The Marxist ideology has come of age

President Xi was right the communist system has become a lighthouse leading a restless world to a more equitable society

In Summary

•Those who believe that Marxism will save humankind but fear the negative branding long associated with the system by Western capitalists may gradually adopt the egalitarian system and embed its principles in their mode of governance.

•China’s rise to a global economic powerhouse since reform and opening up in 1978 has shown that Marxism has truly come of age. 

A paramilitary policeman keeps watch underneath the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Mao was the principal Chinese Marxist theorist.
A paramilitary policeman keeps watch underneath the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Mao was the principal Chinese Marxist theorist.
Image: REUTERS

The World Symposium for Marxist Political Parties held virtually last week may not have trended on international news, for now.

However, it is an event that will be closely followed in the near future as countries, mainly developing ones, realise that unbridled capitalism is actually the bane of both peace and equity in human progress.

In his message to the symposium on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Marxism was a “formidable theoretical tool which we use to understand the world and effect change.” He noted that Marxism is a scientific theory that artfully reveals the patterns underlying the development of human society, points out the path for humans searching for their emancipation and advances the process of human civilisation.

While stressing the role Marxism has played in the great socio-economic strides made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) since its formation 100 years ago, Xi was right that the communist system has become a lighthouse leading a restless world to a more equitable society devoid of political conflicts and violence.  

Undoubtedly, much of the chaos in the world today is caused by competition for the control of resources and levers of production between a few with power and a vast majority of powerless workers. Basically, Marxism is synonymous with communism. Over the years, the capitalist West has tried to create an erroneous impression that both systems are anachronistic to human progress.

Now, this tweet by Fiona Edwards posted on the #BlackLivesMatter on Friday is stark about the difference between Marxism and capitalism - as obviously espoused by China and the US respectively: “China is the world’s biggest exporter of Covid-19 vaccines, the biggest investor in renewables and has made the greatest contribution to human rights by bringing over 800 million people out of poverty in 40 years. The US leads in waging wars, organising coups and military spending.”

Karl Marx envisioned a communist system in which high levels of industrial production would ensure a good standard of living for the entire population.
Karl Marx envisioned a communist system in which high levels of industrial production would ensure a good standard of living for the entire population.
Image: Courtesy

This tweet paraphrases President Xi’s words in his congratulatory message, which reiterated that the CPC stands ready to jointly promote the cause of human progress and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind with Marxist political parties worldwide.

China’s global and even bi-lateral projects are infused with this humanistic philosophy. A classic example is the Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to connect people’s synergies across the world.

China’s rise to a global economic powerhouse since reform and opening up in 1978 has shown that Marxism has truly come of age. Those who believe that Marxism will save humankind but fear the negative branding long associated with the system by Western capitalists may gradually adopt the egalitarian system and embed its principles in their mode of governance.

As late as Saturday, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Talking Business Asia Program that countries need to gang up against “China’s growing economic and geopolitical coercion,” saying Western governments should not be afraid to challenge China on issues such as human rights.

Well, while this is both an admission of defeat and evidence to the fact that capitalism needs constant propping up by use of force, it exposes the West’s deep rooted contempt against those who wish a more humane face in the global marketplace.   

As an increasing number of countries find themselves at a dead end due to the vagaries of capitalism, they will have little choice but to openly and wholeheartedly embrace the Marxist ideology for socio-economic resilience. The middle class has been obliterated in many countries hitherto thought of economically stable with millions joining the so called working class or proletariat.

Much of capitalism’s remaining credibility has been eroded by the economic ruin experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the US, for instance, millions of professionals and businesses applied for State financial aid after their livelihoods were destroyed. In a Marxist economy, such eventualities are factored in its people-centered approach to development.  

President Xi Jinping in a past photo. He says communism points out the path for humans searching for their emancipation and advances the process of human civilisation.
President Xi Jinping in a past photo. He says communism points out the path for humans searching for their emancipation and advances the process of human civilisation.

The fact that China is the only major country to record positive growth in 2020 while the developed Western capitalist economies were reeling from the pandemic’s effects is a clear testament of the resilience of the Marxist economic model.

But let us not blame the coronavirus entirely for the misfortunes of capitalism. The pandemic has just come to exacerbate the effects of the global economic crisis of 2007-2008 characterised by an economic recession, serious unemployment, intensifying polarisation and deepening social divides.

Ironically, democracy and Marxism are birds of the same feather. While democracy has been touted “as the government of the people, by the people, for the people”, philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels similarly stated that "the proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority."

Marxism seeks to create more understanding and less confrontation in the political economy as opposed with the insensitive capitalist system. The world is approaching a critical juncture as predicted by Marx that the internal tensions and contradictions of capitalism will lead to its self-destruction and replaced by the more progressive socialist mode of governance.