How CPC succeeded in transforming China into a global power

How CPC succeeded in transforming China into a global power

July 15, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

With the beginning of the 20th century, geopolitics was changing rapidly. The centries old, empires, Kingdoms, Dynasties were facing severe challenges, and many revolutions were witnessed. The biggest change was the Russian revolution in 1917, as the Marxist first country in the world. People fed up with imperialism, feudalism, capitalism, and Western Style liberalism, democracy, and colonialism were looking at the Russian revolution as a ray of hope and solutions to all problems.

Since the beginning, anti-Marxism forces, led by America, provided a platform to all Western Style democracies to prove the Russian revolution a failure. However, the world has witnessed a Marxist revolution in many countries around the globe, Eastern Europe, was prominent. In many Arab countries also, a so-called socialist revolution took place like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc. In few African and Asian countries also similar revolutions happened. But most prominent was in China.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded on 01 July 1921 in shanghai. After 28 years of intense struggle, succeeded in establishing the People’s Republic of China as a socialist state in 1949, under the great leadership of Chairman Mao.

The US launched a cold war against Marxism and socialism and formed NATO and non-NATO alliances against the communism threat. The US and its allies did everything possible to harm all Marxist states and used all possible tools against them, like media as narrative building, sanctions, covered operations, coercion, military and non-military operations, espionage, conspiracies, etc.

The former USSR was disintegrated in 1991 and followed series of many Marxist states to collapse, especially, in Eastern Europe. Only a few countries claiming Marxism, are still existing, among them is China, the most prominent.

Why Marxism is still alive and successful in China whereas failed in many other countries? What are the secrets behind the CPC for its success? Before getting any conclusion, we need to understand the structure, and nature of Chinese characteristics of Socialism, which is based on Marxism, with Chairman Mao’s thoughts, Deng Xiao Ping’s theory of opening up and economic reforms, and President Xi’s vision. We must explore the reasons for the success of CPC in China and learn a lesson if suits.

Fortunately, China was blessed with visionary, sincere, and competent leadership uninterruptedly. The Chinese leadership kept on transforming CPC from time to time to meet the emerging situations. Like, pre-1949, Chairman Mao led CPC for guerrilla war to outs the corrupt, incompetent, and disloyal to the nation, the Guo-Ming Dang (Nationalist Party, ruling China at that era. But after 1949, Chairman Mao transformed the CPC to rule the country and develop a governance system, to unite the nations, political reforms, agriculture developments, industrialization, etc. In 1978, Deng Xiao Ping, introduced his theory of opening up and economic reforms, the CPC was reformed to implement his thoughts and transformed China from a poor and backward country into the Second largest Economy in the world, and the property was visible in China everywhere. President Xi’s vision was to globalize China, he transformed CPC to suits his vision. Today China has emerged as a strong, modern, prosperous global power. All these successes were achieved because of the hard work of the people of China and the visionary leadership of China. The introduction of the right policies at the right time was key to all these achievements. The CPC deserves credit os all achievements.

The Induction of new members is based on strict merit, and regular training of party members is also contributing toward the Chinese achievements. The regular strict monitoring of officials and accountability also plays its role to keep the transparency, merit, and corruption-free systems. CPC is well disciplined, well organized, competent, and sincerely working for the total welfare of people.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Xi Jinping delivered an outstanding historic speech before a jubilant and roaring crowd of more than 70,000 people at the famous Tiananmen Square in Beijing. President Xi who is also the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission declared that the nation is advancing with unstoppable momentum and rejuvenation.

Then-President Xi’s speech provided a much larger impetus to the momentum for the already strong and confident nation where he made a promise to continue this glorious journey for the next 100 years.

This rejuvenated nation eradicated absolute poverty, fought a heroic battle against the once-in-a-century pathogen, created a thriving economy, made immense agriculture advancement and technological progress, including successful space expeditions, and above all brought happiness to its people, all of which are significant highlights of a prosperous and peaceful China.

President Xi declared that China has finally achieved the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. He was drawing attention to recent triumphs that China has accomplished: poverty alleviation and economic stability. A sense of confidence and pride with humility is reflected from the speech when President Xi said that China is marching towards becoming a great modern socialist country in all respects.

It is important that President Xi also highlighted in his speech how the CPC has achieved great success in making people united, worked through the revolution, famines, and wars, and later kicked off reforms, opening up and marched forward in the new era. When the CPC was established in 1921, there were only a few members but today, it has grown into a family of 95 million people in a country of 1.4 billion people. The CPC is one of the largest parties in the world and has remarkable global influence especially because of its visionary leadership.

The language of the speech reflects the poise that the CPC leadership has after working tirelessly day and night to transform China from rags to riches, to a modern socialist country with Chinese characteristics. An interesting aspect is that in this entire change period, the CPC led Chinese people in developing their model of governance and their indigenous way to reform their society for all-around prosperity.

For the past 100 years, Chinese people have not launched any foreign war, but rather they fought for their destiny and left a glorious legacy for the peaceful rise. As a result of the CPC leadership, nearly 800 million people are now out of poverty and China amounts to one of the largest consumer markets with thriving foreign direct investment wherein its GDP exceeds 100-trillion yuan.

As the CPC enters the next phase of 100 years, the leadership is firm and ready to uphold the foundation and lifeblood of the party and the country. President Xi encouraged the party members to unite and lead the nation to work tirelessly for a better life.

Any attempt to divide the CPC leadership or members will bound to fail as the 1.4 billion Chinese people will never let this happen. There is also a vow to continue developing socialism with Chinese characteristics as China has built its indigenous new model for human civilization. This model is based on peaceful coexistence. President Xi however warned anyone who would attempt to bully Chinese people will find themselves forged against a great wall of steel of 1.4 billion Chinese people.

CPC has a history full of achievements and demonstrated success on many fronts. On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary, global leaders have congratulated the CPC and acknowledged the performance of CPC. Let’s congratulate the CPC and learn the secrets of their success which suits our nations.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

The Chinese Miracle, Revisited

The Chinese Miracle, Revisited

June 30, 2021

Western exceptionalists may continue to throw a fit 24/7 ad infinitum: that will not change the course of history.

By Pepe Escobar with permission and widely distributed

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centennial takes place this week at the heart of an incandescent geopolitical equation.

China, the emerging superpower, is back to the global prominence it enjoyed throughout centuries of recorded history, while the declining Hegemon is paralyzed by the “existential challenge” posed to its fleeting, unilateral dominance.

A mindset of full spectrum confrontation already sketched in the 2017 U.S. National Security Review is sliding fast into fear, loathing and relentless Sinophobia.

Add to it the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership graphically exposing the ultimate Mackinderian nightmare of Anglo-American elites jaded by “ruling the world” – for only two centuries at best.

The Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping may have coined the ultimate formula for what many in the West defined as the Chinese miracle:

“To seek truth from facts, not from dogmas, whether from East or West”.

So this was never about divine intervention, but planning, hard work, and learning by trial and error.

The recent session of the National People’s Congress provides a stark example. Not only it approved a new Five-Year Plan, but in fact a full road map for China’s development up to 2035: three plans in one.

What the whole world saw, in practice, was the manifest efficiency of the Chinese governance system, capable of designing and implementing extremely complex geoeconomic strategies after plenty of local and regional debate on a vast range of policy initiatives.

Compare it to the endless bickering and gridlock in Western liberal democracies, which are incapable of planning for the next quarter, not to mention fifteen years.

The best and the brightest in China actually do their Deng; they couldn’t care less about the politicizing of governance systems. What matters is what they define as a very effective system to make SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) development plans, and put them in practice.

The 85% popular vote

At the start of 2021, before the onset of the Year of the Metal Ox, President Xi Jinping emphasized that  “favorable social conditions” should be in place for the CCP centennial celebrations.

Oblivious to waves of demonization coming from the West, for Chinese public opinion what matters is whether the CCP delivered. And deliver it did (over 85% popular approval). China controlled Covid-19 in record time; economic growth is back; poverty alleviation was achieved; and the civilization-state became a “moderately prosperous society” – right on schedule for the CCP centennial.

Since 1949, the size of the Chinese economy soared by a whopping 189 times. Over the past two decades, China’s GDP grew 11-fold. Since 2010, it more than doubled, from $6 trillion to $15 trillion, and now accounts for 17% of global economic output.

No wonder Western grumbling is irrelevant. Shanghai Capital investment boss Eric Li succinctly describes the governance gap; in the U.S., government changes but not policy. In China, government doesn’t change; policy does.

This is the background for the next development stage – where the CCP will in fact double down on its unique hybrid model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

The key point is that the Chinese leadership, via non-stop policy adjustments (trial and error, always) has evolved a model of “peaceful rise” – their own terminology – that essentially respects China’s immense historical and cultural experiences.

In this case, Chinese exceptionalism means respecting Confucianism – which privileges harmony and abhors conflict – as well as Daoism – which privileges balance – over the boisterous, warring, hegemonic Western model.

This is reflected in major policy adjustments such as the new “dual circulation” drive, which places greater emphasis on the domestic market compared to China as the “factory of the world”.

Past and future are totally intertwined in China; what was done in previous dynasties echoes in the future. The best contemporary example is the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept for the foreseeable future.

As detailed by Renmin University Professor Wang Yiwei, BRI is about to reshape geopolitics, “bringing Eurasia back to its historical place at the center of human civilization.” Wang has shown how “the two great civilizations of the East and the West were linked until the rise of the Ottoman Empire cut off the Ancient Silk Road”.

Europe moving seaward led to “globalization through colonization”; the decline of the Silk Road; the world’s center shifting to the West; the rise of the U.S.; and the decline of Europe. Now, Wang argues, “Europe is faced with a historic opportunity to return to the world center through the revival of Eurasia.”

And that’s exactly what the Hegemon will go no holds barred to prevent.

Zhu and Xi

It’s fair to argue that Xi’s historical counterpart is the Hongwu emperor Zhu, the founder of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The emperor was keen to present his dynasty as a Chinese renewal after Mongol domination via the Yuan dynasty.

Xi frames it as “Chinese rejuvenation”: “China used to be a world economic power. However, it missed its chance in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and the consequent dramatic changes, and was thus left behind and suffered humiliation under foreign invasion …we must not let this tragic history repeat itself.”

The difference is that 21st century China under Xi will not retreat inward as it did under the Ming. The parallel for the near future would rather be with the Tang dynasty (618-907), which privileged trade and interactions with the world at large.

To comment on the torrent of Western misinterpretations of China is a waste of time. For the Chinese, the overwhelming majority of Asia, and for the Global South, much more relevant is to register how the American imperial narrative – “we are the liberators of Asia-Pacific” – has now been totally debunked.

In fact Chairman Mao may end up having the last laugh. As he wrote in 1957, “if the imperialists insist on launching a third world war, it is certain that several hundred million more will turn to socialism, and then there will not be much room left on earth for the imperialists; it is also likely that the whole structure of imperialism will utterly collapse.”

Martin Jacques, one of the very few Westerners who actually studied China in depth, correctly pointed out how “China has enjoyed five separate periods when it has enjoyed a position of pre-eminence – or shared pre-eminence – in the world: part of the Han, the Tang, arguably the Song, the early Ming, and the early Qing.”

So China, historically, does represent continuous renewal and “rejuvenation” (Xi). We’re right in the middle of another one of these phases – now conducted by a CCP dynasty that, incidentally, does not believe in miracles, but in hardcore planning. Western exceptionalists may continue to throw a fit 24/7 ad infinitum: that will not change the course of history.

CPC Centenary – China on the Cusp of a Socialist Society

June 25, 2021

CPC Centenary – China on the Cusp of a Socialist Society

by Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

1. Prelude

The other day, I was trying to visualize the conversation that would take place on a rainy humid day in July 2021, in a cafeteria in the Eurasian region of heaven where Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Comrade Lenin, Chairman Mao, and Generalissimo Chiang would meet. Purpose – to exchange critical views around the Communist Party of China (CPC) centenary and China.

Generalissimo Chiang would start the conversation, “Mr. Mao, congratulations on the hundredth anniversary. Tell me what did you really achieve by pushing me and Kuomintang out of mainland China?”

Chairman Mao would reply, “It was obvious! We wanted to build a socialist China based on Marxist-Leninist principles, for which you were the biggest opposing force. The CPC was always looking out for enlarging the anti-imperialist democratic front – even a section of Kuomintang joined us! But you steadfastly denied, on the contrary you acted viciously to wipe out the proletarian struggle in China.”

Chiang chuckled, “Well, that happened in past. Now, mainland China progressed a lot to become the largest economic power ahead of my friend (USA) and second largest military power next to your friend (Soviet Union or Russia), but it still has too much of inequality among three types of citizens – filthy rich businessmen and capitalists, struggling workers in farms and factories, and self-employed city dwellers burning midnight oil in their small ventures. If only economic growth and military power were the objectives, even Kuomintang (after emancipation from the cliques with vested interests) would have achieved similar targets!”

At this point, Comrade Lenin, the eternal revolutionary, came to the rescue of his cherished student Mao, even though they never met. Lenin replied, “Mr. Chiang, it’s a long haul, it would be a very complicated journey. My follower relentlessly struggled to establish the CPC as the vanguard of socialist revolution. His team had to develop the productive forces, build the initial social capital for further economic development – that called for a capitalist economy. Unfortunately, the European geopolitics didn’t allow my New Economic Policy to succeed in developing the productive forces in Soviet Union”.

The old ‘patriarch’ Karl Marx couldn’t remain silent anymore. He appeared to be in a reflective mood and shied, “I was sure about the appraisal of ‘capital’, but wasn’t sure how to turn the ‘surplus value’ into irrelevance after gaining the political power. Also, neither I nor Engels got came out with a definite blue-print on how ‘state’ would wither away! As long as a few fellows could own land, and resources as their property, get hold of technology, and could exert influence on the state apparatus, neither ‘capital’ nor extreme inequality would go away. Mao’s team still has a long way to go. However, this is a great occasion to cheer up the Communist Party that was founded in China hundred years back.” Marx would turn to Lenin with silent reprimand, as if Lenin stood guilty of his team’s failure to reach a century even after scoring a swashbuckling half-century under the leadership of Stalin against the Zionist-capitalist clique who staged two world wars by then for wanton destruction of Eurasian heartland!

Marx would continue, “so many groups of revolutionaries in dozens of European and non-European countries came forward since 1848 to build a socialist society through a socialist revolution, but most of them messed up their movements mid-way. The CPC withstood the test of time, which is now leading the most populous country (with 18% of the total global population) and churning out approximately 19% of the total global GDP on purchasing power parity basis. Even if the CPC hasn’t yet closed the first step of a socialist society, this is an occasion to celebrate their incredible perseverance!”

Chiang obviously didn’t want to join issues, for he never had time for such ideological discussions; Mr. Chiang’s faction only understood power and wealth based on rudimentary nationalism.

The discussion so far was not to the liking of Mr. Owen. He deemed it fit to jump in, with apparently robust argument, “Mr. Marx, aren’t you ashamed of so much of bloodshed by your followers, the so-called revolutionaries, and yet not even the first step of Marxist Socialism is complete in case of China?”

The quintessential activist in Marx flared up suddenly, “Mr. Owen, enough of such allegations! Let me ask you two simple questions – firstly, even if other groups of socialists also fought against injustice and inequality globally, why there was not a single case where they could come to political power?” Owen was speechless, Marx continued, “Let me respond! Whether in the past or in present, no socialist group other than the Marxists will be able to come to power AND build truly socialist society, because their ideology was based on only compassion and courage, it lacked the foundation of scientific analysis.”

Marx leaned towards Owen, and murmured in a soft tone, “Did you notice the difference of the present status of the standard of life between China and India, both of which started their journey as a modern independent country with humongous load of population as the decade of 1940s was drawing to a close? The proletariat and petit bourgeoisie in China are leading a quality life which is way ahead of what their brethren enjoy in India – on all parameters like education, health, employment, income, household expenditure, leisure, life expectancy etc.! There were dangerous obstacles in the struggle of the poor Chinese for emancipation and dignity under the banner of communist party, hence there was bloodshed. If such impediments do not arise, then a socialist revolution would become peaceful without bloodshed! Now the Chinese people are leading a life which is worth living! Compared to that, what did the social democrat faction (of the most prominent political party) achieve in India, even if they ruled India for more than four decades immediately after independence? Now, after three decades of exploitation under neoliberal capitalism, on one side, two-thirds of population, the plebs, earn on average even less than a dollar per person per day, and on the other side, the Indian bourgeoisie continue accumulating more wealth than others in Asia!”

The moment was ripe for Lenin to take a centre-stage. He became brutally frank while addressing Owen, “Mr. Owen, the Utopian socialists, the Anarcho-socialists, and the social democrats are blinded by jealousy of our limited success – otherwise how could they blame the Marxist socialists for every problem that overwhelm the humanity! Isn’t that utterly funny? Not only us, but all other socialist groups were equally sickened with the exploitation and injustice meted out by the capitalist bourgeoisie! The capitalists have not changed, so is it that the Utopian socialists, Anarcho-socialists, and social democrats changed their track to become lackeys of the capitalists?”

Lenin continued, “if they have truly anti-capitalist anti-imperialist anti-Zionist ideology then, there is every possibility that the Utopian socialists, the Anarcho-socialists, and the social democrats would become successful in the long run – maintain your separate identity as a party, if you wish so, but adopt our goal which wisely mix empathy with wisdom, which identify actions along with the dream. Join our front in every nook and corner of the globe!”

And, that ended my day-dream. Is the dream, a blasphemy in the ‘post-modern’ era when half of the 1% Zionist-capitalist oligarchy fund a section of academia and media to beat the hollow drum of democratic nationalism, while the other half of the same 1% oligarchy fund another section of academia and media to sound the trumpet of capitalist globalism, thereby creating a false dichotomy that would perpetually keep 90% of the population of the globe engaged in stupid arguments over the future of humankind? Is the dream, a wickedness in the current ‘post-modern’ era when the 1% Zionist-capitalist oligarchy successfully obscured the real issue of accumulation of wealth and power by them, and obfuscated the very definition of ‘democracy’, ‘autocracy’, ‘capitalism’, ‘socialism’, and ‘communism’ to turn their meaning upside down? Be that as it may, now, as the CPC celebrates a splendid 100 years journey, I would like to look into the details of how socialism, the only antidote to Zionist-capitalism, has been welcomed in China!

2. Socialist Revolution & China

In the medieval world the traders and businessmen were inseparable from their wealth/money/capital. The evolution of ‘capital’ as a separate entity from the businessmen, traders and entrepreneurs took quite a long time. During 15th, 16th, and 17th century when aristocrats and financers of west European kingdoms and empires were fully absorbed into ‘mercantile capitalism’ and ‘agrarian capitalism’, the underlying dynamics were fully related to ‘primitive accumulation’ (even though no body spelt it out that way). The primitive accumulation of wealth (as capital) taking place within the entrepreneurs- traders-bankers of different countries of west Europe through their far-flung imperial ‘colonies’ in the continents of North America, South America, and Africa soon became the harbinger of ‘industrial capitalism’ at the dawn of 18th century west Europe. Even before that, the capitalist system of finance matured in the beginning of 17th century Netherlands – world’s first stock exchange as well as world’s first bank using the fractional reserve system were established in Amsterdam. Capital became a global force to reckon with, by the end of 19th century, when the entire world came under the sway of west European Zionist-capitalist oligarchy whose primary objective was to relentlessly pursue accumulation of capital – essentially, the journey of ‘capital’ to reproduce itself infinitely, passed through extermination of hundreds of communities across the globe and ceaseless exploitation of natural resources of mother earth. Karl Marx bared it all in the ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume I’ as “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation ……The different momenta of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organized force of society.”

Between 18th to 20th century in Europe, many intellectuals, economists, politicians, philosophers, and social activists raised their voice against the Zionist-capitalist savagery in which their state became willing accomplice. They did extensive analysis of how the different stages of capitalism exploited the society and transformed majority of the people into poor plebs ruled by a group of wealthy aristocrats who would bend any established rule to ensure accumulation of profit and wealth from any kind of business – from slave trade to opium trade. Different European thinkers (in Britain, Germany, France, Sweden, Russia) became political activists trying to organize (a) political party that would fight for rights of the working class, (b) awareness among public about inhuman treatment meted out to the people in the colony owned by the state. Different political groups were formed by the advent of industrial capitalism during this period, each of which professed to a particular ‘ideology’ of political economy built over time by few intellectual-cum-activists – prominent among them were Utopian socialists, Anarcho-socialists, social democrats, and Marxist socialists. All of these ‘socialist thoughts’ had one common theme – working class people are exploited by the business owning class, and the workers must get their due share of revenue from industrial operation.

Throughout the second half of 19th century, Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels enriched the philosophical basis of socialist thoughts and carried out extensive economic analysis of mode of exploitation – thus ‘Marxist socialism’ evolved, and the political activists who would follow the socialist thoughts of Marx and Engels came to be known as Marxists or Marxist socialists or Communists. Till date, hundreds of intellectuals, politicians, economists, activists, and philosophers across the globe contributed to the development of Marxist socialism, and enriched the Marxist literatures. Most prominent among them was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, the Russian revolutionary better known as ‘Lenin’, who during his short lifespan of 53+ years (a) formulated the procedures of practical implementation of Marxist socialism in a country, (b) analyzed the economic relation between imperialism and capitalism, (c) coordinated the Russian Revolution that formed the first socialist government in Russia, (d) guided the newly created Russian government towards economic and geopolitical. Since mid-20th century, most of the political parties across the globe who followed Marxism, identified themselves as ‘Marxist-Leninist’ – that made perfect sense, for it was Comrade Lenin who first brought the theory down to practice.

2.1 Basics of Socialist Dream

Any country and its people can be depicted as interplay among five socio-political entities, where community as the central entity deals with four other entities which are modern historical constructs (with roots in ancient and medieval history). Four relationships between community (identified as ‘1’) at one side and state apparatus (identified as ‘2’), political party (identified as ‘4’), ally states (identified as ‘3’), adversary states (identified as ‘5’) on the other side are crucial for a community to survive and flourish. This has been the case ever since human civilization started experimentations with political entity. In reality, the state and the party both are extended part of a community itself (hence, intraneous entity), while outside states can be termed as extraneous entity. The following block diagram figure 2.1 depicts it:

Every society/community is the expression of a continuous interaction between the ecosystem and a group of people. A community lives and thrives within the boundaries of the ecosystem – if the ecosystem is frayed, the community can’t thrive. The main socio-economic actors in the modern history, after industrial capitalism transformed the lifestyle of human beings, are portrayed in the schematic diagram figure 2.2 given below.

Significant observations that can be noted from a glance at the above diagram are:

1. There is a clear pattern emerging out of the interaction between ecosystem and community – the economic activities of the community draws EVERY MATERIAL (except finance, technical, managerial knowledge, and labour efforts) from the ecosystem that is processed into goods and services. The 1% people (termed as bourgeois capitalist) who have inclination towards wealth accumulation, contributed towards the creation of the social superstructure containing state apparatus, law, monetary and banking system etc. in such a way that, the output of economic base would continue to enrich them generation after generation through a benefit accrual cycle:

Ecosystem → Economic Base → Capitalists → Ecosystem

2. Since the economic base is using every material input from the ecosystem (other than labour and other efforts of the society) for production and distribution of goods and services, and NO INPUT CAN BE FUNDAMENTALLY CREATED BY THE BOURGEOIS OR ANYBODY ELSE, how could a class of people (termed as proletariat) of the community be deprived of the fruits of the economic activities? Every person has a ‘natural right’ to the benefits as per the concept of ‘natural justice’. Laws are made by humankind, but NATURAL JUSTICE AND NATURAL RIGHTS ARE IMMUTABLE CONCEPTS of the creation that can’t be challenged by humankind. Hence Marx-Engels-Lenin-Mao (the doyens of Marxist socialist theory) unambiguously wanted to create a benefit accrual cycle that would scotch the earlier fallacy and create an appropriate cycle:

Ecosystem→ Economic Base→ Community→ Ecosystem

2.1.1 The Essence of Marxism

A socialist society would convert all classes of people into stakeholders of economic performance of the country instead of leaving it on to invisible ‘market forces’ (which is a façade under which the Zionist-capitalist operated economy accumulates wealth and power on behalf of the 1% oligarchy). The objective of socialism is to bring widest possible freedom and maximum possible development for every citizen in a classless stateless society. Every human being (irrespective of background identity like age, sex, ethnicity, language, religion, and region) should become free from hunger-disease-insecurity-injustice, each citizen should spend time in socially useful productive work, people can carry out research in academic areas, they can seek entertainment-pleasure at leisure time, without any of these being morally or physically harmful to any other people or section of the society.

As per Marx, the history of humankind is a struggle between antagonist ‘classes’ over the fruits of economic activities. Whether the slave mode of production in ancient era, or feudal mode of production in medieval era, or capitalist mode of production in modern era, the working class was always exploited by the dominant class of the era who constructed the system of state, law, bureaucracy etc. as institutions to perpetuate their rule – hence, the majority plebs remained paupers throughout the history while the aristocrats remained wealthy.

In the capitalist mode of production, some of the elements of ‘factors of production’ (viz. the ‘means of production’, and financial capital) are treated as ‘capital’ and two other elements of factors of production (viz. labor, and entrepreneurship) utilize the capital to produce goods and services. The produced goods (and services) have different ‘use-value’, and in a barter society real and specific useful labor that went into making of the goods would be considered as ‘exchange-value’ which is tied closely to the ‘use-value’. In modern capitalist society, that real labor is removed from the goods, and abstract value of labor is attached to the produced goods which results in the labor efforts getting objectified. Similarly value of the produced goods get transformed from use-value – in the capitalist market, artificially calculated exchange-value dominates. In order to generate surplus (monetary capital as profit), price of the produced goods in money-form becomes cost of input materials plus labor plus ‘surplus/‘profit’ (ignoring things like interest and depreciation). Thus, the capitalist who owns the finance capital and means of production, earns profit (in monetary form), accumulates profit endlessly, while the laborer don’t get the price of labor.

Every means of production whether the ‘subjects of labor’ (raw materials, natural resources including source land, energy, water) or the ‘instruments of labor’ (tools, machinery, factory including land, other infrastructure) which go into production of any material (from a grain of wheat to a car) and service (from electricity supply to 5G communication) is drawn from natural resources, while the processing is done by a team of people (Labour) supervised by technical specialists. Hence, any entity like a family, or a business that use such ‘produced goods and services’ only utilize natural resources and human labour. Thus the capitalists’ accumulation of profit is more immoral because he/she is not the creator of natural resources.

As per the Marxist theory, there should be two-stage transformation in a socialist society which looks like:

The stage 1 transformation >> Capitalist society (bourgeoisie democracy) to

Socialist society (dictatorship of proletariat)

The stage 2 transformation >> Socialist society (dictatorship of proletariat) to

Classless socialist society (also termed as Communist society)

The most significant modification of Marxism happened with Lenin’s theory that proposed: a Marxist political party would act as a vanguard party of the proletariat which would seize the state power, and steer the economy and society until the political environment across the world is conducive for classless stateless society (where party would lose its significance).

If Marx was 100% right, ‘capitalism’ as an economic system has to go. David Harvey (2015) criticizes capitalism as ‘a system which lives beyond its means through a banking and finance system that takes on too much debt’, ‘a system which pays its workers too little to consume all of the goods it produces’, ‘one which is ruining the environment’. There is little doubt that Zionist-capitalist oligarchy created a globalized society of monumental inequality – Oxfam said in January’2020 that, 2,153 dollar billionaires across the world have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people (i.e. 60% of the planet’s population), and top 162 billionaires have the same wealth as the poorest 50% of global population (link: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/billionaires-inequality-oxfam-report-davos_n_5e20db1bc5b674e44b94eca5?ri18n=true). There can be even less doubt that, nature abhors the state of disequilibrium.

2.2 Socialist Dream – China, the Last Man Standing

As on date, there are 155 countries in the world with population more than 1 million. At least two-thirds of the countries have one or two political outfits which identify Marxist socialism as their guiding principle – these parties/outfits have been around for a long time, may be on average 75 years. However, the current environment is a downward slide after the world-wide socialist movement witnessed phenomenal success in three regions apart from east and south-east Asia:

1. East Europe – Soviet Union helped many communist parties of east European countries to come to state power after WW II. Later on these countries formed ‘Warsaw pact’ that included Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and East Germany. Not only Soviet Union led the economic rejuvenation of the Warsaw pact countries after complete devastation of WW II, Soviet Union contributed immensely towards national liberation of African countries.

2. Africa – many countries that fought liberation war against the west European colonial masters saw the triumphant parties professed Marxist socialism as their guiding principle. Countries like Algeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola, and Zimbabwe had governments and ruling party leadership who wanted to progress the newly independent countries through the past of socialism.

3. Latin America – in most of the countries in South American continent and Central American region, Marxist parties were organized against the well-entrenched lobby of local oligarchy and American oligarchy who would invariably manipulate every government towards oligarch-friendly policies that would exploit the natural resource and 90% plebs. In countries like Chile, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador Marxist parties struggled, but success eluded most of them.

Apart from the above mentioned countries where Marxist socialist political parties and discourse were popular in the past (and in some countries, still popular), there were many more South American, North American, African, and Asian countries where multiple groups of revolutionaries stood against exploitation and dehumanization by the local and comprador oligarchy, and struggled to seize political power through a socialist revolution. But, most of them messed up their movements mid-way – some of them couldn’t withstand the onslaughts by Zionist-capitalist oligarchs masquerading as democratic populist party leaders, some other simply betrayed the ideal in order to stash illegitimate wealth offered by the Zionist-capitalist clique, and finally there were a few leaders who were wrong from the very beginning about what is socialism! There was another unfortunate factor which played to the detriment of the worldwide socialist movements – unity among various ideological factions within a Marxist party was mostly absent, hence the policy and planning for struggle towards achieving political power differed. In many countries, the struggle within various factions of a Marxist party resulted in multiple splits and continuous depletion of resources, time and efforts of leadership of all factions.

With the implosion of the Soviet Union as a state and CPSU as a party between 1989 CE and 1991 CE, Marxist socialist political parties around the world lost much of the moral and material support to continue their journey towards socialism, and as matter of fact, most of those political parties changed their ideology to identify democratic capitalism as their goal. Only 5 countries viz. China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba still got a Marxist socialist party controlling the state power. The socio-economic realities in all countries, however, point out towards high degree of exploitation, dispossession, lack of income, and overall poverty among the plebs, 90% of the population – the significance of Marxist socialism refuses to go away!

The CPC has always been one of the most vibrant communist parties in the world, which witnessed many violent field battles against adversaries as well as ideological battles between various factions within the party built around policy and implementation programmes since its birth in July’1921. Between July’1921 and October’1949 the CPC built the mass base in rural and urban regions as well as created an army (Peoples Liberation Army) that fought against the Kuomintang after it became clear that Chiang Kaishek faction of Kuomintang party would not share power at the central government with the CPC. In October’1949 People’s Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed by Mao as the PLA won the war against the Kuomintang army – the leadership of Kuomintang settled in Taiwan group of islands declaring Republic of China (ROC) as an independent country. Technically PRC and ROC both claim to be the legal representative of China.

While none of the CPC leaders seriously debated about what would be the final shape of China after achievement of 2nd and final stage of socialism (class-less state-less communist society was never really a subject of detail discussion among Marxist socialists because Marx was vehemently opposed to any such blue-print of a distant future), senior leaders like Mao, Zhou, Liu, Deng, and their factions debated exhaustively on what would the 1st stage of socialism look like and how to achieve that. Marx-Engels-Lenin mostly engaged in deliberating the advent of capitalism in European society, hence theoretical discussions and writings on socialism in ‘Asiatic’ society remained a far cry from what was expected by the 20th century socialist revolutionaries in China, India, and Indonesia. Rightly judging that, the social capital and productive forces built in China between 1950 CE and 1980 CE as grossly inadequate for a stage 1 socialist society for sustaining in the highly competitive global economy and complex geopolitical reality (ideological divide between the CPC and Communist Party of Soviet Union in mid-1950s turned into unfortunate hostility by end of 1960s), Deng and his successors went on to develop theoretical framework of ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’. When judged unbiased, ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ appears to be built on three pillars – (a) Leninist principle of communist party acting as the ‘vanguard of socialist revolution’ was followed with complete dedication and the CPC remained all-powerful authority, (b) the terminology of ‘market socialism’ propounded by Oskar Lange was borrowed and used with ingenuity by the CPC, but the concept of Lange was never really implemented anywhere in Europe or in China, (c) the productive forces including the ‘animal spirit’ of capitalists were unleashed under strict control of the Chinese state.

During the next 40-year period from 1980 CE to 2020 CE, the CPC spearheaded the rejuvenation of the Chinese society and state through astounding growth of China’s economy, complete eradication of absolute poverty, and imbibing all sorts of technology. The drive towards industrial capitalism in China using the global finance owned by the Zionist-Capitalist bankers and industrialists (initiated by Deng) was followed up by the succeeding CPC leadership in such sincerity that, the Zionist-capitalist Deep State representatives like Kissinger concluded that transformation of the Chinese society and economy into a Zionist-capitalist system was forthcoming. With China’s entry into the world order triad (USA-West Europe-Japan), the new configuration would have become USA-West Europe-East Asia. Meanwhile, Soviet Union and Warsaw pact got dissolved. Zionist-capitalist clique was sure about China ditching Marxist socialism to join USA camp by the turn of the past century. Chinese government went all-out to create free trade zones for global Zionist-Capitalist interests which wanted more and more profits towards endless accumulation of capital, and hence were busy shifting their manufacturing base to China to harness low-cost labour and slack regulations. By 2008, China became the third largest economy in terms of GDP nominal (as per IMF estimates USD 4604 billion) and largest export base in the world (In 2007-2008, its Export-to-GDP ratio reached 32%, and its Exim-to-GDP ratio was 59%). But during this process, China also became a society where inequality was one of the highest in the world – Gini coefficient increased from around 0.3 in early 1980s to 0.49 in 2008. The media, and academia funded by the Deep State went all-out to woo the CPC leadership towards ushering a new era of ‘political reforms’ after such a brilliant success of ‘economic reforms’ – by ‘political reforms’ they meant introduction of democratic election based multi-party system with liberal capitalism. However, after 2 decades of continuous and intensive persuasion, by 2008 CE, the Zionist-capitalist Deep State cabal concluded that, the CPC would never change their ideological color – the CPC leadership just utilized the capitalist system, capital, and technology from USA, Japan and west Europe to perform a ‘great leap’ forward towards the industrialisation of China! Since then, the world order controlled by the Zionist-capitalist Deep State has been putting up innumerable obstacles on the path for further economic and social transformation of China.

As it stands today, only a few Marxist communist/socialist/ workers parties, who continue to be led by bold, capable, and visionary leaders through generations, are able to sustain their journey. Among the 5 countries which still got a Marxist socialist party running their government, China has the largest Marxist socialist party. If China shied away from the ideology of Marxist socialism, the philosophy of socialism will get a quiet burial across the globe. Remaining 4 countries (Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba) possess too insignificant landmass and population to gather sufficient moral and material strength to continue their journey on the road to socialism against the brutal economic sanctions by Zionist-capitalist world order. China led by the CPC, is the proverbial ‘last man standing’!

3. Socialist Revolution – All’s Well That Ends Well

3.1 Stage 1 Socialist Dream in China

While every socialist-minded people all over the world applaud the stupendous achievements of mainland China led by the CPC, as it celebrates the centenary, they also point out that, there is still a long way to go before the CPC can claim a successful socialist society in China.

A news article with a headline “600 million with $140 monthly income worries top” appeared on the Global Times website on 29th May 2020 (refer link: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1189968.shtml) and another with a headline “China’s 400 Richest 2020: Total Wealth Surges Amid Pandemic” appeared on the Forbes website on 4th Nov 2020 (refer link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/russellflannery/2020/11/04/chinas-400-richest-2020–total-wealth-surges-amid-pandemic/?sh=5b1c42d13d7a). In a Marxist socialist country, such income inequality is a natural outcome of the phenomenon, what I paraphrase as: the significant aspects of stage 1 socialism are yet to be achieved in China. Chinese government took remedial action as noted in the article “China to issue 20 billion yuan in subsidies to farmers” (refer link: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202106/1226522.shtml) that appeared on the Global Times website recently. However, such corrective action is not really a substitute for permanent resolution – remedial measures need to be taken up at the level of policy formulation and implementation.

During past 4 decades, China implemented a mix mode of economy, which was essentially a combination of ‘state capitalism’ and ‘private capitalism’ supported by the Zionist-capitalist global oligarchy with finance and technology until about 2008 CE. The Zionist-capitalist motive force generated very high degree of momentum within the Chinese mainland unmatched in any of its past ‘enterprises’ whenever the force went to ‘invade’ new territory around the globe. The main challenge for the present Chinese leadership is to dissipate the energy of that storm so that, the energy can be harnessed for social benefits as much as possible, while damage from the storm is kept at a minimum as the society turns deep into socialism. With Zionist-capitalism so well-entrenched within the bourgeois class and the economy, the CPC wouldn’t be able to a take an ingenious decision of a single-stage transformation to a classless and stateless society. On the eve of centenary celebrations, the CPC should finalize on a prudent realistic approach of two-stage transformation. The following tasks should be taken up to implement the final aspects of the stage 1 socialism in China:

(a) Action point 1 – Implementing the concept of ‘restricted-profit enterprise’ to bring all economic activities (as mentioned in the sub-section 3.1.1) under its sway EXCEPT a few vital sectors, and simultaneously making all classes of society stakeholders for enterprise performance (as owners of the enterprises), instead of only the capitalist class and the state owning industrial enterprises;

(b) Action point 2 – Implementing a robust banking and monetary policy by following a judicious mix of the ‘fractional reserve theory of banking’ (broad banking for creating credit money) through 50% of the banking/financial institutions and ‘financial intermediation theory of banking’ (narrow banking that is transactional in nature) through remaining half of the institutions, instead of individual bank/ financial institution practicing the ‘credit creation theory of banking’ to create debt money out of thin air in connivance with the ever-greedy capitalist class;

(c) Action point 3 – Restructuring the agriculture and related sectors towards liberating tens of millions of surplus workforce (currently underemployed and unemployed), and simultaneously making new initiatives for agro-based industry in rural regions, instead of the rural economy remaining burdened with an overcrowded agriculture sector;

(d) Action point 4 – Planning and control of national economy with an eye to increasing the spending capacity of all sections of the society, so that the household consumption expenditure becomes the mainstay of the economic growth by contributing at least 50% of the GDP, instead of investment and export playing the lead role to support economic growth;

While action point 1 and 2 are truly (socialist) revolutionary concepts directly favouring the proletariat (and the petit bourgeois) against the bourgeois capitalists, action point 3 and 4 are concepts related to sound economics that fight against inefficiency and unsustainability. Four action points collectively target to erase exploitation and inequality which are still part of the quasi-capitalist economy of China and to implement robust monetary and economic measures that will be instrumental in achieving the stage 1 socialism.

At least the following subjective impact analysis should be done meticulously during detail planning:

1. Impact on GDP and GNI

2. Impact on prices and inflation

3. Impact on employment and income

4. Impact on consumer households (i.e. people from different classes of the Chinese society who consume goods and services)

5. Impact on producers (i.e. different enterprises, and individuals of the Chinese society who manufactures/produces goods and services)

6. Impact on Chinese importers (the enterprises in China who import goods and services from foreign countries)

7. Impact on Chinese exporters (the enterprises in China who export goods and services to foreign countries)

8. Impact on MNC with business operation in China (imports and sells in China, manufactures and sells in China)

9. Impact on MNC with business operation in China (manufactures and exports to foreign countries)

10. Impact on local governments

11. Impact on central governments

12. Impact on Peoples Bank of China (PBoC)

13. Impact on global banks with business operation in China

14. Impact on foreign governments

15. Impact on Multilateral trade organizations

16. Impact on projects funded by Chinese government

17. Impact on projects funded by foreign governments

Socio-economic scenario simulation should also be done during detail planning:

1. Computerized simulation of pessimistic scenario that assumes actual duration of implementation to be double than planned duration calling for almost double resource and efforts

2. Computerized simulation of optimistic scenario that assumes actual duration of implementation to be 80% of the planned duration thereby saving resource and efforts

3. Computerized simulation of probable scenario that assumes actual duration of implementation to be 20% more than the planned duration thereby causing little additional resource and efforts

Both the individual impact analysis and socio-economic scenario simulation need to take into account the past 3 decades of socio-economic landscape of China and make projections for 2 decades into the future. We need to remember, if central planning system of Soviet Union failed to take into account the population, geography, and goods/services requirements satisfactorily, lack of enough computational power and adequate information were to be blamed – the theory and proposition was not responsible for its debacle. The following subjects should be considered as part of the socio-economic landscape:

i. Parameters on national GDP accounting

ii. Parameters on production

iii. Parameters on sales

iv. Parameters on prices and inflation

v. Parameters on labour force

vi. Parameters on international finance and trade

vii. Parameters on balance of payments

viii. Parameters on income and expenditure

ix. Parameters on Human Development Index (HDI)

x. Parameters on environmental sustainability

3.1.1 Action Point 1:

Ever since the intellectuals and economists in early modern Europe raised their voice against the exploitation by the privately owned industries, the question of ‘ownership of means of production’ took central position (along with the question of ‘money as finance capital’) in every debate concerning struggle against capitalist mode of economy. Mainly three different ideas got substantial support among different shades of socialists – (a) ownership by public/community, (b) ownership by ‘State’, and (c) ownership by ‘workers’ cooperative’. Mode (b) had been the most preferred option for the socialist parties that came to power in Soviet Union, East European countries, China, Vietnam, and Cuba, because it was assumed that a ‘state’ represented a ‘community’. However, in my opinion, mode (a) is the most genuine because only that can deliver all the benefits of ownership to the individual level of the community – not only the appearance of ‘state’ as expropriator gets averted, but people’s self-esteem and involvement with the economy increases. Let’s revisit what happened in Soviet Union and East European countries in the beginning of 1990s – when the Zionist-capitalists were dissolving the socialist state, constitution and system, they picked up all productive assets – factories, mines, facilities – at almost no cost by manipulating the then state administration of Soviet Union. The ‘state’ was the owner of all productive assets, hence the people were just bystanders, they didn’t resist since they didn’t own. In future, if and when the Zionist-capitalists in China organize themselves to stake its claim on state power, community ownership of means of production and other productive forces will be the ONLY repelling force that would save the day for the CPC.

The action point 1 should be implemented at every sector/sub-sector of the Chinese economy (that are concerned with natural resources and economic base of the society as shown in figure 2.2) and its interaction with every class in the society in such a way that address specific issues and concerns of the society as well as the economy. Because of the unparalleled significance of ‘Manufacturing (defense & space)’, ‘Banking, Finance, Insurance’, ‘Education’, and ‘Healthcare’ sectors, ownership of those four sectors should be only vested in the state, to begin with. The ownership of remaining all categories of means of production needs to be legally transferred to the community (and the state) in an orderly manner – EVERY CITIZEN AS HE/SHE TURNS 25 YEARS, SHOULD BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR ALLOTMENT OF EQUITY OF ENTERPRISE(S) TO BECOME AN ‘OWNER’ under this scheme, what easily can become the largest transfer of wealth in the history of humankind. The ownership would remain non-transferrable which means that the share is not trade-able at the share market, and at death the ownership gets terminated. An indicative scheme of ownership for the 12 sectors/sub-sectors is given below in table 3.1.1. It is to be noted that, the percentage of ownership indicated in the table is for EVERY ENTERPRISE/FACILITY and NOT for a sectors/sub-sectors in totality – e.g. in the ‘Real Estate & Construction’ sector, equity of each of the organizations/facilities should be distributed among citizens belonging to 5 classes/sub-classes of the community as noted in the same table so that, each class gets 20% equity, it does NOT mean that 20% of the enterprises/facilities in the ‘Real Estate & Construction’ sector should be owned by each of the 5 classes. Approximately 73% of the population of China would be beneficiary. Since the entire conceptual philosophy behind this proposition is to put an end to basic causes of exploitation and inequality among various sections of society, the implementation of this vast programme has to be done in such a way that at least 1 member of every family residing in 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, and 4 municipalities of PRC becomes beneficiary of this scheme.

The table 3.1.1 given below has been constructed with a certain degree of thought process that took into consideration things like (a) criticality of a sector to the sustenance of the state and the party (a ‘vital’ sector shouldn’t be opened for community ownership at this point of time), (b) future urban-rural population (urban population would become two-thirds of the total population, hence more sectors should be serving that compared to rural people), (c) the state (and the party) should play a role as ‘stabilizer’ among different classes of owners in every enterprise, hence a token presence is required on the ownership table. However, before implementation, the concerned team of CPC should suitably modify to reflect the ground realities more appropriately (except increasing the share for bourgeois).

Table 3.1.1

Economy sectors & sub-sectorsCommunityState
Proletariat –Rural labourer, unemployedProletariat –Urban labourer, employed, unemployedPetit bourgeois – Rural peasant, craftsmenPetit bourgeois – Urban technologist, manager,self-employedBourgeois – owning or controlling capital
i) Agriculture & related areas20% Ownership70% Ownership10% Ownership
ii) Mining & related areas20% Ownership70% Ownership10% Ownership
iii) Utility40% Ownership40% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership
iv) Manufacturing(traditional)40% Ownership40% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership
v) Manufacturing(hi-tech)40% Ownership40% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership
vi) Manufacturing(defence & space)100% Ownership
vii) Banking, Finance, Insurance100% Ownership
viii) Real estate & construction15% Ownership20% Ownership15% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership10% Ownership
ix) Technology-based services15% Ownership20% Ownership15% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership10% Ownership
x) Education100% Ownership
xi) Healthcare100% Ownership
xii) Other Services20% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership20% Ownership10% Ownership10% Ownership

There would be a couple of significant counter-arguments to suggest the proposed implementation of action point 1 as an ‘impossible task’ or a ‘utopia’:

1. Primarily there are four types of domestic enterprises operating in China mostly in industry and services – state-owned big/medium sized corporates, private-owned big/medium sized corporates, state and private joint ownership companies, small companies owned by individual professionals. How could the ownership pattern be changed without disturbing the management as well as without impacting the performance of the enterprise? Answer to that can follow similar logic of how a company maintains its structure and functioning after it is taken over by another corporate entity through acquisition of majority equity share with an understanding that existing setup won’t be disturbed by the new owner;

2. Assuming on average 4-member family, there would be about 350 million families in China spread over about 9.6 million sq.km. How could even 1 member from each family get ownership share in even 1 enterprise that brings material benefit to him/her? There is no standard answer. There has to be rigorous analysis covering all types of enterprises (According to a report by China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce released on 14 January 2016, more than 77 million companies were active in mainland China) in all sectors/sub-sectors to explore physical and financial capital base built over past 7 decades, and thereafter optimum restructuring of equity capital has to be done for each of those enterprises in all sectors/sub-sectors (except 2). Then only a clear picture would evolve about how so vast number of citizens can be accommodated;

3. Another significant question is whether the existing private owners would at all accept proposed dilution of their equity stake, and if they agree then what would be the terms-conditions, and if everything is settled, then whether they would continue to manage the enterprise as they did in past. This is the most significant question from legal perspective. The bourgeois class executives would not mind diluting their equity stake in existing enterprises because (a) China’s private entrepreneurs are politically co-opted by the CPC, (b) by working through the party-state networks all over the country, private businessmen understand that they are a very important part of the current national economy, (c) bourgeois class is a numerically very small part, may be 1% of the Chinese community, still sizeable equity stake for them has been proposed in 6 sector/sub-sectors (as given in table 3.1.1) which is disproportionately high when compared to numerically much larger part of the society;

4. Last but not least is the question – how could a business enterprise function under ‘restricted-profit’ environment. Generally, an enterprise functions with ‘profit’ (e.g. business operation) or ‘non-profit’ (e.g. social work) orientation. But, as per the guiding principles of socialism, endless accumulation of profit can’t be an objective for a socialist society. Hence, during implementation of action point 1, procedures for enterprise functioning with restricted profit has to be laid out that neither violates the socialist principles nor kills the spirit of business operation. Steps may be – (a) exhaustive analysis of all factors of production that go into production and distribution process for all types of business operation under each of the listed 12 sectors/sub-sectors (e.g. ‘Manufacturing – traditional’ has, say, 15 sub-sectors like food & beverages, textile & garments, metal processing, light engineering goods, consumer durables, heavy machineries, automobiles, chemicals & fertilizers, hydrocarbon processing, pharmaceuticals, rolling stock, shipbuilding etc.); (b) setting up of optimum range of operational expenditures – input material cost, input labour hour, input energy cost, factory and machinery depreciation, cost of financial capital, cost of technology, cost of managerial coordination etc. – across the entire value chain of each of the sub-sectors (e.g. 15 sub-sectors of ‘Manufacturing – traditional’); (c) setting up of optimum range with upper and lower limit of operating margin, product/service price, profit, share of profit to be reserved and share of profit to be distributed among shareholders. We, the protagonists, need to always remember ‘when there is a will, there is a way’

3.1.2 Action Point 2:

In commodity exchange, one exchanges a commodity for money, and that money is exchanged again for some other commodity. One sells in order to buy something else for consumption – Marx identified this cycle as Commodity-Money-Commodity (C-M-C). In modern economy, with ‘money’ as the exchange medium as well as store of value, one can buy in order to sell at a higher price – Marx defined this as Money-Commodity-Money (M-C-M), the formula for capital. Free from the use-value of an item, this ‘money’ can move on continuously as profit-making finance capital. For the business of usury, the cycle becomes even sharper – Money-Money (M-M). Till 1970 CE, the traditional capitalist concept of accumulation of monetary capital as ‘profit from business operation’ continued as usual. Money supply through banking system (exogenous money created either by manufacturing paper/metal currency or by fractional reserve system, also called money multiplier model) of a country not only positively impact the business cycle, but it has an impact on inflation, and the price level also. Empirical evidence suggests a direct relation between growth in the money supply and long-term price inflation. In the post-Keynesian Europe and America, Zionist-capitalist oligarchy found that, in order to tackle inflation and price more effectively, the central banking institutions of countries across the globe (including the countries in European and American continents) were restricting the money supply for their economy (by NOT creating new money), which in turn restricted the flow of credit money to grow businesses owned by the capitalists. On the other hand, in the 1970s and 1980s most of the businesses were operating in severe competitive environment across the globe, input costs were not favourable always, fuel costs were up, product prices were too competitive with Japanese companies becoming more cost-effective – all these factors impacted the traditional process of seeking exorbitant profit from businesses in the era of ‘industrial capitalism’. Thus, as a result of two simultaneous pressures, the endless accumulation of (money) capital became much more difficult than the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy expected.

Hence, the academia and media funded by the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy dusted off an old theory of endogenous money and gave it a new life – credit creation theory of banking. This concept of credit money heralded a new era of Zionist-capitalist exploitation of the earth and humanity through ‘financial capitalism’. Starting in 1980s beginning, financial capitalism saw its ‘golden era’ during the 1990s and 2000s until the financial crisis overwhelmed American and European economy in 2007. But soon after the financial shock, financial capitalism found its way in the same fashion like before. Central banks in advanced countries maintain their official stand as exogenous money creation through fractional reserve system, but in practice, many banks in developed countries create endogenous credit money while paying lip service to principles of prudence and conservatism (refer “Post Keynesian Endogeneity of Money Supply: Panel Evidence” from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257594497_Post_Keynesian_Endogeneity_of_Money_Supply_Panel_Evidence). Under the endogenous money theory (and, practice), ‘the supply of money is a function of profit expectation’. As per the Jewish tradition of banking and usury, the central theme of this theory is endless accumulation of money. The bourgeois capitalist businessmen would start calculation from ‘profit expectation’ which would derive the ‘income of firm’, this in turn would derive the ‘demand for credit’ as per which the ‘credit money creation’ would become the responsibility of the banker (the leader of the team of capitalists). Hence, the traditional flow of causality through fractional reserve system (Reserve → Deposits→Loan) gets reversed as Loan → Deposits → Reserve under this endogenous credit creation system. For endogenous money, the interest rate is not determined by the market mechanism (like the supply of and the demand for savings, the supply of and the demand for money). Nominal interest rate set by the central bank is applicable.

During past 4 decades of the era of financial capitalism, as and when the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy in a country decide to accumulate more money without going into the ‘painful’ mode of industrial capitalism, they create a flow of credit money through connivance with the management of commercial banks (staff at the higher positions in industry and banking are ALWAYS selectively appointed by the oligarchy) each of which has country-wide network of regional offices and branch offices, ostensibly for growing business operations. Question can be raised, “so what, the credit money drives creation of new business that helps growth of the overall economy”. The answer is, “no, it is not so”. Apart from a glitzy ‘project report’, none of the business objectives are ever honestly mentioned. Industrial and Service sectors are the prime target areas where hundreds of millions of investments are demanded as ‘project loan’ from commercial banks, and after receiving the amount, half of the amount gets transferred the foreign/domestic accounts of the ‘businessman’ and their accomplices, remaining half may be actually invested in the project. In many cases, after couple of years the businessman declares the project as dead and business operation as bankrupt. In many other cases, where the targeted project came to fruition, it can be easily proved through post-completion report that, the loan taken from bank was about 150 – 200% more than the actual project expenditure. This is how, in all countries throughout the world the wealthy oligarchs have been accumulating money, only a small part of which comes through profit from business operation. And, this ‘mechanism’ of ‘getting rich fast’ has been popular among senior-level technocrats of state-owned enterprises in all developing countries (including China) – Zionist-capitalist oligarchy happily accommodates such turncoats as part of the oligarchy. On the other hand, this swindle of a very large section of Zionist-capitalist business-owners results in bad debt problems for the country.

Government of China has to grapple with the bad debt problem continuously for past two decades (refer link:

 https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/china-s-bad-loan-season-descends-again-and-this-time-it-may-be-really-bad-121021700184_1.html). Writing off trillions of bad debt as non-performing asset from the books year-after-year is not really a solution. Unless and until the procedures and systems of banking-financing and money circulation are made full-proof along with complete prohibition of the endogenous credit money, PBoC won’t be able to see a clean slate ever in the banking sector.

As proposed in action point 2, the worst performers among banks and financial institutions should be converted into ‘narrow banks’ where deposits would be used to buy government bonds, but no investments in shares. Lending would be done using the deposits only (following ‘financial intermediation theory of banking’). Narrow banks are safe banks; there would be very limited credit risk. The danger of non-performing loans and subsequent injections of capital (using taxpayers’ money) would be grossly mitigated through narrow banks. Remaining banking institutions should religiously follow ONLY the money multiplier model of the fractional reserve system for creating credit money required for economic growth. PBoC should keep reserve requirement ratio at 25 – 30% which may be considered as a prudent base for credit money creation through fractional reserve system. Thus supply of money would be maintained, but unscrupulous capitalists won’t find a route to carry out bank robbery any time they wish.

3.1.3 Action Point 3:

Agriculture and related sectors in China has innate unbalances – the country has only 9 – 10% of the total arable land in the world, and 7 – 8% of its fresh water, but the sector’s output has to feed about 18 – 20% of the world’s population. Agriculture in China had been the core economic activity since ancient era. In the post-WW II when PLA won the civil war against Kuomintang, rural peasants were the most significant base of the communist party. The people’s commune system was established in Mao era, which was changed into the household responsibility system in Deng era. With progress of time, the improvement in productivity and income per capita as a result of such structural changes always taper down. Agricultural output has increased leaps and bounds over past 7 decades (with temporary dips). However, current problems of the agriculture and related sectors can’t be wished away:

(a) Diminishing plot size of the arable land (average size – less than 1 hectare) due to division among family members with each generation,

(b) Availability of water for irrigation remains a challenge especially in the northern half of the country

(c) Income of farmers lag behind the urban population by a very large gap

(d) Increasing demands for agricultural and dairy products, meat, and fish due to two simultaneous factors – population growth as well as change in dietary patterns especially in the urban regions

(e) Environmental degradation due to the ever increasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides

(f) Decreasing area under cultivation due to rapid township development projects

There are unresolved dichotomies in the agriculture sector in China:

1. If farmers’ income rise becomes more important, then high-value crops need to be cultivated; but that would require releasing arable land currently under food-grain cultivation, which in turn would affect the goal of self-sufficiency in growing food-grain

2. If afforestation is increased as a measure to address environmental pollution, semi-arable land should be released for that purpose; however, that would result in further reduction in the agricultural land, which in turn would impact production of both food-grains and high value crops

Under the restructuring of agriculture and related sectors action point, government should consider a mid-way between village-level people’s commune and household responsibility – contiguous plot-owners should form cooperative enterprises so that plot size remain above 10 hectares. Such plot sizes would enable the cooperative to deploy most modern farm equipment. Government should ensure that farmers’ produces are picked up at farm-gate at a price that covers the cost of inputs, labour, and a net income that is significantly higher than current income per capita in rural regions – essentially it would require subsidy payments in a systematic way. Finally, such cooperatives would indirectly result in release of the surplus labour into industrial and service sectors – migration to urban areas is highly probable, unless government launch new initiatives for agro-based industry and electricity generation system through renewable sources like solar and wind energy.

3.1.4 Action Point 4:

In a brief, accurate write-up, The Guardian website provided the economic data related to Chinese economy from 1980 to 2016 (Link: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/mar/23/china-gdp-since-1980). The export-oriented economy that Deng set in motion (following other East Asian success stories in 1970s and 1980s) during 1980s has been performing with extreme efficiency and effectiveness till now. The statistical indicators point out to that fact. However, household consumption expenditures remaining slightly below 40% of the GDP still remains a matter of concern for the policy making body of the CPC (GDP of China in 2019 CE was Yuan 99492.74 billion by expenditure approach, out of which Household Consumption Expenditure was Yuan 38589.56 billion i.e. 38.78% of GDP). There are two sides of the issue – (a) household consumption expenditure has been increasing steadily for past few decades, but the growth in GDP due to exports (and investments in infrastructure asset creation) readily outsmarted the household consumption growth, and (b) the potential for household consumption contributing a minimum of 50% of the GDP has not been unleashed yet.

In my opinion, both the perspectives of household consumption ‘dilemma’ need to be seriously addressed. After 2008 CE, the steadily growing trade and commerce between China and USA as well as China and West Europe has been a boon for the Chinese economy and bane for the Zionist-capitalist oligarchy. On top of it, the BRI programme, that aims to revolutionize the infrastructure and trade in Asia, Africa and South America, has sounded the alarm for the existing Zionist-capitalist world order. The existing world order would explore all type of ‘programme’ that attempts to hinder the existing trade and commerce between China and USA-West Europe-Japan triad (link: https://asiatimes.com/2021/06/american-decoupling-from-china-deconstructed/ ) as well as implementation of BRI programme. The CPC leadership should take note of it, and make preparations for absorbing a possible dent in exports (and imports). And, the question of substantial increase in household consumption appears on the horizon right away.

Under the scheme for boosting household consumption, the purchasing power of the rural population needs to be enhanced substantially. For the urban citizens of China, consumption is a way of life – generally, they enjoy life with increased income. However, for the entire country, apart from enacting laws that would ensure increase in salaries-wages-bonus in every types of enterprises, the government has to explore a creative way that would indirectly increase the propensity for consumption expenditure. Chinese government should seriously consider making education and healthcare a subject of governance. Thus, all arrangements, from creation of infrastructure to providing services, related to education and healthcare should be made by the government for every citizen of China. Citizens, as per their income category, would make payments for such services – this would require subsidies, since the poor section of the society won’t be in a position to cover the expenditures fully. However, once the population is free from the biggest concerns of daily life, the consumption expenditure would increase in true sense. (It won’t be inappropriate to mention here that, in the USA, education and healthcare services form a substantial part of the consumer expenditures, because the general population is turned into debt-serfs through credit money created out of thin air by the Zionist-capitalist banking cabal – but following USA as the role model for society and economy is hardly an intelligent decision for a Marxist socialist government).

3.2 Debate on Four Action points

There would be couple of valid questions from China watchers:

1) Question from intellectuals who identify themselves as ‘ideologically pure Marxist socialist/ Communist’ would be invariably on whether the continued presence of ‘market’ and ‘money’ in China (as I envisage in this article) would allow transformation of the society into a stage 1 socialist society. True, most of the early socialists detested market and money by assuming these as the root cause of all evils, and there were serious research in inter-war Europe and Soviet Union to propose how socialist society can function without market and money. The famous socialist calculation debate during the inter-war period between Austrian School (Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek) and neo-classical and Marxists (Oskar Lange, Abba Lerner, Fred Taylor, Maurice Dobb, and others) was a discourse on the subject of how a socialist economy would perform economic calculation in the absence of the price, money, capital market, and private ownership of the means of production. Without getting into the logic and analysis of such research provided by either side, I would like to maintain that socialism as an economic system is far more efficient than capitalism from social and environmental perspective, and that socialism is highly feasible. In my opinion, Socialism won’t be mortally wounded, if centralized economic planning work as complementary to market mechanism, enterprise functions with restricted profit accumulation, and money is used as a medium of exchange and an unit of calculation (instead of labour-time or physical unit of measure). In defense of my stand, I would quote David McMullen from his working paper titled “Re-Opening the Debates on Economic Calculation and Motivation under Socialism”, “there is nothing preventing an economy where the means of production are socially owned from having an effective price system as long as it can replace the profit motive with a desire by people to undertake work for its own sake and to serve the common good.”;

2) The intellectuals who wouldn’t give a damn to ideology, would like to ask, now that China has almost become a superpower in the realms of industry, technology, defense and space, why to bother about little ideological things like ‘yes to community ownership’ and ‘no to endogenous credit money’, that would be akin to rocking the boat. My response would be, without appropriate ideology, CPC members would become a class unto itself and would not be able to keep its mass base intact over the next 50 years. As a result, corruption, manipulation, nepotism and irresponsible behaviour would increase dramatically leading to loss of public support. Thereafter, it would be just a matter of time that, CPC would be challenged by a political entity (created-aided-abated by the Zionist-capitalist world order). Whether China sets up a base in Mars, in my opinion, is less important than whether China implement the crucial aspects of the stage 1 socialism.

3) Inquisitive readers may come forward with a very practical question – what would happen to people and society in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Well, I would like to keep them separate as part of the “one country two systems” policy. It would be better for everybody if the regions of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are kept outside of this proposed program of final aspects of the stage 1 socialism in China. Let free entrepreneurship operate in these places, including operation of a business enterprise with even 100% private ownership (if the existing laws of those quasi-states permit). After all, those regions didn’t go through the transformation brought out by the Chinese Revolution.

4) Yet another group of informed readers might like to ask if the CPC has the organizational strength, leadership with ideological bent of mind, and all sorts of resources required to implement such an ambitious program. The question of whether the CPC can lead, whether the CPC can prepare a blueprint, and whether the CPC leadership can mobilize resources required for such a mammoth transformation is, actually, the most important issue for eventual success or failure. If a serious reader scans through the 100-year history of the CPC, he/she can come to a conclusion that the party was not built in a day – over the 100 year period, the Chinese leaders kept no stone unturned to keep the socialist dream alive. Extreme hard work by the leaders and members of all factions strengthened the CPC. Hence, in my opinion, the CPC would be able to register a complete success.

There are couple of key suggestions for strengthening the organization to prepare itself better for any eventuality, like: (a) expand membership strength to 140 million (equivalent to 10% of population), new recruits should cover all regions and at least 80% should come from proletariat and petit bourgeois family background; (b) vigorous training sessions for all party members through class-room and practical training, training should be imparted at least once in every 5 years; (c) while 80 years age should be maximum allowable age for a member in the party, average age should be lowered, so that members are physically fit to perform in difficult circumstances.

4. Conclusion

Coming back to the elders’ discussion in Heaven. China has achieved wonderful all-round progress towards building of social capital in the country. Now, to complete the first stage of socialism, China needs to shift the gear to adopt the cycle: Ecosystem → Economic Base → Community → Ecosystem.

It is time for the CPC to undertake the next journey on the socialist road with careful planning and implementation of the milestones. Couple of afterthoughts:

1. Two most crucial objectives for the CPC – socialist transformation and Taiwan reunification – should be undertaken simultaneously, for any attempt to plan those two objectives at staggered timeline may result in disappointment and stagnation. China (and Taiwan) can continue their journey towards more economic prosperity (with considerable inequality) even without achieving socialist transformation objectives, but the main issue refuses to go away – what happens when the Zionist-capitalists in China organize themselves to seize the political power (as they did in Soviet Union)? So, it is not a question of making a decision so that the elders like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao would be delighted in heaven, it’s a question of life and death for socialism, which the CPC would have to confront, most probably before the centenary of PRC appears on the horizon.

2. The CPC Politbureau should own the entire initiative and meticulously prepare two options (plan A and plan B) on detail roadmap containing high-level tasks, sub-tasks, task-owners, task-locations, resource requirement, and timelines to achieve the objectives between 2026 CE and 2030 CE. It is imperative that pre-requisites for and implications of each task pertaining to each of the two plans are deliberated upon in detail before a plan is approved for implementation. Politbureau may involve all members of the Central Committee in thorough discussions on the final aspects of the stage 1 socialism in China and 2 optional plans, and if required, modify the plans with inputs from these two very important groups.

3. For a trouble-free implementation, the CPC should maintain the same senior level team, hence the CPC and the National People’s Congress should re-elect Xi Jinping as President and Li Keqiang as Premier in March 2023 for next 10 years circumventing the existing party constitution, as a special gesture. President, Premier, and all other Politbureau members should visit the building at Shanghai’s French Concession and Jiaxing site that hosted the party’s founding congress in 1921, and reiterate the commitment to maintain the original aspiration of the founding members and continue the journey towards socialism.

4. In this article, I haven’t touched upon the geopolitical and geo-economic themes that permeate the overall architecture within which the Zionist-capitalist world order has been operating since the dawn of 20th century. Since that invariably includes the Chinese state and its people, the existing fabric of geopolitics and geo-economics would certainly get squeezed to some extent with the proposed implementation of the final aspects of stage 1 socialism in China. The surest way for China to confidently face any unforeseen turmoil outside its border is to maintain an unwavering deep strategic partnership with Russia through thick and thin, as we notice currently.

5. Would an auspicious moment arrive in 2031 when people across the world come to know that the stage 1 socialism fully arrived in China? I am one of them who are convinced that, the CPC has the resources, analytical ability, and organizational wherewithal to do it. If it really happens, there would be a tremendous wave of optimism about the possibility of a society based on truth-justice-equality-morality across the poor sections of the society around the world; the Marxist socialist dream that went sour with the dissolution of the USSR, would get a fresh lease of life!


Short profile:

Straight-Bat is an Engineer by profession, currently pursuing higher study in Economics. A keen observer of global affairs, Straight-Bat enjoys being an analyst of history, politics, economy, and geopolitics.

One of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site, Straight-Bat finds this website as a capstone entity that is dedicated to focus on truth and justice in public life across the world.

Sitrep: How Democratic is China?

February 21, 2021

Locally called Happy Grandpa

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

You can get it here:  https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Having recently read Godfree’s latest book, Why China Rules the World, I learned about trial spots, the history of these and how basically everything that is accepted by the population, gets trialed first, by the population.

We change pace on this regular sitrep and instead of bringing together a wide selection of information, we only look at one long read that may answer many questions, at least many of those that I see so regularly on The Saker blog.  This ends with Hong Kong as a new trial spot.


By Godfree Roberts and first posted on Here Comes China

Like America, China is a republic and, like America, says it is democratic, but how democratic is China? A glance at history is always a good starting point

The People are supreme, the state is secondary and the Ruler is the least important: only those who please the people can rule. Mencius[1]

In Roman politics, citizens lost control of politicians after they elected them. It’s one of the system’s greatest weaknesses and it is no wonder that, like our Roman forebears, we regard government as our biggest problem[2]: we cannot compel them to keep their promises.

Imagine that, instead of hiring eloquent amateurs, we hired professionals–sociologists, statisticians, political scientists, economists–and told them to create solutions to our problems identified by publicly conducted surveys. Then they should support state and local governments to implement policy solutions, track public satisfaction with them for a few years and discard failed policies. California would probably try Canadian medicare and if their medical bills fell fifty percent and Californians showed a three year gain in healthy life expectancy, we’d elect a thousand volunteers and send them–all expenses paid–to Washington so they could audit the results and pass legislation.

That’s what China does and it’s why their democracy resembles Proctor & Gamble more than Pericles of Athens.

How Democratic is China–Really?

Large-scale national surveys, the Chinese Labor Dynamics Survey (Sun Yat-Sen University), the Chinese Family Panel Survey (Peking U), the Chinese General Social Survey (Renmin U), the Chinese Income Inequality Surveys (Beijing Normal U) and hundreds of polls by overseas scholars and institutions like Harvard University, Gallup, Edelman, World Values and Asian Barometer, rival the world’s best in sampling techniques, questionnaire design and quality control.

The results, all available online, are a treasure trove of democratic data that Mao created by wresting policy control from scholars and commissioning extensive surveys[3] saying, “Public opinion must guide our actions.” Today, says author Jeff J. Brown, “My Beijing neighborhood committee and town hall are constantly putting up announcements, inviting groups of people–renters, homeowners, over seventies, women under forty, those with or without medical insurance, retirees–to answer surveys. The CPC is the world’s biggest pollster for a reason: China’s democratic ‘dictatorship of the people’ is highly engaged at the day-to-day, citizen-on-the-street level. I know, because I live in a middle class Chinese community and I question them all the time. I find their government much more responsive and democratic than the dog-and-pony shows back home, and I mean that seriously.”

Mao introduced universal suffrage in 1951 (ten years before America[4]) on the basis of one person, one vote. Everyone voted to elect a legislature that would control of all legislation and approve all senior appointments. He even extended democracy to non-citizens, as Quaker William Sewell[5], a professor at Jen Dah Christian University in Szechuan recalls,

As a labor union member, I was entitled to vote. The election of a government in China is indirect. We at Jen Dah were to vote for our local People’s Congress. Then the Local Congresses would, from among their own members, elect the Duliang Congress. From these members and from the congresses of the great cities and many counties would be elected the Szechwan People’s Provincial Congress. Finally emerged the National People’s Congress, every member of which had in the first place been elected to a local body. The National Congress made the laws, elected the Chairman, and appointed the Premier and members of the State Council. In our chemistry group we discussed the sort of men and women who might best represent us; then we put forward half a dozen names.

Each group in our Jen Dah section did the same. All the names were then written on a board so that everyone might see who had been suggested. The names which several groups had listed in common were put on a short list. They amounted to over a dozen, any groups being still at liberty to put forward again any name which they considered should not have been omitted. Those whose names were on the short list had then to be persuaded to allow their names to remain. This took some time as a genuine sense of inability to cope made many of them reluctant to undertake such responsible work. Each person was discussed at length by the group. Those who were unknown were invited to visit the various groups so that they might be questioned. At length a still shorter list of candidates was obtained, which was cut down eventually, after further discussion, to the number desired.

When the day of the election came, the flags were flying and the bands with their cymbals and drums with their constant rhythm made it all pleasantly noisy. Voting slips were handed out at one end of the booth and students, all sworn to secrecy, were available to help if you couldn’t read. Then alone, or accompanied by your helper, you sat at the table and cast your votes. The list contained names which had by now become very familiar but there was a space at the bottom for additional names to be added should you so desire. A ring was to be put around those whom you wished to be elected and the paper dropped into the box. In England I had voted for a man I didn’t know, with whom I had never spoken and who asked for my vote by a circular letter and who had lost to his rival by over 14,000 votes. I had felt that my vote was entirely worthless. In China, at this one election, I had at least had the happy illusion that my vote was of real significance.

By the 1980s the electoral process had deteriorated, powerful family clans dominated local elections and villagers regularly petitioned Beijing to send ‘a capable Party Secretary to straighten things out’. So the government invited The Carter Center to supervise the process and, by 2010, voter turnout had outstripped America’s and the Prime Minister encouraged more experiments, “The experience of many villages has proven that farmers can successfully elect village committees. If people can manage a village well, they can manage a township and a county. We must encourage people to experiment boldly and test democracy in practice.” Five years later President Xi asked the Carter Center to reevaluate the fairness of election laws and to educate candidates in ethical campaigning, “Democracy is not only defined by people’s right to vote in elections but also their right to participate in political affairs on a daily basis. Democracy is not decoration, it’s for solving people’s problems.” Like Capitalism, Democracy is a tool in China, not a religion.

There are six hundred thousand villages and successful candidates, who need not be Party members, begin their five-year terms with a trial year at the end of which, if they fail to achieve their promised goals, they’re dismissed. Otherwise they spend their second year reviewing and adjusting their objectives, knowing that their successes could be propagated nationwide.

Village representatives choose peers to represent them at district level where further voting elects county representatives until, eventually, three thousand provincial congresspeople, all volunteers, convene in Beijing and strive for consensus as earnestly as they do in their villages. Congresspeople are volunteers, ordinary citizens whose progress to the national level requires prudence and common sense. Tiered voting makes it difficult to join a higher level assembly without the support from politicians below and impossible for the Party to completely control the process. As a result, one-third of National People’s Congresspeople are not Communist Party members, nor are other parties merely decorative. Parties like the China Democratic League[6], the Kuomintang[7] and the Jiusan Society[8] (whose all-PhD members campaign for climate initiatives, increased R&D budgets and data-driven health policies) regularly produce outstanding Ministers.

Is China’s Constitution Democratic?

The Constitution is clear: “The National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at various levels are constituted through democratic elections. They are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision. All administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the State are created by the People’s Congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.” Most legislation receives ninety-percent support in Congress but does this make the NPCC a mere ‘rubber stamp’ as critics claim[9]?

