Category Archives: Tibet

The Beijing Olympics and the Question of Tibet

448153Vijay Singh

In the run-up to the Olympic Games which are to be held in the Beijing, US imperialism is conducting a campaign of disinformation against the nationalities policies in Tibet using the remnants of feudalism such as the Dalai Lama as their instrument, alongside the normal imperialist accredited newspapers, ‘human rights institutions’ and Hollywood film personalities. It is a familiar game which was last played out in the Reagan years when the US carried out a similar political exercise against its imperialist rival before the Moscow Olympics and which peaked with the US boycott of the games. The US campaign today needs to be seen for what it is: an attempt to politically undermine the Chinese state in its ‘own’ backyard and to accelerate further the half-century long path of ‘market socialist’ development in China and to push for the casting-off of the shell of the people’s democratic state. It is also part of the US endeavour to militarily encircle from land and sea a country which it sees as a dangerous imperialist rival. Within China agency reports speak of an upsurge of Han chauvinism which is a reflex of the disturbances in Tibet and the recent round of the denigration of China by the US. The promotion of internecine strife of the nationalities and religions is an integral part of the politics of US imperialism across the globe.

No amount of US propaganda from the universities and newspapers can wipe away the fact that after the revolution of 1949 the Chinese people assisted in the democratic transformation of Tibetan society. The People’s Republic of China helped to abolish feudalism, it introduced land reform, abolished slavery, emancipated the serfs, ended the Buddhist lama theocratic despotism and carried out the economic transformation of Tibetan society bringing it out of medieval tyranny and darkness into the light of the twentieth century, introducing the benefits of industrial society and democratic transformation, of state and co-operative economic institutions; food, shelter, and clothing; literacy, education, and social security amongst the Tibetan masses. It is a supreme irony that the United States which oppresses the Afro-American and Puerto Rican nations within its state frontiers, exploits the colonial, semi-colonial and dependent countries around the planet, and has a destructive policy towards democracy and secularism should point its finger at China. Democratic opinion must understand these policies for what they are.

The early years of the revolutionary movement in China saw the Communist Party pursue an exemplary approach and programme with regard to the national question. Mao Zedong in his capacity as President of the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic in 1931 and in his speech at the Second Soviet Congress in 1934 in blunt terms denounced the national oppression under the rule of the Chinese militarists and the landlords as well as the oppression by the ruling classes of princes, living Buddhas and lamas of the smaller nationalities and their surrender to imperialist colonisation. He well understood the exigency of uniting the oppressed nationalities such as the Mongolians, Tibetans, Koreans, Annamites, the Miao and many others around the Soviets in China in order to strengthen the revolution against imperialism and the Kuomintang. [1] Mao commended the Constitution passed by the First Soviet Congress held in 1931 in Juichin, Kiangsi, which in its 14th article said that ‘Soviet China recognises the complete self-determination of the minorities who may go so far as to secede and form independent free states.’ (Emphasis in the original.) The Soviet Chinese Constitution of 1931 argued that the ‘free union of nationalities will replace national oppression’. This implied the creation of a federal ‘Union of Soviet Republics’ along the lines of the Soviet Union, a democratic state structure which was based upon the views of Marx in relation to the Irish question.

Such an approach was maintained up to the founding of the People’s Republic of China. A tremendous social, economic and political revolutionary transformation took place in the minority national territories after 1949. But in terms of the resolution of the national question it cannot be said that a full democratic solution was accomplished. The contiguous areas of the Tibetan-speaking peoples were not administratively united after liberation while in Inner Mongolia the Mongolian people were administratively separated. The Communist Party of China and the People’s Democratic state shrank from the promised construction of a free union of nationalities in which the right of national-determination would be recognised up to the point of secession. By this method the nationalities of Mongolia, Tibet, Sinkiang and elsewhere were subordinated to the majority Han Chinese, and the latter now became a constitutionally privileged nation which could direct the destinies of the nationalities which inhabited the vast areas of the People’s Republic of China. The nationalities of Mongolia, Tibet and Sinkiang as elsewhere which formed the numerical majority in their ancient national territories were now designated as ‘national minorities’. This broad picture became apparent in the Constitution of 1954 and it was to be reproduced in the subsequent Fundamental Laws which were promulgated by the Chinese state. The unity and integrity of the territories of the Chinese state and not the free union of the nationalities based on the right of self-determination of the peoples became the basic fundamental constitutional principle. In this manner the CPC’s political approach to the national question having moved away from Marxism now came to approximate to the views of Sun-Yat-sen and the Kuomintang.

The camp of socialism and democracy which spanned a dozen states witnessed a fundamental break in its economic policies in the years between 1954 to 1958 which became typified by the ascendant role of ‘market socialism’ in the Soviet Union, People’s China and the majority of the people’s democracies. These years also saw corresponding theoretical, political and ideological transformations in which the treatment of the national question was an important component part. This gave way to interesting paradoxes. The Soviet Union in its Fundamental Law in form right through to its self-destruction in 1991 maintained the basics of the Leninist-Stalinist principles on the national question. But the communist parties aligned to the CPSU quickly abandoned the Marxist approach to the national question after 1953, particularly the democratic principle of national self-determination. The CPUSA for example repudiated the application of this principle with reference to the Afro-American nation which had been elaborated by Lenin, Stalin and the Comintern. On our own doorstep the CPI in the mid-nineteen-fifties dispensed with the understanding that India was a multi-national state in which the right to secession had to be accorded as the basis of a voluntary union of people’s democratic republics and after some moments of hesitation after its foundation the CPI (M) also essentially fell in line with what it termed the Soviet revisionist ideology of the CPI. Step by step the CPI and the CPI (M) effected an harmonious rapprochement with the ‘nationalist’ doctrines of the Congress Party. These corresponded to the economic requirements of the big bourgeoisie and its multi-national market in India which had been put together by Sardar Patel by the arm-twisting of the feudal princely states and appropriate ‘non-violent’ ‘police actions’.

The Communist Party of China as already noted had broken with the Marxist approach to the national question after liberation. But the revolutionary communist parties and organisations which were formed in the 1960s and which were aligned with Beijing and Tirana in the main have upheld Leninist-Stalinist principles on the right of nations to self-determination. The CPI (ML) tradition right from its inception returned to the earlier pre-revisionist understanding of the CPI and accepted the right of secession particularly with reference to Kashmir and the nationalities in the north-east region of the Indian state which having been fighting for their national emancipation.

