[Marxism] Discussing China

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jun 19 07:03:26 MDT 2004


LouPaulsen wrote:
> In any case, the Heritage Foundation does NOT "see China has having the same
> class character" as the US.  To quote from their report:
> 
> "Although China remains a communist nation where political freedoms
> are sharply restricted, the ruling regime has permitted vigorous development
> of the private sector, thus laying the seeds for its eventual demise and
> potential replacement by a politically pluralist, more open society."

I interpret this as a statement that political power in China rests in 
the Communist Party but that socialist property relations are being 
dismantled. To put it bluntly, if you think that China is still a 
"workers state", then so is Putin's Russia which not only has vast 
amounts of state-owned property but which is actually mounting attacks 
on the wing of the bourgeoisie associated with the Yeltsin period.

To me these questions are interesting, since they involve the same sort 
of issues that are posed in the Dobb-Sweezy "transition" debate. Because 
of my training in the Trotskyist movement, I don't regard modes of 
production statically. I had no problem labeling 17th century Latin 
America as capitalist even though the ruling class still maintained the 
outward appearances of political feudalism. Someone might have called 
himself Don Fernando and lived in a baronial estate in Bolivia, but if 
his Indian slaves were mining silver to be sold on the world market, 
that is capitalism. By the same token, just because you call yourself 
Comrade Ming while you own a sweatshop under Nike contract, that is not 
communism.

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