The ‘rubber stamp’ misunderstanding arises because policy development is managed like double-blind, randomized clinical trials, called Trial Spots, and Congress is primarily responsible for publicly evaluating data gathered on them. Europe has started universal income trial spots but China has been doing them for thirty years and has a mature system to support it and manage it.

It’s not hard to must ninety-percent support if the data is sound. Policy proposals are first tried in villages, towns or cities and the vast majority die during this phase for the same reasons that most scientific experiments fail. The process has created the most trusted government on earth but Congress is no pushover. Congresspeople visit, inspect and audit Trial Spot cashflows, calculate affordability and debate scalability and national impact.

When, after thirty years of engineering studies, the government presented its proposal to fund the Three Gorges Dam, Congress demurred. The project’s cost and scale were beyond most members’ imagination, retired engineers and foreign experts damned it and a million people who would be displaced criticized the project so vehemently that legislators demanded a similar dam be built nearby to demonstrate geological stability. The government duly built the Gezhouba Dam downstream yet, when they re-presented the funding request, just sixty-four percent of delegates supported it and, when the government decided to proceed, people loudly accused it of ‘ramming the bill through.’

Though China’s process is neither fully scientific nor totally democratic, labeling it ‘authoritarian’–a Western concept–also misses the point. China’s reliance on data for course corrections is its greatest strength, though even solid data does not guarantee smooth sailing. Fifty percent of legislation[10] is not passed within the planned period and ten percent takes more than a decade, thanks to the Peoples Consultive Congress, a gigantic lobby of special interest groups–including peasants, indigenes, professors, fishermen, manufacturers and Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party–who ensure that pending legislation does not damage their interests. Legislators must use both trial data and political tradeoffs to craft the laws which, by the time they emerge, have almost unanimous support[11]. Even then, legislation is issued ‘subject to revision’ because data collection continues after implementation, too.

Congress commissioned the Guangzhou-Shenzhen high speed rail Trial Spot in 1998 before voting to fund today’s massive HSR network. In 2016 the administration advanced legislation permitting genetically modified food crops because they had promised that GM maize and soybeans would be in commercial use by 2020. Two years later–after an intense public education campaign–a survey[12] found half the country still opposed to GM, ten percent were supportive and eleven percent considered GM ‘a bioterrorism weapon aimed at China’. Legislation was shelved. Venture capitalist Robin Daverman describes the process at the national level:

China is a giant trial portfolio with millions of trials going on everywhere. Today, innovations in everything from healthcare to poverty reduction, education, energy, trade and transportation are being trialled in different communities. Every one of China’s 662 cities is experimenting: Shanghai with free trade zones, Guizhou with poverty reduction, twenty-three cities with education reforms, Northeastern provinces with SOE reform: pilot schools, pilot cities, pilot hospitals, pilot markets, pilot everything. Mayors and governors, the Primary Investigators, share their ‘lab results’ at the Central Party School and publish them in their ‘scientific journals,’ the State-owned newspapers.

Beginning in small towns, major policies undergo ‘clinical trials’ that generate and analyze test data. If the stats look good, they’ll add test sites and do long-term follow-ups. They test and tweak for 10-30 years then ask the 3,000-member People’s Congress to review the data and authorize national trials in three major provinces. If a national trial is successful the State Council [the Brains Trust] polishes the plan and takes it back to Congress for a final vote. It’s very transparent and, if your data is better than mine, your bill gets passed and mine doesn’t. Congress’ votes are nearly unanimous because the legislation is backed by reams of data. This allows China to accomplish a great deal in a short time, because your winning solution will be quickly propagated throughout the country, you’ll be a front page hero, invited to high-level meetings in Beijing and promoted. As you can imagine, the competition to solve problems is intense. Local government has a great deal of freedom to try their own things as long as they have the support of the local people. Everything from bare-knuckled liberalism to straight communism has been tried by various villages and small towns.

Yiwu, a sleepy town in the middle of Zhejiang province, started an international trade Trial Spot in the 1980s and became the world’s center for small commodities like stuffed animals (and the subject of endless books and articles). Today, townships are running Trial Spots on smart towns, schools ran Trial Spots on academic quality, labor unions ran labor rights Trial Spots, state-owned enterprises trialed mixed compensation (cash and stock) and maverick officials tried ideas knowing that any damage would be contained and successes quickly replicated. Even the conservative Chinese Customs had ‘trade facilitation Trial Spots’ at border crossings.

The Health Ministry asked thirty-three Provincial Health Ministers–PhDs and MDs–to bring childhood obesity under control by 2030. The ministers involved a thousand County Health Directors and today hundreds of Childhood Obesity Awareness Trial Spots are running in cities and townships across the country. One billboard warns, rather dubiously, that obesity reduces children’s intelligence but wheat and chaff will be separated by 2030 and overweight children will become as rare as they were when we were young. Overall, the process keeps the government in sync with people’s wishes better than any on earth: 

Every five years since 1950, planners have readjusted the nation’s course towards the country’s ultimate goal of dàtóng, issued progress reports and gathered feedback. Results encouraged them to allow entrepreneurs to compete in non-essential industries like automobile manufacturing but showed that profits on essential services were as burdensome as taxes. Profiting from healthcare, they found, taxed every business needing healthy workers, and profits from education taxed every businesses that needs literate workers. The government now provides them at cost and even supports loss-making corporations (‘zombies’ to neoliberals) that serve a social purpose.

Are China’s Five Year Plans Democratic?

Researchers begin Five Year Plans with questionnaires and grassroots forums and, after mid-term assessments, Congress commissions scholars to evaluate and economists to budget for their recommendations. Teams then tour the country, appear on local TV, listen to local opinions and formulate proposals. One planner[13] explained, “Computers have made huge improvements in collecting and analyzing the information but still, thousands of statisticians, actuaries, database experts and technicians with degrees in urban, rural, agricultural, environmental and economic planning invest thousands of hours interpreting and analyzing this vast trove of data, statistics and information. Needless to say, for a continent-sized country with over a billion citizens, it takes hundreds of thousands of people to develop each Five-Year Plan.”

Next, the State Council publishes a draft Plan and solicits input from employees, farmers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, officials and specialists and feasibility reports from all twenty-seven levels of the bureaucracy responsible for implementing it. The Finance and Economics Committee analyzes the Plan’s budget and, after the State Council and Politburo sign off, Congress votes. Then discussion is suspended and implementation proceeds unimpeded. Here’s the cover sheet for the 12th Plan:

Over the five years, economic growth averaged 7.8%, services became the largest sector and consumption became the major growth driver, energy intensity fell eighteen percent and emissions dropped twelve percent, the urban-rural income gap narrowed, rudimentary health insurance became universal, three hundred million folk gained access to safe drinking water and one hundred million were lifted from poverty. Harvard’s Tony Saich, who conducts his own surveys, concludes that ninety per cent of people are satisfied with the government and surveys found that eighty-three percent think it runs the country for everyone’s benefit rather than for special groups. More remarkably, it’s run parsimoniously:

Legislation, once published in newspapers and posted on neighborhood bulletin boards, now blossoms online. Every draft is posted for citizens, non-citizens, national and international businesses alike to comment and critique–and they do. If there is strong pushback or resistance to proposed laws they’re sent back for amendment. And if that is too cumbersome there is the constitutional right to demonstrate publicly.

Today, smartphones, social media and streaming video to multiply the effects of public demonstrations (as 150,000 ‘mass incidents’ in 2018 testify). Rowdy protests–usually triggered by local officials’ unfairness, dishonesty or incompetence–are cheap, exciting and safe since police are unarmed. Indignant[14] citizens paint signs, alert NGOs and the media, recruit neighbors, bang drums, shout slogans and livestream their parade. Responses which once took months now take hours. Targeted officials–usually after a phone call from an angry superior–speed to the scene, bow deeply, apologize profusely, kiss babies, explain that they had no idea that such things were going on and promise brighter tomorrows. Since cell phones became ubiquitous local officials’ approval has risen from forty-five to fifty-five percent and, by 2025, should rival Americans’ seventy percent.

From land redistribution in the 1950s to communes in the 60s to the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Reform and Opening and anti-corruption, Chinese politics are almost unrecognizable from one decade to the next yet policy support rivals Switzerland’s. Tsinghua Professor Daniel Bell[15] credits democracy at the bottom, experiments in the middle and meritocracy at the top for a string of policy successes. And The New York Times’ Tom Friedman says wistfully, “If we could just be China for one day we could actually authorize the right decisions.”

Former President Hu Jintao, who formalized Trial Spots, wisely observed that there’s more to China’s democratic process than meets the eye, “Taking from each according his ability and giving to each according to his need requires democratic rule of law, fairness and justice, honesty and fraternity, abundant energy, stability, orderliness, harmony between people and the environment and sustainable development.”

Words to ponder.

https://www.herecomeschina.com/chinas-congress-in-action/embed/#?secret=7PZudnQV7E

https://www.herecomeschina.com/hong-kong-democracy-trial-spot/embed/#?secret=IFeCAeJegO

—————————————————————————————

[1] Confucius’ most famous disciple, Mencius, lived 372 BC – 289 BC.

[2] Record High Name Government as Most Important Problem. Gallup. February 18, 2019

[3] The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China. Wenfang Tang

[4] The Voting Rights Act of 1965

[5] William Sewell, I Stayed in China.

[6] The China Democratic League is for teachers from elementary school to universities. Since Confucius is China’s archetypal teacher and teachers are held at an high regards by the society as a whole, this is a highly influential party.

[7] The Kuomintang of China, KMT; (sometimes Guomindang) often translated as the Nationalist Party of China) is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei and is currently the opposition political party in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.

[8] The Jiusan Society is for PhD scientists, mostly physicists and engineers, whose position is ‘everything should be run by science’. Very big on pushing for climate initiatives, environmental protection, more R&D budget, better health policies, etc.

[9] Wikipedia

[10] Authoritarian Gridlock? Understanding Delay in the Chinese Legislative System. Rory Truex. Journal of Comparative Political Studies, April 2018

[11] The lowest recorded legislative support is sixty-four percent for the Three Gorges Dam project, which now repays its original investment every two years. It was the biggest, most expensive single-site project in history whose lake has changed the earth’s rotation, so legislators’ caution in their generation is understandable.

[12] Public perception of genetically-modified (GM) food: A Nationwide Chinese Consumer Study. Kai Cui & Sharon P. Shoemaker. npj Science of Food volume 2, Article number: 10 (2018)

[13] Jeff J. Brown, China Rising.

[14] Tang, Populist Authoritarianism.

[15] The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy.(p. 9) Daniel . Bell


If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

The Sleeping Giant Awakes And Reveals “The West” as Lilliput

Source

The Sleeping Giant Awakes And Reveals “The West” as Lilliput

October 27, 2020

This comment was chosen by moderator SA from the post “Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep”.Comment by Ahino Wolf Sushanti

I’m from Malaysia. China has traded with Malaysia for 2000 years. In those years, they had been the world’s biggest powers many times. Never once they sent troops to take our land. Admiral Zhenghe came to Malacca five times, in gigantic fleets, and a flagship eight times the size of Christopher Columbus’ flagship, Santa Maria. He could have seized Malacca easily, but he did not. In 1511, the Portuguese came. In 1642, the Dutch came. In the 18th century the British came. We were colonised by each, one after another.

When China wanted spices from India, they traded with the Indians. When they wanted gems, they traded with the Persian. They didn’t take lands. The only time China expanded beyond their current borders was in Yuan Dynasty, when Genghis and his descendants Ogedei Khan, Guyuk Khan & Kublai Khan concurred China, Mid Asia and Eastern Europe. But Yuan Dynasty, although being based in China, was a part of the Mongolian Empire.

Then came the Century of Humiliation. Britain smuggled opium into China to dope the population, a strategy to turn the trade deficit around, after the British could not find enough silver to pay the Qing Dynasty in their tea and porcelain trades. After the opium warehouses were burned down and ports were closed by the Chinese in ordered to curb opium, the British started the opium I, which China lost. Hong Kong was forced to be surrendered to the British in a peace talk (Nanjing Treaty). The British owned 90% of the opium market in China, during that time, Queen Victoria was the world’s biggest drug baron. The remaining 10% was owned by American merchants from Boston. Many of Boston’s institutions were built with profit from opium.

After 12 years of Nanjing Treaty, the West started getting really really greedy. The British wanted the Qing government:
1. To open the borders of China to allow goods coming in and out freely, and tax free.
2. Make opium legal in China.
Insane requests, Qing government said no. The British and French, with supports from the US and Russia from behind, started Opium War II with China, which again, China lost. The Anglo-French military raided the Summer Palace, and threatened to burn down the Imperial Palace, the Qing government was forced to pay with ports, free business zones, 300,000 kilograms of silver and Kowloon was taken. Since then, China’s resources flew out freely through these business zones and ports. In the subsequent amendment to the treaties, Chinese people were sold overseas to serve as labor.

In 1900, China suffered attacks by the 8-National Alliance(Japan, Russia, Britain, France, USA, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary). Innocent Chinese civilians in Peking (Beijing now) were murdered, buildings were destroyed & women were raped. The Imperial Palace was raided, and treasures ended up in museums like the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris.

In late 1930’s China was occupied by the Japanese in WWII. Millions of Chinese died during the occupancy. 300,000 Chinese died in Nanjing Massacre alone.

Mao brought China together again from the shambles. There were peace and unity for some time. But Mao’s later reign saw sufferings and deaths from famine and power struggles.

Then came Deng Xiao Ping and his infamous “black-cat and white-cat” story. His preference in pragmatism than ideologies has transformed China. This thinking allowed China to evolve all the time to adapt to the actual needs in the country, instead of rigidly bounded to ideologies. It also signified the death of Communism in actually practice in China. The current Socialism+Meritocracy+Market Economy model fits the Chinese like gloves, and it propels the uprise of China. Singapore has a similar model, and has been arguably more successful than Hong Kong, because Hong Kong being gateway to China, was riding on the economic boom in China, while Singapore had no one to gain from.

In just 30 years, the CPC have moved 800 millions of people out from poverty. The rate of growth is unprecedented in human history. They have built the biggest mobile network, by far the biggest high speed rail network in the world, and they have become a behemoth in infrastructure. They made a fishing village called Shenzhen into the world’s second largest technological centre after the Silicon Valley. They are growing into a technological power house. It has the most elaborate e-commerce and cashless payment system in the world. They have launched exploration to Mars. The Chinese are living a good life and China has become one of the safest countries in the world. The level of patriotism in the country has reached an unprecedented height.

For all of the achievements, the West has nothing good to say about it. China suffers from intense anti-China propaganda from the West. Western Media used the keyword “Communist” to instil fear and hatred towards China.
Everything China does is negatively reported.

They claimed China used slave labor in making iPhones. The truth was, Apple was the most profitable company in the world, it took most of the profit, leave some to Foxconn (a Taiwanese company) and little to the labor.

They claimed China was inhuman with one-child policy. By the way absolutely recommended by the UN-Health-Organisation at that time. At the same time, they accused China of polluting the earth with its huge population. The fact is the Chinese consume just 30% of energy per capita compared to the US.

They claimed China underwent ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang. The fact is China has a policy which priorities ethnic minorities. For a long time, the ethnic minorities were allowed to have two children and the majority Han only allowed one. The minorities are allowed a lower score for university intakes. There are 39,000 mosque in China, and 2100 in the US. China has about 3 times more mosque per Muslim than the US.
When terrorist attacks happened in Xinjiang, China had two choices:
1. Re-educate the Uighur extremists before they turned terrorists.
2. Let them be, after they launch attacks and killed innocent people, bomb their homes.
China chose 1 to solve problem from the root and not to do killing. How the US solve terrorism? Fire missiles from battleships, drop bombs from the sky.

During the pandemic,
When China took extreme measures to lock-down the people, they were accused of being inhuman.
When China recovered swiftly because of the extreme measures, they were accused of lying about the actual numbers.
When China’s cases became so low that they could provide medical support to other countries, they were accused of politically motivated.
Western Media always have reasons to bash China.

Just like any country, there are irresponsible individuals from China which do bad and dirty things, but the China government overall has done very well. But I hear this comment over and over by people from the West: I like Chinese people, but the CPC is “evil”\’. What they really want is the Chinese to change the government, because the current one is too good.

Fortunately China is not a multi-party democratic country, otherwise the opposition party in China will be supported by notorious NGOs (Non-Government Organization) of the USA, like the NED (National Endowment for Democracy), to topple the ruling party. The US and the British couldn’t crack Mainland China, so they work on Hong Kong. Of all the ex-British colonial countries, only the Hong Kongers were offered BNOs by the British. Because the UK would like the Hong Kongers to think they are British citizens, not Chinese. A divide-and-conquer strategy, which they often used in Color Revolutions around the world.

They resort to low dirty tricks like detaining Huawei’s CFO & banning Huawei. They raised a silly trade war which benefits no one. Trade deficit always exist between a developing and a developed country. USA is like a luxury car seller who ask a farmer: why am I always buying your vegetables and you haven’t bought any of my cars?

When the Chinese were making socks for the world 30 years ago, the world let it be. But when Chinese started to make high technology products, like Huawei and DJI, it caused red-alert. Because when Western and Japanese products are equal to Chinese in technologies, they could never match the Chinese in prices. First world countries want China to continue in making socks. Instead of stepping up themselves, they want to pull China down.

The recent movement by the US against China has a very important background. When Libya, Iran, and China decided to ditch the US dollar in oil trades, Gaddafi’s was killed by the US, Iran was being sanctioned by the US, and now it’s China’s turn. The US has been printing money out of nothing. The only reason why the US Dollar is still widely accepted, is because it’s the only currency which oil is allowed to be traded with. The US has an agreement with Saudi that oil must be traded in US dollar ONLY. Without the petrol-dollar status, the US dollars will sink, and America will fall. Therefore anyone trying to disobey this order will be eliminated. China will soon use a gold-backed crypto-currency, the alarms in the White House go off like mad.

China’s achievement has been by hard work. Not buy looting the world.

I have deep sympathy for China for all the suffering, but now I feel happy for them. China is not rising, they are going back to where they belong. Good luck China.

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

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Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

The Huawei complete Google alternative is being built out – You will hear about Petal again – Maps, Docs, Search, Browser and probably every app you use.

Huawei solved its map problem with Petal Maps and has just unveiled Huawei Docs, which, supports document viewing and editing of 50 formats including PDF, PPT, and DOC. With real-time syncing enabled by cloud capabilities, Huawei Docs lets users can work on the same document on different devices logged into the same Huawei ID, enhancing the smart office experience. [MORE]

TASS wrote a decent release : Huawei Launches Petal Search, Petal Maps, HUAWEI Docs and More


Digital RMB in use in Shenzenhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/od05YfJyy1E?feature=oembed

Chinese experts see the central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a vital means of facilitating cross-border transactions and expediting the internationalisation of the renminbi. The Chinese central bank announced the commencement of trials of the CBDC in April 2020 across four cities, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Xiong’an, while in August the Hebei province government issued a notice calling for cross-border e-commerce transactions in Xiong’an to make greater use of the renminbi, as well as exploration of the use of the digital currency for cross-border payments. Pan Helin (盘和林), head of the Digital Economy Research Institute of the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said to 21st Century Business Herald that the digital renminbi could be the solution to the current difficulties involved in making cross-border payments.

“At present the main problem with cross-border payments is that the period of time for needed funds to reach accounts is long, the speed is low, fees are high, procedures are numerous and efficiency levels are low,” said Pan. “The biggest advantages of the digital renminbi are convenience, high-efficiency, high timeliness and low cost, and for these reasons it can overcome the existing deficiencies with traditional cross-border payments methods.”

“Survey data indicates that occupation of liquidity is the biggest cost for the SWIFT cross-border payments system. Blockchain technology raises the efficiency of cross-border payments systems, reduces cross-border payments timeframes, and reduces the liquid funds used. The cost for financial institutions to conduct cross-border payments will be reduced.” Liu Bin (刘斌) a financial researcher from the Pudong Reform and Development Research Institute, said that the CBDC could also help to expedite internationalisation of the renminbi, pointing in particular to the following areas of development:

  • Driving the use of the renminbi for trade between China and ASEAN countries and China and Belt and Road countries;
  • At present free trade zones throughout China are exploring cross-border financing, and in future these free trade zones could serve as drivers for international use of the digital renminbi;
  • Overseas consumption by Chinese tourists and travellers could expedite the use and circulation of the digital renminbi abroad, in turn driving the establishment of corresponding systems and coordinating mechanisms abroad. [MORE]

Gross National Happiness

IPSOS: China the happiest nation on earth. Six in ten adults across 27 countries (63%) are happy, according to the latest Ipsos survey on global happiness. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of happiness at an aggregate level is nearly unchanged from last year. The happiest countries surveyed, i.e., those where more than three out of four adults report being very or rather happy are China, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, Australia, Great Britain, and Sweden. Those where fewer than one in two adults say they are happy are Peru, Chile, Spain, Argentina, Hungary, and Mexico. Among 29 potential sources of happiness measured, people across the world are most likely to derive “the greatest happiness” from:

  • My health/physical well-being (cited by 55% globally)
  • My relationship with my partner/spouse (49%)
  • My children (49%)
  • Feeling my life has meaning (48%)
  • My living conditions (45%)

In comparison to the pre-pandemic survey conducted last year, the sources of happiness that have most gained in importance globally pertain to relationships, health, and safety. On the other hand, time and money have ceded some ground as drivers of happiness. Globally, happiness is as common this year as it was last year, dipping by just one percentage point from 64% to 63%. However, it has increased by five points or more in six countries, namely China, Russia, Malaysia, and Argentina, while it has decreased by five points or more in 12 countries, most of all Peru, Chile, Mexico, and India.

The happiness leader in 2020 is China, where 93% say they are happy (up 11 points from last year and moving from third place), followed by the Netherlands (newly added this year) with 87%, and Saudi Arabia with 80% (up two points). Canada and Australia, last year’s leaders in happiness, register a notable drop this year: Canada with 78% (down eight points) drops to fourth place in a tie with France (down two points) and Australia with 77% (down nine points) falls to sixth place.  [MORE]


SOCIETY

Farmer Li Zhifang is being crowned a “Food Hero” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on World Food Day, for his efforts to keep food cheap and accessible to residents of Wuhan during the worst period of the city’s lockdown during the pandemic. Li is marketing manager of the Wuhan Qiangxin Vegetable Production and Marketing Cooperative. He strived to keep food prices affordable and food supplies accessible during an unprecedented lockdown in the city where the virus began and many were forced to stay in their homes for months. Vegetable prices rocketed at the beginning of the pandemic when the situation was still developing.

Li not only persuaded farmers to sell produce at “normal” prices but also helped to increase deliveries from cooperative members to supermarkets, including Hema, also known as Freshippo, a Chinese fresh food supermarket chain owned by Alibaba. During the pandemic Li volunteered to help the local government distribute necessities to districts where there was a shortage of fresh food, including communities adjacent to the Huanan Seafood Market, thought to be the original epicenter of the pandemic, which people were scared to visit. “Someone must be brave when the battle begins,” the “Food Hero” was quoted as saying. People have praised Li for his contribution and commented that his new title on this special day shows that the UN approves of China’s anti-pandemic policies. “As a Wuhan local, I could buy vegetables at reasonable prices during the lockdown, thank you so much!” “Wuhan relied on these ordinary heroes to recover from the pandemic,” one popular comment read.  [CAIXIN].


ASEAN

US-funded agitators in Bangkok block downtown roads–like US-funded agitators in Hong Kong.

Anti-government protesters in Thailand organized by billionaire-led opposition parties and funded by the US government have openly committed themselves to the “Hong Kong model” of US-funded unrest. This includes targeting public infrastructure to create maximum instability for the vast majority of the public and undermining Thailand’s economic recovery in the wake of the global COVID-19 economic crisis. The protesters are committed to the “Hong Kong model” despite it having failed completely in Hong Kong itself with most of the leaders either sidelined, jailed, or having fled abroad. Knowing that this model is ultimately doomed to failure but committing to it and the violence, disruption, and instability it implies anyway – does not even benefit the opposition itself – because it surely did not benefit Hong Kong’s opposition but instead effectively ended it.

Instead – this campaign of violence and disruption will only benefit the protest’s US government sponsors – a US government determined to undermine China and its allies and obstruct Asia’s global rise. Overturning Thailand’s political order is one goal – but simply dividing and destroying Thailand to deny China a prosperous ally is another.  As it stands now – Thailand is benefiting from China’s regional and global rise – but should protesters have their way – the economy they claim to be upset about will be further destroyed as they seek to cut ties with China – Thailand’s largest trade partner, foreign investor, source of tourism, and a key partner in several important infrastructure projects including a high-speed rail network that will connect Thailand to China via Laos. The US and Europe have no ability now nor will in the foreseeable future to replace the ties Thailand currently enjoys and is benefiting from with China. Tony Cartalucci – ATN. [MORE]


Geopolitics

Guest Editorial by Billy Bob, who is married, 45 years old, with two young kids 8 and 6 and a full time job in the medical field that he does not want to lose:  “For several years now I have been using my facebook profile to raise awareness and engage with folks regarding the political and economic issues facing our planet”.

As the West churns out more anti-China propaganda designed to defame, malign, and facilitate the decoupling of Western industry from China, China continues to lead the world in economic growth and expansion. The problem for the Western ruling class is that China is too lucrative of an industrial base and too appealing as a perspective market for any self respecting capitalist to turn their back on such potential wealth creation. For individual Western capitalists to forgo the opportunity to profit in China, actual laws will need to be passed and it’s not clear the ruling class can get it’s act together in order to legislatively force such a decoupling. It’s not as if there exists a central authority that can simply dictate the behavior of thousands of industries and force them to sacrifice their own individual economic well being on the alter of the greater class interest. Even though Trump has attempted to tweet such demands in the past, absent some major catalyzing event, there is no way individual Western industries are going to relinquish the incredible economic opportunities that China offers. Such are the limitations of Western capitalism.

What the ruling class really needs is “a new pearl harbor”. This time however, instead of Islam, China must be declared the alleged antagonist. Only then can the ruling class force individual intransigent corporations and industries to decouple from China and move to India.

Too be sure, India is central to the West’s grand strategy. Modi and his Western backers have convinced themselves that they can emulate China’s success and that they can offer the world’s capitalists all the economic opportunities that China can but without the threatening demonstration of the superiority of social planning and a Marxist Leninist communist party.

The ruling class will never be able to pull this off. China has already won. The West will flail around in futility and watch as the inevitability of China’s economic steam engine rolls over every malign strategy and subversive plot they conceive. China has set in motion a chain of events that is impossible to curtail. The speed at which China is growing and developing and the wisdom with which it is overcoming every challenge is both astonishing and exhilarating.

If you are curious about the information which informs my statements and perspective, if you haven’t internalized and don’t honestly embrace wholeheartedly the truth about China I shared above, you are cheating yourself and missing out on the knowledge that represents the most important development of our lifetime. In 1936, Mao comprehended a faint shadow of what was to come when he wrote:

“When China finally wins her independence, then legitimate foreign trading interests will enjoy more opportunity than ever before. The power of production and consumption of 450,000,000 people is not a matter that can remain the exclusive interest of the Chinese, but one that must engage the many nations. Our millions of people, once really emancipated, with their great latent productive possibilities freed for creative activity in every field, can help improve the economy as well as raise the cultural level of the whole world.”
***

The Two Undersides to Geo-Politics: At the explicit level, today’s geo-political struggle is about the U.S. maintaining its primacy of power – with financial power being a subset to this political power. Carl Schmitt, whose thoughts had such influence on Leo Strauss and U.S. thinking generally, advocated that those who have power should ‘use it, or lose it’. The prime object of politics therefore being to preserve one’s ‘social existence’. But the prize that America truly seeks is to seize is all global standards in leading-edge technologies, and to deny them to China. Such standards might seem obscure, but they are a crucial element of modern technology. If the cold war was dominated by a race to build the most nuclear weapons, today’s contest between the U.S. and China — as well as vis à vis the EU — will at least partly be played out through a struggle to control the bureaucratic rule-setting that lies behind the most important industries of the age. And those standards are up for grabs. So where are we in this de-coupling struggle? China’s intent now is not simply to refine and improve on existing technology, but to leapfrog existing knowledge into a new tech realm– by discovering and using new materials that overcome present limits to microprocessor evolution. They may just succeed – over next the three years or so – given the huge resources China is diverting to this task (i.e. with microprocessors). This could alter the whole tech calculus – awarding China primacy over most key areas of cutting-edge technology. States will not easily be able ignore this fact – whether or not they profess to ‘like’ China, or not.

Which brings us to the second ‘underside’ to this geopolitical struggle. So far, both the U.S. and China have kept finance largely separate to the main de-coupling. But a substantive change may be underway: The U.S. and several other states are toying with Central Bank digital currencies, and FinTech internet platforms are beginning to displace traditional banking institutions. Pepe Escobar notes: “Donald Trump is mulling restrictions on Ant’s Alipay and other Chinese digital payment platforms like Tencent Holdings…and, as with Huawei, Trump’s team is alleging Ant’s digital payment platforms threaten U.S. national security. More likely is that Trump is concerned Ant threatens the global banking advantage the U.S. has long taken for granted. Team Trump is not alone. U.S. hedge fund manager Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital argues Ant and Tencent are “clear and present dangers to U.S. national security that now threaten us more than any other issue.”

The point is two-fold: China is setting the scene to challenge a fiat dollar, at a sensitive moment of dollar weakness. And secondly, China is placing ‘facts on the ground’ — shaping standards from the bottom up, through widespread overseas adoption of its technology. Just as Alipay has made huge inroads across Asia, China’s ‘Smart Cities’ project diffuses Chinese standards, precisely because they incorporate so many technologies: Facial recognition systems, big data analysis, 5G telecoms and AI cameras. All represent technologies for which standards remain up for grabs. Thus ‘smart cities’, which automate multiple municipal functions, additionally helps China’s standards drive .[MORE]


Selections and editorial comments by Amarynth.  (Go Get that newsletter – it again is packed with detail and each time I read it, it becomes clearer that a country of 1.4 billion people requires a specific kind of cohesion to make it work.  And so far, it is working.  Take a look for fun – How to take a 7,000-tonne building for a walk).

Ritual Public Shaming

Bridging China’s past with humanity’s future – Part 2

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June 29, 2020

Bridging China’s past with humanity’s future – Part 2

by Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

This will be presented in 3 parts and in 3 different blog posts

PART – 1 can be found here


PART – 2

5. POST-DENG CHINA

Post-Deng China witnessed three variants of socio-economic trajectories associated with three different Leaders. Even though the economic programme of reform initiated by Deng went on unhindered, there were significantly different style of implementation of the same. A brief recapitulation is noted below:

A.  Jiang Zemin (till 2003)

In 1997, after Deng’s departure Jiang Zemin became the paramount leader of China. Both – the economic reforms and the deep-rooted problems of economy – accentuated during Jiang’s stewardship. There was marked increase in political corruption, inter-regional imbalance and inter-class imbalance in growth, rural migration into urban areas, unemployment, inequality and wealth gap, and crime rates across China. During 1998 and 1999, many SOE were privatized with massive lay-offs and asset transfer to private businessmen, many others were restructured to make them profitable. The employee welfare and social welfare system which were embedded in SOE (since the Mao era) were completely dissolved – this also created a low-income urban working class. The government followed a policy of retaining the crucial sectors within state-owned enterprises while small and medium SOW were either privatised or closed down. Crucial sectors or ‘commanding heights’ were:

  • Nation-wide service networks like railways, aviation, telecommunication, electricity etc.
  • Mining and exploration coal, oil, and natural gas
  • Basic metal processing like steel, and aluminium
  • Basic hydrocarbon processing like refinery and petrochemicals
  • Heavy industrial machinery such as machine tools, power generation equipment, rolling stock
  • Infrastructure engineering and construction – roads, railways, ports, dams
  • Significant consumer durables like automobiles
  • Military machinery

Apart from reducing the number of SOE (from 262,000 units employing 113 million in 1995-1997 period to 110,000 units employing 64 million in 2007-2008) and restructuring bigger SOEs, the government reduced tariffs, trade barriers, regulations; reformed banking system. The average return on assets in SOEs soared from 0.2% in 1998 to 5% in 2007. In the same period, the SOEs’ profits rose from 0.3% to 6.6% of GDP. Funds continued to be poured into SEZ and export-oriented manufacturing industry. As per Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, Hong Kong-Taiwan-Japan-South Korea-Singapore contributed about 71% of the FDI that flowed into China between 1990 and 2004. To sum it up cogently, it can be said that government of China pursued neoliberal economic agenda along with consulting advice from USA bankers and capitalists. China joined World Trade Organization in December’2001. During the period 1990–2004, China’s economy grew at an average rate of 10% per year.

A very interesting observation can be made related to the foreign relations during Jiang era – all foreign trips by the leadership and communication with foreign media were consciously made to revolve around China’s (the then) economic growth model and the imperatives. Incidents like USA bombing of China embassy in Belgrade, and collision with USA aircraft near Hainan Island were played down after some exchange of documents. Apparently, the top leadership aimed only at maintaining the stability of the government and the economy.

Very significant transformation took place in the CPC itself – from being a party of predominantly peasants and workers, CPC converted itself to a party with large number of middle-class petty bourgeois. This class evolved during the industrial restructuring of 1990s, who came out as the main beneficiary due to their entrepreneurship and connection with the then local and central leadership of CPC, and more importantly this class acted as a robust base of CPC in the urban regions of China.

B. Hu Jintao (2003 to 2012)

Hu Jintao had to continuously swim against the tide of domino effect from the (capitalist) economic reform and opening which was primarily initiated by Deng in 1979. During October’2003 Third Plenum, amendments to the constitution were discussed – an overarching government economic policy would be introduced to reduce unemployment rate, to re-balance income distribution, and to protect the environment. Also private property rights would be protected. Due to widespread poverty, inequality, and discontent the Chinese Government was forced to seek a balanced society above all. Using the concept of “socialist harmonious society”, balanced wealth distribution, improved education, and improved healthcare were assigned high priority.

During 1995, exports from East Asian countries to China were not very significant percentage of their total exports (Japan exported 4.95%, South Korea exported 7.0%, Taiwan exported 0.3%, Singapore exported 2.3%). In 1995, Chinese total exports were worth about 149 billion USD. However, by 2013 there was an explosive growth in exports from East Asian countries to China as a percentage of their total exports – (Japan exported 18.1%, South Korea exported 26.1%, Taiwan exported 26.8%, Singapore exported 11.8%). And, in 2013, Chinese exports to the world were worth about 2210 billion USD (a little over 30% of the value were exported by wholly foreign-owned enterprises, and 12% of the value were exported by joint ventures between foreign-owned and China-owned enterprises). Apparently, during this period China evolved as ‘core’ and East Asia as ‘periphery’ in a new sub-system within the overall world-system (with USA and west Europe as ‘core’ and rest of the world as ‘periphery’).

China’s GDP grew 10.1%, in 2004, and 10.4% in 2005 in spite of attempts by the government to cool the economy. And, in 2006 trade crossed USD 1760 billion, making China third-largest trading nation in the world. Again, in 2007 China registered 13% growth in GDP (USD 3552 billion) becoming world’s third largest economy by GDP. According to UN estimates in 2007, around 130 million people in rural areas of the backward inland provinces still lived in poverty, on consumption of less than $1 a day, while about 35% of the Chinese population lived under $2 a day. Chinese government’s official Gini index peaked at 0.49 in 2008– 2009 and thereafter declined only marginally, to 0.47 in 2014. The Global Financial Crisis in 2008 revealed the innate weakness of Chinese economy – export-oriented economy depends upon economic conditions in foreign countries much more than internal consumption. Government of China took highly effective policy decisions about economic stimulus and implemented those effectively (however, it also increased the already high debt burden). The stimulus (about US$600 billion at the then-current exchange rate) involved state investments into physical infrastructure like railway network, roads, bridges and ports, urban housing complex, easing credit restrictions and lowering tax on real estate. As per National Bureau of Statistics of China, in 2010, GDP of China was Yuan 40850 billion, which can be broken down into following expenditure categories:

  1. Household Consumption Expenditure – Yuan 14146.55 billion (34.63% of GDP)
  2. Government Consumption Expenditure – Yuan 6011.59 billion (14.71% of GDP)
  3. Gross (Fixed) capital formation – Yuan 19186.69 billion (46.96% of GDP)
  4. Net Exports of Goods and Services – Yuan 1505.71 billion (3.68% of GDP)

Household consumption has not increased substantially with economic growth – may be one of the reasons were wages and salaries of working class didn’t move upwards with same pace. Even though the reforms helped to improve the socio-economic indicators, taking into consideration the difference between coastal region and inland regions as well as between urban and rural regions, China could hardly overcome the poverty and inequality predominantly in the inland and rural regions.

