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 19, CCP Leadership-Harmonious Socialist Society. It considers Paragraph 17 of the General Program.
Table of Contents
Part 19, Paragraph 17 of the General Program--CCP Leadership-Harmonious Socialist Society.
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 consider each in turn.
We continue with ¶ 17 (Harmonious Socialist Society).
 The Communist Party of China leads the people in building a harmonious socialist society. In accordance with the general requirements for democracy and the rule of law, equity and justice, honesty and fraternity, vigor and vitality, stability and order, and harmony between man and nature and the principle of all the people building and sharing a harmonious socialist society, the Party focuses its efforts on ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing by solving the most specific problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people, works to enable all the people to share in more fruits of development in a more equitable way, and strives to create a situation in which all people do their best, find their proper places in society and live together in harmony. The Party strengthens and makes innovations in social management. It strictly distinguishes between the two different types of contradictions - those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people - and works to handle them correctly. It will strengthen comprehensive measures to maintain law and order, and resolutely combat criminal activities that endanger national security and interests, social stability and economic development and bring criminals to justice in accordance with the law, so as to maintain lasting social stability.The CCP leadership role, central to the building of a socialist economy, democracy and culture, is also central to the building of a socialist harmonious society. This leadership obligation serves as a nexus point of sorts. It reflects an obligation of coordination that produces an aggregation of economics, politics and culture that is the sum of a social order. That is the purpose and essence of Paragraph 17 ("general requirements for democracy and the rule of law, equity and justice, honesty and fraternity, vigor and vitality, stability and order, and harmony between man and nature and the principle of all the people building and sharing a harmonious socialist society").
 中国共产党领导人民构建社会主义和谐社会。按照民主法治、公平正义、诚信友爱、充满活力、安定有序、人与自然和谐相处的总要求和共 同建设、共同享有的原则，以改善民生为重点，解决好人民最关心、最直接、最现实的利益问题，努力形成全体人民各尽其能、各得其所而又和谐相处的局面。严格 区分和正确处理敌我矛盾和人民内部矛盾这两类不同性质的矛盾。加强社会治安综合治理，依法坚决打击各种危害国家安全和利益、危害社会稳定和经济发展的犯罪 活动和犯罪分子，保持社会长期稳定。
First, ¶ 17 announces a principle of responsive government ("ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing by solving the most specific problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people"). This represents the operationalization of the efficiency principle derived from the principles of putting people first (¶ 7) and the prioritization of popular needs in socialist modernization (¶ 9; "development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing in its fruits"). This is central as well to the builkding of socialist democracy (¶ 15; "protect the people's right to manage state and social affairs as well as economic and cultural programs").
Second, ¶ 17 transforms class struggle into an administrative program of wealth or income transfer. Thsi is not the sort of transfer common to European Marxist states. Rather, the CCP has wide discretion to develop mechanisms, including socialist market mechanisms, for levelling wealth distribution ("works to enable all the people to share in more fruits of development in a more equitable way").
Third, ¶ 17 points to harmonious a socialist society as one directed toward sorting population and placing them in an appropriate place within the social order ("strives to create a situation in which all people do their best, find their proper places in society and live together in harmony"). But that, in turn, must be grounded on a principle that individuals all individuals are necessarily able to be slotted within any one of a well understood number of societal roles. There is a danger here of rigidity, text worship and bureaucratization that stifles innovation to the extent that the principle of slotting individuals in accordance with central planning inhibits the possibility of individuals resisting sorting to produce innovation that itself would move socialist modernization forward. A quiet society may be one that appears harmonious but that actually betrays the fundamental objective of societal harmony--to create the basis for innovation that propels the development of productive forces (including individuals( in the service of socialist modernization in the economic, political or cultural spheres. Here is an area that require substantial criticism and self criticism within the CCP and an obligation to understand the way that ¶ 2 and 5 must be read into ¶ 10 and ¶ 17. And indeed, this is recognized as an important element of ¶ 17 ("The Party strengthens and makes innovations in social management").
