Social class review to shy away from Marx

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:00am

A 10,000-word work report being written ahead of the 16th Communist Party Congress will discuss the sensitive issue of a class system but is likely to play down Karl Marx's views on labour surplus-value, Beijing sources said.

The work report - which is being compiled by a party taskforce of writers - will be delivered at the congress by President Jiang Zemin.

More than 1,000 words of the report are being dedicated to the 'new dynamics' of the relationship between new social classes and the proletariat, both within the party and the country.

Mr Jiang mentioned six new social classes in his July 1 speech last year, which marked the 80th anniversary of the party, but his classification has been criticised by social scientists and left-wing ideologues.

The six social classes proposed include businessmen who employ seven or fewer workers; entrepreneurs who employ eight or more workers; managers; professionals such as lawyers and accountants; technical experts who work for foreign companies; and technical experts who work for private technology firms.

Sources said various scholars and ideology experts had submitted their studies and proposed new classifications, hoping to influence the final content of the report.

Disregarding social status and influence, the taskforce responsible for drafting the report is expected to place workers, peasants and intellectuals ahead of 'the new social classes' to avoid being criticised for undermining the importance of the working class.

This move is aimed at maintaining social stability and the unity of the party, which claims to be the vanguard of the proletariat.

The report is likely to shy away from the views of Karl Marx's theory on labour surplus-value - the concept that workers are exploited by their capitalist employers, who pocket the added value of their labours.

In Das Kapital, Marx argues that capitalists are driven by profit, which is achieved by grabbing the surplus value created by workers in the production process, and that therefore profits should belong to the working class. But the report is likely to wax lyrical about the party's respect for labour, knowledge, talent and innovation, in a bid to show that it is not just productivity that is important but also innovation and creativity.

The party congress report will stress new modes of labour including scientific and technological labour; managerial labour; and entrepreneurial labour. All three will be branded career labourers, in a bid to moderate opposition within the party to allowing 'capitalists' to join.

Unlike late leader Mao Zedong's study in the 1920s and 1930s which stressed class struggle, sources said the 16th Party Congress report would emphasise the common interests of different classes in the hope of motivating the activism as well as enthusiasm of all classes and to build a 'united front' for the development of the party.