Monday, August 28, 2023

Another world is possible…

World leaders gathered in Johannesburg this week for the annual summit of the BRICS bloc. Named after Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the key players that set it up some 14 years ago – the bloc has become a pivot for the Global South in the struggle to end the economic and political stranglehold of Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
At the conference in South Africa the Chinese President, Xi Xinping, said China  was willing to deepen solidarity and cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries to make the international order more just and equitable. "Emerging countries are becoming more and more relevant in the international arena. This summit will very much contribute to the shaping of a new global economic and political order. It will help change the current situation when it comes to international relations,"  the Chinese communist leader said.
The presidents of People’s China, India, Brazil and South Africa were all there together with leaders from all other the Global South because BRICS is not just a forum for the what we used to call the ‘Third World’ – it is a platform for concrete economic and diplomatic co-operation. Co-operation that led to the establishment of the New Development Bank in 2015 and the development of a common diplomatic front to demand  the South’s rightful share of the fruits of global market.
Some 85 per cent of the world’s population live in the Global South – the ‘developing’ world that is still largely excluded from the international institutions set up by US imperialism after the Second World War with the support of the weaker imperialist forces who rely on American might to defend their global interests now that their colonial empires have long gone. 
The people of the Global South are sick and tired of the fact that the Americans and their minions in the West have economically dominated the world for decades, forcing and imposing transactions in dollars with the fear that failure to comply with US directives would result in economic and financial sanctions or even “regime change” à la Iraq and Libya.  
In contrast BRICS is open to helping countries develop, as well as promoting investment and trade without strings or preconditions. BRICS is fighting against the concept of  a new Cold War and opening the possibility of building a fairer and more equitable international economic order from which the world can benefit. The BRICS bloc is helping to build the multi-polar world that will put an end to the American dream of the “new world order” and world domination.
No wonder Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have applied to join the group. Many more will follow in the future.
A new world is indeed possible but it’s not the European Union or the hell-hole of the United States.  It’s the world being built now in the new institutions of the Global South and Russia that offer an even playing field to all countries to trade and peacefully resolve disputes to build as better future for everyone on the planet.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

People's China – giant strides along the road to socialism

China- the workshop of the world
On the 24 June Peter Hendy from the New Communist Party of Britain joined other communists from North America, Scandinavia, Australia and the United Kingdom, including General Secretary Rob Griffiths of the Communist Party of Britain, as guests of the Communist Party of China.  They arrived in Guangzhou in southern China to visit Guangdong and Guizhou provinces before travelling to Beijing. This provided an opportunity to see first hand the profound developments and modernisation that have taken place in People's China. To learn about the role and work of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over 40 years of reform and opening up. To find out the truth about 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics' and the CPC's path to modernisation.

In 1989 there was a political earthquake with the collapse of the Soviet Union and counter revolutions in Eastern Europe. Economic stagnation, significant problems in commodity production, inefficiency, corruption, opportunism and revisionism were factors ruthlessly exploited by imperialism which led to an enormous setback for socialism and the working class.
In response the Communist Party of China (CPC) led a new long march to thwart the potential threat of counter revolution.
The CPC has overseen deep reforms and opening up but also overcome complex social difficulties and unexpected events to develop a modern and dynamic socialist country.
Socialist modernisation involved a restructuring, diversification and transformation of the economy that has led over 853 million people out of poverty with improvements in living standards, incomes and quality of life for both people in both rural and urban areas.
Life expectancy is now 76.7 years. In 1949 it was 36, Medical Insurance is provided to the whole population and 45 per cent of youth from 18-22 go to college. With a population of 1.4 billion this is an astonishing achievement!
Today China is a global power and the second wealthiest country in the world with a staggering $5 trillion in bank reserves. In 2021 China's share of global GDP was 18.4 per cent. The trade between China and other countries along the Belt & Road is $12 trillion and in advanced digital technologies China is now a world leader.
People's China has successfully responded to one of humanity's worst epidemics and its international response was to provide millions of vaccinations and protective equipment to other countries around the globe. Following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions China's economy is estimated to grow by over an incredible five per cent GDP.
US imperialism has aggressively responded to the perceived 'Chinese threat' by attempting to economically destabilise China's economy by imposing sanctions, increasing hostilities, provocations, geo-political tensions and conflicts even within China's borders.
However, China is now a powerful force for diplomacy and peace. China's recent peace proposals for Ukraine contained a 12 point peace plan to end hostilities and to resume peace talks. Iran and Saudi Arabia have now agreed to establish diplomatic relations following a conference hosted by China.
In a report delivered to the 20th National Congress of the CPC Xi Jinping stated the CPC's desire to build China into a modern socialist country and the rejuvenation of the China nation through a Chinese path of modernisation.

