February 23, 2006

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The New Marxists

Tim Johnson at Knight Ridder reports on China's latest modernisation efforts...in Marxism. The article rehashes the new emphasis by China's leadership on Marxism in a desperate search for a new ideology. It seems to be building on the work of the so-called "new leftists". The irony is the it is the Communist Party that is trying to get in touch with the ideology of its founding philosopher. An even greater irony is China has enjoyed boom times only since it ditched the policies of Mao, Lenin and Marx. The implication is that China's leadership is starting to fear that the economic boom that has given the party legitimacy in the past 25 years may not last forever, or that perhaps it isn't enough to retain the confidence of its people. This renewed emphasis on Marxism is quaint at the moment and is being manifested as think-tanks and a push to help the rural poor. But is the leadership desperate enough that such thought could eventually pervade its economic policies? Perhaps not yet, but one day it could be. If that happens the interests of the leadership will sharply diverge from the interests of the lead, with massive consequences.

This week also marks 50 years since Nikita Khrushchev's "secret speech", where he denounced some (but not all) of the evils of Stalin. China has never had such a speech, secret or otherwise. It is a poorer place for it.

posted by Simon on 02.23.06 at 01:20 PM in the China politics category.


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That's the only way some old,out-of-date social scientists can get state funding to support their livihood. Nothing significant about it.

posted by: km on 02.23.06 at 01:31 PM [permalink]

From what I read into all this "new marxism" talk is sounds like China's leadership is just trying to justify government intrusion into the economy.

China has never really followed marxism, it has always simply adapted it to whatever needs it had at the moment.

It seems like Hu is laying the ideological groundwork for heavier redistribution policies and greater government regulation against perceived out of control capitalists.

posted by: Nick on 02.23.06 at 01:52 PM [permalink]

Sorry that you didn't get rich in the boom, and for the dictatorship and all that. Here's a bankrupt ideology as a consolation gift.


I tend to agree with Nick. Sounds like advance justification for more regressive policies.

posted by: Will on 02.24.06 at 09:51 AM [permalink]

I think exactly the opposite (or at least the intention of HJT is exactly the opposite - that may not be how it ends up once the party hacks get through with it). As another astute observer in the blogoshphere has already pointed out - revisiting marxism was exactly the route Hu Yaobang took before introducing his reforms. Have any of the western artcile writers actually read all the Xinhua domestic and Liaowang reports on this issue? I think not otherwise they would reflect that HJT is talking about "innovation" and "new thinking" not going back to the past.

posted by: dylan on 02.24.06 at 11:32 AM [permalink]

Old news. I blogged about this back in December.


posted by: dave on 02.27.06 at 12:49 PM [permalink]

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