Paradoxes apart, a widespread intermeshing and intermingling of the opportunist ideological currents has emerged on the nationality question to justify the abandonment of the Marxist views. It is inferred from the active role of US and German imperialism in the destruction of the Soviet and Yugoslav Federations in the 1990s that the right of national self-determination and secession facilitates the work of imperialism and so has to be discarded. Secessionism it is said has become a preferred tool of US imperialism. And there can be no doubt that despite the restoration of capitalism in the USSR by the late 1950s and the liquidation of the people’s democracy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at the end of the 1940s, the preservation of the federal structures in these states was formally progressive, and it is clear that they constituted important barriers to the penetration of the leading world imperialist powers such as the US and Germany. The ‘new’ arguments against the recognition of the democratic right of national self-determination in the contemporary period are only a reiteration of the policies of the international communist movement of the Khrushchev period and, going further back still, the notions of right-wing social-democracy in the earlier part of the 20th century. The Bolsheviks, who also fought against imperialism when Soviet Russia had to fight the multitude of foreign armies on Soviet soil who were allied to the white army in the time of the civil war, upheld the principle of the union of nations based on the right to self-determination. It was on this basis that the free federation of nations was constructed in Soviet Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks clearly established that the struggle for socialism in multi-national countries was inextricably linked with the recognition of the right of the peoples to self-determination: one of the expressions of the right to decide one’s future was the formation of a federative republic.

The recent statement by the CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat on Tibet expresses in a succinct manner the ideological framework of contemporary right-wing social-democracy on the national question. Karat entirely omitted any allusion to Marxism or democracy while criticising the views of the Hindu fascist BJP which had chimed in with the US anti-China campaign on the Lhasa disturbances. Karat, basing his arguments on ‘nationalist’ logic, reminded the BJP that by raising the question of an independent Tibet they were ‘doing a disservice to our own country’ for this would raise secessionist demands in India: ‘Are we going to support a free Nagaland? Or a free Jammu and Kashmir? Or those other secessionist demands?’ So there you have it: the democratic right to national self-determination may not be recognised within the multi-national Chinese state as the mention of this right can threaten the frontiers of the existing multi-national Indian state. This position Karat tells us must apply around the world in Europe (Chechnya, Kosovo), China or any Asian country as it negatively impinges on the sovereignty of nations in the ‘name of human rights’ and ‘ethnic minorities’. [2] It is interesting to note how Karat merges the notion of the ‘state sovereignty’ of multi-national states with the idea of the ‘national sovereignty’ of nation-states, denying in this manner in real terms the notion of ‘national sovereignty’ for those nations who choose to opt for the construction of nation-states. Taken to its logical conclusion this stand implies that any national struggle against imperialist rule cannot be supported as this affects the ‘national sovereignty’ of the imperial power. The CPI (M) sees itself as the guardian of the state frontiers of India and for its defence it is willing to sacrifice the last Meitei, Naga and Kashmiri. It was Stalin who stated that those who do not recognise the right of peoples to free self-determination cannot be regarded as democrats let alone be considered as socialists. [3] It is on the basis of this understanding that the views of the CPI (M) on the national question must be judged.

The current attacks of US imperialism and its supporters on the Tibet policy of the People’s Republic of China must be opposed while defending the basic democratic principle of national self-determination. The struggle against US imperialism must not be utilised to propagate or justify views alien to Marxism on the national question.


1. Report of the President of the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic, Before the Second National Soviet Congress, Mao-Tse-Tung, January, 1934, in: Victor A. Yakhontoff: ‘The Chinese Soviets,’ New York, 1934, pp. 249-283.

2. ‘Free Tibet? Karat utters the K-word’, The Telegraph, Kolkata, April 1, 2008.

3. J. Stalin, Works, Vol. 4, FLPH, Moscow, p. 3.

From Revolutionary Democracy, Vol. XIV, No. 1, April 2008

The Role of the CIA: Behind the Dalai Lama’s Holy Cloak

2305B_DALAI_narrowweb__300x357,0Michael Backman
Global Research
March 23, 2008

Global Research Editor’s note

This incisive article by Michael Backman outlines the relationship of the Dalai Lama and his organization to US intelligence.

The Dalai Lama has been on the CIA payroll since the late 1950s. He is an instrument of US intelligence.

An understanding of this longstanding relationship to the CIA is essential, particuarly in the light of recent events. In all likelihood US intelligence was behind the protest movement, organized to occur a few months prior to the Beijing Olympic games.

M. C. 23 March 2008

THE Dalai Lama show is set to roll into Australia again next month and again Australian politicians are getting themselves in a twist as to whether they should meet him.

Rarely do journalists challenge the Dalai Lama.

Partly it is because he is so charming and engaging. Most published accounts of him breeze on as airily as the subject, for whom a good giggle and a quaint parable are substitutes for hard answers. But this is the man who advocates greater autonomy for millions of people who are currently Chinese citizens, presumably with him as head of their government. So, why not hold him accountable as a political figure?

No mere spiritual leader, he was the head of Tibet’s government when he went into exile in 1959. It was a state apparatus run by aristocratic, nepotistic monks that collected taxes, jailed and tortured dissenters and engaged in all the usual political intrigues. (The Dalai Lama’s own father was almost certainly murdered in 1946, the consequence of a coup plot.)

The government set up in exile in India and, at least until the 1970s, received $US1.7 million a year from the CIA.

The money was to pay for guerilla operations against the Chinese, notwithstanding the Dalai Lama’s public stance in support of non-violence, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA’s payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $US15,000 a month ($US180,000 a year).

The funds were paid to him personally, but he used all or most of them for Tibetan government-in-exile activities, principally to fund offices in New York and Geneva, and to lobby internationally.

Details of the government-in-exile’s funding today are far from clear. Structurally, it comprises seven departments and several other special offices. There have also been charitable trusts, a publishing company, hotels in India and Nepal, and a handicrafts distribution company in the US and in Australia, all grouped under the government-in-exile’s Department of Finance.

The government was involved in running 24 businesses in all, but decided in 2003 that it would withdraw from these because such commercial involvement was not appropriate.

Several years ago, I asked the Dalai Lama’s Department of Finance for details of its budget. In response, it claimed then to have annual revenue of about $US22 million, which it spent on various health, education, religious and cultural programs.

The biggest item was for politically related expenditure, at $US7 million. The next biggest was administration, which ran to $US4.5 million. Almost $US2 million was allocated to running the government-in-exile’s overseas offices.

For all that the government-in-exile claims to do, these sums seemed remarkably low.

It is not clear how donations enter its budgeting. These are likely to run to many millions annually, but the Dalai Lama’s Department of Finance provided no explicit acknowledgment of them or of their sources.

Certainly, there are plenty of rumours among expatriate Tibetans of endemic corruption and misuse of monies collected in the name of the Dalai Lama.

Many donations are channelled through the New York-based Tibet Fund, set up in 1981 by Tibetan refugees and US citizens. It has grown into a multimillion-dollar organisation that disburses $US3 million each year to its various programs.

Part of its funding comes from the US State Department’s Bureau for Refugee Programs.

Like many Asian politicians, the Dalai Lama has been remarkably nepotistic, appointing members of his family to many positions of prominence. In recent years, three of the six members of the Kashag, or cabinet, the highest executive branch of the Tibetan government-in-exile, have been close relatives of the Dalai Lama.

