Democracy and Class Struggle reports on OCML Voie Prolétarienne meeting in Paris on Cultural Revolution, study Jiang Hongsheng's work on Shanghai Commune here :
It is finally close to 100 people in a room on day, May 21, 2016 to discuss the Cultural Revolution and the Municipality of Shanghai with Hongsheng Jiang
For us it is a great success to see, 50 years after this event, young and old gather in the heart of Paris to discuss the Cultural Revolution and its teachings.
After an introduction of our organization and that of Jiang Hongsheng (which you will find below and our conclusion), a rich debate took place and an opportunity to discuss different topics.
The Party's role as a tool of liberation, the place of women in the revolutionary struggle, self-organization of the masses in the Municipality of Shanghai etc.
A debate which showed that far from the caricature that is made, the Cultural Revolution is carrying rich political lessons for today.
Half a century ago, China, undertook the Cultural Revolution. This event was not a prank.
As Jiang Hongsheng shows in about the Municipality of Shanghai, it was a genuine revolutionary movement, mobilizing the masses of workers and youth against those in the State and the Party who maintained positions with their backs to the revolutionary transformation of society, proponents of bourgeois way.
The Cultural Revolution was to maintain the social, economic and political perspective of Communism.
Why commemorate this event today? What can we learn? What are the issues in the class struggle in France today? This will be the object of this meeting.
In this meeting we will obviously deal with special question of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and about the latter, the experience of the Municipality of Shanghai, Jiang Hongsheng who which will make the presentation in a few minutes .
But before that we would like to highlight three points:
- We would like to emphasize how much this first revolution was current in May and June 1968, ie could clarify the issues and questions posed by the French events 50 years ago, and by the social movement.
- We would then say how it helped found the positions of our organization, created in the late 1970s.
- And lastly we would say what it seems today to illuminate the questions and issues of struggle against the "labour" law.
The impact of the Cultural Revolution was preceded by two years the movement of May and June 1968. Organizations who claime Marxism-Leninism were developed under impact of Chinese Communism.
Indeed, even before 1968 the youth was committed in supporting the struggle of the Vietnamese people against US imperialism.
In this support political contradictions that pitted the communist parties called "revisionists" (that is to say:
PCF was called revolutionary, but defended the maintenance of a capitalist social order they intended to convert only), and the views of Chinese Communist Party, were also reflected in the struggle in France.
The first highlighting "Peace in Vietnam" and ML, with others, saying "National Liberation Front will win."
In this struggle of young students and young workers, French or immigrants, the most politicized of which were then Spanish, Portuguese, West Indian, North African, were formed as revolutionaries.
They will have a decisive role in the revolutionary developments in 1968 and especially after the strengthening of the Maoist movement in France.
In May and June 1968 and in the years that followed, the Cultural Revolution was a political reference for many young rebels, of middle-class origin, some of whom settled in the factory, and for young workers.
The PCF and CGT, so very dominant in the working class strove successfully to guide the workers' struggles in a narrow logic of demands, economist, and seeking to stifle their aspirations.
Revolutionaries from ML had then definitely a workers' and popular response. In factories, PCF and the CGT, is employed to redefine these aspirations and to break them down, with the support of company management.
PCF and CGT also sought to dam the approximation of workers to students, on the pretext that they were "petty bourgeois".
But if students have not returned in factories, many were young workers who went on the barricades and universities join.
And the mobilization of youth in the Cultural Revolution had for each other a challenging experience.
Facing the PCF and the CGT, revolutionaries, especially the Maoists tried to organize revolts of youth workers, particularly unskilled workers, who refused both their working conditions, and for foreigners racist contempt.
In the 1970s, some Maoists and some carried the revolt of women against sexist domination that Mao as saying "make up half the sky." Finally they still invested in their struggle against the oppression of homosexuals ....
All these aspirations opposed by the PCF including its male working-class base, French and qualified saw himself shaken by the emergence of these new forces.
But the PCF, the prospect of a joint program with the PS, sought to seduce executives, engineers and upper layers of the petty bourgeoisie.
Therefore the PCF opposed the workers' aspirations for a change of social relations, particularly present among the workers and low-skilled workers.
The one and the other should stay in their place: , hard work, executives, engineers, management, as holding the bourgeois way in China were working to do so.
Unfortunately, most groups claiming Maoism were, to put it clearly were much more "pro-China" than Maoists.
They sought an idealized model in China, without contradiction, ignoring the harsh class struggle which the Cultural Revolution was the manifestation.
And when the revolution finally triumph against China in the late 1970s, large organizations who claimed Maoism, disoriented and discouraged, disappear in a few years.
It is in this context that our organization was founded, who wanted to break with opportunism and spontaneity of the old organizations, and with the idealization of the models we are materialist minds that Mao had supported.
When VP was created, by experience in the positions of Mao, the belief that any transition process is a process of class struggle. And who says fight cannot say that the truly revolutionary path is beaten.
We studied the Cultural Revolution in China its Maoist theoretical lessons that readopted what Marx had already written, but was now being implemented.
For us, the goal of the revolution is not a formal change of legal ownership, replacing private owners by state property by nationalization, but upset the whole relations of society, especially the relations of production.
We must remove the division between the enforced work and work management, between workers and managers or experts, even so-called socialist.
In the early 1980s, relying on the experience of the Cultural Revolution, we have deepened our understanding of what was to be a transition to communism under proletarian dictatorship.
We thus questioned a conception of transition, as was the case in the USSR in the 1930s, gave the leading role to executives and experts in the development of production, and not to the masses and the fight class.
We then reassessed the role and Stalin's contributions to the understanding of the transitional tasks.
We considered and the line he had developed since that time, had allowed the restoration of capitalism in the USSR.
Let us come to the struggles of today. The issues discussed during the Cultural Revolution, the struggle between the revolutionary road and the bourgeois way that relies on the experts of the bourgeoisie (experts who claim to act for the good of all when they are only defending the prevailing interest) we always seem relevant, certainly a caricature in the "legal work".
This is not the place to recall all the attacks that this law makes against the earlier gains of the workers, already much abused for decades.
But this law does not only affect workers "at work". This law reflects a vision of society such as the bourgeoisies want in France as elsewhere. This vision is not new, since it is dominant of all time.
This law attacking front the question of labor, subjecting its exercise more to the needs of capital, fully exploited workers subjected to the vagaries of capitalist production. It makes their private and social life to the demands of production.
It is destroying the health of workers, destruction of the social relations of solidarity through which to develop a truly human society. It is destruction of any human future. It would make an endless war of all against all, to the great benefit of the exploiters.
In the past year after the attacks bourgeois media have denounced our protest as barbarism, forgetting the ravages of imperialist wars in the world, but also forgetting that "the barbarians called" are the product of society that shapes the capital every day.
The cultural revolution gives us to think and therefore can give meaning to our hopes for our rebellions, as long as they look for lessons, lessons, not a model that should be mechanically applied to the situation of a imperialist countries like France.
It needs us "inspiration" as the Paris Commune to inspire the municipality of Shanghai, as shown by Jiang Hongsheng
The Cultural Revolution, in May and June 68, the current movements, expressed in different forms of denial desired by the capital company.
The aspiration for another society without exploitation, without subjection to alienated labor, without unemployment, or everyone maîtriserions our future and that of the earth that carries us, is present in these struggles.
Today, workers and student (now largely from poor backgrounds) can relate and fight together.
In this struggle we have strengths that China had not.
The shortage, which still strikes many exploited, is not that an underdeveloped because labor productivity has been greatly expanded.
It is only the consequence of the capitalist mode of development. Thus, a society where we all can work less and otherwise, is not a utopia
Nevertheless, the current movements express great distrust of parties, albeit bourgeois parties, but also parties claiming communism. The latter being marked by the operating mode of the PCF and revisionist parties.
The Cultural Revolution, experience should help us to think that the Communist Party in the society of the 21st century will be the tool of the exploited in the struggle to end exploitation, as the Chinese Communist Party had undertaken to do so with some success in the semi feudal society - semi colonial China in the twentieth century. Also we deal with the issue of the party.
Who am I ? I grew up in a village in Hunan Province in China and currently I am working as Assistant Professor at Peking University.
My mother was a peasant and my father schoolmaster.
In 1965, Mao wrote predict the need to "focus on the medical work and health in rural areas" .
