and socialist modernization, persist in scientific, democratic and law-based governance, and strengthen and improve its leadership"). The political, ideological and organizational leadership of the CCP is to be used in the service of specific ends, now well described in the General Program. But the selection of objectives, or the privileging of these objectives over the others described in the General Program (e.g., ¶¶ 15, 16,18, 19, etc.) suggests a hierarchy of objectives in the service of socialist modernization and the development of productive forces. It may suggest as well the formula for policy balancing as the CCP seeks to advance its objectives in the face of contradiction or limited resources. Perhaps of special interest is the focus on the development of leadership as a principal objective of CCP leadership. If, indeed, the principal method of CCP engagement is leadership, and if leadership is undertaken in a dynamic context in which theory and practice must constantly change in the face of the new facts and historical stages to be brought by the progress of socialist modernization, then a principal concern of the CCP must be to prevent its own obsolescence. This is a notion that is woven into other paragraphs as well. That makes sense given the other focus of leadership--reform and opening up, and even scientific, democratic and law-based governance. The latter three suggest the maturing of a system in which the CCP guides but does not undertake a primary role in the organization and operation of state organs, but one in which the innovation of the mass line dialectic is critical. Innovation in law based governance is central to both the task of developing advance socialist democracy (¶ 15) and advance socialist culture (16). In the latter case it blends as well rules of law and virtue, with a necessary reference back to ideologically congruent sources of virtue (¶ 16). Leadership, then, is the embrace of objectives, including self improvement in the leadership role.
Third, ¶ 28 seats the principle of leadership on in Leninist foundations--the principles of "overall command" (总揽全局) and "coordination" (协调)"--to structure the relationship between the CCP as the organism in command and the state apparatus whose operation the CCP must coordinate ("Acting on the principle that the Party commands the overall situation and coordinates the efforts of all quarters, the Party must play the role as the core of leadership among all other organizations at the corresponding levels."). This provision does two things. First it further defines the concept of leadership and adds context to "mainly" ("主要是"). Second, it suggests the nature of the people's democratic dictatorship (¶ 4, 12, 15). Leadership, then, has elements of overall command and elements of overall coordination. What does the CCP command? That seems fairly clear from the nature of the democratic dictatorship--it commands the political direction and the normative principles on which the state rests and the society is directed. That also represents a necessary transformation of the concept of democratic dictatorship from it origins in the class struggle environment on the founding of the People's Republic (see, here) to one in which the emphasis is on the objective of socialist modernization and the development of productive forces. It also represents a shift in the focus of the engagement of the people form one grounded in Western concepts of voting to engagement through collective action. The CCP. then, serves as the centering element of governance, the core of leadership, that coordinates all organs of public and societal community. The overall situation is the organization of the political, economic, cultural and societal spheres. The CCP cannot be absent from any of the organized activities of the state, people and nation., That is a concept foreign to the West, but it reflects the basic premise that the whole of the state, people and nation have committed to the development of all of its productive forces to further socialist mobilization. And that, in turn, requires the CCP to be embedded in all potentially productive forces to fulfill its vanguard role--from enterprises to non state organizations. Leadership means command of the project of moving toward the establishment of a communist society and the coordination of all productive forces to that end, including those organs of state and private power deployed to operationalize leadership.
Fourth, the parameters of coordinating the work of the state apparatus is then outlined--translating the emphasis on socialist modernization to the macro economic planning of state organs ("It must concentrate on leading economic development, organize and coordinate all forces in a concerted effort to focus on economic development and promote all-around economic and social development"). Coordination of all forces looks not merely to the development of economic productive forces, though that is emphasized. It also points to the coordination of all forces to promote economic and social development. Thus the coordination occurs on both the economic and societal planes. They are interrelated in the sense that socialist modernization is understood as a holistic project--and that the development of socialist market economy is in part dependent on the simultaneous development of socialist democracy, culture and harmonious society. Thus the conceptual unity fo the CCP's ideology is also reflected int he unity, form out of its aggregate parts, of those societal forces that must be developed simultaneously and in a coordinated way to make it possible to produce not just wealth but the social and cultural wealth necessary for the establishment of a communist society. Leadership requires the coordination of economic and societal development.
Fifth, the working style of leadership is then described ("The Party must practice democratic and scientific decision-making; formulate and implement the correct line, principles and policies; do its organizational, publicity and educational work well and make sure that all Party members play an exemplary and vanguard role"). Leadership requires that the CCP act by example. And this is emphasized. Correctness is a central tenet of the ideological and operational responsibilities of the CCP. Yet the striving for correctness does not means that all CCP determinations must always be viewed as correct--were that true then the notions of emancipation of the mind, of seeking truth form facts, and of reform and opening up with be empty gestures. Yet correctness has meaning within the General Program. It references a normative judgment about the basic laws of the development of history and human society (¶ 3). It serves as an assessment of the historically contextual assessment of the evolution of Marxism through Mao Zedong Thought, proven correct in the practice of the time (¶ 4). It is a command to handle error and contradiction appropriately (¶ 17), one that is grounded on the ability to distinguish between the undermining of the project of socialist modernization and the sometimes rough process of democratic centralism and innovation. (¶ 27) It is an essential component of the dialectical process of the mass line (¶ 26) requiring the appropriate translation of the views of the masses to policy. And it refers to the means of assessing criticism and self criticism at the heart of democratic centralism. In each case the fundamental notion is not that the action be correct but that the correct action be taken. And correctness is proven by history--from facts. It follows that one cannot know whether one is correct until after the action is taken and in the context of self assessment. To be correct the CCP must also not be correct but be willing to correct.