By 2011, there were less than 10 out of 40 major industrial sectors in which SOE accounted for more than 20 percent of output. Another significant statistics of 2012 on industrial enterprises (as per National Bureau of Statistics, China) shows:

State-owned EnterprisesPrivate-owned EnterprisesPrivate-owned FDI Enterprises
Total Asset (billion Yuan)31,20915,25517,232
Profit (billion Yuan)1,5182,0191,397

The above statistics might suggest at the first glance that, state-owned enterprises are laggard in profitability. However, such conclusion will be clearly wrong if it is noted that there exist wide difference of asset ownership across various sectors – in mining and extraction of coal, petroleum, natural gas etc. SOE commands 93% of sector-specific assets, while in textiles sector Private enterprises commands 90% of sector-specific assets. Different sectors of industry have different profit-capital asset employed ratio.

C. Xi Jinping (2013 onwards)

Since around 2010, Chinese government and CPC has been busy implementing economic policies that will pursue ‘economic growth based on domestic consumption’ while maintaining the decades old export-oriented economy. With Xi Jinping at the top chair, a long pending but top priority task was undertaken – war against corruption and nepotism. CPC took strong measures so that corrupt among ruling party cadres and government officials were identified and punished, Marxist principles were enforced as guideline for CPC so that the society and economy can be steered towards equality and justice. CPC has also became proactive in taking actions to enhance its geopolitical and geo-economic base throughout the world. Simultaneously, Chinese government has taken concrete measures to modernize all wings of military through research and development of 5th generation stealth military aircrafts, naval ships, nuclear submarines, hypersonic missiles, anti-satellite missiles, as well as procuring most lethal S400 air defence system and electronic warfare systems from Russia.

However, China has performed extremely well in reduction of poverty. In 2015, World Bank Group estimated that only 0.7% of Chinese citizens live below extreme poverty line of $1.9 (2011 PPP) per day, while 7.0% of Chinese population live below lower-middle poverty line of $3.2 (2011 PPP) per day. Such rapid poverty-reduction is an unparalleled achievement in the history of mankind.

As per National Bureau of Statistics of China, in 2019, GDP of China was Yuan 99492.74 billion (by expenditure approach), which can be broken down into following categories:

  1. Household Consumption Expenditure – Yuan 38589.56 billion (38.78% of GDP)
  2. Government Consumption Expenditure – Yuan 16559.90 billion (16.64% of GDP)
  3. Gross (Fixed) capital formation – Yuan 42862.78 billion (43.08% of GDP)
  4. Net Exports of Goods and Services – Yuan 1480.50 billion (1.49% of GDP)

Compared to 2010 statistics, in 2019 the household consumption has moved upwards at almost 39% of GDP. However, the 2019 figures of household consumption below 50% of GDP can’t be considered as healthy neither gross capital formation more than 30% of GDP can be termed as balanced growth. This is not to say that, the period of 1970-1975 was better because household consumption component was around 60 – 65% of GDP (GDP itself was very low).

The inequality between urban and rural remained too glaring even in 2019 – as we can note in the following data as per National Bureau of Statistics of China (2019 data),

  1. Per Capita Disposable Income Nationwide – Yuan 30,733
  2. Per Capita Disposable Income of Urban Households – Yuan 42,359
  3. Per Capita Disposable Income of Rural Households – Yuan 16,021
  4. Per Capita Expenditure Nationwide – Yuan 21,559
  5. Per Capita Expenditure of Urban Households – Yuan 28,063
  6. Per Capita Expenditure of Rural Households – Yuan 13,328

The growth model chosen by Deng and reinforced by Jiang has already run out of steam. It had its own utility to provide mass employment and to build the fixed capital for the national economy. Chinese government need to pivot economic growth on domestic consumption as soon as possible without damaging the export sector much. To boost consumption, ‘demand’ for goods and services will have to be enhanced – in China, ‘purchasing power’ is the key for boosting demand and hence, domestic consumption. Income of ordinary citizens should be increased through forced regulations whereby the surplus from industrial operation (that is pocketed by the capitalists for accumulation of capital) will be distributed to the working class. Similarly for the agricultural sector, government should provide much higher procurement prices for agricultural produces. Another key area that needs government intervention is social security and welfare system, whereby housing-education-healthcare for all rural and urban people living with daily expenditure below USD 10 will be arranged by the government (against a token amount of annual insurance premium). Most of such people will be confident enough to spend instead of saving money for rainy day. The well-entrenched capitalist elites will resist because such steps would restrict their continuous capital accumulation process – however, China being a socialist peoples’ democracy, it has to give priority to the common people.

BRI – Challenge to Current World-system?

Belt and Road Initiative (formerly One Belt One Road – OBOR programme) of China actually is a framework wherein investments amounting to anything between one to two trillion USD in different countries of Asia, Europe, Africa, South America will be done in primarily government-to-government projects. When successfully implemented, may be around 2035, BRI will completely transform the economy and comfort of peoples in more than 100 countries. Investments are mainly channelled into physical infrastructure, mining and exploration, power generation, industrial production hub, agricultural production hub, and communication network. BRI, instead of moving away from existing liberal capitalist economy, predicates on existing capitalist system with more inclusive agenda compared to Zionist Capitalist dominated financial system – thus BRI projects attempt to alleviate poverty and unemployment in participating states without bothering about the government ideology.

BRI benefits China in primarily four ways:

  1. Corridors like CPEC (through Pakistan) and CMEC (through Myanmar), when fully established, will provide alternate trade routes for China-based companies to import energy and raw materials as well as export finished goods through Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal respectively; the corridors will circumvent the ‘choke point’ of Malacca Strait
  2. China-Mongolia-Russia and China-Central Asia-West Asia corridors will be channel for further Chinese investments across Asia; in the long run exports and imports among these Eurasian states will experience quantum jump
  3. ‘State capitalism’ will get a boost with most of the BRI projects being G-to-G kind; most of the participant governments will control the new projects thereby reproducing the production relations of capitalist society with the ‘state’ playing the role of capitalist who will make ‘profit’ and accumulate ‘capital’
  4. Enhance Chinese ‘image’ through socio-cultural exchange
  5. Enhance Chinese ‘influence’ through government-to-government contacts

There are more BRI corridors as well as ‘Maritime Silk Road’ planned as part of BRI. I would not get into the details of such a mammoth programme (consisting of hundreds of gigantic projects) which itself is a separate subject. However, it will be very interesting to analyse if and how BRI will pose a challenge to the existing world-system coordinated by the Deep State.

BRI follows the traditional capitalist economic model of ‘profit’, but unlike the Zionist Capitalist propelled system, BRI system aim for nominal profit margins that will create a tremendous ‘pull factor’ among the developing countries to seek BRI projects. Another key difference is: BRI system is radically different from existing capitalist system by shunning hegemony and force BRI promotes harmonious global integration. In all probability, BRI will create a ‘benign core’ and ‘exultant periphery’ in a global scale which uncannily resembles the Confucian concepts of family and state governance. The existing hegemonic world order and the Deep State will find it very hard to digest such decline of their stature and the formation of a new core-periphery. However, by no means will this new development threaten to upend the existing Zionist Capitalist world order – the new core-periphery will form a significant non-imperial sub-system within the existing world-system. USA, 5-Eyes, and Israel will have to share the hegemony with China being the BRI core and Russia as the semi-periphery (with low population count and hence limited domestic market, Russia can’t play much bigger role).

In practice, post-WW II world order has seen the working of core-periphery system with USA (and NATO) enforcing their will on the weak countries on the ‘periphery’ whenever a threat to the primacy of ‘accumulation capital’ was perceived by the Deep State cabal. The Deep State capital, through control of the media and academia, ensure that such threat to capital gets portrayed as a threat to ‘democracy and human rights’ which in turn provides a moral high ground to the Hegemonic superpower to invade any country at will. In the BRI system such supremacy of capital is not expected simply because Chinese outlook on ‘world-system’ was built typically on Confucian praxis.

Significant observations on post-Deng China:

1. CPC central committee in a conference in 2015 formulated eight principles of ‘socialist political economy with Chinese characteristics’:

  1. Sustainability Led by Science and Technology
  2. Orienting Production to Improve the Livelihood of the People
  3. Public Ownership Precedence in National Property Rights
  4. The Primacy of Labour in the Distribution of Wealth
  5. The Market Principle Steered by the State
  6. Speedy Development with High Performance
  7. Balanced Development with Structural Coordination
  8. Economic Sovereignty and Openness

Undoubtedly the above eight principles (like Buddha’s ‘asta-marga’ teaching) are very sound principles – but these are not focussed to Marxist ideology in a sense that, any other liberal democratic capitalist political party can also follow such principles for an effective management of economy and society. CPC leadership should take into account the core ideology of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Mao to explore that, the owners of capital can never reconcile with the proletariat and petty-bourgeois (as petty-bourgeois, I’m meaning only the middle-income group of rural land-holding peasants and urban professionals and self-employed people who own very little capital to earn their livelihood) – the theory of historical materialism clearly and correctly predict that, in the long-run, the capitalists will continue to accumulate capital with endless exploitation of 90% of the population, eventually they will overrun the CPC setup (as insider like CPSU in Soviet Union, or as outsider like Solidarity Movement in Poland) and create a state which will be ‘liberal capitalist’ in letter and spirit. Mao and Deng differed only on strategy to achieve Marxist economy and classless society, they never differed in the end objective – successive CPC leaders shouldn’t forget to take note of that.

Questions will be raised, ‘why then Mao didn’t create a classless society since 1950 or why Mao also tried for accumulation of capital to begin with’ or for that matter, even before Mao, ‘why in 1921 Lenin was staking on new economic policy (NEP) to introduce free market and capitalism under state control’?

To seek the answer, let’s visit the greatest leader of transformation – Lenin. Lenin considered the NEP as a strategic retreat from principles of socialism – Bolshevik party leaders had to create the “material basis” of economic development in Soviet Union before they could initiate the first stage of socialism to be followed by the second stage. This was exactly the situation for Mao and Deng in China who wanted to first create the basic building block for Chinese economy for which the forces of production were either outdated or non-existent. Interestingly, both CPSU and CPC tried to create ‘communes’ as an ideal communist construct for the rural regions and agricultural sector – primarily due to mismanagement among the party members and lack of indoctrination among the rural population, both the experiments failed. More valid question however remains, ‘why both CPSU and CPC got lost in the quagmire of ‘initial capitalistic development’ and never returned to their end objectives’ even after there was basic level of ‘fixed capital formation’ in Soviet Union by 1960 and in China by 2010! May be because geopolitical events were unsurmountable. To best of my knowledge, this question remains unanswered till date.

2. Another issue related to very high exports and some trade surplus obscures two significant points:

(a) China (with a GDP of Yuan 99,492.74 billion i.e. USD 14,140 billion) in 2019 not only exported goods and services worth USD 2,486.69 billion, but the import was also huge at USD 2,135.74 billion (as per National Bureau of Statistics of China). Even if the overall export surplus is not substantial, when the values are grouped continent-wise, large imbalance due to export surplus can be noted for Oceanic and Pacific Islands (about USD 64 billion), Europe (about USD 95 billion), North America (about USD 330 billion), while marginal imbalance of USD 5 – 10 billion export/import surplus exists in case of Asia, Africa, Latin America. Moving deeper at a country-level, one would find more imbalances. The main reason is that, the sourcing requirements of China (energy, raw materials, manufacturing components, foodstuff, etc.) and sourcing countries are, most of the time different from the nature of exported item (manufactured finished goods), quantity and destination where export opportunity exist.

(b) More often than not, the economists forget to mention that the imports of China has multiple categories including import by foreign-owned export-oriented enterprises for value addition before exporting goods, import by Chinese-owned enterprises for value addition before dispatching for export as well as for domestic selling, import of plant and machinery etc. for capital formation, and import for direct household consumption. Contrary to that, export has almost single dimension – manufactured finished goods, primarily consumer goods with some industrial goods as well. There is overwhelming dependence on exports which jeopardise Chinese economy to the extent that, without continuous growth in demand from foreign countries, Chinese economy will encounter slow growth. In future, there can be scenarios where trade partner countries (other than USA) may reduce good imports from China in order to produce within their country (to reduce unemployment).

3. Trade surplus resulting from the exports and high internal savings empowered the east Asian countries like Japan and China to accumulate largest forex reserves (together they account for more than USD 6 trillion) which were used to purchase USA Treasury bonds. USA Treasury bonds are issued by USA government to cover fiscal deficit – thus China and Japan are largest creditors of USA. With this arrangement of deficit financing successive USA government has been reckless to cut taxes (of oligarchy) and increase direct government expenditure to keep voters happy. The prices of east Asian exports into USA were kept low to keep it attractive in the USA market. Finally, more demand of east Asian goods increased trade surplus and more trade surplus meant more purchase of Treasury bonds. A two-way mutual relation between USA and China-Japan thus helped USA engage in end-less wars as well as keep inflation within USA low, hence, even if USA leaders take anti-import posture that will be only to please the constituency of nationalist voters. However, China will not only be at the receiving end if and when exports get restricted suddenly, China should be prepared for the worst scenario when, in future, USA will simply refuse to pay for their debt.

China will have to take a serious initiative on how US Dollar can be removed from world’s reserve currency status. Along with Russia, China should look into the possibility of introducing a new international currency which will be backed by gold – this action will not lead to a socialist economy, but this action will certainly work towards curbing the USA government’s undue advantage of printing as much fiat Dollar as possible using the global reserve currency without gold-backing status.

4. Indisputably China achieved incredible feats in economic growth and socio-economic indicators during past few decades. But such achievements to a large extent depended also on credit policy (apart from FDI and export). As a result, China’s total debt burden including households, government (central, regional, local), non-financial industry sector (including real estate), and financial sector has been rising over the decades albeit slowly. Apparently, in 2019 beginning, Household debt rose to more than 50% of GDP, Government debt crossed 50% of GDP, Financial sector debt rose to more than 40%, non-financial Industry sector breached 150% of GDP. As a whole, Chinese government is in a precarious position to control such huge debt (total crossing 40 trillion USD) – with strict control economic growth will be at stake. Even though the government of China have been periodically trying to deleverage the economy with control measures, economic growth trounced all such attempts till date.

The problem of bad debt first hit the Jiang government in late 1990s. The non-performing loans (NPL) caught the leadership’s eyes back then. And to address the burning issue, in 1999 asset management company was created, which absorbed Yuan 2 trillion bad loans from state-owned banks leaving the banks normal and healthy. For Chinese government NPL issue will continue to be a thorn in the flesh.

5. Maritime border disputes in South China Sea and East China Sea have historical roots when Japan displaced European powers from these two sea regions. It is also true that, after WW II most of the littoral countries (except Vietnam and North Korea) were/are backed by the Deep State and were/are armed to the teeth. However, it will be a monumental milestone for Chinese diplomacy and indeed, image, if China can resolve the maritime border issues without conflict, and if required, sharing the under-sea resources with the littoral states.

On the land border disputes, China resolved all but the dispute with India. The land border was drawn by the British colonial power who ruled most of south Asia till 1947, but Chinese government never accepted the border. Chinese government should keep no stone unturned to bring India-Pakistan-China on the same discussion table with UNO as observer. It will be beneficial for all three countries if they settle the dispute once for all through mutual concessions using give-and-take policy. A border war for a land with little economic value (but high geopolitical strategic value) makes no sense.

6. During 1700 to 1840 China was world’s biggest economy and second largest land empire. However that position didn’t deter the European powers from rampaging at their will inside Chinese territory. Chinese empire lost the edge because of inability to keep track with global technological changes. For the European powers, advancements in few industrial and military technology proved decisive. Keeping such watershed moments in view, government of China should make extraordinary arrangements (like special task force etc.) to bridge manufacturing technology gaps which have been pointed out by McKinsey Global Institute in “China and the world” report published in July 2019, some of which are:

  1. Electronic Components
    1. Display
    2. Integrated circuits
  2. Pharmaceuticals
    1. Small-molecule drugs
    2. Biomolecule drugs
  3. Genomics
    1. Gene sequencing
    2. Gene editing

The above mentioned elements are not necessarily of military in nature – the backwardness in military technology are well-known which are being addressed by Chinese government since past two decades, jet engines with thrust-vectoring control technology among the most significant ones.

6. GEOPOLITICS 1930 ONWARDS

With the setting up of Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland in 1930, the disputes and tussle among the most prominent Jewish and Anglo banker families (like Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan, Warburg, Lazard, et al.) over type of business, geographical region of influence, and share of banking sector operations got resolved. The Zionist Capitalist elites were fully united in words and deeds notwithstanding the occasional rivalry and difference of opinion between followers of two camps: Rothschild and Rockefeller. The long-term objective of the Zionist Capitalist Deep State clique (representing primarily the Jewish, Anglo, Dutch, French, German oligarch and aristocrat families who had accumulated wealth and have been engaged in business in banking-land-industry-trading) after WW I has been to establish a hegemonic world order which would:

  1. own ‘political process and power’ in every society/country on the earth
  2. own ‘economic process and wealth’ in every landmass/country/ocean on the earth
  3. control ‘socio-cultural process and population’ in every region/country on the earth

I find it difficult to consider that, ‘winning’ political power anywhere in the world, has ever been an objective of the Deep State – they want to ‘own’ the process through which any political party may be made to ‘win’ or ‘loose’ power depending on short-term and long-term interest of the Deep State.

The Zionist Capitalist Deep State crystallized in its existing form when WW II started in 1936 (with signing of anti-communist pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan). Expectations of the Zionist Capitalist Deep State were destruction of powerful societies (non- Anglo/Jewish/Dutch/French) who had potential to develop advanced economy, and expansion of Zionist Capitalist empire:

  1. combatants Fascist Germany and Communist Soviet Union decimating each other’s (i) military forces, (ii) physical infrastructure, and (iii) population across entire Eurasia;
  2. combatants Fascist Japan and Nationalist China decimating each other’s (i) military forces, (ii) physical infrastructure, and (iii) population across entire East Asia;
  3. stages (a) and (b) would be followed by occupation of whole Europe and Asia by the ‘benevolent’ Anglo-American military who would claim that they have ‘liberated’ these ancient civilizations from the ‘authoritarian dictatorships’ of fascism and communism;
  4. stage (c) would be followed by establishment of ‘liberal democratic capitalism’ version of empire (as against ‘colonial extractive capitalism’ version) in whole Europe and Asia to continue plunder of wealth in maximum possible way;

Unfortunately half of the objectives remained unfulfilled in the WW II that was over by 1945 – because of two political parties: Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU) and Communist Party of China (CPC) whose top leadership mobilised their countrymen in collective patriotic spirit, Soviet Union and China didn’t capitulate but their direct adversaries (Germany and Japan) were trounced. Phase II became a necessity for the Deep State.

WW II – Phase II:

Phase II of WW II was initiated as soon as phase I was over. ‘Operation Unthinkable’ was planned by most ardent imperialist Churchill in order to launch a surprise attack on Soviet Union to achieve the original objectives that Hitler failed to achieve, but dropped. Realising that a military block consisting of all societies that join together as Zionist Capitalist Deep State would be more effective to demolish: (a) morally and militarily supreme power like Soviet Union which recuperated economically,

(b) new power like Communist China (where by January’1949, Peoples Liberation Army already won three major campaigns in last strongholds of Kuo Mintang party in east and south regions of China), NATO was formed in April’1949.

To achieve the long-term objective of hegemonic world order as well as the four WW II objectives, the Deep State displayed creativity in designing and deploying diplomatic, political, economic, cultural tools and methods that proved to be highly durable and extremely effective:

  1. UNO and its key sister organizations were established to control the international political incidents in all regions across the globe
  2. Through WBG, IMF, ADB global banking and financial companies spread its tentacles to every region of the world to control natural resources and economy
  3. US Dollar as the foreign currency exchange basis across the globe – not only the gold backing was withdrawn from Dollar in 1971 by USA government, but the hegemon also manipulated the Arab rulers to use Dollar as currency for most crucial commodity trading (of petroleum)
  4. Trade pacts like GATT, WTO, and similar other pacts driven by USA-West Europe-Japan were implemented so that the hegemonic power maintains their hold over global trade
  5. Promotion of ‘periodic election’ plus ‘market economy’ plus ‘private ownership’ masquerading as ‘Democracy’ across the globe
  6. Promotion of literature-cinema-fine arts that revolves around sex-drug-commercial duplicity in all major languages across the globe
  7. Promotion of mainstream media for broadcasting and publishing round-the-clock propaganda on the above mentioned tools (i) to (vi) in all major languages across the globe
  8. Promotion of academic institutions and intellectual for propagating curriculum on the above mentioned tools (i) to (vi) in all major languages across the globe
  9. Promotion of religious fundamentalist groups (male chauvinists with belief in illusory past glory from society which profess religious faiths like Sunni Islam, in Catholic Christianity, in Puritan Christianity, Brahminical Hinduism etc.) as well as ethnic fundamentalist groups (believing superiority of his/her ethnicity) in all regions across the globe
  10. Development of highly complex computerised system and other industrial technology to replace human labour in every sphere of productive work as much as possible

During the ensuing four and a half decades- from 1945 to 1990- major tasks accomplished by Deep State were:

  1. The Zionist Capitalist elites located primarily on either side of the Atlantic (who were driving force for aristocratic groups like Bilderberg Club, Club of Rome, Trilateral Commission as well as think-tanks like Council for Foreign Relations) were immensely successful in mobilising most of the academic institutions and media entities across world to spread propaganda among the people world-wide about ‘failure’ of socialism/ communism/ Marxist principles in Soviet Union and east European countries as well as China. While it was true that these countries which were devastated during WW II couldn’t provide the standard of living as west European imperialist/colonialist countries could offer to their citizens, these socialist countries provided all basic amenities of life to all its citizens.
  2. In most unfortunate turn of history, in the second half of 1950s CPSU led by Khrushchev (a closet Zionist) denounced Stalin’s leadership in Soviet Union that not only defeated the most cruel war machinery ever built on earth but became the second superpower of the world by 1945 (in 22 years after Stalin got the top leader’s position). This created an unbridgeable ideological gap between CPSU and CPC that divided the entire socialist/communist movement across the globe. After removal of Khrushchev from the position of top leader in Soviet Union political situation was salvaged internally, however, China became completely blind about the changing landscape of Soviet Union. The lack of trust of Chinese leadership in Soviet leadership was utilised by the Deep State elites in the 1980s to bleed Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Angola.
  3. By 1960 most of the Asian, and African countries got freedom from the west European imperialist/ colonialist powers like UK, France, and Belgium etc. Most of these countries were ruled by nationalist party who heavily mixed socialist ideological tenets with their nationalist creed. Most of these countries, backed by Soviet Union, had highly corrupt ruling party. Such leaders easily became prey for the global capitalist-imperialist elites, and simultaneously those semi-literate societies came under the spell of ‘Hollywood’-promoted illusion and ‘drug-sex-violence’ kind of culture. The significant block led by Soviet Union and relatively small islands of Chinese sphere came to a crossroads – they were falling behind in harnessing technological progress in economic growth, which resulted in relatively low standard of living of majority population while government officials and ruling party leaders led much better life.
  4. Deep State tried hard to manipulate the policy of government and bureaucracy as well as to co-opt the key political parties across all countries so that they can create pro-USA, pro-5 Eyes, pro-Israel policies as well as anti-Soviet Union anti-China policies. Simultaneously, oligarch-aristocrat families and elite individuals with servility towards Zionist Capitalist ideology (i.e. capitalist enterprises, private ownership, European ‘liberal imperialism’) were promoted in political leadership-bureaucracy-judiciary in those countries so that they can convert the policies into actions to advance interests of global oligarchy.
  5. In many large countries across the world, the Zionist Capitalist Deep State manipulated domestic politics to overthrow patriotic and incorruptible leaders who couldn’t be co-opted by them – Congo, Iran, Indonesia, Chile, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, etc. The Deep State mainly mobilised the country’s military forces to grab state power by killing the top leader(s) and by creating a repressive environment. Sometimes that would include mass murder of leaders and members of socialist party/communist party – in Indonesia, in the 2nd half of 1960s, between one to two million members of communist party were killed by military junta. In all the above mentioned cases, soon after coming to power the military junta would create economic policies that would favour the MNC from USA, 5 Eyes, west European countries, and simultaneously reduce contacts with Soviet Union and China.
  6. Developing conventional, nuclear, biological, chemical, and other special weapons and building a military force based on land, marine, air, and space that will be able to dominate every other country in every region, and if necessary, the military force can take punitive actions against any country including carrying out ‘first strike’ against other nuclear powers like Soviet Union and China without any possibility of retaliatory strike. USA built over 700 military bases all over the world.

The Deep State operatives were very successful in their original plan of wrecking Soviet Union from within. In the beginning of 1980s two leaders got into powerful political positions in the Soviet block – Yuri Andropov became top leader of CPSU and Lech Walesa became top trade union leader in Poland, Such high-ranking anti-socialist leaders quickly made inroads into state structure and policies in Soviet Union and Poland. After Andropov handpicked Gorbachev to lead CPSU, it was only a matter of time for the Deep State to wrap-up the socialist experiment what was known as USSR. Gorbachev and his so-called reformist clique systematically incapacitated Soviet economy, and also actively promoted downfall of governments in every east European country which were led by socialist party aligned with CPSU. This clique was helped by professionals from USA and west Europe. They also pinned hope that CPC leader Zhao Ziyang will become the ‘Gorbachev of China’ to bring down the government ruled by CPC – however this was a complete failure as Zhao himself confided with Gorbachev that ‘Deng was the top leader’ in a meeting when Tiananmen Square protest was raging in Beijing in 1989. Without a single gun-shot being fired by the military wings of Zionist Capitalist cabal, the Soviet Union dissolved itself between 1990 to 1991 CE – the phase II of WW II came to an end. Instead of serious introspection and course correction among ruling party officials and government departments to design policies keeping pace with socio-economic changes and technological changes, all these ‘reformist’ leaders decided that the best way to (personal?) growth was to join hands with Zionist-Capitalist world order after bringing down the governments ruled by their own party communist/socialist party.

By 2020 whole Europe and half of Asia had been occupied by the ‘benevolent’ Anglo-American NATO military who claimed that they guarantee ‘independence’ of those ‘liberated countries’ from the clutch of ‘authoritarian’ communism, and they also ensure that ‘liberal democratic capitalism’ version of empire will suck the land and citizens dry. No wonder, Soviet WW II war memorials and monuments have been systematically destroyed in east Europe – how long the Deep State would tolerate anti-zionist anti-capitalist flag hoisted by Soviet Red Army in Europe with immense sacrifices and sufferings by Soviet leaders, soldiers and people?

Concomitant with the complete control of all political parties (across the wide spectrum of their professed ideology) on both sides of the Atlantic: North America, South America, Europe, the discerning Zionist Capitalist cabal maintains a complex cobweb connecting all key members and rotating them from one role to another. Thus a retired Director of intelligence department of USA will occupy the chair of Chairman of a big financial investment firm as well as the role of a university Professor! The cabal maintains a carefully constructed façade where professionals from different spheres of society jointly appear as a highly educated, experienced and intelligent wing – industrialists, bankers, politicians, bureaucrats, military officials, business managers, legal and media professionals, academicians, NGO managers, cinema directors and artists all walks of life are present.

[ Link: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-10/does-bilderberg-really-run-world-one-chart-help-you-decide ]

Interlude?

After Soviet Union was pulled down, the corrupt and treacherous Soviet leaders and their lackeys backed by the Zionist Capitalist oligarchy and elites ripped apart the socio-economic fabric of Russian society. The state exchequer was looted blatantly, the natural resources were divided among the Soviet elites-turned-businessmen, the industrial capital largely destroyed or privatised without any meaningful payment to state, workers were retrenched or pauperised without regular wages, and peasants were left without proper means of cultivation. Not only peoples tried to earn livelihood offering sex-drug-smuggling etc., but steep drop in birth rates across all splinter provinces of USSR made it to appear like entire Eurasian landmass will get depopulated within two generations. The Deep State also tried to split Russia (which, after the USSR dissolution, became largest state in Eurasia) into 4 – 5 regions through creating and aiding regional separatist movements with help of the 5th column elites and oligarchy within Russia. Without funding, military capabilities of Russia went into oblivion. Technological research and development as well as manufacturing of defence machinery came to a dead end. Demoralised troops and open corruption became symbolic of Russian military.

So, were the different factions of Zionist Capitalist cabal content with the successful closure of the WW II by 1991? What were they thinking about the glaring failure of destroying the CPC rule in China? Apparently, the Deep State was not only happy with their performance in destroying the CPSU and Soviet Union, they were also very confident about China becoming a ‘normal country’ with full-scale liberal democratic capitalist system of economy and periodic elections to elect governments that will be run by the Zionist Capitalist world order staying behind the curtain (as it happened for all countries in the world in 1992 except China-Vietnam-North Korea-Iran-Zimbabwe-Angola-Cuba). We need to ask ourselves, how the Deep State was so confident that China will be on board with them.

1978 onwards the drive towards industrial capitalism in China using the global finance owned by the Zionist Capitalist bankers and industrialists was initiated by Deng and followed up by Jiang Zemin in such earnestness that, the Deep State representatives like Kissinger and Financial Institutions like JP Morgan had to conclude that Chinese acumen for business and trade will transform the society into a capitalist society. Japan was anyway part of the world order triad i.e. USA-West Europe-Japan, and with China’s entry, the triad would have become USA-West Europe-East Asia. Chinese government went all-out to create a ‘happy hunting ground’ for global Zionist Capitalist interests which wanted more and more profits towards endless accumulation of capital, and hence were busy shifting their manufacturing base to China to harness low-cost labour and slack regulations. By 2008, i.e. after 30 years of reform, China became third largest economy in terms of GDP nominal (as per IMF estimates USD 4604 billion) and largest export base in the world (In 2007-2008, its Export-to-GDP ratio reached 32%, and its Exim-to-GDP ratio was 59%), but it also became a society where inequality was one of the highest in the world – China’s Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality – ‘0’ represents perfect equality, ‘1’ represents perfect inequality) rose from about 0.3 in early 1980s to 0.49 in 2008. The media, academia, multilateral institutions funded by the Deep State went all-out to woo the CPC leaders towards ushering a new era of ‘political reforms’ after such a brilliant success of ‘economic reforms’ – by ‘political reforms’ they meant introduction of multi-party election system and privatisation of the state-owned enterprises. After one and a half decades of persuasion, by middle of 2000s the Deep State cabal understood that, CPC never ever had any such plan of changing their ideology of political economy.

And about the same time in 2007 Munich Security Conference, Putin as the leader of Russia, delivered his famous Munich speech. In no uncertain terms, Putin criticized USA’s hegemonic dominance and its “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations“. That speech came as a shocker to the Zionist Capitalist clique – it was like waking up from a slumber. All these years they thought WW II was over with Soviet Union completely decimated – after 16 years they had the ignominy of attending a conference on European soil, where a Russian leader was chastising them about use of force in settling disputes!

Actually 2000 onwards, there had been relentless sole-searching among top leadership of Russia. It was about the overall decay of Russia within a span of just 10 years – between 1985 and 1995. As a result, the Russian government and a section of ruling party led by Putin has been pushing economic policies that created new consumer goods industry and improved agricultural production, enhanced the oil-gas extraction operation. Within few years’ time Russia got on its feet and created an economy based on ‘domestic consumption’ and pushed export of oil-gas to earn foreign exchange. However, the Zionist Capitalist oligarchy led by powerful faction of the ruling party was deeply entrenched in the bureaucracy, academia and media who supported (and benefited from) their illegal amassing of wealth. Corruption, nepotism, extortion among ruling party cadres and government officials, mostly went unpunished. Outward flow of capital and tax breaks for rich businessmen were also happening albeit at a slow pace. But noticing the overall upswing in Russian society the Deep State got alarmed – ‘filthy’ Russian bear is again cooking up some curry that may prove difficult to digest in long run!

Part 1

Part 3 – pending


By profession I’m an Engineer and Consultant, but my first love was and is History and Political Science. In retired life, I’m pursuing higher study in Economics.

I’m one of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site. Hope that this website will continue to focus on truth and justice in public life and will support the struggle of common people across the world.

An Indian by nationality, I believe in humanity.

Bridging China’s past with humanity’s future – Part 1

June 27, 2020

Bridging China’s past with humanity’s future – Part 1

by Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

This will be presented in 3 parts and in 3 different blog posts

PART – 1

1. INTRODUCTION

The world is tottering under the omnipresent virus covid19. Since January’2020, economic and sociological parameters went into a tailspin in one after another country across the globe. By end of year 2020, when the corona pandemic would be under control in all the top 25 countries (with GDP PPP more than 1 trillion $ in 2018, as per World Bank estimates), global economic fabric would have been torn apart with unheard of impact on society, few of which are:

  • millions of sick people will need medical care,
  • millions of unemployed people (and continuously growing) will need food and shelter,
  • at least one-third of the medium and large industrial and utility producing units will be financially sick, while close to half of the small scale units permanently closed down,
  • due to decline of overall purchasing power among the citizens, demand of manufactured products will decline dramatically with simultaneous upsurge of demand for medicines,
  • banking system will be under tremendous stress to renegotiate with their clients to reschedule loan repay and/or write-off loans,
  • Governments will be embarrassed with dwindling tax collection, large scale impoverishments which would accompany increasing unrest among common people

Under the above circumstances, what would be the action plan of the global oligarchy who collectively own banking and industrial sectors and who maintain the current unipolar world order through chosen members of the so-called (USA/5Eyes/Israel) Deep State? We need to remember that there exist nothing like ‘national capitalism’ – by virtue of its expansionary characteristic, ‘capitalism’ has always been global in outlook which resulted in ‘world system’ with industrially advanced society forming the ‘core’ and rest of the world forming the ‘periphery’. The global oligarchy has its interest in EVERY nook and corner of the globe. Deep State elites maintain strong economic and political alliances with almost all countries where, ALL significant political parties and large business houses of every hue and colours are joined through invisible covenant to continuously extend their support, and, in return get benefitted from the global oligarchy. (Cuba and North Korea are the exceptions owing to their overtly and fiercely ‘independent’ policy of governance; for past two decades, Russia-China-Iran-Venezuela governments are resisting the global oligarchy and their local partners with gusto.)

The answer to above question is – state policy and implementation of the same would be geared towards accumulation of capital in every country except the above mentioned six countries. Other than getting humongous sums as bailout packages from governments and share buy-back programmes through zero interest loan, the oligarchy (1% of the population) and flunky elites (5% to 15% of the population) has little interest in governance and support to common people in distress.

[ Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/21/american-billionaires-got-434-billion-richer-during-the-pandemic.html ]

A closer look reveals that, among those six ‘resistance camp’ countries, only China has both: landmass and population, that can be termed as ‘resources’ necessary to resist unipolar world order, roll back onward march of global capitalism, and simultaneously build a multipolar world order and more equitable society in close coordination with Russia. So it is natural to expect that China leads socio-economic rejuvenation of the world with full support from Russia. China is also well positioned to harness the strengths of Iran-North Korea-Cube-Venezuela. On behalf of peace-loving people who believe in truth-justice-equality, let me dig deeper into the proposition.

The journey will begin with review of Qing Chinese society as well as economy and industry of Qing era, then discuss the current Communist epoch, and end with future possibilities. Looking back is necessary, because a society which have a significant past would have a remarkable future as well.

2. CHINA IN QING ERA

While mentioning three successive empires: Yuan-Ming-Qing in late medieval and early modern China, it is often forgotten that, Yuan empire was divided into two parts: Ming and Northern Yuan empires, and most of the regions falling under these two empires were brought under control by Qing empire. Even though during the ‘century of humiliation’ starting from 1839 CE Qing empire gradually lost large territories in north-east, north, north-west as well as smaller tracts of land in the south and South China Sea, Qing empire should be given due credit for the following:

  1. Notwithstanding the preferential treatments meted out to the Manchu aristocrats, the Qing emperors transformed the Chinese empire as a multi-ethnic multi-language empire in official policy and procedures (in contrast to Ming era that was truly Han chinese in outlook), thereby creating a fundamental basis of a modern Chinese society. Starting in 1618 through renunciation of Ming overlordship and creating Manchu kingdom by Jurchen/Manchu tribal chief, by 1648 Qing dynasty formed by the Jurchen/Manchu tribal chief extended their control over most part of the erstwhile Ming empire through a military force in which Manchu Bannermen represented below 20% of the manpower while Han Bannermen made up more than 70%. This data amply represented the multi-ethnic character of Qing policies.
  2. The successive Qing emperors maintained warm relationship with all tributary states and protectorates until the onset of the ‘century of humiliation’ in 1839. Commentators and academicians who bring up Westphalian concept while discussing relationship between empires/kingdoms in pre-colonial Asia generally forget that Westphalian sovereignty was a concept that was necessary for and was derived under ‘feudal’ environment of medieval and early modern Europe. Except Japan, statecraft in Asian empires/kingdoms never introduced ‘feudalism’ in medieval and early modern Asia. Hence, the relationship between Qing empire and different categories of vassals had multiple vectors that can’t be seen through the Westphalian lens. Even though Qing empire didn’t lack manpower or military resources that would be necessary to directly rule over the vassals, they were comfortable with the tributary system (based on Confucian ideals) whereby different kingdoms surrounding the Chinese empire would accept Chinese emperor as the predominant authority of that part of the world, and the benevolent Chinese empire would guarantee the opportunity of peaceful trading and commerce across central, east and south-east Asia – this ensured continuation of the two millennium long exchange of goods-services-knowledge-culture between Asia and Europe.
  3. Continuation of the merit-based entry through examination system to the bureaucratic institutions and pre-eminence of Confucian family value system (both were adopted from earlier dynasties) ensured that Qing China stepped into the modern era keeping the fundamental socio-political basis of Chinese society intact. Both of these ancient Chinese practices are valued in all modern societies across world.