An older brother served as chairman of the Kashag and as the minister of security. He also headed the CIA-backed Tibetan contra movement in the 1960s.

A sister-in-law served as head of the government-in-exile’s planning council and its Department of Health.

A younger sister served as health and education minister and her husband served as head of the government-in-exile’s Department of Information and International Relations.

Their daughter was made a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile. A younger brother has served as a senior member of the private office of the Dalai Lama and his wife has served as education minister.

The second wife of a brother-in-law serves as the representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile for northern Europe and head of international relations for the government-in-exile. All these positions give the Dalai Lama’s family access to millions of dollars collected on behalf of the government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama might now be well-known but few really know much about him. For example, contrary to widespread belief, he is not a vegetarian. He eats meat. He has done so (he claims) on a doctor’s advice following liver complications from hepatitis. I have checked with several doctors but none agrees that meat consumption is necessary or even desirable for a damaged liver.

What has the Dalai Lama actually achieved for Tibetans inside Tibet?

If his goal has been independence for Tibet or, more recently, greater autonomy, then he has been a miserable failure.

He has kept Tibet on the front pages around the world, but to what end? The main achievement seems to have been to become a celebrity. Possibly, had he stayed quiet, fewer Tibetans might have been tortured, killed and generally suppressed by China.

In any event, the current Dalai Lama is 72 years old. His successor — a reincarnation — will be appointed as a child and it will be many years before he plays a meaningful role. As far as China is concerned, that is one problem that will take care of itself, irrespective of whether or not John Howard or Kevin Rudd meet the current Dalai Lama.


How the CIA helped Dalai Lama to end up in exile


It is widely believed that the Dalai Lama fled Tibet once Chinese troops gained control over the region. Actually, these two events have nine years between them.

Tibet’s self-proclaimed independence in 1913, after the fall of Qing Empire of China, was never recognised legally by any country. So, once China sorted out the Civil War, it saw it only as natural to claim the territories succeeded from the state of Qing.

Once the Chinese People’s Liberation Army forces defeated Tibet’s army on October 7, 1950, Beijing started a campaign of re-integrating Tibet into the People’s Republic of China.

The US became interested in the region as a new ground to counter Communist China. It promised to encourage and support Tibetan resistance to Communist control and provide financial help to Tibetan insurgents, says Peter Harclerode in his book, “Fighting Dirty: The Inside Story of Covert Operations From Ho Chi Minh to Osama Bin Laden”.

For the US State department, the Dalai Lama was of more use in active opposition to Beijing. That is why the CIA actively encouraged the Tibetan leader to go into exile to any nearby state, such as India, Ceylon or Thailand, to become the symbol of Tibet resistance to Communist China.

In 1951 the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, preferred to stay in Lhasa and formally accepted “The 17 Point Plan” peace treaty uniting Tibet and the People’s Republic of China.

Three years later the Dalai Lama was elected vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s National Assembly, thus entering China’s ruling elite.

In 1956 Tibetan tribal alliance “National Army of the defenders of the Faith” tried to urge locals to fight Chinese and asked Dalai Lama to give a “spiritual support and leadership” for the resistance, which he refused.

The alliance nevertheless obtained aid from the CIA without the Dalai Lama’s knowledge. Six Tibetans were handpicked to be trained in using small weapons, demolition, mine-laying and sabotage at the American military base on Saipan Island so they could participate in a secret CIA operation codenamed “Saint Circus”.

In autumn 1957, two of these freshly-trained Tibetans were parachuted in to Tibet to deliver a secret message from the US government to the Dalai-Lama, offering assistance if His Holiness requested any. Again, the Dalai Lama turned it down.

Then, in early 1958, CIA agents in Lhasa delivered a new secret message from the US urging the Dalai Lama to make a formal request for American assistance, which he declined despite the fact it would have been backed by the newly-formed Chushi Gangdrug (Four Rivers, Six Mountains) tribal alliance. The Dalai Lama was consistent in avoiding foreign help to spare his compatriots from a possible war with China – but he did not succeed.

On June 16, 1958, Chushi Gangdrug’s military wing formed a National Volunteer Defence Army which began a full-scale insurgent warfare a whole year before the famous Tibetan uprising started (on March 10, 1959).

Also in 1958, the CIA began a new training programme for future Tibetan guerrillas. Codenamed “The Colorado program” it lasted for seven years at Camp Hale in Colorado and neighboring the Butts Field Air Force Base. No fewer than 200 Tibetans were trained during these years.

At the same time, the CIA made sure the Tibetans were armed by dropping weapons and equipment for their guerrillas.

In total, from July 1959 till May 1960, about 362 tonnes of weapons, ammunition and equipment – as well as 85 trained guerrilla warfare specialists – were dropped into Tibet,

The US State Department closed down the Tibet project fifteen years later when, in 1974, it officially ceased to aid the Tibetan government in exile.

Following the 1959 uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India where he stays in exile to this day.


PCOF: On Tibet

For the events in Tibet

We want to take a position on the events taking place in Tibet over the juncture of the Olympic Games based on Marxist-Leninist our criteria.

Tibet is a province of China.

There is a Tibetan people which is a national minority, as there are other ethnic minorities in this vast country as China.

In Tibet many ethnicities living across the Tibetan, which should be able to continue to live peacefully and harmoniously with one another.

There are separatist movements that proclaim the independence of Tibet and the establishment of a theocratic regime around the Dalai Lama, an obscurantist regime. These movements and the Dalai Lama himself has always been supported by imperialism after them find a way to destabilize China, if not disintegration, with a view that has nothing to do with the interests of the Tibetan people, let alone the peoples of China.

The riots that broke out in the Olympic Games have nothing spontaneous. The coverage of the world media reveals the unilateralism of the past given the orchestrated block outs in games other people, particularly those of Palestinian and Iraqi people.

How it can be seen behind this campaign, the hand of U.S. imperialism, the CIA and other imperialist forces who want to weaken in any way to China, its political system to the fully opened this huge market, have unlimited access to the riches of this vast country.

However, biznes already doing in this country whose managers have been launched to get into a savage capitalism that throws large sections of the peasantry, workers, a part of the youth in the nets of the system, which we fight every day here in our country. But the imperialists managers involved in the development of capitalism in China and benefit from it, fearing both the emergence of a competitor the same size.

Find again the same conflicts in the war on the issue of boycotting the Olympic Games, while the imperialists want to make enormous profits from these games that are advertised on a global scale, and making teachers lesson in democracy. And when the North American managers who are leading that campaign, or Sarkozy, saying “no, not you!”.

It is obvious that Chinese managers would not let the insurgency grow and destabilizing movements supported by imperialism without reaction. The reaction is consistent with their class nature: that of a middle class which usurps the name of communist and defending tooth and nail to its interests.

