Thursday, October 01, 2015

Part 27 (Party Building--Integrating Theory and Practice) --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 27, CCP Party Building--Integrating Theory and Practice. It considers Paragraph 25 of the General Program.

Table of Contents

Part 27, Paragraph 25 of the General Program--CCP Party Building: Integrating Theory and Practice.

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 25, then, the articulation of the techniques and objectives of party building turn to the all important issues of working style.  To build the CCP it is necessary to ensure that all cadres emancipate the mind.
[25] Second, persevering in emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts, keeping up with the times, and being realistic and pragmatic. The Party's ideological line is to proceed from reality in handling all matters, to integrate theory with practice, to seek truth from facts, and to verify and develop the truth through practice. All Party members must adhere to this ideological line, explore new ways, boldly experiment with new methods, go in for innovation, work creatively, constantly study new situations, review new experience and solve new problems, enrich and develop Marxism in practice, and advance the endeavor to adapt Marxism to Chinese conditions.
[25] 第二,坚持解放思想,实事求是,与时俱进。党的思想路线是一切从实际出发,理论联系实际,实事求是,在实践中检验真理和发展真理。 全党必须坚持这条思想路线,弘扬求真务实精神,积极探索,大胆试验,开拓创新,创造性地开展工作,不断研究新情况,总结新经验,解决新问题,在实践中丰富 和发展马克思主义,推进马克思主义中国化。
Paragraph 25 describes the working style necessary to successfully engage in the development and implementation of the ideological project of ¶ 24 in the service of the greater objectives of self constitution in ¶ 23.  The critical insight is that for the CCP to build itself, all cadres must build themselves as well.  The aggregation of cadres that constitute the singularity of the unified institutional structures of the CCP that must seek unity in thinking and action (¶ 24) requires cadres that can think and act.  The incarnation of the CCP as an institutional purpose, in other words, requires that every individual cadre contribute to that singular purpose in an effective way.  It is in this Paragraph 25, then, that the CCP confronts the great institutional issue of Leninist vanguard parties--the working style necessary to develop unity in thought and action by many individuals who must autonomously come together to produce collective thought and action from out of the mass of individuals.

To that end, and to build cadres, the focus moves from the structures and objectives for developing the state to that of developing the individual.  The development of the individual cadre, in turn, is a function of the cadres willingness to transform himself even as the CCP transforms society.  And in the same way that the collective operates to develop societal productive forces toward socialist modernization, the cadre must develop himself to effectively contribute to the collective.  That produces the second insight of ¶ 25: to build the cadre, development of individual capabilities must be bent toward the embrace of collective unity.  Just as the CCP does not build itself for itself, neither does the individual cadre build himself for himself.  Individuation, then, must serve collective ends--the self, in this sense, is understood as a variation of the expression of an undifferentiated self whose purpose is fundamentally collective in nature--the individual perfects himself to better contribute to the collective aims of the community.

The methods of that project of individual self improvement to attain the singular collective aims of the community of cadres are straightforward--" 
-->emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts, keeping up with the times, and being realistic and pragmatic."  These techniques are central elements that mark the transformation of the CCP from a revolutionary party to a party in power, from an emphasis on the individual in class struggle to the society in transition collectively. This is embodied in Deng Xiaoping Theory (¶ 5).  Indeed, Paragraph 25 is a reminder of the profound internal and external effect of Deng Xiaoping theory for the constitution of the CCP's mission to move the state people and nation forward toward a collective goal. That movement, the dynamism inherent in the project of socialist modernization, in turn, requires an institutional and individual approach that is also equally dynamic.  Emancipation of the mind rejects rigidity in thought and rigid textualism in action; it is founded on the notion that the past provides a guide and that ideology must advance even as it brings the nation closer to its goals.  It suggests a dynamic process of intertwined engagement from the past to the present and for the future.
Doctrine is not meant to strangle modernization, it is meant to enhance the development of productive forces in economic make it possible. This process is possible only through the techniques of seeking truth from facts.  To emancipate the mind, it is necessary to fearlessly seek truth from facts.  It requires rejection of the converse--the reconstruction of facts from predetermined truth.  This relationship becomes more understandable in light of ¶ 5, which reminds cadres that emancipation of the mind by seeking of truth from fact emancipated the CCP to socialist modernization, "ushering a new era of development in the cause of socialism"(¶ 5).  But emancipating the mind seeking truth from facts is not unmoored from the work of transforming the insights of truth to fact. To that end cadres  must balance "keeping up with the times, and being realistic and pragmatic."

This dialectical conversation between truth and facts, activated through the exercise of emancipating the mind (freeing it from an irrational attachment to past practice, behaviors, techniques, etc.) then frames the techniques that cadres must use to contribute to the CCP's requirement that it build itself. That frames the larger dialectic between individual cadres and the collective wisdom and action of a unified party.  It is the cadre's exercise of appropriate dialectical techniques that make it possible for the CCP itself to engage in such techniques.  The technique for managing this dialectical process--democratic centralism--is discussed at ¶ 27.  But the process objectives produce the ideological line as a dynamic interaction between facts, and truth, whose every interaction founded on emancipation of the mind (singular and collective) produce the basis from which further dialectic inevitably occur on the path through socialist modernization ot the establishment of a communist society. "The Party's ideological line is to proceed from reality in handling all matters, to integrate theory with practice, to seek truth from facts, and to verify and develop the truth through practice."

It is that dialectical process, then, that forms the heart of the systemic qualities of the CCP's working style. That dialectic transforms the ideas "emancipation of the mind", "seeking truth from facts", "keeping up with thew times", "being realistic," and "being pragmatic" from hollow slogans or autonomous self referencing insights into components of a process of dialectical engagement that connects past to present within the logic of the vanguard party's fundamental objective of leadership. That process element of the dialectical system also connects the autonomous actions of CCP cadres and the unified aggregated action of the CCP as a vanguard party.  That connection is at the heart of the last section of ¶ 25; "All Party members must adhere to this ideological line, explore new ways, boldly experiment with new methods, go in for innovation, work creatively, constantly study new situations, review new experience and solve new problems, enrich and develop Marxism in practice, and advance the endeavor to adapt Marxism to Chinese conditions." We move from the constitution of the individual cadre, to the constitution of the collectivization at the heart of the unified action of the CCP.  That, in turn, as we have seen, is the foundation of the leadership of the CCP.  To build the CCP, one must build the cadre; the cadre must build himself; to build himself the cadre builds the CCP.  The CCP builds itself by building its cadres. The task of building both requires individual effort directed toward collective action ("All Party members must cherish the path, the theories and the socialist system that the Party has explored and created after going through all the hardships; and they must keep to them all the time and continue to develop them." (¶ 8)).  

No comments: