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Communism

The communist Party in the Soviet Union and China Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Introduction

A Communist is a party that propels the use of social principles of communism enhanced by a communist state of governance. Karl Marx and Angels advanced this form of party in the mid 19th century. According to Leninism, a communist party is a party which belongs to the working class who may be ruling and non-ruling elite in the society1.

The Chinese Communist Party is the world’s largest and strongest party with approximately 78 million members drawn from the party and non-party members. A survey of the Chinese political parties reveals that the Chinese Communist Party accounts for 5.6% of the total population of China according to 2009 country survey.

The Russian Communist party was recorded as the most powerful party , but today it has collapsed with China taking over the lead. This paper explores some of the factors that may account for the failure of the communist party in Russia, as well as factors contributing to the success of the Communist party in China2.

Discussion

To understand reasons that led to the collapse of the CP in Soviet Union, we examine how these parties arose in respective countries. While the Soviet Union did not experience uprisings, China had a historical series of mass peasantry revolutions.

In October 1949, the party became officially powerful to found a country led by single-party system. The revolution cause driven by the masses gave the CP the power to protest against the perceived oppression’ to give defense, economic resources, employment, and education to the peasant majority.

Until today, the successes of the communist party in China have been attributed to the overwhelming revolt waged by the peasants3.

The Soviet Union has no history of unity among its ethnic minorities as well as the inefficient units that formed the Soviet blocs. The differences in languages spoken among the blocs, varied history for every Soviet state continued to spur ethnic and cultural division.

This led to lack of feasible means that would have unified the innately different subsets that formed the union. According to the founding father of communism, Karl Marx, communism cannot thrive without forming requisite mass revolution of the international proletariat.

Impending lack of unity among the revolutionary proletariat, the Soviet Union came into power without an effective and robust support of the masses to sustain its presence and power. Pursuant to the need for an economically strong party and country, China’s CP remains a distinguished large communist party in the world today4.

Thus, one of the greatest differences between the two countries is the extent and scope of emphasis put on the economic reform compared to political liberation. In essence, although political liberation was a necessary condition for the growth of the party, it was not a sufficient condition for creating a powerfully sustainable communist party5.

While numerous factors have contributed to the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union, one eminent cause remains critical to its failure during the 1980’s. This cause creates the fundamental difference between the Soviet case and the survival of the Chinese communist party.

The introduction of liberalist ideologies by Mikhail Gorbachev led to a political compromise between the people’s loyalty to the party and the government.

This led subsequent loss of confidence and trust in the ideologies of communism due to failure of the communist government to provide people with promises that led to the revolution6.

The Chinese communist government did not emphasize the need to control the entire populace, but rather generate and control economic resources. The economic reform agenda introduced by the government left the Chinese population more satisfyed.

Because the communist party forms its foundation on the powerful elite forming the lead the working class of a society, it generates and wields its power through a mass of resources from its powerful members.

Studies show that although the party has continued to face resistance from the opposing figures, its highly skilled members that form the party’s elite have continued to devise strategies that maintain its power.

In the case of China, the CCP has obtained its strength from the peasant and armed forces7. The emergence of the peasantry revolts that cropped up after the defeat of the second revolution in the southern provinces of China marks the beginning of the Chinese communist party’s strength.

Several factors have contributed to the victory and subsequent success of the Chinese communist party. Firstly, this was made possible because of the Chinese communist party’s excessive involvement in the practices of organizing and training of the peasant majority to form a united front capable of sustaining a continuous war without fail.

High economic resources endowment of the working class enabled the party to sustain the desperateness of the backward peasantry that rallied behind the elitist party forming the communist party8.

The ability of the party to demonstrate a strong following was facilitated by the innate backwardness of the peasants coupled with geographic vastness of the country and lack of proper communication networks. Although these factors may be viewed as the insignificant, their contributions has had an enormous impact on the success of the party for many years, especially during the most challenging moments of its life.

For instance, the strong division between the elites and the peasantry facilitated by the intellectual and geographical location, and resource accumulation stimulated the peasants to wage war in respect of their perceived inadequacies9.

The observable incompetence of the bourgeois government that existed during this period necessitated the growth and sustenance of the war driven by the peasants on behalf of the working class.

In addition, the utter despair and the sorry state of the peasants found reasons for their war, which stimulated further energy for the war. A large and poor peasant population has characterized China during the revolutions with few, but powerful elitist population that controlled the country’s economy10.

The tactical sense of the Chinese communist party leadership that oscillated between opportunism and adventurism managed to exist for many years under the province of the strong resistance of the government.

Although the party lost its power against the ruling government, it continued criticism of the government’s policies served to provide an impetus for subsequent revolts through a mass of peasants and army revolutions11.

It continued pressure on the government giving it another bargaining tool to agitate for change in the economic, political, and social systems that underpinned the country’s leadership12.

Therefore, lack of a strong Democratic Party caused the peasant majority and armies gathered their support for the Chinese Communist Party. This scenario gave the Chinese communist party a formidable ground to front its political capital.

Numerous sources suggest that the power of the Chinese communist party has declined over the past two decades, especially after the advent of the Deng reforms and the subsequent collapse of the joint (collective) farming system.

Many believe that these factors have contributed to the party’s disintegration across the country. Some surveys noted that the rural membership of the Chinese communist party branches had seen 60% disbandment as at the beginning of 199313.

However, the support for the party has remained intact in the urban cities, accounting for its continuous existence. The declining power of the party has generated an impetus to rejuvenate its power by attempting to search for the new direction for its future14.

