The integrity of Marxism based on its historical evolution
Marxism was established in the mid-1840s and has a history of 170 years. Ever since its establishment, during the process of answering important theoretical questions presented by the practice of different historical periods, Marxism has continuously enriched and developed itself, producing a vibrant stream of ideas of unceasing innovation and vitality, and successive adjustments entailed by historical developments.
Marx and Engels are both founders and developers of Marxism. The Theses on Feuerbach written by Marx in the spring of 1845 and The German Ideology written by Marx and Engels during 1945 and 1946 inaugurated basic Marxism. The Poverty of Philosophy by Marx published in July 1847 and The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels published in February 1848 marked the official publication of Marxism. Shortly after its birth, Marxism undeiwent its baptism in the European Revolutions in 1848, and later stood the test of the Paris Commune in 1871, through which it further developed. In this process, Marx and Engels continued to advance their theory, by synthesizing practical experience and theoretical researches, as well as by defending it against opponents. In its introduction, Marxism had not yet completed its political-economic critique, which did not occur until decades of hard work with the publication of Marx’s masterpiece Capital. In the 1870s and 1880s, Engels systematically studied the philosophical issues in nature and natural science, and wrote Natural Dialectics, which initiated a new field of Marxism on nature. After the mid- 1870s, Engels finished Anti-Duhring and Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy and other works, which comprehensively and systematically expounded every component of Marxism. The writings of Marx and Engels on the development trajectory of Russian society in their later years greatly enriched and developed Marxism. Notes of the Ancient Social History and Notes of History written by Marx in his later years, along with The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State written by Engels, based on Marx’s above Notes and other new materials about ancient history, studied pre-capitalist social formations, and comprehensively discussed the entire process and development laws of human history. A series of letters written by Engels in the 1880s and 1890s and prefaces and introductions to Marx and Engels’ previous works further developed Marxism. At the turn of the 20th century, some Marxists in Europe, such as Mehring, Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Lafargue, Labriola, and Plekhanov, also contributed to the development of Marxism at different levels.
After the death of Marx and Engels, against the backdrop of imperialism and the proletarian revolution, during Iris leadership of Russia’s proletarian revolutionand socialist construction and his fights against opportunism in the Second International, Lenin inherited, defended, and developed Marxism, and advanced it into the new stage of Leninism. Lenin defended and advanced Marxist philosophy in his books such as Materialism and Empirio-Criticism and Philosophical Notes, defended and developed Marxist political economics in his books such as The Development of Capitalism in Russia and Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism ; and defended and developed the theory of scientific socialism in works such as The State and Revolution, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, On the Revolution of Our Country, and On Cooperative. Particularly, Lenin’s two papers, On the Slogan of Federal Europe and The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution, suggest that the socialist revolution, under certain historical conditions, may witness victory in one or several countries first. Before the October Revolution and after its victory, he on several occasions said that backward countries could transform from capitalism into socialism, and presented his thoughts, among others, of the “new economic policy.” Lenin’s thoughts provided significant guidance for socialist revolution and construction in backward countries.
Marxism was introduced to China between the 19th and 20th centuries. In the process of guiding China’s revolution and construction, a Sinicized Marxism has been formed, namely Marxism with Chinese Characteristics (aka Marxism with Chinese style or Marxism in Chinese manner). The history of Marxism in China is a history of combining the basic principles of Marxism with the reality of China. During the new-democratic revolution, the Chinese communists, represented by Mao Zedong, found a revolutionary path fit to China’s realities, creatively developed Marxism, and built Mao Zedong Thought, by summing up previous successful and unsuccessful experiences while carrying out their own explorations. Since the founding of New China, the leading group represented by Mao Zedong carried out numerous explorations of China’s socialist transformation and the road to socialist construction, through which some original theoretical achievements and other great achievements were realized, thus providing valuable experience, theoretical preparation, and material foundation for the building of socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new historical period. Since China’s reform and opening-up, the Chinese Communist Party has blazed a new path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China’s socialist theory comprises Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thoughts of “Thr ee Representations,” and the scientific outlook on development. This theoretical system adheres to and develops Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. It integrates the wisdom garnered during China’s socialist construction. It is the latest achievement of the localization of Marxism in China, the most valuable political and spiritual wealth of the Party, and the common ideological foundation for the people of all ethnic groups of China to jointly make promising efforts. In contemporary China, sticking to the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is to truly uphold Marxism. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has delivered a series of important speeches, offering a series of answers to guide the development of the Party and the country. These speeches involve reform.
The integrity of Marxism 97 development, stability, internal affairs, diplomacy, national defense, and various aspects of governing the Party, the country, and the army. They provide the action plan for our Party to govern the country under new historical conditions; they are the latest results of adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics; they provide the necessary ideological weapons for Chinese people to win the socialist war with Chinese characteristics, and achieve the Chinese Dream of rejuvenating a new China.
The development of Marxism was a tortuous process—continuous but with twists and turns. During its growth, Marxism has been resisted or distorted by old forces and ideas, and suffered setbacks, albeit temporarily, during the low tide of the socialist movement. Moreover, some incorrect opinions were put forward due to mistakes in practice and understanding. To study the history of Marxism, we need to investigate both its general trend, its mistakes, twists and turns, temporary regressions, and the causes thereof. Thus, we can learn lessons, overcome and eliminate inaccurate viewpoints, and promote the healthy furtherance of Marxism. Looking through the 170-year-long history of Marxism, we can clearly see that Marxism boasts as being a holistic scientific theory founded and developed by its founders Marx and Engels and such successors as Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping. If any of its components were removed, Marxism would be fragmentary and incomplete. As based on its development history, the integrity of Marxism needs to be viewed as a dynamic process.