What About the Chinese Workers? Part Two: How Workers Control China’s Socialist Path
New text on the Chinese Marxism page, entitled ‘What About the Chinese Workers? Part Two: How Workers Control China’s Socialist Path’ – download here.
In an earlier piece on the Chinese workers (here), I tackled a number of questions: the expansion of the category of workers to include rural workers (formerly known as peasants); the relation between ownership and liberation of productive forces so as to understand the ‘wild 90s’; and the extraordinary improvements in the lives of workers due to the resolute poverty alleviation program that has lifted about 800 million people out of poverty.
In the second part of this study, I address a further question: how do Chinese workers control the direction of China’s path? The answer has three main parts: 1) the right and duty to work; 2) the mass line; 3) China’s socialist democratic system. To anticipate my overall answer to the question, Chinese workers control China’s productive forces and direction through the mass line that is manifested today in the many integrated components of China’s socialist democratic system.
New text: Was the ‘Abolition of the State’ a Common Slogan in Socialist Circles in 1840s Germany?
In relation to my new book on Engels and socialist governance, I have attached a text to the ‘Publications’ page, with the title ‘Was the ‘Abolition of the State’ a Common Slogan in Socialist Circles in 1840s Germany?’ (download here). To set the context, let me quote the first paragraph of this study:
This study began as an appendix for my book, Friedrich Engels and the Foundations of Socialist Governance (soon to be published). In my research for the book, I had come across one or two assertions that the ‘abolition of the state’ was a common slogan in socialist circles – including Marx and Engels – in Germany of the 1840s. So I decided to find out by examining all of the texts written by Marx and Engels in that decade. The key terms for my search were provided by the liberal proto-anarchist, Max Stirner, who asserted that the state can only ‘be sublated [aufheben], annihilated [vernichten], abolished [abschaffen], not reformed’. You may, of course, wonder: if Stirner used these terms, did not others also? The short answer is no. Like other socialists, Marx and Engels did not use these terms in the same way as Stirner. To get to this point required quite an amount of work, of the sort that is necessary to establish a major point, but it does not make for the most scintillating reading – unless you are given to this type of endeavour.
Friedrich Engels and the Foundations of Socialist Governance to be published soon
I am pleased to announce that Springer will publish my book, Friedrich Engels and the Foundations of Socialist Governance. It will be published in the Springer Briefs in Philosophy, so should be out before the end of this year.
A detailed synopsis of each chapter of the book may be downloaded here.
From Belgrade to Beijing: Text, Slides, and Video from International Manifesto webinar on China
Added to the Dalian University of Technology page: 2021: ‘From Belgrade to Beijing: Comparative Observations on Socialist Systems with Market Economic Components’. This is the full text that provides the background for my presentation in a webinar organised by the International Manifesto Group based at the University of Manitoba. The text may be downloaded here, and the slides I used in the actual lecture are here.
The report of the webinar is now online here, and the recording is available here:
New article published in New Political Economy on the East European debates concerning socialism and the market
A pre-publication eprint is now available of the following study:
2021. ‘Socialism and the Market: Returning to the East European Debates’. New Political Economy. Online pre-publication eprint. DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2021.1926958. Preliminary copies may be downloaded here.
Abstract: This study reassesses a body of research that has been somewhat neglected: Eastern European market socialism of the 1960s-1980s. It does so with the objective of recovering key issues and also identifying problems that need to be addressed. Thus, the study begins with an overview of the practices of market socialism, which was pursued to varying degrees from the 1960s. While some (USSR, East Germany and Czechoslovakia) turned back to centrally planned economies in the 1970s, others (especially Yugoslavia and Hungary) pursued further reforms. This material provides the basis for analysis of three theoretical points and their attendant problems: the market as a neutral ‘economic mechanism’, as an effort to detach a market economy from its assumed integral connection with a capitalist socio-economic system; the tensions between planning and market; and the ownership of the means of production, which risked ignoring the liberation of productive forces. The conclusion discusses potential assessments of the market socialist experiments.
