Where will the next world factory be

Rosa, Mao, world factory

International Rosa Luxemburg Conference in China

  • By Gerd Kaiser, Guangzhou
  • Reading time: 3 min.

Before the German Chancellor they were in China: Scientists from Germany and various other European countries, from the USA and from Japan. Guangzhou, which was called Canton at a time when China in general and this city in particular was an object of colonial desires, offered the scientific conference the best working conditions. Almost all speech manuscripts were already in print at the beginning of the conference, which freed up time for the debates. The organizers were the Institute for World Socialism in Beijing, the International Rosa Luxemburg Society, the Berlin Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and two local universities. Although the focus was on Rosa Luxemburg's life's work and theoretical questions about democracy, a number of lectures and discussions were practice-oriented and also referred to specific development problems in the host country. It was generally stated: 1. China is rapidly developing into a "world factory", which brings advantages and disadvantages for the country. Wu Yuanliangs (Beijing) stated: “Capitalist elements are like cheese. They stink, but the cheese tastes good. «2. While economic reform in China is advancing rapidly, the social system is lagging far behind. This manifests itself in inequalities and injustices, in sharply contoured social, regionally also in ethnopolitical contradictions and contrasts, in some places also in confrontations. 3. The political system is very persistent and counteracts the endeavor to advance political reforms. In the Communist Party of China, which dominates social life in the country (65 million members, or five percent of the population), more intra-party democracy is needed and a careful replacement of the arbitrary leadership style of centralized socialism, which is largely associated with the name of Mao Zedong. Zhan Zhenrong and Dai Haidong drew inspiration for their reflections on the future of their country from the German revolutionary's rich intellectual reservoir. Pan Lihong (Huanan) compared the very contradicting views of democracy among Rosa Luxemburg and Mao Zedong. Huan Shiming emphasized that Mao's “great democracy” actually had nothing to do with democracy, but was anarchy. A "lawless mass movement" was initiated by Mao, agreed Tang Ming. Zhan Zhenrong pointed out that Mao had copied a lot from Stalin's centralized leadership model, but had far surpassed him. Klaus Gietinger from Frankfurt (Main) directed the discussion to the question of how democracy could be realized in an important economic area. Not only was the "Chinese thread" spun. Conference participants from Berlin contributed analytical considerations to Rosa Luxemburg's grassroots concept of the proletarian mass movement in Germany (Ottokar Luban) and to political approaches of a democratic socialism today (Evelyn Wittich). Zhan Guangming (Beijing) opposed reformist socialism in western capitalist states, which has mutated to neoliberalism today, and centralist socialism, which has seized power in oriental countries and founded a new bureaucratic society, with an autonomous socialism that goes back to Marx and Luxemburg . The latter found an important pioneer in China in Chen Duxiu, among others. Theodor Bergmann (Stuttgart) pleaded for undogmatic Marxism, internal party democracy, spontaneity, internationalism and critical solidarity, as well as historical optimism that should not be confused with determinism. Robert Jevzerow (Moscow) and Rosa Luxemburg analyzed the “presidential democracy” of Russia under Putin and “the party of power that does what it wants”. Sobhanlal Datta Gupta (Calcutta) dared to look ahead to the 21st century with Rosa. The second theme of the conference was "National Self-Determination". Here Narihiko Ito (Tokyo), President of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society, was able to present a paper on slavery in antiquity that was found in Luxemburg's estate. This was followed by contributions on similarities and differences in the thoughts and actions of Rosa Luxemburg and other great thinkers and politicians of the 20th century, such as Hannah Arendt (Tanja Storlokken; Oslo) and Nikolai Bukharin (Alexander Vatlin; Moscow). New research results were also discussed throughout. In retrospect, it is astonishing for those involved how concentrated and disciplined such a demanding, almost overloaded conference program was. And the happy experience that the German who was murdered by the counterrevolution more than 85 years ago has not been forgotten by committed scientists around the world.

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