Following this directive, more medical resources were destined to rural areas. Chairman Mao also supported the formation of millions of barefoot doctors.
My father answered Mao's call by teaching traditional Chinese medicine on her own to use his knowledge to treat local farmers free of charge.
So I can say that my own father was, he also, one of the barefoot doctors of Chairman Mao.
My father, a follower of popular education in rural areas of China during the Mao era as well as a defender of people's communes and author of several poems sang praises of New China during the Mao era, died in his fifties under Deng Xiaoping when all the people's communes were dismantled, replaced by popular education elite education and popular medical services replaced by a medical industry dedicated to profit.
I studied very hard in elementary school, college and high school to avoid passing my whole life working as most of my classmates in a sweatshop that are found in coastal areas China, almost the only outlet for the youth of the country seeking a 'better life' rather than staying to work the fields.
Today, rural youth who can not go to university have a new 'choice'; become criminal in the country or in town.
In 2001, disappointed by my work, I went to the US to continue my studies when I finally decided to study the history of the Cultural Revolution.
Write a book about the Cultural Revolution was to me anything but a simple choice, because doing research on this topic is in itself a hazardous undertaking.
Not having experienced the Cultural Revolution, just gather basic historical facts becomes a daunting task, made even more difficult because of the time the documents were either secret or destroyed by the post-Mao regime .
In addition, studying the Cultural Revolution is a perspective that does not coincide with the official account and the position of intellectuals aligned with the regime implies somehow cut of the Chinese elite.
The determining factor that led me to study the Cultural Revolution is the frightening reality of China, especially in the countryside, including in my own village.
After arriving in the United States, I received various bad news of my family, my parents and neighbors in the village, to the point of understanding picking up the phone. Most of the bad news concerned the people of the village went to work in town.
For example, overworked by the bosses of private factories, my second oldest brother had suffered a lumbar disease and my sister suffered severe mental disorders to causes of his work experiences in major cities and the doctors tell him that should take medication for the rest of his life.
Disaster after disaster, my mother's younger sister died of cancer early fifties, at about the same age as my father. For lack of money, she had never passed medical checks before contracting terminal cancer.
This kind of tragedy is far beyond my own family; it is a sign of our times. Indeed, the misfortunes of my family are far less tragic than the fate that others suffer in the countryside. There have even been several instances in my own village and around farmers who have left to work in the city and who returned in coffins.
You should know that the Chinese peasant significantly shorter lives today as post-Mao regime, around 60 years, 12 years less than in town, while towards the end of the Mao era Chinese population lived on average up to 69 years.
So I asked the question: Why? Was the situation like before the days of the so-called Reformation?
How was it China reached this point? Where was she going? The answer to these questions are not easily found in books published openly, particularly those published in China, which are full of lies and distortions about the history and reality of the Cultural Revolution. #
Fortunately, the internet is a source of many stories and arguments around Mao and the reformist period contradict the official version presented in books, film, television, radio and other media.
Thanks to the internet I was able to deepen my knowledge of the history and current situation of China, since the virtual resources provided me a lot of hidden information by the official media.
Given the few positive assessments of the Mao era reported in books, newspapers, on television, etc., I did not understand how he could be so many Chinese on the web that supported Mao and the cultural Revolution.
And I knew the Mao era, the more I am interested in the study of the Cultural Revolution, immersing myself constantly in discussions with other passionate in cyberspace where I learned a lot thanks to the community cybercitoyen over sleepless nights.
Thus, in a way, it's not me who chose to study the Cultural Revolution, but the appalling social and economic reality of modern China that pushed me to pursue this project.
Researching the Cultural Revolution, we must face the miserable reality of China over the last thirty years and it is here that several important issues arise:
How are the masses of the Chinese people did they really lived the Revolution cultural? What do the common people, not just the elite, who had experienced the Cultural Revolution when they come back and reflect on this period of history?
Why and how interpretations of the Cultural Revolution are they useful to grasp the reality of China today and to re-consider its future?
In a sense, the process entails answering these questions about the Cultural Revolution is a process for recovering a lost history or eliminated.
This is the current increase of the struggle of the working people who made me focus my studies of the Cultural Revolution on mass movements, including labor movements, the most important, yet least studied, was held in Shanghai.
