Friday, 22:29 03-02-2023

New Opportunities for the International Communist Movement with Major Changes Unseen in A Century – The Development Report of the International Communist Movement from 2019 to 2020

Political theory Friday, 22:29 03-02-2023
Abstract: In 2019, the communist parties in various countries commemorated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International in various ways and discoursed the possibility of international alliances in the new era. In socialist countries, China solemnly celebrated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the May Fourth Movement and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, and North Korea continued to promote reforms and lay out new developments through the revision of constitutions and the establishment of legislation. Most of the non-ruling communist parties tried to change their strategies of struggle. Meanwhile, socialist thoughts also rose in Europe and America. However, in the context of the rise of the “New Cold War” mentality, the developments of most western communist parties are still on a downward path. In 2020, with the spread of COVID-19, the superiority of the socialist system was further manifested, and the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind became more popular.

In the context of major changes unseen in a century, many new characteristics have emerged in the international communist movement. 2019 was a commemorative year of great significance in the history of this movement, which comprised the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the May Fourth Movement and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Communist parties around the world have held a variety of commemorative activities to summarize the historical experience and lessons of the Communist International and to explore the possibility of international alliances in the new era. China solemnly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the May Fourth Movement and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It reviewed the historical progression and achievements of the Communist Party of China on its way to glory, encouraging the Chinese nation to continue to work hard to realize the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation. Socialist countries such as Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, and North Korea continued to summarize innovative practices and develop new blueprints. Meanwhile, the non-ruling communist parties are actively exploring and seeking new opportunities, and their results are mixed. In 2020, given the spread of COVID-19, China’s concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind has becoming even more significant.

 

1. The communist parties of all countries draw upon the historical experience and lessons of the Communist International and explore international alliances in the new era

On March 2nd, 1919 the Communist International (i.e., the Third International) was established in Moscow and it was dissolved on May 25th, 1943. In 2019, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International became an important theme of the international communist movement. Communist organizations around the world held various commemorative activities and conferences to review the historical significance and influence of the Communist International. From February 16th to 17th, 2019, the European Communist Party and the workers’ party initiated a conference entitled “Fighting for Communism: A Century of Political Legacy,” in Turkey. From June 1st to 2nd, 30 communist parties held a conference on “Science and Practice in Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Communist International” in Moscow. The meeting generally affirmed the positive role of the Third International established under Lenin’s leadership and its contribution to the development and strengthening of the world communist labor movement. The declaration of the conference pointed out, “Our positive evaluation of the Comintern does not mean that it makes no mistake in history. We should treat the experience of the Comintern critically”(1). Although we are not capable of a new Comintern, it is still necessary to study further the historical experience of the Third International and apply it to the actual struggle of the international communist movement in the future.

From October 18th to 20th, 137 representatives from 74 political parties from 58 countries participated in the 21st World Communist Party and Workers’ Party Conference in Turkey entitled “The 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist International – Continuing the Fight for Peace and Socialism!” The meeting attendants analyzed and judged the ongoing crisis of the current capitalist system, international tensions and intensified threats of war, urged for maintaining world peace and security, and called for strengthening the international alliance of the proletariat. The French Communist Party’s “Fête de l’Humanité” and the Portuguese Communist Party’s “Avante Festival” also took the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International as their main activity. The Centennial of the Communist International coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of the United States. The American Communist Party began to hold regional celebrations in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles in September to celebrate these two historic centenary days. The British Communist Party and others also carried out a variety of commemorative activities, taking the opportunity to heighten the atmosphere and expand their influence, but their scale was relatively small. The parties of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe actively participated in international conferences commemorating major historical events in the International Communist Movement, reviewed and reflected on the history of socialism, jointly issued statements and opinions on the current situation, which demonstrated the strength of the unity of the world communist workers’ parties and also supported the small parties. This conference strengthened the confidence of the Communist Party and the people. In China, academic institutions including the Chinese Society for the History of International Communist Movements, the Beijing Society for the History of International Communist Movements, and the Academy of Marxism of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences held academic seminars on the theme of commemorating the Communist International to discuss its historical significance and summarize its impact on the Chinese revolution.

