The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The key to survival is change. As materialists, and therefore convinced Darwinians, communists should recognize this. But not all communists do, as the utterances of some Indian comrades make so abundantly clear. But the Chinese communist party accepts this somewhat self-evident premise. It has embraced change because more than survival, development is predicated upon accepting that the world has been radically altered and that there is nothing to be gained from clinging on to antiquated notions about the future of the world. It is now clear that the Chinese communist party is embarking on a programme of change that will completely destroy the prevailing notions of communism and the communist party. In the forthcoming 16th party congress to be held in November, the constitution of the party will be re-written by the delegates. Private entrepreneurs will be allowed to become members of the party. There is even the possibility of appointing a few businessmen to its central committee. Quite clearly, the Chinese comrades feel that having failed to stop the successful long march of capitalism, it is best for the programme of communism to appropriate capitalism. By allowing capitalists into the central committee — membership of the politburo is the obvious next step — communists are, in fact, allowing quondam class enemies to revise the communist manifesto.

It is ironic, of course, that the party congress will fall a day after the 85th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. In 1917, the Bolsheviks attempted to short-circuit history. The experiment resulted in disaster for the Russian people. In China, despite a communist revolution, the party has carefully avoided running against the grain of history. It has acknowledged that the future of the world lies in the free market and capitalism. It introduced major market-oriented reforms, and today about 50 to 70 per cent of China’s gross domestic product comes from the private sector. China has a stock market and many of the consumer items associated with world capitalism. The dream of communism, not entirely abandoned, has been kept confined to ideology and rhetoric. This pragmatism dictates that economic development is impossible outside the ambit of globalization and the free market; state-driven economic development is a chimera. A sense of reality dominates the decision-making processes in China. The welcoming of private entrepreneurs into the hallowed echelons of the party marks the passage to a more pluralistic society and polity. The walls protecting the Middle Kingdom are falling down.

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