Thus, writing political and historical point of view, my project is to develop a detailed picture of the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai between 1966 and 1967, looking at this hectic time of the terms of collective activities of the masses, including workers, people of higher education, intellectual and farmers, both those of the conservative camp that the rebel camp.
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 the workers of Paris rose up against the bourgeois government and established the Paris Commune that classical Marxist writers celebrated as an example to follow, it is embryonic, of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Marx , the principles of the Paris Commune was the fact that
"the working class cannot simply take as such the state machinery and wield it for its own account".
General elections and the abolition of the standing army were considered by the classical Marxist authors as being the defining features of the power of body established by the Paris Commune.
Following his defeat, the Marxist interpretation of the Paris Commune was widespread throughout the world, including in China.
Throughout the twentieth century, China was rich in theoretical and practical experiences built on the model of the Commune.
In 1927, Chinese revolutionaries have established organs of power in two major cities, Shanghai and Guangzhou,  unfortunately brutally demolished by nationalist troops.
Between late 1966 and early 1967, inspired by the Maoist theory of continuous revolution  and the vision of a structured state on the model of the Commune, the workers of Shanghai, together with people of higher education frameworks and Party leaders rebels have taken the bold initiative to overthrow the old power structure down, setting February 5, 1967 the Municipality of Shanghai during the January Storm using the example of the Paris Commune.
It is the advent and replacement of the Shanghai Commune by the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee during the Cultural Revolution, one local government body of its kind, which is the main theme of my studies of the Cultural Revolution.
The Cultural Revolution was a social and political revolution whose aim was to transfer power to the masses.
The Municipality of Shanghai and its successor, the Revolutionary Committee of Shanghai, who tragically disappeared in 1967 in despotic kick that was millions of activists in favor of the Cultural Revolution, were not a farce, as would plans be post -Mao.
Instead, he was the powerful and heroic struggle of the working class to wrest state power to those who held that no longer served the people.
This was the organic continuation of proletarian revolutions in China and elsewhere, particularly the Paris Commune and the Bolshevik Revolution. The movement of the Municipality launched in 1967 had facilitated revolutionary changes in Chinese society and in the state structure.
The Municipality of Shanghai and the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee had developed as executive organs that did not have general elections had not abolished the standing army, thus reproducing not just the Paris Commune .
But compared with the old organs of power that existed in Shanghai, they largely coincided with the principles of the Paris Commune by overwriting the old and building the new.
Some of the creative measures, "the new socialist things" , anticipating the characteristics of a communal state, a state that, even if it does not eradicate the class struggle, is used to begin the long process of decline of State.
One of the most important revolutionary lessons to be learned from the Cultural Revolution is that during this period the representatives of mass organizations were delegated in the organs of power at all levels of society where their role is not limited to offer suggestions to the leaders of the Party and government organs in place, if he had seized power by themselves and they governed.
During the Cultural Revolution, the Commune's power organ of Shanghai, as well as those of the Revolutionary Committee of Shanghai subsequently integrated many delegates of several mass organizations, usually elected officials or recommended by members of their own faction.
This way, even if the Municipality of Shanghai and the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee did not hold a general election, most of his staff were chosen democratically in their own organizations.
After the complete takeover by rebel mass organizations, new organs of power were created based on the Triple union rebel, revolutionary cadres and representatives of the PLA.
Within these new bodies of power delegated organizations masses were sometimes in the majority in this Triple union.
As, for example, Shanxi and Shanghai where half the officials in the new organs of power after taking delegates were able to mass organizations, such as Mao Zedong advocated to achieve the withering away of the party of government bureaucracy, through integration into the new organs of power over delegated directly from the ranks of the masses .
During the Cultural Revolution, for the first time, the government was under the control and supervision by the masses.
Thanks to the powerful support of mass organizations, the masses, especially those of working extraction, could not only run the plants but also exercise direct control over the state power bodies.
It was "[the] immediate steps to fulfill all the functions of monitoring and control, all for a time become 'bureaucrats' and that, therefore, no one can become' bureaucrat '' . (Lenin, The State and Revolution.)
The mass organizations were, therefore, somewhat revolutionary vehicle of continuous revolution and the Revolutionary Guards.
