Dear Secretary General Jiang and the Party’s Central Committee:
We listened to your speech on July l, 2001 and have since then carefully read it again in the past few days. We have many opinions in regard to your “July First” remarks. According to the Party’s Basic Statute, as well as the sections on Democrat Centralism of your speech, we feel we should present our comments to you and the Central Committee as well.
First of all, we would like to comment on the following passage:
To enforce the requirements of “Three Representations,” we must hold on to the essential nature of the Party as the vanguard of the working class, and, from beginning to end, maintain the advanced nature of our Party; in the meantime, in accordance with the reality of the economic development and social progress, we want to constantly empower the class basis as well as broadening the mass basis of the Party and increase its power to influence society.
The following are our opinions in the order as set out in your text:
First, you confirmed fully the point that we must hold on to the essential nature of the Party as the vanguard of the working class, and evaluated highly the working class of our nation. As you say, we must from beginning to end rely on the working class with heart and soul. Your comment is entirely correct.
However, as you state, although some working people’s work positions have changed, the change has not effected the status of the working class in China, and from a long term perspective the change is helpful in raising the overall quality of the working class and taking the full extent of their advantage. Your comments are incomplete.
It is correct to say that at present the Party still claims that the working class is the Party’s class base. The first article of the Constitution of the country states that the People’s Republic of China is under the leadership of the working class; this has not been revised. You and the Central Committee also state again and again that the working class is the master of the state and the enterprises, and we want to safeguard the power and mastership of the working class, etc. In saying this, it is true the status of the working class has not formally changed.
In reality, however, what remains in the relations between the workers and businesses is a contract relationship between employees and employers. Labor has already become a commodity today. Workers enjoy extremely little of democratic rights in enterprises, and even that little they have are not guaranteed at all. Those sayings of yours contain little practical content. Workers leave their work posts, and their seniority benefits are bought out, all as they are ordered. Nowadays masses of workers have lost their jobs; they can resort to no means to halt the process. After they left, masses of young peasants flow in. As compared with the city workers, except for the fact that the peasants are rather younger and paid less and that they have much looser relations with the enterprises, there is nothing that can result for them in improvement in terms of education, skills, and political vision and individual personality. The conditions of the workers in private businesses of either domestic or foreign investment are even worse, insufferable, and without any guarantee. So under these conditions, how can it be said that the status of the working class has not changed? Nevertheless, this is not the issue we are going to focus on today.
You also say, “in the period of democratic revolution, most of the Party members were peasants and other working people…but…our Party had her attention focused heavily on its construction of doctrine… Hence, the Party maintained its essential nature as the vanguard of the working class.” These remarks are incomplete. The correct principle concerning our party’s acceptance of new members is to follow the class line, that is, to assess a person based upon his family setting but not only to judge from that family setting. Who can join the Party? – only those members of the working class who are shown to have come to an advanced level. As peasants, or persons of other working background, they have to first come to the class stand of the working class, also ascend to the level of their vanguard, and then become members of the Party. In the period of democratic revolution, an intellectual who had not become a part of the working class was required to accept education by the Party, to consciously transform his worldviews, his views of life, until he really adopted the working class’s stand and raised himself to the level of the vanguard of the working class. Only then could he join the Party. For someone from or of the setting of the exploiting class, first of all he had to rebel against his own class and undergo conscious transformation until he finally came to stand on the side of the working class and was no longer exploiting or enjoying the benefit gained by means of exploitation. In addition, he had to be opposed to exploitation. On such basis, he needed to undergo further testing in the revolutionary practice until he finally lifted himself to the level of the vanguard of the working class. Then he could join the Party and, as a member, enjoy the same rights and perform the same duties of other members of the entire Party without discrimination.
It is not true to say that our Party has had the practice of accepting new members with no concerns about their original class setting. Although, as you said, that the Party’s high regard for its construction of doctrine has been historically true, the core of the Party’s construction of doctrine is to require every member to firmly adopt the stand of the working class and constantly make every effort to achieve the rank of the vanguard of the working class. Also, it is right for you to stress that [the Party] guides them in their struggles to accomplish the Party’s program and tasks,” and that a Party member must “struggle to accomplish the Party’s program and tasks,” but all revolutionaries within and outside the Party and the entire people should all struggle to accomplish the program and tasks of the Party. Not only the national bourgeoisie but liberal gentry also assumed struggles for accomplishing the Party’s program and tasks of in the period of democratic revolution. Therefore, it is not enough to impose only on the Party members the requirement to struggle for the program and tasks of the Party. But, still, this is not the issue we are to focus on today.