Regarding the historical significance of the Communist International, the communist parties from different countries generally believe that the Communist International promoted the establishment, development and growth of proletarian parties around the world during its short existence, which contributed to the victory of socialism in some countries after World War II, including the founding of the Communist Party of China. When the Communist International was founded, there were only 13 parties in the world named after the “Communist Party,” but when the Communist International was dissolved, it had grown to 68 Communist Parties with more than 3 million party members(2). The Communist International woke the oppressed nations in the colonies and dependent countries and contributed to the development and independence of the national liberation movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Communist International actively promoted the world’s anti‑fascist struggle and established an anti‑fascist united front. A commemorative article published in the party newspaper by the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov pointed out that “the historical significance of the Communist International lies in its integration of Marxism-Leninism with the mass labor movement worldwide, promotion of the founding of proletarian political parties and mobilization of the working people to defend their interests in the struggle against imperialism and fascism. It strengthened the international unity of workers and brought the national liberation movement in colonies and dependent countries to a new level. The work carried out by the Communist International laid the foundation for subsequent achievements, including the victory of the Communist Party in many countries and the formation of a world socialist system”(3).

Regarding the historical lessons of the Communist International, the parties have varied views. The main points are as follows. First, the highly centralized organizational system of the Communist International ignored the enthusiasm and creativity of the Communist Parties. Second, the policy towards the social democratic parties failed to unite all forces that could be united. Third, the misjudgment of the historical status of the revolutionary situation and capitalism resulted in “left-leaning errors.” Regarding the merits and demerits of the Communist International in the Chinese revolution, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai once quoted Chairman Mao Zedong. “The start and the end parts are good, but the middle part has problems. Nevertheless, the start and the end part also have some problems while the middle part is not worthless”(4). From the perspective of the historical development of the Chinese revolution, this is also a more pertinent evaluation of the role of the Communist International. Some scholars summed up that the historical merits and demerits of the Communist International could be further summarized as that “Great achievements were made, which will shine throughout history; but the mistakes are though serious and alerting for future practices”(5).

When summing up the experiences and lessons of the Communist International, people thought about the current necessity and ways of promoting international union in the world socialist movement. The so-called “orthodoxy” represented by the Communist Party of Greece believes that the international communist movement has deviated from Marxism-Leninism since the 1950s, and the situation of today’s international communist movement is similar to that when the Second International collapsed, and opportunism engulfed the Socialist left-wing movement. The Communist Party of Greece criticized by saying “dozens of countries have joined the imperialist system and formed a capitalist monopoly.” When summing up the lessons of the Communist International, Joe Sims, the co-chairman of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), pointed out that the failure of the Communist International was not so much due to the dominance of the Communist Party of the former Soviet Union as guidance of the central government was impossible given various features of the movement. The internationalism and unity of the working class are obviously necessary, but this must be done with full respect for the independence of all parties involved(6).

Many communist parties believe that 100 years after the founding of the Communist International, there should be a new starting point for the reconstruction of the international labor movement and the communist movement. The Communist Party of Moldova argued that under the impetus of global competition, scientific and technological progress is advancing by leaps and bounds. The development of technology involves the creation of artificial intelligence with higher potential than the intelligence of human beings. The opportunity for a world revolution that is taking shape today is a sign of a new Communist International. The Latvian Communist League believes that the current weapon of communists is still proletarian internationalism, united struggle, and the unity of classes and comrades. This is a necessary condition for opposing national isolation and imperialism. The unity of Communists is the inevitable choice for the future. The Penzenskaya Oblast representative of the Russian Communist Party, George Kamenev, said, “The Communist International only existed for 24 years from 1919 to 1943, but even today, its international spirit is still active and the communist movement is developing. Thirty years after the drastic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, cracks appeared again in Western international organizations such as Trump’s trade war, conflicts between the United States and the European Union, conflicts within the European Union, and so on. Under such circumstances, it is important for the communist party to formulate an integrated international communist strategy with tactics and take advantage of the split of the imperialist camp to win the victory of socialism”(7).

The communist parties of various countries put forward different views on how to achieve international union. The orthodox view represented by the Communist Party of Greece believes that the communist forces that adhere to Marxism-Leninism today must first accept the integration of ideology and revolutionary strategy. The integrated ideology refers to the contemporary views that imperialism, fascism, capitalism and other issues should be consistent. Some communist parties as represented by the Turkish Communist Party believe that the realization of international alliances by the communist party mainly reflects inter-party unity and exchange of experience and cannot allow any authority to be established in a country that is above the will of the party and its members. The leader of the League of Communists of Latvia believes that the communist party should strengthen cooperation within the European Parliament and fight against parties that defend the existing system. Only in this way, the slogan of “All Proletarians of the World Unite” can be realized.

In summary, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Communist International, the Communist parties of all countries recognized the necessity and urgency of achieving international union and explored ways to strengthen it. However, from the different evaluations of the Communist International’s history by the various communist parties, as well as the strategies and paths for international alliances, we can see that the parties currently have differences on some basic theoretical issues and strategies for acting. These differences mainly involve how to view, uphold and develop Marxism, socialist reforms and other issues. This has become the main obstacle to the domestic and international unity of the Communist parties of the world.

