[Marxism] China again

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Fri Jul 11 21:31:01 MDT 2008


Walter Lippmann wrote:
> In China, the Chinese Communist Party remains in full
> control of the state apparatus, the army, the courts, the
> banking system and the media. The Chinese government and
> party says it's building socialism.


And Maggie Thatcher said she was helping the poor.  And George Bush
claims to represent "ordinary" Americans.

The Chinese CP also includes millionaires, business figures who own
private capital and exploit wage-labour - and an increasing number of
them.

The reason that the Chinese CP controls the state apparatus and its
component parts is because they learned from the collapse of the Soviet
Union and are pursuing a far more measured and managed approach to the
restoration of capitalism.

Moreover, as well as opening up the economy for the development of
private capital, there is also a substantial chunk of state capitalism
in China.  The ironically-titled "People Liberation Army", for instance,
owns businesses involving not only the intense exploitation of
wage-labour but also primitive accumulation - ie millions of peasants
are being forced off the land and into becoming wage workers in sweat
shops, a chunk of these owned by parts of the state, such as the PLA,
functioning as capitalists.

One of these cases is a footwear-making factory which employs tens of
thousands of young women taken out of rural China and plonked down in
this factory working 60-hour weeks for minuscule wages.  

If you had any interest in knowing what is going on in China today,
you'd put aside the official Chinese CP press releases for a couple of
days and read two things:
1. Some serious leftist scholarship on the Chinese economy today
2. The sections of vol 1 of 'Capital' dealing with factory conditions in
Victorian England and with primitive accumulation in the late medieval
and early capitalist period

Phil




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