The focus of our letter is on the fact that the purpose of one passage in your speech, that is, “…to enlarge the people’s base of the Party,” is to let the real life newly born bourgeoisie, or the really existing exploiters, join the Party. However, you did not make your point plain but address this in a mix of some irrelevant messages that obfuscate the essence of the issue. You only implied your true intention; this will only cause serious confusions in the mind of the people both within and outside the Party.
If you believe that accepting the new bourgeois elements into the Party is an urgent demand of the current situation, and that the issue requires a rapid solution, you ought to put forward the issue plainly. You ought to lay out facts, elaborate on them, and make your argument clearly. Only this way can you reach a general consensus in the minds of the members of the entire Party, the entire working class, and the people of the whole country. Why didn’t you do so?
The communists look down upon those who hide their own political agenda. Classic Marxist writers and the leaders of our Party had a tradition of using exact and precise expressions in discourse. In the verse “if there had not been the Communist Party, there would have been China,” Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that it lacked the word -“new” ahead of “China.” What on earth are the reasons for you to employ phrases in your discourse that sound neutral and disguise the essential nature of the issue?
To demonstrate that our judgment is not arbitrary, we would like to expound the following:
You say: “Since the reform and the opening, new changes have taken place in the social stratum of our country, appearing are social stratum such as founders and technicians of people-run businesses of science and technology, managerial personnel hired by enterprises of foreign investment, individual business household, private business owners, brokers of intermediate entities, and independent professionals. Moreover, lots of people float frequently from and to entities of different ownerships, different factors, and different geographical locations. People’s occupations and status change constantly. The change will continue. Guided by the Party’s directory and policies, the broad masses of new social stratum make their contributions to the development of socialist society and other causes by means of honest labor and work and legal businesses. Together with the workers, peasants, intellectuals, cadres, and P.L.A. officials and soldiers, they are also constructors of the socialist cause of Chinese characteristics.
The great and arduous cause of constructing a socialism with Chinese characteristics demands outstanding elements from all walks of life to be loyal to the motherland and socialism and lead the masses with their own actual practice in pushing forward the cause. If one can consciously dedicate oneself in the struggle to accomplish the Party’s line and program that makes a major standard to measure if he satisfies the requirements for membership of the Party and could be accepted as a new member. The Party members from the ranks of workers, peasants, army and cadres constitute the most basic components and backbone forces of the Party. At the same time, we also should accept to the Party the outstanding elements from other social factors who recognize the Party’s program and Constitution, consciously devote themselves in the struggles for the Party’s line and program, and meet the requirements of the Party member through long term tests and heighten constantly the thought and political awareness of the broad masses of the Party members through the great influence of the Party. Hence we can strengthen the power of influence and convergence of the Party throughout the entire society.”
As for the two above passages, our comments are:
1. Today, China is still a society of classes. Since the economic reform, in addition to the changes taking place in the components of social stratum, there have been also changes in the components of classes. Among the people you have listed are different groups of the working class plus the bourgeoisie and its agents, which should not be mixed up with one another. In present China, a new bourgeoisie has been reborn. Mr. Jing Shuping published his “Reflections on the Day of July First” in the People’s Daily. He states:
“I have direct experience of the speedy development of non-public ownership businesses. To name only private businesses as examples, in the time of the campaign to integrate public and private businesses in 1956, the number of the business people of the national industries and commerce only amounted to 760,000 with a total property of Rmb 2.2 billion while the statistics of of 2000 shows that there are 1,700,000 private enterprises (including 3,500 private group companies) with a total capital investment of Rmb 11 trillion. The number of employees of private businesses is over 24 million. Non-public ownership businesses enjoy the benefits granted by the Party and Government and play a more and more important role in the national economic construction.”
As everyone knows, national industrial and commercial business people are indeed national bourgeoisie. Jing compares “the national industrial and commercial business people” of 1956 with the present day private businesses; he frankly admits the re-existence of the bourgeoisie in China and the fact the quantity has expanded many times that of 1956. Are not these facts clear to you? Class analysis and clear thinking about who are enemies, friends, and our own forces, constitutes the core of the basic principles of Marxism, and the basic skills of the communist. However, why, in such an important speech, did you only mention the changes in social stratum and mix up the concepts of stratum with class?
2. You also say that founders and technicians have appeared who are from the people-run businesses of science and technology . This is not a clear statement. What is it that is called “people-run”? It is in fact private-run. It is not precise that “private business” be called “people-run business.”
