On the 50th Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution
The November 1951 scientific conference on the character and specific features of people's democracy in the countries of the East took up a number of themes of discussion which were of burning contemporary relevance and which today, from a different historical vantage point, retain their importance for the revolutionary communists: the general features of the people's democracies in the East and West, and the peculiarities of the Eastern people's democracies, the features of those people's democracies where the proletariat did not exist at the moment when popular rule was established; the origins of the people's democratic form of political power; the significance of the Chinese revolution and the implementation of its experience in the East; the question of the non-capitalist path of development in China and India; and the question of the transition to socialism in the people's democracies.
Of profound interest is the discussion of the significance of the Chinese revolution and its application as a 'model' for the countries of the East. This problem has emerged at various periods in the Indian communist movement and it retains its pertinence as a living question today.
In his opening report E.M. Zhukov elaborated on the significance of the Eastern revolutions as anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, embracing the workers, peasants, the urban petty-bourgeoisie and those social groups who stood for national independence from imperialism and supported the anti-feudal struggle of the peasantry. He further noted that it would be 'risky' to treat the Chinese revolution as a kind of model of the people's democratic revolution in other Asian countries as it was hard to think that they would count on having the great advantage of a revolutionary army.
This view was contested by V.N. Nikiforov who argued that the experience of the Chinese people in the formation of the revolutionary army that developed a revolutionary war had a great significance for the other countries of the East. He argued that in China imperialism and feudalism had created the conditions for the revolutionary army and the revolutionary war. V.N. Nikiforov indicated that these conditions are given in other countries such as India.
Balabushevich and Nasenko did not agree with the views of Nikiforov on the question of the revolutionary army. Balabushevich considered it 'very risky' to approach the Chinese revolution and its forms of development as an obligatory point of reference for popular democratic revolutions in Asia. In India he considered it would be wrong to mechanically extrapolate the experience of the Chinese revolution - which was not deeply understood - without taking account of the specific features in India.
On this point of dispute E.M. Zhukov, in his concluding words, pointed out that it would be absurd to belittle the experience of the Chinese revolution. Its significance was remarkably great, but one should not fetishize it by treating it as an universal 'model' which was applicable to the countries of Asia.
It is a measure of the profound significance and impact of the experience of the Chinese revolution that fifty years on the communists of India and elsewhere are still fiercely debating its implications.
In the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 12th to 23rd of November 1951 a scientific conference was held devoted to the discussion of the question of the character and specific features of the system of people's democracy in the countries of the East. The conference was organised by the department of history of the scientific council of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the department of economy and politics of foreign countries of the Academy of Social Sciences within the CC of the CPSU(b). The conference was opened with the presentation of member-correspondent of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR E.M. Zhukov on the topic 'On the specific features of people's democracies in the East'.
The speaker noted that the path towards socialism through people's democracy is applicable to developed capitalist countries as well as to underdeveloped colonial and dependent countries. The creation by the people's of the East of four states of people's democracy, the People's Republic of China, the People's Republic of Mongolia, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, despite all the peculiar conditions that have determined their emergence and the development of the regimes of people's democracy in each of these countries, despite substantial differences in their economic and cultural level of development, however, they make up one group of oriental countries of people's democracy. The main peculiarity of people's democracies of oriental countries lies in the fact that, in China, Mongolia, Korea and Vietnam, people's democracy at this stage of development fulfils tasks of the anti-feudal and bourgeois-democratic revolution, does not put forward the immediate perspective of the construction of socialism, and, therefore, does not fulfil the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The main reason for this state of affairs is based on the fact that these countries have been till recently under the colonialist yoke that prevented their economic development, the liquidation of the most barbarous remnants of feudalism, inflicted mainly on the peasantry who make up the majority of the population in Asia. The overcoming of the economic and cultural backwardness, which is an unavoidable result of the past colonialist oppression, requires a relatively long period of transformation. It is not feasible to force the pace of the bourgeois-democratic reforms, as was done in the European people's democracies which, although having been subject to imperialist oppression in the past, however, did not experience such a long colonial domination. The necessity for the overcoming of the effects of capitalist slavery, so closely linked to feudalist oppression, determines the character of people's democratic rule in the countries of the East. The people's democracies in the East hold an open anti-imperialist and anti-feudal character and are based on a broad coalition of anti-imperialist and anti-feudalist forces, that embrace not only workers and peasants but also the urban petty-bourgeoisie and all those social groups that might stand for the defence of national independence from the external aggression from the side of the imperialists, for the anti-feudalist struggle of the peasants. Speaking of Eastern countries of people's democracies as one whole one should not forget about the differences existing between them. In order to approach the question of the peculiarities and the character of people's democracies on the East, one should remember the three basic tactical principles of Leninism, formulated by J.V. Stalin in 1927 in his work 'Notes on Contemporary Themes' [J.V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 9, p. 328]. The speaker went through the main features of the states of people's democracies - the People's Republic of Mongolia, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the People's Republic of China - and underlined the necessity to take into account the peculiarities of each country and how unacceptable it is to approach them equally.
