[A-List] Forward from PENL- Louis on China and socialism
pieinsky at igc.org
Mon Aug 2 07:59:35 MDT 2004
Questions for Henry from an old Maoist:
(1) Aren't you concerned at all about the evidence of increasing class
disparities and the consequent rise of open class struggles (workers'
strikes, farmers' protests, etc.) in "Red" China? What do these occurrences
mean, in your opinion?
(2) Why does it have to be either poverty or "ideological purity"? Can't a
Third World country's development take place, while at the same time
preserving and extending more egalitarian social relations, as I think Mao
hoped for China?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Henry C.K. Liu" <hliu at mindspring.com>
To: "The A-List" <a-list at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2004 8:01 AM
Subject: Re: [A-List] Forward from PENL- Louis on China and socialism
> There are also reports of college students who jumped from high-rise
> dormitory buildings in protest of the governments timid "peaceful"
> policy over Taiwan independence. The suicide-protestors wanted the
> government to take Taiwan for force right now and stand up to US bullying.
> The report that an 18-year-old killed himself over lack of money to pay
> college fees proves only that 18-year-olds need better counseling. The
> fact of the matter is that 18-year-olds all over the world flirt with
> suicide for all kind of reasons, much of which tragically irrational and
> As for whether China would be a good model for the rest of the Third
> World, let the people of the Third World decide for themselves. We don't
> need self-righteous academics in the West to pronounce what is an
> ideologically correct model for the Third World. The sad fact is that
> the Western left have done little for the Third World beyond destructive
> talk. Until members of the Western Left can control their own
> imperialists governments and improve the lot of the poor in their own
> societies, they had better be a bit more humble about what is correct.
> There is a lot about China that is not perfect and a lot of people
> within China are trying very hard to correct these problems. But believe
> me, poverty for all is a bad trade-off for ideological purity.
> The NY Times also printed other articles on China recently:
> The advent of the vacation is a relatively new phenomenon in China that
> coincides with the emergence of a new middle class with disposable
> income. Wealthy Chinese are now flocking to destinations around
> Southeast Asia and beyond. Others are exploring domestic sites like
> Qingdao, a popular getaway for people from Beijing.
> New Boomtowns Change Path of China's Growth
> South China Morning Post (HK)
> >> More are becoming upwardly mobile, but birth still
> >> counts
> >> Mainlanders' chances of social advancement through
> >> merit have improved in the past two decades, but
> >> birth still matters for those aiming for political
> >> careers.
> >> A report on social mobility by the Chinese Academy
> >> of Social Sciences released yesterday shows it is
> >> getting easier for mainlanders to upgrade their
> >> status within one generation.
> >> Before 1980, only 32 per cent of the workforce was
> >> able to find a job better than their fathers'.
> >> More than 60 per cent had no choice but to accept
> >> their parents' station.
> >> Since then, however, 40 per cent of working people
> >> have managed to advance professionally.
> >> Mainlanders are also changing between jobs more
> >> frequently that before.
> >> Before 1980, 86 per cent of the labour force never
> >> changed jobs throughout their working life. But from
> >> 1990 to 2000, 54 per cent took their chances and
> >> ventured out to seek new jobs.
> >> "The rapid development of the economy has created
> >> more occupational professions, and many of them are
> >> of high level," the report said.
> >> "The economic reform policy provides an
> >> institutional environment where people can improve
> >> their social class on their capabilities and merit.
> >> "As a result, Chinese society is becoming more open
> >> and mobile."
> >> But the report noted it was unlikely that a Bill
> >> Clinton or John Edwards - who were born into
> >> working-class families but rose to political
> >> prominence - would appear in China.
> >> To enter the "government official" occupational
> >> category, family background remains the determining
> >> factor.
> >> For every 100 people whose fathers are cadres, seven
> >> become government officials themselves. For workers,
> >> the ratio is one in 100; for farmers, even less than
> >> one.
> >> The work mainlanders covet the most is in
> >> "government and social administration", based on
> >> decades of polling by the academy.
> >> People tend to think this public service position
> >> will bring them power, the report says: "Without any
> >> doubts, cadres are the most powerful people in the
> >> country."
> >> But for those whose aspirations lie outside the
> >> political scope, their fates seem more in their own
> >> hands.
> >> Educational credentials rank as the No1 factor for a
> >> good career, the report says. College graduates have
> >> three times more opportunities in the job market
> >> than those who only have high school diplomas, even
> >> though the latter might come from better family
> >> backgrounds.
> >> But for well-educated rural people, prospects are
> >> less rosy. The urban registration system, which
> >> works to prevent rural people from moving freely
> >> into urban areas, still limits their work prospects.
> >> Three years ago, the academy caused an uproar when
> >> it published a study on how the composition of
> >> Chinese society had changed over the decades. It was
> >> seen by analysts as an effort by the leadership to
> >> embrace the rising private sector.
> >> But the study confirmed that the social status of
> >> farmers and workers had declined significantly
> >> although they were once hailed as the pillars of the
> >> socialist system in China.