Our country is “the People’s Republic of China.” Our Constitution clearly claims that our country’s economy is under the ownership of the entire people. In the means of production owned by the entire people, every person in this country enjoys a share; this is truly “the people’s ownership” and “the people’s business.” The present day “people-run” business are in fact private business of the capitalist. The broad masses do not have a share. How could you name them “people-run”? Some people call them “people-run”, and term our state “the officials” they split our state from the people, placing them in contradictory positions. This is a distortion of the nature of the state and its relationship with the people. It is very wrong. Some people want privatization and try to substitute the private economy for the majority status of the public sector economy. But they do not feel they can justify this course openly. Therefore, in order to disguise the true nature of private business and confuse people, they created and employ the term “people-run.” You should not adopt the term “people-run” it is very unscientific.
And yet, what does “founders of the people-run… businesses” mean? Now that we understand “people-run” business to be private business, there are two possible entities that are in question: one is individual technical professionals, or cooperation by a number of individuals; they start businesses with their own skills and finds; they run business with their own labor, not hiring employees. The founders of such businesses are in fact individual workers or collective workers. But if they rely mainly on employees’ labor (more than eight), exploit their surplus values, then the founders are bourgeois. The two natures are very easy to distinguish from each other. Which of the two categories do the “founders” you called belong to? Or both? Why didn’t you distinguish them?
As for technical professionals of the “people-run” businesses, if they are hired employees, then they are working class people. As for “the managerial and technical personnel hired by businesses of foreign investment” that you mentioned, if they are chief managerial persons, for instance, chief executive officers, then they are agents of foreign capitalists, belonging to a group within the bourgeoisie. As for ordinary managing persons and technicians, they belong to the working class. The two categories should not be mixed up.
As for business of individual households, they are individual workers.
You mentioned “the employees of intermediary organizations, individual professionals.” These are all intellectuals in the present time. As long as they do not earn their major sources of living by exploiting their employees, they constitute a part of the working class, even though their labor is mental labor.
In summary, among the members of society you listed in your speech, we have no difficulty to tell apart which is which; most of them belong to the working class or to some stratum of the working class. Nevertheless, “private business owners” or “the founders of the people-run business of science and technology,” who hire and exploit employees, and managers of the businesses owned by foreign investment who work as agents of foreign capitalists all belong to the bourgeoisie or the exploiting class. Why did you mix up all these people and treat them as the same “members of other social factors”? In so doing, which part of the people is it your purpose that we can accept to the party? Is it proper that you mix up the working class with the bourgeoisie without any distinction and treat them as the same?
3. You also say: “Moreover, many people float from and to businesses of different ownerships, in different sectors and different geographical locations. The people’s occupations and status change constantly. These changes will continue.” It seems that “floating” and “change” is now an issue in the question of admission of these people to the Party. This is strange. For the working class, it is natural for them to think socialism fortunate and to be thankful to the Party since in the dozens of years after the founding of our country, we basically solved the problem of unemployment. Everyone had a stable job and experienced less movement and change. Since the economic reform, haven’t we started thinking that the previous practice was not good? Haven’t we started advocating “movement” and “change”? Even for we of the old working class, people who suffered exploitation in the old society and sold our labor at any low rate in order to make a living before liberation, we have started not caring about ownership and location as long as we have a chance to earn a bowl of rice. Roaming and change are now the usual phenomena. If we are of the proletariat, why should roaming and change affect us in regard to being admitted to the Party? Again, you use one more term with an obscure essence, that is, “status” (shenfen). We do not understand what the term really means. If it refers to the internal change in the stratum of the working class, for instance, where a physical laborer has unbelievably found a job of mental labor, this change in “status” is not supposed to affect the admission of the person to the Party. However, if a change in status means a shift from the working class to the bourgeoisie, the change of course would affect the person’s admission to the Party. Why didn’t you make this point plainly?
4. You say: “…the broad masses of the new social stratum,…made contributions to the development of socialist productivity and other causes… They are, too, constructors of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics.” This statement is entirely correct, but how it is related to the issue of the Party’s acceptance of new members? Nowadays, except for criminals and pure exploiters who do not work but earn profits, all the rest of the more than 1.2 billion people are “constructors of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics,” and are making contributions to the development of socialist productivity and other things. Nevertheless, this is by no means to say that all constructors can meet the requirements for membership in the Communist Party and are able to join the Party.
5. You announced new specifications as regards the major standard requirements for admitting new Party members, that is, “whether a person can consciously struggle for accomplishment of the Party’s line and program is the major standard to measure if a person satisfies the requirement of the Party members and can be accepted to the Party.” Of course, there is no question that a Party member must consciously struggle for the accomplishment of the Party’s line and program. But this last sentence is more simple; what have you overstated here?