The party called eminent scholars and experts from foreign countries to offer their opinions on the way forward for the party. This strategy has been developed out of frustration and worries created by the continuing rise in levels of unemployment, rural poverty, widespread corruption within the party and its government that continue to threaten its sustainable power in the future.

The overall country’s perception about the communist party as an honorable umbrella party has served to stimulate the ever-increasing membership across the country. Studies show that, in the past decade, over one million people joined the party every year.

The party’s leadership has invested enormous resources capable of recruiting the masses, especially the educated young populations that has the power to forge its communist ideologies to the rest of the population. This strategic move to target the educated masses and the working class spurred its growth and strength throughout its historical life15.

The party has thrived on a number of factors including stirring up nationalist perceptions and feeling among the people while promoting the people-driven defense ideologies. The party’s growth has been attributed to the widespread divide in China between the poor and the rich holding unto the economic and political power.

In addition, the communist party in China has continued to benefit from its strategic membership drawn from the brightest entrepreneurs and elitist groups that held profitable positions in the country’s leading corporations and private ventures.

These proletariats have been made to develop positive perceptions about the Chinese communist party, which has continued to moving them away from mainstream politics and criticism of the Chinese communist party policies.

Similarly, the government has continued to using its state machinery and resources to incorporate the majority from the rural areas left behind in the politics of the communist party.

According to John Pomfret, over the years the communist party has sustained itself as a strong party with excess power by providing the Chinese population with stakes in maintaining the status quo and appealing to the masses. The rural populations have continuously been integrated into the TVE system as well as termination of the taxes.

Therefore, the government under the leadership of the CCP creates a friendlier atmosphere that cushions its people from adverse economic distress arising out of economic downtimes16. Therefore, the people of China have used these facets to continue submitting to the social principles of the communist party to yield a powerful unity to date.

According to Timothy’s theory of the state effect, he argues that the communist party attempts to position itself as the fundamental reformer of the society17. Apparently, this society stood separated from the party during its revolution against the tenets of the ruling class.

This juxtaposed state of the party among the people and society has generated a misconceived image to the public, making it a loyalist party with the largest membership.

Conclusion

The communist party in China and the Soviet Union, both had similarities and differences that account for their success and failure respectively. Studies documented that both scenarios posses a series of similarities that illustrate why they survived at one time, the death of the party in the USSR, and the continued wielding of power by the Chinese Communist Party18.

Many scholars have argued that both parties have experienced the demise of their power due to their inability to formulate strategies that appealed to the changing times.

Many scholars have argued that both parties have experienced the demise of their powers due to their inability to formulate strategies that appealed to the changing times.

In case of the Soviet Union, much of its failure has been attributed to the lack of the appropriate links between the Soviet based states and the leadership that promoted the western democracies at the expense of communist ideologies.

One critical difference that distinguishes the Soviet CP and the Chinese CP are that China did not have immoral communist leader, Mao Tse-tung as opposed to the Soviet Union. In addition, the Chinese communist party during its trying moments prioritized its leadership agenda by putting economic reforms ahead of the political issues that it faced19.

This phenomenal move under the clever guidance of Deng Xiaoping has continued to receive accolades. This step has enabled Chinese communist party to stay longer in China compared to the Soviet Union.

Bibliography

Amacker, Christopher. “Why did Communism survive in China but not in the USSR?” Web.

Barnett, Thomas, “Deng Xiaoping,” Esquire, 4 (2008): 146.

Johnson, Chalmers A. Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China 1937-1945. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962.

Chan, Bary Watson, eds. Sources of Chinese Tradition. New York: Kegan Paul International, 1960.

Courtois, Stephanie. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Grigor, Ronald Suny. The Empire Strikes Out: Imperial Russia, “National” Identity, and Theories of Empire,” A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Lawrance, Alan. China under communism. New York: Routledge, 1998, 134.

Pei, Minxin. “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union”.Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994, 11.

Shambaugh, David. China’s Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation, University of California: University of California Press, 2009, 256.

Zhang, Wei-Wei. Ideology and Economic Reform under Deng Xiaoping. New York: Kegan Paul International, 1996.

Footnotes

1 Minxin Pei, “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union” (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1994), 11).

2 Stephanie Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1999), 39.

3 Christopher Amacker, “Why did Communism survive in China but not in the USSR?”

4 Christopher Amacker, “Why did Communism survive in China but not in the USSR?”

5 Stephanie Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1999), 39

6 Christopher Amacker, “Why did Communism survive in China but not in the USSR?”

7 Ronald Grigor Suny, The Empire Strikes Out: Imperial Russia, “National” Identity, and Theories of Empire, A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)

8 Ronald Grigor Suny and Terry Martin, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 323.

9 Thomas, Barnett, “Deng Xiaoping,” Esquire no. 4 (2008): 146.

10 David Shambaugh, China’s Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation, (University of California: University of California Press, 2009), 256.

11 Wei-Wei Zhang, Ideology and Economic Reform under Deng Xiaoping (New York: Kegan Paul International, 1996), 2.

12 Amacker, Christopher on November 17, Why did Communism survive in China but not in the USSR? (2010).

13 Alan Lawrance, China under communism. (New York: Routledge, 1998), 134

14 Wei-Wei Zhang, Ideology and Economic Reform under Deng Xiaoping (New York: Kegan Paul International, 1996), 2.

15 Chalmers A. Johnson, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China 1937-1945 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962), 3.

16 Chan, Watson Bary ed., Sources of Chinese Tradition (New York, Kegan Paul International, 1960), 871.

17 Stephanie Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1999), 39.

18 Pei Minxin, “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union” (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1994), 11.

19 Christopher Amacker, Why did Communism survive in China but not in the USSR?

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