Dialogue Symposium on „Socialism with Chinese Characteristics“

Monday, July 23rd, 2018, 10-12 h

Lecture room JAP1, Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften
Campus Altes AKH, Hof 2, Tür 2.4
Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna

Irrespective of the concrete meaning of socialism and the function of Marxism in contemporary China the increasing global significance of the dynamic development in China is indisputable.

Recently the biggest official Austrian delegation ever abroad visited China. In July 50 Chinese professors for Marxism will visit Austria, also the biggest respective group ever in Austria. The symposium is a chance to get in dialogue with them and so with a world shaping force of ideas.

The last party congress formulated specific targets for the development in China until 2035 and 2050. How will China shape the world development? Will it be a contribution to the progress of mankind? What about threats and chances? Is the New Silk Road as the most outstanding investment strategy in history also relevant for Austria?


First hour

Introduction and Moderation by Univ.-Prof. Susanne WEIGELIN-SCHWIEDRZIK University of Vienna, former Vice-Rector, Department of East Asia Studies

Professor CHENG Enfu, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Chair of the World Association for Political Economy, and Allen DING, Professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics will present introductory presentations on „Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era and the World“.

Then a round-table will discuss the topic:

Gabriele MICHALITSCH, University of Vienna, Department of Political Science
Hannes FELLNER, University of Vienna, Department of Linguistics
Josef BAUM, University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research

Second hour: open discussion

The symposium will be held in English.

The symposium is organized by the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Vienna, Transform Austria and the China Study Group Europe with the World Association for Political Economy.

Marx conferences in Beijing and Moscow

Hermann Dworczak berichtet von zwei Konferenzen zur Zukunft des Marxismus in Beijing und Moskau.

In memory of the 200th birthday of Marx there were and are worlwide events (now in Budapest, Sofia etc). In Trier where he was born a statue was erected. In Mannheim (Germany) there was even a march through the city. I attended two big conferences in May – in Beijing and Moscow.


The conference in Bejing at the Peking University was very „official“: many bows to Marx and praising of the ideas of Ji Jinping- but very few content. The majority of the chinese speakers presented Marx as part of a „statereligion“. Only some dealt with concrete problems using the – still valid- method of Marx as a tool for analysis.

The most interesting inputs came from some russian speakers and „westeners“.

One russian speaker reported about the tragic life of Rjazanow, director of the famous Marx Engels Institute who was expelled from his post and finally liquidated by Stalin. Ludmilla Buzgalin spoke about the (possible) relations between China and Russia. In relation to the belt and raod initiative she asked if there will be only economic projects or also room for culture and social activities? If everything is coming from above or if the civil society can play its part?

Also the inputs of indian comrades were interesting. Tthey mentined the rising gap of imports/exports between India/China and that India is loosing more and more ground.

There were interventions of Davis Harvey and Samir Amin. They spoke about the aggressive character of present capitalism/imperialism and the growing tendency towards wars and destruction of the environment.

Cheng Enfu from the Chinese Acedemy of Social Sciences (CASS), departement marxism give an outline of the present economic and political situation in China He mentioned his – critical – speech at the peoples congress against further „liberalizaitions“ (f. e. „opening of the financial sector for international capital). After his intervention a high ranking delegation „visited“ him. About his speech thre were no info in the – official – media…

In my intervetion I underlined that it is not sufficiant to cite Marx but to make with his tools a concrete analysis of the concrete situation. I spoke also about his mistakes – f.e. his – wrong – judgemernt about socalled „peoples without history“ (f.e. Slawes). And I explained that his position of liberation of the working class was very clear: the proletariat has to liberate itself and rule directly – and NOT the party should rule „for“ the proletariat.

I participated in a panel in the CASS – together with David Kotz from USA. There one chinese speaker tried to convince the auditorium that Marx should not be criticized for he is „holy man“ (sic!).

I gave also a lecture at the Northern University of Technology with the participation of 200 students. After my input we had a vital, some times contraversial debate. One could see what is the dominating thinking in the actual chinese society. One female student asked: „Was not Marx not too critical towards capitalsm in the communist manifesto?“

I had the chance to meet left comrades and undogmatic members of the CASS. They told that the REAL politics is going more and more into the direction of „further openings“ – not only more „market mechanisms“ but development of capitalist structures.


The conference at the Lomonossow University and the University for Finance and Law was much more productive, differentiated and critical.