By the end of the 18th century, Qing empire commanded an area of around 14 million sq.km with estimated population of around 300 million. Qing society was divided into mainly five categories:

  • Bureaucratic Officials
  • Gentry elite aristocracy
  • Literati, scholar
  • Respectable “Commoner”
    • occupational group of farmers
    • occupational group of artisans
    • occupational group of merchants
  • Debased “Mean” people (slaves, bond-servants, entertainers like prostitutes, tattooed criminals, very low-level employees of government officials)

About 80% of total population were peasants. Landholding peasants were largest labour force with presence of insignificant number of hired (landless) labour. The state also recruited army personnel from rural population.

Agriculture and Land-use:

Agriculture sector was the largest source of employment in Chinese society. With private property rights over land, the farmers had natural incentive to produce more quantity and produce variety of crops. This resulted in increased factor productivity. Land owning peasantry also got benefitted from the state policy that supported hiring of labourers. On the other hand, tax from agriculture made up the largest share of state revenue. So, the landholding peasantry and fiscal-military state both had incentive for territorial expansion. And, the state often resettled farmers in new regions with material (seed and farming tools) and finance (free passage and tax holidays). By the 18th century the Han ‘refugees’ from northern China who were suffering from drought and flood were resettled in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia regions. The Han farmers farmed about 0.5 million hectares of privately owned land by Manchu elites in Manchuria and about 200,000 hectares of lands that were part of noble estates and Banner lands.

There were other innovative actions as well – introduction of maize and sweet potatoes, double cropping, fertilizer such as bean-cakes, re-introduction of early-ripening rice – that helped to increase productivity and conversion of marginal land into regular farm land. A system of monitoring grain prices helped the rulers to eliminate severe shortages, as well as to eliminate hoarding and price shock to the consumers.

The farmers on the basis of a high-yield agriculture produced a constant and sizeable ‘surplus’ that ensured development of market economy in (medieval and) early modern China. Historians estimate that up to one-third of China’s post-tax agricultural output was subject to market exchange. This surplus also became the basis of growth and development of other sectors in the economy.

Trade and Commerce:

For the first time, a large percentage of farming households began producing crops for sale in the local and national markets rather than for their own consumption or barter in the traditional economy. Surplus crops were placed onto the national market for sale, integrating farmers into the commercial economy from the ground up. This naturally led to regions specializing in certain cash-crops for export as China’s economy became increasingly reliant on inter-regional trade of bulk staple goods such as cotton, grain, beans, vegetable oils, forest products, animal products, and fertilizer.

Merchant class functioned within the state-imposed boundary. At the apex of the market structure, the state controlled key commodities like salt, wine, iron and steel etc. Qing state refused new mining rights to private merchants. Foreign trade was controlled by the state, participated by both state and private merchants. So the Chinese merchant class was left with unrestricted platform to engage in commercial transactions at village level (surplus-based market exchange with farmers) and at region level (estimated around 1,000–1,500 such regions in Qing empire). Trade between markets at the village level, region level, and province levels developed into a network covering much of Qing empire. Hence, the merchant class became very wealthy but lacked the strength (as a class) to influence the economy and state politics.

Merchant guilds proliferated in all growing cities in China who sourced manufactured items (by artisans and commoners) like textile, handicraft, ceramics, silk, paper, stationary, cooking utensils. More efficient administration of the Grand Canal created new opportunities for private merchants who could transport goods easily within Qing empire. It has been estimated that in the early nineteenth century, as much as one-third of the world’s total manufactures were produced by China. Though In 1685 the state opened maritime trade for the merchants along the coast by establishing customs offices in port cities like Guangzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, due to internal political moves such trade arrangement was abandoned. By the time when maritime trade was again made legal, trade with west Europe grew to such an extent that, Canton alone housed more than forty mercantile houses. China primarily imported war horses (for the army), and metals (for currency). China exported silk, ceramics, textiles, metal products (made of iron, copper, bronze etc.), non-metal handicrafts, tea. Trade between China and Europe grew at an average annual rate of 4% between 1719 and 1806. Qing state established the Canton System in 1756 CE that restricted maritime trade to Canton/Guangzhou and gave monopoly trading rights to private Chinese merchants. European merchant ‘companies’ British East India Company and Dutch East India Company had been granted similar monopoly rights by their governments long ago. In the early modern era, demand in Europe for Chinese goods were met through import for which payments were made by silver (sourced by European colonial powers from western hemisphere colonies). Resulting inflow of silver expanded the money supply, facilitating the growth of competitive and stable markets. Thus China had gradually shifted to silver as the standard currency for large scale transactions and by the beginning of 18th century collection of the land tax was done in silver. Since China was self-sufficient in all types of consumer goods, very low import caused imbalance of trade vis-à-vis Europe, which in turn resulted in drain of silver from European powers. British East India Company started importing opium into China. Import of opium into China were paid for by silver – It is estimated that between 1821 and 1840, as much as one-fifth of the silver circulating in China was used to purchase opium. Alarmed with both over the outflow of silver and damage that opium smoking was causing to Chinese people, emperor ordered to end the opium trade, which started the conflicts with European powers in 1839 CE.

Apart from short-term credit systems, offering house and farm land as collateral to raise long-term money was also present. But, community and state interference with such contracts by blocking land transfers from debtors to creditors was one of the significant factors that displacement and dispossession (basis of ‘capitalistic’ primitive accumulation) never took root in China.

Due to ‘equal opportunity’ meritocracy and social mobility, the talented youth were generally drawn towards literati and officialdom (‘Pan’ family of Anhui transformed from one of wealthiest merchant family to powerful family of bureaucrats within two centuries). Merchant class was not considered as sufficiently suave which can attract talented people. They could not rival the influence of large landholding aristocracy notwithstanding localised influence of very rich merchants. Instead, the existence of factor markets for land allowed merchants to join the landholding class.

Some merchants with entrepreneurship zeal migrated to the European colonial outposts like Manila, Macau, Jakarta to avoid empire’s policies which were Confucian (assigning merchants and other commoners same level who deserved equal treatment from the state as a patriarch).

Early Banking:

Copper coins were used for everyday transactions, while silver was used for larger transactions as well as for payment of tax to the government. Apart from monetary conversion the money-changers also provided credit, and rudimentary banking services. Remittance banks evolved during this period that would take cash deposits from merchant in one place and issue remittance certificates, which the merchant could then take elsewhere to pay his supplier. That person would in turn go to bank in his vicinity and exchange the certificate for coins. By the 18th century there was a vast network of such banks which played a stellar role for development of commercial activity in China.

Development of Trade Towns:

Due to the commercialization of the surplus agricultural products as well as booming ‘cottage industry’ (if I may say so), merchants were involved in inter-region and inter-province trades with help of long-distance transportation network. Towns popped up as commercial centres to direct the flow of domestic trade. As more and more people travelled, ‘guild halls’ came up in market-towns for lodging and boarding of those people which included merchants, buyers, and sellers. It has been that about 45,000 market towns developed, some of which became home to some of the merchants.

During mid-17th century guild halls were introduced for more specific purpose – to facilitate craftsmen and artisans of specific sectors like textiles weaving, carpentry, medicine, iron and steel work. Thus those guild halls acted as nucleus of industrial-towns, which further developed into large cities with real estate, water supply, sewerage system etc.

Similarities & Dissimilarities with Western Europe:

In 18th century Qing era, the standards of living in south and east regions of China reached a high level which was comparable with wealthy regions of 19th century Western Europe. As per renowned Historians-cum-Sinologists key factors were ‘(1) the rationality of private property rights-led growth, (2) total factor productivity growth associated with China’s green revolutions from Han to Ming-Qing and the economic revolution under Song dynasty, and (3) China’s export capacity (hence China’s surplus output) and China’s silver imports (hence purchasing power of China’s surplus)’.

Ken Pomeranz showed that the core productive regions in China and West Europe both faced major bottlenecks in the form of land and energy constraints in the 19th century. A combination of domestic and international factors as well as much luck enabled England to overcome these challenges and embark on a capital-intensive path of industrialization. As per Pomeranz, two major factors here were ‘(1) the conveniently located coal reserves, which, being near the core areas helped Britain escape its energy constraints more easily, and (2) Britain’s coercive colonization of the western hemisphere, which served as a source of land-intensive goods such as cotton, sugar and grain, while at the same time providing a market for its manufactured goods. In China, where coal reserves were not as readily available, and a policy of coercive colonization, which could provide it with free land, was absent, ecological constraints led to a turn to labour-intensive agriculture.’

Yet another line of thought considers (1) families of ‘strong, urban, entrepreneurial class capable of concentrating the agrarian surplus to foster a capitalist-industrial’ were absent in China unlike in UK, (2) In both agriculture and cottage industry sectors the Qing emperors’ policy of conflict-containment (between landlord and tenant, between owner and labour) contained appeasing and accommodating attitude towards the tenants and labours (very much unlike the UK where merchants, landlords and entrepreneurs received unconditional support from state) which ultimately were detrimental to accumulation of capital.

Socio-economic indicators:

As per Maddison, percentage share of global GDP and GDP per Capita of China, West Europe, and USA:

YearChinaGDPChinaGDP per CapitaWest EuropeGDPWest Europe GDP per CapitaUSAGDPUSAGDP per Capita
150024.91.115.51.4
182033.00.920.41.91.81.8
19406.40.327.52.520.63.6

As per Allen, and Pomeranz, select socio-economic indicators in early-modern China and England:

CountryAverage Life Expectancy at Birth in mid-18th centuryAverage Calorie Intake/male/dayin 19th centuryLand Productivity 1806 to 1820 CE (Pound/Acre)Labour Productivity 1806 to 1820 CE (Pence/Day)
China35 to 39About 260026.151.3
England31 to 342000 to 35003.360.9

Significant observations on Qing China:

1. Even though Chinese society maintained a robust lead over rest of the world in science and technology (as conclusively shown by Joseph Needham) including metallurgy, porcelain, gunpowder, compass, silk, paper, block printing, water turbine, herbal medicines and many other areas, China was slow to catch up with the technology behind (a) industrial machinery, (b) transportation systems, (c) military arms developed in West Europe since mid-18th century

2. By end-18th century when territorial expansion stopped, population continued a healthy growth. Due to prevailing equal-inheritance practice, farm-owners started facing the problem of a shrinking farm that resulted in decreasing prosperity among farmer class, which finally reflected in less than expected tax realisation by the Chinese state. Combination of key factors like (a) the organised hooliganism and colonialism of European trading companies, (b) internal discontent and rebellion among the common people, and (c) territorial competition with Russian and Japanese empire, proved fatal after 1840 CE

3. With a thriving agriculture and a splendid cottage industry that catered domestic demands China mostly needed war horses and metals to be imported. This was in direct contrast to West European states who needed consumer goods to be imported from China but couldn’t offer goods to be exported to maintain somewhat balance in trade, so they brought in opium. Qing administration should have analysed this problematic trading relation beforehand to take necessary actions to forestall such developments

4. The debate among a large number of Historians and Sinologists about ‘why China couldn’t develop capitalism before West Europe’ continues till date. The fact of the matter is that, the social-economic-political checks and balances that existed in China since 1st millennium BCE (largely due to pervasive Confucian thought in Mandarin Chinese mainland as well as Buddhist thought in Mongolian-Tibetan dominated regions) were diametrically opposite to concept of the so-called ‘animal spirit’ of zionist capitalism. The wealthy landlord and merchant class in China could never pursue profit and endless accumulation of capital by controlling state super-structure. However, the hard-working and merit-based dynamic society of China allowed commercialization, trading, proto-industrialization, and urbanization in a big way since medieval Song era.

3. CHINA IN MAO ERA

Since mid-19th century, one-after-another onslaught by the west European colonialist powers, and Russian-Japanese empires devastated China: first the Qing empire up to 1911, then the Nationalist China up to 1945. Overcoming the ‘century of humiliation’, through armed struggle and huge loss of life, the Chinese Communist Party seized state power in mainland China in 1949. Mao Zedong lost his wife, a son, two brothers, and sister, Zhou Enlai lost all his children, while Zhu De found decapitated head of his pregnant wife nailed to the city gate. At the time, China was a backward agrarian economy with widespread poverty, lawlessness and illiteracy; of its five hundred million people, eight in every ten people were illiterate, one in every eight people was drug addict. It was a time when peasants had to give away two-thirds of their produce in rent/tax, and people sold themselves to avoid starvation.

One can only look back at 1949 China with bewildering awe about how the Peoples’ Liberation Army completed their task of liberation under Mao and his comrades, which culminated with CPC’s emphatic take-over of state power. No other revolutionary leader, anywhere in the world till date, could mobilise such vast number of his countrymen through such enormous hardships for decades. Initial acts were swift and effective. The banking system was nationalized and People’s Bank of China became the central bank for the country. The government tightened credit, established value of the currency, implemented centrally controlled government budgets – all of these ensured that inflation was under strict control. CPC undertook a land reform programme through which 45% of the arable land were redistributed to the 65% of peasant families who owned little or no land. These peasants were encouraged to form sort of mutual aid teams among 7-8 households. CPC also nationalised most of the industrial units as soon as they came to power. By 1952, 17% of the industrial units were outside state-owned enterprises compared to about 65% during Kuo Mindang government.

The First Five-Year Plan (1953–57) followed the Soviet Union model which assigned primacy to development of heavy industry. Government of China controlled about 67% as directly state-owned enterprise and 33% as joint state-private enterprise. There was no more privately owned company. Key sectors like Coal and Iron ore mining, Electricity generation, Heavy Machinery manufacturing, Iron and Steel manufacturing, Cement manufacturing etc. were modernised by construction of hundreds of new factories with help from engineers sent by Soviet Union. Growth of industrial production increased at average rate of 19% per year during this period. During this period, more than 90% of cottage/handicraft industries were organized into cooperatives.

The agricultural sector however didn’t perform as per expectation and only clocked average growth rate of 4% per year. From loosely constructed ‘mutual aid teams’, peasants were encouraged to form ‘cooperatives’, in which individual families still received some income on the basis of their contribution of land. In the next stage, ‘collectives’ were formed on which income was based only on the amount of labour contributed by each family. In addition, each family was allowed to retain a small plot to grow vegetables and fruit for their personal consumption. By 1957 the collectivization process covered 93% of all farm households.

Second Five-Year Plan (1958–62) was abandoned. The leadership introduced new set of policies, and decided to engage entire population to produce a “great leap” in production for all sectors of the economy at once. 3-tier Communes were built to spearhead quantum jump in agricultural produce – at the top level commune central administration, at the next level 20 or more production brigades represented by the old ‘collectives’, and the last tier production team that consisted of about 30 families of village. They attempted to build vast irrigation network by employing unemployed and underemployed farmers – final objective was to increase the agricultural output and employment. Similarly, surplus rural labour was also employed in thousands of small-scale, low-technology, industrial projects in rural areas – final objective was enhancement in industrial and agricultural output and employment. Such small scale industry (including steel making furnaces) were also run by communes. The communes proved to be too bulky to carry out administrative functions efficiently. As a result of economic mismanagement, and unfavourable weather for two years, food production in 1960 and 1961 plunged. As a result, China faced a famine – in 1960 the death rate was 2.54% compared to average death rate of 1.14% registered during 1957 and 1958.

In 1958 industrial growth was 55%, in 1961 it was 38%. By 1962 overall economic collapse propelled the leadership to devise a new set of economic policies. Agricultural taxes were reduced, supplies of chemical fertilizer increased, agricultural machinery were made available, procurement prices for agricultural products were raised, the role of the commune central administration was significantly reduced, and private farming plots were restored. In industry, planning was again emphasized, import of technologically advanced foreign machinery started, hydro-electric power plants were setup, old plants were refurbished, chemical fertilizer plants and agro-machinery plants were setup in large numbers. Between 1961 and 1966, average annual growth of industrial output surpassed 10% while agricultural output grew at an average rate more than 9% a year.

The Cultural Revolution, a political upheaval whereby Mao re-established control over the party by pushing aside the right-of-centre and left-of-centre factions of CPC. It didn’t produce major changes in official economic policies or the basic economic model. Nonetheless, the disturbances affected urban society which impacted about 14% decline in industrial production in 1967. By 1969 industrial sector returned to a normal growth rate. Fourth Five-Year Plan (1971-1975) saw resumption of systematic economic growth especially in industrial sector (with new plants setup for Petroleum Exploration and Refinery, Fertilizer, Steel, building materials, Chemicals etc.). Petroleum and Coal were exported since the beginning of 1970s. With industrial sector average rate of 8% and agricultural sector average rate of 3.8% it was clear that, contrary to popular image Mao era targeted industrial growth as the top priority.

CPC leadership re-evaluated the economic state of affairs and Zhou Enlai presented a report to the Fourth National People’s Congress in Jan’1975. He formulated the famous ‘Four Modernizations’ policy targeting agriculture, industry, defence, science and technology. By 1976, when both Mao and Zhou departed, foundation for a strong self-reliant country had been built, and mainland China had (1) a very large, and healthy labour force having basic education, (2) a huge battery of state-owned industrial enterprises across sectors, (3) infrastructure, power, communication required for further economic growth, (4) an economy burdened by extremely low external debt (2.99% of gross national income as of 1981).

Socio-economic indicators:

Except three interludes – Great Leap Forward (1958–60), Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–69), and post-Mao political struggle (1976–78) – different sectors of the Chinese economy (agriculture, mining, manufacturing) experienced healthy growth, albeit with quite difficulty aroused out of frequent policy changes. Economists estimate that during the period 1952–1978, China’s real GDP per capita grew at a robust 4% average annual rate, the industrial share of GDP rose from 20.9% in 1952 to 47.9% in 1978 (as per Chinese National Bureau of Statistics), industrial labour productivity grew by 236.7% and agricultural labour productivity growth was only 25.5% over the same period, the fraction of the labour force in agriculture declined from 83% to 75% with the value added produced in agriculture declined from 78% in 1953 to 30% in 1977, household consumption grew by only 2.3% annually, retail prices for consumer goods grew at an average rate of 0.6% a year. Life expectancy at birth improved from 43.5 years in 1960 to 66.5 years in 1978, according to World Bank data.

YearGDP Nominal(Billion USD)GDP per Capita(USD)Population(Billion)
195230.55540.569
196059.72890.667
197092.601130.818
1977174.941850.943

Significant observations on Mao China:

1. Treading on the same path taken by Soviet Union, 1949 onwards China went on to implement a mode of production which was essentially ‘state capitalism’. Soviet Union as a state was the owner of the means of production and ‘commodity’ (which by definition is integrated with exchange-value i.e. ‘price’ in the ‘market’) that were produced. Following similar model, China created a new economy that also revolved around commodity production by state-owned enterprises, agricultural output production by state-owned communes and accumulation of capital by the state (through extraction of surplus from the rural agriculture and light industry). In Soviet Union and China, the ideologues termed it ‘socialist commodity’, however, socialism’ can’t theoretically accommodate production of ‘commodity’ that inherently refers to ‘market’.

In fact as Marxism suggests, the concepts of ‘commodity’, ‘market’, ‘capital’ and ‘surplus capital’ are intricately joined with ‘ownership’ of means of production. Marx and Engels were clear that these concepts don’t have place in socialist/communist society. It is not true that ownership pertains to only ‘private’ citizens, even ‘state’ can own assets to be used as ‘capital’ and the profits out of business gets appropriated by the state authority and close followers.  Undoubtedly, Stalin and Mao being the most committed followers of philosophy and ideology of Marx-Engels-Lenin, were well aware of the final destination of the Marxist journey. Why then both of them set out to accumulate capital in the state treasuries? We will come back to this question again in the last part of this hypothesis in section 5.

2. The central planning system initially adopted from Soviet Union, was the punching bag for CPC leaders whenever they reviewed the planned-vs.-achieved results and found variance (actual results were less than planned). The centralised economic planning as a concept was correct – there were shortcomings in the execution process. Firstly, sector-wise prioritization should have been done that reflects the reality in the society – Chinese society being overwhelmingly agrarian, the 1st Five Year Plan should have assigned primary importance to agriculture and next level of importance to light industry, heavy machinery being at the last layer of importance. Secondly, centralised economic planning needs accurate and complete set of data – China being a vast country with wide regional differences in weather, natural resources, social norms, demography, occupation, infrastructure etc., compilation of complete and correct and data for planning process 70 years back was much more complex than we can imagine today. Thirdly, in reality the central planning was a top-down process albeit with participation of all concerned ministries and departments. In a large country like China, bottom-up would have been a better approach.

3. Government introduced hukou system (originated in medieval China) in 1958 through which all rural households got registered through which the family members will get entitlement for housing, education, medical care in the place of their registered birthplace. In a way government controlled migration of rural population towards urban and semi-urban regions. Intellectuals who value human rights as inalienable natural right, termed this system as draconian. However, such arrangements were highly effective in controlling large-scale migration of unemployed rural people to urban areas causing socio-economic problem in both rural and urban areas.

4. The revolutionary spirit of Mao knew no bounds. Undoubtedly, he was right in emphasizing that, (a) not only economic sphere needs transformation from capitalism to socialism, but cultural sphere of society equally calls for such transformation, (b) the proletarian revolution has a long way to go. Time and again he became impatient with policies that were developed by him and his team earlier. Possibly Mao was oblivious of the fact that, frequent changes in political and economic policy would leave a trail of inefficiency, maybe he was not. During the second half of 1950s, the decisive rejection of Stalin’s achievements by CPSU, dampening of Leninist ideals, and withdrawal of all kinds of Soviet support from China made Mao deeply perceptive of the overall challenges on the way to build socialism in a country– this alone can explain Mao’s vacillation in policy issues and in-depth deliberations on socio-cultural aspects of socialist revolution (a territory, which was much less travelled by Lenin and Stalin). Thus Mao delved into too many intangible factors (apart from political economy) that would influence the final outcome of a complete communist transformation of any society.

4. CHINA IN DENG ERA

After a brief struggle for leadership, Deng Xiaoping took control of CPC in 1978. At the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC held in December’1978 in Beijing, the majority party leaders decided to undertake reform and opening up of economy. They repudiated the Cultural Revolution of Mao era. The reform, as Deng proposed, would develop productive forces through increasing role of market mechanisms and reducing role of government planning.

Agricultural production was stimulated by an increase of over 22% in the procurement prices paid to the peasants for farm produces. The commune system was decollectivized but the state still owned the land and household responsibility system was introduced in agriculture starting in 1979 – individual farming families would get ‘right to use’ on plots of land (divided from old ‘communes’) from government, earn profit by selling their products on the market in lieu of delivering a small contractual amount of produce to the state as taxes. This arrangement increased productivity through the profit incentives for the farmers, and about 98% of farm households were brought under this system by 1984. In 1985, by employing 63% of the country’s labour force the agricultural sector achieved 33% of the GNP, agricultural production got increased by about 25%. Among agricultural produces grains like rice, wheat, corn, barley, millet, cash crops like oil seeds, sugarcane, cotton, jute, fruits, vegetables, poultry and pigs were primarily produced by peasant families. Though efficiency of agriculture sector improved a lot with all arable plots producing at least one crop per year, and under favourable conditions two or three crops a year, fundamental problems remained as before – small farm size, and inadequate agriculture equipment.

Apart from a significant category of small handicraft/cottage industry, light industries formed second category while large industry category included Power plants, Petroleum Refineries, Petrochemicals, Chemicals, Fertilizers, Textile, Steel, Cement, and Automobile. Reforms targeted in urban industrial regions. In industrial sectors, state-owned industries received permission to sell production above the ‘plan quota’ at market at prevailing market prices, as well as received affirmation to experiment with the bonuses to reward higher productivity among employees. Industrial Responsibility System introduced in mid-1980s allowed individuals or groups to manage the state-owned enterprise by entering into contract with government. Private businesses (which almost disappeared after the Cultural Revolution) were allowed to operate and price flexibility was introduced, and gradually private ownership enterprises began to make up a greater percentage of industrial output. Bringing in modern business enterprise management process, government allowed managers to gain control over their business operation including recruitment and layoff (with approval from bureaucrats and CPC). Industrial sector generated around 46% of GNP in 1985 by employing only about 17% of the total labour force in China. Enterprises further got incentive when in 1985 the policy of retaining the net profit (after payment of tax-on-profit to government) within the enterprise was made across China. On banking and financing also there were policy changes – bank loans were made available to the enterprises at a very low interest which would have to be paid back to banks. Budgetary support by government was reduced. For industries, foreign trade procedures were made much easier; (soon special economic zones would be launched to be in the forefront of the boom in foreign trade). The effect of profit-driven competitive environment on working class people was that, many enterprises slowly replaced permanent employment with short-term contractual job as well as eliminated welfare packages for workers – this impacted industrial workers’ living standard and social security negatively.

Perhaps the most sweeping policy decision taken by Deng related to the open door policy for foreign investment. Starting in January’1979, Chinese government created initial 5 special economic zones (SEZ) in Shantou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai (all in Guangdong province), Xiamen (in Fujian province), and Hainan province where many additional infrastructure, fiscal incentives, and freedom from too many bureaucratic regulations were provided to foreign investors for setting up industry. Primarily geared to exporting goods, the five SEZs housed foreign joint ventures with Chinese companies as well as fully owned foreign companies. In 1984, China opened 14 coastal cities to MNC investment: Dalian (Liaoning province), Qinhuangdao (Hebei province), Tianjin, Yantai, Qingdao (both in Shandong province), Lianyungang, Nantong (both in Jiangsu province), Shanghai, Ningbo, Wenzhou (both in Zhejiang province), Fuzhou (Fujian province), Guangzhou, Zhanjiang (both in Guangdong province), and Beihai (in Guangxi province). Beginning in 1985, new economic zones were established in Liaodong peninsula, Hebei province, Shandong peninsula, Yangtze river delta, Pearl river delta, Xiamen-Zhangzhou-Quanzhou in southern Fujian province, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. In the post-Deng era, these regions became high-power engines of economic growth and technological breakthroughs for the Chinese economy.

The open door policy changed the landscape of foreign trade in China. Before the reforms, combined exports-imports in 1969 was 15% of GDP; with reforms in 1984 it became about 20% and in 1986 it reached 35% of GNP. Textiles, Petroleum, and foodstuff were main export goods while machinery, transport equipment, and chemicals were key import items. By 1986, Japan became the dominant trading partner accounting for 28.9% of imports and 15.2% of exports. During the same time, USA appeared on the horizon as the third largest overall trade partner, next only to Hong Kong which accounted for 13% of imports and 31.6% of exports. Under Deng, the SEZ and foreign trade became significant tools for both foreign direct investment (FDI) and modern technology. Most interesting part of China’s industrial drive was ‘technology transfer’. While historically China was always on the forefront of applied science and technology, as the 18th century was drawing to a close China was slowing down in the technology race compared to west Europe – hence Deng made it a point that following the ‘four modernisation’ programme China should rapidly close the technology gap by upgrading old mining and manufacturing plants as well as installing plants with sophistication.

Apart from huge coal reserves, China had substantial reserves of natural gas. With many rivers running across the country, hydroelectric potential was among the largest in the world. Large number of coal-fired thermal power plants and large hydroelectric projects were undertaken by the government to generate electric energy necessary for a thriving industrial economy.

Undoubtedly Deng’s overall reform programme accomplished very impressive success, but it also gave rise to several serious socio-economic problems – rise of factions attached to neoliberal free-market political economy within CPC, managerial autonomy in state owned and private owned enterprises, rampant corruption, economic crime, widening income disparities, uncontrolled inflation, and large scale moral deterioration. These concerns created huge storm within CPC and party general secretary Hu Yaobang was forced to resign in 1987. The left-of-centre faction of CPC stalled some of the reform programmes. Student leaders mainly based in Beijing and Shanghai who were fascinated by the neoliberal free-market ideology, pointed out to such socio-economic issues in the then Chinese society and built a movement (supported by the Zionist Capitalist Deep State) that aimed at toppling the CPC rule. The People’s Liberation Army was mobilised to break seize by protesting students at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June’1989.

In November and December of 1990 Deng reopened the Shanghai Stock Exchange and established the Shenzhen Stock Exchange respectively. Party Congress in 1992 echoed Deng’s views while stating that China’s key task ahead would be to create a ‘socialist market economy’. And, in 1992 Deng undertook ‘southern tour’ during which he underscored the need to continue reforms to open up the economy. Through these actions Deng re-established control over the party (which was weakened in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square protests) by pushing aside the far-left and left-of-centre factions of CPC. Deng made Jiang Zemin the CCP’s new top leader. A new round of market reforms was initiated. Private enterprises and enterprises owned by the local governments took advantage of easy loans from state-owned banks to expand their business. This again caused inflation and fiscal deficit during 1993. New policy of floating exchange rate and convertibility for renminbi caused about 33% devaluation of renminbi. Foreign Direct Investment was further encouraged and capital inflows to China poured. Economy cooled down after enterprises owned by local governments transferred a larger portion of revenue to the central government, and bank credits were tightened. Exports surged due to devaluation. In 1996, the economy grew at around 9.5% accompanied by low inflation.

Working on the free trade and economic zone policy after 1990, the government opened the Pudong New Area in Shanghai and cities in Yangtze river delta to overseas investment. Since 1992 the government opened more border cities and capital cities of provinces and autonomous regions.

The total number of industrial enterprises rose from 377,300 in 1980 to nearly 8 million in 1990. During the Deng era, higher levels of inflation appeared with reduced government controls – in 1980 consumer prices rose by 7.5% while in 1985 the increase was 11.9% going down to 7.6% in 1986. In 1995 China exported 24.7 billion USD to USA and 149 billion USD to rest of the world. In 1997, the year when Deng departed, share of private consumption in GDP was only around 43% while share of exports in GDP was around 22%.

Changing socio-economic indicators:

Economists John Whalley and Xiliang Zhao estimated the impressive performance of Chinese economy (using Barro-Lee approach) between 1978 and 1999:

  • Output growth rate – 9.72%
  • Growth rate in Input
    • physical capital – 7.30%
    • labour – 2.03%
    • human capital (represented by average years of schooling) – 2.81%
  • Growth rate in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) – 3.64%
  • Contribution to GDP growth
    • physical capital – 36.35%
    • labour – 10.78%
    • human capital – 14.95%
    • TFP – 37.93%
YearGDP Nominal(Billion USD)GDP per Capita(USD)Population(Billion)
1980306.173120.98
1990394.573481.135
1997961.607821.23

Significant observations on Deng China:

1. The 14th National Communist Party Congress held in the year 1992 not only backed Deng’s continuous push for market reforms but they thought that China was on the way to create a ‘socialist market economy’. This was the official expression of CPC to document their push for reform using market forces. I doubt, if such terminology existed in pre-Deng China or in pre-Gorbachev Soviet Union.

Again, as the Marxist theory proposed, socialism would be antithesis to market-driven economy which had been propelled by capitalistic mode of production. In capitalist society the ‘factor of production’ would be sourced from ‘market’ and commodity would be sold in the ‘market’. In socialist parlance, concept of market shouldn’t exist irrespective of whether the concept is proposed by any faction within the communist party: ‘left’, ‘right’, or ‘centre’. It was, primarily, the inability of the then CPC leadership to reorganise and galvanize the rural and urban economy to unleash the productive forces; instead they got into the ‘market economy’ which was the engine of ‘mercantile’-‘agrarian’-‘industrial’ versions of capitalism that took root in west European societies since 16th century.

2. Deng was the great architect of what can be termed as the ‘Chinese juggernaut for export’. China’s market reform was undertaken much later compared to Japan and other Asian Tigers. Beginning in the 1980s the late-coming exporter did a splendid job of absorbing huge amount of investment and latest manufacturing technology. Relatively stagnant urban living standards and falling rural living standards resulted in massive transfer of rural labour into the growing export sector. Additionally, the state-owned enterprises already had disciplined, educated, and skilled labour force that made the entry of big Multi-National Corporations (MNC) easy into Chinese market – giants like Boeing, Toyota started their businesses in China through collaboration with Chinese state-owned enterprises who were in same sector of aircraft or automobile. This environment was another legacy of the Mao era. China’s attractiveness to global capital was further enhanced by persistently low level of workers’ wage compared to other Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, as well as the competitive pressure among local provinces who raced with one another to achieve high GDP growth by offering favourable terms possible to foreign investors (ranging from tax breaks to free industrial land).

While China went on to build world’s largest export-dependent economy in 2000s, unlike Japan and other Asian Tigers who built on the basis of private-owned enterprises, Chinese government depended on both: state-owned and private-owned enterprises to manufacture and to export an amazing range of consumer goods to every nook and corner of the world. Deng foresaw this economic boom that provided much needed upliftment of living standard of millions of educated Chinese. However, Chinese economy couldn’t avoid the short-term economic hardships unleashed by such rapid reforms to push export-oriented economy.

3. Far from being a follower of liberal capitalist political thought, Deng was a committed socialist unlike many top leaders of Soviet Union at that point of time. Researchers should remember that for Deng, ‘market economy’ was ‘a method of using black cat to catch mice instead of using a red cat’, and capability development in China would follow the policy ‘hide your strength, bide your time’. In my opinion, Deng didn’t have ever any doubt on the final outcome of the Marxist view that, the final history will be written by the classless communist society. Hence, his advice to build strength.

While authorising the deployment of PLA forces to remove the protesting student by force from Tiananmen Square in 1989, Deng was clear that the leadership of protesting students were liberal capitalist ideologues who was trying to bring down the CPC rule in China using the discontent among the people about corruption-inflation-nepotism. Had Deng and most other senior leadership believed an iota of liberal capitalist philosophy, by 1991, words like ‘socialism’, ‘communism’, ‘Marxism’ would have been completely erased from even the written history of civilization.

Part 2 – pending

Part 3 – pending


By profession I’m an Engineer and Consultant, but my first love was and is History and Political Science. In retired life, I’m pursuing higher study in Economics.

I’m one of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site. Hope that this website will continue to focus on truth and justice in public life and will support the struggle of common people across the world.

An Indian by nationality, I believe in humanity.

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution

March 31, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

While the concept of class warfare is verboten and greeted with expressions of bewilderment and fear in the West, at least now everyone is familiar with the 99% versus the 1%. However, this is really too facile an analysis.

It would be more accurate to talk of the “not-so-talented, toadying” 10% versus the 90%. But while this can prove quite accurate for neo-imperial clients, a genuine rise of the middle class in the West renders it less accurate than this distinction:

Today’s “proletariat” is Mao’s “property-less class”. This is easily understood – the propertied class has lives which are more stable by orders of magnitude.

I am a socialist and I want property – this is not a contradiction. In fact, the lack of property is making me crazy – fortunately, it turns out that I am not alone.

In my 2019 book Ending Western Propaganda on Red China (Part 5: The Cultural Revolution’s solving of the urban-rural divide) I relayed a fascinating transnational study which found that Paris and London had the highest rates of social psychosis; more importantly, they concluded that owning your home – or not – was found to be the single biggest predictor of mental and emotional stability.

Of course: being forced to hand over one-third of our pay checks every month to a rich, two-home owning landlord (which he or she probably just inherited from their parents) is a huge stress. I estimate my current landlord has received about €130,000 of my money over the past 8 years.

All that sweat of mine down the drain simply because I need a roof to live yet I can’t possibly qualify for a loan in Paris, where last year the real estate crossed the €10,000 per square meter mark.

As I summed up: “‘Bread, peace, land’ can be translated to ‘Bread, peace, a decent apartment’ in modern times. But it’s not only China and not only Maoism which has solved this issue, proven by their 90% home ownership rate: 80% of Cubans own their own home and thus pay no rent or mortgage.”

Please believe me: when I think about all that money in my landlord’s pocket I get pretty stressed, to put it mildly. I’m not edging into social psychosis, but the recalcitrant capitalists will probably want me locked up for making the following demand/social service announcement.

Now is the time for the landlord class to show who they are as individuals

Across the world there has been an incredible overreaction to the Corona crisis – in my estimation – as the global economy is shutting down. Places like the US, India and many other areas simply do not have the social safety net to accommodate such a move… but they have done it anyway.

Landlords across the world must do the following:

  • Talk to their renters to gauge their economic situation.
  • Admit that a poor economic outlook for their renters is an undeserved injustice.
  • Admit that their renters must be aided, and that landlords have already profited enough.
  • Waive this month’s rent – and perhaps for months to come. Give some profits back.
  • Or, at the VERY LEAST: reduce rent charges in order to only cover the landlord’s monthly mortgage payment on the property/property taxes/building assessments, etc.
  • If their renter has a good economic situation, landlords must donate their rent-profits to charity, because they have already profited enough and their nation almost certainly does not have the social safety net to take care of other poor renters.