However, after running for a while during the Cultural Revolution, almost all the mass organizations were dismantled after the creation of the Revolutionary Committees. Unfortunately, because the power is secret and destruction of official documents of the Cultural Revolution by later regimes, the reasons and processes that led to the dismantling of the masses of bodies remain outstanding.
From my research, the attitude of the Maoist leadership to this issue could undergo a gradual change over time.
Anyway, by the end of 1968, most of the mass organizations had been dismantled. On 28 August 1969, after a series of skirmishes between Chinese and Soviet troops in border areas, China was faced with the growing threat of a declared war with the Soviet Union.
It is in this context that the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party ordered the dismantling of all the mass organizations formed by two wings and declared illegal the creation of new organizations.
Without the strong support of mass organizations, many rebel representatives in local Revolutionary Committees are made easily fired by the military and the party on some pretext. Even in cases where rebel representatives arrived to maintain their positions in the Revolutionary Committees; usually they were assigned to menial positions without real power.
In subsequent political movements such as the Campaign Pilin Pikong  1974 or the fight against deviationist wind right  1975-1976, many rebel leaders hoped to launch a counter-offensive against the rightists within Party and the PLA but not counted on the support of mass organizations that had been dissolved in advance.
Unlike what happened in 1966 and 1967 when they had the support of the mass body, they were unable to rally the masses. Although rebel leaders have actually been able to use some organic structures, such as the Assembly of workers , in order to promote their interests, this way of mobilization which was based on members who had formed the core of the old organizations masses, proved to be less effective compared to the previous mode of organization-based control teams given the lack of participation of the broad masses of the people.
When rightists went their coup in 1976, the leftist rebels had no way to quickly organize a power resistance, partly due to the dismantling of powerful mass organizations of yesteryear.
This is one of the main reasons following the coup of 1976 state why the left was not able to launch an effective offensive against-to save socialism and communism.
But do not see the Cultural Revolution as a sad story rooted in a past.
We must, instead, learn from it drawing lessons of the Cultural Revolution based on the theory of continuing revolution, and I am convinced that revolutionaries can do so more effectively in the future.
That is the presentation of my person and my project. Thank you for listening.
One of the great lessons of the Chinese revolution is that the success of the coming revolution depends on what we do today, even in a non-revolutionary situation.
The foundations of a future workers' power will be all the stronger we will be able to build the unity of the exploited, and strengthen the working class to lead the new company, far beyond the management of a struggle or a strike.
We insist on remembering
that it was a revolution and not a joke or a personal struggle of Mao on his own power.
After the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, the Maoists are launching this great revolution, a real mass movement, time of political debates, war between two classes.
It is not enough to make revolution to successfully win. We have seen with this conference, another battle begins to continue to move forward and put the interests of the workers and proletarians in the heart of the revolutionary project.
The bourgeois and reactionary vanquished will not let the matter and will seek to reinvest places of power: if power is red, they say red. Deng Xiaoping 20 years to regain power between 56 and 76, proof that the bourgeois exploit every bit of freedom to be left to them.
It was a revolution carried by the mass movement led by the communist revolutionaries by revolutionary communist activists in connection with the mass movement where the objective was: the power to march to communism. Not only: the economic struggle, the general strike, nationalization, or encouraging direct democracy.
But a struggle for power, that of establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat, that is to say a complete dictatorship over the bourgeoisie has not disappeared and never gives the case.
The dictatorship of the proletariat, is the guarantee of proletarian democracy for the majority of us.
We Marxist-Leninist and Maoist and we assume this political legacy. Not only we take the communist past, but we claim, with its failures and successes. The theory of revolution, socialism, only existed for a century.
We must make it live, not bury it.
It is a debate as we know from international fashion today and must be transmitted from one generation fighter to another. The Chinese, decades after the Paris Commune were inspired to conduct the GPCR.
And the GPCR today inspire us about our own political situation. She says today the work of popular political education must be realized the vital importance of reflection on society that we want to build on all subjects: ecology, nature of production, needs to be met, the division of labor, the role of managers and experts, women, racism, homophobia.
The GPCR provides us valuable knowledge to build the Party!
We say, without the Revolutionary Communist Party, things remain bourgeois organizations or reformist.