Guangdong Province

Guangzhou (Canton) is the capital of Guangdong province situated on the North Pearl River Delta near Macau and Hong Kong known as, 'the south gate' of China. Guangdong is the most populated province in China with over 127 million people.
Our first impressions of Guangzhou were of an ultra-modern, economically vibrant and rapidly expanding city with multi-lane motorways, wide tree lined boulevards and soaring skyscrapers. The city was awe inspiring with an incredible skyline and is home to 16 million people. It was smart, clean and architecturally contemporary with an abundance of urban green spaces. There was an absence of pollution, rubbish, poverty and destitution associated with Western cities.
On the outskirts we saw enormous construction projects taking place providing evidence of China's rapidly expanding economy and to meet new demands for low cost housing.
Guangzhou is a major transportation and communication hub for South China
having a humid subtropical climate with plentiful rainfall. It has a long and illustrious history with a profoundly rich culture of over 2,200 years being the starting point of the ancient maritime Silk Road. The Opium War and the 1911 Revolution took place here and its museums contain a wealth of cultural relics and artefacts.

Poverty to prosperity

Guangdong was established as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and a pioneer of socialist market reforms and the opening up of coastal areas. It is the epitome of Chinese style modernisation driven by a scientific and technological revolution. Moving from a predominantly labour intensive backward agricultural province to the largest most dynamic and fastest growing high tech manufacturing province in China. According to the World Bank it has been transformed from a low income to high income economy. Its economic performance is phenomenal with growth of 0.5 per cent and being a quarter of the national total. In 2021 its economic growth surpassed south Korea! 1.32 million jobs were created in 2022 and there are more than 300,000 foreign invested enterprises in Guangdong. From a closed economy in 1978 its foreign trade imports and exports reached $1.2 trillion in 2022.
The modernisation of Guangdong province has involved a high level of future planning to develop all aspects of the economic infrastructure involving the constant improvement of roads, highways, ports and harbours linking the province with other cities.
Guangzhou now has an international airport, port and the province is developing high-speed railways and bus links. The city demonstrates the CPC's leadership and commitment to implementing the Belt & Road Initiative in order to develop its international economic infrastructure, to boost trade and stimulate economic growth not only for China but for other countries across the world.
Research, development and innovation are instrumental to China's economic growth and prosperity. Guangdong is a Science and Technology Hub and is at the forefront of research being number one nationally for invention patents.
To promote economic stability the CPC is implementing supply side structural reforms. To increase economic capacity, reduce imbalances, inadequate development and to raise efficiency. Promoting new areas of economic growth involving innovation and technology.
Dual Circulation Theory emphasises the need for structural supply side adjustments and potential problems for China by depending too much on exports for its economic development. This reduces the risk of financial crisis but also acknowledges the enormous potential of a domestic market with over
1.4 billion consumers and opportunities to improve their lives. More emphasis is being placed on safeguarding China's domestic economy consumption by increasing consumption to achieve a balance between exports and imports.
Previously there has been a reliance on exports but due to global changes and future uncertainties a new paradigm has been developed. This recognises the dual importance of simultaneously developing and expanding the domestic circle or market to achieve strategic goals.
In Guangzhou we visited KingMed Diagnosis China's leading independent clinical laboratory company providing a technology orientated medical service company specialising in clinical diagnostics and pathology. The facility was state of the art but what made it so remarkable was that out of 17,000 employees 1,063 were CPC members!
We also visited the GAC group which is ranked 61st in the top Chinese enterprises building both conventional high class vehicles and electric cars with a production capacity of 200,000 vehicles using the most advanced robotics technologies.

Guizhou province

Next we flew to Guiyang in Guizhou province. A scenic area with a landscape of domed mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Guizhou was previously China’s poorest and most underdeveloped region.
Guizhou has also experienced a dramatic economic surge in high quality scientific, electronic and technological digital transformation. Artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing (online storage that keeps files readily accessible anytime anywhere), block chain (advanced database mechanisms that allow transparent information to be shared in businesses) and other technological developments are unfolding. Guizhou has an advantageous climate, power supply and infrastructure. The cooler climate is conducive to the servers operation and thus reduces operating costs. Power supplies are from thermal and water power and electricity costs are cheaper. Following a three year highway construction programme all urban areas have access to expressways enabling Guizhou to connect more efficiently with the outside world.
It is China's first national big comprehensive pilot zone and part of its national big data strategy. It now has the highest number of mega data centres in the country. The added value to the digital economy is predicted to exceed $91.7 billion. This will promote the integration of big big data into the real economy – industry, agriculture and service industry – and transform, upgrade and improve industrial development and big data industry.
Developments in big data are a central component of the province's social and economic development strategy. Financial support has been provided with special funds for the big data industry. The province has used big data integration to alleviate poverty and to establish the country's first provincial data platform for the online handling of provincial, municipal and county level government services. This has simultaneously involved the successful completion of upgrading optical fibres in 8,900 villages. Guizhou has achieved 100 per cent coverage for fibre optic broadband and 4G network. Vocational training and college education has included the development of 8 universities to set up courses in response to shortages of talent. Emphasis being placed on deepening relationships between universities and industrial and research institutes.