This is all simple justice, and it is in the hands of individual landlords to do so.

I am not asking landlords to ruin their credit rating by refusing to pay the mortgage on their properties (though they should demand such an agreement with their lending bank, in order to force banks to consent to widespread debt furloughs), merely to forego gaining profits on their properties.

Can they not afford do that for one month? Perhaps three?

Of course they can.

If they cannot, then they have proven themselves to be the true “(rent) welfare queens”, because they must be living such unaffordable, extravagant lifestyles; they have proven themselves to be as bad as the most ruthless venture capitalist and job-moving globalist; they have proven themselves to be traitors.

Is traitor too harsh a word?

No – failure to do so means that your landlord is only looking out for himself and his nuclear family, so of course he has necessarily betrayed every other larger group: neighborhood, town, metro area, province, region, nation and earthlings. Furthermore, there is constant public and media shaming of “welfare queens”, poor people and non-college educated workers. Have you ever read somebody calling out the landlord class like this? Not in any Mainstream Media and probably not even in Anglophone world, where the landed petit-entrepreneur is supposed to be the rightly-guided class of moral heroes.

This is the best I can do: if not “traitors”, then “deserters”. Feel better?

Won’t do it? Then fear the revolution

Last spring I wrote an 8-part series about China’s Cultural Revolution precisely because I witnessed that France’s Yellow Vests were essentially demanding a French Cultural Revolution: a near-total shutdown of society in order to have huge discussions about their society’s most contentious socioeconomic and cultural issues and their current trajectories. Of course, such trajectories are quite, quite unpopular, and this was before the Great Recession threatened to turn into the Great Depression 2.

The West has now shut down, but still appear far from joining China and Iran as the only two nations with state-protected Cultural Revolutions. However, the horrendous economic impact – which will create such widespread poverty, unemployment, homelessness and death precisely because they do not have the big government of socialist-inspired nations like China, Iran, Cuba and others – seems certain to eventually push the entire world towards the leftism and cooperation of socialism rather than the continued greed, selfishness and competition of “capitalism with Western characteristics”.

From the the very beginning of China’s Cultural Revolution landlords were openly vilified, along with the “four olds”, unrepentant capitalists and known-to-be-corrupt party members. The bad ones were paraded around in dunce caps, or sent to (finally) work for a living instead of living off of parasitic rent-seeking, and – if we listen to balanced Chinese sources and not Western ones – abused physically pretty rarely for an event I refer to as the “Chinese Socialist Civil War” (here, Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?).

So landlords can either double down and grab as much cash as they can, or when the Cultural Revolution comes to their town people can testify that during this crisis they were true human patriots. It’s an individual choice landlords must make now, and they may not ever be judged harshly by their society for their choices… but they might be. Asian societies know this: Fear and shame are perfectly acceptable motivations for good deeds, after all – but why not just go socialist?

For the people reading this in huge housing developments with corporations for landlords, there are easy ways to resist:

  • Organise on a building-by-building level to refuse collectively to pay your rent as normal, or at least to collectively demand some reduction.
  • Follow the Chinese, if only because what they did worked: outside your buildings put up dàzìbào, or big-character reports/posters to publicly shame your corporate landlords.
  • Contact your local newspaper media and insist they cover your actions against unfair landlords.
  • If your local media won’t side with the People, then resort to social media. Social media can be quite effective, but it is easily overestimated – apply pressure on your local journalists and publishers.
  • The youth class has had it bad enough since 2008, eh? The average age of the Yellow Vests is, in my estimation, 50 years old because, in my estimation, people that age and older have comparatively little to lose. So be an elder leader and risk your credit score, blacklisting, harassing phone class from bill collectors, etc., so the youth can resist in other ways and not live so very long under Western capitalist-style stigmatisation.

Many medium and large businesses are reportedly already telling their creditors – banks – that they are stopping parasitic rent payments for the time being; they have to keep their savings for the long, slow Corona recovery which will surely eat through their cash. (Again, do the doctors, helicopter Moms and Western politicians have any understanding of economics on a micro- or macro-level? I wonder….)

The non-propertied class doesn’t have these types of levers but social shaming is one – I suggest you use it with your landlord.


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

Source

July 13, 2019

by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog

Disproportionality As Schizoaffective Disorder

It appears that the information revolution is redefining cultural aspirations at a time when mass production has become a concave-convex supernova offering everybody (in theory) the right to ‘have everything’, regardless of the cost to fellow beings or to nature itself.

In the West, free enterprise had become an object lesson in short-sightedness and purblind avarice, suggesting that it’s time to revisit an age-old conundrum; the conflict between capitalist expediency and enlightened social wellbeing. Having successfully focused consumers on the many ways in which self-gratification can be experienced, the consumer-economy, committed to seducing the somnambulant among us, while turning a blind eye to the damage that comes with gauche and expedient ways of can-do-ness, suggest that collectively, we in the West have become befuddled pilgrims in a vainglorious journey to nowhere.

In the West we live in a world where militarism and the production of arms has come to represent the pulse of capitalism. The journey that began at the tribal level has moved through a succession of capitalist incarnations to become the singular purpose of investment-capital and a business model in every respect. As it was never intended to be an exercise in creating homogeneous wellbeing…socialism… this model remains as the one best suited to the elites who manage money. Not surprisingly, the rest is history as they say. The story of capitalism’s right-of-passage towards its colonial adventures and onwards into its imperial hegemonic phase is one of bloody-mindedness.

Until recently in the West, it was the growth of personal wealth and middle-classness that underpinned the reality of ‘collective-individualism’…an oxymoronic capitalist state of mind that encourages wealth accumulation. Skills effecting upward mobility were highly sought after. The desire to embrace cultural norms that defined progress as freedom to enjoy lifestyles enhanced by copious amounts of disposal income, soon became everyone’s dream.

So, when the economy lost it’s bearing in the heat of the bizarre excesses leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, ‘collective-individualism’ was left to pick up the pieces. Struggling with the legacy of a febrile narrative that served the interests of Wall Street, middle-classness lost some of its shine. The market had spoken, the individual was merely a unit in a bourse that had little time for niceties or human fallibility. Banking had become a low feeder-operation where the devil would take the hindmost.

It was the banking crisis of 2008 that revealed how ‘collective-individualism’ had become merely an adjunct of Wall Street’s insidiously covert private-banking system. Having cocooned itself in the system, the banking establishment managed to present itself as the face of liberal democracy…albeit pseudo… for the purpose of gratifying its own insatiable appetite. As a result of the 2008 debacle, fake-expertise-babble was required to disguise the signs of senescence now appearing in a banking system sliding toward obsolescence.

With the emergence of bureaucratic capitalism in China, the monumental task of moving countless tens of millions of people out of poverty was commenced and the results have been spectacular. Along with this operation came the realization that proportionality should be the linchpin for securing the principles of collective enterprise. The words Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong spoke in 1927 at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” were replaced by notions of incremental change occurring for the betterment of the entire community.

Using the resources of the state to improve the wellbeing of the many would mechanically elevate the population to a level of heightened social order. By any measure, a great awakening had occurred…an age-old trading culture had reassembled its resources in order to find common cause. Through the medium of central planning, the path toward achieving internal hegemony reappeared in a distinctly Confucian way.

With an agenda designed to eliminate poverty by utilising the collective potential of the state to solve problems, statistics suggest that a modicum of proportionality has already been achieved within China’s sovereign territories and that plans are on track to achieve what the revolution sent out to do. Namely, a way of floating all its boats…one billion and a quarter of them…on the rising tide of a renascent imagination collectively focused on technological ascendancy.

Alert to the potential within the Chinese tech garden to achieve yet another Spring and Autumn period, the core interchangeable elements of Confucianism, collectivism and hegemony militate to emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.

History shows us that the Chinese city of Guangzhou (Early Modern Guangzhou) represented the reference point that enable one to understand the changing context of Sino-foreign economic and cultural relations in the nineteenth century. A great trading city that would ultimately reconstitute itself as a commercial centre for maritime exports and debut as post-modern Guangzhou. It was always the city that identified China as a maritime trader surfing the waves of silk road opportunities. Unlike most European nations, its expansionism was benign. It never went into the business of exporting armaments or colonizing the natives along its trade routes.

From the traditional trading posts in Quanzhou and Guangzhou, to the modern treaty ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shanghai, to the contemporary metropolis Hong Kong and Taiwan and special economic zones in Shenzhen and Pudong, southern coastal cities in the last five hundred years and beyond have connected China to the outside world and the global economy. Throughout this time, China never sought to colonise its neighbours or occupy continents or countries across the globe…trading remained its modus operandi…and besides, Confucius the thinker, never confused occupation or dominance with the Chinese notion of hegemony!

Conversely, the colonial West’s predilection for gunboat diplomacy and stand-over tactics produced an entirely different trading model. With the advent of the industrial revolution in Europe, sorties of the ‘dalek’ kind…robotic incursions into exotic lands for the purpose of procuring the resources and territories belonging to people of colour became the norm.

It was as though the industrial revolution had spawned a concept of superiority that ultimately resulted in the white race distilling a notion of its own exceptionality that would justify its own work-ethic as proof of its right to exploit people whose appearance did not please their albino imagination. In the succeeding centuries, the march of the ‘daleks’ would in effect enslave, slaughter and exploit non-white peoples with impunity, all the while deluding themselves that their actions were progressive…a code word for exploitation…and justifiably, the ‘white-man’s-burden’…a program adopted in support of their assumption that the non-white peoples were inferior.

In time, institutional racism would achieve the kind of value an asset might have in a bourse. The concept of democracy would be privatised in accordance with the wishes of those who were there to do the thinking for all those of a lesser stripe. Patriotism would become a mantra of majestic proportions in the West to assure white people that they were on the winning side of history. Proof of same would be diligently manufactured. Strangely, Western powers who imagined they owned ‘democracy’ felt the need to garrison the globe with 800 military bases, fearing that those ‘others’ may have sovereign economic models of their own they might wish to develop.

In fact, disproportionality had reached such levels of lethality that the doyens of liberal democracy became citizens of cloud-cuckoo-land in possession of a foreign policy committed to kneecapping…sanctioning… other nation’s economies if they didn’t do what they were told to do. China in moving to re-embrace the “maritime silk road” once again, soon became the fly in the competitive ointment. Westerners, as heirs to the traditional colonial trading-throne decided that carrying a big ballistic stick was the only way to do business. Alarmed at seeing how China could engage in trade without threatening its clients, it chose the American way of doing business. In true American style, the military budget was given a massive blow job.

In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex. Before and during the Second World War, American industries had successfully converted to defence production as the crisis demanded, but out of the war, what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions emerged. Eisenhower had no need of a crystal ball to see where the emerging disproportionality would lead his country to. His fear, rightly, was that disproportionality of this kind would ultimately obfuscate the principles of the Democratic Republic of America.

Had he lived to see the colossal damage his country wrought on the Middle East he would have understood that a permanent armaments industry must do what a permanent armaments industry must do…use and sell what they produced in order to justify their budget.

What Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to as a permanent armaments industry could equally be applied to the permanent propaganda industry that has overtaken America. Together, these two industries have created a narrative for Americans to reassure them that a system based on might, is right for them. By every measure, the fourth estate and the fourth-of-July have synthetized into a narrative that is big on self-adulation.

On the occasion of the most recent fourth-of-July parade, the presence of Apache attack helicopters, ballistic missiles, M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and F-22 Raptors were assembled to reinforce the notion that corporate-capitalist-democracy existed to deliver a patriotic narrative capable of turning the key that could unlock the potential of the American psyche and find greatness by shoving its hardware and unique ideas of identity into the face of all and sundry.

As the fourth of this and that got under way, it became ever more evident that America’s unique identity possesses an internal form of hegemony seeking greatness through strictly military means. After military might was chosen as the path to dominance and greatness, America developed external hegemonic programs to curtail un-American activities such as Iranian Mullahs imagining that they can export oil to whomever they choose to, or China and Russia talking multilateralism, or Venezuela resisting imperial vassalage…or just about anything that moved, squeaked, farted or failed to avow the American way of doing business. Non-compliance would be met with sanctions or military invasion.

On the occasion of the recent fourth-of-July celebrations, Donald Trump (dealer extraordinary) stood before the statue of Abraham Lincoln to demonstrate his ability to wind up the patriotic narrative; he spoke thusly; “As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage,” said he, “ Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told…The Story of America.”

But strangest of all were the ‘daleks’ flying overhead and the steel-clad ‘daleks’ rumbling past on terra firma for the purpose of bonding the vast gathering of patriotic stalwarts in hegemonic unity. The crowd, agog with admiration for the men and women flying overhead in their wonderful flying machines were proud to witness the “The American Story” in all its first-hand glory. Most noticeably, they were indifferent to the fact that the things they found admirable in this show of strength were designed to annihilate people. They were no less enamoured of the wet pointy cone bits of the ballistic missiles…glistening like killer-candy… as they were rained upon.

All in all, “The Story of America” reverberates across the globe as the story of meaty stealth. Its true colours were made available for all to see, or for anyone with the nous to join the dots… message delivered; American style hegemony is great for boys with schizoaffective disorders and the lethal toys that find them.

As America-the-circus moves into election mode its military arrive here in Australia to set up a military base in Darwin. As few…if any…of their political clowns will broach the subject of their lethal foreign policy, why should anyone in their right mind welcome one of their bases here? As for now, better we wait until Uncle Sam creates a peace bureau and sends an emissary of a different stripe to us.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire.

Denis A. Conroy
Freelance Writer
Australia

Ending a Cultural Revolution Can Only Be Counter-Revolutionary (7/8)

May 10, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Ending a Cultural Revolution Can Only Be Counter-Revolutionary (7/8)

Well, you can end a Cultural Revolution without being a counter-revolutionary, I suppose, but not if you do what China did: reverse many of the progressive policies of the Cultural Revolution, and often without the People’s consent.

This series has examined the ground-breaking investigative & scholarly work The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village, by Dongping Han, a former Chinese villager himself. Han hailed from and studied rural Jimo County, interviewing hundreds of locals about the Cultural Revolution (CR) and poring over local historical records. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my new bookI’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China.

Even more than Mao and the Great Leap Forward, Western Propaganda on the CR truly turns black into white. Perhaps no political event – and certainly no successful political event – is so misunderstood, negated and shrouded in misinformation and ignorance… thus this 8-part series!

What Han demonstrates is that the CR was the first effort in Chinese history to empower the average peasant against Chinese officialdom, and the results were spectacular. I keep referring to this handy mathematical summary of mine from Part 1: “You just read about 2 times more food and 2 times more money for the average Chinese person, 14 times more horsepower (which equates to 140 times manpower), 50 times more industrial jobs, 30 times more schools and 10 times more teachers during the CR decade in rural areas.

A rededication to socialism brought more than just economic virtues, but moral ones as well, per Han: “The social vices like official corruption, prostitution, drug abuse, fake products and others that plague Chinese society today were completely absent at the end of the Cultural Revolution.”

But despite the introduction of the Industrial Revolution to China’s rural areas, despite the exponential increases in educational empowerment, despite the fact that the CR represented the first-ever effort to democratically empower rural Chinese against officialdom, despite a decade of generating the irreplaceable human capital upon which China’s 2019 success obviously rests… with the death of Mao China famously turned its back on the CR.

Let’s see what happened, and then discuss why it was a counter-revolution.

CR officials get ousted: meet the new boss, who truly was the old boss

After Mao’s death rebel leaders began to be rounded up. (As I explained in Part 5Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?: China had, per Han, the “Rebel Red Guard Faction”, which were spontaneous, grassroots “mass associations”, pitted against the “Loyalist Red Guard Faction”, which were status quo-defending, established, “mass organisations”.) From late 1977 to early 1979 Jimo County saw purges, with few rebel leaders keeping their posts.

Who was restored? Those whom held office before the CR.

That was no quick feat, because the CR had been supported by the center and left of the Chinese political spectrum. But by 1983, “Every government office, school, factory and village was ordered to purge former rank-and-file rebels. Officials who had lost their positions at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution brought charges against individual rebels against whom they held grudges.” Han relates this was a prelude to a larger “official gouge” in rural areas in the 1980s and 1990s.

Selfless asceticism from Party officials abiding by the codes of conduct relayed in Mao’s Little Red Book and working in the fields were no longer expected. Corruption and bribery increased, children of officials got cushy jobs instead of spreading night soil, the right to use big character posters (China’s version of a free press, in no exaggeration) was excised from the constitution, Deng’s “manger responsibility” system – which gave them the authority to determine salaries – was installed.

All of that is obviously contrary to the values of the CR and in line with many Western values: no wonder the West hates the CR!

Despite these changes, to sweepingly say that “China abandoned socialism after Mao” is still nonsense because the CCP remained the vanguard party charged with protecting the 1949 revolution; China’s political system did not revert to liberal (bourgeois) democracy; China did not engage in imperialistic wars and etc. and etc. and etc.

There is the desire by many anti-socialists to see a child’s lemonade stand in socialist countries and to run away screaming: “They’ve gone capitalist!” Such absurdity is only in the self-interest of capitalism promoters, of course, but I will deal with this later. There is also a tendency among the most ardent pro-socialists to view any minor regression as proof that socialist has been betrayed and murdered.

The CR had – Han undoubtedly proves via statistics, anecdotes and analysis – brought such incredible life, power, hope and success to China’s rural areas, and the end of collectivization was a negative societal shock. Yes, the collectives had never developed evenly – that’s to be expected – but Han relates that the collectives had indeed worked for Jimo County, and that Jimo citizens opposed disbanding them in favor of the “household responsibility” system. Jimo’s county officials, along with 17 other neighboring counties, had their officials removed for dragging their feet in implementing this change.

Thus, what happened during the Deng era was very similar to the end of the USSR in that it was unexpected, unwanted and not voted on. “There was no state-sanctioned public debate about the merits or shortcomings of either collective farming or the household responsibility system.”

It should be unsurprising that data shows how rural production fell after 1983, when land was divided among Jimo County farmers: what good are huge farming machines on small family plots? How can the use of such machines be effectively coordinated among hundreds of farmers? In some villages they decided it was better to break up the machinery and sell it for scrap. Fights broke out among farmers over who could use the irrigation system, as there was no more collective solidarity. Draft animals were slaughtered to avoid arguments, further decreasing farming productivity. This is all obviously quite sad and a regression in Jimo County and across rural China.

Tiny individual plots – instead of socialist solidarity – naturally led to the need for more manual labor, which meant more children withheld from school to work on the farm: The number of teachers and staff remained the same, but high school students in Jimo County went from 20,000 in 1977 to 5,700 in 1987. This is also due to the reforms of 1978, which re-established key/magnet schools. Many schools were closed in the name of “efficiency”: Han shows how from 1976 to 1987 Jimo’s middle schools went from 249 to 106; they had 89 high schools in 1976, but just 7 in 1993. This is what happens anywhere when the guiding value is not “equality” but “efficiency”; “efficiency”, especially in Western nations, is usually a code-word for, “Because we want to give more tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations.”

Han relates how Jimo’s experience mirrors that of the rest of rural China since the education “reforms”. Textbooks again became standardized nationwide, and were urban-focused (of course). In 1977 the national college entrance exam was reintroduced, and Han relates “…it has once again systematically drained talent from China’s rural areas, in the same manner as before the Cultural Revolution. Talented rural children leave home to go to college and few return. … Instead of being oriented to serve rural development, schools became an avenue to joining the urban elite. … The divorce of school curriculum from rural life has put rural children in a disadvantaged position because it is harder to study subjects that have no connections with their lives.

Some readers will assume that such trends are inevitable – they have not read Part 6: The repatriation of young educated people back to their home villages – to serve those who had truly funded their education in the first place – was a huge factor in training up the human capital which led to the incredible exponential economic growth in rural areas during the CR decade.

The rural enterprises, which had been collectively owned, were now often rented to party officials or managers for a fixed rent or sold outright to them. The CR was designed to benefit the People and the Party – the post-CR reforms benefitted the Party and then the People. This is not terrible, because at least “the Party” is not Western 1%ers, but neither is it superb, egalitarian socialism. Make no mistake: the Chinese Communist Party is alive, well, thriving, secure and economically impregnable – it seems certain they are the most powerful economic force in the world – and much of their wealth was produced during the CR decade.

But, clearly, what the end of the CR meant was: a return to the pre-CR era and Party norms.

But the biggest way it was a “return to the pre-CR era” is not in the economic redistribution, but in a decaying of the other of socialism’s two pillars: political power redistribution.

During the Cultural Revolution decade, village party secretaries had to share decision making power with a number of production team leaders, and their power was checked by a cohesive village population bound together by common public interests….The village party secretaries have gained most from the changes in power relations resulting from the division of land. During the Cultural Revolution decade, village party secretaries had to share decision making power with a number of production team leaders, and their power was also checked by a cohesive village population bound together by common public interests. The division of land eliminated the production team leaders – the most important check on village party secretaries – and also fragmented the village population, concentrating power in the hands of the village party secretaries.”

This is the counter-revolution I am referring to. However, it is a counter-revolution within an already revolutionary society, therefore it is not so very terrible – just as a “right-winger” in a socialist system is still far to the left of a leftist in a Western capitalist system.

Forget about your complaints of the inadequacies of the global political spectrum – the fortunate difference for the Chinese was: a socialist system is fundamentally not predatory in a capitalist sense, and the CR’s gains meant the Party had even more to redistribute than prior to the CR; a regression within a socialist system is infinitely less societally-damaging than regression in a capitalist system.

Han provides proof of this easily-understandable reality and logic: even though rural per capita grain consumption decreased 8% from 1975 to 1985, income increased 700%, far more than inflation (keep in mind that is per capita, not a median). Why? Because economic planning led by a vanguard party is a hell of a lot more effective and sane than relying solely on the “magic of market forces” of the modern neoliberal West (which are really just oligarchical forces). It was only comprehended by relatively few in 1849, but it should be crystal clear to the majority in 2019: management of an industry, factory or business by a socialist party secretary is far, far qualitatively different – in terms of planning, goals, national benefit, etc. – than management by an isolated and self-interested capitalist entrepreneur (not to mention a foreign and self-interested capitalist entrepreneur).

Is there is no freedom without economic freedom: first comes the money, then the democratic empowerment at your job and home? The CR proves rather otherwise – first comes the democratic empowerment then the economic freedom? Frankly, I am not interested in re-arguing if the chicken or the egg came first, because in socialism BOTH ideals are strived for and operate in a dialectic.

On a practical level: Obviously, going from a collective ownership to individual ownership drastically changed the nature of work in terms of job security and safe working conditions. The fragmentation of the collectives has – of course – fragmented the power of farmers; they have the freedom to sell whatever they want, but they lack stability, cohesiveness and solidarity because they are more capitalist.

In 1983, with the dissolution of the collectives, free medical care naturally ceased as well. The “five guarantees” introduced after 1949 – food, clothes, fuel, education and a funeral – were gone. Farmers who gave the best years of their lives to the collective found they were without financial support in their old age.

“Villagers said: ‘xinxin kuku sanshi nian, yi yie huidao jiefang qian’ (we worked hard for thirty years to build up the collectives, but overnight we returned to the status quo before the liberation).” That is from an interview in Jimo Han did in 1990, so one hopes the situation is better for them 30 years later.

Whereas the collective used to pay the tax burden, “The new taxation system in rural China is very regressive. The tax burden is not based on farmers’ income but on the amount of land they farm. Consequently, the bigger a farmer’s income, the smaller the tax burden as a percentage of his income. Vice versa, the smaller a villager’s income, the bigger the tax burden he has to pay as a percentage of his land. … Tax policy, like other aspects of de-collectivization is promoting economic polarization in villages. This, of course, is the intended outcome. Deng Xiaoping himself expressed the view that small segment of the population should get rich first, so that this small segment of the population could lead the whole society towards progress. This was a good reflection of Deng Xiaoping’s elitist mentality.”

Again, it is absurd to say that China is not Communist – the reality is that there is a left and right spectrum in socialist democracy, and that the reversal of the CR was a right-wing move within a socialist revolution, and which did not reverse the socialist revolution.

Negating the Cultural Revolution – China should stop doing the West’s work for them

Han’s final chapter is titled Negating the Cultural Revolution for good reason: not only is the CR totally negated by the West, but the Chinese Communist Party obviously wound back many of its leftist advances despite the obvious success. The reason they did this is probably because leftist advances always undermine those in the 1% in any system. Again, we must reject the typical Western historical nihilism: the 1% in a socialist system is far, far better than the 1% in the neoliberal, neo-imperialist capitalist system.

The final irony regarding Western assessment of the “horrors” of the CR is how incredibly useful they actually were in promoting social good. Mao’s idea that government servants should be fearful of being caught waging corruption… this is somehow a negative thing in the West, and apparently was to Deng as well.

He (Deng) also announced that there would be no more political campaigns, which was like giving the officials a guarantee that they would not be harassed by the masses even if they were corrupt. Many officials slipped into their corrupt old ways very quickly.”

No more anti-corruption campaigns – the West doesn’t have to even make such a statement because capitalism is legalized corruption, after all.

Revolutionary fervor waxing and waning, waxing and waning – c’est la vie – I think it’s clear that in openly revolutionary nations, unlike the conservative nations of the West, such alternations will be more common. The good news is that the tide has turned – anti-corruption campaigns are back during the era of Xi Jinping.

Mao’s near-yearly anti-corruption campaigns, which culminated in a no-holds barred Cultural Revolution, must be examined with this counterview, if they are to be examined with a hint of objectivity and honesty. Of course, to a capitalist anyone persecuted by a socialist is always innocent of any charge….

Given that he wrote such a heckuva book, we should be interested in Han’s final words, which I humbly relate here:

The Chinese government’s official evaluation of the Cultural Revolution serves to underline the idea, currently very much in vogue around the world, that efforts to achieve development and efforts to attain social equality are contradictory. The remarkable currency of this idea in China and internationally is due, at least in part, to the fact that such an idea is so convenient to those threatened by efforts to attain social equality. This study of the history of Jimo County has challenged this idea. During the Cultural Revolution decade and in the two decades of market reform that followed, Jimo has experienced alternative paths, both of which have led to rural development. The difference in the paths was not between development and stagnation but rather between different kinds of development. The main conclusion I hope readers will draw from the experience of Jimo County during the Cultural Revolution decade is that measures to empower and educate people at the bottom of society can also serve the goal of economic development. It is not necessary to choose between pursuing social equality and pursuing economic development. The choice is whether or not to pursue social equality.”

Superbly put. An ending worth committing to memory.

Capitalism only chooses between stagnation and development – it would rather tolerate Lost Decades, as in the current Eurozone, rather than do something that China and Iran did: effectively shut down the country to honestly discuss national problems and to democratically agree on solutions which benefit the 99%. Capitalism is the alexithymic shark which must keep moving, or it dies.

China, with their renewed emphasis on corruption and equality, did not die nor implode. Iran, despite all the hot and cold war against them, remains firmly revolutionary domestically, admiringly anti-imperialist inernationally, and far more socialist in inspiration and practice than any Western nation. Even with the current US threat of $0 in oil sales (anything to stop Muslim democracy) there is seemingly no indication of a domestically counter-revolution of 1979’s ideals.

The Eurozone and the European Union desperately need a Cultural Revolution to democratically grapple with the structures they set in place decades ago which have created such rising economic inequality. That appears unlikely – these nations are not socialist-inspired.

This is why phrases like “social equality” contain no economic component in the West; use that phrase in the West and people will assume you are talking about racism or homophobia – they will never think you are referring to Marxist economic ideas or the idea of class.

A pity for them….

The Cultural Revolution empowered China’s poorest (rural peasants) and that created economic growth: a correlation for the West would be for those in the US to give vast sums of money and power to their Black underclass – such an idea seems impossible; the same goes for the Muslim underclass in France. Critically, both of these neo-imperialists view the exclusion of the poor from the hallways of power as absolutely fundamental to the success of their respective nations: “Blacks/Musulmans in power? Never/Jamais! They don’t have the right values/ Ils ne partagent pas les mêmes valeurs.” You hear this openly in these societies all the time – these underclasses are just “free-riders” on the genius of the dominant racial/ethnic capitalist class and cannot (should not!) contribute significantly to society.

Such prejudice is no different than a Chinese person in 1965 who thought China could become a safe, thriving superpower by ignoring their rural underclass. Such prejudice is no different from those who are against the Yellow Vests in France.

Han’s study proves such ideas are false: Chinese empowerment of the poor generated human capital, which generated economic capital, which generated national success.

Perhaps the best Blacks and Muslims in the West can do is to wait for the Chinese to take over one day? Or, just maybe, the White rural underclass of the West will wise up and learn from socialist-inspired nations like China, Iran, Cuba and others? I’d start with re-examining China’s Cultural Revolution.

We don’t need to demonise Deng: He may have been on the right of the spectrum of socialist ideology, but he was still also a revolutionary socialist. On the global political spectrum, Deng was still far, far to the left of any supporter of antiquated liberal democracy.

What is a political revolution, after all? It is a cultural revolution

Political revolution is a cultural movement which becomes rooted over generations; it is not just a changing of the leaders – it goes even deeper than just changing the laws.

What needs to be understood about countries with socialist revolutions is their humanity: Revolutionary fervor waxes and wanes. During the CR the “left-socialist” line was predominant, whereas afterwards it was the “bourgeois-socialist” or “right-socialist” line.

Mao repeatedly pushed the “left socialist” line, which stressed loyalty to the collectives, local empowerment and reducing urban dominance to spread equality among the mass of the country (the rural areas). After Mao the so-called “bourgeois right socialist” line of Deng Xiaoping (which is still Maoism!) came to prominence, and my main point here is this: Deng had been around forever – he was in the Long March – so it’s not as if he was some newcomer who brought in brand new ideas in 1976.

“Every farmer and every politician in China knew where Deng Xiaoping stood regarding agricultural policies in late 1970s,” reminds Han.

Right-wing socialism was not something new – it had always been around, it simply had lost popularity… just as any political party (left or right) does in a Western society. Just as people do not wage endless war (except the US war on terror), people do not wage endless revolution – people tire, and that allows less-revolutionary elements to come to the fore.

Han clarifies this exactly: “Deng had the power to do whatever he wanted. But more important, he was supported by the persistence of traditional philosophies and the practices that had been challenged during the Cultural Revolution, and by people who stood to benefit by the restoration of the old ways, or thought they would.”

Show me the country or society where radical changes continued without end? There are none. Even the Revolution of Islam splintered into status quo and revolutionary sects: Sunni and Shia. It’s not as if all Shia have been unceasing revolutionaries since the assassination of Imam Ali in 661 AD, either. Revolutionary spirit waxes and wanes, and maybe this is even a necessary thing? I don’t know….

But it impossible to argue with Han’s conclusion: “The take-off of the rural economy in Jimo began not with market reforms, I have shown, but rather during the Cultural Revolution decade. Agricultural production more than doubled and a network of rural factories were established which fundamentally transformed the county’s rural economy in less than 10 years. Jimo’s story is not unique.”

Han’s assessment there – based on facts, dollars and data – is undoubtedly accurate, but only half the story: China is where it is today because the CR created the greatest wealth there is – human capital. That is socialism’s primary stated goal: allowing the realization of an individual’s potential.

By taking the Chinese peasant and stripping him of all the backwardness, retardation and disempowerment we all associate with the term “peasant”, China created its modern, intelligent, advanced workforce, whom nobody calls “peasant” anymore. China remains intensely committed to lifting up their lowest of the low – absolute poverty is about to become effectively totally eradicated after a 5-year plan led by Xi – but the CR did this en masse by reversing the existing priority of city over country in a nation which was 80% rural.

Indeed, how could Xi eliminate absolute poverty across the continent of China in just 5 years? He couldn’t – he is standing on the shoulders of massive efforts since 1949, and the CR is one of those strong, yet unappreciated, shoulders.

The CR has much to teach us today, but are we willing learn? That is the question of the next and final part of this series, which focuses on the flamingly obvious yet totally ignored parallels between China’s Cultural Revolution and France’s ongoing Yellow Vest movement.

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This is the 7th article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fueled their 1980s boom (6/8)

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fueled their 1980s boom (6/8)

There are almost too many socioeconomic gains for me to list… and yet the idea that China’s Cultural Revolution (CR) represented not gains but regression is dominant in the West.

The Chinese know better, and that’s why I’m discussing Dongping Han’s indispensable academic and investigative book: The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village. Han intensely examined rural Jimo County, where he grew up, interviewing hundreds of locals about the CR and poring over local historical records. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my brand-new bookI’ll Ruin Everything you Are: Ending Western Propaganda in Red China. I hope you can buy a copy for yourself and your 300 closest friends.

When I ended Part 5 the Rebel Faction Red Guards (who wanted a People’s dictatorship) had, over the course of three years, democratically bested the Loyalist Faction Red Guards (who wanted to maintain a Party dictatorship) – a new generation of revolutionaries had been fostered and were now taking over. What did their time in power produce?

“Since the beginning of the Great Leap Forward, the Chinese Government had been talking about eliminating the three gaps: between urban and rural areas, between mental and manual labor, and between workers and farmers. … It was only during the Cultural Revolution that some students took it so seriously that they adopted it as a concrete goal of the struggle.”

What’s certain is that it’s very hard to have a revolution in power and culture in just one generation; Iran tried to speed up their revolutionary timeline by implementing the world’s second and only other Cultural Revolution just one year after ousting the Shah, whereas China waited 15 years.

The 1949 Revolution installed the collectives, which earned total Western capitalist-imperialist enmity for promising the “five guarantees (wu bao)” – food, clothes, fuel, education for children and a funeral upon death. This was a revolutionary and unprecedented social security system for rural Chinese. However, the social safety net for urbanites was much, much better, which inspired justified resentment.

However, we cannot only discuss the first pillar of socialism – redistribution of wealth; the second pillar – redistribution of power – was almost totally absent in Chinese village life 15+ years after their revolution. This is made apparent by the fact, related by Han, that it was not until spring 1967 that a mass meeting was held in Jimo to discuss the collective local planning and goals for the farm year. “This simple act turned villagers from passive followers into active participants.”

I refer back to my mathematical summary of the CR decade’s gains from Part 1: “You just read about 2 times more food and 2 times more money for the average Chinese person, 14 times more horsepower (which equates to 140 times manpower), 50 times more industrial jobs, 30 times more schools and 10 times more teachers during the CR decade in rural areas.

We can only understand these massive, unprecedented gains in rural areas when we accept that the CR was only able to create it only via local empowerment of worker/citizens. After grasping that, it becomes easier to accept Han’s primary, and revolutionary, assertion: that China’s post-1980s boom rested on this explosion of economic and human capital in the rural areas, which represented 80% of the country in 1980.

Revolutionary gains in education for rural areas

The idea that the CR persecuted intellectuals is totally false – the CR created them, via 30 times more schools and 10 times more teachers. An “intellectual” does not only mean someone with 2 PhDs – an everyday person’s standards are much lower, and they were certainly much more sensibly lower in 1960s rural China. Han’s research thus describes a stunning great leap forward in rural education which occurred across the entire continent of China, a total inversion of the usual Western propaganda.

Why was China so backwards in 1966 that children were not going to school? Was it because of 17 years of CCP rule? This is what the Mainstream Media would have you believe… as if in the pre-socialist era the same widespread lack of education didn’t exist. No, the backwardness should be attributed to their “Century of Humiliation” as colonial victims. Beyond colonialism, why did this not happen in 1600, 1700 or 1800? The answer is – the advent of socialism. The basic building materials were all available locally – the communes built all the high schools collectively – what was needed was to cut out the capitalist view of economics and to institute the local empowerment of socialist democracy. The resources for building schools did not come from heaven, nor foreign banks – villages collectively pooled their resources and worked together, i.e. socialism.

Where did they get the teachers? There were huge advertising efforts to get educated teachers to return to their hometown – i.e, socialist culture, as opposed to individualist culture. “This policy, unpopular among many government schoolteachers, turned out to be a windfall for Jimo’s joint village middle schools.” Something like this is anathema to the West. It is a denial of absolute freedom, I agree, but it is also the promotion of equality. Socialism insists that one MUST give back; the West says “give back… if you feel like it”, and then their culture encourages them to not feel like it.

The schools also ended the absurd, elitist, anti-intellectual emphasis on passing tests – this policy was only necessary when spaces were so very few. But in the CR era,“All primary school graduates from the seven villages would automatically enter the middle school without any examination.” The capitalist celebration of “academic competition” exists only to cover the fact that their state refuses to create enough schools for all the applicants.

In 1968 Mao did something which in 2019 remains incredibly radical: he proposed that workers and farmers get involved with education, i.e., he fought against technocratic elitism in education. This necessarily creates a revolution in the curriculum, and it is an undeniably democratic one.