The speaker drew special attention to the situation in the People's Republic of China, in particular the level of success that the Communist Party has reached in the creation of a united people's democratic front, and in the agrarian reform. The experience of the Chinese revolution has a great significance. The documents of the Communist Party of India and the Labour Party of Vietnam bear witness to the fruitful influence of the Chinese revolution. But one should remember the first principle of Leninism, the principle of taking into consideration the national peculiarities and the specific features in every country, it would be risky to treat the Chinese revolution as a kind of 'model' for the people's democratic revolution in other Asiatic countries. In particular, it would be hard to imagine that other countries of the East that follow the path of people's democracy, could count on having the great advantage of the Chinese revolution embodied by their revolutionary army. Of course, this does not imply that the progressive people of India, Indonesia or any other country of the East will not take into account the experience of the Chinese Revolution or the experience of the October Revolution in Russia to solve thousands of problems. Common to all the countries of people's democracies in the East and in the West is to awaken the broad popular masses, their active struggle under the leadership of the working class, under the banner of Leninism, for democracy, for peace and socialism. The criminal aggression of American imperialism against Korea, the aggressive colonialist policies of British imperialist in the Middle East, have awakened the anti-imperialist feelings of hundreds of millions of people in Asia.
This creates the conditions for the formation of a rather broad anti-imperialist front that embraces, as the programme of the Communist Party of India points out, 'millions of toiling masses, the working class, the peasantry, labouring intellectuals, middle classes as well as the national bourgeoisie interested in the freedom and independence of their country and the creation of the conditions for decent living standards'.
The experience of the national-liberation movement shows that the creation of a united anti-imperialist front has primordial significance for the successful struggle for independence in colonial countries. This front is the more powerful the more the peasantry, who make up the majority of the population in colonial countries, is involved in the anti-imperialist struggle. The solution of the agrarian question, the struggle against feudalism and feudal remnants are the most important elements in the national-liberation movement in colonial and semi-colonial countries.
The speaker by referring to several statements of Lenin regarding the tasks of the revolutionary movement in backward countries, pointed out that the struggle for the liquidation of feudal remnants was and remains the main task of the proletariat and the communist parties in countries oppressed by imperialism.
Regarding the question of the possibility of the formation of a bloc or even a unified platform with the national bourgeoisie in dependent countries, the speaker examined the concept of national bourgeoisie, which excludes the comprador bourgeoisie, closely linked with imperialism, and divides the national bourgeoisie into the big bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie. The first is closely linked with the landlords and is prone to compromise with imperialism and is a transitory and unreliable member of the united front.
The unprecedented broadening of the anti-imperialist front in Asia poses acutely the question of the necessity of increasing the leading role of the working class, the class that holds hegemony in the national-liberation revolutions, and the strengthening of its union with the peasantry. The union of the working class and the peasantry is the basis for the anti-imperialist front in the countries of the East.
