[Marxism] Chinese national pride, productive forces, ecological harm

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Thu Jun 17 10:00:47 MDT 2004


[I am a geographer, and a strong defender of ecologic equilibrium, 
biodiversity, +c..  Please keep this in mind while reading what 
follows.] 

Melvin wrote:

"My approach to the revolutionary process in China always begin with 
taking into account her incredible humiliation and national pride. 
Other considerations - including class and property relations are 
secondary because I do not live in China. It is a serious mistake for 
any Marxist - much less a white Marxist in America, to suggest what 
and how the people of China should manifest their national pride"

I agree.  It should be clear by now that "national pride" in a former 
colony (or a 1911 "hypo-colony", less than a colony, such as Sun Yat-
sen himself -aptly- declared China to be) is not a matter of 
individual psiches, such as reactionary analysts tend to stress.

Following in Sun's (and Gramsci's!) steps, Mao considered the 
"subjective" side of mass consciousness _a particular (and the most 
important) productive force in itself_, a material and objective 
component of social and historic life.  The first great _strictly 
economic_ feats of the Chinese revolution (I would probably add "of 
most revolutions") are not achieved by means of capital accumulation 
but by the incorporation of this new productive force, the faith of 
the masses in a new and more humane order.  

This is not "voluntarism", this is an acknowledgement that the realm 
of economics is by no means severed from the remaining realms of 
human activity, a basic point of departure for anyone who considers 
herself or himself a serious dialectical materialist.

"National pride" is the acronym of "self-centered economy", turned 
political and active and not economicist and descriptive.  As the 
economy becomes more complex and internally integrated, the sense of 
personal and collective achievement also increases, and the whole 
process spirals upwards.  This is what is happening in China today.

Of course, it could be reasonably argued that "China has been 
consistently stepping back towards capitalism", which issue I am 
somehow reluctant to broach though I would concede, at first sight, 
that this may be probably so.  There are some, however, who argue 
that this is a kind of Chinese NEP, and that the whole thing is still 
under "national control" by means of the Party and the Army.  
Something is for sure:  if this "national control" did not exist, 
China would become a hypocolony sooner than we can imagine.

And this is the main obsession of the Chinese, either Marxists or of 
other political persuasion, save for gangs of sepoys such as the 
Falun Gong sect, and so on.  It is in this context that gigantic dams 
should be viewed.

I am fully aware that Louis Proyect is overtly against large 
engineering projects.  I am not in agreement with him, which does not 
make me an enemy of socialism nor of harmony with Nature.  I also 
believe that (although this is tautologic for a Marxist, the pressure 
of the ruling classes makes it necessary to stress it once and again) 
peoples of the backward world must be allowed to carry on the basic 
engineering projects (Three Gorges Dam included, if you want China to 
-for example- depend on hydro energy rather than on fossile fuels) 
that they need in order to fully integrate their economies into the 
modern world, whether capitalist or socialist.

The enthusiasm of LDT for the "American" or "German" engineers has 
little to do with ecologic disasters in America.  It is perfectly 
possible (and under socialist guidelines it is MANDATORY) to blend 
large projects (in this case, large dams) and ecological management.  
What is not possible is to blend a human living for hundreds of 
millions and small, low yield, energy sources.  An industrial basis 
that can easily shift from producing spoons to producing cannons with 
small workshops scattered on the countryside (a good comment by Vadim 
on the Stalinist mammooth-sized trans-Uralian plants).  I deplore 
both.  But this is not possible, this simply can't be done.

I believe that, even though the above were false, the Chinese -either 
capitalist or socialist- have all their right to make their own 
mistakes, such as the American (and any other) peoples, under the 
leadership of their bourgeoisies have.  The "national pride" is as 
important a productive force (IMHO, a MORE important one) as wind-
fueled electricity.  And it is through historic experience that it is 
achieved.

And I honestly think that, while peoples in the Third World must 
welcome offers of support and technological help (even harsh 
criticism) coming from cdes. in the First World, this has the 
counterpart that cdes. in the First World should also take into 
account the essential role of "national pride" as a productive force 
among us.  And that in the same way that Lunacharsky, as LDT recounts 
I think that on _My Life_, could not see the enormous drama unfolding 
during the Russian Civil War because his task was to preserve a 
church of the 17th Century that had been caught in the midst of a 
murderous battle, even our best and best loved cdes. in the 
imperialist core sometimes have an unconscious tendency to sacrifice 
the historic drama to the conservation of a particular form of 
landscape or rural life.

Well, I hope I have not lost some friends with this.


Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de 
Buenos Aires, 1822
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