From the standpoint of traditional Chinese beliefs, allowing these less-educated farmers and workers to lead the educational reforms was outrageous. How could the less-educated lead the better educated? Fundamentally, this was a philosophical question. The criticism reflected the arrogance of the Chinese educated elite, and their narrow mindset towards knowledge. While these workers and peasants had no formal education, what they did have was practical knowledge and a different perspective on education. They braved the traditional bias and prejudice in Chinese schools and society because they felt they had a mission in education reforms. … In the face of jesting and ridicule, they did not back down. They continued to work with students and teachers.”

As Han relates, peasants won respect by working with the students. That’s revolutionary, and that’s how you decrease the cultural urban-rural divide – sustained contact (even if forced).

Gone were the textbooks made by a few educational elite in Beijing – locals created new curricula and textbooks, in proof that socialism is “central planning” but “local control and local implementation”.

How did the curriculum change? Practical math such as bookkeeping and accounting was introduced; students learned agricultural science by working with farmers; applied science was advanced by studying small-scale machines and engines like those found in rural industries and farms. Instead of physics, machines and pumps were studied; practical over analytical. Given their poverty, this practical knowledge would have huge and immediate effects in nascent rural industries and post-Great Leap Forward re-collectivised farms. This is really the socialism-isation of science – bringing science to the masses. It is the opposite of the capitalist demand for breakthroughs and growthBecause China was full of socialist revolutionaries, the popular changes in education were not as we would expect in a Western version – which would wind up being a curriculum of something akin to “Business MBAs for everyone” – but were obviously geared towards promoting thoughts and actions which were collectively useful, and not just individually profitable.

Absolutely crucially, this is how the Cultural Revolution created the human capital on which the 1980s boom was based: how could the post-1980s boom occur without literate workers? Creating this human capital – via a decided emphasis on elevating the rural citizen – is the ignored or denied central achievement of the CR. No more would “rural” equal “wasteland of human potential”, and the West – still wracked by an urban-rural divide in 2019 – has much to learn here.

“There was a tendency during the Cultural Revolution to elevate physical labor above academic learning, and as a result many students were assigned too much physical labor. The mix of academic and physical labor, however, varied greatly from place to place and from time to time. … The goals of these activities were to increase the school’s annual income and to develop a love for physical labor in the students.” Yes, Chinese schools engaged their students in money-making activities in order to help raise school funds.

If there’s one thing which separates men from boys and women from girls it is the capacity for hard work – if you cannot work hard and learn to enjoy it… be prepared for an unsatisfying life, because decadence is always ultimately unsatisfying to humans. The idea that Western schools would not teach this seems insane, but it is not taught. Furthermore, this work-instead-of-more-sitting is something which boys would love – to get out of the strict classroom confines and get moving. Anyways, Han relates that in the first half of the 1970s at high schools we are talking about just 6 hours per week of non-academic time, or about 1/7th of overall school time. Personally, I have absolutely no idea how leaders will create policies which are sympathetic and respectful to the working class unless they have spent ample time working alongside them….

Again, these well-rounded high schoolers would be the human capital that created the explosion in rural development, up to and including today, and that should be obvious to all.

Han cites a former teacher: “He cited three major achievements of the educational reforms in Jimo. First, rural schools built during the educational reforms trained large numbers of local youth in practical industrial and agricultural skills and knowledge, which has long-term impacts on the development of rural areas. Economic development in Jimo relied on this practical knowledge. Second, the educational reform began to alter the views of teachers who had previously looked down upon farmers. When they were obliged to participate in some forms of manual labor, they learned to respect villagers and other working people. Third, it empowered villagers. Farmers no longer viewed the educated elite with mystic feelings because they knew the educated teachers better after working with them.” These are all universal issues, I am sure: it was the CR’s aim to fix them, and that is incredibly revolutionary and democratic.

Han on the suspension of university in 1966, which Western urban, elitist, technocratic reporting loves to focus on: “From the perspectives of the individuals whose dreams of going to college were shattered, this reform of the college entrance examination system was deeply disappointing. But from the perspective of rural development, this reform measure, not unlike a blood transfusion for a sick patient, brought knowledge and skills that revived rural areas. … Every student had to work in rural areas or in a factory for at least two years before becoming for eligible. Academic performance was not a sole criterion in the selection of candidates for college. Students also had to prove themselves as good farmers or workers before going to college. Starting in 1976, college students from rural areas were required to go back to their original villages after graduation to serve the villagers who sent them to college.”

This is a drastically different perspective than the usual “broken dream” reporting of the West regarding the CR, no?

It is also a drastically different admission standard: good grades AND good working ability, versus the West’s good grades AND tons of money (or influential parents AND tons of money).

It is also a drastically different philosophy: public funds in their small town paid for the schooling of these fortunate Chinese graduates since their childhood, therefore they must return “to serve the villagers who sent them to college”. There is absolutely nothing like this in the capitalist-individualist West, even though “public funds in their small town paid for…”.

Han relates that an average of 85 people returned to each village in Jimo County. “These students became the new teachers, medical personnel, and skilled workers and technicians on which rural development depended. The reform of the college entrance system and the movement of encouraging education urban out to go to rural areas broke the vicious circle in Chinese education.” (emphasis mine)

Han also specifies how these educated urban youth served as a very real cultural and social bridge between the urban and rural areas, which is precisely what is lacking in modern Western countries and a key reason for their huge urban/rural divide. Again, denying someone their individual right (especially the right of a White middle/upper class person, the type most likely to attend college in their nations) is anathema in the West, but we see how very, very socially necessary and productive it was.

I think that Han’s view – which is relating the common villager’s view – should be shattering in terms of perception of these key “radical” reforms of the CR, which is why I am happy to relate them.

The benefits are so obvious and so broad, I’m sure many Westerners will wonder how they can apply it in their non-socialist systems… they likely cannot, because they will be accused of being “socialists”.

A revolution in rural economy, and thus the national economy, and thus the global economy

Let’s not forget that the CR’s open emphasis on the rural over the urban (revolutionary in itself, and unappreciated by the USSR) was also ordered by any conception of democracy: While China was 56% urban in 2015 it was only 20% urban as late as 1980. The USSR’s emphasis on the primacy of a vanguard party over a People’s democratic dictatorship certainly did not keep socialism flag’s flying after 1991.

It is no exaggeration to say that the CR brought the Industrial Revolution to rural China – it was truly that important.

“During the Cultural Revolution agricultural production more than doubled, but just as impressively rural industry went from ‘negligible’ to 36% of Jimo’s economy. The latter is due to the same developments: political culture which changed to empowerment, collective organization and rapid improvement in education which permitted the intelligence required to understand and adopt modern techniques.”

It is not a difficult formula, nor does it absurdly rely on “market magic”….

In the early 1960s Han relates there were just 10 rural industrial enterprises which employed 253 people; by 1976 there were 2,557 enterprises (2.5 per village) which employed 54,771 people. “More importantly, the educational reforms had provided the local industries with educated youth who had acquired technical know-how while in school.”It’s not just a question of technology, but the people who can run them.

I think that readers in developing countries should be amazed and inspired. Foreign investment (and unequal alliances with foreign corporations) is the West’s solution to such problems, but the real solution to building an effective industry which can fuel local development is local education and empowerment.

Han relates how from 1966 to 1976 farmers, often with simple tools, built more reservoirs and other irrigation projects than all those built prior to and after the CR combined. Where would China be in 2019 without all of the CR’s economic development? This also shows that a key catalyst for such changes is socialist-inspired revolutionary cooperation, commitment and selflessness. In the West the only way such collective actions and fervor happens is during defensive wartime, which is proof of capitalism’s quotidian disregard for the lives of their citizens. Han relates how when a business had grown big enough the village took it over – this, too, is anathema in capitalism, of course.

Who did the CR free the most? Women and children, who were liberated from the tedious chore of grinding and mills, because in 1965 rural Jimo still processed their grain in the old –fashioned way. “Most farm work was mechanized by 1976.” The CR decade saw an 1,800% increase in tractors, 3,500% increase in diesel engines, 1,600% increase in electric motors, 700% increase in mills, 5,100% increase in grinders and a 13,200% increase in sprayers – all in just 10 years. These are video game numbers. Let’s compare this to the (still totally underreported) Eurozone “Lost Decade” of 0.6% economic growth from 2008-2017.

For readers in developing countries with significant rural populations – this must seem like an incredible revolution… well, it was. The implications for the CR on India – which is 70% rural – should be obvious, fascinating, well-studied and adopted by them.

The increase came despite the worst and longest drought in Jimo in several decades – 1967-1969 – so in many ways the CR succeeded where the Great Leap Forward failed.

In these 10 years, Jimo suffered no less serious and no fewer natural disasters than in previous decades. There were altogether four serious droughts, four serious floods, four wind disasters, nine hailstorms and three serious insect disasters. Nevertheless, agricultural production steadily and rapidly increased.

The CR also marked a return to grand, collective economic projects – this had not been tried since the Great Leap Forward. The big difference this time was: production decisions were not handed down by high-level authorities. This success was the direct result of the increased socialist democratic empowerment of the CR:

After the baptism of the Cultural Revolution, farmers refused to follow policies from above blindly, unless they were convinced that these policies would advance their living standards.” Han relates how, when it came to Party experts: “But farmers did not have to listen to them. In fact, there were cases of farmers driving away outside cadres.” Such a thing prior to the CR appears to have been impossible.

It should be clear: the CR was the Great Leap Forward 2.0 – China had learned from the mistakes, and improved. We can fairly say that their Belt and Road Initiative is a Great Leap Forward 3.0, and one which is so great it is incorporating most of Eurasia.

We can see the transition from a China where the vanguard party was everything – like industrial workers in 1917 Petrograd – to a better socialism, because it democratically empowered worker/citizens. It should be no surprise that it worked so well – socialism is something which simply must evolve and grow because it is so very new – treating 19th century Marx as though he was a divine apostle is false, absurd and a guarantee of failure. Conversely, capitalism-imperialism has had 300 or 3000 years (depending on your definition) to grow, and it is not surprising that it has culminated into its most heartless, most inequality-producing format – neoliberal capitalism.

Whereas the Great Leap Forward was a hysterical-with-happiness effort to wipe away more than a century of imperial and/or fascist retardation, locals in Jimo calmly and collectively decided what they needed – the fruits are China’s impressive status in 2019.

A revolution in rural medical care, which appeared for the first time

Again, this is the human capital built up during the CR which produced the 1980s boom. Sickness and infirmity – both your own and that of your children, family and friends – is not just personally debilitating but damaging to the economy.

The CR led to the denunciation of the urban-only medical care program, which was an improvement from the pre-1948 days, but clearly not the finished goal of socialist revolution. “Mao denounced the people’s hospitals aschengshi laoye yiyuan (hospitals for urban lords only).”

Thanks to the CR’s refreshing of the collective mentality: “Each villager paid fifty cents annually to the village clinic, which would then provide villagers with rudimentary free medical care for a whole year. By 1970, 910 villages – 93 percent of all villages – had set up their own village clinics and all had rudimentary medical insurance policies for villagers. The rural ‘barefoot doctors’ who staffed village clinics were mostly returned educated rural youth, who had received rudimentary medical training while in high schools.” It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than the previous witch doctors – who were often publicly shamed for the tragedies caused by the false claims of voodoo – and Han notes the “barefoot doctors” worked under the supervision of real doctors.

“If a villager fell ill and needed to be hospitalized, the village would try to pay for his or her medical bills. If the village could not pay, the commune would help. If the medical bills became too big for both village and commune, the hospital would waive the charges. … To be sure, the rural cooperative medical system was of low quality. … But it was the best system of medical care villagers in Jimo had ever had and it provided villagers with important services and peace of mind.”

Again, human capital was created and preserved, allowing Chinese humans to flourish in the 21st century.

A revolution in cultural respect, not a revolution of cultural violence

In an anecdote which shows how gender equality is far more advanced under socialism than capitalism (of course, as is ethnic equality), Han relates an anecdote of twin brothers who abused their wives getting shamefully paraded, but also their mother because she was believed to be the instigator of the abuse.

Han also discusses something the West’s art mavens love to decry with far greater fervor than the continued existence of human poverty: how cultural treasures were lost at the start of the CR, which attacked the “four olds”: old thoughts, old culture, old traditions and old habits.

Han relates how it was the superstitious funeral and wedding ceremony shops which were the main victims in Jimo – in many ways the CCP was trying to replace the old polytheism with communism.

But what Han explains is that as the CR progressed, and rural students were given more funds, time and consideration, rural students began to enjoy subsidized travel outside of their village. For many this was the first time poor rural students had ever had an opportunity to widen their vision of the world, and they immediately realised the error of naively destroying genuine cultural artefacts.

“In Jimo County, the Cultural Revolution took a dramatic turn after young people returned from trips to Beijing where they gained new perspectives. The independent mass associations emerged (Rebel Red Guard Faction), and destruction of the si jiu (four olds) stopped after students returned from their travels.”

It seems the lesson was very quickly learned – the “four olds” should be regarded as quaint relics, and even worth protecting as part of China’s cultural heritage, but they should no longer be feared and thus destroyed, because idols have no power (which was the message of Abraham and monotheism). That point of view seems difficult to grasp when the “four olds” are lorded over you your whole life, and you think that they are all-dominating instead of being paper tigers.

This is very reminiscent of the trips sponsored by the Iranian Basij: poor young people are given their first chance to travel outside of their village or town, and the result amazingly broadens their perspective.

Such trips also accentuates class consciousness by revealing disparities between town and country: “They were humbled to some extent, but they also felt indignation over the gap in the living standards between the rural and urban areas.”

Not only were new relationships formed, but genuine political intelligence about China’s current situation was increased among rural minds.

It was during these trips that Lan Chengwu and his comrades learned about the widespread corruption among rural cadres. The outrages of village tuhuangdi (local emperors) who stole collective grain, slept with other people’s wives and suppressed those who dared to challenge them angered Lan and his comrades and fired their determination to sustain the Cultural Revolution. Today, official historical accounts emphasize the disruptive impact of chuanlian on the national transportation system.”

I include that last sentence because it shows how far to the socialist right China’s official line is today when compared with the CR decade, which is the subject of the 7th part in this series. Many Iranians similarly chafe at the subsidized trips for Basiji members, but they, too, miss the many revolutionary benefits for poor members.

The essential economic dialectic of the Cultural Revolution must be revived in 2019

“The Cultural Revolution educational reforms provided the rural areas with a large number of educated youth. While in school they learned what was useful for the rural areas, and when they returned to their home village upon graduation they could make good use of what they had learned. … Without the large number of educated youth arrived from the cities, agricultural experiments and mechanization in rural areas would have been unimaginable. … Unlike their illiterate predecessors, the newly educated young farmers had the conceptual tools to modernize production.”

This is the human capital on which China’s post-1980 economic boom surely must be based on, and that is the essential achievement of the Cultural Revolution. By applying socialism’s elevation of the average person, instead of capitalism’s elevation of the exceptional, China has become a superpower.

Han demonstrates – conclusively, impressively and crucially – that, “The building of rural industry in Jimo County, however, began as a result of the Cultural revolution and was already well under way before the onset of Deng’s rural reforms.”This is why Han’s book is so crucial, and especially for developing countries with high rural populations.

China’s socialist/collective mentality increased education and Socialist Democratic changes, whereas the Western-pushed Liberal Democratic changes have never produced the same kind of spectacular results in neo-imperialised countries.

Finally, the “forced repatriation” of educated rural people and some urbanites clearly provided the most vital catalyst for China’s rural renewal, and thus national renewal; it was the indispensable “blood transfusion”, in Han’s words. This policy will never be pushed by the individualist West, but it should be of great interest to more sensible countries.

China’s Cultural Revolution era was so economically and democratically successful that the West simply must ignore it or distort it. It stands in total contrast to the Western-dominated, neo-imperialist neoliberal model, a model which has proven to only increase inequalities and discontents in their nations.

China’s rural areas did not need Western banker investment or instruction to tap into their human potential – does your nation?

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This is the 6th article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution? (5/8)

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution? (5/8)

In Part 3 of this 8-part series I answered the question raised by that part’s title: Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? To recap: China wanted something which the Eurozone has none of: participatory economic planning. China also wanted much more participatory democracy (political empowerment) at the local level and to move even further away from an all-controlling, imperious central state.

But why did this require a decade-long Cultural Revolution (CR)? The answer to that question is: all Red Guards, promoted to install the CR, weren’t all red!

This article will explain something never even hinted at in Western (faux) histories of China: the differences between the two Red Guard factions – the one on the left of the spectrum of socialist political thought, and the one on the right side of the spectrum.

This explains why the primary victims of the Red Guards were… the Red Guards! But that likely needs further explanation….

These party differences were so deep, so broad, so ingrained and so fiercely held that China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is perhaps best conceived of as “China’s Socialist Civil War”. The CR truly was China’s center and left against their right-wing… but we must remember that “right-wing” in a socialist context is still far, far to the left of the “right-wing” in a capitalist context. Of course, China also had some unrepentant “Western right-wing” citizens who refused to adopt socialism who were also involved.

But we live in a world today where many disbelieve in the concept of a hard and scientific “political spectrum”. Many refute any sort of standardization of political thought, as if a person’s political ideas could be so incredibly unique that they defy labeling of any sort, despite the obvious hindrance to understanding and solidarity this belief can’t help but create. Given this widespread error, we should not be surprised that the Western Mainstream Media has no interest at all in fully describing the Chinese spectrum of battling forces during the CR; for them the CR is divided into murderous savages (the Party, the government, students) and totally-innocent victims (usually professors, intellectuals, and those forced to shovel manure instead of constantly talking it).

I will soon explain how Red Guards were the greatest victims of the CR, but to do so I must first dispense with the Western idea that China’s CR was some sort of power-struggle and byproduct of a Mao-cult, as opposed to being a truly democratic event.

The CR’s democratic bonafides are are proven by the fact that there was massive popular involvement. Conversely, the Eurogroup – which decides the economic policies of the Eurozone – is not democratic because there is extremely limited involvement in decision-making.

This is verified in The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village by Dongping Han, who was raised and educated in rural Jimo County, China and is now a university professor in the US. Han interviewed hundreds of rebel leaders, farmers, officials and locals, and accessed official local data to provide an exhaustive analysis of seeming unparalled objectivity and focus regarding the Cultural Revolution in China. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my brand-new bookI’ll Ruin Everything you Are: Ending Western Propaganda in Red China. I hope you can buy a copy for yourself and your 300 closest friends.

“These mass associations (definition coming shortly) were formed largely in the spirit of free association, and enjoyed tremendous independence and freedom. They cut across clan and family lines. It was common for people from the same clan and same family to join different associations. People came together because of their political views. With few exceptions, all of the adult population belonged to one mass association or another.” (emphasis mine)

The Chinese Socialist Civil War showed the one indispensable hallmark of producing a true & successful revolution: universal political participation. In Russia in 1917 or in Iran in 1979, everybody – and I mean everybody – talked politics all the time.

It should not be surprising that the opposite is true: in hugely reactionary cultures like the US or the UK serious political discussion is verboten among friends and family. This is the reason why far-right thinking dominates in these countries – conservatism and traditionalism go unopposed. However, in China the far-right had been (quite properly) banned in 1949; therefore, the CR was a battle among “Chinese right-wing socialists”…which shows how very much more advanced and evolved Chinese political discussion and culture is compared with Anglophone countries, where right-wing elements still are allowed to confuse, distort and champion horrid ideas.

The “mass associations” which Han refers to needs his explanation:

I personally feel there is a need to distinguish between mass organizations and mass associations. The former term would be applied to the organizations like the militia, the Communist Youth League, women’s association, workers’ unions and the official Red Guards which were set up by the CCP and were official in nature. The latter term would refer to the independent Red Guard groups formed largely in the spirit of free association. … Both the rebels and the defenders of the Party leaders were called Red Guards. The rebels were called zaofan pai (rebel faction) while the defenders were known as the baohuang pai (loyalist or royalist faction)….”

This distinction is the essence of the CR: the conflict was between those who were pushed by Mao to criticize the Party in a never-before seen manner – the Rebel Faction (associations) – and those who opposed such criticism and changes – the Loyalist Faction (organizations); both were “Red Guards”, however.

Essentially, the Loyalist Faction Red Guards didn’t know what they were getting into when they started the new CR, as they soon found themselves under attack.

Why the Cultural Revolution was totally different to China, from the Chinese perspective

Han relates in detail and in real-time how the CR came to Jimo County: who were the “rebel leaders”, who were the criticized Party members, who fought back against the CR, and how it evolved from what could have been just another “anti-rightist campaign”, like in 1957, or yet another of near-yearly “anti-corruption campaigns”, into something wholly new – a CR.

Let’s start at the beginning:

“At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, the CCP had total control of Chinese political and economic life. …(the CCP) held the reins of power at each level.”

But what Mao and his supporters wanted was to provoke was something which was previously banned as “anti-party thought” – independent criticism of Party authorities. (Such criticism is widespread in Iran – the critics have not succeeded in persuading Iranians to abandon their revolution, however.)

The democratic bonafides of the CR are further strengthened by the fact that those who openly criticized the government were not punished, but given power. That is a very rare phenomenon. But we are skipping ahead – the first rare phenomenon is that poor rural people were given platforms to explain where their Party-led society had failed, and where the empowerment created by socialist revolution had not yet reached.

“It (the CR) differs from all the previous political campaigns because for the first time in the CCP’s history it circumvented the local party bosses and stressed the principle of letting the masses empower themselves and educate themselves.” (Han’s emphasis)

This is the revolution within a socialist revolution provided by Maoism – only installing a vanguard party is not enough to achieve on-the-ground, democratic socialism.

The first two months of the CR (June-July 1966) saw attacks on the “Four Olds” –in essence, attacks on outdated, repressive and capitalist customs, cultures, habits, and ideas. This was led by the Loyalist Faction Red Guards, to be distinguished from the Rebel Faction Red Guards who came to power later.

“Of course, from the point of view of local party officials, campaigns to destroy the four olds and attack landlords, capitalists and political enemies were convenient ways to divert attention from themselves and protect themselves from attack.” So in this way the first couple months of the CR was a really just a “pseudo-CR”, because it was led by many of the corrupt cadres themselves.

But what stopped this “pseudo-CR” was the August 1966 Mao-faction drafted “16 Points”, which boldly and correctly proclaimed as its headline: “A New Stage in the Socialist Revolution”. The 16 points is briefly summarized here, but to recap: capitalism is essentially a negative societal habit, and if this habit is not broken wherever it is found within a socialist society then it will lead to the unwanted restoration of capitalism-imperialism. Thus, the CR requires vigorous refutation and discrediting of proven anti-socialist thought and influence.

Crucially, the 16 Points, “…made the distinction between the Communist party as an institution and party bosses as individuals in a definitive manner, and which stressed that the targets of the Cultural Revolution were the capitalist roaders inside the Party.” (Han’s emphasis)

Capitalist roader” is, I feel, a rather inelegant but common English translation of this supremely important Maoist phrase. What it refers to is: a person who wants to get off the road of socialism and return to the road of capitalism-imperialism. It is not an effective translation because it lacks the necessary implication of betraying socialism’s already-acquired advances. “Capitalist re-roader” would be better, but also inelegant. However, one of the beauties of socialist jargon is its refusal to be elegant at all!

What we can also do is to call the capitalist roaders something more accurate – “anti-empowerment roaders”. Or we could call them “king-roaders”, for Muslim countries still oppressed by monarchies, and “CEO-roaders” for the Western republics suffering from bourgeois/West European/Liberal Democracy’s promotion of neoliberal ideals.

Let’s put the 16 Points in China’s historical context:

In a very real way we can say that after 17 years the CCP had definitely established themselves as the dominant and accepted political force in the country – no more Kuomintang, no more foreign powers, far fewer rightists – and thus they could “relax” their grip… by risking a healthy, re-dedicating CR to start focusing on improving the Party’s control rather than just cementing the Party’s control.

It is simply unrealistic politics to imagine that all revolutions don’t have this “consolidation phase”. I would contend that the Iranian Revolution is nearing the end of their consolidation phase; if the US had honored the JCPOA treaty – and if European nations had the courage to honor their word – the Islamic Revolution would have become totally legitimized domestically, and Iran would have to come up with a “New Stage in the Iranian Islamic Revolution” and their own “16 points”. Instead, a totally desperate US has just gone nuclear, by banning anyone from buying Iran oil. Iran’s enemies are as close to war as they can possibly get with that move, simply because they don’t want Iranian Islamic Socialism to spread any more than they want Socialism With Chinese Characteristics to spread.

Indeed, Iran is in a situation we can compare to China in 1963. People act like China was always an equal with the West, as they have been in the 21st century – back then China was still banned from the World Trade Organisation, under US sanctions which would not be lifted until Nixon in 1971, and watching the US wage war on its neighbors & set up nearby military bases. Revolutionary fervour is often imposed rather than chosen – Mao rejected Soviet revisionism and laxity because China did not have the leeway, options and power that the USSR had. If the incredibly belligerent decision of banning Iranian oil actually takes hold, we should thus not be surprised if Iranian “hard-liners” promote a 2nd Iranian Cultural Revolution as a result – indeed, how can socialist-inspired nations relent when compromise is certain death and disgrace? How can we say that China’s CR failed when it obviously convinced the West to call off their Cold War? Regarding Iran, all I can say is: Iranian Cultural Revolution II is far, far, far more likely than the eruption of an unpatriotic civil war which aims to ally itself with the US. LOL….

At this point in China’s CR history, Han elaborates the very essence of the unheard & the unreported point of view of the Cultural Revolution:

“After the ‘16 points’ was publicized, it became very difficult for individual party leaders to use ‘party leadership’ as a shield against criticism. … The ‘chaos’ that attacks on the local party leaders would cause was the price Mao was willing to pay in order to create opportunities to empower the masses. … The ‘16 Points’ and Mao’s support liberated the suppressed rebels throughout China. It also took away the sacred veneer from local ‘dictators’ whom ordinary people called ‘tuhuangdi’ (local emperors) and subjected them to mass criticism. … Former rebel leaders in Jimo like Lan Chengwu and Wang Sibo say that Mao called his 1966 revolution ‘cultural’ because he wanted to cultivate a more democratic political culture in order to eradicate the tuhuangdi phenomenon.”

This is the crucial evolution of socialism: away from the Party dictators and jingoistic loyalists, and towards the “rebels”, who should also be considered synonymous with “true socialists” and “true revolutionaries of empowerment”.

In many ways this encapsulates why the West essentially ends modern Chinese history with 1966 – to them, China always remained a “totalitarian” system with absolutely zero local democratic empowerment. Han agrees that the previous system was – in an genuine but certainly not complete sense of the word – “totalitarian” (centralized and dictatorial), but he shows that the CR specifically fought to change this reality; it was even led by the “totalitarians” themselves.

The West has remained stuck in their false mindset by misinterpreting and not discussing the CR. They have refused to tell the truth and do not even try to understand the CR. Again empowering Chinese and Iranian-style socialism, and not empowering their domestic leftists, are their malign motivations.

Han demonstrates that the CR represents a fundamentally-positive and democratic evolution in the quality of their socialist democracy. This evolution facilitated an explosion in rural-dominated China’s rural economies, industries and schooling and lay the foundation, taught the skills and started the industries which fueled their post-1980 economic success. Modern China’s success cannot be understood without grasping this evolution created specifically by the CR because it fundamentally changed the entire country, even if revolutionary fervour inevitably waned some with the arrival of Deng Xiaoping.

The CR was so intense, so thorough and so very democratic (China being 80% rural at the time), that it cannot be ignored by anyone who wants to grasp modern China; failure to understand the CR also means that one’s politics are stuck in the ‘60s, and certainly that is a fair assessment of the West – they have totally regressed to the right politically, culturally and economically since then. This link is never discussed.

Which Red Guards fought which Red Guards and why?

Now that the background running up until 1967 is laid, we can properly understand the fighting that came after. Without this fighting, the CR would have been just another “anti-rightist campaign”. The fighting was the result of the creation and state protection of totally-grassroots groups, which Han called “mass associations”; these mass associations sat in opposition to “mass organizations”, which represented the CCP status quo.

“With the issuing of ’16 points’, the official Red Guards organized under the auspices of local party leaders dissolved very quickly. Independent rebel associations began to appear,” and these are Han’s “mass associations”. In Jimo County a dozen new, independent Rebel Red Guard associations emerged through the spontaneous democracy guarded by the Mao-faction and the army (the left and center).

Han notes how the Chinese Constitution had always protected free assembly, but that it was never really permitted; these associations were the first time rural peasants could create unified groups which served as a challenge to Party domination. Han relates the universal political participation, and how political debate between associations was constant and transparent. This not only allowed the mastery and tweaking of political ideas, but it empowered the peasant masses by allowing them to speak publicly for the first time ever. These are the kinds of things which prove the CR’s democratic bonafides, but which the West cannot accept nor popularize. Indeed, how can the CR be undemocratic when it fostered, protected and promoted new grassroots institutions? What is more democratic than spontaneous grassroots organizations? We see here the truly revolutionary nature of the CR.

Each village Han studied had roughly three to five new mass associations, and he related how widespread the democratic participation was down to the household level. “The major difference between them was whether or not to overthrow the old village party bosses.”

Therefore, the CR was essentially a massive referendum on the performance of individual civil servants.

If you were a good boss, who maybe was in charge of some small town’s only mill or granary or whatever, everyone in that small town surely knew you were good…. because that’s how small towns are – they know your personal business. And such good bosses kept their jobs (and kept in line). But if you were a tuhuangdi who siphoned off the profits to buy presents to seduce married women, everyone in that small town already knew it – because that’s how small towns are – and you’d be exposed and publicly shamed. Public shaming is an Asian thing, perhaps, but I certainly see it as just punishment. I note that Han does not record that any such person died as punishment in Jimo County.

Han relates how workers and farmers joined the Rebel Faction out of dissatisfaction with local Party leaders. These Rebel Faction Red Guards (associations) were supported by the left-wingers in the Chinese Socialist Democratic System (Mao and those who thought like him), whereas the Loyalist Faction Red Guards (organizations) were the status quo-preserving establishment. All were Red Guards, though.

The Rebel Faction Red Guards were joined by idealistic students, and now the two sides began to really fight it out against the Loyalist Faction Red Guards. Many might assume that the army tipped the balance, but that’s not the case:

“The army was called upon to support the revolutionary leftists by the center. But since there was no concrete criterion for a revolutionary leftist, it was really up to the soldiers in the fields to decide who they wanted to support.”

Even though Mao, the center, and the left called for the army to support the Rebel Faction Red Guards, Han reveals yet another democratic bonafide of the CR: the army was not manipulated for political reasons, but was allowed to freely choose their own side. Therefore, if the right wing in China’s socialist spectrum was overwhelmed in the CR decade, and if the army did not intervene to prop them up, the only reason is because many in the People’s Liberation Army were genuine leftists themselves, i.e. democracy prevailed.

When the dust cleared, the Red Guards (Rebel Faction) beat the Red Guards (Loyalist Faction)

As expected, in the early years of the CR the Rebel Faction Red Guards initially faced much local official persecution for denouncing people like Police Chiefs for poor performance, capitalist-roading and abuse of authority. People talk about the CR as if there was no give-and-take of abuse, imprisonment and mistreatment, but of course the Loyalist Faction had many levers to pull and obstacles to throw up despite the opposition of Mao way over in the capital.

So when we talk about the violent excesses of the CR, we must keep in mind that the CR’s victors had to overcome much initial official repression. Revolutionary payback is usually not a bouquet of flowers with a thank-you card.

But the primary reason there was so much anger was likely because prior to the CR there simply, “…were no regular channels for ordinary villagers to air their opinions and grievances against the Party authorities.” It’s not that Chinese Socialism had failed, but that equality was not universal due to a clear urban/rural divide. The CR was essentially a rural explosion which demanded that equality. It is not for nothing the very first big character poster – the Chinese version of a free press back then, and that is no exaggeration at all – attacked the educational inequalities at China’s top university and demanded that the doors be opened wider to rural students. The Yellow Vests are doing the same… but less coherently, which should be expected – Westerners are not as intellectually politically advanced & experienced as the Chinese in 1964.

The Yellow Vests are essentially demanding a Cultural Revolution

In the end, the CR was about demanding that second pillar of Marxism – redistribution of power – for rural areas; the CR was China dealing with it’s rural/urban divide, whereas the West is only starting to come to grips with their divide with Brexit, the Yellow Vests, the “basket of deplorables”, etc.

“Some villagers say that before the Cultural Revolution villagers felt shorter before party leaders, and always nodded to them first when they met on the street. After the Cultural Revolution ordinary villagers no longer felt diminished before the village leaders and such leaders often greeted ordinary villagers first when they met on the street.”

Such “who greets whom first” etiquette is a classic small-town concern, LOL.

But it is a real concern, and public servants simply must address public concerns – that is their primary job. Public servants who expect to be feted like social superiors are clearly not “of” or “for the People”.

We can see why the Western 1% is so fearful of a CR occurring locally – capitalism is all about venerating the “Great Man”, whom we should be thanking for giving us the opportunity to work for peanuts.

The CR is supposed to be so bloody, but Han does not list any deaths in Jimo County as a result of CR violence. Han says with only a few exceptions the corrupt party leaders were rehabilitated. Heck, the CCP allowed Pu Yi, “the Last Emperor” to be rehabilitated and live his life out in peace, so why not the local emperors? It is capitalist legal systems which prioritize useless and unequal punishment over rehabilitation, not socialist systems.

The idea that 500,000 to 2 million people died in the CR is a number which seems to be invented by Western imaginations, because how many of these claimants did the in-depth study Han did… and yet Han reports zero deaths?

Considering this was both a revolution and a civil war, should such a deal toll stand as proof of the CR’s inherent immorality? Does anybody do that for the US Civil War, which cost 600,000 lives? Of course not. The big difference between the two is: nobody in the West does the work Han did and proves that the CR led to huge increases in economic, political, medical, educational, social and democratic empowerment. Time will show that the CR freed the Chinese rural slaves, in a very genuine sense. Maybe they weren’t freed enough, but neither were US Blacks, who went from slaves to Jim Crow… but these are undoubtedly two civil wars with positive overall results.

By the time local party organizations began to function again in late 1969, after almost three years of dormancy, the political culture had already changed.

Han recounts their characteristics and practices, and how they replaced the old structures, and my margin notes read “democracy” over and over and over and over.

The number of party members doubled in Jimo County from 1965-1978 (the year Deng took office), but this was not the error of Krushchev, who let in a bunch of ideologically-suspect Soviets in order to dilute the power of the Stalinist wing – China opened its doors to their true revolutionaries who made their bones during the CR decade.

In a very important sense, even if Deng’s more right-wing socialist line came to the fore in the 1980s, and even if there would be a purge of Rebel Faction leaders during the Deng era, the cadres and citizens pushed to the left during the CR (as Dongping Han seems to have been) have helped ensure that China has not at all fully switched to the capitalist road.

The CR undoubtedly brought untold wealth, progress and empowerment for rural areas (as I briefly related in Part 1). Trumpeting these achievements is verboten in the West, but is the focus of the next part in this series.

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This is the 5th article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’ (4/8)

April 17, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’ (4/8)

What is Mao’s Little Red Book, first published in 1964 at the start of the Cultural Revolution? In 2019, I think we have to look at it in three ways:

The Little Red Book was a work of journalism. This means it sought to impart knowledge which was specific to its exact time, and as a response to the needs of its particular moment. Were you to read a report of mine from 2009, of course it would not be considered as relevant, hip and accurate were it to be directly applied to the situation in 2019… but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hit the nail on the head the day it was published. Mao’s Little Red Book served an immediate need for immediate decision-making, much like journalism does.

Secondly, the Little Red Book was essentially of code of conduct. It was aimed at workers in the government and preached an ascetic program of socialist officialdom. I.e., it was moral instruction for civil servants, telling government workers to be good workers.

Thirdly – and this is the source of the Little Red Book’s greatest social impact during the CR and the reason it is immortal – it was able to be used as a very real weapon of democratic empowerment for China’s lowest classes against bad civil servants.

This series examines The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village by Dongping Han, who was raised and educated in rural Jimo County, China, and is now a university professor in the US. Han interviewed hundreds of rebel leaders, farmers, officials and locals, and accessed official local data to provide an exhaustive analysis of seeming unparalled objectivity and focus regarding the Cultural Revolution (CR) in China. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my brand-new book, Ill Ruin Everything you Are: Ending Western Propaganda in Red China. I hope you can buy a copy for yourself and your 300 closest friends.

Han does something which Westerners never do without total derision, total ignorance of its contents, and a general disinterest in the aims of socialism to begin with: he fairly discusses the impact of Mao’s Little Red Book. Han writes with his characteristic modesty and refusal to exaggerate:

“Fundamentally speaking, yang banxi (the model Beijing operas) and Mao’s quotations served important social functions. They promoted a democratic, modern political culture and established a highly demanding, though loosely worded, code of official conduct. They called on Communist Party members to accept hardship first and enjoyment later. They required government officials to think about the livelihood of the masses. They denounced high-handed oppressive behavior and promoted subtle persuasion in dealing with difficult persons. … They set up good examples for the officials to emulate, and, more importantly, they provided the ordinary people with a measuring stick of good official conduct.”

