February 22, 1950
People illiterate in terms of economics do not distinguish between the People's Republic of China and the People's Democracies of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe, let us say the People's Democratic Republic of Poland. These are different things.
What is People's Democracy? It contains at least such features as: 1) Political power being in the hands of the proletariat; 2) nationalisation of the industry; 3) the guiding role of the Communist and Working Peoples' Parties; 4) the construction of Socialism not only in the towns but also in the countryside. In China we cannot even talk about the building of Socialism either in the towns or in the countryside. Some enterprises have been nationalised but this is a drop in the ocean. The main mass of industrial commodities for the population is produced by artisans. There are about 30 million artisans in China. There are important dissimilarities between the countries of Peoples' Democracy and the Peoples' Republic of China: 1) In China there exists a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry something akin to what the Bolsheviks talked about in 1904-05. 2) There was oppression by a foreign bourgeoisie in China, therefore the national bourgeoisie of China is partially revolutionary; in view of this a coalition with the national bourgeoisie is permissible, in China the communists and the bourgeoisie comprise a bloc.
This is not unnatural. Marx in 1848 also had a coalition with the bourgeoisie, when he was editing the Neue Rheinische Zeitung , but it was not for long. 3) In China they still face the task of the liquidation of feudal relationships, and in this sense the Chinese revolution reminds one of the French bourgeois revolution of 1789. 4) The special feature of the Chinese revolution is that the Communist Party stands at the head of the state. Therefore, one can say that in China there is a Peoples' Democratic Republic but only at its first stage of development.
The confusion on this question occurs because our cadres do not have any deep economic education.
(Revolutionary Democracy, Vol. IV, No. 2, September 1998 from Five Conversations with Soviet Economists, 1941-1952, J.V. Stalin) Copyright © 1998