2. A socialist country summarizes practice, seeks breakthroughs and lays out a new development blueprint

2.1 China commemorates the May Fourth Movement and celebrates the glorious achievements of People’s Republic of China over 70 years, leading the world socialist movement on a new journey

The May Fourth Movement, which broke out in China on May 4th, 1919, was an ideological enlightenment and new culture movement that was led mainly by its youth, which started China’s new democratic revolution. In an important speech at the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China pointed out that the May Fourth Movement promoted the spread of Marxism in China and promoted the integration of Marxism with the Chinese workers’ movement. It has made ideological preparations for cadres and nurtured new revolutionary momentum in terms of force and culture(8). It can be seen that the May Fourth Movement is of great significance in the history of China’s socialist development.

On October 1st, 1949, the People’s Republic of China was founded. Over the past 70 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have created a miracle of rapid economic growth leading to long-term stability of society. At present, China is the world’s second largest economy, the largest manufacturing country, the largest trader and the second largest consumer of goods, as well as the second largest country in foreign capital influx. Its foreign exchange reserves have ranked first in the world for many years. China has contributed more than 30% of world economic growth. Over the past 70 years, China has continuously explored and established a socialist political system with Chinese characteristics. China has reached the world’s top level in certain high-tech areas, leading the development of industry technology. Over the past 70 years, Chinese employment has achieved remarkable results, and the people’s living standard has been continuously improving. By 2020, China eliminated poverty throughout the country and built a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. In addition, the achievements of the PRC in the fields of military and diplomacy have also been recognized worldwide. Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, believes that “China has become an important engine for global economic growth, and has achieved progress in the high-tech field, showing the world a unique development path”(9). China’s success is an outstanding example for the world. China has made great contributions to world socialism and the international communist movement over the course of 70 years. At present China holds high the banner of promoting economic globalization in a fair and reasonable direction, indicating an important turning-point for the development of world socialism(10).

2.2. The Communist Party of Vietnam seeks a layout to develop a new blueprint for the 13th National Congress of the Party

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Vietnam’s economy grew rapidly in 2019. The annual GDP grew by 7.02%, and the inflation rate remained low. The annual growth rate for 2019 was 2.79%, a three-year low; the annual total merchandise trade reached US$517 billion, of which exports amounted to US$263.45 billion, achieving a surplus of 99.4 US$38 billion in foreign capital investment, the highest level in 10 years. Utilizing US$20.38 billion foreign capital is a record-setting historical high. Political life is rich and vibrant. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam convened the 10th and 11th Plenary Session of the 12th Central Committee. The 11th Plenary Session of the Central Committee furthered the implementation of the tasks of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The government formulated a medium to long-term economic and social development plan in accordance with the spirit of the Party. The National Assembly held two meetings to discuss relevant legal documents and major social economic issues in Vietnam and passed a number of legal documents and draft resolutions.

Substantial to the preparation for the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the work of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 2019 focused on the following aspects: setting up a leading group for the preparation of the conference, advancing the preparation of conference documents, formulating economic and social development plans, forming the construction of a contingent of high caliber cadres and other personnel, deepening anti-corruption work, strengthening social management and preventing the “peaceful evolution” of hostile forces, etc. Among them, it is worth noting that on February 19th, 2019, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc proposed the “two centenaries” vision for economic and social development when inspecting the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The first step is that by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Party in 2030, Vietnam will enter the ranks of high-level middle-income countries and become an “innovative, fair, democratic and civilized society,” meeting five indicators: 1) per capita GDP reaches 18,000 US dollars above purchasing power parity in 2011; 2) a majority of the country’s population (more than 50%) become urban residents; 3) industry and service industries account for more than 90% of GDP and provide more than 70% of employment; 4) the private economy accounts for more than 80% of GDP; and 5) The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) is above 0.7. The second step is to establish Vietnam as a “prosperous developed country” by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the country in 2045. The specific indicators are: 1) stepping into the ranks of the happiest high-income countries in the world and becoming a prosperous country; 2)  joining the world’s top 20 countries in terms of the global competitive and business environment index, while exploring a knowledge-based economy with high income and diversified sources. Industry is progressing in the direction of modernization. The proportion of agriculture of GDP has dropped below 10% and the economy is no longer purely agricultural; 3) it has the highest quality of education among the countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

2.3. Cuba solemnly commemorates the 60th anniversary of the victory of its revolution, amending its constitution and reforming the system of national leadership

2019 marked the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Cuban revolution, and the Cuban government held a grand commemorative event. The leaders of China and other socialist countries sent congratulatory messages affirming that the victory of the Cuban revolution not only ushered in a new history of Cuba’s independence and development, but also greatly inspired the national liberation movement, the non‑aligned movement and societies in developing countries since the 1960s.