The proletariat is strong only when it is independent and organized.
In France, you have a party capable of playing the power to the bourgeoisie and the snatch tomorrow, centralize and discuss experiences.
Without the Revolutionary Communist Party, we can not take after all the fighting. They will remain fragmented and achievements never last long under capitalism. Still look new attack on our working conditions. Capitalism is in crisis as ever, he did more crumbs to distribute.
What we learned the history of revolutions is that the Communists are stealing their party that monopolized for neo-bourgeois and bureaucracy becomes an instrument of oppression. As already experimented in any mass organization, association or neighborhood, or maintaining a lively political struggle for emancipation and the proletarian direction or the reformist path, petty bourgeois or bourgeois ... and wins representatives or delegates are still in the final mainly from the petty bourgeoisie and not of the working class.
We want to build a Communist Party to carry the project and expand the power to the greatest number. That is why we are developing at the same time the mass organizations that are essential where one can build a popular unity against capital, because everyone does not claim communism.
We learned a lot about the Party with the Cultural Revolution. For us, the experience about the Party form and the necessity of state power, note Alain Badiou and other currents.
Only the political struggle to check if those who work are those who run! A fortiori in an imperialist country, the heart of the imperialist beast, the working centrality is the first key!
Not by fanaticism of the wrench and blue work but because we affirm that the proletariat is the only revolutionary class. Because her condition puts all the dispositions and all oppressions suffered by men and women exploited. It must be the engine of the revolutionary process, not to stop along the way, and only develop the operation. The proletariat will not make the revolution alone, but he leads the process with all those who suffer and struggle in this society. No popular centrality unit without working!
Equality is built, take his hand in business is built. We see that it takes time for the proletariat before daring to speak in public, to assert its point of view. Hence the importance of training, against the delegation of his knowledge and experience to experts or bourgeois or petty-bourgeois political leaders. Decide for ourselves! Our elected officials should be elected and revocable and not become "barons" of the class struggle, immutable and bureaucrats.
To say that the working class must lead in everything, it means that on all subjects, the interest of the workers must be at the forefront of all economic, political, ideological. Because We need cultural revolutions against racist attitudes, sexist, homophobic. It takes cultural revolutions against the inherited values and attitudes of capitalism. We need a cultural revolution against the chauvinist positions and the "French produce" against imperialism that destroys our lives and the planet.
Reject the social division of labor: impose on executives and intellectuals to work in production (not by revenge) but to free up time for workers to s educating, directing, in production as in politics. This is the meaning of our slogan all work less and above all else.
Refuse the sexual division of labor, "what man makes, a woman can do, a woman makes a man must do it," said the Maoists!
Reject ethnic and international division of labor from colonial and racist long history of France and the imperialist division of the world.
The Cultural Revolution is the experience for us the most advanced of the communist movement, she fed the richness of the political line of the organization.
Whether one is Chinese, African, Palestinian, Kurdish, Greek or French, there are always two lanes in the class struggle, both camps, or that of the bourgeoisie or the proletariat, even after the takeover.
So you loose nothing about anything, not against the bourgeois nor the contradictions between ourselves and among the people.
Socialism will not come alone. The exploited of the world, we say we must educate ourselves, we say our fight your fight and join us to jointly build workers' power.
Thank you to the Communists, the Chinese workers and peasants, and Jiang Hongsheng
Against French imperialism in China, be in solidarity with their struggles!
Long live the Paris Commune, Long live the Commune of Shanghai, live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and Communism Vive!
 Directive on Public Health of June 26, 1965.
 Communist Manifesto, preface to the German edition of 1872.
 Formerly known as Canton.
 Chinese 继续 革命 (jìxù Geming).
 In Chinese 新生事物 (Xinsheng shiwu) or, among others, the barefoot doctors, Down to the Countryside Movement, the revolutionary committees, etc.
 The campaign of criticism of Lin Biao and Confucius (批林批孔 运动 lin ft Kǒng Yun).
 把 反击 右倾 翻案 风 的 斗争 (Bǎ fǎnjí Youqing fān'àn fēng of dòuzhēng).
 共 大会 (Gong Dahui).
Any mistakes in translation are those of Democracy and Class Struggle not OCML Voie Prolétarienne - see original in French above link.