[Marxism] "I know what I mean."

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 10 08:11:42 MDT 2006

Walter wrote:
>On China, the general drum-beat on Marxmail can be summarized
>in the words "bad, bad, bad". Take the focuses on Chinese censorship
>of websites of which the Chinese government disapproves. Cuba does
>the same kind of thing, blocking webites of which it disapproves, like
>that of the Cuban-American National Foundation, CubaNet and so on.
>I neither approve nor object to such things, though I don't approve of
>such practices. I simply try to understand that governments often do
>things for reasons of state and I try not to make an international fuss
>about it.

An Interview with Yan Yuanzhang
by Stephen Philion

On February 22nd, the Chinese government shut down the China Workers' 
Website and Discussion Lists because, according to the order of closure, 
the owner of such a website must make a 10,000,000 Yuan (US $1.2 million) 
deposit to register it as a legal one.  The editorial collective responded 
that they would not be able to pay the fee since they were mostly farmers 
and employed and  unemployed workers without access to such a huge 
sum.  Thus the first leftist-run website in China that enabled workers and 
farmers to talk about their struggles to defend socialism in today's China 
was shut down.

Below is an interview I conducted on February 26th with one of the 
administrators of the China Workers Website editorial collective in 
Beijing.  He, as well as other members of the collective, is evidence of a 
new generation of leftists in China who are actively involved in struggles 
of workers and farmers, stepping into the role that the Party rejected long 

Q: Now, why would the Chinese government, a socialist government in name, 
be concerned about a website run by leftists discussing the kinds of things 
that were discussed on the China Workers Website?

A: Well, because the government is not making socialism.

Q: Of course.  I'm asking because outside China there are still some 
leftists who see China as a socialist country.

A: Well, hearing such nonsense would reduce a pig to tearful fits of laughter!

Our web discussion is designed for workers and farmers to discuss their 
issues and struggles.  This is the kind of thing a socialist democracy 
would want, for workers to have the kind of democracy that capitalism 
couldn't provide.

A National People's Congress will be convened soon, and the government 
knows that workers and farmers' voices will be heard by representatives and 
might even make way into the speeches made at the Congress.  The government 
doesn't want that -- it actually fears even the possibility of it.  So, 
when the national representatives speak, workers are supposed to keep their 
mouths shut.

Q: The Worker-Farmer discussion list is not routed through a port outside 
China, but other socialist discussion lists in China have ports abroad and 
can still be accessed by the Chinese.  Why the difference?

A: We believe that a discussion list for Chinese workers should be run 
within China, for Chinese workers to participate in.  There's no need to go 
to foreign discussion lists or to seek out foreigners in order to have 
discussions.  If you want to open a web discussion list from an address 
abroad, you need to negotiate with the government, and it will end up being 
shut down or administered through a dummy port that requires types of 
software and technological skills that many workers and farmers don't 
possess.  The result is a discussion list dominated by intellectuals, which 
will only turn off workers and make them not want to participate.

full: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/philion130306.html



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