Comments from Henry Liu on China and the WTO

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Dec 23 09:41:01 MST 1999

[I posted Alex Cockburn's article in the latest Nation about the WTO and
China turning into a "yellow peril" to the Marxism list and cc'd Henry Liu.
This was his reply.]

The WTO/China controvercy can only be fully understood in the larger
geopolitical context.

Since the fall of the USSR, US-China relations, which had been fashioned as a
strategic "China card" against Soviet expansionism, has been devoid of a
strategic anchor.  China is increasing being cast by the US as a potential
enemy, instead of a potential ally to be wooed.
As a prime enemy, China must be demonized.  China has not changed; only US
strategy has.

As the sole remaining superpower, the US is drifting towards moral
the extreme form of cultural imperialism.  The US is no longer satisfied with
peaceful co-existence with opposing ideologies.  It now aims at using its
preeminent military and economic power to impose American values for the whole
world.  These values include neo-liberalism, capitalistic democracy, market
globalization and structural racism.  It promotes inequality as a scientific
merit, exploitation as a neccessary economic principle, creative destrucion as
religion, deregulation of capital as progress, predatory practice a
while diluting workers rights and environmental protection through

Offical US policy on China, with the Nixon doctrine of avoiding the use of US
troops in Asia still operative, emphasizes the strateggy of "peaceful
evolution", which is defined as moving China toward an acceptable US mode.

This policy tries to kill two birds with one stone: reforming socialism in
toward market capitalism and putting US domestic redundant labor under control
through job exports.

Yet the flip side of this official policy is the need for a popular
of China.  Not since the Korea War has there been such a powerful coalition of
US domestic hostility toward China, with the extreme right, the extreme left,
labor, environmentalist and liberals all hopping on the anti-China bangwagon,
each for their own separate purposes.  China becomes the line in the sand for
stopping globalization.

Take for example conservative gruru Kevan Phillips who
wrote: "The historical evidence from the two previous great economic
world powers (the Dutch and the British) is that whatever financial
elites want--high-profit global priorities--is bad for ordinary
citizens, who are more vulnerable and require that domestic economics
come first."  THE STEALTH COUP The Los Angeles Times  November 21, 1999

This is also the point made by environmentalists, that globalization pushed
whole system towards accelerated self destruction.

The protests of Seattle hopefully marked the return of the social protests of
the 60's when popular frustration and distrust of official policy prompted
street militancy in the US.

Opposition to WTO has provided an anti-government focal point in the US
that may
spread all over the the world.  The Reagan/Thatcher policies
have created in the 80s a false prosperity that alienated the masses
even in the advanced Western economies.   The Clinton years have essentially
continued this trend.
The supposedly liberal, populist tradition of the Democrats
have been betrayed by Clinton's neo-liberal policies.  The current
Clinton prosperity benefited mostly only the rich domestically and globally.

The new millennium will see the re-emergence of populist anti-government
protests worldwide.  The lightening rod may well be WTO, unless the US
in deflecting the hostility toward China. The paradox is that US hostility
towards China works to keep China in a garrison state mentality and works
against American strategy of "peaceful evolution".

There is a prospect for the exploited in all parts of the world uniting
the exploiters, a form of neo-internationalism of
the oppressed, reviving the ideals of the failed Third International
(Comintern).  Workers of the world should unite against global
capitalism, rather than allowing it to divide workers in rich countries and
those in poor countries as enemies.

China's false hope that Western capitalism will save China from poverty
will prove to be a fantasy.  Western capitalism aims to produce in China
a new compradore class to help it exploit the Chinese masses.  The
willingness of the KMT (the Chinese Nationalist Party) to play that role had
been the main reason for its demise.  Mao Zedong, upon establishing the PRC,
immediately withdrew from GATT, the predecessor of WTO, for very good reasons.

The principles behind Mao policies of Great Leap Forward and Self
Reliance are correct.  Only the execution was flawed.   Mao, due to a lack of
understanding of science, failed to see the futility of catching up
on the West in sunset industries, such as steel production.
China should push forward with new frog-leaping technology such as
communication where China can close the gap quickly and easily.
The major flaw in China SOE reform strategy is its acceptance of high
unemployment as a path to efficiency.  As a national policy, it is a
sub-otimization trap.

China must stop looking to capitalism and market fundmentalism as a
solution, especially at a time when the battle by capitalism to capture China
may well determine the survival of global capitalism itself.  Global
needs the huge Chinese market to keep itself from implosion.  It is the Lenin
logic of neo-imperialism.

Let this strange bedfellow coalition of US demostic politics go ahead and keep
China out of the WTO.  It may help those of us in China who are working to
resist Chinese WTO membership. Poisonous as the current US anti-China movement
is, it may be the needed vacine that finally saves China from capitalism and
Western neo-imperialism.

Henry C.K. Liu

PS: Louis, please resubscribe me to your list, although I cannot promise
frequent posting. Thanks.

Louis Proyect
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