You also clearly state: “must meet the requirements of the Party members.” We have to point out, however, there are far more fundamental and clearer specification as regards the requirements for the Party members in the Basic Statute. For instance, under the section regarding Party Members, the second article says that the Party Members are the vanguard soldiers with Communist consciousness of the Chinese working class and that Chinese Communist Party members are always ordinary members of the working people. These two claims specify the class nature that the Chinese Communist Party members must have.
You clearly state “private business owners,” “founders of the people-run businesses of science and technology” which possibly includes “private business owners” (although this is not made plain), and managers hired by foreign owned business as agents of foreign capitalists, these present day bourgeois elements, all are persons of “social factors” to be considered as the social stratum for the sources of candidates of new party members. Is this claim possibly agreeable to the requirements specified in the Party’s Basic Statute? How could the current bourgeois elements who hire and exploit employees be “working class people” or “ordinary members of the working people?” They are of two essentially opposite class statuses, how could they belong to the same one individual? The very first sentence of the Party’s Basic Statute states that “the Chinese Communist Party is the vanguard of the Chinese working class” and that “the Party is a class organization” if the nature of the Chinese working class were to have been obliterated, then there would not have been the Communist Party of China.
6. In summary, first you enumerate intellectuals, technical professionals, ordinary managers, employees of intermediary organizations, independent professionals, and individual workers, who should be categorized as working class, with bourgeois private business owners and the agents of foreign capitalists, then you state: “they unite with workers, peasants, intellectuals, cadres, and officers and soldiers of the P.L.A.” This shows that you have already considered them not workers, nor intellectuals. Private business owners and the agents of foreign capitalists may be glad that you have said so. But how about the people who actually should have categorized as working class and make a majority of those you enumerate? Do they feel happy? By doing so, what kind of people have you won? Who have you distanced yourself from? And does this enumeration do any good to the Party?
You state also: “The Party members from the settings of workers, peasants, intellectuals, army men and cadres make the most basic components and backbone forces of the Party’s organization. In the meantime,…we should accept to the party the outstanding elements of other social factors that satisfy the requirements of Party members.” These “outstanding elements of the other social factors” mean those outstanding elements you have enumerated, do they? If so, the bourgeois private business owners and the agents of capitalists may on the one hand exploit the working class, and one the other hand be admitted to the Party. Of course, they would be happy about that. However, those intellectuals who should be categorized as working class have been excluded from the category of workers and intellectuals. How should they be happy?
Even more important, does what you say imply the possibility that the Party will be divided into two strata? That is, “the most basic components and backbone forces” on one hand, and those who are not on the other hand? Is it possible that the Party can be of two strata? In addition, those who are not “the most basic components and backbone forces include bourgeois elements. How can such a party, which internally contains two stratums who are fundamentally contradictory to each other, still be the Chinese Communist Party which is supposed to be the vanguard of the proletarian class?
Previously, the bourgeoisie were a part of the United Front; they can be united under the leadership of the working class in constructing socialism with Chinese characteristics through the Party’s work of the United Front. If, as you state, the bourgeoisie are accepted into the Party and they change the class nature of the Party, will this political Party, which is no longer pure and firm, be able to lead other classes? Will it be able to lead the United Front?
Immediately after the two paragraphs cited above, there is the following paragraph:
“The theory of labor and labor value in a capitalist society created by classic Marxist authors revealed the operative characteristics and basic contradictions of the capitalist mode of production of that time. Now, we are developing a socialist market economy that is greatly different from the situation the founders of Marxism were facing and studying. Therefore, we should combine the new practice and deepen the research and understanding of the theories of socialist social labor and labor value. The basic aim of our socialist construction is to make the people rich and happy. As the economy develops, the living standard of the vast majority of the people is steadily improving and their private property is also gradually increasing. Under these circumstances, we should not determine if people are politically progressive or conservative based simply on whether they have private property and how much property they possess. They should be judged based on their political thought and practical performance, how they acquire their fortune and how they use the fortune, and how they contribute with their own work to the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Responding to this, we would like to say that you were the first one to propose that “science, technology and management are playing more and more important roles in social production, and we should further our understanding of labor and labor value problem according to the reality of the mode of production,” at the Forum on the Development of Three Northeast Provinces and the Economical and Social Development in the Tenth Five Year Plan held in Changchun on August 8, 2000. After that, the document of the Fifth Plenary Session of the Fifteenth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party also proposed that “the understanding of labor and labor value theory should be deepened under the new historic conditions.” However, neither you nor the convention document has explained how to understand them.