The success of the popular democratic countries of Asia, the general boosting of the national-liberation movement in the East bears witness to the consolidation of the role of the proletariat. Communist and workers' (or labour) parties in several countries of Asia already enjoy the recognition of millions of toilers as a leading political force. But the demands towards the proletarian leadership are constantly growing, not only in the countries of people's democracies but also in the colonies and semi-colonies of the East.
The great respect and recognition towards the Soviet Union, towards comrade Stalin inspires broad masses of Eastern countries in their struggle for people's democracy, for national liberation, for peace. In the discussion of the report delivered by E.M. Zhukov 16 people spoke: corresponding-member of the Academy of Sciences of Tadjikistan I.S. Braginski, PhD, A.M. Dyakov and G.N. Voitinski, bachelor of science I.Y. Zlatkin, B.N. Nikiforov, A.N. Yzhyanov, A.I. Staditsenko, P.P. Staritsina, L.A. Sikiryanskaya, G.B. Erenburg, V.V. Balabushevich, G.V. Astafyev, A.N. Kheifets, colonel A.A. Martinov, aspirant of the Academy of Social Sciences within the CC of the CPSU(b) Yu.P. Nasenko and an employee of the Institute of Asian Studies of the Academy of Sciences of USSR, G.I. Levinson.
The comrades who spoke at the discussion raised several questions relevant not only to the question of the definition of the character and peculiarities of the people's democracies in the East, but also to the history of their establishment and development and future perspectives for the elevation of the popular democratic revolutions into the socialist revolution.
The main questions subject to discussion were:
1) The general features common to people's democracy in the West and the East, its peculiarities in the countries of the East;
2) The particular features of the system of people's democracies in those countries where there is or there was not at the moment of establishment of the popular rule, the class of the proletariat.
3) The origins of the popular democratic form of political power;
4) The significance of the Chinese revolution and different paths for the implementation of its experience in other countries of the East;
5) The question of the non-capitalist path of development regarding China and India;
6) The question of the elevation of the popular democratic revolution to the socialist revolution.
1. Common features of the People's Democracies in the West and East and its peculiarities in the East.
The majority of speakers agreed on the thesis drawn by the main speaker that determines the character of the specific features of people's democracy in the East, regarded necessary to underline the main features common to all countries of people's democracies both in the West and in the East, namely, the fact that the people's democratic system emerged in concrete historical conditions determined by the consolidation of the Soviet Union, the victory of socialism in the USSR and the victory of the Soviet people over fascist Germany and imperialist Japan, i. e. under the conditions that are determined by the further strengthening of the Soviet Union, the undermining of the might of the imperialist camp (Martinov, Kheifets, Sikiryanskaya); secondly, people's democracy is a transitory system that sees its goal to develop towards socialism (Dyakov, Nikiforov, Martinov); thirdly, it accomplishes in the first stage of its development, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal tasks and is based on a broad anti-imperialist and anti-feudal front (Nikiforov).
L.N. Kheifets pointed out the specific feature of the people's democratic regime that it is in a position to fulfil the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, something that one should bear in mind regardless of where it is established, in the East or in the West. And, despite the fact that in the countries of the East people's democracies now fulfil functions of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, which also was the starting point of the people's democracies in the West, it is most relevant to underline that they can fulfil in the future with success functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
L.A. Sikiryanskaya referred to the question of the stages of the development of the countries of people's democracies, pointing out the main conditions necessary to this development: the stage of the agrarian anti-feudal and anti-imperialist revolution, when general national and democratic tasks are accomplished, and the socialist stage. The question regarding the stages of the development of people's democracy was also elucidated in the speech of A.A. Martinov, who noted that the fulfilment of the tasks of the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution in the countries of Eastern Europe took place in a relatively short period of time, whereas in the countries of the East this process will take longer since there much more has to be done. Regarding the peculiarities of people's democracies in the countries of the East, the majority of the speakers noted that these peculiarities basically comprise the solution of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal tasks, posed by the bourgeois-democratic revolution and that the essence of the regime of people's democracies in the countries of the East is a particular form of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.