I will not stir our view with that of the international response: we condemn the maneuvers to destabilize China.

We do not support the claim of secession of Tibet posed by reactionary circles.

We support the rights of all Tibetans and people of China should be respected, the issues raised be resolved by political means, and the suppression does not solve any problem.

March 31, 2008

The Warmongering Plans of the Chinese Leaders & the Visit of Hua Kuo-feng to Yugoslavia & Rumania

From Albania Today, this is a long but fascinating and revealing article about revisionist China’s support of reactionary regimes in light of the “Three Worlds Theory.”

The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Premier of the State Council of China, Hua Kuo feng has just ended his long trip which took him to Rumania and Yugoslavia. Formally, this trip was publicized as one of a general character, in return for the official visits of the Rumanian and Yugoslav leaders to China last year. But judging from what Hua Kuo feng proclaimed from public tribunes in Bucharest and Belgrade and from the stress the Chinese press has been laying recently on some aspects of the Chinese foreign policy, it follows that this clamorous tour was undertaken in pursuit of sinister aims. Hua Kuo feng came to Rumania and Yugoslavia neither to see the high mountains and beautiful plains of the Balkans, nor urged by any special interest in the ancient history of the peoples of this peninsula, nor to acquaint himself with the aspirations and hopes they cherish for the future.

He came to the Balkans in pursuit of the same aims as Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Nixon and others before him. They were profuse in high-sounding pledges about their “friendship” with, and love for, the peoples of the Balkans, and abounded in “assurances” for the freedom, independence, prosperity of the countries of this region. But life has shown, and continues to show, that US imperialism, as well as Soviet imperialism, has sought and is seeking by all manner of means to subjugate the Balkan countries and put them under its hegemony, to turn them into springboards of aggression against other countries, enslave the peoples of this peninsula and hitch them to its war chariot.

The Chinese leadership now pursues the same aims. Hua Kuo-feng, too, came to the Balkans not to bring the “spirit of sincere friendship”, as he proclaimed at meetings, but to use someone’s professions of friendship against the other peoples of the Balkans and Europe.

Certainly, exchanges of delegations are a common practice in the relations between various countries and we have no objection to it. But we are against the sinister aims behind this exchange of delegations which are to the detriment of world peace and the peoples who want to live free, independent and sovereign, and are fighting for it.

The Balkan talks of the Chinese leaders took place at a time when China has been unfurling the banner of rapprochement and cooperation with US imperialism, the big international bourgeoisie, fascist cliques and the most reactionary groupings in the world, far and wide.

They were held at a time when the Chinese leadership is supporting NATO and the Common Market in Europe, the multinationals and United Europe, in order to preserve capitalist oppression and the US hegemony there.

They were conducted at a time when in Africa, Asia and Latin America it stands by fascist military juntas, by all those who oppress and exploit the peoples. The political and ideological affinity of the Chinese leaders to such regimes is revealed also by Hua Kuo feng’s visit to Iran.

He meets the Shah of Persia and has cordial talks with him at a time when the revolutionaries and working people have risen against the Shah, and clashes are taking place in the streets of Iranian cities. In this situation, by going to Tehran Hua Kuo feng wants to give proof of his support for the medieval regime of the Shah. His visit is a grave offence not only to the Iranian people, out also to the entire democratic and progressive public opinion, which has vehemently been condemning the brutal acts of the regime of the Shah against the population which has risen in revolt.

The Chinese leadership dispatched a top level delegation to Bucharest and Belgrade after having cut off all aid and credits to socialist Albania in a perfidious, brutal, arrogant and unilateral manner for the sole reason that Albania rejected and opposed China’s anti Marxist, counterrevolutionary sad pro-imperialist line. Thus, this visit to the Balkans is an act of provocation against Albania and is friendship with the peoples of Yugoslavia and Rumania.

Hua Kuo feng came to the Balkans at a time when the Chinese leadership, proceeding from its expansionist and hegemonic aims, has instigated he bloody conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam, two neighbouring fraternal countries.Therefore, no matter how much the Chinese propaganda will publicize Hua Kuo feng’s visit to the Balkans, the peoples cannot fail to see that there are no two different Chinese policies on, imperialist towards Vietnam and one socialist towards Rumania, one hostile and chauvinistic towards Albania and one friendly and sincere toward Yugoslavia, one a policy of interference in Asia and Africa and one a policy of peace in Europe.

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Maoism on Foreign Affairs vs. Pseudo-Marxist Geopolitical Pragmatism

This is an old book review by MIM (Maoist Internationalist Movement) of a work by Ludo Martens entitled, The Collapse of the Soviet Union: Causes and Lessons: For the Revolutionary Revival of the International Communist Movement. I am not a Third-Worldist or a Maoist, but this review has a principled theoretical stance regarding the International Communist Seminar and Brezhnevism as a whole.

I post it here despite misgivings about the defunct MIM, including their “defense” of Mao’s collaboration with U.S. imperialism and comparing a two-year non-aggression pact before killing Hitler to a decade of supporting Mobutu, Nixon and Pinochet.

Ludo Martens, while he has taken Marxist-Leninist stances in the past and has written some good works, since 1995 has chiefly worked in the service of “pan-socialism,” seeking to unity Marxist-Leninist and revisionist currents in a strategy that would make Ceaușescu blush.

This critique of Martens’ work and “pan-socialism” is a very important point to be made in the revolutionary struggle between revisionism and non-revisionist Marxism-Leninism and the teaching of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.

It should be noted that they toss around the old Maoist canard “Hoxhaite” and claim that “certain sections of international Hoxhaism fell” for Gorby, without providing any evidence of such claims (and even tries to say that the M-L / revisionist struggle was chiefly Mao’s doing), although MIM does laugh at Gossweiler’s attempt to say Albania had “nationalist” reasons for opposing the Soviet Union, which earns them more credit than most American Maoist organizations.

The Collapse of the Soviet Union: Causes and Lessons: For the
Revolutionary Revival of the International Communist Movement

by the International Communist Seminar

Brussels, BELGIUM: 1998, 313 pp. pb

reviewed by International Minister, December, 2000

This book represents a triumph of the work of Ludo Martens and his Belgian PTB, a party seeking to reconcile with Castroites, Brezhnevites and Hoxhaites. Doing so, Ludo Martens is very close to the numerical center of gravity amongst those calling themselves communist in the world, since there are still many revisionists hanging on to their world views.

To the Maoists, Ludo Martens encourages “constructive engagement” with revisionist parties. By befriending the revisionist parties, one could receive the impression that the revisionists are gaining someone to talk to other than their revisionist selves. Such would be a tactical justification for a a Maoist to do what Ludo Martens does.