> People's Daily (CCP/PRC)
> >> Chinese society brewing dramatic structural changes,
> >> report
> >> Entitled "Flow in Contemporary Chinese Society", a
> >> heavyweight report released on July 28 by the
> >> Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) caused
> >> wide concern. The report pointed out that in the
> >> coming eight to ten years, China will witness a leap
> >> in its professionalism level, a huge expansion of
> >> middle classes and sharp reduction of agricultural
> >> workers. The Chinese society is marching toward an
> >> open one.
> >> Lu Xueyi, a CASS research fellow who led the
> >> research team, received an interview on this report.
> >> Q: what's the most important discovery of this
> >> report?
> >> A: That is, the current social strata structure
> >> cannot meet the demand of the development of
> >> socialist modernization. It is only an embryonic
> >> form of "modernization". Some strata need shrinking
> >> and some others should be expanded.
> >> Children of lower strata face bigger barriers to
> >> higher ones, and social resources gather towards
> >> higher classes
> >> Q: "Social flow" refers to social members shifting
> >> from one social position to another, and what are
> >> the trends of social flow in today's China?
> >> A: Our latest report revealed that among the current
> >> ten major strata, some still need to be reduced in
> >> scale (agricultural workers still account for 44
> >> percent) while others enlarged (middle classes only
> >> stand for 15 percent). While children of those in
> >> the lower part of the social ladder are facing
> >> bigger barriers on their way into higher orders, and
> >> the society's economic, organizing and cultural
> >> resources are gathering towards upper classes.
> >> These trends will cast a negative impact on the
> >> forming of a just, rational and open social flow
> >> pattern and strata structure, which are not conform
> >> with the socialist modernization process and are
> >> likely to trigger off social crisis.
> >> Q: Why the social strata failed to enlarge or
> >> reduce?
> >> A: One of the most important reasons is blocked
> >> social flow channels.
> >> System barriers left over from the planned economy
> >> period-such as rigid systems in residency,
> >> employment, personnel and social security-are
> >> blocking people flowing to higher social positions,
> >> and a just, rational and open modernized pattern of
> >> social flow has not been formed.
> >> Q: Since the reform and opening up two decades ago,
> >> according to what principles did China's social flow
> >> realize?
> >> A: Before the opening up, social status are chiefly
> >> born. While after it the social orders were broken,
> >> with postnatal elements, such as individual efforts,
> >> gradually dominating the social flow system.
> >> Q: There is an important conclusion in your
> >> report-the professionalism level of the Chinese
> >> society is going higher, could you explain it?
> >> A: Since 1978, China's professional structure has
> >> been improving. Compared with 1992, in 2000 the
> >> proportion of lower-layer employees (industrial and
> >> agricultural workers) had dropped by 8.17 percent,
> >> while that for middle classes increased 7.2 percent.
> >> For 18 years employees engaged in medium and higher
> >> level professions have been increasing, forming the
> >> trend of "moving up".
> The problem is complex and not single-dimensional. Building socialism is
not a simple matter of choosing the right ideological escalator.
> I am not defending China blindly as some would accuse me of doing. My own
criticism of Chinese economic policy has been very vocal and in print on the
record for a few years. There is a difference between trying to help and
trying to obstruct. A lot of energy is being spent in China on how to
combat income disparity without stifling growth. But Marty Hart-Landsberg
appears to worry more about the undesirability of undue China influence on
the rest of the Third World, a perverse theme that the CIA has been
promoting lately by using the US Left to diffuse Chinese political influence
globally, than about objective economic achievements and problems in China.
Its a repeat of Trotskyites being welcomed in US universities that
eventually turn neo-conservative.
> At any rate, fortunately for the world, what Marty Hart-Landsberg says
matters little outside of leftist circles. Most Third World peasants will
never read him and if they did, mostly likely they will not find him
interesting or relevant.
> Henry C.K. Liu
> Waistline2 at aol.com wrote:
> >>If any confirmation of the correctness of Marty Hart-Landsberg and Paul
> >Burkett's "China and Socialism" (a book-length article in the July-August
> >Monthly Review) was needed, you can look at the heartrending Aug. 1,
> >Times article on the suicide of Zheng Qingming. This 18 year old peasant
> >youth threw himself into the path of an onrushing locomotive because he
> >the $80 in fees to continue with college. It is the first in a series of
> >Times articles dealing with class divisions in China, a country in which
> >million people earn less than $75 per year.<
> >Interesting . . . 85 million people with $75(US) per year . . . what was
> >twenty years ago? Where is the relationship? What do $75 (US) buy amongst
> >these 85 million peoples . . . peasants?
> >The first rule of politics of political leaders on the side of the
> >proletariat in the American Union is that if the New York Times or
Washington Post run
> >a story on China . . . position yourself in opposition to it and you
> >on the right side of the polarity 90% of the time . . . always. A 10%
> >rate is acceptable for any political leader.
> >This is not to say one rejects data from the bourgeoisie . . . but rather
> >. . the story of an 18 year old boy killing himself because he could not
> > college is for suckers and political panhandlers.
> >Let's thug.
> >Earlier in July there was a series of articles about China on the A-List
> >the review of the Monthly Review article. To my knowledge no one
> >capitalism in China . . . or rather . . . I do not dispute the existence
> >operation of the bourgeois property relations and the unrestrained law
> >. . . creating the specific circuit of reproduction.
