By Herman Tiu Laurel
China’s success in lifting its society from its thousands of years of feudalism and backwardness in just in over seventy years, from 1949 to this day, can only be attributed to one thing: the helmsmanship of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
This nation of 1.4-billion people could not have navigated the perilous course of history and its treacheries without correct reading of the charts and adroitness in overcoming the tempests.
It is difficult for the Chinese leadership to be understood by the Western world that remains perplexed by the amazing success of what Western political thought considered to be unviable centralized leadership without popular multiparty political elections.
But there is not better proof than success itself. As the saying goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” And as the doubting “democratic” West continue its wobbly system, “authoritarian” China is zooming into the future.
In its own 70-years of topsy-turvy “semi-independent” sovereign existence, the Philippines has struggled to find a viable political system to produce the development, progress and prosperity that its people dream of. In those decades it has had popular elections, its two-party has expanded to a multi-party system, it has had at least thirteen national elections and three coups d’état.
And yet a historically more troubled and smaller Vietnam – with a system more like China – has already overtaken us.
The formula for success of China’s CPC has the following elements: 1) a system of thought that provides effective historical-social-political-economic analysis upon which long-term programs of action are based; 2) a leadership party armed with unity of thought and action to carry out the programs; 3) uninterrupted strategic continuity of control, action and adaptation to realize and follow-through on one objective upon another.
Contrast this with the popular-electoral-multiparty system of the West that has been copied by many other countries, including the Philippines.
Regular multiparty elections result in permanent division or fractionalization of the polity. Society hardly ever achieves consensus and unity. Perpetual divisiveness is incentivized as opposition parties and followers hope to “win the goodies” in the next elections by destroying the incumbent.
Strategic implementation of plans is almost impossible.
China’s CPC has reached its hundredth year of existence and leadership of the vast Asian nation, defying all periodic predictions of its “inevitable collapse” that had begun from the moment of its inception and persisted through its several major periods of adjustment in the application of its system of thought.
It has proven resilient through thick and thin such as the Cultural Revolution or the Tiananmen tumult.
We quote from the Global Times:
“The Political Bureau has held high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics; followed the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; and fully implemented the guiding principles of the 19th National Party Congress and the second, third, fourth, and fifth plenary sessions of the 19th Central Committee.”
The 90-million or so CPC cadres are schooled in these political thoughts and study the lessons that can be gleaned from history, praxis and evolution of those thoughts.
There is no equivalent to such a system of thought in American political life nor in Philippine politics. The Americans always go back to the Founding Fathers and the American Constitution which has no material basis for analysis and hardly adapted to the present times since it was first written some 234 years ago.
Let me digress to mention the great clamor for change in the U.S. political system.
On such clamor is the resurgence in the attraction to socialism within the U.S. In comparing 2019, to 2021 in the U.S., the Axios/Momentive poll found that:
“Socialism has positive connotations for 60% of Black Americans, 45% of American women and 33% of non-white Republicans. Those numbers have grown over the past two years from 53%, 41% and 27%, respectively.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has its impact too.
2020 US presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a new book – Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy – that is sounding the alarm that “The machinery of American democracy is failing… we need bold new ideas to rewire it for twenty-first-century problems…
Yang offers a “series of solutions, including data rights, ranked-choice voting, and fact-based governance empowered by modern technology…” and joins many others in organizing a new Third-Party initiative.
In contrast, China and the CPC are celebrating 100 years of success and working towards its bicentennial goal in 2049, of building “a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.”
The CPC had just achieved its hundredth-year goal of building a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” and eliminating all abject poverty this year of 2021, and now it is ensuring the success of breaking through the “middle income trap” towards 2049.
In its recent 6th plenum, the CPC reviewed its history to keep its progress and goals in historical perspective and be guided and inspired: “… the period of the new-democratic revolution (Mao); the period of socialist revolution and construction (Mao); the new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization (Deng, Jiang and Hu); and the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics (Xi).”
It enumerated a list of 10 valuable experiences in its past 100 years that will keep the CPC on the path of success:
1) Upholding the Party’s Leadership; 2) Putting the People First; 3) Advancing Theoretical Innovation; 4) Staying Independent; 5) Following the Chinese Path; 6) Maintaining a Global Vision; 7) Breaking New Ground; 8) Standing for Ourselves; 9) Promoting The United Front; 10) Remaining Committed to Self-Reform.
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Some in the list are self-evident, while others need elaboration:
1) Party Leadership is sacrosanct, 2) putting People First is self-evident, 3) Theoretical Innovation demands faith in human intelligence and morals to keep up with change, 4) independence is essential for correct national planning, 6) the Global Vision is an existential imperative for this day and age, 7) Breaking New ground is innovation, 9) The United Front is unity of all classes, and 10) most of all, Self-Reform to correct errors.
In the Philippines, do we have such a systematic and orderly political thought and institutionalized memory? Can we review of our national experience with the goal of ensuring an ascending and progressive politics that is driven by the objective of putting our People First?
I can confidently say that we do not; our system is based on personal, class and factional self-interest and ambition.
But it all begins with an intellectualized, progressive and powerful political party, which our nation obviously still does not have.
The recent turmoil and confusion of party switching and candidate substitution to firm up the Marcos-Duterte tandem has left the ruling party PDP-Laban in tatters and without its own candidate as Bong Go has filed under a new, obscure and untested Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS).
So, what has the ruling party PDP-Laban been there for? An ornament, that’s all!
This will not do to have a strong country. China and the CPC stands out as a model, we can learn from.
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