[Marxism] China

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Mar 24 06:57:25 MDT 2012

On 3/24/12 8:36 AM, Ian Aylett wrote:
> Interesting take on China from marxist economist Michael Roberts
> http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/which-way-for-china-part-one/
> http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/which-way-for-china-part-two/

 From above:

But what is also interesting about the report is that it admits that the 
capitalist mode of production still does not dominate in China – indeed 
that is the problem according to the World Bank and its domestic 
supporters.  The report recognises that China’s incredible economic 
success over the last 30 years was based on an economy where growth was 
achieved through bureaucratic state planning and government control of 


When I read this sort of thing, I have to wonder what kind of yardstick 
some leftists use when they use a term like "the capitalist mode of 
production". There was extensive state planning and government control 
of investment in Nazi Germany after all.

This morning they were discussing the Mike Daisey scandal on Chris 
Hayes's MSNBC morning show, the only one on the channel that has not 
been transformed into a subsidiary of the Obama re-election campaign. 
While Hayes--rightfully--took Daisey to task for exaggerating the level 
of abuse in China, he reminded viewers of what the reality of work at 
Foxconn is all about. You work without breaks, doing repetitive motions 
that eventually make the nerves in your arms and legs begin to burn. You 
can be fired for stepping away from your place at the assembly line. For 
all practical purposes, you are a machine rather than a human being.

Frankly, it does not matter to me who owns Foxconn, the state or private 
investors. This is a capitalist enterprise based on the exploitation of 
wage labor.

The only other people who still believe that China is some kind of 
NEP-like experiment apparently are the same ones who have fucked up 
positions on just about every other question, the CPUSA:


Class Struggle Under Socialism?

Many may ask, "How can there be such abuses, and class conflicts, under 
socialism?" Doesn't socialism promise and end to class conflict, and 
create a classless society? Among the many misconceptions regarding both 
Marxist and non-Marxist concepts of socialism is the notion that social 
and economic classes can be willed into existence or non-existence by 
just wishing, or voting, or legislating, that it be just so, without 
regard to objective conditions of technology, natural and labor 
resources, and many other factors. The Chinese and Russian revolutions 
both overthrew putrid and corrupt regimes headed by a class coalition of 
feudal lords and early capitalists. These revolutions were led by 
parties of the working and peasant classes. They took over the 
leadership of their societies when the ancient regimes collapsed, and 
did indeed set forth to bring into being their conceptions (unique to 
each country) of a classless society.  Capitalist and feudal rights were 
denied any franchise and most industrial and agricultural property was 
confiscated by the State for redistribution in both revolutions. In both 
countries these early efforts had some initial successes, but quickly 
ran headlong into the reality of the great economic, technological and 
cultural chasms between the backwardness of their countries and the 
conditions of material and cultural abundance Karl Marx outlined as the 
requirements of sustaining classless social relations. The Russian 
socialist experiment ultimately collapsed under the weight of these 
contradictions, and is now struggling to find its way.  The Chinese 
experiment did not collapse. Instead it retreated, economically, to a 
position advocated by Vladimir Lenin as early as 1920, where the working 
class and peasant coalition would retain political power and the 
"commanding heights" of the economy while re-introducing market, 
capitalist relations and advanced firm management techniques in the 
underdeveloped parts of the economy. The consequence for China has been 
the fastest and most sustained development rate of any large country in 
the history of the world -- a staggering effort that has single handedly 
reversed world poverty rates.

More information about the Marxism mailing list