At its 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held October 2017, the CPC leadership boldly announced the dawn of a “New Era”–a new stage in the history of the CPC and of China, as it moved forward, under the leadership of the CPC toward the ultimate mandatory goal of establishing a communist society in China. That forward movement represents the workings of two quite related but distinct elements. The first is the Marxist element–the continuing refinement and development of the basic normative theories from which the obligations of state, society and vanguard are derived and the goals toward which everything is bent. The second is the Leninist element–the continuing development of the normative structures of legitimate leadership by a vanguard element (in common parlance a “Communist” party) whose core obligation is to lead the people toward its Marxist objectives. These two basic elements are interlinked through the establishment of governmental (administrative) institutions through which the vanguard party might assert its leadership role in bringing society closer to its ultimate objectives.
While the development of Marxism and Leninism withered in Europe after the 1980s, lingering only in outlier states like North Korea and Cuba, China took a different path. The result was the creation of a unique approach to both government (the Leninist party of its structure) and the road taken toward the establishment of a Marxist society. To that end, China began to develop a Marxism with Chinese characteristics some of which were quite non-European. Its implementation of socialist development moved Marxism toward the adoption of the techniques of markets in the service of its Marxist goals. This Markets Marxism sought to embed markets into the objectives based obligations of its vanguard party. At the same time, the character of the CPC and its leadership role also developed. It profited from the lessons learned from the tragedies of cults of personality in Leninist parties and sought to begin to develop the collective principle inherent in Leninism in building what might evolve into a unique approach to endogenous democracy.
Chinese progress from the time of the beginning of the commencement of the last “New Era” (1978-2016) suggested to CPC leaders that the China of 2017 was at a very different stage from the China of 1978 and that this progress required more explicit refinement of its normative and governance structures in line with that progress. Both Marxism and Leninism were again further refined by the 19th CPC Congress. In its Leninist aspects, the centrality of a rules based organization was advanced along with a strengthening of intra-Party democratic principles (and perhaps eventually more fully practices). Accountability was centered through a focus on monitoring and cadre oversight and discipline. But the role of the CPC was also more explicitly broadened to cover virtually every sphere of life. CPC leadership, then, is now more clearly understood to extend to all aspects of national life. At the same time, the Marxist elements were developed. The central contradiction–the challenges at the center of the immediate leadership obligations of the CPC was recognized to have changed, and with it the primary obligation for leadership through state organs. That central contradiction, before 1978 was focused on the classical one of class struggle (from out of which European Marxism never advanced). After 1978 it was focused on economic development, centering on the contradiction in Chinese society between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the low level of production. The current “New Era” however, sees a movement beyond that to the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever growing need for a better life. These changes will have profound effect on government by shaping its policy choices and programs.
For most outsiders much of this is both new and daunting. It is sometimes difficult to separate the myths and stereotypes of the failed European Marxist-Leninist experiment form the construction of the Chinese (and to some extent the Vietnamese) Party-State. Yet such an understanding is now essential for anyone who is likely to deal with China or its enterprises int he course of global trade, international relations, or in the cyber sphere.
To bridge the knowledge gap in the West The Coalition for Peace and Ethics and its Partners have sought to develop a set of events designed to provide basic understanding of the operation and world view of the Chinese state and its vanguard party. To that end this Teach-In will provide a basic introduction to the government and political ideology of China today. It is designed especially for those with little or no knowledge of China and will provide a strong foundation from which participants will be able to better understand and follow developments at home and abroad respecting China and its emerging place in the world.
尽管上世纪80年代马克思主义和列宁主义的发展在欧洲枯萎，如今仅仅只在朝鲜、古巴等国家存在，中国选择了一条不同的道路。 通过这一道路，中国在政府（列宁主义政党的结构）和建立马克思主义社会的方式上开辟了一条独特的道路。在这样一条道路上，中国开始发展在某些方面与欧洲马克思主义十分不同的中国特色马克思主义。这种马克思主义对社会主义发展的实践将市场应用到了对马克思主义目标的追求中去。这种市场马克思主义寻求吧市场嵌入进基于先锋政党的的责任的更大目标中去。同时，中国共产党和其领导的特征也在不断发展。中国共产党从列宁主义政党的个人崇拜悲剧中吸取了经验，开始发展一套与列宁主义一脉相承的集体主义原则，这些原则将有可能发展出一种独特的内源性民主（endogenous democracy）路径。
Friday, March 09, 2018
Announcing Teach-In on China 座谈会：“新时代”的中国, Pennsylvania State University and Live Streamed
Pennsylvania State University
Katz Building Room 336
14 March 2018 – 2.00 – 4.30 P.M. U.S. East Coast Time
Live Streamed With Participation From Listeners.
As part of a week of events tied to the transformation of China in the “New Era”–The Vanguard Acts: A Focus on China at the Dawn of its “New Era,” we have organized this “Teach-In” to take advantage of the fortuitous visit of prominent China scholars to the Penn State campus. Concept Note and Program Details follow. 作为关注中国“新时代”转型的“先锋行动：在新时代的前夕关注中国”系列活动的一部分，我们借几位杰出的中国学者访问Penn State 之宜组织了这场座谈会，具体信息如下。
The Teach-In will take place 14 March 2018 in Katz Building Room 336, Pennsylvania State University From 2.00 – 4.30 P.M. Its aim is to provide a basic introduction for those who know very little but are interested in knowing more. We hope you find this useful and encourage your participation. It is organized around four broad themes: (1) Chinese political system; (2) Chinese economic organization; (3) One Country two systems; (4) a Primer on the “New Era.”
The event will be LIVE STREAMED and Recorded. Listeners to the live stream event will have the opportunity to send in their questions via MediaSite.
The Program may be accessed HERE.
The Concept Note follows.