[Marxism] Re: Is the struggle to unify China an expression of "Great Han chauvinism" today?

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Mar 6 23:00:34 MST 2005


I admit to not really getting the source of Richard Fidler's irritation
which, if you read the posts, seems to move around a bit.  I made
several mistakes.  I misidentified the quote from Michaael as from
Richard, as I thought Michael was quoting Richard.  And I actually
thought the discussion was occurring on this list, too.  It certainly
should be and now is.

Yes, I guess I  really don't get it, so I guess Richard can fume some
more.  I plan to move on.

Like Richard's, my position on Taiwan is basically the same whether
China is bourgeois or a workers' state.  There is a 50-year conflict
between US imperialism (backed by Japan) over the separation of Taiwan.
Before then there was a long period of Japanese occupation. 

This is a part of the historic national question of China, like Hong
Kong and Macao.  Of course factors could change my position.  A great
national, anti-imperialist revolution could take place in Taiwan around
the struggle for independence.  Frankly, I think this is unlikely to
happen on the basis of opposition to unity with China, but if it does,
we will have to size up the new situation when there is one.

Or Taiwan can have a socialist revolution and become a Cuba off the
mainland of China.  The people in that circumstance might not be eager
to have Chinese troops come in, although probably the main historic
effect would be the opening of a new phase of the Chinese revolutions. 

But I think China's fight for Taiwan has everything to do with China's
just struggle against imperialist domination and nothing to do with
expansionist Han chauvinism (let's leave aside "imperialism") for the
moment.

However, I also think that the question of whether China is becoming a
new imperialist power  -- which  I do not believe -- is posed by some
aspects of the Chinese development, and we should recognize this.  As in
the Soviet Union, the "restoration of capitalism" does not take the form
of a bloody counterrevolution against resisting workers and peasants.
But in the Soviet Union, the whole process is characterized by decay,
breakdown, plunder, decline of the productive forces, and devastating
losses of life and well-being across very broad stretches of society. 

In China the emergence of capitalism (if that is what we are seeing, and
I don't rule it out) takes placee as an almost organic process arising
out of achievements of the Chinese revolution (relative national unity,
etc.) It is characterized by an enormous increase in productivity and
the productive forces. There has been a great expansion in the size and
potential power of the working class. And China does not seem to be
falling once again under imperialist domination.  The process  is
accompanied by the apparent RISE of China to greater political,
economic, military and social weight in the world, not to decline and
break-up as in the Soviet Union. Far from breaking up, they have
regained Hong Kong and Macao and are reinforcing their claim to Taiwan.
(I believe the legislation Richard cites is quite appropriate in this
instance, whatever problems it might carry for oppressed nationalities
in China.) The process, although working people are paying a high price,
has many features which we are customized as characterizing as
progressive.  

There is a "China Shakes the World" side to this process.  It simply
does not seem entirely "counter-revolutionary" to me, I must admit,
though I see much in it -- including the national oppression of Tibetans
and Muslims -- that needs to be fought by China's working people.

Of course we have yet to see how all this will play out in the event of
a big break in the world capitalist economy.  Perhaps all this will go
into reverse and the process will lead to massive defeats for China or
even break-up of the country.  Or maybe there will be some other kind of
response.

Another factor must be kept in mind.  The working class and peasantry of
China are not well-organized, but they are not broken. They are showing
some capacity to fight for their own interests in the process, which
shows signs of leading toward a class confrontation. This is also a
difference with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe thus far.

So I am going to take my dear old time on China.  And I doubt piling up
statistices on "privatization" will be enough to  convince me.  

Something seems quite alive to me about the Chinese revolution, although
I could turn out to have false hopes.  Wouldn't be the first time.  But
maybe its because I read too much Edgar Alan Poe, but generally I tend
to worry more about burying the living than about waiting too long to
bury the dead, although I know that problems can arise either way.  I
have no ambition to be the first kid on my block to give up on the
Chinese revolution, even though I know I waited a bit too long on the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

So my position on Richard's stand on the captialist character of China
is that he is premature.

I view his stand on the conflict between China and imperialism on Taiwan
as left sectarian.  

And his suggestion that  China's refusal to give up the imperialist
protectorate on Taiwan is a manifestation  of "Great Han chauvinism" is
political poison for revolutionaries in the imperialist countries.
Fred Feldman









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