There was also an „official“ part but shorter and not so empty. One could feel: there are still sectors in the russian society for whom Marx is not a „dead dog“. The main aim of the conference – for above all for the „alternativy“ group around Alexander Buzgalin (which was one of the main organizers of the conference) – was to study the present situation and to look into the future.

The range of the conference lasted from political economy to the problem of alianation. Savvas Matsas underlined the necessity for the left forces to act again internationally in a common way.

Zhan Toshchenko reported that the majority of the workers in Russia stay in precarity: parttime, contractworkers… – without sufficiant social and medical guarantees.

To be honest there was also a lot of confusion about the meanin of the category „proletariat/working class“. Some speakers reduced the working class to the industrial workers- what is NOT the position of Marx. They spoke in a very superficial way about middle classes and „forgot“ that the woorking class was always differentiated. And there was no understanding what is class „an sich“ and „für sich“.

Summa summarum: it was important to attend both conferences, to „swimm against the river“ and to implement the critical and revolutionary ideas and methods of Marx into the present situation.

Hermann Dworczak (0043 / 676 / 972 31 10)

Das neue Testosteron-Buch der neuen österreichischen Außenministerin

Die neue österreichische Außenministerin Karin Kneissl veröffentlichte vor wenigen Monaten ein Buch zu China unter dem Titel „Wachablöse – Auf dem Weg in eine chinesische Weltordnung“. Josef Baum hat das Buch gelesen und kommentiert.

Hier finden Sie seine Rezension.

Markus Haunschmid „Marx and Democracy with Chinese Characteristics“

Hermann Dworczak über das aktuelle Buch von Markus Haunschmid.

Markus Haunschmid hat ein interessantes und – für die Debatten in der Linken – wichtiges Buch geschrieben. Er zeigt, wie die chinesische Bürokratie der – sozialistischen – Demokratie ganz enge Grenzen setzt und so den SELBSTbefreiungsprozess der ArbeiterInnenklasse behindert.

In Abgrenzung von formaler bürgerlicher Demokratie (Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz, Parlamentarismus,…) wird die Marxsche Position dargelegt: um wirklich frei zu sein und real Demokratie zu leben, muss das Proletariat die Macht ergreifen und seine eigenen Institutionen schaffen, wobei insbesonders auf die Erfahrungen der Pariser Commune 1871 rekurriert wird.

Die chinesische Revolution von 1949 hat mit dem Kapitalismus gebrochen und einen neuen Staat geschaffen. Dieser Prozess erfolgte allerdings unter weitgehender Übernahme von Stalinschen Positionen durch Mao: die Partei, die Bürokartie herrscht FÜR die ArbeiterInnenklasse (und die Bauern), nicht die Klasse selbst ist Souverän.

Diesem paternalistischen Konzept folgt die KP Chinas bis zum heutigen Tag. Es gibt zwar einzelne „Lockerungen“, Versuche mit grassroots-Ansätzen etc. Diese dienen jedoch vor allem dazu, den Kontakt zur Bevölkerung nicht zu verlieren, und die Macht der Bürokartiue abzufedern. Sie haben also nur sehr beschränkt emanzipatorischen Charakter.

Haunschmid geht an die Probleme theoretisch, historisch und empirisch heran. So gibt es eine detaillierte Analyse, wie Renmin Ribao, die wichtigste Tageszeitung der Partei, die Frage der Demokatie behandelt (S.45 ff.).

Seine zentrale These lautet: die überwiegende Mehrheit der Bürokartie wird im wesentlichen so weitermachen wie bisher, eher dem Druck der prokapitalistischen Kräfte, die nach der „Öffnung“ immer stärker werden, nachgeben. Sozialistische Demokratie wird von unten erkämpft werden müssen, etwa durch die selbständige Organisierung und Vernetzung der Millionen von WanderarbeiterInnen.

Ähnlich wie Rosa Luxemburg lässt der Autor den Einwand der „Unreife“ der ArbeiterInnen nicht gelten. Die chinesische ArbeiterInnenklasse ist in den letzten Jahren immens gewachsen. Und Fehler, Rückschläge im Emanzipationsprozess sind unvermeidlich. Es gilt das Diktum von Marx: die Befreiung der ArbeiterInnenklasse kann nur durch sie selbst erfolgen.

Markus Haunschmid Marx and Democracy with Chinese Characteristic
Printed by Markus Haunschmid Vienna 2015. 208 Seiten