YESTERDAY, a Chinese spacecraft made a giant leap forward in human exploration of space when it became the first ever to land on the far side of the moon. The robotic probe, the Chang’e-4, landed in the South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest crater on the moon surface where for the first time pictures of the unexplored far side were relayed back to Earth.
Because the far side never faces the Earth, establishing and maintaining radio communications with any spacecraft attempting to land has proved an insurmountable problem for the US space agency NASA.
Back in 2014, Jeffrey Plescia, chairman of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) established by NASA to study moon exploration, commented on the remarkable strides in space exploration made by China in a mere handful of years and contrasted this with the US space programme.
He said that the Chinese ‘are demonstrating that they have the technical capability of doing the most sophisticated deep-space activities. They have a programme, and can keep to the schedule and accomplish mission goals on time’.
In comparison, Plescia said: ‘The United States has been floundering around for decades, trying to figure out what to do’ as they completely abandoned any manned spaceflights.
Four years ago this scientist hit the nail on the head and this historic achievement by China demonstrates conclusively the strength of a planned programme carried out scientifically. This is not some accidental achievement by China.
They were able to go from virtually nothing in terms of space exploration to today precisely because of the strength and superiority of a planned economy that was established by the Chinese Revolution in 1949.
The revolution of 1949 led by the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Mao emerged out of the invasion of China by the Japanese during World War II. The successful seizure of power was followed by a civil war of 1946-49 with the US pouring huge amounts of money and arms into the counter-revolutionary nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) as they fought to overthrow the revolution – a civil war of unprecedented brutality.
The Chinese workers and their peasant allies defeated the KMT and expropriated the capitalist class and the old feudal landlords who had dominated China for centuries. In its place was established the People’s Republic of China and a planned socialised economy was introduced.
From a backward country dominated during the 19th century by all the main imperialist powers, then invaded by the Japanese followed by a brutal civil war supported and financed by US imperialism desperate to destroy the revolution and return China to Western servitude, China has emerged as the second biggest economy in the world and now is at the very cutting edge of scientific endeavours.
This is solely due to the superiority and strength of those property relations established by the Chinese Revolution. All attempts by the Stalinist bureaucracy since the death of Mao in 1976 to embrace capitalism through encouraging the formation of openly capitalist regions in China to supply cheap labour to the capitalist bosses while exporting cheap commodities to the West have failed to fundamentally overthrow these property relations.
China remains a deformed workers state but with all the strength of a planned economy. This is the strength that enabled the Soviet Union after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution to advance from an economically backward country through civil and world war and rebuild on a scale not thought possible.
Workers throughout the world are experiencing every day the catastrophic effects of a capitalist system that is in complete chaos and collapse and contrast this with the advances made possible by a planned economy and the state ownership of the means of production.
It will inspire them to put an end to the anarchy of capitalist private ownership that cannot advance humanity either scientifically or socially but can only try to resolve its crisis through war and by inflicting poverty on its own working class.
This means the struggle to smash capitalism and imperialism through socialist revolution, which will be joined by the working class of China and Russia in a political revolution to overthrow the corrupted Stalinist bureaucracies and complete the victory of the World Socialist Revolution.