Raising this question has attracted a great deal of attention in the society and provoked heated debate among different opinions. It has been about one year since then. In your speech this time, you emphasized again that the situation we are facing now is greatly different from that which the founders of Marxism were facing. Therefore we need to further study and understand the problem. Although you did not directly say so, you seem to think that the theory of labor and labor value created by the founders of Marxism is no longer applicable to the current situation and should be further developed. However, you did not explain what the difference is between the two situations and how to understand that difference.
A Letter to Comrade Jiang Zemin and the Party’s central Committee
From about a year ago, we have had mainly three questions:
1. What is value? Is value created only through labor, or through land, capital, as well as labor?
It is well recognized that labor can create value. That means that any type of material items (goods) is materialized labor or created by labor. The value of the material products (goods) is determined by the value of the means of livelihood consumed by the worker during the time he or she produces the material product (goods). A natural substance without application of human labor may have use value but does not have value. A piece of land will not have value without being used by human being. Even if it is growing grasses that may be used to feed cattle or sheep and thus has use value, cattle or sheep can be fed on it only through human labor of herding or harvesting, through which the land will have value. Without herding or harvesting, the grasses will only grow and naturally create no value.
A certain amount of money capital locked in a safe will not generate any value. Even if production tools and subject of labor are bought using money, without being used for producing a product by workers, they have only transferred value and would not generate new value. Not only that, due to oxidation when exposed to certain environments, they may well be degraded and even become totally useless. Only when processed in production by workers, can new value be created. This clearly explains why value can be created only by labor. Without labor, land and capital will not create any value and will not become the sources of rent and profit.
In a capitalist society, the reason that land may generate rent, and capital may generate profit is because of the establishment of bourgeois right and privatization of land and capital. The laborers own nothing and become a proletariat who have only their own labor to sell. Under these circumstances, if one needs to use land, one has to rent it from and to pay rent to a landlord. The owner of capital can use his capital to buy land, production tools, subject of labor, and the proletariat’s labor, forcing them to work for him. The result of the production is that the land, the production tools and the subject of labor transfer their value to the newly produced goods without any increase in value. Only the labor of the proletariat created a new value that includes the amount paid by the capitalist to them to maintain their livelihood, and surplus value that is the source of the profit for the capitalist or the rent for the landlord. This explains why neither land nor capital can create value. The nature of rent and capital profit is occupying and sharing the surplus value created by the proletariat.
These basic principles of Marxism will never be outdated. Now during the primary period of socialism, our economy is relatively backward. In order to develop the economy, under the dominance of socialist public ownership, it may be necessary for us to make use of foreign and domestic private capital and therefore to allow part of the new value created by the labor of the working class to be shared with the owners of private capital as surplus value. Nonetheless, this does not mean that capital creates value. This only reflects bourgeois right. All what we have discussed above has become common knowledge and we have just expressed it in our own words.
2. In August last year, you said “Scientific and technological work and management work are playing more and more important roles in social production”. Meanwhile, you proposed “to further understand labor and labor value problem according to the reality of modern production.” After that, the documents of due Fifth Plenary Session of the Fifteenth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party proposed to “encourage capital and technology as key elements of production to participate in profit sharing.” In addition to this idea, the outline of the Tenth Five-Year Plan further proposed “the salaries of the senior managers and technical professionals should be increased to a level that sufficiently reflects the value of their work,…”
The work in science, technology and business management is playing a more and more important role in social production. How to fully understand this requires analysis that should be performed practically and realistically. How the national policy on income distribution is decided also requires research. However, if we still want to apply Marxist theory of labor and labor value to the problem, we have to combine the basic principles of Marxism with practice in research that has to be scientific.
Work in science, technology and business management is distinguished from direct physical labor. It mainly involves mental labor, or complex labor, while direct physical labor is likely manual labor or simple labor. This has not been the way types of labor are categorized for some time now. Recently, a new way of classification has been proposed in which labor is divided into “creative labor and repetitive labor.” Whether this new way of classification is adequate could be discussed. The three types of classification: mental labor versus manual labor, complex labor versus simple labor, and creative labor versus repetitive labor are basically the same though their intention may be slightly different.
The reason for us to say that work of science, technology and business management as complex labor is more important than direct and simple labor is that this type of labor may be more effective in creating use value. It may create more, newer, more efficient products that consume less key elements of production.