Ethnicity and Culture

China is a multi-ethnic country of 56 ethnic groups that forms a rich part of its political and cultural identity. This diversity is strongly promoted rather than suppressed as is claimed in mass media propaganda. A system of regional autonomy exists for ethnic minorities and equal rights are enshrined in the Constitution.
Guizhou is one of China’s most ethnically diverse provinces in China whose people have culturally benefited from the immense economic developments. In Guiyang we attended a magnificent performance involving people of Miao, Dono, Shui and Buyi ethnic minorities wearing traditional brightly coloured embroidered costumes and jewellery. The production was a musical opera and dance with traditional musical instruments against a backdrop of rivers, mountains, forests and waterfalls.
Culture is considered the soul of the nation and a nation’s strength is dependent on its culture. Xi Jinping has stated, ‘A nation’s confidence in its culture is its essential, underlying and enduring strength’. China is committed to stimulating future cultural innovation and creativity in literature and the arts but in protecting and restoring cultural relics, artefacts and historical sites.
A visit was made to Qingyan a former military town of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The streets and alleyways are paved with cobbles and the houses are of stone with traditional Chaomen and Yaomen roof tiles and flower-wood doors that reflect the architectural style of Old China. The place is full of temples, palaces, ancestral halls and pagodas and is a national cultural heritage site.
We travelled to the Zunyi Conference Site and Memorial Hall which is a place of great historical revolutionary significance. During the Zunyi Conference in 1935 Mao Zedong delivered a lengthy report criticising military errors and serious failures due to 'left dogmatism' during the Long March which nearly led to the defeat of the Red Army. Mao was co-elected as a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo and so entered the military leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC and Red Army. The Zunyi Conference was a significant turning point in the life and death struggle of the CPC and Red Army.
The journey was made via a high speed bullet train from Guiyang. Symbolic of the rapid economic and cultural progress made by People's China since that historical conference. In a province defined by mountains and rivers the development of a high speed train network is a feat of engineering ingenuity.
In Beijing we attended the Third Dialogue on Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Civilisations and the first World Conference of Sinologists in which General secretary of the CPC Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter. He supported efforts to promote cultural exchanges, understanding, friendship and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. This was held at the China National Archives of Publications and Culture located at the foot of the Yanshan Mountains in Beijing which holds China’s largest collection of publications and database of cultural resources and traditions.

The Communist Party of China

The CPC has a membership of 98 million. It has experienced an arduous journey since its formation involving great sacrifices. During the period of liberation and from 1949 onwards in the socialist construction of China the CPC has achieved profound social changes for the Chinese people. After reviewing China’s historical experiences and rejecting dogma it oversaw a strategic shift from class struggle to one of opening up, reform and socialist modernisation.
The Museum of the Communist Party of China, located on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, provides a comprehensive exhibition of the Party’s history, 100 year struggles and truly astonishing progress including magnificent statues, photos and exhibits. A simulator takes you on a virtual awe inspiring intrepid journey. Through frozen mountains on the long march where you feel snow on your face before zooming through modern cities across China. Then plunging to the depths of the oceans before lifting off into space and landing on Mars!
The Report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China presented by Xi Jinping is a comprehensive political declaration for the future. The CPC is committed to continually improve people’s incomes, material living standards and overall quality of life but knows that it must also guard against complacency, corruption and ideological degeneration. To maintain its support and the integrity of the people it represents the CPC must remain dynamic and not stagnate.
The CPC acknowledges the potential high risk of an emerging class that may represent an ideological threat to the communist movement. The situation is vigilantly monitored and laws prohibit capitalists or foreign investors from ownership or control in the Chinese media. We learnt how through Party Schools like in Guizhou exemplary working environments provide continuing education for CPC comrades.
In a survey conducted by China Youth Daily in 2021 involving young people 97.7% of respondents believed that the spirit of the CPC is the spirit of the nation. We met with members of the Communist Youth League (CYL) who have 81 million members. The CYL are the next generation and a priority is developing and strengthening ideological conviction. Political education, training and guidance is provided to forge a revolutionary spirit and socialist values. Educating young people in their historical knowledge of the CPC, Marxism-Leninism and its theoretical developments adapted to Chinese realities.
The CYL has been modernising how it disseminates information using technology ie social media and significant attention is paid to ensure that theories and policies are relevant to the present. Work includes frequent face to face dialogue with members of the National's People's Congress highlighting issues like housing problems for young people and the need for low cost housing.
CYL members carry out voluntary political work and were previously involved in work relating to improving literacy in poor rural areas, abolishing poverty and during the fight against the Covid epidemic.