Fourth, social harmony has an important security element. If socialist social harmony is the expression of the objectives of the CCP basic line in the context of the scope of the CCP's leadership respo0nsibilities, then a consequence of that responsibility is the further responsibility to protect the social order from potential and actual disruption. This responsibility, of course, then colors everything--from the assertion of the use of societal space for space, the control of agitation, the exercise of human rights, and the way in which people communicate their opinions, judgments and suggestions about the effectiveness of the state apparatus or the CCP itself, in meeting their respective obligations. And there lies the great danger for the CCP. The open ended statement at the end of ™ 17 suggests the contradiction (矛盾) ("It will strengthen comprehensive measures to maintain law and order, and resolutely combat criminal activities that endanger national security and interests, social stability and economic development and bring criminals to justice in accordance with the law, so as to maintain lasting social stability"). Reading ¶ 17 in isolation suggests that the CCP, and the state apparatus it leads, have unlimited discretion in applying techniques. Yet the General Program itself, and its interpretive structures, suggest that this cannot be right. First, the mass line itself serves as a constraint--demanding a space for popular expression and discipline but reserving to the CCP and the state the determination of the form that this expression may assume. Second, such an unlimited discretion would inhibit the core objective of the CCP basic line--to avoid rigidity, self aggrandizement and remain responsive to the people and promote innovation and forward movement in the service of socialist modernization.
Fifth, this potential contradiction (矛盾) is resolved in a quite specific way in ¶ 17. First, the CCP's working style must be focused on innovation ("The Party strengthens and makes innovations in social management"). That suggests both the objective (to strengthen innovation) and the techniques through which this is accomplished (social management). This serves as a reminder that while social harmony might not become a straitjacket and mask for control, it is for the state and the CCP, rather than for the people, to manage the form and scope of popular engagement that may serve the useful purpose of moving society forward but with the cost of some societal disruption. Second, the CCP measures the success of its approach to the management of social harmony (and the space left for societal innovation) through a specific set of markers: the CCP "strictly distinguishes between the two different two types of contradictions - those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people - and works to handle them correctly." The basis of resolution depends, in the first instance on determining correctly the character of the societal disruption (两类不同性)--whether friend or foe, that is whether the action stems from a basic antagonism to the fundamental orientation of the CCP, the state and its core objectives (敌我). The second are not antagonistic to the system, they do not present a threat to systemic order. But they might produce error that can corrected, or they may reference the sort of ordinary anti social behavior that has been the subject of the criminal and civil authority to control in virtually all jurisdictions on earth. With respect top fundamental threats, the CCP leadership sees itself obligated to eradicate those contradictions with full force. With respect to popular contradictions--either via political error or anti-social behavior, the obligation requires a more corrective rather than a response grounded in simple suppression. The essence of these distinctive contradictions, of course, lie in the old approach to class struggle with its traditional original applications to the mass line. But both concepts have necessarily been scientifically developed and transformed through the important movement toward socialist modernization and the overall objective to develop productive forces toward the goal of establishing a communist society.
Sixth, though ¶ 17 is silent about the standards or techniques that the CCP must utilize to correctly distinguish between the two distinct types of contradictions, the General Program itself may provide the necessary guidance. We start with the most specific obligation/duty and then interpret that with reference to the more general and authoritative. The specific is the core obligation to lead the people in building a harmonious socialist society. Within the scope of that obligation, the duty to protect the project of social harmony is reduced to a second order responsibility--to a technique that must be bent to the core objective to which it is directed. Thus the CCP does not have an unlimited power to discipline society or social actors. It's authority is most legitimately asserted only when those techniques are directed solely and correctly to achieve the objective--building a harmonious socialist society. That was one of the great lessons of the Cultural Revolution, one written into Deng Xiaoping theory and refined through the three Represents and the scientific outlook on development. The techniques of safeguarding the building of a a harmonious society directed toward the development of productive forces in the economic, political and cultural spheres may be asserted only in harmony with the basic line of the CCP. That basic line incorporated reform and opening up, the centrality of economic development and the four cardinal principles. Each of these, in turn, oblige the CCP to put people first in the construction of programs designed to develop productive forces and lead China toward the next stage ion the path toward perfected socialism. The operational basis of that leadership is embedded in the people's democratic dictatorship. As such, the enemies of the state and the CCP--the enemies of the people--are no longer understood in class struggle terms (¶ 9: "Owing to both domestic circumstances and foreign influences, class struggle will continue to exist within a certain scope for a long time and may possibly grow acute under certain conditions, but it is no longer the principal contradiction"). In the place of class struggle as a central element, is the struggle for socialist modernization. State enemies are no longer understood in simple terms of class (see especially Sange Daibiao) but instead in their fidelity to the objectives of the vanguard part to develop productive forces in economic, political and cultural spheres under the principles of people's democratic dictatorship to build a communist society. Everyone else may commit error, which must be corrected, but are not enemies fo the state and Party. In effect, the obligation of the CCP is not so much to find enemies as to train its people in fidelity to its vanguard mission. That is both the essence of the CCP's political work and the basis of the construction of a harmonious socialist society.