Providing a new measuring stick – is that not what Revolutions are all about?

“To the outside world and to the educated elite, songs based on Mao’s quotations and yang banxi constitute a personality cult carried to the extreme. But in a way this cult served to empower ordinary Chinese people. Ordinary villagers used Mao’s words to promote their own interests. What some outside observers don’t realize is that Mao’s works had become a de facto constitution for rural people. More importantly, this de facto constitution became an effective political weapon for ordinary villagers.”

There is no doubt that longtime China analysts in the West are flummoxed by such a positive, democratic analysis.

Just like journalism, we can only judge the true worth of the Little Red Book by accepting the judgment of the local masses. It’s easy to imagine that non-Chinese, especially properly educated ones, may view the Little Red Book as unnecessary instruction… but this was decidedly not the case in 1964 China for the average person. When “ability to increase the empowerment of the average person” becomes our measuring stick, then our assessment must change…but for this type of focus – which is egalitarian and communal, as opposed to individualistic – we need people like Han and not Harvard professors.

“Scholarly critics of the Cultural Revolution dismiss the study of Mao’s works as blind submission to Mao’s words as the final authority. That is very true. It is true that few people in China ever, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, subjected Mao’s work to any theoretical scrutiny, which is sad indeed. However, critics sometimes forget the social context of Chinese society in the mid-1960s, and the most urgent needs of ordinary people at that time. For the illiterate and powerless villagers, it was not the business of the day to subject Mao’s works to theoretical scrutiny, but to use Mao’s words as a weapon to empower themselves against official abuses and to overcome their traditional submissive culture.”

Again, Mao’s Little Red Book is a superb piece of urgently-needed journalism which created a code of conduct that people from the disempowered classes could immediately use as a democratic weapon.

What are we supposed to do with such an analysis of Mao’s Little Red Book? Are we to tell Professor Han – with all his research, personal background, knowledge and ability to provide context – that his point of view is less informed and intelligent than that of Western journalists and academics? This is why Han’s book is revolutionary: those who read it can either accept it and change their “measuring stick” of the CR, the Little Red Book and many other things Chinese socialist… or they can be fairly denounced as reactionaries who believe that upholding illogical but traditional thought – which only supports an obviously unequal status quo – is more important than the use of honesty, reason and moral fairness.

Han, not being a journalist as I am, is not at all prone to such indignant accusations, LOL.

Mao’s problem is that he was both a genius politician and a genius thinker. His double genius, and his incredible ineffectiveness at his chosen tasks, have inspired such awe and loyalty that the popularity of the Little Red Book is assumed in the West to be solely a product of a “cult of personality” for Mao instead of its amazing democratic utility.

I have never heard of a “cult of personality” applied to a Westerner. I’d like to discuss this with you sometime in France – we can go to the tiniest of villages and meet at Place du Charles de Gaulle, which is at the intersection of Avenue Charles de Gaulle and Rue Charles de Gaulle, and catty-corner from Allée Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle, I note, did not even produce an equivalent of the Little Red Book, and thank God for that – it would surely have been based merely around the grandeur of France, i.e. petty nationalism.

The ideas, beliefs and sayings of Mao compiled in the Little Red Book were obviously so dear and so accepted by the Chinese people that the Book’s popularity became proof of brainwashing to anti-socialists. However, to socialists the Book was obviously something much more: it was a necessary tool of empowerment.

Dismissing the Little Red Book shows that one either hasn’t read it, or is a loud-mouthed reactionary

For Han, schoolchildren using the Little Red Book to teach political empowerment to their illiterate parents is not the source of amusement, nor is it trivial, nor is it authoritarianism-cloaked-in-leftism – it is real leftism in action, and incredibly suited for its time and place. We can debate its academic/theoretical quality regarding socialist political theory, but Han relates how it was a superb tool of democracy against bad governance.

“I would argue that one reason why ordinary villagers made such an effort to study Mao’s works and why they could recite Mao’s quotations and other lengthy works at that time is because they gained power by doing so.”

That certainly seems logical: a low-level Party official might commit the Little Red Book to superficial memory, but why would an “ordinary villager” take the time out of their busy farming day to do so? This is a question which will endlessly flummox Westerners, and to the point where they resort to the most absurd fear-mongering: “Oh, they must have feared the gulag if they didn’t learn it.”

During the public forums for which the CR is known for, imagine a corrupt cadre being confronted publicly with Mao’s injunctions, such as:

However active the leading group may be, its activity will amount to fruitless effort by a handful of people unless combined with the activity of the masses. (Page 251)

This surely was used by Chinese peasants to compel Party cadres to include the democratic will when creating local policy, but to make cadres work in the fields (and that truly happened during the CR decade, and en masse).

If, in the absence of these movements, the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements and monsters were allowed to crawl out – while our cadres were to shut their eyes to this and in many cases fail to even differentiate between the enemy and ourselves… the Marxist-Leninst Party would undoubtedly become a revisionist party or a fascist party and the whole of China would change its color. (Page 79)

These are honestly the two first passages I randomly turned to in my copy of the Little Red Book. Why are they so good? Because The Little Red Book is a “Greatest Hits of Mao Zedong” – it’s the best thoughts from his speeches, writings and interviews from over decades. I truly just turned at random again, and this is something de Gaulle would have hated (I knew it’d be easy to write this article):

“But we must be modest – not only now, but 45 years hence as well. (I.e., the year 2001, as this was written in 1956.)We should always be modest. In our international relations we Chinese people should get off great-power chauvinism resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely.”

Fake-leftists condemn Mao as a tyrant, yet his words were beloved by the masses because they were so empowering, clear-hearted and universal. It should be clear that his works were not memorized in a rote form as a way to pass a civil service test – they were learned by heart because they were so very intelligent yet so applicable. The reality is that during the CR decade old Chinese peasants who had just learned to read were waving the Little Red Book in the faces of shamefaced, younger Party cadres.

Han provides us fascinating, accurate, local insight into the impact, need for and democratically empowering motivations behind the Little Red Book. We should be able to see why the Cultural Revolution would not have spread far and wide within China without it.

The reality is that Chinese peasants in 1965 were leap years ahead of Westerners, from a mental-political perspective – that’s what 16 years of socialism will do for somebody:

“To many Western scholars, Mao’s Cultural Revolution-era messages were extremely ambiguous. Andrew Walder, for instance, has written: ‘It takes an extraordinary amount of energy and imagination to figure out precisely what Mao really meant by such ideas as ‘the restoration of capitalism’ or ‘newly arisen bourgeoisie.’ However, to Chinese people, even to the illiterate villagers, these terms were not so hard to grasp. Due to China’s leap ahead in political modernity, and some subsequent obstacles, capitalism’s restoration meant incomplete land reform for farmers, and the new bourgeoisie were the Party leaders who acted very much like the old landlords.”

Such sentences from Walder-types are constant when reading Anglophones discuss socialism: they adore to subtly but clearly express their belief that – at its base – socialism is just a childish fantasy, without any grounding in logic or reality.

These cynical notions take one very far in the West. Walder won a Guggenheim fellowship and taught at Harvard and Stanford despite being far stupider than the average Chinese peasant (by his own admission). It’s incredible that someone who cannot understand those two simple terms would rise so far in the realm of political science academia; it is not surprising that such a person would produce obviously anti-China and anti-socialist works such as China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed. Han’s work explains why the CR was in fact a re-railing of socialist revolution…but I do not think he will get a Guggenheim Fellowship for his efforts, sadly.

The reality is that until we learn to prioritize local/native studies and views we will always have great difficulty in understanding foreign cultures. Yet when it comes to socialist-inspired countries native voices are totally excluded in the allegedly-free press/free thought-loving West.

“Today farmers still say that, ‘Chairman Mao said what ordinary villagers wanted to say (shuo chu liao nongmin de xinli hua).’”

For those many Westerners who envision Mao burning in Hell, I think he’s pretty happy where he is because that is an extremely meritorious legacy for any politician – being a conduit for the ordinary People.

Conversely, ex-French President Francois Hollande was recently asked if what the French say about current President Emmanuel Macron is true: that he is the “president of the rich”. Hollande, who was bitterly derided by the decidedly not witty Nicolas Sarkozy as “Mr. Little Jokes”, responded: “No, he’s not. He’s the president of the super-rich.” (Where was this great analysis when you were charge, Francois?)

De Gaulle could never say what ordinary villagers wanted to say…unless they were French villagers – his political ideology was based on petty, blinkered French nationalism; he could never have united scores of European ethnicities, whereas Mao did (and still does) unite 56 officially-recognised ethnicities.

Macron is capitalist, De Gaulle was imperialist – both should not write even very little books, and of any color.

The Little Red Book remains a source of amusement in the West, but it’s not as if they understand it. And it’s not as if ever-surging, ever-united China needs Western acceptance in 2019.

Han has helped prove that the legacy of the Little Red Book will be that it enabled a new worship and devotion to the tenets of socialism (with Chinese characteristics) – Mao was merely the conduit of thoughts much larger than his person.

It is unfortunate that the West continues to build and worship their ignorant cult of anti-Mao, rather than understanding how the Little Red Book increased democracy and empowerment.

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This is the 4th article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? (3/8)

In every modern revolution the winners owed their victory to the poor, and China in 1949 was no exception. Iranians call 1979 the “Revolution of the Barefooted” for this same universal reason.

(The reason is universal because any major political change not led by the poor cannot possibly be a “revolution”, but is merely a “coup”, “takeover” or “regime change”.)

I call these revolutions “Trash Revolutions”, even though the adjective is derogatory, because in the English language “trash” gets right to heart of it: the taking of political power by and for the lowest class of society.

Trash Revolutions are the best… but not all Trash make great revolutionaries.

This was the case in China, where by the mid-1960s many in the Chinese Communist Party lost their willingness to identify with the poor and to share in their hardships – thus, they had lost the most important two traits which had propelled them to victory.

The adults in the room, unlike the hardcore capitalists eager to criticize socialist societies at the first pause for breath, understand that the mere proclamation of socialist victory does not translate into an immediate paradise of equality and opportunity. This article seeks to explain why a retrenchment of revolutionary asceticism, a second so-called “cultural” revolution, was needed in already-Red China.

(Iranians agreed that a no-holds barred Cultural Revolution was so necessary in the “postmodern” era that the world’s second (and only other) state-sponsored Cultural Revolution was launched just one year after booting out the Shah: political modernity requires a massive mental shift on the individual level, and thus a massive cultural shift on the societal level. But this article does not seek to preach to the Iranian choir….)

This series examines The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village by Dongping Han, who was raised and educated in rural Jimo County, China and is now a university professor in the US. Han interviewed hundreds of rebel leaders, farmers, officials and locals, and accessed official local data to provide an exhaustive analysis of unparalled objectivity and focus regarding the Cultural Revolution (CR) in China. Han was kind enough to write the forward to my brand-new bookI’ll Ruin Everything you Are: Ending Western Propaganda in Red China. I hope you can buy a copy for yourself and your 400 closest friends.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ – The Who… and the pre-CR CCP

Of course, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was not remotely the same as the fascist Kuomintang nor the emperor – only a dimwitted political nihilist would make such a claim… but neither had they perfectly exemplified the Chinese concept of the “Heavenly Mandate”.

After 1949 the CCP apparently thought that rural residents would be easily bought off with land, farm implements, houses and furniture while they prioritized urban areas. But despite increases in quality of life, the rural-urban divide remained glaringly in evidence and stood as galling proof of inequality, creating major domestic discord. For example, urban residents got free medical care, paid holidays, paid sick days and pensions, whereas peasants had none of these things. Maybe it is true that China, only beginning to dig itself out of the muck they were wedged in thanks to their century of colonial humiliation, could not afford to give these things to the mass majority of their citizens (China was 82% rural as late as 1964), but pro-urban sectarianism is going to be resented and certainly needs a remedy soon.

Thus the CR (and the Yellow Vests).

But at the same time that Nikita Khrushchev (Soviet leader 1953-64) had thrown open the gates to Communist Party membership – drastically weakening the ideological purity of the “vanguard party”, a key component of socialism, and in order to drown out the non-revisionist Stalinists – China had closed their ranks. Those CCP members who were there in 1949 could certainly be trusted, but many were proving to be greatly without socialist merit.

“Without new blood, the old party members were able to monopolize village power. The Communist political structure in the rural areas gave the village party secretary supreme authority….Their control of the village seemed complete.”

Westerners and anti-socialists portray Mao (and Stalin) as something like the apex of all corruption on earth, which is flatly contradicted by actual Chinese historical fact. A 1951 anti-corruption campaign found (a Western Liberal Democracy-like) 64% of 625 cadres in eastern Jimo County guilty of corruption. Now we can rationalise that just two years of peace following decades of horrific war is not enough time to to terminate wartime insanities and to inculcate proper socialist habits and, but Mao is so revered in China precisely because he absolutely did not tolerate such poor governance of the People.

“After the Communists took power, Mao Zedong was a curse to corrupt officials in his government…. Before the Cultural Revolution there was an anti-corruption campaign almost every other year. Still, without a radical change of the political culture which would empower ordinary people, all of Mao’s efforts to curb official abuse fell short.”

It must be said that it was not “all of Mao’s efforts” – Mao was simply the figurehead of this broad anti-corruption party of the CCP, or in Western terms an anti-corruption “faction”.

But, again, sayin’ it (proclaiming socialist revolution) and doin’ it (implementing, practicing and protecting socialist revolution) is just a different thing, with just as much difference as “night” and “day”:

“In a sense, the Communists built a new house on the ruins of the old with the new Revolution, but the air of the old society still permeated this new house. With the old culture largely intact, the new communist leaders who replaced the old oppressors of the village, ‘slide into certain habits well-known to traditional upholders of ‘law and order’”.

The CCP had done a lot of redistribution of wealth, but the two pillars of Marxist thought simply cannot exist independently: redistribution of wealth is nothing without a concomitant redistribution of power and control over politics/workplaces. But the CCP did not really derive their power from politics and workplaces – they derived their power from the battlefield and human hearts.

“The CCP cadres who ruled rural areas after 1949 did not derive their power from villagers. They were not elected by the villagers…. Consequently, commune and village leaders were more inclined to please their patrons than respond to villagers’ needs and aspirations.”

The clear problem here was that villagers lacked control over their local village leader to make him or her implement their democratic will. This is exactly why a primary demand of Yellow Vests to Macron is to implement regular “RICs”, Citizens’ Initiative Referendums.

There is no doubt: everybody wants and needs local decision-making; but socialism is not anarchism – socialism contains the non-paradox of a central organizer and planner overseeing local independence.

It was precisely this lack of local control which led to some of the problems of the Great Leap Forward: the desire by village leaders to please the central organizer despite the advice and knowledge of the local population, as I described in my book in the most simple human terms possible. This failure to implement Marxism’s second pillar is truly the hardest part of socialism – anyone can write a check – and when socialism has collapsed it has been because of this failure.

Collectivization is good and more productive than capitalism, but only alongside Socialist Democracy, which did not fully exit pre-CR

In order to quickly prove that socialist collectivization is just as effective in promoting overall economic development as individualist capitalism, I quote myself from Part 1 – this summarizes the differences between rural China in 1966 and after the Cultural Revolution in 1976:

You just read about 2 times more food and 2 times more money for the average Chinese person, 14 times more horsepower (which equates to 140 times manpower), 50 times more industrial jobs, 30 times more schools and 10 times more teachers during the CR decade in rural areas.

Collective farming and control in rural areas – enormously impressive economic, industrial, agricultural and educational results during the CR: end of that discussion.

Han puts these numbers into context by honestly relating the successes and failures of collectivization from the previous era, 1949-1964:

“In essence, the collective farming was a form of mutual insurance designed to make up for the absence of other forms of social insurance.” Let’s remember that urban Chinese had many social insurance guarantees peasants did not.

In practical terms: the rural collective (which comprised all that which had been nationalized: plows, oxen, farm tools, land, etc.) was the social arbitration of limited resources, with the goal of egalitarianism amid increased efficiency.

Capitalists will say: “The exceptional Chinese farmer was shortchanged and denied his right to excel and live in a superior fashion!”

Yes. But there is no debate about how the collectives of the pre-CR era ended the very real poverty the average rural person was threatened with via every storm cloud:

Substantial social security guarantees were embedded in the collective distribution system in Jimo. No matter whether a villager could work or not, the collective undertook to provide him and his family with ‘five guarantees’, (wu bao) – food, clothes, fuel, education for his children and a funeral upon death…. The collective, thus, provided a de facto institutional retirement plan for villagers. The government had put some thought into this unique social security system in the villages.”

So even though urban peasants had it better, let’s not pretend that the 1949-1964 era did not greatly stabilise and better the life for the average Chinese farmer. Certainly Trash around the West – especially Blacks and Native Americans in Western countries – were not guaranteed any of these things in the era of 1949-1964.

Good, Mr. Mao, but not great. Major failures were still easy to spot, and Han’s book relates them.

Like in education: In Jimo County in 1950 48% of area children were enrolled in primary schools, and by 1956 that figure was just 56%. Per Han, 65% of these schools did not even have chairs or tables. From 1949 to 1966 Jimo County produced 1,616 high school graduates out of 1,011 villages; half of them left the county in a huge “brain drain”. The rural-to-urban brain drain remains a major, major plague on rural Western areas today, and that may be the biggest problem – the massive flight of human capital from rural areas to urban ones.

Medical care was not provided either. Han relates how villagers often relied on dangerous and often deadly witch doctors, and he relates how these witch doctors would soon be among those shamefully paraded during the Cultural Revolution and even beaten by the families of their still-grieving victims. The idea of witch doctors may be very hard for developed countries to imagine, but this was a very real phenomenon which only the modern CR exposed as a sham and then replaced with true doctors. (I would imagine that a worried parent could often rather have a witch doctor than no doctor….)

Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-red China? Because the record of the pre-CR era was mixed, or rather, it was unfinished. The CR needs to be seen as “re-collectivization” of an already “collective society”.

Such a retrenchment requires not only 20th century socialist ideas, but also intense patriotism and not mere “nationalism”. Iran was able to have a CR of their own largely because they wanted a re-collectivisation of what Iran “was” – and it included Kurds, Arabs, Jews, etc – thus, “Neither East nor West but the Iranian Republic”. China’s CR was not asking Soviet technicians to come and fix things (nor ones from the IMF, nor Brussels, nor Esperanto-speaking Trotskyist theoreticians) – it was asking Chinese peasants; Iran was asking the average poor, hijab-wearing Iranian woman, humble-living mullahs and the many barefooted what good governance should be.

France in 2019 lacks both modern socialist ideas (its emphasis on RICs as some sort of Godsend is one proof) and all-embracing patriotism. However, so did China and Iran at one point.

The Great Leap Forward didn’t end the desire for collectivization and empowerment, thus the CR

As we all know, capitalism is not patient – they demand mercilessly quick results from socialism or else will start shoveling massive denigration. Socialism, however, cares not: Han relates that the collectives were all about taking the long-term view, the very opposite of capitalism’s “get rich quick” ethos. Yes, young people worked harder than older people in the collective, but when they were sick or got old they moved to the easier jobs; couples with six children took more rice than childless couples, yes, but when the kids grew up their work supported the old childless couple. This is the “collective” mentality, and it enrages the Arizona rancher.

The CR cannot be understood without just a bit of fair, objective knowledge of the Great Leap Forward (GLF). It is pathetic that celebrated faux-historians like Frank Dikotter top Wikipedia pages with claims like “coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the foundation of the Great Leap Forward“, when the GLF was undoubtedly motivated by altruistic desires to cooperate on ambitious projects which aimed to improve the nation. Briefly, from Han:

“When discussing the Great Leap Forward in China, many people see only the food shortages and other negative consequences. They do not understand that the goal of the Great Leap Forward partly was to improve infrastructure in the countryside. The reservoirs built during the Great Leap Forward benefited the rural areas for decades to come. These infrastructure improvements are why farmers who suffered most during the Great Leap Forward have always viewed it with ambiguity other than completely condemning it.”

That is based on his years of his interviews with farmers – it is not based on the judgment of some hack journalist writing an article 10,000 kilometres away who has no idea about anything Chinese other than egg foo young, and who knows even less about socialism.

Because capitalism can never present socialism as an ideology which can adapt and evolve (much as the 1%ers in capitalist societies were able to successfully evolve capitalism into its modern form: neoliberal globalism), but which is an ideology as frozen as as Soviet gulag, they can never even bring up this fact as a mere possibility: By the mid-1960s China had learned from the failures of the Great Leap Forward, and thus regained their appetite and ambition for big collective projects.

But not so big….

What the GLF taught China was that the 2nd pillar of socialism (local control) really is vital for success. Bigger is not always better: combining 50 villages was just too unwieldy to create individual worker empowerment. Collectives were thus reduced to roughly one-third of the village (30-40 households). This obviously made a world of difference, given the fantastic economic, industrial, agricultural and educational success of the CR for rural China (i.e., China).

The Great Leap Forward, while having other successes, helped prove that socialism is essentially locally-based, and thus is not intended to be the totalitarian steamroller non-socialists caricaturize it as.

So it’s that second, less-publicised pillar of socialism which was the Achilles’ heel of China’s first-generation collectives:

“The main weakness of rural collective organisation was political: ordinary members were not politically empowered and were dependent on village and commune officials. The Communists had not fundamentally changed the rural political culture of submission to authority and had not significantly remedied the lack of education in the countryside. Collectivisation had made ordinary villagers more dependent on officials by placing economic decisions in the hands of the collective while failing to really empower villagers to take part in the decision-makingprocess. This was not only a political problem: without solving this problem, possibilities for real rural economic development would remain untapped.” (emphasis mine)

But it’s all development which remains untapped without socialist democracy and socialist education. Yes, socialism needs specifically-socialist education to succeed, just as capitalism needs a steady diet of gangster rap, mafia movies and sexual advertising to sway their minds – the collective mentality must be taught.

Capitalists may have local empowerment, but it is purely individual – it totally lacks the power of solidarity. This is the fundamental difference between the two: in capitalism, one seeks to dominate over all. Socialists, on an individual level, have had revolutions of the mind whereas fearful capitalists are simply working out of habit, tradition, instinct, resentment and fear.

Western liberal democracy mistakenly assumes that their often-federalist systems sufficiently grant local control, but they do not at all grant local control to the average, powerless person; they only grant control to the local factory owner, the local agricultural corporation, the local media baron, etc. This hypocrisy is never admitted; it is papered over by constant exhortations that YOU should make yourself the owner, baron, etc.

“Fukua feng (exaggeration of production) became a serious problem during the Great Leap Forward because the commune members were not politically empowered to check the wrongdoings of the commune and village leaders. In this sense, the Great Leap Forward failed not just because its overall design and rationale were flawed, but also because China’s political culture at the time was out of sync with the new production relationships introduced by the agricultural collectivization.” (emphasis mine)

You don’t have to make your analysis of the Great Leap Forward more sophisticated, but if you want to – voila.

The CR sought to re-sync these relationships in Chinese Collectivization 2.0.

What good is implementing the first pillar of Marxism without creating the second pillar? How can China introduce socialist rule of law and expect success, when workers have not been educated and trained in empowerment?

Once China got these relationships remedied, that is when China began to take off economically, and that is essentially the thesis of Han’s entire book. The proof of the correctness of his thesis is the CR’s era staggering human and economic development that he demonstrated.

By illustrating that the empowerment of the CR decade produced the rural industry, agricultural boom, and the educated workers who laid the foundation for the continued economic success of China into the 1980s and beyond, Han shows how the CR proves that socialism is not merely high taxes on the rich but an entirely new culture.

Already-Red China realized this, and thus their center and left united to support the CR.

Black-hearted Western capitalists realize this too – why do you think they will never permit any good (or even objective) talk about the CR? That would only empower the types of cultural changes Western leftists and Yellow Vests actually want and need.

When when we compare China’s meteoric success (starting from the start of the CR era!) with the Great Recession, the subsequent (but never admitted) Lost Decade in the Eurozone, and the wiping out of the 1980-2009 socio-economic gains of the Western middle class, there is no doubt: the Socialist Democratic has more efficiency, production, capability and morality than the Liberal Democratic model.

For many Western capitalist-imperialists it will take a furious Cultural Revolution right in their faces to accept this reality. But, clearly, Mao and the left wing of CCP understood this long ago.

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This is the 3rd article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

The Essential Saker II

The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution (2/8)

April 04, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution (2/8)

Actually talk to rural people in China and you can certainly learn of martyrs FOR the Cultural Revolution; talk to disgraced party elites, abusive factory bosses, tyrannical schoolteachers, smug technocrats, pagan witch doctors or parasitic monks, and you get stories of those martyred BY the Cultural Revolution.

Welcome back to the first day of journalism school! “One person’s ‘terrorist’ is another person’s ‘freedom-fighter’”. I am not spouting nonsense such as “all truth is relative”, but simply pointing out that perspective shapes opinion (it does not control fact).

The fact is that you have likely never heard a story of a Chinese person who died in order to support their Cultural Revolution (CR).

Nor have you ever heard of the CR’s beneficiaries – indeed, you likely imagine there were none, except for a power-mad Mao Zedong.

If you have heard anything on the CR – and many have not – you only heard stories from the CR’s victims. The reason for that is: if you are reading this in the West, your media has an informal ban on any pro-socialist story. Anyone who believes that unwritten censorship exists has never worked in the media. (And a pro-socialist story would, after all, empower the leftists in the West and they certainly can’t have that.)

The informal ban is separate from, but compounded by, an informal promotion of anti-socialist notions: for example, the 2015 winner for best novel at the Hugo Awards (given to the best in science fiction), was The Three-Body Problem by Chinese author Liu Cixin. The book was even promoted by Barack Obama, and it should be obvious why: the first 25 pages are a rehashing of the same old “the CR was an unholy terror” perspective. Considering the book is about scientists, perhaps such a perspective is somewhat accurate… but China is not full of 1 billion scientists. Democracy means there are losers in policies – socialist democracy ensures those losers are the 1%.

(Overall, I found the book to be rather boring “video gamer” escapism, as well as effective (and totally unsubtle) anti-socialist propaganda. Unsurprisingly, Amazon is spending $1 billion on a TV adaptation. For me, the only truly interesting passage described Euler’s three body problem in physics and astronomical theory –now there was something to meditate upon, finally. My point is: if the book was 400 pages of gamer escapism and 25 pages of pro-CR historical analysis…Obama ain’t pluggin’ yer book.)

Similarly, no one is plugging Dongping Han’s truly revolutionary and eminently readable book, The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village. The key word there is “village” – not too many top scientists working there, perhaps, but there are a lot of people who greatly benefitted from the CR decade (1966-76). I gave a brief overview and a few knockout punch data sets in Part 1, and this 8-part series is dedicated to popularizing Han’s book and his undeniably confirmed thesis: the CR’s educational reform, which became approved following changes to political culture, produced an explosion in rural economic development and rural human capital, and thus China’s economic boom actually came before Deng’s reforms in 1978. This series is also a roundabout way to popularize my new bookI’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China, to which Han graciously contributed the forward.

Yes, if one was a Chinese science nerd who insisted that they were infinitely smarter than a villager/peasant and thus deserving to rule oppressively in a technocracy… then one likely had a tough time during the CR. This is an old, already told, and often retold story – and I am sympathetic – but it’s time for a new story, for balance and accuracy.

Revolution is bloody, but not as bloody as what leads up to a revolution

Han relates a CR story and an analysis which you have most likely never heard. I will retell it briefly:

Yu Jiushu was a villager in Jimo County (the source of Han’s scholarly investigative work, as well as the place of his youth and formative years). During the Great Leap Forward Yu was recruited as a factory worker. The factory failed, causing him to lose his job and forcing his return home. The leaders of his village, during this era of shortage, refused to give him his grain ration on the grounds that he had forgotten his grain ration papers. Yu was forced to share his ration with his mother. Yu’s mother committed suicide to avoid the starvation of both her and her son.

The average Westerner would stop right there and say, “Isn’t this terrible?” Yes, of course it is.

A Western capitalist and Liberal Democrat would likely continue: “See how socialism only causes problems and deaths?”

Han disagrees: He gives a surprising, tough, 100% necessary analysis which shows why Widow Yu was a martyr FOR, and not a martyr OF, the Cultural Revolution.

“No doubt the village party leaders’ behavior was outrageous, and should be condemned. But should not Yu Jiushu be partly responsible for what happened? He and his mother did not have to put themselves through such suffering in the first place. They could have fought for their legal rights, but their ignorance of the law and their culture of submissiveness failed them.”

Han is showing us that a lack of rural education and a culturally-fostered fear towards officialdom is what doomed Widow Yu; it was not the inherent tyrannies of “socialism” or “big government”. Instead, Han shows, and in a clear rejection of political nihilism, that there WAS an obvious solution and vaccine to such ills: rural empowerment and education.

The Cultural Revolution cannot and will never be understood, much less appreciated and learned from, without grasping that rural empowerment was its absolute priority and goal – this really cannot be stressed enough.

How can anyone effectively fight for their rights when they have no schooling, precarious work and precarious social status? One can either provide the Western capitalist answer – have the brains and nerve of the elite 1% (or their connections) – or one can revamp the system in favor of the illiterate and poor, which is the socialist solution (and the CR’s solution).

How do you improve an unequal society? You drastically change it

In Jimo County Han shows that in 1956 only 66% of Jimo children were enrolled in school. That was up from 48% a year after China’s liberation in 1950. Good, but hardly a socialist miracle. The reason it wasn’t higher was because after 1949 economic resources were prioritized for urban educational needs, and not places like historically impoverished Jimo County.

But, by prioritising rural empowerment, during the CR decade that figure soared to 99%. By the end of the CR decade (1966-76) poor and rural Jimo County had more than 30 times more schools and more than 10 times more teachers (see part 1). Yes, urban colleges were temporarily shuttered during the CR, but it was largely in order to devote resources to rural areas, finally. It can’t be repeated enough, because it is contrary to modern Western nations: China’s rural population was 82% of the overall population in 1964, therefore this new rural focus was perfectly in keeping with democratic ideals.

But education is not enough – the political system must explicitly promote and defend the involvement of the 99%.

Chinese peasants were not historically apolitical – there are too many cases of uprisings to say that, even though this is exactly what many Western academics lazily claim about China – but the CR was undoubtedly the very first time they were ever empowered politically. “The fact that Mao and other Cultural Revolution leaders saw the need to involve common villagers, most of whom were illiterate and were considered ignorant by the educated elite, was in itself revolutionary and democratic.” It is precisely this refusal to involve common villagers which betrays one as a fake-leftist in the West.

Education and political support is still not enough – cultural changes must be forced through despite guaranteed resistance from those sectors which have refused to accept the People’s revolution.

“The major theme of the campaign was to criticize the elitist mentality in Chinese culture. It promoted Mao’s idea that the masses are the motive force of history and that the elite are sometimes stupid while working people are intelligent. These were not empty words. Villagers toiled all year round, supplying the elite with grain, meat and vegetables, but they were made to feel stupid in front of the elite. They did not know how to talk with the elite, and accepted the stigma of stupidity the elite gave to them.”

This elitist idea combated by Mao and his supporters – that rural Trash are stupid – is something which simply must be remedied in the West… or else Western society can never be whole, nor peaceful, nor empowered, nor efficient. Indeed, this series is an effort to show that Deplorables – or Gilets Jaunes, in French – must be empowered in Western nations along the same lines as Chinese Trash was during the CR.

Truly, at the heart of the CR is an idea of humility: our culture has become bad, and needs major changes. Western capitalist-imperialist nations simply do not permit such a trait: try telling such a thing to a typical jingoistic Frenchman, American, Britisher, Spaniard, etc. Yet everyone knows these countries (neo-imperialists) are arrogantly telling other countries what to do. Iranians use “arrogance” and “imperialism” synonymously for this obvious reason.

Because of the West’s (self-interested, leftist-repressing) laser-focus on the tragic, emotional, sensational aspects of these types of CR stories Han related – by failing to progress to Han’s more useful analysis of what can be done to prevent the reoccurrences of these types of negative and deadly social experiences – the Western analysis of the CR will always remain ultimately reactionary because it implicitly rejects the need for social changes; it thus preserves a status quo which is so very unequal for the 99% but especially rural dwellers.

Keeping capitalism-imperialism and condemning socialism is not the answer; reforming and improving socialism is. Socialism can be improved, despite its detractors – the CR stands as proof of this.

Han’s analysis likely seems cold to many Westerners, just as the West’s paralysis by over-emotional/nihilistic analysis may seem too hot to Han.

But Han’s view appears in keeping with the Chinese worldview, which emphasizes personal responsibility far more than in the Western or the Islamic worlds. The Chinese worldview is not Abrahamic, after all – there is no God pulling the strings: YOU are responsible, and shame is your portion when YOU fail. I note that their most sacred book, the I Ching, is essentially a book of social conduct in which only YOU are responsible for failing to cope with or failing to predict the inevitable vicissitudes of life. Embracing personal shame is all over the I Ching, LOL! Quite sorry to report that to the many Western lapsed Christians who dream of some sort of shame-free society/never-ending bacchanalia….

Socialism is thus very much in concordance with this ancient Chinese world view, as it stresses that YOU are responsible for changing our world for the better. (There is no logical reason why socialism and theism cannot be combined with the exact same goal of social and personal empowerment, like in, for example, Iranian Islamic Socialism, but that is another subject.)

How many more widows would have committed suicide to feed their children without the Cultural Revolution?

“In the final analysis, officials abused their power in part because the abused let them get away with it time and time again.”

Changing this reality of official over-empowerment in China truly necessitated a Cultural Revolution, and the CR worked expressly towards this socialist democratic goal.

Over-empowerment of government officials – from kings to French President/Jupiter Emmanuel Macron to Barry Dronebama – is exactly what socialism fights against, yet capitalist-imperialist propaganda accuses socialism of that which their system is far more guilty! Just 39 delegates signed the US Constitution; Nearly 75% of Cubas entire population helped draft their new constitution. Macron is going to write major new unemployment system reforms entirely on his own, ending 30+ years of union involvement, just as he’s done in other areas since taking office. The list goes on and on.

In the 1960s the Chinese left and center, as well as their youth, united behind implementing this idea of worker/citizen cultural empowerment expressly against the prevailing official empowerment. This same combination of forces, however, failed across the West despite having similar goals: No Western systems were drastically altered during the 1960s.

“Of course, the existence of such a legal system is important. But legal codes alone cannot solve any problem if the political culture and mentality of the ordinary people remains unchanged. Here, education to empower the ordinary rural residents is key.” Han is stressing that socialism is a way of life, a mentality, a worldview – capitalism is the same; one can change the law, but what good is it when the law is not enforced or the can be bought around in the courts, as in Liberal Democracies?

And this leads us to the next part of this series: Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China? Short answer: in order to change China’s culture but NOT their socialist democratic legal code & system, which were established in 1949.

To finish with the story: All remember Shahida Widow Yu.

She was not Muslim but she certainly was a martyr against injustice. Han sensibly does not foolishly ignore the reasons of her death in order to leap to emotionalism and sensationalism, as a Western capitalist-imperialist journalists and academics would, but honors and elevates her to show exactly why the Cultural Revolution was necessary – to prevent such inhuman damage, more rural Chinese martyrs, and a cultural system which kept the entire Yu family disempowered, hungry and filled with tragedy.

The idea that China’s Cultural Revolution was some sort of bloody warmongering resulting from Mao’s political power struggles is what the West wants us to believe, and that’s because such a view inherently glorifies capitalism and denies any positive attributes or outcomes to socialist ideas in any nation, including their own.

The reality of the Cultural Revolution – as demonstrated by Han’s book and seconded in this series – was actually unprecedented development and success in the rural areas. It was the creation of this human capital (that most valuable capital) as well as economic capital which set the stage for the post 1980s economic boom in China.

The story of Widow Yu is a story of rural oppression and marginalization, and it is no different from the capitalist debt-provoked suicide of a French farmer which occurs every two days.

Their demises were caused by systems which were/are insufficiently socialist, and thus incredibly disempowering and unequal for rural citizens in both feudalism and Liberal Democratic/West European systems.

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This is the 2nd article in an 8-part series which examines Dongping Han’s book The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village in order to drastically redefine a decade which has proven to be not just the basis of China’s current success, but also a beacon of hope for developing countries worldwide. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Part 1 – A much-needed revolution in discussing China’s Cultural Revolution: an 8-part series

Part 2 – The story of a martyr FOR, and not BY, China’s Cultural Revolution

Part 3 – Why was a Cultural Revolution needed in already-Red China?

Part 4 – How the Little Red Book created a cult ‘of socialism’ and not ‘of Mao’

Part 5 – Red Guards ain’t all red: Who fought whom in China’s Cultural Revolution?

Part 6 – How the socioeconomic gains of China’s Cultural Revolution fuelled their 1980s boom

Part 7 – Ending a Cultural Revolution can only be counter-revolutionary

Part 8 – What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red ChinaHis work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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