Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

China’s Modernization Serves Socialism

First Published: Unity, Vol. 1, No. 5, December 1-14, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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China is in the midst of an unprecedented drive to fully modernize its industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology. By the end of the 20th century, China aims to achieve nothing less than putting its economy in the front ranks of the world. It aims to reach or surpass advanced world levels in agriculture and industrial productivity. This will be a remarkable accomplishment, considering that today a peasant in China produces only about one-fiftieth as much as a farmworker in the U.S., and energy efficiency is less than 50% that of many capitalist countries.

Recognizing the monumental nature of the goals it has set, China is calling the movement to realize the “four modernizations” the new Long March. It is an integral part of the general task to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and make China a powerful socialist country by the year 2000. This was a goal established by Mao Tsetung and Chou En-lai themselves.

China has undertaken the “four modernizations” today due to the very favorable conditions created by the first Cultural Revolution. Through the struggle to defeat the revisionism of Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, arid the “gang of four,” the Chinese people accumulated rich revolutionary experiences and heightened their understanding of Marxism-Leninism.

The “gang of four” were a particularly big obstacle to modernization. They counterposed revolution to production and fostered the idea that economic construction and raising the masses’ living standards was incompatible with socialism. The “gang of four” encouraged the idea that one could be revolutionary only if one remained poor. One makes a revolution not to stay poor! In fact, the exact opposite is true.

Socialism allows for the rapid development of the economy since revolution destroyed the fetters of capitalist anarchistic production. Socialism is able to rationally direct all the resources of the society to advance production in the most efficient and rapid way possible. And socialism brings the steady improvement in the livelihood of the masses of people.

The proof of this is the great economic and social progress made by the Soviet Union when it was socialist, under Lenin and Stalin’s leadership, and during the first three decades of People’s China. In 1949, the newborn socialist China started out 100 years behind the technically most advanced countries, but it quickly closed the gap. This gap widened in the 1970’s due to the obstruction of Lin Piao and the “gang of four.” From 1974 to 1976, when the “gang of four’s” destruction was the greatest, it is estimated that China lost $50 billion in industrial output! The activities of the “gang of four” gravely endangered socialism.

Modernization strengthens the dictatorship of the proletariat

The ultimate aim of the proletarian socialist revolution is to eliminate all classes and realize communism. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, this will require a long process of struggle to advance the material and mental aspects of society. The modernization of the Chinese economy will be a tremendous contribution to this endeavor and will enable the class struggle to take place on an even higher level.

Modernization will help reduce the differences between town and country, industry and agriculture, and mental and manual labor. Mechanization of agriculture, for instance, will transform more and more peasants into industrial and agricultural workers. Introducing more advanced industrial equipment and methods will also raise the technical and scientific level of the workers.

Modernization will also improve the living and working conditions of the masses. More and more of the tedious and dangerous jobs will be eliminated by modernization. The masses of people will also enjoy an improved material and cultural life due to strengthened economic base. Modernization will also help raise the collective ownership system to higher levels as production will be on a larger and larger scale.

Overall, modernization will greatly enhance the material base of socialism. This is an important revolutionary task in fighting against internal and external enemies which want to overturn the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism.

Dictatorship of the proletariat ensures socialist orientation

Modernization will strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat. In turn the dictatorship of the proletariat is what enables China to embark on such a grand modernization campaign, and in a way that will benefit the masses of people.

China fully intends to keep to its socialist orientation in its modernization campaign. It is continuing the wide promotion of the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and encouraging the broad mobilization of the masses to participate in the new Long March. It is persisting in continuing the class struggle against the remnants of the “gang of four’s” influence.

China is also reinforcing the great traditions of its Communist Party, such as its mass line, its integration of theory and practice and its practice of criticism and self-criticism, to improve its ability to be the leading revolutionary element in society.

The modernization campaign is already showing great success, one indication of the correctness of the decisions that China has made. Industrial output in 1977 was 14% higher than in 1976, and it was 24% higher still in the first six months of 1978. Capital construction is up 44% compared to a year ago. All this is just the beginning of the new Long March.

A recent editorial in the People’s Daily summed up the excellent situation: “We can now declare with pride that the question facing us is not just one of bringing about the four modernizations by the end of the century, but one of quickening our pace and striving to reach the great goal in a shorter time.”

A powerful, modern socialist China will be a great achievement for the Chinese people. It will also be an inspiration for the people of the world, who will be able to see even more clearly the superiority of socialism over capitalism. China too will be able to provide greater and greater assistance to the peoples and countries of the world fighting against domination and oppression. For all these reasons, people around the world are paying great attention to the developments in China, and wishing the Chinese people further successes in their new Long March.