In the West the term Governance is loosely associated with corporate mandatory training. It relates to self law or 'rule of virtue' and the individual. Often a superficial understanding is required before moving on to something else.
Whereas in China the term has a significantly deeper meaning and is associated with a process of continually reviewing, improving, strengthening and modernising the functioning of public institutions. To promote transparency, efficiency and ultimately accountability to the people at all levels. Achieving qualitative changes in political, social and economic organisations and systems.
At a national level this includes the working relationship between the Central Committee of the CPC  and the National  Congress. Its  functioning and the
implementation of its policies and procedures relating to key government reform strategies from national security to developing renewable energies. Strengthening China’s socialist systems in respect of the rule of law, democracy and the environment. This involves the people in villages, towns, counties, cities and provinces in both urban and rural locations.
The CPC considers that these systems need to be developed by the people for them to be effective. Thus the modernisation of Governance promotes a sense of social vitality, trust, and connection guaranteeing the welfare of the people. To protect and safeguard their interests and rights ensuring political stability.
The CPC recognises the importance of grass-roots support for the CPC. The need for leadership to improve local functioning and organisation of the Party. To recognise and respond to problems that arise affecting people’s livelihood at local level.
In Guizhou The Jinyuan Community in Guanshanhu District, Guiyang City, the home of 10,890 people, is a fantastic example of the CPC's dynamic work and implementation of social governance with the people. We met local CPC National Congress Member Yuan Yan in Jinyuan who explained how people's democracy and social governance works. She demonstrated her enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to representing the people of her community and was eager to show us the vital work being undertaken in an inner city area. The Party used the social media and public information screens to communicate with a predominantly elderly population living in high rise apartments to identify and quickly resolve problems. Recreational, social, and primary health care facilities were gold standard. The local CPC involved people in regular consultations and decision making promoting an evident strong sense of community. The environment was landscaped and a natural habitat created using trees and plants to enhance the area.

The Environment - Shougang Park

Shougang Park in Beijing was a former steel mill which produced 10 million tons of iron and steel but the former industrial wasteland has been transformed into a hub for tourism, sport and cultural events. The steel mill was closed in 2005 to reduce air pollution and due to significant changes in the supply of steel. Smokestacks, blast furnaces, cooling towers and other industrial relics are now surrounded by expansive green spaces, sport facilities, modern offices, commercial facilities and apartments. In 2022 it was a venue for the Winter Olympics and provided a dramatic backdrop. Shougang Park is now a monument to urban regeneration and innovation. It's an outstanding illustration of how the CPC is a catalyst for urban rejuvenation promoting a harmony between man and nature. Creating a green ecological and sustainable environment while retaining its magnificent industrial heritage.

New Era Modernisation

Overall we saw the enormous advancement in terms socialist modernization to meet the ever growing material and cultural needs of 1.4 billion people.
The People's Republic of China is moving into a 'New Era' with astonishing economic, political, social, environmental, scientific, technological and cultural modernisation against a backdrop of imperialism and war. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has shown how socialism is being integrated with the market economy and is not capitalism as critics proclaim. There are inherent dangers but the CPC is the representative political power of the working class in China and the power of the socialist state belongs to the people.
The CPC's goal is to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic and harmonious but recognises the important contribution it can make to the progress of mankind in promoting diplomacy, international relations and peace.
At the 19th Party Congress in 2017 General Secretary Xi Jinping stated that it takes a good blacksmith to make good steel demonstrating the Party's resolve, confidence, and unswerving commitment to the future of socialism. Its greatest strength the leadership of the CPC.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

The East is Red!

by J Sykes
The East is Still Red: Chinese Socialism in the 21st Century Carlos Martinez, Praxis Press Glasgow 2023, 238 pp £17:00