New article published in International Critical Thought on Western Marxist misrepresentations of Chinese socialism
A co-authored article with Yan Ping has been published: ‘Not Some Other -ism’ – On Some Western Marxist Misrepresentations of Chinese Socialism’. International Critical Thought. The first fifty copies of the ‘pre-print’ can be downloaded via this link (here). The article is currently available in online format and will appear in June in issue 11.2 of the journal.
Abstract: This study tackles four Western Marxist misrepresentations of socialism with Chinese characteristics, particularly as it has developed with the reform and opening-up: “capitalist socialism”; “bureaucratic capitalism”: “capitalism ‘with Chinese characteristics'”; and “state capitalism.” Each of these misrepresentations sets in opposition the economy and the state, with the former being seen as “capitalist” (in some form) and the latter as variously “authoritarian,” “bureaucratic” or simply as “interventionist.” In other words, “Chinese characteristics” designates the superstructural feature that determines—incorrectly in light of Marxist analysis—the economic base, which is mistakenly seen as capitalist. While each misrepresentation has its own distinct problems, they also have common problems: a voluntarist position on political decisions, which fails to provide any reason for a “capitalist turn”; the assumption that a “market economy,” wherever and whenever it appears, is by definition capitalist; the deployment of neocolonial and “Orientalist” assumptions coupled with a Western “betrayal narrative”; and a systemic neglect of Chinese language research. The conclusion provides a summarising assessment that focuses on the empirical flaws and methodological presuppositions of these misrepresentations. We emphasise that our focus is primarily on the internal problems and inconsistencies of these misrepresentations, although we also offer—where needed—some constructive alternatives.
Keywords: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics; Western misrepresentations; neoliberalism; bureaucratic capitalism; state capitalism.
Now Published: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics – A Guide for Foreigners
My new book has been published:
2021. Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners. Singapore: Springer. The full book in e-format, listed in chapter sequence, may be found here and here. A detailed synopsis of each chapter of the book may be downloaded here.
The chapter titles are as follows:
- Chapter 1. Introduction: Marxism as China’s Special Skill
- Chapter 2. Reading Deng Xiaoping
- Chapter 3. Contradiction Analysis: History, Meaning, and Application
- Chapter 4. The Marxist Basis of the Reform and Opening-Up
- Chapter 5. China’s Socialist Market Economy and Planned Economy
- Chapter 6. Seeking a Xiaokang Society, or, Socialist Modernisation
- Chapter 7. The Chinese Marxist Approach to Sovereignty and Socialist Human Rights
- Chapter 8. Socialist Democracy in Practice
- Chapter 9. Socialist Democracy in Theory
- Chapter 10. Xi Jinping on Marx and Engels
- Conclusion: Socialist System and Cultural Confidence
Article on ‘Countering Hegemony’ added to Chinese Marxism page
2021-04-01: ‘Countering Hegemony [fandui baquan]’ is a term the world will hear more and more in the coming years and months. It is a common term in the Chinese Marxist vocabulary, but it was highlighted in Yang Jiechi‘s now famous speech at the Alaska summit in March of 2021 (see below). My piece explains the term’s meaning and history in some more detail. You can also download the piece here.
Updated version of ‘What About the Chinese Workers?‘ added to Chinese Marxism page
In light of futher research, I have substantially revised my piece from 2018 on the Chinese workers. It can be found on the Chinese Marxism page (also download here). My revision was in part inspired by the desperate efforts of a fragmented and rapidly fading ‘West’ (a dozen or so former colonisers) to promote ‘atrocity propaganda’ about working conditions in Xinjiang. As should be clear to anyone, this kind of ‘Western’ material is pure lies and fabrication. To set the record straight, my piece points out that almost 800 million rural and urban workers have been lifted out of poverty in the last four decades – one the greatest human rights achievements in history.
The difference between a rules-based international order and Western liberal hegemony
2021-03-25. This is the tile of a new piece I have added to the Chinese Marxism page, in a section called ‘Community of Common Destiny for Humankind’. As should be clear by the title, Western liberalism is unable to produce a rules-based international order. All it can do is try to impose its neo-colonial will on unwilling others. What is emerging today through the initiatives of China, Russia, and others, is a proper rules-based internatonal order. You may also download the piece here.
Two videos you must see
The first is the speech of Yang Jiechi at the Anchorage dialogue between China and Russia on 19 March 2021. If you want to hear the English translation, please go to minute 28 and then watch the body language of the US delegation. They are broad-sided and everything about them indicates that they know deep down their empire is over. By now it should be clear that China has stepped onto the centre of the world stage. 1.2 billion people have already watched this recording, and many more around the world have already done so on other platforms.
The second is the press conference with Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov, the foreign ministers of China and Russia in Guilin, China, a few days later. For those who have been following their 50 or so meetings so far, you will know that China and Russia are now the anchors of stability in the world today. Now they have gone a step further: the era of a few Western countries – all former colonisers – asserting their hegemony on the world is over. In other words, liberal hegemony – which is the small community of the free and its dictatorship over the vast majority of the unfree – is being relegated to the dustbin of history. In its place, a properly rules-based order that respects the sovereignty of each country is emerging as the new normal. China and Russia are leading this rules-based world order, supported by the majority of countries around the world.
The Most Watched Press Conference in the World: Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2021
Since China has stepped onto the centre of the world stage, the annual press conference by Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister, has become one of the most watched events around the world. This is particularly the case in developing countries (80 percent of the global population). This press conference, held during the annual ‘two sessions’ of China’s parliament, went for a marathon of 1 hour and 40 minutes. This press conference provides the best insight for international observers into China’s path as it celebrates the centenary of the CPC.
Two part documentary on 100 years of the CPC in the eyes of Michael Crook
I have added to the ‘Documentaries and Films’ page two short videos featuring Michael Crook on his parents, Isabel and David Crook. Both were and are communists who have lived in China for decades. Indeed, Isabel was 6 years old when the CPC was established in 1921 and she has seen the CPC transform China from one of the poorest countries in the world to what it is now. Michael himself was born in China in 1951 and has lived in China for his whole life. I have have met Isabel and Michael on a number of occasions in Beijing. Well worth a listen. I have added two other videos, one focused on Michael, in which he speaks perfect Chinese, and a longer one on Isabel Crook.
China’s Promotion of Human Rights in Xinjiang
On the Chinese Marxism page, I have added links to a number of publications by the Chinese State Council Information Office in relation to Xinjiang:
- The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang (2019) – link here.
- Employment and Labour Rights in Xinjiang (2020) – link here.
- Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Human Rights Development in China (2029) – link here.
- Vocational Training and Education in Xinjiang (2019) – link here.
- Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang (2019) – link here.
- Cultural Protection and Development in Xinjiang (2018) – link here.
- Human Rights in Xinjiang – Development and Progress (2017) – link here.
- Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang (2016) – link here.
- Historical Witness to Ethnic Equality, Unity and Development in Xinjiang (2015) – link here.
Further, if you are interested in the source of the baseless ‘atrocity propaganda’ being promoted in a small number of fading ‘Western’ countries (but certainly not in developing and Muslim-majority countries), then I recommend a number of articles in ‘The Gray Zone’:
- ‘Independent’ Report Claiming Uyghur Genocide Brought to You by Sham University, Neocon Ideologues Lobbying to ‘Punish’ China’. By Ajit Singh on The Grayzone (here). This is the latest in a series that comprehensive debunks the ‘atrocity propoganda’ concerning Xinjiang, perpetrated especially by the wacky pseudo-scholar Adrian Zenz, who has a knack of simply making things up, and a rapidly fading US empire.
- US State Department accusation of China “genocide” relied on data abuse and baseless claims by far-right ideologue’, by Gareth Porter and Max Blumenthal (2021) – link here.
- ‘Inside the World Uyghur Congress: The US-backed right-wing regime-change network seeking the “fall of China”‘, by Ajit Singh (2020) – link here.
- ‘China detaining millions of Uyghurs? Serious problems with claims by US-backed NGO and far-right researcher “led by God” against Beijing’, by Ajit Singh and Max Blumenthal (2019) – link here.
