Marxism-Leninism And The Chinese Communist Party Congress

Marxism-Leninism And The Chinese Communist Party Congress

At this moment I am watching live on Bloomberg News the opening speech by President/Party General Secretary/Chairman of the Military Commission Xi Jinping of the once-every-five-years Chinese Communist Party Congress.  This is far more important than what one finds on other TV networks whether pro-Trump right now (how great his tax plan/tromping on immigrants and football players are) or anti-Trump (what is the latest gossip from the Mueller investigation and will Republicans in the Senate stand up to Trump).  A major theme seems to be a reassertion of party power and discipline, with a reinvigoration of the State-Owned Enterprises, with Communist Party cells to operate in nominally private enterprises, socialism with Chinese characteristics, with a reaffirmation of the foundation based on Marxism-Leninism.  Yes, he used that term.

While there all kinds of issues about the future path of economic, social, political, environmental, and military policies, and also the big question of the unveiling of the new leadership for the next five years in terms of the membership of Politburo and above it the ruling Standing Committee of the Politburo (of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China), with all this to be ratified by the 3000 delegates at this Congress, taking place on the Great Hall of the People on Tiananman Square (with reportedly super high security there in place), the really big question is whether or not Xi Jinping will follow recent practice and plan to retire in five years and recognize a likely successor at this Congress, or will he clearly lay out a plan for him to continue in power after that.  This remains unclear as of this point, but he was just referring to Marxism-Leninism again and the heroic past of the party.  Offhand this looks like possibly laying the groundwork for becoming the new Mao and seizing greater and more permanent power.

Addendum, 12:10 AM, 10/19:

Xi Jinping is still speaking, now having passed three hours.  He has now covered nearly everything.  A major theme does seem to be mostly affirming a status quo, although with nods to “deepening reform.”  Markets are important, and supposedly there will be opening to foreign direct investment and possible loosening of foreign exchange rate policy.  But “deepening reform” also clearly includes increased emphasis on the importance of the state and especially the party as noted above.  He has talked about just about everything.  One observer is forecasting that five out of the seven members of the ruling Standing Committee of the Politburo will be replaced, but that is a rumor.  Again, really big issue is whether Xi will indicate an heir or assert a third term for himself after five years from now.  Given the general strong man authoritarian trend in the world, the latter looks highly possible, and his emphasis on the importance and power of the party would fit with that.

Barkley Rosser