> >By "no one" is meant those who wrote concerning China and prior to that
> >issue of the loss of manufacturing jobs in China was spoken of. Question
> >why are the manufacturing jobs lost was asked since China is hands down
> >low cost producer?
> >There was a question of what portion of the GDP was driven by FDI and/or
> >economic weight as reproduction and development of the industrial and
> >industrial infrastructure . . . as opposed to consumer goods.
> >Capitalism in China is not what produces class divisions. The bourgeois
> >property relations exacerbates inequality based on property and
> >. . . as it takes root on the basis of the industrial system.
> >I do believe that what is taking place in China can . . . in the future
> >. open another level of discussion absent amongst Marxists . . . as
> >to the left which is uniformly anti-Communists . . . and have always
> >basically anti-Communists in America and fundamentally anti-China and
> >The strength of the counterrevolution is not a subjective question
> >the thinking of individuals and I do not subscribe to a "great
> >theory" of history. Rather the question that has not been explored is
> >of value as it operates under the industrial system no matter what stage
> >transition of its property relations. Here is the economic base of the
> >counterevolution. This is what Cuba and North Korea faces . . . in
addition to a more
> >powerful imperial antagonists.
> >If class divisions are not the result of capitalism (and one must
> >these issues or they cannot wage the proper political struggle) but
> >mode of production as a specific combination of human labor + machinery
> >energy source . . . we can begin to describe more accurately the
> >operate in. This is important because people follow leaders who realize
> >their collective vision and their vision is rooted in how they
understand what is
> >possible during distinct economic eras.
> >To state this another way . . . no new rising class or its political
> >expression can triumph and drive the revolutionary process to its
conclusion on the
> >basis of fighting on the economic terrain of their enemy.
> >Since I do not dispute the bourgeois property relations in China . . .
> >its growth . . . and/or supremacy . . . the political and ideological
> >questions arise. First and foremost is "under what conditions is the
> >counterrevolution not possible." This is not to be confused with the
> >issue called the law of uneven development because this operates in
every mode of
> >production in human history and drives the logic of imperial assertion.
> >In other words I read the article and it contains nothing new or
> >for Marxists and is simply more of the anti-China propaganda. It does
> >another level of bourgeois democratic American melancholy.
> >The story of the 18 year old boy killing himself for lacking tuition to
> >college would almost be laughable in America if taken to our own working
> >have not a clue what the 1.5 billion people in China think of this
> >"Boy Kills himself because he cannot afford College."
> >This is the lead in to an economic analysis of China.
> >Why should I care . . . when million die of starvation.
> >It gets deeper and here is the anti-China thread always a part of the
> >authors articles and ideology . . . which is no more than rotten
> >>>The rapid take off in China, especially in the high tech arena, has a
> >do with the rapid influx of foreign capital. Foreign-based companies
> >accounted for 81 percent of all high tech exports in 2000. This means
> >Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea are all feeling the pinch. While
> >economists, including some progressives, view China as a locomotive for
> >growth in the region, Marty and Paul remain unconvinced.
> >In Malaysia, for example, 16,000 jobs have disappeared from the
> >high tech production hub as new investment flows to China. A J.P Morgan
> >report states that China's growth in high technology has "eroded"
> >Singapore's status as an electronics exporter. South Korea has found it
> >profitable to relocate in China as well where militant unionized workers
> >not a problem. Samsung, Daewoo and LG Electronics now make half their
> >outside of Korea, many in China.<<
> >Reread these two paragraphs. What they say is that the plight of the
> >in Sinapore and South Korea is the result of China and not the bourgeois
> >politics and policies of their own bourgeoisie.
> >Read what is being stated.
> >I do not have any inclination to support the bourgeoisie of any country .
> >. and China is most certainly not the villain of the South Korean masses.
> >Read what is being stated.
> >There are other profound questions bound up with the evolution of the
> >revolution in China. The complexity of the transition from an
> >society to an industrial society . . . the basis of class divisions . .
> >defeating the bourgeois and petty bourgeois impulses on the ideological
> >is very important. I have volumes to write about this . . . but am
> >to defeating my own petty bourgeois ideologists who make their living by
> >selling their brand of Marxism.
> >China did not under develop SOuth Korea and this is what is written.
> >Read what is being stated.
> >My beef with the critics of China is that they trend to uniformly be
> >hostile class to the proletariat and those of them over 50 have an
> >history of anti-China policy.
> >There is nothing new or interesting in this material . . . other than
> >18 year old boy became demoralized enough to kill himself because ... get
> >. . . he could not go to college. If kids in America thought like this
> >of our youth would kill themselves.
> >You do not kill yourself over not being about to go to college . . . or
> >getting the right girl . . . or being able to get the "right job" . . .
> >blowing your savings at the crap table.
> >In other words Lou article lost much of its force . . . concerning
> >data . . . over crying about a useless suicide by a youth that would be
> >laughing stock in America.
> >One might can get a perspective by seeking out the poem "A Dream
> >Melvin P.
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