- ‘No, the UN did not report China has “massive internment camps” for Uighur Muslims’, by Ben Norton and Ajit Singh (2018) – link here.
- ‘Democracy Now amplifies State Department propaganda campaign against China behind progressive cover’, by Danny Haiphong (2021) – link here.
Historical Nihilism in Relation to China
What is ‘historical nihilism [lishi xuwuzhuyi]’? It means that one denies the importance of the proletarian revolution, negates the leadership of the Communist Party, and ignores Marxism or suggests that Marxism is outdated and that China has abandoned Marxism.
A good example of the effects of historical nihilism is the Soviet Union. In the 1980s, there was intense ideological struggle, during which the achievements of the October Revolution and the Soviet Communist Party were denied, Lenin and Stalin were belittled, Party organisations at all levels lost their way, and the military was no longer under the leadership of the Party. The result: ‘the massive Communist Party of the Soviet Union scattered like birds and beasts [niaoshousan], and the vast socialist state of the Soviet Union collapsed and fell apart [fenbeng lixi]’ (Xi Jinping 2019). In short, historical nihilism is the favoured tool of those hostile to the communist project, those who seek to vilify and slander China and its path.
On the ‘Chinese Marxism’ page, I have attached a new piece that outlines some of the main genres of such historical nihilism. These include:
- Secular Apocalyse (‘China doomers’)
- Dystopian Fiction (with its attendant ‘atrocity propaganda’, such as that peddled by the BBC)
- Ghost Story (Spooks everywhere!)
- Conspiracy Theory
- Orientalist Mystery
- Sectarian Intolerance
These genres are popular in the small number of countries known as the ‘West’ (which comprise only 14 percent of the global population). Sadly, it includes a number of Western Marxists, who have lined up the international class struggle on the side of capitalist or bourgeois states.
You can also download the file here.
Mao Zedong Never Called Deng Xiaoping a ‘Capitalist Roader’
After some in-depth archival research, I have found that – contrary to the opinions of some – Mao Zedong never called Deng Xiaoping a ‘capitalist roader’. Instead, it was other Leftists, especially the Gang of Four (a negative term coined by Mao himself) who did so initially in 1966 and then again in 1976. Mao never did so. A fuller version of these findings may be found here and on the Chinese Marxism page.
Shattering the myth that all N. Koreans want to defect to S. Korea
NP sent me a link to an interesting and revealing article that punctures the myth of North Korean ‘defectors’. You can find the article here.
Marxist Political Economy set to guide the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan
2020-12-19. Obviously, I have rearranged some matters, with the most significant being a new page concerning the School of Marxism Studies, at Dalian University of Technology. In the beautiful and historic coastal city of Dalian in China’s northeastern Liaoning province, it has become my intellectual and spiritual (in the Chinese sense – jingshen) home. The page will gradually add features, although it now has some files relating to my inaugural lecture, a seminar series I gave in 2019 on Domenico Losurdo, and a keynote speech on ‘comparative Marxist philosophy’ from an international workshop that concluded today.
New article by Xi Jinping on Marxist Political Economy and the 14th five-year plan
2020-11-24. On the Chinese Marxism page, I have added a recent article by Xi Jinping, entitled ‘Opening Up New Frontiers for Marxist Political Economy in Contemporary China’ (2020). The article concerns the central role of Marxist Political Economy in shaping the 14th five-year plan, which is being finalised as I write. It was originally published in Qiushi (Seeking Truth) journal – download Chinese here, and English translation here.
New article published: Dialogue on a Moderately Well-off Society in All Respects
2020-10-31. A new article has been published in a Chinese journal. This is the result of an ongoing dialogue on the Reform and Opening-Up with a collague in China. Details follow. It may also be found on the ‘Selected Publications’ page.
2020. ‘全面建成小康社会的观念资源与现实探索’ (The Conceptual Resources and Realistic Exploration of Building a Moderately Well-off Society in All Respects). 当代中国价值观研究 (Chinese Journal of Contemporary Values) 2020.01: 5-14. Co-authored with Zang Fengyu. Download Chinese version here, and unformatted Chinese-English bilingual version here.