Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Part 23 (Political and Territorial Unity)--On a Constitutional Theory for China--From the General Program of the Chinese Communist Party to Political Theory

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer)

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 22, The United Front and National Unification. It considers Paragraph 21 of the General Program.

Table of Contents

Part 23, Paragraph 21 of the General Program--The United Front and National Unification.

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 ¶¶ 23-27.  Between Paragraphs 20 and ¶23, ¶ 21 focuses on political and territorial unification--the United Front and national unification, and ¶ 22 focuses on foreign relations and communist internationalism.  The General Program ends with ¶ 28's treatment of the meaning and practice of leadership.

Paragraph 21 lays out the basic CCP line relating to reunification and class issues. In this sense it isr elated to the fundamental project of unifying the nation, the task to which ¶ 20 is centered.
[21] The Communist Party of China rallies all workers, farmers and intellectuals, and all the democratic parties, personages without party affiliation and the patriotic forces of all ethnic groups in China in further expanding and fortifying the broadest possible patriotic united front embracing all socialist workers, all builders of the cause of socialism and all patriots who support socialism or who support the reunification of the motherland. The Party will constantly strengthen the unity of all the Chinese people, including the compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese. It will promote long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao and complete the great cause of reunifying the motherland in conformity with the principle of "one country, two systems."

[21] 中国共产党同全国各民族工人、农民、知识分子团结在一起,同各民主党派、无党派人士、各民族的爱国力量团结在一起,进一步发展和壮 大由全体社会主义劳动者、社会主义事业的建设者、拥护社会主义的爱国者、拥护祖国统一的爱国者组成的最广泛的爱国统一战线。不断加强全国人民包括香港特别 行政区同胞、澳门特别行政区同胞、台湾同胞和海外侨胞的团结。按照“一个国家、两种制度”的方针,促进香港、澳门长期繁荣稳定,完成祖国统一大业。
Paragraph 21 focuses on two core political elements of the CCP's vanguard role.  Both are expressions of a basic principle of unity, one that is central to Leninism. The first touches on political unity in the service of the nation and its progress, the united front--the alliances necessary to build a united society moving toward the goal of a communist system  The second touches on territorial unity, and is an expression of the long term  project of territorial unification grounded in part in Chinese notions of irredenta and of the territorial march of imperial history.

Political unity builds on the revolutionary role of the CCP as the vanguard force at the center of an effort to bring together progressive forces of society--workers, farmers (peasants), intellectuals, members of the old democratic parties (from the revolutionary period), unaffiliated persons, and the vanguard forces of ethnic nationalities--in the fight against the Japanese, other foreign elements, and then for control of the state itself.  After 1949 the work of political unification continued but now transformed in line with the new stages of historical development in China. In its current version, ¶ 21 transforms the old united front  and progressive classes alliances, and the work of the CCP, toward the work of building socialism in China.  Unity, in this sense, can be understood as a means of developing the productive forces of shared goals in the service of socialist modernization.  It also points to the constraints on political unity. The principle of political unity is a consequential principle; it arises from and is constrained by the vanguard party's overarching objective of driving socialism forward.  As and to the extent that the development of a politics of unity work to aid the development of socialism, then it is to be encouraged.  But only if that is the case.   Yet this also suggests a deeper insight--socialism is also a means to a greater ends.  It is through the path of socialism that the possibility of building a communist society is possible.  Socialism is itself, then a productive force to be developed.  The principle of political unity serves those ends.

Territorial unity builds on the a nation building project, as well as on a project of purging colonialism and the accretions of foreign influence acquired within those unequal relationships. It requires a unification of those territories claimed by successive governments of China as irreversibly Chinese.  It is an ethno-historical theory of political unification that saw its apogee in the 20th century but endures in the twin notions of unity of ethnic groups into a single nation (¶ 20), the unity of like minded people under the political banner of progressive attainment of socialism, and the unification of the territory that these unities claim as their own.  In a sense, these three unities (三个统一) describe the outward manifestation of the CCP's vanguard role within China but across internal divides. Like political unity, territorial unity is essential for the full development of socialism in China.  But at the same time, unity no longer means uniformity. The historical politics of the united front, the principle of political unity cemented by a common set of objectives, permits a certain level of difference, and opens the possibility of autonomy--political, economic, cultural, and societal--even within a China territoriality unified.  "One country, two systems" creates the possibility of a territorial "united front" by analogy.  It suggests the necessary connection between political and territorial unity, and the similarity of their characteristics--sharing common goals but not necessarily sharing the same path toward those goals. In return for "long term prosperity and stability", the principles of political and territorial unity permit distinct paths toward the same goal--socialism directed toward the building of a communist state.  Whether the CCP can continue to exercise the self discipline necessary to permit the development of distinct paths and to guide them towards the same goals remains to be seen.  The ability to promote distinctiveness within a unifying enterprise has proven most difficult, and yet it is central to the CCP's policy vision for this stage of historical development. 

No comments: