The Difference between the CPC and the DNC? A Study of Politics Versus Personalities
Unlike Joe Biden, Xi Jinping’s report is centered, not on personality but on the actually-existing socialist system in China.
“Seventy-three percent of people polled in China believe they live in a democracy.”
The Democratic Party recently held its convention and formally nominated Joe Biden to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Biden’s nomination comes amid a U.S.-led New Cold War against China that has grown enormously in scale since the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan at the end of 2019. The U.S.’ New Cold War has come with sanctions, military maneuvers, diplomatic freezes, attacks on China’s tech industry and endless cycles of anti-China and anti-communist propaganda. A deeper understanding of China is a critical necessity for people in the United States who want to see the principle of peace become a reality in their lifetime. A good place to begin developing solidarity with China is by understanding the difference between the Democratic Party and China’s ruling party, the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The Democratic Party and the Communist Party of China couldn’t be more different, but one wouldn’t know this if the Trump administration’s election red-baiting was the only frame of reference available to compare them. The contrast can be readily seen in two speeches: one given by Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention and the other given by China’s president Xi Jinping at the 28thcollective study of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, released to the public in Qiushi Journal on August 15th of 2020. Joe Biden’s speech focused primarily on the blunders of current U.S. president Donald J. Trump. Xi Jinping’s speech focused on a synthesis of Marxist political economy and its application to the policies that undergird modern China. In other words, Joe Biden and the Democrats are concerned mainly with personalities while Xi Jinping and the CPC are more concerned with policy.
“A deeper understanding of China is a critical necessity for people in the United States who want to see the principle of peace become a reality in their lifetime.”
Joe Biden’s convention speech quite clearly frames the 2020 election as a referendum on Trump. Trump was condemned for failing to protect people from COVID-19, befriending “dictators,” and neglecting the economic wellbeing of working people and the natural environment. Biden’s speech outlined what he saw as the major problems of the current administration but left out their root cause entirely. Instead, criticism of Trump’s handling of the grave challenges facing the U.S. was coupled with a sermon on American exceptionalism. Biden promised to be an “American” president, a president of “light,” and one who will bring the U.S. closer to racial, economic, and environmental justice as defined by the example of the Obama administration.
The villains and heroes are clear in Biden’s speech. Biden and his version of the United States are the heroes. Trump and his version of the United States are the villains. Biden neither explains the true character of the U.S. social system nor offers clear policy remedies. In actuality, the Democratic Party adheres to Biden’s slogan that “nothing would fundamentally change” for the rich should he win the general election. That corporate donors ultimately determine Biden’s political orientation must be buried from public discourse. American exceptionalism serves as the religion employed to deflect attention away from the political and policy questions that underscore this fact.
“Biden neither explains the true character of the U.S. social system nor offers clear policy remedies.”
China’s ruling party takes a different approach to politics. Marxist political economy is the theory that guides the party’s economic and political leadership. Politics are the instrument through which Marxist political economy is applied to the concrete conditions that exist in China. In his speech to the Central Committee’s Political Bureau, Xi Jinping remarked that “the purpose of studying Marxist political economy is to better guide my country's economic development practice. It is necessary to adhere to its basic principles and methodology . . . [and] integrate [the theory] with my country's actual economic development to continuously form new theoretical results.” Marxist political economy is thus no religion, but rather a science that clarifies the leadership role of the party in the pathway forward for China’s national development.
Xi Jinping outlines six key tasks derived from the Communist Party of China’s study of Marxist political economy. The CPC will adhere to a people-centered ideology of development, create new development concepts from actual experience, uphold and improve the basic socialist economic system of the country, improve the distribution system, maintain balance between market economic reforms and socialist construction, and continue the process of opening up economic relations with the world. Unlike Joe Biden, Xi Jinping centers his recommendations not on the personality or type of rule of a political leader like Donald Trump but on the actually-existing socialist system in China. He emphasizes that the dominance of public ownership and state-owned enterprise cannot be shaken and warns against the drawbacks of capitalism in the opening up period. Problems such as uneven income distribution are framed as the responsibility of the party to ameliorate, not a single person.
“Politics are the instrument through which Marxist political economy is applied to the concrete conditions that exist in China.”
Practice and methodology are critical aspects of political struggle often ignored in the U.S. As President Xi states, practice is the source of all theory. Joe Biden’s Democratic Party has proven through practice to be an organ of the capitalist class. His nomination speech possessed crafted calls for hope and unity around a “more perfect union” but did not acknowledge the many policies that helped Trump win in 2016. Biden’s commitment to credit card and financial corporations, fossil fuel interests, prison/police unions, and the military industrial complex is well-documented. His repetition of faulty intelligence regarding “Russian bounties” on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and the Democratic Party’s willingness to bring Republicans John Kasich and Colin Powell under its big corporate tent is a clear message that the historic commitment to austerity and war is alive and well regardless of who wins the 2020 election.
U.S. politics are mired in a crisis of legitimacy where majorities of people neither trust the government nor participate in the political process. The Communist Party of China faces no such problem. Popular legitimacy for the CPC has been verified in data compiled by mainstream publications. The Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center found that over 95 percent of people in China report satisfaction with the central government. A survey gauging popular perceptions of “democracy” conducted in part by the Alliance for Democracies found that 73 percent of people polled from China believed they lived in a democratic society.
“The historic commitment to austerity and war is alive and well regardless of who wins the 2020 election.”
U.S. and Western observers may claim that an overwhelming fear of the “authoritarian” character of China explains why people would lend legitimacy to the government. This anti-communist assertion has no basis in fact. The CPC holds legitimacy with the people because it has a proven record of serving them. President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party vowed to eliminate absolute poverty. Absolute poverty will be eradicated by the end of 2020. The Communist Party set forth to protect China’s ecology. China’s reforestation efforts account for over one quarter of all new green leaf areas on the planet. The CPC promised to enhance the productive forces within the country and increase prosperity for all. China currently leads the world in the production of high-speed rail and wages for industrial workers have risen an average of ten percent per year since 2012.
While many on the left in the U.S. and West disagree with aspects of the Communist Party of China’s political direction, the fact remains that the successes and challenges facing China offer a deep lesson to those who hope to “push” the Democratic Party to meet progressive demands. The CPC derives legitimacy from the people first and foremost from waging a successful revolution and then responding to the needs of the people in an ever-changing world. Over ninety million people in China are members of the CPC and many of these members are embedded in the daily lives of hundreds of millions more. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, poses as an alternative to Trump in personality terms while maintaining a deep separation from the needs of the masses at the behest of its capitalist donor class. Voter turnout and membership in the Democratic Party has suffered as a result.
“Over ninety million people are members of the CPC.”
A deeper understanding of China’s development process is vital toward building popular opposition to the U.S.’ New Cold War against China. Peace and social justice-loving people would do well to reject the slander directed at the Communist Party of China from all sides of the U.S. establishment and instead build a party of their own committed to the broad interests of humanity. The United States has plenty of questions in dire need of answering. Biden and the Democrats answer none of them. U.S.-led racism in all spheres of life will continue for Black America and oppressed peoples domestically and abroad. U.S. militarism will continue to grow and economic conditions will further worsen for the vast majority of people in the United States. A new party of the people is on the order of the day, but the conditions for one to emerge will not develop if the Democratic Party continues to operate as the “lesser evil” to the Republican Party. Learning from China, and the larger global movement against exploitation, is one of many steps that should be taken to advance mass consciousness in the U.S. in a different, more people-centered direction.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News--From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He is the co-host with BAR Editor Margaret Kimberly of the Youtube show BAR Presents: The Left Lens and can be reached at [email protected] and Twitter @spiritofho.
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