Sixth, the relationship between the expression of the CCP line and the structures of rule--the essence of Leninist rule of law, is then specified--that the CCP must follow its own line means that the CCP must follow its own rules, whether expressed in its command role (the General Program) or in its coordination role (the state constitution and the laws/rules enacted thereunder ("The Party must conduct its activities within the framework of the Constitution and laws of the country"). Leadership, then, means that the CCP must apply its line correctly. And that the correct application of its line requires it to apply and ensure the application of the rule systems that, under its leadership, have been developed for the coordination of the organs of state and society. The CCP must conduct its activities within the framework of the Constitution and the laws precisely because the CCP must follow its own line ( ¶ 12). As the organ in command of the overall situation and with a responsibility to coordinate among all other organs, it has itself declared the rule of law as a core element of its leadership role in promoting socialist democracy (¶ 15). It has also determined, correctly, that rule of law and rule of virtue are essential ingredients in the development of advanced socialist culture (¶ 16) and in building harmonious socialist society (¶ 17). To say that the CCP, demonstrates leadership by conducting its activists within the framework of the Constitution is to say no more than that the CCP evidences its leadership by applying its basic line. But it also suggests that to subject the CCP to the Constitution is merely to subject the CCP to itself.
Seventh, the CCP's coordination role is further developed to ensure that it operates in a manner that parallels the working style of the CCP itself including the development of a democratic centralism style grounded in unity of action (" It must see to it that the legislative, judicial and administrative organs of the state and the economic, cultural and people's organizations work with initiative and independent responsibility and in unison"). Just as the CCP's leadership obligates it to subject itself to itself--in the form of the principles of the state constitution, so it must, in its role of "overall command" (总揽全局) and "coordination" (协调)" lead the state organs implement the CCP's line. This parallels the CCP's own internal obligations to take the aggregation of their cadres and forge unity in thinking (¶ 24).
Seventh, the coordination role extends not just to the state apparatus to to all organized activity within China; each a productive force to be bent to the objectives of socialist modernization ("The Party must strengthen its leadership over trade unions, the Communist Youth League, women's federations and other mass organizations, and give full scope to their roles"). Here there is implied a coordination grounded in the CCP's objectives relating to socialist harmonious society ¶ 17. The leadership obligations of the CCP extend not just to coordination and leadership of the state organs to ensure unity in thinking and action along the correct line but to extend that to the operation of all other social, political and cultural organs. This incorporates the unity of socialist development as including both a cultural and societal element. The productive forces of society and culture--especially those tied to mass and class politics, must be coordinated in the overall effort to develop productive forces.
Eight, the dynamic role of leadership is then emphasized ("The Party must adapt itself to the march of events and changing circumstances, improving its system and style of leadership and raising its governance capability"). We have seen how the General Program has emphasized the dynamic in its conceptualization fo theory, of the vanguard party charged with its implementation and of the society to which it is to be applied. It stands to reason, now memorized, that the vanguard role requires nimbleness in the face of a project in which stability and preservation are not the key elements. The CCP is meant to be not just capable of reacting to the dynamic element of its dialectical engagement with itself, the state, people and nation, but also to be the vanguard of change in the service of the long term objective which is its primary responsibility. Leadership, then, is the avoidance of ossification in conceptualization, in policy, and in implementation.
Ninth, the leadership role of the CCP relating to non-CCP members is described in terms of both coordination and party building ("Party members must work in close cooperation with non-Party persons in the common endeavor to build socialism with Chinese characteristics"). To build the CCP, the CCP must expand. And, indeed, that is likely the chief method through which the CCP might develop its own productive force--by merging it with the productive force fo the people. One can understand here that the ultimate objective of socialist modernization, the near end stage on the eve of the establishment of the communist society, might be marked by the merger of party and people. A CCP that remains merely a revolutionary party, a CCP that remains merely a party in power, betrays its leadership role and fails in its fundamental objective to lead toward the establishment of a communist society. The ultimate object of the CCP is to disappear into the people, that is to make itself a naturalized and foundational element in the society, culture and world view of the people. To that end it must lead non CCP members--a coordination function--but it should lead them to CCP membership and the realization of socialist democracy, culture, and harmonious society in wehich the people may lead themselves by the compass if the normative values of Marxist Leninism with Chinese characteristics. That drives home the point embedded in the General Program that leadership involves teaching and teaching involves the erection of a driving world view that excludes others, a way of thinking, perceiving and analyzing, that already marks the West and eliminates the need for a vanguard--in the end. For a successful vanguard is one that can plot its end. when everyone is a CCP cadre.
So what is CCP leadership? How does CCP leadership relate to the fundamental role of the CCP as a vanguard element? Leadership is the mediating language between conception and application, between politics and administration. It is both a normative element of the General Program and a technique for its advancement. Leadership is the way one understands the essence of the Leninist vanguard now updated to the conditions of China in the early 21st century. Leadership is the way that the CCP speaks and acts.. A fluid concept, it is the expression of the means through which the CCP remains in "overall command" (总揽全局) and the ways in which it engages in "coordination" (协调)" to achieve unity on thought for the project of socialist modernization. But most of all, it is a reflexive concept. It is an expression of the way that the conceptual program of the CCP is reflected in and through the vanguard. To lead the nation, the CCP must lead itself under the principles of its own leadership.