On the other hand, such a tactic cannot be justified beyond a certain price. Seminar participants are supposed to all uphold Stalin, but in fact, some Trotskyists hang about and the Castroites are allowed in and welcomed despite Castro’s many statements of praise of Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping. (See )

Hence, it is one thing to have tactics of “constructive engagement,” but it is another thing to allow someone to call him or herself “Marxist-Leninist” when s/he does not truly defend Stalin. Yet, such is not surprising since Ludo Martens himself and a portion of international Hoxhaism fell for Gorbachev–that being another story about “Back to Leninism” for another time.

Thus the seminar supposedly unites to defend Stalin, but on page 10 we already learn that the vast majority of seminar participants welcomed the party representatives from Cuba and Korea and upheld “the defence of socialism in Cuba.” For MIM, that puts this conference of 136 organizations beyond the pale from a proletarian point of view.

Whenever MIM raises phony communist Cuba, we never hear about the mode of production in Cuba, but we always hear about the geopolitical necessity of defending Cuba against invasion. Such is the tell-tale sign that Marxism has taken the backseat to geopolitics.

There is nothing special about Cuba facing imperialist invasion. Panama saw Yankee troops. Somalia saw Yankees land and so did Iraq. None were “socialist” countries and still the Yankee invaded. Opposing Yankee invasion is not something we do only for countries like Cuba calling themselves “socialist.” Opposing Amerikan imperialism is an internationalist duty. Creating a “special deal” for Cuba and Korea despite their modes of production is an example of neo-colonialism, very typical of the kind of revisionism that would rather fight than switch to scientific Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is the ideology of those hoping to restore a Soviet social-imperialism and a new neo-colonial orbit.

Thus, from these forces it is as if nothing in the world has changed, largely because they wish to restore the Soviet social-imperialist realm. These parties cannot admit their own failures with regard to defending Stalin and so now they continue defending the same old politics without missing a beat. The collapse of the Soviet Union might as well have not happened, because these people are essentially not interested in the mode of production. They are communists in sentiment in some cases and manipulators of geopolitics in others, but they are not Marxist-Leninist in any case.

The first interesting essay in the book with something new in it is from Dr. Kurt Gossweiler of the former East German revisionist party. Gossweiler seems to realize that there might be some criticism that he is in for given the ruinous collapse in East Germany.

His analysis is that China was a large and independent country which was why its communist party was able to resist Khruschev revisionism. His analysis of Albania is that it had selfish reasons of self-defense against Yugoslavian annexation to oppose Khruschevite revisionism. However, such material analyses of the respective parties would be more persuasive if Gossweiler did not end up excusing the German party leaders essentially because of their geopolitical situation, something we hear about Castro all the time too.

We are told that because of the Western troops on its border and because of the force of the USSR, the leadership of the East German communists wanted to side with Mao but did not. “It would be wrong to call the SED a revisionist party. Under the leadership of Walter Ulbricht it put up the maximum resistance possible at that time to the revisionism of the Khruschev clique, and it did so to such an extent that in October 1964 its activities were suppressed.”(p. 83) This statement by Gossweiler is indeed something new in the world.

Because of Honecker’s anti-fascist role, Gossweiler also excuses him when he replaced Ulbricht at the request of the USSR. “It was more a question of exchanging one of the most gifted leaders, and one of the most seasoned in the German and international class struggle, for a well-meaning party functionary who was too easily led astray owing to his poor leadership qualities.”(p. 84)

Gossweiler also gives Honecker credit for repressing Gorbachev’s statements in East Germany and states that a violent repression of the pro-Gorbachev demonstrators would have missed the real counter-revolutionaries. Thus, overall, we have some notion that the party in East Germany deserves criticism, but we are told that the true inside story is that all that could be done was done under Ulbricht while Honecker was simply incompetent when he implemented revisionism.

Whether Cuba’s Castro, China’s Hua Guofeng or East Germany’s Ulbricht and Honecker, we are told there are good reasons not to hoist the banner of communism. Had Ulbricht done it, invasion would have resulted. Had Cuba not gone along with Khruschev, we are told Cuba would have been done in.

Essentially we hear again and again that the geopolitical situation demanded compromise of the mode of production itself without an open fight, without an open call to the people to attack revisionism.

To take such a stand is to put geopolitics in its own right above Marxism. It is one of the root reasons for the continued division of the revisionists from the genuine international communist movement; even though the Soviet Union is dead. The mere death of the Soviet Union did not erase all the fallacious pseudo-Marxist methods of thought ingrained in the Soviet Union’s revisionist followers. As long as geopolitics is put above the mode of production’s advance, Marxist-Leninists have no chance of uniting. It is Marxism’s attention to the material world that makes unity possible, while making cardinal principles of geopolitical calculation means endless division.

Next in the book follow some essays from the Castro brothers and North Korea–as if nothing has changed in the world and as if Gorbachev and Yeltsin could have occurred without some major betrayal in the Soviet CP. These people just go on singing the same old revisionist song.

After the grossly reactionary documents from Cubans and Koreans, we received another even more reactionary contribution from a Syrian Ammar Bagdache, who seemed hell-bent on being social-fascism incarnate. In the split between Khruschev and Mao, Ammar Bagdache still cannot discern one side being more correct than the other. (p. 174) Instead, it is clear that this particular persyn seeks the restoration of the Soviet empire. Like the Nazis before, Ammar Bagdache focuses his hatred of parasitism on the Jews. This would be one thing on the West Bank, but according to A. Bagdache, the Jews a.k.a “Zionism” were mainly responsible for the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union.(p. 165) Most of Khruschev’s advisers and the “main” force behind revisionism is supposedly Zionism.(p. 168)

While MIM is all for having Marxism-Leninism-Maoism take national forms, what Ammar Bagdache is doing is a violation of the universal aspects of Marxism-Leninism and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It’s not surprising that this reactionary essay was also allowed in the book. Again, it is not focused on the mode of production, only how geopolitics–in this case Mideast geopolitics–intersects with capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union. This geopolitical focus goes to such an extent that it wipes out the parasitic nature of imperialism except for the Jews. From the proletarian view, this is the class essence of Hitler’s ideology too–an attack on parasitism of the Jews in essence to cover for the parasitism of imperialism generally. It’s a sacrifice of some parasites to let the much bigger bloodsuckers off the hook. Anybody who thinks Amerikan imperialism would miss an imperialist beat if the United $tates had no Jews has major illusions. Such illusions create a major escape hatch for imperialism when it gets into trouble like Germany in the 1930s.

The DKHP-C Turkish comrades also have an essay in the book. Once again, the focus is geopolitical. “It is a matter of fact that it is much easier to create the conditions for open interventions and to put them into practice since the USSR is not a factor of balance anymore, and since the USA is the sole ‘superpower.'”(p. 256) This is exactly the kind of reasoning that says, “because the USSR is powerful in a geopolitical sense, we will call it socialist.” However, Lenin did not call the Kaiser socialist when the Kaiser gave him a railroad car to ride back to Russia.