In 2019, Cuba passed a new constitution through a referendum. The new constitution stipulates that the State Council is a permanent body of the National People’s Congress. The head of state and government will no longer be held concurrently by the chairman of the State Council but replaced by the newly established president and prime minister. The President of the State is elected by the National People’s Congress and must be 35 years of age or older and must not exceed 60 years of age when elected for the first time. The term of office is five years and can be renewed for one additional term. The Prime Minister is nominated by the president of the country, elected by the National People’s Congress, and is responsible for the daily work of the government and leading the ministerial meeting. In October 2019, according to the new constitution and the new election law, Miguel Diaz-Canel was elected as the first President of Cuba, and Salvador Valdés Mesa was elected as the Vice President of the country. Esteban Lazo Hernández was elected chairman of the National People’s Congress and chairman of the Council of State, and Manuel Marrero Cruz the prime minister of the government. The meeting also elected the 21‑member State Council. Raul Castro will serve as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba until 2021. The new constitution points out that national ownership is the main form of ownership in Cuba, and the Cuban economic system is based on both planning and market factors.

 

2.4. North Korea amended its constitution, played down its “Songun Policy” characteristics, and achieved new breakthroughs in economic growth and diplomacy

In April and August 2019, the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea convened two meetings to discuss the issue of a constitutional amendment. The amendments include: deleting many “Songun Thoughts,” merging the nominal supreme leader with the actual supreme leader, and implementing a socialist corporate responsibility management system. There are three main reasons for these amendments. The first one is that because “Songun politics” has been included in the “Kim Il Sung‑Kim Jong Il Doctrine,” it is no longer emphasized separately, and it has played down the “Songun Policy,” which conforms to its strategic shift toward economic construction. Second, the new constitution stipulates that “the representative of the country” is chairman of the State Council instead of the standing chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly, which establishes a national political system centered on the State Council. Therefore, the chairman of the State Council not only possesses the actual supreme leadership of the country, but also represents the country in law, thus smoothing the legislative relationship in the system. Third, “Chongsan‑ri spirit” and “Taean work system” were replaced with “revolutionary work methods that highly exert the spiritual power and creative ability of the masses” and “implement a socialist corporate responsibility management system” for the reason that the old expression has the imprint of the regional characteristics of the 1960s. The new expressions are more in line with the broader strategic development requirements of North Korea in the new era. However, it is necessary to clarify that although North Korea has adjusted the focus of its development strategy, the fundamental content of the constitution has not changed. For example, Article 43 of the Constitution stipulates that “the people’s economy of the Democratic Republic of Korea is a planned economy.” This has not been revised, and the new constitution puts more emphasis on the role of the people and insists on the “people first” principle. Kim Jong-un emphasized that taking the people as the priority is the fundamental principle of all affairs of the Party, which shows that the reason for the amendment to North Korea’s constitution is to change some outdated expressions, straighten out the administrative system and economic management methods, and ensure that it can develop smoothly in accordance with the Korean-style socialist road in the new era.

In 2019, North Korea’s diplomacy achieved important results. On January 7th‑10th, Kim Jong‑un visited China again. On February 26th, Kim Jong-un made an official visit to Hanoi to hold the second North Korea-US summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. This is the first time the DPRK supreme leader visited Vietnam after an interval of 55 years. On April 24th, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin met in Vladivostok. On June 30th, Kim Jong-un and Trump held a historic meeting at the border between North Korea and South Korea, known as the 38th Parallel. During the historic meeting on the 38th Parallel, Trump crossed the 38th Parallel to the North Korean side and shook hands with Kim Jong-un, becoming the first incumbent US president to set foot on North Korean territory in history, which is of iconic significance. From June 20th to 21st, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to North Korea, ushering a new chapter in the friendship between China and North Korea.

 

2.5. Laos strengthens cadre team building and the ideological and theoretical construction to prepare for the new party congress

In 2019, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party overcame many adverse influences at home and abroad and continued to promote socialist innovation. The development of all aspects of its economy and society maintained good momentum. Among them, the annual economic growth was 6.4%, and the per capita GDP reached US$2,620 while positive results were achieved in poverty reduction.

