This formula can be considered as an avatar of 'socialism in one country' which the Chinese only rarely mention. In a certain sense it fulfils the same function: 'on s'engage et puis on voit'.(64) Rely on oneself, not on others. It is true that the Chinese situate the complete realisation of socialism further away than Stalin did in 1926. 'In five or ten generations or even more', they have written. In fact, they know, as Lenin did, that the nationalisation of the means of production is not enough.
With the clarity and rigour that distinguishes him, Mao Tse-tung has recently defined the Marxist-Leninist position on this subject. He poses the problem correctly and thus puts paid to an old controversy:(65)
We have won great victories. But the defeated class will still struggle. These people are still around and this class still exists. Therefore, we cannot speak of final victory. Not even for decades. We must not lose our vigilance. According to the Leninist viewpoint, the final victory of a socialist country not only requires the efforts of the proletariat and the broad masses of the people at home, but also involves the victory of the world revolution and the abolition of the system of exploitation of man by man over the whole globe, upon which all mankind will be emancipated.
Back in 1962, Mao had said: (66)
The next 50 to 100 years or so, beginning from now, will be a great era of radical change in the social system throughout the world, an earth-shaking era without equal in any previous historical period. Living in such an era, we must be prepared to engage in great struggles which will have many features different in form from those of the past.
At the end of his life the old fighter, who has just carried off his greatest victory, reveals to us the prospective thunder and lightning of future revolutionary storms. Once again he invites us to throw off our illusions and to prepare ourselves for the struggle. New vanguards will be forged in the flames of their struggle, new developments in Marxism-Leninism will spring from their practice. This call and this message are directed to the entire world. China is a fragment of the international revolutionary movement and at the same time its principal Red base. The Chinese consider that Stalin's thesis that it is possible to construct socialism in one country is an important contribution to the development of Marxism-Leninism. Is any other proof necessary to show that adherence to this thesis does not imply opposition to world revolutions?