The book begins by acknowledging that there is a great deal of ignorance and confusion, especially in the imperialist countries, about People’s China. Martinez writes, “Even among socialists and communists, there are misconceptions and important gaps in understanding.” He addresses these issues head on.
The first chapter focuses on the continuities of the revolution in China, from the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1921 until today. Martinez gives an overview of the history of the Chinese revolution and defends that legacy of Mao Zedong, while giving a balanced account of Mao’s more controversial initiatives, such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
For example, while acknowledging that the turmoil and disruption of the Cultural Revolution significantly impeded China’s development, he also points out that it “had a more directly useful outcome” in terms of preventing the “ideological decay that was taking place in the Soviet Union.” Martinez says it “set the parameters of how far Reform and Opening Up could go” and “laid the groundwork for Deng Xiaoping’s Four Cardinal Principles, which the CPC continues to observe today: 1) We must keep to the socialist road; 2) We must uphold the people’s democratic dictatorship; 3) We must uphold the leadership of the Communist Party; 4) We must uphold Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought.
Furthermore, he explains that the movement to send young intellectuals down to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution “was a crucial factor in the development of a new generation of young intellectuals with a close understanding of the needs of the peasantry and the situation in the countryside.” It is noteworthy that Chinese President Xi Jinping was himself sent to the countryside as part of this movement.
Looking at the post-1978 Reform and Opening Up period initiated by Deng Xiaoping, Martinez recognises that many see this period as “a turning point in the wrong direction” but argues against this view. Instead, Martinez notes, “Deng Xiaoping’s strong belief was that, unless the government delivered on a significant improvement in people’s standard of living, the entire socialist project would lose its legitimacy and therefore be in peril.”
This is a point that Martinez returns to later arguing that the combination of economic stagnation and ideological decay in the Soviet Union led to the collapse of socialism in the USSR.
This point should be made clearer. Indeed, while the material basis of Soviet revisionism was rooted in the economic reforms of the Khrushchev period, which emphasised market reforms, profitability, material incentives, and so on, a deciding factor was the question of the class struggle in the superstructure and the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism by the Soviet leadership. Contrast China’s Four Cardinal Principles with Khrushchev’s revisionist theses of the “state of the whole people” and “party of the whole people,” negating the class character of the USSR and Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and it is easy to see the gulf that stands between the two approaches.
Martinez rightly notes that the CPC’s reform period took a “grass-roots” approach that was “patient, incremental, and results-oriented” while the Gorbachev “reforms” that brought about the final restoration of capitalism in the USSR in 1991, were undemocratically imposed on the Soviet people, rather than leveraging the creativity of the Soviet masses.
Martinez explains “although China’s reform process served to introduce market forces into the economy, the whole process was carried out under the tight control of the government and took place within the context of a planned economy.” Indeed, the commanding heights of the Chinese economy remain state owned, with state owned enterprises making up 60 per cent of the economy; and most of the value created by the working class in China is socially distributed, going towards the betterment of society. And while the revisionists in the Soviet Union attacked the history of the USSR and spent 30 years dismantling the rule of the proletariat and its party, the opposite has taken place in China, where the CPC maintains its central, leading role, based on the scientific application of Marxism to Chinese conditions. In fact, when rightists in the CPC led by Zhao Ziyang tried to restore capitalism in 1989, the CPC stood firm in its commitment to the socialist road.
A highlight of the book is a careful and thorough analysis of China’s long war against poverty. China has eradicated extreme poverty. What does this mean? 
“At the start of the targeted poverty alleviation programme in 2014,” Martinez writes, “just under 100 million people were identified as living below the poverty line; seven years later, the number was zero.” The Chinese government defines extreme poverty alleviation in terms of what it calls the “two assurances and three guarantees.” As Martinez explains, “The two assurances are for adequate food and clothing; the three guarantees are for access to medical services, safe housing with drinking water and electricity, and at least nine years of free education.” He contrasts this to the advanced capitalist countries, where nothing is promised, where profit is more important than people, and where poverty and inequality are on the rise.
Likewise, the book highlights China’s commitment to ecological development. Martinez writes that “Over the last decade in particular, China has emerged as the undisputed leader in the fight against climate breakdown, and the results of this leadership are reverberating globally.”
Against the charge from some, even on the Left, that China is imperialist, Martinez argues that “imperialism doesn’t look like this.” He explains the Leninist theory of imperialism as monopoly capitalism. According to Lenin, imperialism is based on the concentration of capital into monopolies, whereby the economy becomes dominated by a “financial oligarchy.” The export of capital takes centRE stage, and monopolist capitalist associations share the world among themselves, leading to the total division of the world among the imperialist powers. The October Revolution in 1917 ruptured this imperialist chain, and the other socialist countries, including China, followed suit.
Against the claim that China is imperialist, The East is Still Red emphasizes that China’s role in the developing world is qualitatively different from that of the imperialist countries. It acknowledges that imperialism has the function of locking in underdevelopment, while China’s role encourages development while respecting sovereignty. The book discusses this issue in terms of China’s role in “building a multipolar world.” The concept of “multipolarity” doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue, however, as Martinez himself acknowledges by saying that “the multipolar narrative doesn’t make explicit reference to anti-imperialism.”
Indeed, it would be clearer to understand the place of China in relation to the four fundamental contradictions operating on a world scale: the contradiction between the working class and the capitalists, the contradiction between the imperialist powers, the contradiction between the imperialists and the oppressed nations, and the contradiction between the imperialists and the socialist countries. Of these, the contradiction between the imperialists and the oppressed nations is primary, meaning it is the contradiction that is driving things on a world scale. What China is doing is providing aid to the countries of the developing world that allows them to avoid the liberalisation, privatisation, domination and plunder that are central to the neo-colonialist approach of the imperialist countries. While this development isn’t sufficient to bring socialism to those countries, it does serve to further weaken imperialism.
Importantly, Martinez also discusses the growing drive for war against China from the imperialist powers, especially the United States. He explains how the US attempts to manufacture consent for aggression against China, and answers the propaganda with facts. Against the “Third Camp” Trotskyites who say “Neither a Washington nor Beijing,” Martinez is clear that they are, in fact, playing right into the hands of the imperialists.
The bulk of Chapter Five is devoted to debunking the imperialist accusations that China is committing human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang. The book refutes the lie that the Chinese government is committing “cultural genocide” and is operating “concentration camps”. Similarly, it exposes the role of the U.S. in attempting to destabilize Xinjiang.
The book ends with a call to “unite to oppose the U.S.-led New Cold War on China,” and says that “All those that oppose imperialism must resolutely and consistently oppose the U.S.-led New Cold War in all its manifold forms.” This is certainly true, and this book makes a great contribution towards that effort.
Fightback News (USA)