Now, let us take a look at whether or not complex labor is more valuable than simple labor. During the same period of time, a worker of complex labor may create higher value than a worker of simple labor does. This has been recognized by Marxism. Marx said that complex laborer may create value that is several times as much as a simple laborer does in the same period of social labor time. It is due to the following reasons. First a complex laborer requires a lot more education and training, secondly, complex labor often cannot be finished in a fixed time period. A mental laborer, or a technical person, or a business manager may have to study the problem he has to solve during fixed office hours. However, he may still have to think about, study, plan and even handle the problem after office hours. Sometimes, in the fixed office time, a mental laborer may not achieve any accomplishment. However, he may come up with achievements in leisure time. Therefore, if an eight hour working day is given to a mental laborer and a manual laborer, the manual laborer leaves his working place and means of production and thus ceases his working activity, while the mental laborer may continue his work after his office hours. If the value of their labor is evaluated on an eight hour basis, the mental labor will have higher value than the manual labor even if the unity values of the two are the same- Thirdly, complex labor, or scientific and technologic work, or business management, often is not going to be successful at once but may likely fail once or several times before the final success. Thus longer working time is needed. Of course, this does not mean that the more times they fail, the longer time they spend, the higher their value of labor. Society could only recognize the mean working time and mean labor value for similar mental labors. In summary, due to these factors, complex labor or mental labor has higher value than simple labor does. This also shows that Marx’s statement of “several times” difference between complex labor and simple labor fits the practical situation. Today, in our country, a manual laborer also needs to finish nine years of compulsory education. Many workers have a high school diploma. A college graduate is considered a mental laborer. Comparing the two, the education time for a mental laborer is not a few times longer than that for a manual laborer.
The uncertainty of the working time of a mental laborer may result from two situations. A hard-working mental laborer may use his mind on work continuously for 24 hours, while a lazy mental laborer may not seriously work even during his office hours. The criticism of workers to some of our managers and technical professionals as “drinking one cup of tea, smoking one cigarette, and reading one newspaper for half a day” is exactly this kind of situation. Nowadays, some company senior managers are busy networking outside the company. They claim that it is necessary to do so. However, it is questionable how much of such activity is necessary labor.
It is said that science and technology are the first productive forces. This means overall science and technology. In the advancement of science and technology, scientists and technical professionals should lead and therefore play an important role in research and invention. However, under the conditions of socialized productivity, the process from the success of a scientific research or invention to its transferring into some real social productive force must involve more than a single or a few technical professionals. It is necessary also to involve workers who directly participate in production. In addition, manual labor may also include mental labor, complex labor, and creative labor. In practice, a technical professional has invented or designed a product and wants to produce it. He has to do it through operating workers who can handle the technology. The workers often have to modify an imperfect, unreasonable design. The design from a technical professional should be understandable to and followed by operating workers. A technical professional may be able to do calculation and design but often may not be able to operate machines. Thus, it is said that “machines are made instead of sketched.” This may be a biased statement or even a little disrespectful one to scientific and technical professionals. But it indeed reflects the real situation in one aspect. Everyone knows the importance of senior technical professionals. The advancement of science and technology is the cause of the whole working class. The representative of advanced productive force is the entire working class. The Charter of the Anshan Iron and Steel Company that proposes the three-in- one combination of technical professionals, workers, and managers is correct. It shows the advantage of our socialist system. Nowadays, it is absolutely correct to say that we have to enhance the overall quality of the working class. It is incorrect not to pay attention to scientific and technical professionals. It is equally incorrect to neglect manual laborers.
In managing a company, the leaders of the company are important. In modern industrial production, the companies need to be organized from top to bottom. The management system is like a pyramid. Socialist business management should also follow the principle of democratic centralism. Although the chief executive officer is important, in order to be successful, he has to depend on both the managers at every level and all employees in both inside management and in marketing and sales. If he is all by himself, no matter how capable he is, it is hard for him to be successful because even the wise are not always free from error. We have to pay attention to the ability of the senior manager of a company. However, his contribution should not be exaggerated.
It should also be pointed out that if we thoroughly understand that “the value of labor is determined by the value of the means of livelihood in producing, developing, maintaining and regenerating labor” (Marx in Salary, Price and Profit) we should be able to say that the expenditure of labor is actually the expenditure of a laborer’s life. In this sense, comparing mental and manual labors, it is difficult to judge which one consumes more life of the laborer. We are communists and Marxists and therefore should consider all the laborers and every member of the working class similarly valuable and equal. When we pay attention to the mental laborers, we should also recognize that broad masses of manual laborers work under hard, exhaustive, dirty, difficult, and dangerous conditions. They may have to not only put in a lot of physical effort and sweat all over but also take a risk of being injured or even killed in certain circumstances. For those who work underground in a coal gallery, high above the ground, in high temperature and extremely low temperature, in high noise level, in highly dusty places, in hazardous gases, or a highly radioactive environment, have to not only possess the strength and specialties in the specific profession, but also to take a risk of contracting job related diseases and disability and even shortening of life span. If we take these factors into account, the value of manual laborers should also increase significantly.
