This is the website of Roland Boer, who is a Marxist philosopher based in China, with a major research interest in the construction of socialism.
The site has a number of pages, including a list of selected publications from 2010 to 2021, and downloadable items concerning Soviet Marxism, Chinese Marxism, the DPRK (North Korea). It also has a page with recommended documentaries and films, as well as a page on my intellectual home, the School of Marxism at Dalian University of Technology.
Why the construction of socialism, or as it may also be called, socialism in power? My earlier research focused on Western Marxism and that of Russia, particularly how Marxism in those parts of the world had to negotiate the complex history and influence of religion on Western and Russian cultures. But I became more and more interested in the actual construction of socialism, since we now have more than a century of rich and ongoing experience in many parts of the world. As Lenin observed, it is relatively easy to gain power through a proletarian revolution; it is infinitely more complicated to exercise such power in order to construct socialism. So I am interested in the many dimensions of socialism ‘after October’, after the revolution, for only then do many new practical and theoretical possibilities arise.
These issues include the nature of socialist systems and their specific components, such as: socialist governance and democracy; planned and market economies in the framework of a socialist system (socialist market economies are qualitatively different from capitalist market economies); Chinese Marxist approaches to rule of law and human rights; and the influence of specific contexts, histories and cultures on the development of socialism with different characteristics – albeit in light of the basic principles of Marxism.
Currently, my major interest is in Chinese Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics. The need to study properly the extensive Chinese research on this material is the major reason why I have learned the Chinese language – an arduous but fulfilling task. I have also been engaged directly with China for than a dozen years and I am now based here. I continue to travel far and wide in the country as part of my research, meet with and discuss matters with many members of the CPC, from local cadres to senior officials. As a result of this experience and research, it has become clear that not only is China’s socialist system the most advanced in human history, but that its economic, social, political and cultural dimensions are more mature and robust than what you will find anywhere else. The People’s Republic of China is, as one of the pieces on the ‘Chinese Marxism’ page points out, in the process of an extraordinary dialectical leap that is leaving the rest behind. At the same time, the Chinese are fully aware that much work still needs to be done in developing their socialist system even further.
A personal note: I am a member of the Communist Party of Australia, to which I can devote more energy now that I am retired (yes, you read that correctly, I have indeed retired from paid labour). Since I am now based in China, I can provide unique insights into the realities of China’s socialist path.