The change that Scotland needs…

North of the border the media pundits are focusing on the forthcoming by-election in south Lanarkshire and Labour’s efforts to take the seat from the Scottish nationalists. Sir Keir Starmer tells the voters that he’s going to “smash the class ceiling” and deliver a new deal for workers’ rights. The Scottish nationalists, battling to keep the seat for the SNP, tell the people of Rutherglen & Hamilton West that “every vote for the SNP will send a message that only the powers of independence will deliver the change Scotland needs”.
The SNP is dipping in the opinion polls following Ms Sturgeon’s resignation and amid the ongoing police investigation into the party’s finances and the bookies make Labour the odds-on favourite to win the seat.
Starmer says "What we're being absolutely clear about is an anti-poverty strategy driven by an incoming Labour government will focus on growing the economy and making sure we get that growth in every part of the country. The single worst thing you could do for child poverty is to re-elect a Tory government or re-elect another SNP government here in Scotland”.
Katy Loudon, the SNP candidate will try to outflank Scottish Labour on the social agenda while reminding voters of her party’s Remainer credentials. Labour’s man, Michael Shanks, tells the media he believes “in the European project” and says he would back reversing Brexit if there was a public appetite for a rethink – which is not official Labour policy though it does reflect the stand of the bureaucracy in most of the major unions.
The SNP upholds a veneer of internal democracy but like all bourgeois parties the real decisions are made by a handful of power-brokers at the top. Nicola Sturgeon was brought down through the exploitation by these factions of financial scandals surrounding the party and this has naturally created a credibility gap amongst the electorate.
Though the SNP like to pose as social-democrats they are, in fact, bourgeois liberals. Their modest social reform programme that included free prescription charges and the abolition of student tuition fees was, in the past, enough to win tens of thousands of traditional Labour supporters over to the nationalist camp. Whether can retain that support is another matter.
Labour’s problem is that nobody can believe a word Starmer says these days. He’s broken virtually every pledge he made to the unions and the membership when he first became leader. He lost the confidence of the Remainers who thought he would take up their call for a second referendum. His only loyalty is to the Blairite faction that believes in serving US imperialism and what they perceive to be the dominant trend in the British ruling class. 
As always the SNP are hoping for a hung parliament after the next election. Their now leader Hamza Yousaf says the SNP could make life "very difficult" for Labour in a hung parliament if it refused to give Scotland the power to call a new independence referendum. Labour has, naturally ruled a new indy referendum or any sort of coalition with the SNP. But Yousaf says nothing about a possible deal with the Tories and the Liberal Democrats or the ‘other’ referendum that the Remainers across the bourgeois spectrum and determined to get. 
Creating the conditions for a hung parliament is a difficult task for any block to accomplish in British politics. But it can be sone. We saw at the 2017 election. We also saw how close the Remainers were to reversing the Brexit vote during the days that followed.
A hung parliament may well give Yousaf a second referendum but it may not be quite what the SNP faithful have in mind...

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Of mice and men

Neo-con American hawk John Bolton is hitting the headlines again railing against his old boss and saying that Donald Trump’s  behaviour is “erratic, irrational and unconstrained” and that Trump will likely take the US out of NATO if he wins the presidential race in 2024. If only it were true...
Bolton is a career politician. Trump, on the other hand, is a property tycoon. Trump was quite happy to do the bidding of the American Establishment whose views he generally went along with. He didn’t realise that he was just a pawn of the reactionary circles who had propelled him to the White House in the first place. 
When Trump branched out on his own – arguing for cuts in the global US military presence and working for a rapprochement with Democratic Korea – his plans were sabotaged by his own senior advisers.
When Trump sacked them – and that’s something the president can still do – another stepped in to fill the gap.  Men like John Bolton, appointed Trump’s National Security Advisor in 2018 and sacked in 2019. Bolton has long been a tool of the “deep state”  –  the hidden hand of the most aggressive sections of the American ruling class that want war and “regime change” in countries that dare to stand up to American imperialism.
Bolton said that when Trump was in the Oval Office he undermined Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. E says Trump would betray Ukraine if again returned to the White House.
In the Republican camp some, like Bolton, are trying to derail Trump’s comeback campaign. They don’t particularly favour the others seeking nomination on the Republican ticket. But they clearly see Trump as a troublesome maverick, an unreliable element whose private life and dubious business ethics are an embarrassment even by American standards. They’re working to ensure the re-election of  the Democratic candidate. And Joe Biden is clearly a tool of the deep state. 
At the end of the day it makes no difference who wins the US presidential elections. Bourgeois elections are held so that the smallest number of people  can manipulate the largest number of votes. There can only be one winner in that sort of race…