Based on the example of China, comrade Sikiryanskaya showed the difference between this dictatorship in the countries of the East under the present conditions and what the Bolsheviks meant in the times of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1905-1907. By giving the definition of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry given by J.V. Stalin in his article 'Concerning the Question of a Workers' and Peasants' Government' [J.V. Stalin, Works, Vol. 9, p. 182] comrade Sikiryanskaya enumerates in detail the peculiarities of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry in China, considered as common features to other colonial and semi-colonial countries, in which the popular-democratic revolution will succeed in the future. The dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry in the East holds an anti-imperialist character; the communist party leads this dictatorship; its state form is people's democracy; the proletariat shares power with the peasantry, together with sections of the national bourgeoisie. The fact that the communist party stands in the leadership of people's democracy in China, already contains the embryo of elements of a future dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e. the state form of the leadership of the proletariat over the peasantry. But this is a very significant feature in the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry in China. It is a relevant feature of the Chinese people's democracy the fact that there exists the embryo of the non-capitalist, i.e. socialist path of development on a large scale.
Comrade Kheifets also refers to this question, pointing out the fact that China has already fallen out of the system of world capitalism not only in the political sense but also economically, and that the proletariat there is a leading force over bourgeois elements, which are weak politically and are forced to recognise the leadership of the communist party, as expressed in their programmatical documents (for instance, the Democratic League).
G.V. Astafyev draws attention to the peculiar bloc with the bourgeoisie existing in China at present. He noted that this bloc with the national bourgeoisie under present conditions holds some specific features:
1) The subordination of the national bourgeoisie to the political leadership of the proletariat and its party.
2) The state control and regulation of the economic activity of the bourgeoisie in the interests of the people and the economy of people's democracy.
3) The broad struggle of the communist party for the liberation of the popular masses from the influence of the bourgeoisie.
These specific features comprise a peculiar form of expression of the leading role of the working class in a united front, and the transitory character of people's democracy in China.
2. Specific features of the system of People's Democracy in countries where there is not or there was not a proletariat at the moment of its establishment (in particular, in Mongolia).
Bachelor of science I.Ya. Zlatkin did not agree with the statement of the main speaker about the possibility to formulate general definitions of the character and specific features of people's democracies in different countries of the East due to the uneven social and economic development of these countries.
According to I.Ya. Zlatkin, the main speaker committed a mistake by formulating general definitions of the character of the regimes of people's democracies applicable to all countries of the East. In particular, he does not agree with the statement of the main speaker according to which people's democracies of the East are specific forms of the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. I.Ya. Zlatkin stressed that in countries such as China, and probably in Korea, Vietnam and others, people's democracies are definite forms of the democratic dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry. Regarding Mongolia and other countries, where the proletariat is absent people's democracies are or will be the dictatorship of the toiling masses, the dictatorship of the peasantry of these countries, which is not something preposterous, due to the existence of the Soviet Union.
A.M. Dyakov referred to the possibility of defining different types of people's democracies in the countries of the East, based on whether the working class existed or not in those countries. According to him, the level of economic development determines the character of the popular-democratic revolution and the corresponding form of political power. In those countries where the proletariat is absent it is possible to form popular soviets. The development of these countries towards socialism is possible only with the assistance of those in which the proletariat had held victory.
Comrades Nasenko and Stadnichanko agreed with the point of view of comrade Zlatkina, it met the objection of G.V. Astafyev, who pointed out to the fact that, in the struggle against feudalism and feudalist remnants, the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry cannot emerge as an independent political force. In the struggle for popular democracy the peasantry can emerge as a political force only under the leadership of the proletariat, regardless of how big the proletariat is. The rule of people's democracy, which is led by a party with a proletarian ideology, even in those conditions when the overwhelming majority of the population is made of peasantry, can be nothing but the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, i.e. of the peasantry under the leadership of the proletariat.
There were two points of view regarding the present stage of development of the People's Republic of Mongolia (PRM).
