[Marxism] Is the struggle to unify China an expression of "Great Han chauvinism" today?
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Mar 5 10:27:50 MST 2005
I am pleased that Michael Karadjis has dropped his earlier assertion
China-Cuba relationship is sinister as a whole. I'm glad he didn't mean
to say it, although he did say it, and therefore it was appropriate for
me to think he had said it, even if it meant irritating Richard Fidler.
I am also pleased to hear from Richard that noone in this debate is
treating China as "some kind of fearsome enemy power" or as an emerging
rival imperialist state, but I am not completely reassured by his
I was struck by Richard Fidler's suggestion that China's desire to
regain control of the US protectorate/economic-military export platform
in Taiwan is today an expression of "Great Han Chauvinism" -- that is,
that it is reactionary and even racist, and not progressive. This
certainly strikes me as a concession to the idea that China has become
"some kind of fearsome enemy power." And I hope that Michael's
endorsement of Richard's views was not intended to include this point.
I think China has become a nation, not simply a tribal fief, as this
term -- popular in
certain imperialist circles these days -- often implies. And I think
the Chinese fight to expel the US imperialists from Taiwan, which would
remove THE obstacle to reunification, is progressive as was the fight to
regain Hong Kong and Macao.
I think it's quite possible to defend oppressed national groups like the
Tibetans or the Muslims in Sinkiang (national questions that long
predate the alleged restoration of capitalism) without adopting the
imperialist Han-baiting, which attempts to deny the existence as a real
oppressed nation with a right to end that oppression. And it is as an
oppressed nation that China has and is quite aware of certain practical
and material common interests with Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and others
-- which go right along with all the capitalist wheeling and dealing and
so on, cynical stabs in the back, and all the rest. This would be true
even if China was NOT a country where capitalism had been overturned,
which it is.
Does the fact that, according to Michael and Richard, China is now a
capitalist power, mean that the struggle to complete the unification of
China through ending the US military-economic protectorate on Taiwan has
now become reactionary. This would be a big shift in the historic
stance of the revolutionary movement in China.
It is true that Trotsky argued that China would require a socialist
revolution in order to carry out national unification, but he always
recognized this as a bourgeois, not a socialist task. Lenin and others
also pointed to the need to fight for soviet workers' and peasants'
power in China was vital if China was to be strong enough to attain
unity. And in practice, the Chinese revolution seemed to clearly
confirm this. It is hard to imagine how China could have achieved what
has been accomplished without an anticapitalist revolution. I still
hold the opinion that a capitalist China will be more vulnerable to
imperialist attacks and pressures, and have greater difficulty in
achieving and advancing unity.
But the revolutionary movement has never made support for the
unification of China CONDITIONAL on a socialist revolution in China. We
never said that unification without a socialist revolution would be
reactionary "Great Han chauvinism." We defended every effort in this
direction even under the regime of Chiang Kai-shek. We NEVER used the
"Great Han chauvinism" lingo, even when complex issues like Tibet were
Fifty years ago, the counterrevolutionary Chiang regime occupied Taiwan
and split it from China. For fifty years, China has sought the end of
the various forms of semicolonial rule and its return to China. WHETHER
CHINA HAS A SOCIALIST OR BOURGEOIS REGIME, THAT SHOULD BE OUR POSITION
As I noted earlier, I believe that capitalist rule and economic
relations have not been definitively restored in China, and I believe in
fact that this is part of the reason for China's apparent strength on
the world scene.
The importance of this theoretical issue, which in itself can (at least
under present circumstances) be debated for a long
time without much harm done, becomes much more life-and-death if the
conclusion that China is capitalist leads us to the conclusion that
China is an enemigo de la humanidad, whether as an imperialist power or
as a representative of expanding "Great Han Chauvinism".
That would give the theoretical debate a much sharper practical
Is the struggle to unify China an expression of "Great Han chauvinism"
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