Today, China is one of the world’s most powerful countries, home to hundreds of millions of exploited workers whose labour is vital to global capitalism. Yet it is ruled by a party which calls itself communist, and which claims to be leading a transition to a socialist future.
Nigel Harris traces the history of the Communist Party of China, from its revolutionary origins in the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, through the catastrophe of the failed 1927 revolution and the party’s ultimate ascent to state power, to the end of the Cultural Revolution. By examining the party’s changing role in the class struggle, Harris shows how it was transformed from a leading force in the workers’ movement into the coordinating body of an oppressive ruling class.
Understanding the true nature of contemporary Chinese society is crucial for anyone seeking a real alternative to capitalism today. This Marxist analysis of China’s recent past helps us understand the revolutionary potential of the Chinese working class, and the kind of political leadership that would be needed for an end to global capitalism.