Chinese dissidents launch a Charter for counter-revolution
By H Khoo 13th December 2008
Over 300 Chinese dissidents launched Charter 08 to coincide with the
60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. The Charter is composed of a historical forward, which
provides a potted and distorted history of the struggle for
modernization over the last 100 years, declares the groups'
fundamental principles, and lists 19 points of what they advocate.
Similar documents were circulated in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.
They galvanized political activists from amongst the intelligentsia
prior to the protest movements in 1989, that led to a wave of
counter-revolutions in bourgeois democratic form.
The dissident movement in Eastern Europe tended to conceal its most
reactionary ideas behind the veil of "democratic demands" which most
people supported, including freedom of speech, protest, assembly,
democratic control, accountability of officials, freedom of thought
These 'democratic demands' were able to mobilize the broad masses
against the ruling Communist parties, as the economies of the
Stalinist states suffered from a prolonged period stagnation caused by
a seizing up of the bureaucratically planned economies from the early
1980s. Poland had suffered absolute falls in production during the
period of turmoil following the birth of Solidarity, the USSR's growth
rate barely remained above zero throughout the 1980s.
This stagnation in the planned economies provided pro-bourgeois forces
within the bureaucracy, intelligentsia and the wider population with a
strong basis of social support. A layer of bureaucrats began to make
connections with the pro-bourgeois forces and lent on the discontent
of the masses with corruption and the arbitrary nature of bureaucratic
In the USSR Boris Yetsin fostered the image of a clean party member
who felt the problems of the masses, and dared to speak out on them.
In 1986 Gorbatchev became General Secretary of the Communist Party and
permitted greater scope for free expression. The apparatus of power
split into many factions, the loosening of the national and
international reins of control by Moscow, provided local bureaucratic
elites with new opportunites to enhance their power, prestige and
control of resources.
As reforms of the stagnant economy shifted wealth around, rather than
increasing the production overall, and led to reductions in living
standards for the masses, significant layers of the discontented
working class joined hands with the dissident movements in demanding
the 'reforms' which led to the restoration of capitalism.
If "history repeats itself first as a tragedy then as a farce", then
China's bourgeois dissidents provide the first major focal point for
the open programme of the counter-revolution since the vague and
confused demands of such forces in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The
inability of the Chinese leadership to respond reflects the fact that
inside the Communist Party there are many who harbour sympathy for
such a programme.
In Charter 08 (part 3 section 14) of "What we advocate" we read:
"Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the
right to private property and promote an economic system of free and
fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce
and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We
should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the
national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned
enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly
manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private
ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and
allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected
in the market."
The aim is to smash the economic and political foundations of the
revolution by abolishing public property in the commanding heights of
the economy and banking and breaking all links between the state and
"Communism". The Charter calls for the removal of Marxist education
from schools and colleges (section 13) and a ban on Communist Party
units inside the army (section 5).
No mention is made of the rights of the working masses, except the
rights of organization. The working class is totally absent from the
minds of these great freedom loving, democratic, republican,
intellectuals. The entire history since Liberation is negated and by
omission one can only conclude that they support the republican era of
Chiang Kai Shek.
No doubt the dissidents hope by speaking out now that they will be
able to lean on (the mood described by Jorge Martin
"the already growing number of labour disputes and conflicts" and that
by doing so they can turn this into a generalised movement against the
government, the state and the leadership of the CCP. "
The Charter proclaims "The decline of the current system has reached a
point where change is no longer optional." The bourgeois dissidents
are declaring an open war on the Chinese revolution.
The toleration of over 100 US dollar billionaires and over 300,000 US
dollar millionaires, the speculative enrichment of millions through
property and other parasitic economic activities, and the untrammeled
proliferation of corruption within the state has led to the creation
of an ever more confident and arrogant bourgeoisie.
All talk of creating a harmonious society with both billionaires and
paupers is a counter revolutionary deception. "History if the history
of class struggle" many comrades in the Communist Party appear to have
forgotten that this is the ABC of Marxism and Communism.
Already this year 20 million jobs have been lost in the export sector,
whilst many of these factories were low level technologically, the
disruption to the lives of tens of millions and the loss of useful
production for the masses, requires a policy to expropriate all large
scale capitalist enterprises under the control of the trade unions and
workers' congresses. Production must serve the needs of the workers
and the poor.
Genuine Communists must place themselves at the head of the rising
labour discontent mobilizing the working masses behind a programme to
establish democratic control by the working class in the factories,
towns, cities and nation as a whole. Either genuine Communists fight
bourgeois forces now, or the bourgeoisie will seek to place itself at
the head of protest movements on a programme of counter-revolution.
The fate of the Chinese revolution hangs in the balance.