Furthermore, we heard the traditional Brezhnevite and Trotskyite complaints about Mao from the DKHP-C: “The CP of China, who regarded the USSR as the ‘main enemy’, went even so far as to confront progressive and revolutionary movements, if they were supported by the USSR. The support for the counter-revolutionary FNLA and Unita in Angola, and even for Pinochet in Chile were consequences of this policy.”(p. 259)

On this point, DKHP-C is one of many parties that has adopted the white man’s double standard toward the Soviet Union and China, a standard so white that even some Trotskyists uphold it though it means giving some credence to Stalin. Almost without exception, these organizations accepted and defended the Stalin-Hitler pact, which included real material aid such as the shipment of raw materials from the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany, but let Mao so much as recognize Pinochet or shake hands with Nixon, and these hypocrites attack Mao with no shame–even seeing the obvious today of capitalist restoration in the USSR. If there were all these progressive and revolutionary forces backed by the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, these critics of Mao should show us one that has a socialist society to show for it. There aren’t any, because these forces were all revisionist. Furthermore, as MIM documents elsewhere, Mao supported all the anti-colonial forces in Angola. Perhaps the DKHP-C thought that exclusively supporting the Soviet side was more important than ejecting Portuguese colonialism! That’s how important neo-colonialism is for these people to make such a principle of it before colonialism is even done with!

[Please note the admin of this blog does not support Maoism, the “Three Worlds Theory,” the idea that the social-imperialist Soviet Union was the “greater threat,” or justify Mao’s support of reactionary forces in the name of China’s geo-political interests, and condemns MIM’s pathetic attempts to equate Mao’s support of U.S. imperialism with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.]

Entire parties have split around the world over the question of the Three Worlds Theory–that’s how much the pseudo-Marxists have managed to convince us that geopolitics is so cardinal instead of a matter of strategic calculation of the balance of forces, and not something that would come up in a conference first attempting to regroup around cardinal questions. In the realpolitik world of geopolitics-first thinking, it is not surprising that Great Russian nation interests come to the fore easily and without a second thought, while Mao has to justify himself several times over or entire parties will split. It’s exactly the kind of garbage that explains why the Soviet Union under Brezhnev was an equal superpower to the United $tates, but also an equally capitalist society. Pragmatist geopolitical considerations can in no way guide the revolutionary advance of society on a consistent basis. Doing that requires knowledge of the mode of production.

The essay by Harpal Brar does the most to discuss the actual economic conditions in the USSR, but on the whole, none of the essays in the book systematically cover the factual situation of the mode of production in the USSR. One last essay worth mentioning is so stuck in the past, it still has not theoretically admitted that the bourgeoisie in the party — not landlords or imperialists outside the party–restored capitalism in the USSR. The Iniziativa Comunista (Italy) would appear to be one of those organizations too far brain-dead to make sense of current events: “While acknowledging the non-antagonistic character of the contradictions amongst the internal classes, we have to be conscious of the antagonistic relationship that exists between the socialist countries and their capitalist counterparts.”(p. 302) Although Yelstin joined the Soviet CP in 1961, the Italian Stalinists have the nerve to tell us that there were no internal contradictions with the enemy in the Soviet Union!

Hello, hello, hello supposed Stalinists! It was not the landlord class or the imperialists or even the cultural intellectuals you mentioned who restored capitalism outright in the Soviet Union. It was Ramiz Alia, Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Khruschev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, Gorbachev and Yeltsin who restored capitalism–the bourgeoisie in the party. Not in a single case did the imperialists invade or the landlords rise up in armed struggle to restore capitalism.


Yes, we must uphold Stalin’s last great work, the “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR.” Without understanding this work, it is impossible to understand the material basis for capitalist restoration.


Why “social-fascism” and “social-imperialism”

In 1993, Ludo Martens of the Belgian PTB attended a conference to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, a meeting very important in attempting to regroup Maoist parties, some of whom met for the first time and challenged each other with scientific issues not found in their own countries. At such a meeting, and indeed, at all international conferences of the moment, cardinal questions should be the order of the day.

It is often stated that for Mao Zedong, political line was merely a matter of intention. Nothing could be further from the truth. When Mao analyzed the superstructure and its connection to the mode of production, he did so scientifically and giving full accord to the economic base’s active role in determining the superstructure.

Today’s neo-revisionist and Brezhnevite critics of Mao dovetail because of their underlying combination of Menshevik views. One component of Menshevism is anarchist idealism or nihilism when it comes to the state or leadership under socialism. When it suits them, these Mensheviks criticize power-holders for holding power! How remarkable! The Mensheviks have discovered that people hold power and have self-interests! Such infantilism underlies much of the criticism of Mao Zedong with regard to the Soviet Union and foreign affairs.

Since the Soviet Union called itself “socialist,” but its mode of production was capitalist, Mao had no choice but to refer to the USSR as “social-imperialist.” Even more problematically for the critics of Mao — who in many cases, such as Ludo Martens or the now defunct “Communist Workers Party” of the U$A and countless others, believed that the political leadership of the Soviet Union was degenerate under Khruschev and Brezhnev–the critics admit that the Soviet Union after 1956 was not a bourgeois democracy. So what was it? The Soviet Union was a dictatorship, but of what class and in what form? Once again, it is the mode of production that prevails in deciding the question. If the mode of production is capitalist, but the superstructure is not bourgeois democratic and in fact is openly dictatorial, then “social-fascist” is the right term. Not for nothing the Nazis also claimed to be “socialists,” as a matter of historical coincidence.

In his 1993 speech, ” Mao Zedong et Staline,” (See Ludo Martens (like many others in the world before and since) raised this question in an opportunist way. He said that Mao opposed the Soviet Union and called it the main enemy for a spell, because of China’s self-interests. Yet, here we are talking about something purely superstructural. Ludo Martens accuses Mao of “bourgeois nationalism,” and connects that to what he considers the incorrect “social-imperialist” thesis, but what national bourgeoisie is he referring to? Certainly he is not referring to the bourgeoisie in the Chinese party which wanted to follow the path of Khruschev and Brezhnev. It was not their self-interests creating this “bourgeois nationalism.” Then what is Ludo Martens talking about? He is talking about an idea detached from the mode of production, a nitpick if even 100% correct would have no business being raised as a cardinal question at an important conference marking Mao’s 100th birthday. Mao Zedong did not own any means of production. China did not have a mode of production driving it toward incorrect foreign affairs positions. That is the cardinal issue at stake.

At most if we accept all of Ludo Martens’s observations, some of which are historically jumbled (another subject for another date), we will prove that Mao made errors. These errors might even reach to the level of “deviation,” but these errors would not change the fact that the Soviet Union was social-imperialist and social-fascist. Strategic and tactical calculations do not change the mode of production in the Soviet Union and Mao’s errors were unconnected to a capitalist mode of production in China. Errors are not of cardinal importance. All leaders will make errors: that is guaranteed.