Therefore, as long as we combine theory with practice and really seek the truth from facts in our research and understanding of the problem, we should recognize that Marxist theory of labor and labor value is not out of date in today’s socialist society. Having realized that the value of mental labor is greater than that of manual labor, we should not think that the value of mental labor is so much higher than that of manual labor and thus allow the income of the two types of laborers to be greatly different.
There is a prevalent argument that the business activities of the capitalists of privately owned and privately funded enterprises are also labor and therefore they are workers too. It is true that the business activities of this type of capitalist have a dual character. It indeed contains labor on one hand. On the other hand, the main purpose of their business activities is to acquire profit on capital, appropriating the surplus value of workers’ labor. The nature of these activities is exploitation instead of labor. In terms of compensation, they are either the chief executive officer or the chairman of the board of trustees and pay themselves a high salary. Therefore, the value of their labor has been retrieved. However, the major source of their income is from exploitation. Consequently, they do not belong to the working class and rather are exploiters. If we consider the exploitation activity of those who painstakingly builds up their own business as labor and thus think the exploiters are also workers, we will get into a ridiculous situation. This is because exploiters, who painstakingly build up their own business, can be found among capitalists, slave owners, and feudal lords. How could we consider their activities as working and consider them workers? In Midnight Cockcrow, a novel written by Gao Yubao, the old landlord required the farm laborer to get up and start working after cock crowed three times. In order to force the farm laborers to get up early, he got up midnight and stuck his head in the chicken coop and mimicked a cockcrow. That was indeed hard work. Should we also regard his activity as labor? The behavior of the old landlord was really disgusting although it was still a way of management. Is there an essential distinction between this type of management and those “civilized” management methods? The answer is no. The conclusion can only be that capitalists’ activities in managing their own business are not labor. Capitalists whose income mainly comes from exploitation are exploiters instead of workers.
Having discussed Marxist theory of labor and labor value, you state “the criterion of judging whether one is politically progressive or conservative should not be based on whether he has private property or how much private property he owns; Instead, they should be judged based on their political thought and practical activity, how they acquire their fortune and how they make use of their fortune, and how they contribute to the the cause of constructing socialism with Chinese characteristics through their work.”
This is another statement that needs to be clarified. Your “criterion of judging whether one is politically progressive” should be used to judge what type of people should be accepted as a Party member. Is it true that if one is politically progressive by your criterion, he should be accepted as a Party member? We do not know who told you that a person who owns a fortune is necessarily politically conservative and therefore should not be allowed to join the party. Is there anyone who ever said so?
As stated previously, as stated in the Party Basic Statute, the most clearly defined requirement of the class attribute of a party member is that “a Party member of the Chinese Communist Party should be a vanguard soldier of the Chinese working class who is a conscientious communist.” “A Party member of the Chinese Communist Party should always be a common member of the working class people.” “A member of the working class” and “a common member of the working class people” are the requirements of a party member’s class attribute about which there should never be any ambiguity. From this, a capitalist who owns private capital and uses it to exploit hired workers is neither a member of working class nor a common member of working people and therefore should not be admitted to the party. Here the deterministic factors are ownership of capital and activity of exploitation. The property mentioned in your statement is not necessary the same as capital. We guess you know that. Do you also mean that the capitalists who own private capital and use it to exploit hired workers should not be admitted to the party?
At this point, we feel a little awkward. There were 1513 words in the section of your statement about “in implementation of the Three Representations, we have to stick with the nature of the Party as the vanguard of the working class and to always maintain the progressiveness of the party. Meanwhile, we should enlarge the class base and popular base of the Party according to the practical situation of economic and social development and steadily increase the social influence of the party.” We initially thought that we only needed to write a short letter to express our opinions. When we thought about some details, we encountered many questions and problems. In order to express our opinions in relatively detailed way, this letter became lengthy. All the words come to one sentence: we must not admit capitalists into the party. If so, the nature of the party will be changed.
Our insistence on this is not to follow a dogma or a book but to act based on reality. The bourgeois class and the working class have a natural conflict of interest, and struggle because the bourgeoisie controls capital and are thus able to appropriate surplus value created by hired workers. The working class is robbed because they have only their labor for sale. This situation has existed since the birth of the two classes in China, as well as in the world. People such as we have had such an experience ourselves. We understand deeply the pain of being exploited. It is because of that experience, we accepted the teaching of the Party, firmly believe in Marxism, and took the cause of revolution. After the victory of the revolution, we have seen the happiness and the unlimited enthusiasm for socialism of the whole working class, or the exploited after being liberated. The country was becoming more and more prosperous. Because of this, we firmly believe that the advantageous socialist system must not be eliminated. Since the beginning of the twenty some years reform, the social status and the rights of the working class have been steadily decreasing. This makes the working class and most of the Chinese people extremely unsatisfied. Now we want to admit the capitalists and exploiters into the party, making the overseas capitalist class happy while the working class will be even more unsatisfied. The party will distance itself even father away from the working class, which destroys the base of the party. We should never do that.
