100 Years Communist Parties

Review of the latest book of Jan Campbell, chairman of the Institute of the Czech Left, an observer organisation of transform! europe. The publication presents the author’s reflections on the 100th anniversary of the founding of communist parties in various countries, under specific consideration of the Communist Party of China.

Jan Campbell’s publication 100 Years is published in four language versions, Czech, German, Russian and Chinese. The closing part – The World in 2021 in English. The author himself defines it as "a collection of author’s thoughts on the centenary of the founding of the communist parties in various parts of the world." He states that the content of this publication is his "extended answer" to the questions he received from the International Department of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China, and that in answering these questions he expresses his personal life experience and the perspective of a man "who has never been a member of any political party". At the same time, Campbell honestly admits to the reader that he does not claim perfection and that his work is not intended to be scientific.

The author clearly and certainly names the ambitions he puts into his publication. He wishes to convey to the reader "the hope of believing that social inequalities, injustices, inhuman materialism and consumerism" will in the future be "replaced by the fruits of realized leftist ideas", which he considers timeless and requiring a "sincere smile, respect for work, knowledge of history and individual courage."

In the Prologue, Campbell states: "No one can get rid of the need for knowledge of history and politics and the challenges associated with it, all the more so today, in a time of global change and turmoil. Nevertheless, we can observe daily that people, including politicians, are not learning from history." And he begs the question: "Why is this so, and have the communist parties, 100 years since their founding, become wiser or not at all?"

After partial philosophical and historical excursions, he acquaints the reader with how he directly answered the questions asked to him by the International Department of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China. The following are illustrative, more concise pieces of information and observations in connection with the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Communist parties about some of them, from the Communist Party of Great Britain through the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to brief clues only about the origin and scope of others. He offers his own view of the origin of the Republic of China, the influence of Confucianism and traditions on Chinese politics and the state. He formulates notes on China’s political and cultural path from the empire to the republic, on the role of Confucianism and the influence of Marxism, on the activities of the Communist Party and on China’s efforts for socialist development. The findings on the application of very specific internal control in the Communist Party against its own members, including the investigation and punishment of abuse of power and manifestations of corruption, are also remarkable here.

In the chapter entitled "Concluding Remarks", Campbell gives his insight, valuable observations and a brief sketch of the development, nature, goals and trends of the Chinese Communist Party, the role of some of its leading politicians and their efforts for comprehensive governance, governance by law and creating a modern Chinese society.

In a critical assessment of the contemporary world and its problems, Campbell concludes that "the West has lost its compass and orientation, it will have to change its elites, re-study the concepts of Marxism and socialism offered by left-wing parties." He then concludes the work with a direct, almost didactic, list of "main challenges" that need to be addressed and "whose solutions will affect the future".

by Radomír Silber, Ph.D.

100 Years CP (100 let KS | 100 Jahre KP | 100 лет КП)
Jan Campbell
Czech | German | Chinese | Russian
ISBN 978-80-270-8820-1
Prague 2021