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13 Reinterpreting “Capitalist Restoration” in China: Toward a Historical Critique of “Actually Existing Market Socialism”

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Chapter Summary

Any critical reassessment of Chinese socialism must begin with the historical achievements of the Chinese Revolution. Led by a revolutionary party with vast popular support, the protracted struggle remade a dilapidated China as a modern nation-state. In this chapter, the author articulates a sense of the pivotal role played by the bureaucratic class in China's march toward capitalism. A bureaucratically-dominated socialist state cannot be revitalized simply by embellishing or mixing it with the market. A fundamental political transformation is imperative, lest its existing social-class relationships and inequalities inevitably constrain and distort whatever effects such measures may bring about, channeling them in a direction that can only further aggravate existing social and political antagonisms.

Keywords: capitalism; Chinese socialism; Cultural Revolution; Maoism



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