For whom the bell tolls…

 Last weekend millions in Japan and throughout the world paused to remember those who died in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the last days of the Second World War. On 6th August 1945 Hiroshima was destroyed by an American atom bomb. Nagasaki was hit three days later. Some 250,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed instantly in the atomic blasts. Many more would later perish from flash burns and radiation sickness.
The claim that the atom bombs forced Japan to surrender is an enduring myth of the Second World War. The Americans say they had to use the atom bomb to force Japan to surrender and bring the global conflict to an end. But the Japanese were begging for an armistice as their armies folded under the hammer blows of communist-led guerrillas  and the Red Army. 
But two Japanese cities were still wiped out to show the world, and the Soviet Union in particular, what US imperialism was capable of doing.
The fight for peace is inexorably linked to the struggle for justice. The campaign must inevitably challenge world imperialism, the greatest threat to peace. and present an alternative to the capitalism that is the root cause of all conflicts in the world today.

In the name of Christ

by Ben Soton

Jesus – A Life in Class Conflict by James Crossley & Robert J. Myles; Zer0 Books, Alresford 2023, Pbk 304 pp, £19.99

Who was Jesus of Nazareth? Was he the actual son of God? An anti-Roman rebel claiming to be the King of the Jews? Or even a mythical construct whose narrative was created from several mystical figures who may have existed at around the same time. This is the subject of Jesus – A Life in Class Struggle by James Crossley & Robert J Myles. Both authors have a strong academic grounding in the period; with Crossley being an expert in Millenarian Movements whilst Myles lectures on the New Testament.
    According to Crossley and Myles the Jesus was the leader of a movement, of which he and his twelve disciples acted as some form of leadership committee. The movement was a reaction against the rise of regional potentates such as Herod Antipas and his attempts of gentrify Galilee, most notably through the building of the city of Tiberias. Jesus and his followers, described by the authors as the “Jesus Movement” were on a mission to the rich; an attempt to either persuade or force them to give up their wealth. Like many movements in pre-industrial times, they harked back to an earlier, largely imaginary perfect and more social just kingdom and are seen as a product of Millenarianism, the idea that some kind of cataclysmic change is coming. The authors refute conservative interpretations of Jesus, which claim that he was some kind of proto-capitalist entrepreneur.
    The book is thoroughly researched using mostly Biblical texts. Crossley and Myles use their extensive Biblical knowledge to interpret and analyse the New Testament Gospels; picking out possible inaccuracies or misinterpretations. For example, why did Jesus need to be baptised by John the Baptist; surely if he was the Son of God and born without sin, he would not need to undergo baptism, which is meant to represent the washing away of sin. Meanwhile the story of the Good Samaritan arose over a legal issue of whose responsibility it was to assist injured travellers; not the morality tale as often presented by modern Christians. On the other hand, the authors to not doubt that the disciples genuinely believed in the resurrection of Jesus; the basis of the Christian religion.
    Crossley and Myles conclude by reminding us of the reactionary role Christianity has played over the last two thousand years. After a period of persecution, it was adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire and later played an integral role within European Feudalism. 
     Modernised forms of Christianity were later adopted by the emerging capitalist class, most notably in the form of Protestantism. Christianity also played a role in the imperialist calve up of Africa in the 19th Century as well as playing a reactionary role in the Cold War against the socialist camp. This does not however mean that it was the intention of the movement’s original advocates, including Jesus himself.
  However numerous Christians have stood on the side of the oppressed. Examples include John Ball during the Peasants Revolt and the Levellers in the English Civil War. The 20th century saw the likes of Canon Hewlett Johnson the Red Dean of Canterbury, a defender of the Soviet Union and Stalin whilst Christians also took part in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles such as Archbishop Makarios in Cyprus and Oscar Romero in El Salvador. It might be worth asking – who would Jesus side with today?

