This is the website of Roland Boer, who is a Marxist philosopher living and teaching in China and 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 2023, recommended links, and a contact form.
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; the history and theory of 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.
I have recently completed a ten-year project on Chinese Marxism, socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the history and theory of socialist governance. My current project concerns the history of Marxist philosophy in China since 1978, when the reform and opening-up began. This is very rich material, and Marxist philosophy has undergone some profound developments so that today it is the main form of philosophy in China. The need to study properly the extensive Chinese research on all 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 more than fifteen years. As a result of this direct experience and extensive 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. And while my many colleagues and friends in China are fully aware that much work still needs to be done in developing their socialist system, more and more developing countries are looking to the Chinese model of development so as to see what can be learned for constructing their models in light of their own concrete conditions.
A personal note: While I call China home, I visit Australia from time to time to see family and friends.