Comrade Zlatkin, polemicised with the main speaker by stressing that the PRM has already reached the stage in which the social-economic and cultural preconditions are given for the transition to socialist construction. This stage was finalised when the anti-feudal programme of the popular revolution was exhausted. Approximately towards 1940 Mongolia started to develop along a non-capitalist path towards socialism. This is showed by the 1st and 4th draft of the Constitution of the PRM, and the present state of the economy, in which the socialist sector predominates (figures are given). Mongolia faces closely the question of the socialist reordering of its agriculture. The point of view of I.Ya. Zlatkin was shared by L.A. Sikiryanskaya who stated that Mongolia, despite the peculiarity of its development, has reached today the second stage of people's democracy, the socialist construction. Also, A.N. Kheifets stated that the PRM today undergoes expanded socialist construction and therefore the character of its popular-democratic system cannot be regarded as the same as those in China, Korea and Vietnam. The character of people's democracy in the PRM, according to comrade Kheifets, in general is the same as those in central and South-East Europe.
P.P. Staritsina was of a different view. She stated that in the PRM still today the petty-peasant production based on the most backward graze cattle breeding predominates, that the task of the liquidation of remnants of feudalism in the economy and in the consciousness of the people has not yet been fulfilled. Comrade Staritsina presented a great deal of factual material and documents from the government of the PRM to substantiate this. Further, she refuted the thesis of comrade Zlatkin according to which in the PRM sometime in 1940 the tasks of the anti-feudal bourgeois-democratic revolution had been fulfilled and that Mongolia then entered the path of the socialist construction, by pointing out a number of feudal remnants still persisting in the economy, mode of life, ideology and also the existence of instances of capitalist elements in the economy.
3. The period of gestation of People's Democratic rule
The speakers showed substantial discrepancies on the question of the period of gestation of the people's democratic rule in the East. On the one side comrades Martinov, Kheifets and Sikiryanskaya in their presentations pointed out that the form of people's democracies emerged for the first time after the second world war and that the People's Republic of Mongolia, which appeared before that, should not be treated the same way as the other countries of people's democracies in the East. On the other hand, comrades Zlatkin, Nikiforov, Erenburg, stressed that the struggle for people's democracy and even the appearance of the first people's democratic system belong to an earlier period. Regarding the period of gestation of people's democracy in China, V.I. Nikiforov defended the point of view that the Chinese revolution of 1917-1919 stood for the defence of people's democracy, even though the political forms of people's democracy, as we understand them today, emerged only after the second world war. In this connection comrade Nikiforov drew special attention to the analysis of the character of the Chinese soviets, as forms of democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.
This point of view was shared by G.B. Erenburg, who regarded that the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship in the sense of the people's dictatorship appeared in China before the second world war. There is no substantial difference between the character, the form of power established in Zhuitsin during the so-called soviet period and the character of the system existing today in the People's Republic of China.
Comrade Zlatkin regards that the first people's democracy emerged in 1921. According to him the first people's democracy in the world was established in the People's Republic of Bukhara. Further, a new category emerges, the bourgeois-democratic republic of a special kind, like Mongolia. The Communist parties of China and Spain also struggled in their countries to establish such kind of republics. (See the directives of the Extraordinary Plenum of the People's Revolutionary Party of Mongolia, May 1932, the directives of the VI Plenum of the CC of the CPC in 1938.)
4. The significance of the experience of the Chinese Revolution and ways of applying this experience in the revolutionary movement of other countries of the East.
The majority of the speakers underlined the great significance of the Chinese revolution for other countries and the special influence exerted by this revolutionary experience on the struggle for people's democracy in India and in countries of South-East Asia.
G. N. Voitinski pointed that, on the basis and as a result of people's democracy in China, the Communist Party of India managed to give to the Indian people a political platform and a programme, that bear witness that in India there exists only one path towards independence and economic development, the path towards people's democracy.
G.I. Levinson pointed out the great progressive influence of the Chinese revolution in the countries of South-East Asia. The main reason for this lies in the geographical location of these countries with respect to China, in the secular cultural links with China and in the existence in these countries of a large Chinese population (reaching 45% of the population in Malaya, and 20% in Thailand). The Chinese population in these countries keeps strong political links with China and play an active political role in their host countries. These circumstances encourage the Communist parties of those countries to study the experience of the Chinese revolution.