After your speech, the general office of the Central Committee sent out a circular, stating that issues related to most important policies should not be touched till the final decision. We thought that referred to the subject of admitting bourgeois elements into the party. However it was not spelled out clearly. This is not a good style of writing. Nonetheless, it is correct to guard this pass cautiously. The circular also indicates that the department concerned in the Party Central Committee will make up the guidelines for the issue. Since this relates to the most important issues such as the class nature and class purity of the party, a single department in the Party Central Committee has no right to make a decision. The Party is the vanguard of the working class. Admitting bourgeois elements into the party is an issue that will have an impact on the fundamental interest of the entire working class and the Chinese people. If a decision is to be made, it should be made through the following process. First, all the Party members should be mobilized to extensively collect the opinions of the working class and working people. Then the Party members should have discussion on the issue and came up with opinions to be further discussed at the National Congress of the party by their representatives. Only on the basis of such discussion can a decision can be made. After all, the issue of admitting bourgeois elements into the party should never have been raised in the first place. We urge that the Central Committee be extremely cautious on this issue.
4. Finally, we would like to add one more point. Recently, it has frequently been said that you have developed Deng Xiaopeng Theory and thus also developed Marxism. Someone wrote an article indicating that Chinese development of Marxism has generated two great fruits; Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory. The article further states that “a series of expositions of Comrade Jiang Zemin’s in recent years, especially his important thought of Three Representations, are the new condensation of the experience of the socialist construction of our country under the new circumstances. It is a new development of Deng Xiaoping Theory.” “The thought of Three Representations is another model of combining the basic principles of Marxism with China’s reality and thus is a significant achievement of the Chinese development of Marxism.”
Now, there is a rumor that some people are proposing to use a specific phrase to represent your expositions such that they will be related and parallel to Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping Theory. It will also be formally listed as one of the guides of actions of the Party. Of course, it is just a rumor and there is no evidence. Today, we write this letter to you and the Central Committee, reminding you to pay attention to this and to be cautious in taking action.
If we want to talk about developing Marxism, we should first emphasize that it is the practice of the working class and the revolutionary peoples that develops Marxism. Secondly, anyone, who firmly believes Marxism and uses it to solve practical problems, will always develop Marxism to a certain extent. As for the major leading cadres of the Party, they may concentrate the experience and wisdom of the whole Party and the people in the nation and develop Marxism to a certain extent. The problem is whether for the expositions of each term of the central leading core, we have to invent a phrase and define it as a guide of action. Nowadays, when Chinese people mention in speech and writing about their guiding thought, they have to spell “Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping Theory.” If we keep adding the expositions of one term after another of the leaders, how could we possibly handle it?
Up to today, we have just walked the first one or few steps in a ten thousand mile march on the cause of the Party. The road ahead of us is extraordinary difficult. We have not had real understanding of the role of many issues and therefore not much freedom in action. Every Communist Party member should be as extremely cautious as if we were on the edge of a cliff or stepping on thin ice. Be very, very careful.
We are both really aged and like an old cow that knows the shortness of the sunset. The reason why we candidly wrote this letter to you and the Central Committee is that we still feel our responsibility to the Party, the working class, the Chinese people, and socialist and communist venture of the human society.
Ma Bin, Former General Manager of Anshan Iron and Steel Company
Han Yaxi, Former Alternate General Secretary, Head of Propaganda and Education Department of All-China Federation of Trade Unions
July 15, 2001
Essays in this series…
Capitalism, the Absurd System: A View from the United States
(June 1, 2010)
South Africa’s Bubble Meets Boiling Urban Social Protest
(June 1, 2010)
Political Reawakening in Zimbabwe
(April 1, 1999)
April 1999, Volume 50, Number 11
(April 1, 1999)
The Financial Power Elite
(May 1, 2010)
July-August 2010, Volume 62, Number 3
(July 1, 2010)
Foreword to the Summer Issue
(July 1, 2010)
Awakening in Oaxaca: Stirrings of the People’s Giant
(June 1, 2010)
Time to Pay the Piper
(June 1, 2010)
Sartre: Conversations with a “Bourgeois Revolutionary”
(June 1, 2010)