Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Part 26 (Party Building--Follow the CCP Basic Line) --On a Constitutional Theory for China--From the General Program of the Chinese Communist Party to Political Theory

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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 26, CCP Party Building--Following the CCP Basic Line. It considers Paragraph 24 of the General Program.

Table of Contents

Part 26, Paragraph 24 of the General Program--CCP Party Building: Follow the CCP Basic Line.

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. 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).

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. To lead the people the CCP must build itself.

With Paragraph 24 the General Program turns to the first requirement for the CCP to build itself--the ideological framework that shapes and constrains the undertaking of CCP party building.
[24] First, adhering to the Party's basic line. The whole Party must achieve unity in thinking and action with Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and the Party's basic line, and persevere in doing so for a long time to come. The Party must integrate the reform and opening up policy with the Four Cardinal Principles, carry out its basic line in all fields of endeavor, implement in an all-around way its basic program for the primary stage of socialism and combat all "Left" and Right erroneous tendencies, maintaining vigilance against Right tendencies, primarily against "Left" tendencies. The Party must intensify the building of leading bodies at all levels, selecting and promoting cadres who have scored outstanding achievements in their public service and have won the trust of the masses in reform, opening up and the modernization drive, and train and cultivate millions upon millions of successors to the cause of socialism, thus ensuring organizationally the implementation of the Party's basic theory, line, program and experience.
[24] 第一,坚持党的基本路线。全党要用邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想和党的基本路线统一思想,统一行动,深入贯彻落实科学发展观, 并且毫不动摇地长期坚持下去。必须把改革开放同四项基本原则统一起来,全面落实党的基本路线,全面执行党在社会主义初级阶段的基本纲领,反对一切“左”的 和右的错误倾向,要警惕右,但主要是防止“左”。加强各级领导班子建设,选拔使用在改革开放和社会主义现代化建设中政绩突出、群众信任的干部,培养和造就 千百万社会主义事业接班人,从组织上保证党的基本理论、基本路线、基本纲领、基本经验的贯彻落实。
If Paragraph 23 declares that the goal of party building is not to build the party, but to develop the productive force of the CCP to lead the people of China toward a communist society, then ¶¶ 24-27 describes how that is to be done. These directions take the form of four essential requirements.

The first requirement is set out in Paragraph 24, which directs the CCP to follow its own line ("坚持党的基本路线"). Though this seems obvious in the context of the General Program, the object of  ¶ 24 may point in a different direction. First, ¶ 10 of the General Program, which describes the scope of the CCP basic line, is pointed outward, to the obligation of the CCP in China.  ¶ 24 then, points ¶ 10 inward to the CCP as a productive force. Second, this inward trajectory of the CCP basic line also reinforces the fundamental collectivist principle of Leninist organization. To turn the CCP line inward, then, suggests that the collective efforts of the CCP itself is to serve as the model of the collectivity at the center of socialist modernization.  To "lead the people of all ethnic groups in a concerted, self-reliant and pioneering effort to turn China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country by making economic development the central task while upholding the Four Cardinal Principles and the reform and opening up policy" (¶ 10), the CCP will first have to lead itself in the same concerted,s elf reliant and pioneering effort. The CCP cannot lead without following. And what the CCP must follow is its own--it must ensure that its operates as a vanguard both within and beyond its own structures and organization. 

First, to follow its own line, the CCP must seek to achieve within its organization what it must produce in the nation--unity of thought and action, that is, unity of organizing principle and national purpose (the "whole Party must achieve unity in thinking and action").  There are several strands here that merit unpacking.  The first is the wholeness of CCP action--the CCP cannot operate through faction.  The internal organization of a Leninist party is not to serve as the interiorization of the methods and techniques of Western political parties.  Leninist vanguardism posits singularity of purpose and direction.  It does not permit the sort of contests between factions.  That, in turn, is grounded in the notion that political party factionalism may be grounded more in a politics of personality than of purpose (considered here). Thus whole party unity is founded on a commonality of purpose, of ideology and of practice.  But unity does not imply uniformity.  The former is tied to notions of collectivity.  The latter is tied to rigid ossification in which no room for innovation is available. The avoidance of rigidity and ossification--of an approach to the substance of the vanguard role centered on preservation of a particular ideological basis (and its implementary line) is made clear by the obligation to apply to the organization and operation fo the CCP itself the dynamic  obligations of emancipating the mind and finding truth from facts that are inherent in the foundational principles of the CCP, its guidelines at ¶ 2. Thus, in building itself, the CCP must organize itself to avoid the error of factionalism and the error of ossification.      

Second, the innovation implied by the obligation to unity in thinking and action is refined by the obligation to embed reform and opening up with the core political line of the CCP, its four Cardinal Principles ("The Party must integrate the reform and opening up policy with the Four Cardinal Principles, carry out its basic line in all fields of endeavor, implement in an all-around way its basic program for the primary stage of socialism").  Thus, in building itself, the CCP must embed both reform and opening up and the Four Cardinal Principles in the building.  This is to be done by organizing its leadership to "carry out its basic line in all fields of endeavor, implement in an all-around way its basic program for the primary stage of socialism."

Third, the obligation to discover and combat contradiction and error, an obligation at the center of the leadership role of the CCP in developing socialist harmonious society (¶ 17) has an interior element as well ("combat all "Left" and Right erroneous tendencies, maintaining vigilance against Right tendencies, primarily against "Left" tendencies"). To build the CCP, the CCP must organize itself to produce unity in ideology and action.  We have seen how unity in action is furthered; but unity ideologically requires the sort of criticism and self criticism that produces unity in its program for achieving socialist modernization. That, in turn, requires a constant unifying conversation aboutthe appropriate path for progress given the historical context on the Chinese path toward developing productive forces. It follows that such constant conversations will necessarily produce error in the search for truth, and especially ideological truth, from the facts of China's reality. Left tendencies pull China backwards toward policies of cult of personality, of developing CCP power at the expense of national power, and of bureaucratism unconstrained by the cage of principle and regulation.  Right tendencies produce movement toward an abandonment of the core objective of the Chinese vanguard, to establish a communist society, and to replace that obligation with the purposelessness of Western state organization. In wither case, the CCP would cease to work for the people and would instead work for its own enhancement or those of certain members. But the search for error may itself roduce error. To build itself, the CCP must avoid the error of using the threat of error to suppress the emancipation of the mind.  All emancipation will produce error--but such error can be identified and corrected without consequence to cadres willing to do their duty.  To punish rather than correct error of this sort is to commit left error. Conversely, to fail tp suppress error that moves from tendency to rejection of the CCP line is to commit right error.  Only by constant criticism and self criticism can the CCP build itself by exercising self control and good judgment in the balancing of emancipation fo the mind and avoidance of error.

Fourth,  the internal governance of the CCP provides a space through which the CCP must practice its own basic line ("The Party must intensify the building of leading bodies at all levels, selecting and promoting cadres who have scored outstanding achievements in their public service and have won the trust of the masses").  The CCP cannot lead the people, state and nation on the road toward socialist modernization if it is unable to organize itself for that purpose.  The CCP cannot serve in a vanguard role it it doesn't practice the everyday organization of vanguard action. The CCP cannot lead in the development of productive forces it it is unable to develop its own productive force. To build the CCP, its institutionalization must practice its own line.  The CCP must practice reform and opening up to ensure that its operation provides a model for the rest of the social order to follow. 

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