Fuwa lectures on 'Lenin and the market economy' in Beijing
Japanese Communist Party Central Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo gave a lecture on "Lenin and the Market Economy" on August 27 at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Fuwa told an audience of about 100 scholars and researchers that he chose the subject because, broadly speaking, it concerns both between China and Japan.
In China, the pursuance of a"socialist market economy" has been a basic policy since it was adopted at the Communist Party of China congress ten years ago as the Chinese way of making progress into a new society by means of the market economy. Japan at present has a capitalist market economy, but the JCP envisages achieving socialism through phased steps using a market economy for social development or a combination of a planned economy and a market economy.
"This will offer a possibility for new historical development and also pose new issues concerning the theory and practice of scientific socialism," Fuwa said.
Lenin brought the socialist revolution to success in Russia. In the initial stages of economic construction in Russia, Lenin believed that socialism is not compatible with a market economy. When he found it unsuccessful, he addressed the major question of the relationship between the market economy and socialism.
Expounding on Lenin's experience, Fuwa said, "In this process Lenin had to make a 180-degree change in his notion. This will be an important lesson to us when we examine the present-day issues."
Based on his study of Lenin's theory and life, Fuwa made clear how Lenin got out of his rejection of a market economy and how Lenin mapped out a policy of achieving socialism through a market economy.
In March 1923, seventeen months after Lenin launched the New Economic Policy (NEP) in an effort to develop socialism through a market economy, he was taken ill. He died in January 1924.
Stalin, Lenin's successor, ended Lenin's policy by imposing agricultural collectivization.
Analyzing these historical processes, Fuwa said, "The agricultural collectivization marked an end of the NEP. After that the policy of "socialism through a market economy" was not revived in the Soviet Union, he added.
"In this sense a quest for socialism through a market economy in China and Vietnam is a path which no country in the world has followed to the end," Fuwa added.
The JCP CC chair repeated what he stated in a speech he gave at an assembly marking the 80th anniversary of the JCP: The result of this challenge will certainly affect world trends in the 21st century.
Emphasizing that many theoretical questions need to be studied in the future of socialism through a market economy, Fuwa focused on two questions: "What is necessary for the market economy approach to successfully reach socialism?" and "What will happen to the market economy when socialism is achieved after many years of a successful combination of a planned economy and a market economy? Will it disappear or remain? If it will remain, how long and to what extent?"
On the first question, Fuwa cited three tasks that might be taken up based on the lessons of Lenin:
(1) The socialist sector must be strong enough to vie with capitalism in the market competition, learning as much as possible from capitalism both at home and abroad.
(2) Key economic sectors must be under the control of socialism so that they will exert the capacity to show a direction of economic development.
(3) It is necessary to protect society and the economy from negative phenomena that may be produced by the market economy.
Drawing attention to the fact that questions facing the present-day world, such as environmental destruction, social inequality, and the question of national independence, are closely linked to the global economy, Fuwa said:
"An economic system aiming at socialism should use its superior position as the champion of social progress. This will be a theme of study in the historical viewpoint."
Concerning the second question of the future of the market economy, Fuwa said that the market economy has some important functions which cannot be replaced by other means, for example, control of supply and demand, and measurement and comparison of productivity as well as corporate performance.
The audience laughed when Fuwa said that in the former Soviet Union business performance was measured by the weight of products, and that useless furniture and heavy machinery were produced.
Reminding the audience that Marx said that even in communism the provision of values would be maintained, Fuwa said that it is difficult to find a substitute for the market economy.
Fuwa stated that the quest for socialism through a market economy has universality in the broader sense of the word and that even Japan, whose capitalist market economy is highly developed, will necessarily face the same kind of question in the future.
"I will carefully follow China's activities and experiences, both successes and failures, comparing them with the prospects for Japan in the future."
Fuwa answers questions from Chinese audience
Following the speech Fuwa took questions from the audience.
The first question asked was, "In capitalist Japan with a developed market economy, how can you pave the way for socialism?"
Fuwa explained that the JCP envisages achieving a democratic revolution before achieving socialism. He went on to say:
"We do not have a blueprint for socialism, but I would say that if a government aiming at socialism is established in Japan, socialist elements will come into existence and grow in the market economy. In Soviet Russia under the leadership of Lenin or in China, the advent of socialism preceded a market economy. But in Japan, as the market economy develops, we will face difficulty getting along with capitalism, thus it will become inevitable to evolve into socialism."
Asked to comment on the political struggle in Japan, in particular joint struggle by opposition parties in relation to the plan to promote socialism through a market economy, Fuwa stated:
"At present, the task is not for Japanese society to choose between socialism and capitalism. It will be a question to be dealt with in future. Concerning the future course of Japan, the JCP is the only political party that calls for an end to Japan's status as a nation structured on U.S. military bases, but opposition parties can be brought together in opposition to the government's undemocratic policies. In fact, joint struggle is making progress."
Fuwa also said, "Despite the differences in policies, in recent years, the four opposition parties are willing to cooperate with each other as much as they can in the struggle against the undemocratic policies of the LDP-led misgovernment. This is an important aspect of progress in Japanese politics."
Those who asked questions said they were greatly enlightened by Fuwa's lecture.
A woman journalist said, "I understand that the JCP's way of thinking is very flexible, sticking to reality."
A male researcher said, "The lecture was informative for us in relation to China's socialist market economy." (end)