According to comrade Levinson the Chinese revolution has great significance as an example of the unity of the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal sources of the revolution, the creation of the all-national united front, as an example of how the proletariat achieves hegemony in this front, and finally as an example of the formation of a revolutionary army, the national liberation army. Concrete instances of the role of the revolutionary army in the present revolutionary army [??xxx] we have in the Philippines, in Malaysia, in Burma and in Vietnam before the proclamation of the republic.
V.N. Nikiforov thinks differently from the main speaker and regards that the experience of the Chinese people in the formation of a revolutionary army that developed a revolutionary war has great significance for other countries of the East. He showed in the particular example of China that the revolutionary army and the revolutionary war are a result of the domination exerted by imperialism and feudal relations which created, firstly the conditions for the revolutionary development to adopt the form of revolutionary war, secondly the unevenness of its development, its length and the inevitability of the fact that the war would be won first in some regions and in others after. V.N. Nikiforov indicated that these conditions are given in other countries of the East, for example in India. Therefore one should conclude that other peoples of the East will form their own revolutionary armies and wage revolutionary wars. The revolutionary development in countries like Burma, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines are examples that have this feature in common. Comrades Balabushevich and Nasenko, who are specialists on India, have a different view regarding the question of the revolutionary army. Comrade Balabushevich, having underlined the tremendous significance of the Chinese experience for the communist parties of various countries of the East, agreed with the main speaker that it would be very risky to approach the Chinese revolution and its forms of development as an obligatory point of reference for popular democratic revolutions in other countries of Asia. In the concrete example of India he showed the wrongness of the mechanical extrapolation of the experience of the Chinese revolution which, by the way, is not deeply understood, without taking account the specific features of India.
Comrade Nasenko also pointed out the wrongness of the mechanical transplantation of the 'Chinese experience' to India. Comrades Dyakov, Balabushevich and Levinson, in their presentations, based on documents and the programmes of the Communist Party of India and countries of South-East Asia, and also on concrete facts of the revolutionary movement in those countries, drew special attention to the struggle of the communist parties and the peoples of these countries for people's democracy and for the formation of a broad anti-imperialist and anti-feudal united front.
All the presentations pointed out that this struggle today is conducted on the basis of the proper understanding and implementation of the Leninist-Stalinist teachings of the specific features of the national-colonial revolutions in the countries of the East, taking into account the specific conditions of those countries, the experience of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the experience of the Chinese Revolution. In particular, this was shown in the programme of the Indian Communist Party, which is a genuine programme of the struggle for people's democracy and for the creation of a broad popular front in the concrete conditions of India.
5. The question of the non-capitalist path of development and its application in China and India.
In the course of the discussion there emerged the question of the possibility of applying to China and India the concept of non-capitalist path of development.
A.I. Stadichenko regards that the non-capitalist development leads to the direct transition from pre-capitalist economic forms to socialism and put forward the question of whether it is correct to apply the term non-capitalist development of people's democracy in countries like China and India, since capitalism there existed and will remain. Comrades Braginski and Kheifets disagreed on how this question was approached.
I.C. Braginski analysed the Marxist concept of non-capitalist path of development and elaborated the main thesis of Lenin and Stalin regarding this question. He showed that comrade Stadichenko mixed up two questions by setting up the question of the non-capitalist path of development, the path to avoid the stage of capitalist development, against the question of the admission of capitalist forms of productions in one way or another, mainly in the form of state capitalism. The system that exists in the countries of people's democracies in the East, allows the existence of capitalism, but this has nothing to do with the capitalist path of development. The path adopted by the countries of people's democracy, is a non-capitalist path of development, is the path of development towards socialism, a special path that allows the existence of capitalism as an economic structure.
