The history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is often told as one of revolution or turmoil before the market reforms changed the course and the country’s economic rise began. Yet, despite the ruptures, one constant remained: the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Party transformed itself repeatedly after taking power in 1949, during the socialist phase until the mid-1970s, the intermittent or transitional reform phase until the mid-1990s, and the capitalist phase since. In each phase, the PRC’s development was pushed by a dynamic of social struggles from below followed by countermeasures of the CCP regime—a mix of repression, concession, cooptation, and reform. Eventually, capitalism emerged in the PRC not in spite of or against socialism, but because of (this) socialism.
These arguments are at the core of Ralf Ruckus’s book The Communist Road to Capitalism. How Social Unrest and Containment Have Pushed China’s (R)evolution since 1949. He breaks with orthodoxies about the PRC’s socialist “successes” and myths on its later rise as an economic power. His book combines a historiography of workers’, peasants’, migrants’, and women*’s struggles with a critique of exploitation, authoritarian state power, and gender discrimination under socialism and capitalism.
In this online discussion, Ralf will elaborate on the book’s main arguments and discuss what we can learn from the PRC experience for a left-wing strategy that avoids past mistakes.
Date: Saturday, June 12, 2021
Time: 8 a.m. EDT/U.S. – 2 p.m. CET/Europe – 8 p.m. CST/China
Topic: The Communist Road to Capitalism in China
Speaker: Ralf Ruckus
Moderator: Kevin Lin
[Please, register soon to get the approval-email in time, and make sure to do it some time before the start of the event!]
The speaker: Ralf RUCKUS has been active in social movements in Europe and Asia and publishes texts on social struggles in China and elsewhere. He contributes to gongchao.org and runs the blog nqch.org.
Reading list for the event’s Q&A:
Birth Strike against China’s Population Policies (Ralf Ruckus)
Against the Fetish of Representation – Class Struggle in China Beyond the Leftist Grand Narrative (Friends of gongchao)
Left Dead-End Street vs. Destructive Critique – China’s Counterinsurgency Policies and How to Respond (Friends of gongchao)
Sponsors: This event is co-sponsored by gongchao.org, Made in China Journal, positions politics, and Critical China Scholars. The foundation Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt (Berlin, Germany) provided financial support for the technical platform.
For other events, please, see the “China and the Left”-series page.