Communist Party USA

  The following speech was given by Xi Jinping at the 28th group study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee on November 23, 2015. Today, we are holding the 28th group study session of the Political Bureau, and our focus is on the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy. The aim of this study session is to strengthen our understanding of the basic principles of Marxism. We have previously held sessions on subjects related to historical materialism and dialectical materialism. On this occasion, we will deepen our understanding and grasp of the laws underlying economic development by reviewing Marxist political economy so that we can become more competent and proficient at leading the nation’s economic development. I would now like to discuss some of my thoughts. Marxist political economy is an important component of Marxism and required learning for our efforts to uphold and develop Marxism. Marx and Engels carried forward historic achievements made in the field of economics, especially British classical political economy, through a process of critical examination based on the worldview and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism. After intensive study of human economic activities, they founded Marxist political economy, which drew back the curtain on the laws underlying the economic workings of human society and capitalist society in particular. Engels said that the whole theory of a proletarian party was derived from the study of political economy, while Lenin regarded political economy as the most profound, most comprehensive, and most detailed proof and application of Marxist theory. Though there is now a rich diversity of economic theories, our study of political economy must be based on Marxist political economy and not any other economic theory. There are people who believe Marxist political economy and Das Kapital are obsolete, but this is an arbitrary and erroneous judgment. Setting aside more distant events and looking at just the period since the global financial crisis, we can see that many capitalist countries have remained in an economic slump, with serious unemployment problems, intensifying polarization, and deepening social divides. The facts tell us that the contradictions between the socialization of production and the private possession of the means of production still exist, but they are manifested in ways and show characteristics that are somewhat different. After the global financial crisis, many Western scholars began studying Marxist political economy and Das Kapital again for the purpose of reflecting on the deficiencies of capitalism. Last year, the book Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French scholar Thomas Piketty aroused broad discussion in international academic circles. Using accurate and abundant data, Piketty shows that levels of inequality are as high or higher than they have ever been in the U.S. and other Western countries. He argues that unconstrained capitalism has aggravated phenomena such as wealth inequality, and that the situation will continue to get worse. His analysis is mainly conducted from the perspective of distribution and does not touch significantly upon more fundamental questions of ownership, but the conclusions he reaches are nonetheless well worth our consideration. Our Party has always attached great importance to the study, analysis, and application of Marxist political economy. Mao Zedong arranged special reviews of Das Kapital on four occasions and led multiple discussions on the Soviet textbook Political Economy, stressing that the analysis of questions on political economy was of great theoretical and practical significance. During the period of New Democracy (1911–1949), Mao Zedong created the new democratic economic program, and introduced a number of original ideas on developing China’s economy in the process of exploring the path to…

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New frontiers in Marxist political economy in China