To say Mao did something against the Soviet Union to protect his own power is the anarchist strain of Menshevism. Mature Marxist scientists become tired of learning that people hold power, a truism as true as the rising sun each morning until the day of communism established internationally. It’s not interesting to us anymore to hear that people hold power.

We want to know about the mode of production, and the superficial nature of pseudo-Marxism stands exposed when geopolitics takes the main theoretical role in discussion. Geopolitics can only be the expression of underlying modes of production. If there are no capitalist relations of production there will be no imperialism, and that is the real cardinal question at hand, but Ludo Martens, the Workers World Party (USA), the Trotskyists, the defunct CWP and countless contributors in Ludo Martens’s seminars held in Brussels with parties from around the world say that geopolitics is decisive. It’s not just that Ludo Martens is saying political line scientifically arrived at is decisive. No, he and the other anti-Mao troopers are saying that geopolitics is decisive, and doing so, they seek to take us into a “lesser evils” world of foreign policy. In one of the few great errors in his life, W.E.B. Du Bois advised the Chinese in 1936 to abide by Japanese occupation as a lesser evil than European occupation and Mao subsequently proved that more was possible than this seemingly lesser evil. Yet, in 1936, Du Bois did not claim to be a scientific Marxist-Leninist yet. The geopolitical pragmatists masquerading as Marxist-Leninists have systematized Du Bois’s error and have called it Marxism-Leninism.

Although Ludo Martens did catch onto the idea of the “new bourgeoisie in the party” from Mao Zedong, he never really confronted the mode of production in the USSR. In fact, he and his party in 1993 could be heard saying that there was no unemployment in revisionist China, when even the social-fascist regime there was admitting 8 digit unemployment. That is how far removed from economic realities these geopolitics-is-decisive-folks are. If geopolitics or other sentiment demands it, these people are fully prepared to say there is no unemployment even when the regime in question does not say so. For this sort of superficial reason of geopolitics, Ludo Martens objected to the term “social-fascism.” Since Stalin and Dimitrov had established that fascism is the rule of the most reactionary segments of the bourgeoisie and with no pretense of democracy or civil liberties, and since the USSR was capitalist, Mao had no choice within Marxism-Leninism other than to refer to the USSR as “social-fascist.” Certainly it was not a bourgeois democratic society.

Like many others including many Trotskyists, Ludo Martens says that the leaders of the USSR were parasites on a mainly socialist economic foundation mostly in order to justify a certain easily understood line on foreign policy. “The socialist basis of society was not yet destroyed,” he says in his essay called “Balance of the Collapse of the Soviet Union, April 2, 1992.” A thing is always a unity of opposites, but one of the opposites is always principal. Never is there complete purity, so that in a struggle in the worst situation–bourgeois prison for instance–even in such circumstances, the enemy does not obtain 100% of what it wants and the proletariat does not obtain 100% of what it wants.

Hence, Ludo Martens wants to say that the economic base under Khruschev and Brezhnev was at least 51% socialist and somehow the superstructure was more reactionary and out of synch, so it needed to wait till Gorbachev to implement total capitalism. In this way, Ludo Martens justifies his and others’ belief that Chinese foreign policy should have been pro-Brezhnev, if not in reasoning, then in substantial alliance. What it means is that Ludo Martens is willing to ape Trotsky on a disjunction between the Soviet mode of production and the state and hold to such an idealist analysis for a generation or two of the Soviet Union’s existence, all so that he can defend a certain geopolitical approach that was popular in the 1960s to the 1980s and still exerts its influence on the minds of older revisionists Ludo Martens is seeking to reconcile with.

The problem with this understanding of having the superstructure out of synch with the mode of production for decades aside from its idealism and obvious Trotskyist origins–and this is true of his review of the USSR called “Balance of the Collapse of the Soviet Union, April 2, 1992” and his 1993 remarks at the Mao Centennial organized by Joma Sison–is that it presents the Stalin era as having no new bourgeois elements despite the victories of class struggle. Yes, Stalin won out against the bourgeois lines of Trotsky, Bukharin and Tito. Yes, collectivization went forward. Yes, World War II was won. It is our duty to defend all these gains under Stalin. Yet, at the same time, our current dialectical materialist understanding must be that the new bourgeoisie did not disappear. Quite the contrary, many of the necessities in fighting the war involved a material basis for the new bourgeoisie.


A word on the creation of the new bourgeoisie under Stalin is not to be found in Ludo Martens’s discussion of cardinal subjects, only reference to the usual exploiters–the rich peasants, imperialist spies and so on that Stalin tended to.

Although we talk about many things in regard to Soviet history — Khruschev’s “three peacefuls” and capitulation to imperialism for instance–there was only one factor needed to push the new bourgeoisie over the top from dominated to dominating, and that was Khruschev’s loosening of the atmosphere in the party, his creation of the “dictatorship of the whole people.” The moment when the bourgeoisie in the party knows it will no longer face a strong possibility of being violently repressed is the moment it takes charge, not because the superstructure is decisive mainly, but because the new bourgeoisie is already in a very good position and getting a good portion of what it wants even under socialism. Perhaps it is determining 35% of what is going on and goes to 51% or 70% with Khruschev’s attack on Stalin. It is not a case that the new bourgeoisie started from no where and instantly became 51% as the Trotskyists like to caricaturize our views. So the superstructure is only decisive at a certain moment of time, that being the time when the new bourgeoisie no longer faces violent repression in the case of the USSR and China.

The bourgeoisie is not entirely “gutless.” This view is a mistake. One only need witness various intra-bourgeois civil wars to know that the leaders of the capitalist class will take risks for their rule, (even though the oppressed classes do most of the fighting in civil wars) and such is even more true when fighting socialist rule on behalf of the whole capitalist class. Hence, it takes considerable violence to keep the capitalist class underfoot.

Anyone who has stopped to consider the careerists in the CPSU, anyone who has read any anecdotes or talked to any of the common people of the Soviet Union knows that the state and the means of production attract careerists like flies. Such people mouth communism at the proper moment, but everyone knows that they don’t really know how or desire to apply communism in practice. These people protect their own interests and careers, but damage the interests of the proletariat, if they even know what they are since many have not studied politics in any systematic way. The only counterweight to such people in a society where there is yet a contradiction between leaders and led, the only counterweight to these careerists is violent repression, for they will certainly chance being criticized for implementing capitalism.

When a Khruschev comes to power almost by inertia (and only almost because he still did have to stage a coup), the reason is that the material situation of the bourgeoisie is already good. Layers and layers of the bureaucracy with access to the means of production in that peculiar superstructure known as socialism in the 20th century already exist ready and willing to follow and support a leader who will only “relax a bit,” maybe focus on making some goulash and taking off his shoes in the UN.