Comrade Kheifets also disagreed with the assumption of comrade Stadichenko that the concept of non-capitalist form of development cannot be applied to all the countries of the East. According to him the non-capitalist path of development does not imply that the country that has adopted it does not know capitalism at all. This only means that the capitalist form is not dominant. This is how things stand today in China; this path would be also feasible in India, even though it would be ludicrous to prevent the development of capitalism in both countries. The existence of capitalist forms of production does not imply that the country cannot follow the path of non-capitalist development.
6. The question of the development of the people's democratic revolution to the socialist revolution.
G.B. Erenburg noted that from the theoretical point of view, the question of this development under present conditions determined by the victory of the revolution in China is more or less clear. The main preconditions for this development are the deepening of the general crisis of capitalism, the construction of communism in the USSR, the construction of socialism in the countries of people's democracy in Europe, the hegemony of the proletariat and the leadership of the communist party in the people's democratic revolution in China. All this determines that the perspectives for capitalist development are obsolete in China. With the help of the countries of socialism, and first of all of the Soviet Union, China will follow the path of socialism.
In connection to this problem comrade Erenburg posed in relation to China the question of the role of the middle peasants in the period of the transition to the construction of socialism and also referred to how this transition will take place, either peacefully or by means of armed struggle of the proletariat. Regarding the first question comrade Erenburg regards that there is enough ground to foresee that the alliance between the proletariat and the middle peasant, who already in the first stages of the revolution has admitted the leadership of the proletariat and the communist party, and got from them the land, will strengthen in the future. These circumstances give us the grounds to believe that in the particular conditions under which the future socialist revolution will take place in China, there will be no need to neutralise the middle peasant.
Regarding the question of the paths for the development of the Chinese revolution, comrade Erenburg noted that the proletariat, which holds power in the first, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal stage, when undertaking the second stage, the socialist stage of the revolution, will not need to seize power and accomplish a new, second revolution. The transition to socialism under the conditions of the Chinese revolution will be a long process of step-by-step changes through series of intermediate steps that will lead to the socialist revolution. This transition will not only not imply the necessity for the revolutionary overthrow of the existing government, but on the contrary this transition will take place under the determining influence of this government; the policies of the government, its programme and therefore the character of the regime. This transformation will result not only in changes in the government, or the fact that whatever political parties or individuals will leave the government (which will most probably happen), but mainly in the change of the character of the programme of the government; in changes in its policies; that the proletariat will already undertake its proletarian tasks, the construction of the socialist society.
In conclusion, comrade Erenburg expressed his wish that the Institute of Oriental Studies put forward for discussion also other theoretical questions, in particular, the question of the stages of the colonial revolution, in the light of the thesis of comrade Stalin on the stages of the Chinese revolution.
Other speakers referred to the question of the transition to socialism, in particular, comrade Martinov, noted that the transition of people's democracy from the bourgeois-democratic stage towards socialism does not take place smoothly, but as a result of a bitter struggle with those that had become temporary allies of the revolution who will give it up and oppose it.
E.M. Zhukov in his last word noted that the main thesis of the presentation had been approved by the majority of the speakers, but as the discussions showed some of them need to be made more precise, concretised and developed.
Above all it is necessary draw proper attention to the general development of people's democracies in the East and in the West, in order to compare them.
Speaking of various social-economic conditions in the countries of people's democracies, this question should be clarified, one should give an analysis of the level of industrial development of these countries, and, in particular, the development of the working class in order to fully expose its hegemonic role in the united front. It would also have been convenient to include in the presentation a short explanation of the concept of non-capitalist path of development.
The non-capitalist path of development is inherent to all economically backward countries of the East. This does not mean that in China or in Korea elements of capitalism are absent, they do not only exist, but maybe will develop further during a certain period of time (for example in China). Although capitalism exists as an economic structure (one among others) it will never be able to turn China to the path of capitalism and will not give rise to the establishment of a capitalist formation. This is the essence of the existence and development of the system of people's democracy. People's democracy in the East is a path that leads to non-capitalist, more correctly, to socialist development. Speaking of the origins of people's power in Mongolia, it is necessary to clarify that in the PRM there is no national bourgeoisie and therefore the question of the popular front stands there differently from that in China, Korea and Vietnam. However, this does not mean that the people's democracy in Mongolia qualitatively differs from the people's democracies in other countries of Asia.