In 2019, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party convened the 8th and 9th Plenary Sessions of the 10th Central Committee to summarize the achievements and experience of socialist construction and party building in Laos at the current stage. They also made arrangements for the 11th National Congress of the Party to be held in early 2021. Among them, the 8th Plenary Session of the Central Committee issued three relevant documents to strengthen cadre team building. Before and after the two plenums, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party also issued a number of relevant resolution documents, emphasizing further improvement of the cadre team building. The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party has also strengthened the party’s ability to govern and maintain an advanced nature of the party members education, and has made great achievements in political thought, cadre management, anti-corruption and honesty, work‑style building, and discipline supervision. After the 8th Plenary Session of the 10th Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, a steady and orderly adjustment of cadres was carried out to prepare the personnel arrangements for the 11th National Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party to be held in early 2021.

In 2019, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party also made new progress in theoretical innovation. Since the 10th National Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party officially listed Kaysone Phomvihane’s “Thoughts and Marxism-Leninism” as the party’s guiding ideology, the party’s political bureau promulgated it on December 13th, 2018 and March 27th, 2019. Documents such as the “Resolution on the Study of Kaysone Phomvihane Thought” and “The Resolution on the Establishment of Kaysone Phomvihane Thought Research Committee” resulted in the establishment of the The Kaysone Phomvihane Thought Research Committee, which is composed of representatives from the Lao National Academy of Social Sciences, the National Academy of Administration, the National Institute of Social Science at Kaysone Phomvihane College, the People’s Security College, and the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum. On May 5th, 2019, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party also promulgated the “Resolution on the Establishment of the Party Central Theoretical Research Institute,” and so the party’s theoretical research and propaganda work has gradually strengthened.

 

3. The communist parties of non-socialist countries actively explore development, and the results are mixed

 

3.1. The performance of the communist parties in developing countries and countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern regions is mixed

The communist movement in Nepal in South Asia has been active for the past two years. On February 15, 2018, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) formed a left-wing coalition, came to power, and announced their merger to form the Communist Party of Nepal on May 17, 2018. Over the past year, Nepal has made great achievements in the political, economic, social, and diplomatic fields. It has been the most stable period in the country’s past 30 years. In 2019, the Communist Party of Nepal integrated and improved the basic theories of the former Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center). Among them, the issue of how to deal with the People’s War has not yet formed a unified opinion. In 2020, the Communist Party of Nepal will convene the first party congress since the merger. The congress will determine a new theoretical program and make a blueprint for the next period. At the same time, the performance of the Communist Party of India (Malaysia), the largest Communist Party organization in South Asia, is worrysome. In the 17th People’s Chamber of India election held in May 2019, the number of seats won by the Communist Party of India (Malaysia) was reduced from 6 to 3, which fell to the lowest point in history, and the number of seats for the Communist Party of India increased from 1 to 2. The Bharatiya Janata Party achieved an overwhelming victory. India’s political right turn has been further consolidated, and the left-wing political space has been further compressed.

In the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the European Parliament again passed an anti-communist resolution in 2019. The communist parties in some countries were banned from activities and placed these communist parties in a difficult situation. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the communist workers’ parties of Eastern European countries actively participated in activities and international conferences commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist International and reviewed and summarized the history of the drastic changes in Eastern Europe and the history of the communist movement. Experience and lessons have promoted the development of the international communist movement in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In terms of political participation, the support rate of some communist parties in national and local assembly elections has increased, which has brought new vitality into the development of regional socialist movements. Among them, in the Russian regional and local elections held in September 2019, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has made significant progress. In 10 of the total of 12 regions, the support rate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has increased, and the total number of seats in the city council has also seen an increase, especially in the Moscow City Council elections with 13 seats, an increase of 8 seats from the previous one. In the November election for the National Assembly of Belarus, the number of seats of the Communist Party of Belarus increased from 8 in 2016 to 11 seats in 2019. As the largest party in the parliament, it maintains a certain influence in the domestic political arena(11). At the same time, in the national elections held on February 24th, 2019, the Moldovan Communist Party collapsed across the board, losing all 21 parliamentary seats and becoming a party outside the parliament. This was another major setback after losing its ruling position in 2019.

