The Anti-China Western Left

ÁÎ×Ó¹â Henry C.K.Liu ¹ù¤l¥ú hliu at SPAMmindspring.com
Sun Aug 6 16:02:42 MDT 2000


I have no desire nor patient to re-engage in another heated debate on
meaningless
attacks on socialist China from the Western Left for its alleged
ideological
shortcomings, based on Western reactionary popaganda and doctrinaire
radicalism.

As for the October Review, the very title of this thread: "Ongoing
struggles on the
11th anniversary of June 4 in China" defines it reactionary cahracter,
at least to
those who are informed about the nature of Chinese revolutionary
politics since
1989.

Further, as John W. Garver, a rightwing thinktank scholar has argued,
the CCP
cadres, like the aristocratic Junkers of pre-World War I Germany, are
ideologically
anti-capitalist. The CCP pursues economic norms only to improve
socialism, not to
transform it, and to keep China firmly under the CCP leadership.

Chinese ambivalence toward the West, which is often marked by a
rejection of foreign
influence as well as foreign interference, combined with a need for
foreign capital
and technology to help China modernize and thereby resist the West, has
been a
recurring dilemma for China since the 19th century. In a series of
essays, the 19th
century scholar Feng Guifen argued that although “the intelligence and
wisdom of the
Chinese are necessarily superior to those of the various barbarians,”
China must
strengthen itself (ziqiang) by adopting some foreign methods in order to
meet the
Western challenge. Feng’s ideas helped inspire the Self-Strengthening
Movement of
the late 19th century as an attempt to restore the power of the Qing
Dynasty by
seeking foreign aid and investment, machines, weapons, and technology to
strengthen
China against the West in the belief that “China would first learn from
foreigners,
then equal them, and finally surpass them,” and fundamentally “emphasize
China’s
autonomy and initiative.”

Deng Xiaoping’s formula for building socialism with Chinese
characteristics, which
he articulated in the
opening speech of the Twelfth Party Congress on September 1, 1982,
remains true to
much of the sentiment of the self-strengthening concepts of the 19th
century. Deng
first rejected “the mechanical copying and application of foreign
experiences and
models” and urged listeners to base China’s development on “the concrete
realities
of China, [and] blaze a path of our own.”

>From its unique perspective, China today seeks to build its
comprehensive national
strength from a strong economic foundation. “National wealth achieved
through
economic development” is the “core of China’s national interest.”

Priority is given to the development of economic power, since to be
sustainable over
the long term, other elements, such as the military and political power,
must be
based on a strong economy. To support these goals, peace and stability
are viewed as
“a guarantee for China’s economic development.”

Now, as prgrams go, China has its share of failures and confusion in the
past two
decades.  It is not useful to confuse the failures with policy
objectives. Intense
debate is on-going in China in defining a national strategy that will
satisfying the
complex goals of national security, ideological purpose, pragmatic
feasibility and
historical context in the generally hostile global enivronment dominated
by
neo-imperialism.  Free debate is neccesary for this process to succeed.
But there
is a big different between disagreement among genuinely progressive
forces about the
correct direction, pace and meaning of policy initiatives and the
disgenuous
chanting of democracy and radical extremism marshalled simply to destroy
the Chinese
Revolution.

China does not owe any ideology a lving, Maxism included. It is when
Marxist
precepts are usefully applicable the China development at  a particular
phase of
history that China embraces Marxism.  Lenin understood this issue very
clearly.
Many of us believe firmly that socialism is congruent with national
revival in
China.  We keep our eyes on the larger picture of socialist political
power, without
which revolution is relegated to academic debate.  We are not impressed
with vocal
radicals shouting insults on China for having disappointed their sense
of doctrinal
purity, expecially when such ranting comes from the isolated corners of
the
political wastelands of the reactionary West.

Let us for a moment assume that China gets rid of the CCP and adopts
social
democracy and unionism.  Would that advance the revolution?
Revolution is not religion.  The pure in spirit do not get a free ticket
to Heaven,
they merely go the graveyards of history.  Revolution is inseparable
from the
struggle for political power.  The hope for a socialist China lies in
the political
control of China under the CCP, warts and all.

Henry C.K. Liu








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