[Marxism] China's high speed rail plans

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Wed Sep 2 08:24:47 MDT 2009

So here we have LW's reasons to be cheerful.  The Chinese nation is being 
strengthened, it is recovering from the Japanese invasion.  It is throwing 
off the legacy of imperialist domination.  And how is it doing this?  Did 
China do these things  in the period 1949-1979, when it was considered the 
beacon for world revolution?  No.

Did it do these things when the revolution expropriated, liquidated its own 
weak, comprador bourgeoisie and expelled the much stronger imperial 
bourgeoisie?  Apparently not.

Did the revolution accomplish these things when it "broke" with Kruschev's 
revisionism, staying "true" to the course of the "great helmsman's" own 
personal great helmsman? Apparently not.

Did the revolution accomplish those things when creating, on however 
rudimentary a platform,  a semblance of public, social, universal 
healthcare, a semblance of public education, "guarantees" of employment and 
social welfare.  Nope, not then either.

Did the revolution accomplish those things with its supposed "Cultural 
Revolution," dethroning the "capitalist roaders," and restoring the one true 
religion as expressed in the little red book.  Nope.  Not then.

Nope, the revolution proved incapable of leading this recovery, when acting, 
at least partially, as a revolution.

"Development" according to LW begins with creation of the SEZ in the 
Quangdong; with the pretty much unrestrained exploitation of young female 
labor in the SEZ.  "Strengthening" starts with the creation of a nascent 
bourgeoisie, the nurturing of imperialist penetration into the economy, the 
enshrinement of private property, with a distorted version of Bukharin on 
steroids-- not "peasants enrich yourselves,"  not "socialism at a snail's 
pace" but "capitalists enrich yourselves,"  "capitalism at a cheetah's 
speed."   So to those who want to know when China became "state capitalist," 
I would say,  "Ask Luko. He seems to have it down pat."

If you look at LW's "explanation," or pseudo-analysis, he says both the 
proletariat and the bourgeoisie are getting stronger.  How so?  Is the 
proletariat stronger since healthcare has been essentially re-CLASS-ified? 
Has the proletariat been made stronger through the poisoning of the 
environment and by some of the population?  Have the lead smelters causing 
brain damage in numbers of children made the proletariat stronger?  Has the 
horrendous rate of mine accidents made the proletariat stronger?  Has the 
unemployment of 15-20% of the workers in the export factories made the 
proletariat stronger?  I know a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor 
claimed 95% of those laid off workers had found new employment in cities, 
but when pressed to provide details as to how the data was collected, he 
could provide no such information.

So how has the proletariat been made stronger?  In numbers?  I know LW loves 
gross, undifferentiated numbers,  but then he should actually pay attention 
to gross undifferentiated numbers which have shown that since 1996 [or 1998, 
I forget which], actual numbers of manufacturing workers, industrial workers 
have DECLINED in China.

So what constitutes the strengthening.  Reports from organizers in China at 
the Left Forum Conference, as I posted here some time ago, argue that trade 
unions have been dramatically weakened, that unions are at a loss as to how 
to actually represent workers independently, and when necessary, in 
opposition to both the government and employers.   Is that strengthening of 
the proletariat?

Now of course LW and others can claim that even before 1979, the lead 
smelters and mines were killing people at high rates; that even before 1979 
"universal healthcare" existed in name only and was actually rationed 
according to income, party status etc.  But then what exactly was so 
revolutionary about the revolution to begin with?

Going further, what LW offers us is nothing other than the old CORPORATIST 
capitalist ideology and advertising all dressed up in "East is Red" 
clothing-- the old corporatist ideology that argued that labor and capital 
could be harmonized, as long as the capitalists were allowed to call the 
turn; that labor and capital shared the same interests, as long as the 
capitalist named the interests; that labor and capital through the machinery 
of state and wisdom of bourgeoisie could be integrated into a grand, 
patriotic, national, popular front, as long as nobody was to concerned with 
what was actually going on behind the front.  And I think LW can properly 
lay claim to the title of  "The Left wing's Rostow."

This is the same corporatist ideology that can and was expressed in its 
"benign" forms in the west in welfare capitalism before the great depression 
and the New Deal after the great depression; the same ideology that was 
expressed in Vargas' Nuovo Estado in Brazil; the same ideology that was 
imposed with some variations but such ferocity in Italy, Germany, Spain.

It is the same corporatist ideology that is expressed, actually in Milton 
Friedman's pseudo laissez-faire anarcho-monetarism, where the benefits will 
flow to all because all can be reconciled in the market, and if you don't 
believe that, well we'll just have the PIDE, the DINA, the Cobra Squadron, 
the Interior Police, the death squads,  prove it to you.

It's the same ideology that infuses the "trickle down" theory of capitalism. 
But in reality what trickles down is the blood of the workers, a flow that 
begins as a trickle and becomes a torrent.

In sum, all of LW's posturings are based once again on confusing objects 
with social relations, means of production as use-values rather than the 
commodities which they are in capitalism and in China.

I've always thought that if you don't understand Capital Vol 1-- if you 
don't understand Marx's analysis of the commodity, then you understand 
nothing.  LW proves exactly that.

So the issue isn't "What suggestions do you have for making the Chinese 
railroad program more effective?"  That's a BUSINESS question.  I happen to 
work as a consultant now to railroad companies.  And as a business, I would 
be happy to work in China, if invited and make their programs more 
effective.  I did a little of that in Cuba-- for free.  Would do the same in 
China, but not for free.

The question is what social relations are dominant, are becoming dominant, 
are more dominant in China?  What are the consequences, the results of those 
social relations?

What would a real workers' and NOT FARMERS, poor rural producers do? 
Expropriate the bourgeoisie for starters...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lüko Willms" <lueko.willms at t-online.de>
To: "David Schanoes" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 1:52 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] China's high speed rail plans

> S. Artesian (sartesian at earthlink.net) wrote on 2009-09-01 at 17:16:09 in
> about Re: [Marxism] China's high speed rail plans:
>> So, no the whole thing is not "making use" or "bowing down,"  the whole
>> thing is rather what class is being strengthened by the path, the policy,
>> the economic programs currently in place in China.
>> Who's getting stronger?
>> The proletariat as a class conscious of itself?
>> Or the bourgeoisie in China as a class?
>  Both of them. The Chinese nation is getting stronger. China is recovering
> from the defeat of the Boxer uprising, and from the Japanese invasion and
> occupation. China's infrastructure is being built up, the industry 
> expands, and
> with the latter the proletariat is growing in numbers and in strength.
>  As to the railways building programme, I don't know how much more should
> and could be done, but what they are doing is impressive. Maybe Sartesian
> has some suggestions what the Chinese should make different, which would
> be more productive for the discussion than his usual ultraleft musings.
>  If a real workers-and-farmers government were in power in Beijing, what
> would that do different?

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