The Relevance of the Western Left

S Chatterjee schatterjee2001 at
Wed Feb 14 20:54:48 MST 2001

--- Xxxx Xxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxx at> wrote:
> 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,

Ah, so Henry, who is erudite and intelligent, writes a
few elegant paragraphs whitewashing and defending the
'socialist' nature of China and her leadership, and
you jump! And even send him hugs! Whereas I gave you 3
solid references on China and you did not say a word
on them. It is sad. Anyway, you are, of course, free
to believe in whatever you wish to. About Deng, who
supposedly participated in anti-rightist campaigns
under Mao, Deng was like a chameleon. Below is William
Hinton (great friend of China according to Henry) on

Preface to "The Great Reversal - The Privatization of
China. 1978-1989" by William Hinton, Monthly Review
Press, NY, 1990

"June 4, 1989, stands as a stark watershed in China's
modern history The slaughter of unarmed civilians by
units of the Peoples Liberation Army as they blasted
their way to Tiananmen Square illuminated the
"reform" era as nothing else could. It lit up like a
bolt of cosmic lightning the reactionary essence of
China's current leading group.

This essence was known to many in China and to some
abroad long before the lightning struck in June 1989
but most members of the Western media and academic
world were too mesmerized by China's reform rhetoric
and market progress to apprehend the reality of the
events unfolding before their eyes. Since
privatization matched their prejudices and a
consumption boom confirmed its validity they preferred
not to look too closely at the underlying currents of
economic dislocation, infrastructural decay,
degradation, social disintegration, cultural malaise,
and rising class antagonisms that threatened to
unravel the fabric of Chinese society.

Mao Zedong was far more astute. More than twenty years
ago during the Cultural Revolution he exposed Deng
Xiaoping, Yang Shangkun and most of their "hard line"
colleagues as capitalist roaders. He accurately
predicted that if such persons ever came to power they
would transform the Communist Party into a revisionist
party and finally into a fascist party and then the
whole of China would change color.

The surprising thing is not how accurate Mao's
prediction turned out to be but rather how quickly it
materialized in history. The Third Plenary Session of
the Eleventh Central Committee, dominated by Deng,
set out to "reform" China only eleven years ago. Big
changes, such as family contracts for farmers and the
exploitation of wage labor by private entrepreneurs,
large and small, surfaced in a major way only
five years ago. Yet in this short span unforeseen
afflictions have so alienated the Chinese people,
especially the urban dwellers most favored by reform,
that in May and June 1989 they filled the streets
with protesters from one end of China to the other.

Deng responded with guns and tanks that churned up the
pavement of Changan Avenue, leaving thousands of dead
and wounded in their wake. The moral bankruptcy of
this ferocious military repression coupled with a
revengeful nationwide hunt for culprits demonstrated
to all who
cared to see what the color of the reform really was
and had been all along.

Make no mistake. The leaders in Beijing are not
motivated by communist ideals; they are not
revolutionary planners or socialist builders.
They are newly constituted bureaucratic capitalists,
busy carving the economy into gigantic family fiefs,
ready, in true comprador style, to sell China out to
the highest bidder. Their armed assault on the
square was not an aberration but rather the
culmination of a process that began when they first
assumed leading posts after the death of Mao. They set
out then to dismantle whatever socialist institutions,
culture, customs, and habits the Chinese people had so
painstakingly built up in the course of postliberation
reconstruction. In doing so they put in motion a chain
of events that led inexorably to confrontation with
the whole Chinese people.

How, in so short a span of time, did Deng go from the
status of admired hero, defiant yet irrepressible
victim of the hated gang of four; to that of corrupt
autocrat and bloodstained oppressor?

Part of the answer may be found in the reforms
currently sweeping China. These essays chronicle and
analyze the course of those reforms since the
beginning, with the break-up of cooperative farming in
the countryside. The collection makes a strong case
for doubting the viability of any capitalist road
strategy for China and asks whether China's reform
leaders, having chosen just such a road, do not
show signs of degenerating into a group of
bureaucratic capitalists similar to the Chiang Kaishek
clique - the foul family junta that dominated China
both politically and economically prior to liberation.

The events of June 3 and 4 point toward a conclusion
that Deng and his colleagues have matured into just
such a group. They used reform, particularly the
openings provided by privatization and free-market
trading, to parlay bureaucratic power into economic
dominance at home, leading to comprador-type
profit-sharing partnerships with multinationals
abroad. This helps explain why, when faced with
demands for dialogue, for free speech, for truthful
reporting, and for exposure of high cadres' personal
assets Deng firmly rejected any and all concessions.
At Tiananmen, it was not the future of the revolution
that was at stake, it was the credibility of the
dominant clique, its very mandate to rule. Any breach
in the wall of secrecy surrounding wheeling and
dealing by high cadres spelled "red alert" to Deng and
his new emerging gang of four.

"It doesn't matter whether the cat is black or white,
just so long as it can catch mice," Deng said in the
early 1960s. This phrase, more than any other, made
him famous. By the 1980s many people, observing
the great man's social practice, came up with a phrase
more apt: "It doesn't matter whether the cat is black
or white, it doesn't even matter whether the cat can
catch mice. What matters is that the cat not get
caught. "

With the students and the people of China hot on the
track of the cat, the hunter became the hunted.
Disdainful of consequences, he struck back."

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