E.M. Zhukov drew attention to a number of points of controversy posed in the presentation of I.Ya Zlatkin, namely:
1) On his thesis that the question of the construction of socialism in the PRM is close to its completion.
Leninism teaches us that the first effective step towards socialism is the industrialisation of the country. Although Mongolia is undertaking successfully the industrialisation of the country with the help of the USSR, is it possible to conclude that the present level of industrial development in Mongolia is able to provide the conditions for the transition of masses of individual cattle breeders to the path of collectivisation? E.M. Zhukov, based on a number of documents, shows that it is still to soon to talk about the construction of socialism in Mongolia.
2) On the character of people's power in Mongolia, as a power of Soviet of peasants.
By considering the history of people's power in Mongolia in the period of 1927-1940 (when there was no proletariat), E.M. Zhukov points out that the rule of the peasantry cannot exist for a long period of time without the leadership of either the proletariat or the bourgeoisie. The whole point of the teaching of the non-capitalist path of development consists in the fact that the leadership of a backward country with a peasant population is undertaken by the proletariat of the country of victorious socialism.
Regarding Mongolia one can say that the disinterested and constant ideological and political assistance granted by the USSR provided the Mongolian popular power, the 'Soviets of peasants' with a proletarian leadership. As a result, people's democratic rule in Mongolia, which consistently followed the principles of friendship and alliance with the USSR, with the leadership of the Marxist People's Revolutionary Party began to fulfil the functions of the revolutionary-democratic leadership of the proletariat and the peasantry.
The thesis of comrade Zlatkin on the possibility of the victory of a 'genuine' peasant people's democracy in countries without a proletariat, is also controversial.
E.M. Zhukov drew attention to a number of erroneous theses drawn in the presentation of comrade Zlatkin, in particular the negation of general interests in the anti-imperialist struggle for national independence, that unite all countries of the East into an ally of the Soviet Union. E.M Zhukov noted that a large number of valuable comments were made that clarify, develop and correct a number of points drawn in the main presentation. Once more E.M. Zhukov referred to the question of the significance of the experience of the Chinese revolution, pointing out that it would be absurd to belittle the Chinese experience. Its significance is remarkably great, but one should not fetishize it, by approaching it as an universal 'model' applicable to the countries of Asia.
E.M. Zhukov pointed out that it is not possible to fully solve in the discussions all the questions posed. But as a result of the discussion one can determine a number of questions relevant for the development of people's democracies, the level of significance and the level of study or negligence of this or that question.
The discussion that developed after the main presentation of E.M. Zhukov drew light on the main features of people's democracy in the East, in common with the countries of Central and South-East Europe, as well as their specific features, and on the general stages of development of the system of people's democracy in general.
During the course of the discussion the content of the concept of non-capitalist path of development was clarified and some doubts coming from some comrades about the correctness of applying this concept to countries like China or India, were finally overcome.
The question of the significance of the Chinese revolution for the development of the national-liberation movement in other countries of the East was broadly discussed on the basis of factual materials and the question of its applicability to other countries was clarified.
Other questions were referred to but were not discussed in depth: about the origins of people's democracies and the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into the socialist revolution. The discussion showed how great is the interest of Soviet scholars towards the theoretical and practical questions of the national-liberation movement in the East and exposed the great significance of these questions for the correct understanding of the character and the perspectives of the struggle for people's democracy in the countries of the East. Also, the discussion made clear the necessity to study further a number of questions, in particular the question of the specific features in different countries of the East, necessary for the understanding of the stages of the struggle for people's democracy, as well as the character of the system of people's democracy that was established as a result of the victory of the people in one country or another.
The scientific elaboration of these questions is one of the most important tasks of the Institute of Oriental Studies within the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and other institutes of oriental studies.
'Izvestiya Akademii Nauk SSSR', Seriya Istorii i Filosofii, Vol. IX, No. 1 (1952) pp. 80-87. Translated from the Russian by 'Inter'.
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