 

3.2. Most western communist parties have taken the path of parliamentary struggle through left-wing unity. There are bright spots but there is an overall downturn

The year 2019 is an election year for the European Parliament. The political parties and organizations of the 27 EU countries are fully engaged in their election campaigns. The communist parties of various countries actively participated in the parliamentary elections. Some communist parties have jointly promoted candidates by joining other leftists. However, due to the fact that the campaign advocates focused on the left-wing coalition, the positions of the parties were vague, the characteristics were unclear, and they failed to catch the needs and concerns of their inherent voters. In addition, they were hindered by populist and far-right parties. The result was thus not optimistic. Among the more than 700 seats in the European Parliament, the European Union Left-Nordic Green Party, which is composed of the French Communist Party, the Italian Reconstruction Communist Party, the Spanish Communist Party, and multiple left-wing parties in Europe, won only 39 seats, a decrease of 13 seats from the previous election. Among the participating communist parties, the Belgian Workers’ Party won one seat, breaking a record in their history, the Greek Communist Party kept two seats unchanged, the Portuguese Communist Party was reduced to two seats, and the other communist worker’s parties did not win seats.

In the 2019 parliamentary elections, the Belgian Workers’ Party (PTB/PVDA) became a “dark horse” that suddenly emerged from the lack of development of the radical left-wing parties in Europe. The Belgian Workers’ Party’s support rate in the European Parliament elections held in May 2019 increased to 8.7% and won one seat, thus achieving an historic breakthrough. Moreover, in the country’s regional parliamentary elections, the Workers’ Party received 6.6%, 12%, and 13.5% approval rates in Flemish, Brussels, and Wallonia, with 4, 11 and 10 seats respectively. In the Belgian national parliament elections, the Workers’ Party won 12 seats in the Federal Parliament and 4 seats in the Senate. In addition to 1 seat in the European Parliament, the number of seats held by the Belgian Workers’ Party has increased from 8 seats in 2014. It quickly rose to 42 seats, ranking fifth among the 12 political parties with elected representatives across the country. While under these circumstances the communist movement in the West has generally fallen into a low ebb or even turned, the Belgian Workers’ Party successfully staged a perfect “counterattack,” known as an “important bright red breakthrough” and a “phenomenal social movement.” The reason is that the Belgian Workers’ Party has adjusted its strategy of action and ideological theory and proposed that the ultimate goal is to build a classless society, that is, a truly collective or communist society. This conforms to the ideals of the majority of the people in the current situation and attracts people to join the party. As a result, the number of party members rose from 2,800 in 2007 to 19,000 at the end of 2019. The fruitful political practice of the Belgian Workers’ Party stands as an important reference and inspiration to other western communist parties.

In Asia, the Communist Party of Japan, which originally occupies a large proportion in the traditional territory of the communist party of western developed countries, has declined in recent years. In the 25th Senate election held in 2019, the Japanese Communist Party won 13 out of 245 seats, one less than the previous term, and the gap with the Komeito Party and the Liberal Democratic Party in terms of local seats is expanding. To seek development, the Japanese Communist Party changed its strategy of struggle. First, it is committed to increasing the possibility of forming a united front with the opposition parties to establish a coalition government. Second, the Japanese Communist Party is turning to inter-party diplomacy by attaching great importance to Europe. At the 28th Party Congress to be held from January 14th to 18th, 2020, the Japanese Communist Party revised the party program and deleted the statement that China, Vietnam, Cuba and other countries are conducting “new exploration with the goal of socialism” and no long considered the 21st century as an era in which two systems could coexist. These adjustments of the Japanese Communist Party actually reflect some common characteristics of the current western communist parties, and is a trend is worthy of attention.

In the Americas, 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party USA. The Communist Party USA held its 31st National Congress from June 15th to 16th, electing new leaders. Rossana Cambron and Joe Sims became co­‑chairmen of the United States Communist Party(12). The Congress conducted a detailed analysis of the current state of capitalism, proposed specific strategies for the Communist Party of the United States to carry out struggles in the new era, formulated the stages of struggle and the steps that the United States must go through to achieve socialism and communism, and to achieve the goals of the Green New Deal through a powerful working class movement to promote American socialism. In the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. Communist Party supported the Democratic Congressman Sanders, who has been labeled as a socialist. The U.S. Communist Party hopes to expand its influence by uniting the left to participate in political activities.

