[Marxism] Exaggerating Chinese economic power

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 28 13:06:43 MDT 2008

Marvin Gandall wrote:
> I suspect what really underlies the insistence that the restorations were
> "forceful" rather than "peaceful" (or both simultaneously) is the refusal at
> some level to accept that the Chinese and Soviet working classes did not
> CONTEST - by whatever means necessary and in an organized and conscious
> way - the dismantling of public ownership, the destruction of the social
> safety net, the introduction of the most reactionary capitalist values and
> ideas, and the turn towards full integration into the global capitalist
> economy. 

But there was an enormous movement against changes taking place in China 
even though they were not clear-cut expressions of proletarian struggle. 
  Tiananmen Square reflected widespread discontent with economic changes 
that were putting workers at a disadvantage even if students were in the 
forefront of the struggle. The same thing took place in El Salvador and 
Nicaragua in the 1980s.

At any rate, let's say that workers did not CONTEST these changes. Does 
this invalidate Marxism? I don't think there's been sufficient analysis 
of how workers dealt with counter-revolution in the USSR and China but I 
would not want to draw the kinds of pessimistic conclusions that people 
like Marcuse drew in the 1960s, but from the opposite angle.

Mostly, people have been atomized both in the West and the Soviet bloc 
since the end of WWII. We are now seeing the crumbling of the 
institutions that made this atomization possible. It is the role of 
Marxists to deepen the sense of alienation that working people have 
toward their rulers rather than shore up trust in them as elements of 
the reformist left are doing now.

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