WORK-IN-PROGRESS | Why and Whence Marxism?
Schools of Marxism and ideological renewal
The General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee issued the Opinion on Strengthening the Construction of New Era Schools of Marxism
[Note: This post is a WORK-IN-PROGRESS with the introduction section not finished. It is published to provide timely access to the translation].
On September 21, 2021, Xinhua reported that the General Office of the Central Committee has recently issued the Opinion on Strengthening the Construction of New Era Schools of Marxism. You can find my translation of the Xinhua summary of this document in the next section.
Xinhua (Beijing), September 21 — Recently, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) issued the Opinion on Strengthening the Construction of New Era Schools of Marxism (hereinafter abbreviated as "The Opinion"). It also issued notifications requiring all localities and departments to conscientiously implement The Opinion while taking into consideration the practical situation.
The Opinion points out that Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology of our Party and State. Schools of Marxism are the main bases for the study, research and propagation of Marxism. Ideological and political theory courses are the main channels for schools of Marxism to persist in forging the spirit and educating people by using Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era.
Strengthening the construction of schools of Marxism is an important initiative to deepen the research and construction of Marxist theories. It is an intrinsic requirement for cultivating the New Man of our time, that is, those who will assume the great responsibility of national rejuvenation. This strengthening is of great significance for constructing philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics that are guided by Marxism; building a socialist ideology with strong cohesive and leading power; further enriching and developing contemporary Chinese Marxism and 21st century Marxism; highlighting the socialist underpinnings of Chinese universities; guiding youth and students to establish and solidify the lofty ideals of communism and the common ideals of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and training generation after generation of builders and successors of socialism.
The Opinions points out that since the 18th Party Congress [held in November 2012], all localities, and all relevant departments and work units, have implemented the [relevant] requirements of the Party Central Committee. The work to drive the construction of schools of Marxism have made great progress, and all related work have stepped up to a new level.
But at the same time, compared to the new requirements of the new era, schools of Marxism still have inadequacies in education and teaching, research and propagation, team building and talent development, etc. Indeed, the construction of the Marxist theory discipline urgently awaits strengthening.
It is necessary to adapt to the pressing needs of the new situation and the new tasks. Based on the overall situation of the enterprise of the Party and the State, [we must] strengthen the construction of schools of Marxism. This is a fundamental and strategic project to promote the realisation of high-quality development.
The Opinion makes it clear that in strengthening the construction of new era schools of Marxism [we] need to adhere to, as guiding ideology, Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of “Three Represents,” Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
[We must] provide solid theoretical underpinnings and talent support for the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist country and the realisation of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In pursuing this, [we] must strengthen the construction of schools of Marxism by fully implementing the Party’s education policy; adhering to the socialist orientation in running schools; carrying out the fundamental task of enhancing morality while simultaneously fostering talent; making the teaching and research of the latest achievements in the sinicization of Marxism the top priority; further clarifying the responsibilities and mission of the schools; promoting the development of their internal content and qualitative aspects [as opposed to focusing on superficial, including quantitive, aspects]; strengthening policy support; and striving to forge a firm base for Marxist theory education and teaching, research and propagation, and talent development.
[We] must maintain the correct direction; persist in forging the spirit and educating people; stick to the correct way while blazing a new path; adhere to systematic planning; actively explore the laws of Marxist theory education and teaching, and discipline development and talent development; and better serve the overall situation of the work of the Party and the State.
The Opinion points out that it is necessary to develop the internal content and qualities of schools of Marxism in a solid manner. [We must] strengthen the construction of the academic discipline of Marxist theory, position and orientate the discipline correctly, and give full play to the leading and guiding role of the discipline.
[We must] vigorously promote reform and innovation in relation to ideological and political theory courses; put effort into political guidance, theoretical interpretation and the shaping of values; and enhance the effectiveness of teaching.
The curriculum and teaching materials system [must be] strengthened; the Party's new theoretical innovations [must] comprehensively penetrate, and organically integrate, into all courses; and the political, contemporary, scientific and readable quality of the teaching materials [must be] effectively enhanced.
Based on the vivid practice of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era, [we must] find the right entry point, focus and junction to strengthen the research and propagation of Marxist theory. We must invest in building a high-quality teaching team with firm belief, solid theoretical knowledge, sufficient size and optimal structure, and practically enhance the sense of mission, identity and accomplishment. [We must] elevate the quality of professional talent cultivation and continuously cultivate reserve Marxist theory talents.
The Opinion points out that the policy support mechanism for the construction of schools of Marxism needs to be strengthened. Taking the effectiveness of nurturing people as the standard, [we must] improve and make manifest the hallmark of the discipline of Marxist theory. This conforms to the inherent requirements of teaching ideological and political theory courses and is conducive to an assessment and evaluation system for teachers’ professional development.
Taking cultivating teachers who are genuine about learning, understanding, believing and using Marxism as the aim, [we must] improve the training system, increase the level of support, and strengthen the incentive mechanism for the growth of [these] teachers.
[We must] firmly establish the philosophy that aims to educate everyone in a comprehensive manner across the entirety of their schooling. [We must] establish a collaborative education mechanism, and ensure that the effort to infuse ideological and political teaching into every aspect of education, and ideological and political courses themselves, are streamlined and working towards the same end.
[We must] strengthen the construction of the disciplinary position of Marxist theory, cultivate and consolidate the efforts to develop platforms, and build a platform support system. [We must] build strong and outstanding national key schools of Marxism, and enhance their quality of development, demonstrative effects, and management. These key schools should have a guiding effect in pushing the mutual improvement, joint development and unified advance of all types of schools of Marxism.
The Opinion emphasises that the leadership of the Party in the construction of schools of Marxism should be practically strengthened. Party committees at all levels should place the work related to the construction of schools of Marxism in an important position, and strengthen their leadership, and integrated coordination and planning. Propaganda, education and other departments shall provide effective policy guidance and organisational and financial support for the construction of schools of Marxism.
The work units that have schools of Marxism shall treat them as key schools, and they should also treat the discipline of Marxist theory as a key discipline. They shall treat ideological and political theory courses as key courses, and provide these courses with prioritised support.
[They shall] strictly supervise, guide and assess, and increase the level of effort directed in inspecting the construction of schools of Marxism. This work shall be included in the special inspection on ideological work accountability that is part of any integrated inspection tours and patrols.
The construction of schools of Marxism shall be listed as important content in the assessment of the party-building work and quality of schools for the work units with these schools. It shall also be an important reference in the comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the leadership team, principal responsible persons, and leaders in charge of specific areas and departments, at these work units. This is to promote the construction of strong and outstanding schools of Marxism.