As the bourgeoisie has centuries of training leaders behind it and propertied ruling classes more than centuries, and because there is a shortage of trained proletarian leaders, and also because it is not easy to discern those with genuine socialist conviction and those mouthing phrases at the appropriate moments, “democracy,” “relaxation” and “free speech” become the excuses and battering rams of the new bourgeoisie seeking to oppress the proletariat in this era of imperialism. Once Khruschev erased the fear of a leader like Stalin, the new bourgeoisie implemented the things it always wanted to implement, and partially did implement under Stalin. The revisionists emphasize that it took more than a generation to restore capitalism, because they deny the role of force in history in addition to the fact that the new bourgeoisie does not have to start from scratch. The revisionists deny the role of Khruschev’s coup and use of the military against Molotov and Stalin’s other allies, and more importantly, they deny the role that the leadership has to play in violently repressing the would-be ruling bourgeoisie in the party, a group of people who do after all have access to the means of production once the government plans production under socialism (but not in the stages leading up to the socialist revolution unless there are base areas where the party is running the economy).


Recently we had a discussion with a member of the PTB who asked us about the band “Rage against the Machine” which had just done benefit concerts for Tibet. Ironically after discussing with us how many still put geopolitics above the mode of production, the PTB comrade asked why “Rage” did what it did. MIM answered that probably with all the watering down done by revisionism, no one ever talked to them about the mode of production. Hence, the “Rage against the Machine” did not understand the advance over slavery that the communists including communist Tibetan slaves brought to Tibet. Instead “Rage” adopted simpler political ideas with regard to the national question. It’s not surprising that people focussed on geopolitics will have no real answer to the “human-rights” and “free speech” for slaveowners point of view and even bands like “Rage” will be unpersuaded. We do not defend Mao’s work in Tibet just because the United $tates opposes it. The pseudo-Marxists consciously and unconsciously seeing geopolitics as decisive have led us down a pragmatist road to endless division and revisionism.

[To see the “International Communist Seminar” speak for itself, go to

Michael Parenti on Chinese Capitalism

The following excerpt was written by Michael Parenti in the expanded edition of his article on Tibetan feudalism entitled, “Friendly Feudalism: the Tibet Myth.” In this work, the left-wing scholar exposes some of the realities of Chinese social-imperialism.

Finally, let it be said that if Tibet’s future is to be positioned somewhere within China’s emerging free-market paradise, then this does not bode well for the Tibetans. China boasts a dazzling 8 percent economic growth rate and is emerging as one of the world’s greatest industrial powers. But with economic growth has come an ever deepening gulf between rich and poor. Most Chinese live close to the poverty level or well under it, while a small group of newly brooded capitalists profit hugely in collusion with shady officials. Regional bureaucrats milk the country dry, extorting graft from the populace and looting local treasuries. Land grabbing in cities and countryside by avaricious developers and corrupt officials at the expense of the populace are almost everyday occurrences. Tens of thousands of grassroot protests and disturbances have erupted across the country, usually to be met with unforgiving police force. Corruption is so prevalent, reaching into so many places, that even the normally complacent national leadership was forced to take notice and began moving against it in late 2006.

Workers in China who try to organize labor unions in the corporate dominated “business zones” risk losing their jobs or getting beaten and imprisoned. Millions of business zone workers toil twelve-hour days at subsistence wages. With the health care system now being privatized, free or affordable medical treatment is no longer available for millions. Men have tramped into the cities in search of work, leaving an increasingly impoverished countryside populated by women, children, and the elderly. The suicide rate has increased dramatically, especially among women.

China’s natural environment is sadly polluted. Most of its fabled rivers and many lakes are dead, producing massive fish die-offs from the billions of tons of industrial emissions and untreated human waste dumped into them. Toxic effluents, including pesticides and herbicides, seep into ground water or directly into irrigation canals. Cancer rates in villages situated along waterways have skyrocketed a thousand-fold. Hundreds of millions of urban residents breathe air rated as dangerously unhealthy, contaminated by industrial growth and the recent addition of millions of automobiles. An estimated 400,000 die prematurely every year from air pollution. Government environmental agencies have no enforcement power to stop polluters, and generally the government ignores or denies such problems, concentrating instead on industrial growth.

China’s own scientific establishment reports that unless greenhouse gases are curbed, the nation will face massive crop failures along with catastrophic food and water shortages in the years ahead. In 2006-2007 severe drought was already afflicting southwest China.

If China is the great success story of speedy free market development, and is to be the model and inspiration for Tibet’s future, then old feudal Tibet indeed may start looking a lot better than it actually was.

Extracts from the Letter from the CC of the Party of Labor of Albania to the CC of the Communist Party of China (1978)


Stamp with President Mobutu of Zaire meeting Chairman Mao; Mao gave Mobutu $100 million in technical aid

Aid to Albania from China

On July 7, 1978 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People‘s Republic of China handed an official note to the Embassy of the People‘s Socialist Republic of Albania in Peking, whereby it announces the decision of the Chinese Government to stop its economic and military aid and its aid payments to Albania and bring back its economic and military experts working in Albania up till that date. With this perfidious and hostile act towards socialist Albania, you unscrupulously scrapped the agreements officially concluded between the two countries, brutally and arbitrarily violated elementary international rules and norms and extended ideological disagreements to state relations with Albania. Taking this hostile step against socialist Albania, you seek to hit at, and damage, the economy and defence capacity of our country, to sabotage the cause of the revolution and socialism in Albania. At the same time, you gravely undermine the fraternal friendship between the Albanian and Chinese peoples. Wishing ill to a socialist country, such as the People‘s Socialist Republic of Albania, you give satisfaction to the enemies of socialism and the revolution. The responsibility for this reactionary and anti-Albanian act, as well as its consequences, lies completely with the Chinese side.

The Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Albania and the Albanian Government denounce the brutal cessation of aid and loans to socialist Albania before all world public opinion as a reactionary act from great power positions, an act which is a repetition, in content and form, of the savage and chauvinistic methods of Tito, Khrushchev and Brezhnev which China, also, once condemned.


To any normal person it is unbelievable and preposterous that Albania, a small country, which is fighting against the imperialist-revisionist encirclement and blockade and which has set to large-scale and all-round work for the rapid economic and cultural development of its country, which is working tirelessly for the strengthening of the defence capacity of its socialist Homeland, should cause and seek cessation of economic co-operation with China, refuse its civil and military loans and aid. Inspired by the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and the principles of proletarian internationalism, the Albanian people, their Party and Government have sincerely and consistently fought for the strengthening of friendship, fraternal co-operation and mutual aid between Albania and China.


Now, as in the past, the Albanian people, their Party and Government stick to their assessments of this aid and its role, among other external factors, in the development of our country. Socialist Albania has never considered its friendship with the peoples of other countries a means of economic profit. At the same time, it has permitted nobody to consider economic aid and co-operation an investment whereby political and ideological views, which run counter to Marxism-Leninism and socialism, are dictated to, and imposed on, our country. The People‘s Socialist Republic of Albania has never sold out its principles, it has never traded on them.

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