Putting Steve Philion in context

Saul Thomas stthomas at SPAMmidway.uchicago.edu
Tue Oct 12 19:57:58 MDT 1999



At 01:12 PM 99-10-12 -0400, you wrote:
>Since Brenner's 1977 NLR article was an extended polemic against "third
>worldism", Steve takes comfort in this because he is doing scholarly
>research in China, where nationalist ideology--in his opinion--is used to
>shore up class oppression. So Brenner's thesis is seen as some kind of
>penicillin to destroy "third worldist" germs.


Now I don't know anything about Brenner, and I don't know that much about
the historical development of capitalism, so I am not going to participate
in this argument. But let me say that I do know that Steve Philion's
opinions about nationalist ideology and class oppression in China aren't
rooted in a Eurocentric fear of third worldism. Steve knows a hell of a lot
about what has been happening to the Chinese working class in the "reform
era". Having just come back from three years of study in China, I was able
to learn a few things about such matters myself. For all of its
anti-imperialist rhetoric, the PRC government appears to identify much more
with the supposedly classless "Realism" touted by the so called political
scientists of the US than any kind of class-based analysis of the Chinese
or internationalist contexts. That is something that should be clear to
anyone who has read what has come out of China in the past few years, and
especially obvious to anyone who has actually spoken to any Chinese
intellectuals, including the indefatigable "Wall Street Maoist" Mr Henry C.
K. Liu. (Oops! Was I not  supposed to mention that certain Marxists tend to
"wallow with the pigs" in their professional lives? My most sincere
apologies, Monsieur-Moderator Clouseau!)

Saul Thomas










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