In Australia, the communist movement became active, but internal divisions remained serious. Twenty-five years after the dissolution of the Communist Party of New Zealand that was established in 1921, a group of young people, mainly university students, established the “New Communist Party of Aotearoa” (NCPA). The founding meeting and the first Central Committee meeting was held in Wellington on November 21st, 2019. At the initial meeting, the party constitution and party program were passed, clearly taking Marxism-Leninism as the party’s guiding ideology, and declared itself a proletarian party. Also at the inaugural meeting, the slogan “One Class, Two Unions” was put forward. “One class” meant that the New Zealand Communist Party is a proletarian-oriented party. “Two Unions” includes the Workers’ Union, namely trade unions and community unions, which indicates that the party advocates a policy of action focusing on trade unions and community movements. In recent years, the Communist Party of Australia has seen serious divergence in ideological concepts and organizational principles. Former Central Committee General Secretary Bob Briton announced the establishment of the APC in June 2019. Bob believes that the party is a firm Marxist-Leninist party, advocating thorough theoretical struggles, strengthening Marxist theoretical study and organizational construction, and opposing the reformist method of relying on trade unions and left-wing alliances to participate in the parliament. Bob believes that it is difficult to integrate a market economy with socialist goals. These views are exactly where he differs from other members of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), and are actually a common cause of internal divisions in other western communist parties.

 

4. In 2020, the superiority of the socialist system will be more prominent in the context of COVID-19

2020 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Engels and the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth. The communist parties and socialist countries will hold commemorative activities and academic seminars focusing on related themes, and reinterpret the classic works of ​​socialism from utopia to science, from theory to practice in light of the new situation, from one country to multiple countries, from direct transition to indirect transition and other related theoretical viewpoints, re-evaluate the great personality of revolutionary mentors, and promote the new development of world socialism construction and the international communist movement in the new era. However, in early 2020, COVID-19 swept across the world. Under the influence of the epidemic, the scale of the commemoration of Engels and Lenin by the communist parties of various countries was restricted. Therefore, the communist parties and scholars of various countries have expounded the realistic guiding significance of the classic writer’s thought to the international communist movement through books and articles. For example, Professor Yu Liangzao of Nanjing Normal University wrote an article that the theory of scientific socialism was created by Marx and Engels to guide the proletariat to carry out revolutionary movements and build communism. It is an evolving theory.

After the death of Marx, especially after the 1890s, Engels adhered to the theory of scientific socialism in the practice of guiding the international communist movement and enriched the theory of scientific socialism based on new practices(13). Researcher Jin Minqing from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences believes that the Communist League created by Marx and Engels through the reorganization of the Justice League was the first proletarian party in human history that was established on the basis of scientific socialism, opening up a new era in the communist movement(14). Professor Nguyen Xuan Thang, secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, director of the Central Theoretical Committee, and president of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, wrote an article in the Communist Journal of the Communist Party of Vietnam on April 22nd, arguing that Lenin upheld and developed Marxist theory on the new historical stage of imperialism and proletarian revolution, successfully led the Russian October Revolution of 1917, established the world’s first political power of workers and peasants, ushered in a new era that transitioned from capitalism to socialism, and that socialism evolved from theory to reality through his outstanding theory and practical activities. Lenin’s life and his revolutionary cause were extremely great, and his contributions to the working class and the oppressed working people in the world were extremely great. His efforts were of epoch-making significance. In commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, we must firmly adhere to and creatively apply Marxism-Leninism, adhere to the goals of national independence and socialism, and unswervingly overcome challenges, persist in innovation, and create a miracle in Vietnam(15).

The international communist movement in 2020 will continue to develop despite the impact of COVID-19. This epidemic not only affects people’s health but also has a major and far-reaching impact on the world’s methods of production, its technological development, international structure, and the balance of power in the world between socialism and capitalism.

On one hand, China was the country that first suffered from the pandemic, but swiftly controlled the spread of the epidemic successfully, fully demonstrating the advanced nature of the Communist Party of China and the superiority of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, other socialist countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and North Korea also performed well in the management and control of the epidemic. As of April 30, 2019, with the exception of Cuba, the other three countries did not report a single death from COVID-19. Among them, North Korea had reported no cases, Laos had only 19 cases and no new epidemics appeared since mid-April. Vietnam, as a country with a population of close to 100 million, only reported 320 cases and all have recovered. Although Cuba has confirmed 1,467 cases and 58 deaths, compared with most countries in the world, especially the large-scale spread of the epidemic in neighboring Brazil, Cuba’s prevention and control of the epidemic was excellent. It clearly shows that the socialist countries have used practical actions to prove the superiority of the socialist system in the management and control of a major disaster with their medical systems.