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

A new wind of change in Africa

The army has taken over in Niger, a land-locked, poverty-stricken part of what was once “French West Africa” that gained formal independence from its colonial masters in 1960. But the French maintained a hold over their former territory using pliant civilian and military leaders to maintain their grip on the country’s gold and uranium exports which largely went to France. Or did do until the army led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani kicked out the old gang last week.
In the capital, Niamey, people took to the streets in support of the new leadership and call for the closure of the French air base and withdrawal of all French troops from the country. Many were carrying Russian flags during the protests calling on people to block Niamey airport, where the French are based, until all French military personnel leave the country. 
General Tchiani  has suspended the export of uranium and gold to France while warning against foreign meddling and military intervention against the coup. He called on "...the people of Niger as a whole and their unity to defeat all those who want to inflict unspeakable suffering on our hard-working populations and destabilise our country,". But the intervention has already begun as the imperialists on both sides of the Atlantic work to restore the old regime politicians that long did their bidding in Niger. 
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the revolt as "completely illegitimate and profoundly dangerous for the Nigeriens, Niger and the whole region". And in Washington Joe Biden called for the release of deposed president Muhammed Bazoum and the restoration of what he called “democracy” in the country. “I call for President Bazoum and his family to be immediately released, and for the preservation of Niger’s hard-earned democracy,” Biden said.
“In this critical moment, the United States stands with the people of Niger to honour our decades-long partnership rooted in shared democratic values and support for civilian-led governance. The Nigerien people have the right to choose their leaders. They have expressed their will through free and fair elections- and that must be respected” Biden said.
The pro-Western Economic Community of West Africa, known as Ecowas and led by Nigeria, is already threatening military intervention as a “last resort” should the coup leaders fail to back down. But few, if any, will want to send in their troops without substantial Western backing.
Though the stage is set for an imperialist inspired civil war the days when the imperialists and their hirelings simply could do what they liked in Africa are long gone.  
The future of Niger is not the plaything of Western politicians and big energy and mining corporations that have mercilessly looted and plundered the country for over a hundred years. Biden and Macron don’t speak for the Nigeriens whose voice was stifled by the bogus values of imperialism and the sham ‘democracy’ of the West. Their voice is in the barracks and on the streets of Niger who want the French out and genuine independence and the right to choose their own way of life without imperialist interference.
General Tchiani and his National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland may or may not succeed. But that can only be the choice of the people of Niger. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Free all political prisoners in Ukraine!

Western politicians are the first to proclaim their support for civil liberties and religious and political freedom. Some civil rights campaigners are elevated like icons by the Western “human rights” campaigners. The chosen few even get awards from the European Parliament and the United Nations. But those who serve the interests of imperialism.
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks campaigner languishes in Belmarsh jail ignored by those who loudly proclaim their support for free speech in the bourgeois media.
We see the bourgeois ‘human rights’ gang brand freedom-fighters as “terrorists” whilst passing off the brutish gunmen who served imperialism in Syria as the “moderate opposition”. We see the imperialists and their lackeys  holding “Summits for Democracy” to provide a platform for a new propaganda offensive against People’s China, Russia and the rest of the world that refuses to submit to Western economic and political control.
We see some of the worst human rights abusers in the world, such as Israel, Ukraine and, of course, the USA itself, hailed as bastions of freedom and democracy. 
In Ukraine all opposition parties have been banned. Thousands of Ukrainians – journalists, politicians, elected representatives, activists, priests, sportspeople, and even Ukrainian negotiators and military officers have jailed on trumped up charges of “treason” or support for Russia. Some have been tortured or murdered by the police or the fascist militias that prop up the Zelensky regime.
Since the Russian intervention most of our media has claimed that the fascist groups in Ukraine have changed their spots and are no longer fascists, but "patriotic defenders of Ukraine". We refuse to believe this ridiculous claim which is completely at odds with the evidence.
We think it is essential to speak out about the actions of a government for whom the British government seems to have unlimited resources to support, at a time when millions here in Britain are facing a grim and uncertain future and our basic public services are chronically underfunded and understaffed.
We stand side by side with the victims of fascist oppression in Ukraine. We demand their immediate and unconditional release and the restoration of full civil and political rights in Ukraine.

Something for everyone

They say it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good and that was certainly true of last week’s by-election results. Labour and the Liberal Democrats both took Conservative seats and the Tories managed to hold their other former bastion in suburban London.
Though there was, indeed, something for everyone in the results the biggest winners were the Lib-Dems, once again on the come-back trail. The Tories actually held onto Boris Johnson’s old seat, albeit by the skin of their teeth. And though the Starmer crowd were disappointed in failing to take all three seats the overall swing in their favour puts them on course to victory at the next general election. 
That, however, is not a foregone conclusion. With little to choose from between Labour and the Conservatives there’s going to be little incentive to even bother to vote next year. This can only work in favour of the Scottish nationalists and the Liberal Democrats who   share a firm commitment to take Britain back into the European Union and would almost certainly ally with the Remainer factions in Labour and the Tory party to create favourable conditions for a “rejoiner” second referendum in the not too distant future.
We had a golden opportunity to open the doors to free trade across the world when we left the EU. Boris Johnson wasted it crawling to the Americans. But returning to the EU is not the answer. You only have to look at what’s happening on the streets of France to see that the European Union is hardly a pillar of social justice. The only way out of the capitalist crisis is socialism and that can only come by ourselves alone, not the European Union or the United States of America.