The Relevance of the Western Left

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Wed Feb 14 08:18:11 MST 2001

Alan Bradley wrote:

> First, liberal democrats are not the left anywhere.  I was not saying that
> they were.
> Secondly, no leftist anywhere would be a supporter of (neo-)liberal
> economic policies.

Good, let hang on to this.

> However, because many of the capitalist states in Asia possess distinctly
> authoritarian characteristics, it is inevitably going to be the case that
> Marxist forces are going to end up campaigning for democratic demands, just
> like they have in the West.

Here we have to distinguish socialist government from non-cosialist government.
  For socialist governments to be authoritative is progressive.  The
dictatorship of the proletariat is not subjectable to bourgeois democratic

> It would be nice to be able to skip over that and just take state power,
> but that isn't usually going to be on the agenda.

That was how very revolutionary regime did it. The US oppose this method and
promote "democratic" evolution, knowing that the latter will never lead to

> Indonesia is the clearest case:  the Indonesian Marxists consciously worked
> to overthrow the Suharto dictatorship, knowing perfectly well that they
> were not strong enough to immediately carry the struggle through to
> socialist revolution.  That is, they struggled for bourgeois democracy, for
> individual rights, and all the rest of the liberal democratic stuff.  They
> did it consciously and deliberately - and as a part of their strategy for
> Socialist Revolution - their version of "Where to Begin".

After the US allowed them to topple Suharto, these "compromising " Marxists
merely got another US installed dictator in his place.  The Wesstern Left was
critical to China's "compromise" with market capitalism around the edges of the
economy, but they support "compromise" on bourgeois democracy which is

> \
> I think Henry is conflating a couple of different phenomena.  It is of
> course true that the Imperialists are using all kinds of liberal chatter to
> attack China, Vietnam, etc, to attempt to undermine popular movements and
> make their clients look more attractive.  At the same time, the left will
> necessarily find themselves struggling to bring into reality the things
> that the imperialists and their allies promise but can/will not deliver.
> Yes there is a potential conflict here, but it is one usually best resolved
> (IMHO) by the left forces maintaining a consistent stance and being the
> "democrats that are actually serious", and let the fake democrats ("fake
> reformers" in Indonesia) destroy their own credibility.

"democrats that are actually serious" is Mao's democratic Dictatorship based on
the principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

> For historical reasons, and at least partly in order to defend the
> revolution, China does not maintain a particularly open political system.
> That is, the involvement of the working class in running their state is
> heavily mediated by the Party apparatus.  This makes it vulnerable to
> "liberal" imperialist attacks, and makes it sensitive to any "liberal"
> critique of any nature.

We do not accept liberalism as valid.  Thus we reject the criticism by
beralism.  To accuse an atheist of not believing in God is merely an
obervation, not a criticism.
The Chinese political system is very open, even to non-communists.  The four
institutions of the Chinese political system are: the State Council, the
People's Legislative Congress, the People's Political Consultative Council
(where non-communist party members particiapate in advising the State Council)
and the People's Court.  The PCCC, where CPC members are a minority, is very
powerful. The State Council pays great attention to its views and policies
without its endorsement face legitmacy challenges.  The Chinese government is a
consultative government.  The CPC is the leading party because it subscribes to
the principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The non-communist parties
are not parties out of power but are parties that participate with the CPC in
forming the government.  There is even a revolutionary wing of the KMT in PCCC,
as well as members of the national bourgeoisie.

> This, I feel, is reflected in Henry's "anti-liberalism".  He is not _just_
> criticising liberal bourgeois chatter (which I could side with him on), but
> he is tending to ignore the actual dynamics of the revolutionary struggles
> which are being waged in Asia at the moment.

Your sentence would read better if you would substitute the word
"revolutionary" with "political"  in "the actual dynamics of the revolutionary
struggles".  It is not enough to destabilize existing rightwing governments.
It is necessary to do it for the right reason.


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