In addition, China has given full play to the spirit of internationalism with the responsibility of a major country, providing a large number of epidemic prevention materials, sending medical teams with treatment experience to many countries, and making every effort to help other countries beat the epidemic, and in the process, won global recognition and gratitude from all countries in the world. On April 2nd, 2020, the Communist Party of China and more than 230 political parties in more than 100 countries issued a joint appeal to strengthen international cooperation against the epidemic(16). The political parties that participated in the joint appeal came from five continents, and included the ruling parties, participating parties, important opposition parties and international political parties in major countries, including political parties with differing ideologies from the left, the middle and the right. The appeal also received support and praise from the Communist Party of Cuba, the Communist Party of Nepal, the Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus, the Communist Party of the United States, the Communist Party of Brazil, the Communist Party of Chile, the Communist Party of Argentina, the Communist Party of Britain, the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), the Spanish Communist Party, the Australian Communist Party, and the Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) in various ways(17). The pandemic highlights that all human beings share wealth and woe in the face of disasters, and no one can survive alone. Therefore, China’s concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind is easier to appreciate and welcome.

On the other hand, some western countries ignored China’s achievements in fighting COVID-19 and made groundless accusations and attacks on China, while their own policies were slow and ineffective in dealing with the epidemic in their own countries, leading to its spread. It not only exposes the double standards that capitalist politicians are applying under the guise of freedom and democracy, but it also exposes the shortcomings of the western medical system, social management, capitalism’s goal of maximizing profits and the hypocrisy of human rights that the West advocates. During the spread of the epidemic, working people and people at the bottom of society in western countries were even less insured, basic living materials could not be guaranteed and the gap between the rich and the poor widened further, which caused more serious social problems now and even political turmoil in the future.

Therefore, during the epidemic, socialism, as an ideology and system replacing capitalism, has received increasing attention and trust in the world. However, because the difference between the two forces is sharp, the defenders of the Western bourgeoisie and the capitalist system will not stop their attacks. They will inevitably intensify their resistance to and crack down on the socialist movement, and the situation of the communist parties of all countries will be even more difficult. Although the struggle between the two systems benefits socialism, the long-term coexistence of the two systems is difficult to change. Therefore, we should actively advocate the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind, which is a rational solution for win-win cooperation between countries and different systems in the world under the current historical conditions./.

 

(1) http://www.wyzxwk.com/Article/sichao/2019/06/404628.html

(2) Lin Jianhua. The Practical Logic of the Communist International in the World Revolution[J]. Chinese Social Sciences. Issue 8, 2014.

(3) [Russian] Gennady Zyuganov, Liu Shuchun(Translation). The Valuable Experience of the Communist International[J]. World Socialism Studies, Issue 5, 2019.

(4) The Selected Works of Zhou Enlai (Volume 2)[M], People’s Publishing House, 1984. pp.300.

(5) Lin Jianhua. The Practical Logic of the Communist International in the World Revolution[J]. Chinese Social Sciences. Issue 8, 2014.

(6) Joe Sims, The Road to Socialism and the World Communist Movement: A Reply to Wadi.h Halabi,

http://www.cpusa.org/article/the-road-to-socialism-and-the-world-communist-movement-a-reply-to-wadih-halabi. [EB/OL].

(7) В Турции прошла XXI Международная встреча коммунистических и рабочих партий,“Правда”,22.11.2019.

(8) The 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties was held in Turkey, Pravda, 22.11.2019.

Xi Jinping. Speech at the Conference Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the May Fourth Movement[M]. People's Publishing House, 2019. pp.2.

(9) Song Qu: China is fully capable of handling domestic issues – Interview with Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation[N], People's Daily, December 9th, 2019.

(10) Jiang Hui. The Transitional Role of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the World Socialist Movement[J], World Socialism Studies, Issue 4, 2019.

(11) Yu Haiqing, Qin Zhenyan. New Situation and New Characteristics of the Development and Changes of Foreign Communist Parties in 2019[J], Contemporary World, Issue 1, 2020.

(12) Yu Haiqing, Qin Zhenyan. New Situation and New Characteristics of the Development and Changes of Foreign Communist Parties in 2019[J], Contemporary World, Issue 1, 2020.

(13) Yu Liangzao. Engels’ Important Contributions to the Theory of Scientific Socialism in His Later Years[J], Theory and Reform, Issue 3, 2020.

(14) Jin Minqing. Engels’ Special Contributions in the Process of Creating the First Communist Party in History[J], Studies on Party and Government, Issue 3, 2020.

(15) http://tapchicongsan.org.vn/web/guest/tin-tieu-diem/-/asset_publisher/s5L7xhQiJeKe/content/di-san-cua-v-i-le-nin-gia-tri-ly-luan-va-thuc-tien-doi-voi-cach-mang-the-gioi-va-viet-nam

(16) http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2020-04/02/c_1125806860.html

(17) https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/BX0kTpGYnvPM0RuhIj-1ww


Source: Journal of Political Theory and Communication (English), Issue 5-2022

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