The Relevance of the Western Left

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Wed Feb 14 18:07:46 MST 2001

Henry! thanks for this highly informative post on China. You put together a lot
of things I could not acknowledge before (especially the pragmatic nature of
Chinese socialism to survive in the face of imperialism; Deng's anti-right
campaign under Mao, etc..)   Hugs   Xxxx  

----- Original Message ----- From: Henry C.K. Liu To: marxism at
Sent: 2/14/01 7:37:16 PM Subject: Re: The Relevance of the Western Left

  S Chatterjee wrote:   > > But Liu Shaochi, Deng, Peng, Zemin, etc do not have
a > socialist view of the world. Their line all along was > the
bourgeois/elitist line which, all through the long > and tortuous course of the
Chinese revolution and > beyond, was in opposition to Mao's mass line (Mao's >
group was a minority in the party for most of the > time). As said  before, they
are not socialists in any > sense at all, look at their concrete actions and not
> their words. They may hang Mao's portrait in Tiananmen > and pay lip service
to socialism - but it is a mirage. > Their concrete actions have been amply
documented by > Hinton and Weil.   The correct names a:re Liu Xiaoqi, Deng
(Xiaoping) Peng (Dehuai) and Jiang (Zemin).  If you want to use Zemin, the
correct form is Comrade Zemin (Zemin Tongqi). This is not nitpicking.  It is to
show that Sid's undrstanding of China is superficial.  It is hard to debate with
him because he is not totally wrong, but his is fundamentally wrong.  His
conclusion is that China has betrayed its socialist commitment not as a tactic
but in principle.   The are two levels of argument here. The first is that Sid
concludes that the CPC is lying when it claims that while it is experimenting
with uncharting ploicies, it holds on to its socialist aim.  It is quite obvious
that if China had gone on the path the Sid suggests, the CPC would have fallen
from power by now. Conditions in the past two decade required new approaches
merely for political survival.  Mao himself advocated two steps forward, one
step back on the revolutionary path.  Mao, notwithstanding his tenacious
ideological clarity, was highly pragmatic.  From 1921-49, Mao collaborated with
the national bourgeiosie, even organized crime, to maintain the survival of the
party.  He welcomed Nixon (US imperialism) to opposed Breznev (Soviet
imperialism).  So Sid's image of Mao is highly romantized.  I have met Mao and
had listen to him at close range for hours.  He was not as doctrinaire as Sid
made him out to seem. Mao was a practical problem solver with long perspectives.
  The second level of Sid's argument is that China's experiment with socialist
market economy is factual evidence that the revolutionary battle has been lost.  This
view is promoted by both the Western left and right, the former as condemnation
and the latter as celebration. Hinton and Weil that Sid quotes gave accurate
reports of China, but not complete reports.  I have met Hinton once in Beijing
in 1979 and am very familiar with his views. He is a good friend of China and a
revolutionary and very reliable.   But his experience at the micro scale limits
his perspective.  He is well respected by many in China and his criticism is
appreciated by many.  I don't think that he thinks the CPC is lost in the big
picture.   He is undrstandably nostalgic for the old days.   I too can tell you
a lot about what is wrong with China and the corruption and charlatonism that go
on even in high places, or particularly in high places.  But the CPC is wroking
over time to curb such practices.  Just last year, the CPC issued an order
prohibiting all members, particularly senior cadres, to own private property.
Cadres are are require to make periodic dislosure of the possessions including
those of their family members. China is huge, with 5 times the population of the
US.  The export sector, where most of the capitalist experiement had benn
concentrated, represents about 15% and the foreign trade sector about 24% of the
economy.  Thus the socialist market economy experiment is relly around the edges
of the economy, but in the core. The policy remain public ownership of the core
and privatize only the dges.  Still the edges is a huge market, and most Western
observers write about this.  There are many, myself included, both in and out of
the Chinese government, who are critical of the excesses and asscoiated ills of
market econmy, socialist or not.  These group are increasingly effective as the
ills become more visible and measuable, so that the debate is no longer based on
ideology but on actualy data. But to conclude that the CPC has sold out, or that
Deng Xiaoping Theory is a revisionist sham is a oversimplification.  Deng Theory
should have ended 5 years earlier, that the favorite slogans such as to get rich
is glorious is not long operational in China.  It was useful in 1978 to combat a
mentality that poverty is glorious, promoted by the extreme left.  The purpose
of socialism has never been to create poverty and a system that does that cannot
be socialist.  Deng himself was very active in anti-rightist campaigns under
Mao.  So these simplistic interpretation of Mao vs Liu/Deng is merely bad CIA
analysis.   I can go on and I do, but not in this post.  Look at the Roman
Catholic Church in its 2000 year history, you will understand that what happen
in the past  two decades in the CPC is merely an incident on the long march
toward socialism.  Don't be so fashionable and self indulgent.  Hold on to your
own commitment and realise that the historic current toward socialism cannot be
stopped by a few bad apples.  Even if it turns out to be true that the CPC is no
longer the revolutionary vangaurd it is supposed to be, all that would happen is
that it would go the way of the KMT, and China will have a new leadership toward
socialism.   At any rate Jiang Zemin will retire as President in 2002, by law,
as will Premier Zhu Rognji.  A new generation of leader will emerge.  I am
optimistic on China.   Henry   > > > > The basic attitude, of course, is the
important > > thing, which is mainly not to > > wield to the mainstream view,
not to allow them to > > defeat ourselves in the > > battlefield that is the
brain of each one who reads > > this. > > The basic attitude should be governed
by what is the > truth and not falsehood and smokescreens. And in the > long
run, it does not matter what the mainstream media > (whether of the west or
east) say. The mainstream > media, anyway, reflects the viewpoint of the
minority > class in power. But over the long run, the truth will > emerge
however much it is tried to be suppressed now. > > The reasons for the
capitalist restoration in China > (and in Russia also) are because of internal >
contradictions in those societies, and not external > causes. That is, it is no
use blaming the western or > any other left for non-support to China or the
western > mass media for the course of events in China from 1978 > on. The
reasons for the re-emergence of the new owning > class in these societies, and
as a consequence, a > reversal in the direction of the transition, are to be >
sought in the historical conditions of these > societies. This is a crucial
topic in itself. > > Sid > > __________________________________________________
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  --- Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx Ph.D Student Department of Political Science SUNY at
Albany Nelson A. Rockefeller College 135 Western Ave.; Milne 102 Albany, NY

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