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News :: Globalization
China: Workers Must Sweep Away CCP Tops, Princelings -- Workers Vanguard
by Spartacist League
04 Jun 2014
Why China Is Not Capitalist
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Workers Vanguard No. 1047
30 May 2014
China: Bureaucratic Cancer Gnaws at Workers State
Workers Must Sweep Away CCP Tops, Princelings
Why China Is Not Capitalist
Last November, Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Political Bureau, was placed under house arrest in a corruption investigation. As head of China’s domestic security apparatus before his retirement, Zhou had overseen a government department with a massive budget. After assets worth at least $14.5 billion were confiscated from Zhou’s family members and associates, the New Yorker (2 April) observed: “Chinese civil servants and their associates seem to have accrued a nest egg that is somewhat larger than the gross national product of Albania.”
On March 31, Lieutenant General Gu Junshan, former deputy chief of the General Logistics Department of the People’s Liberation Army, was charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. Gu has been accused of using his control over procurement of housing, infrastructure and supply contracts for China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces to amass a fortune for himself and his family, including real estate holdings, art work and luxury items like a solid gold statue of Chairman Mao, founding leader of the People’s Republic of China.
On April 19, Song Lin, chairman of China Resources, was sacked over accusations that he misused $1.6 billion in funds, took bribes and laundered money through his mistress, a senior investment banker at the Hong Kong office of the Swiss bank UBS. China Resources is one of China’s largest state-owned enterprises with more than $120 billion in assets.
These are just a few choice examples of the massive corruption at the top of the workers state established with the 1949 Chinese Revolution. As top CCP bureaucrats continue to enrich themselves, many of their offspring have parlayed their privileged social position into places among the entrepreneurial elite. In a 2012 investigation into the descendants of top CCP officials, Bloomberg News traced the fortunes of 103 heirs of the “Eight Immortals” of the CCP who rose to political power in the period following Mao’s death in 1976. Among these “princelings” were 43 who had transformed themselves into capitalists in the space created by the regime’s “market reforms,” gaining private ownership of factories, investment firms and real estate ventures. Some launched joint ventures with foreign companies; others took executive posts in foreign investment banks.
Bloomberg noted that “the lifestyle of some members of the third generation tracks that of the global affluent class—people who were their schoolmates in Swiss, British and U.S. boarding schools” (“Heirs of Mao’s Comrades Rise as New Capitalist Nobility,” 26 December 2012). Having rubbed shoulders at elite prep schools and universities with the scions of the American and European capitalist rulers, the princelings were positioned to serve as intermediaries for world imperialism in China. This was not lost on JPMorgan Chase and other top American investment banks, which got some bad press at home for hiring the relatives of well-connected Chinese officials as a means to open doors for their investments in mainland China.
The overthrow of capitalist rule in 1949 laid the basis for a planned, collectivized economy that led to enormous social gains for the worker and peasant masses. But that revolution, carried out by a peasant guerrilla army, was deformed from its inception by the rule of the CCP bureaucracy, which based itself on the model of the Soviet Union under Stalin. More than six decades later, the bureaucratic cancer is increasingly gnawing away at the fabric of the workers state, fostering a domestic base for counterrevolution and undermining the defense of China against the U.S., Japan and other imperialist powers.
Defend China! For Workers Political Revolution!
The development on the Chinese mainland of a class of bourgeois entrepreneurs and a well-heeled urban petty bourgeoisie, along with the ever-present corruption in the CCP officialdom, are taken by most leftists as proof that the country has reverted to capitalism. Voicing a question that our comrades frequently hear, one reader of WV wrote us last year asking: “You at the Spartacist League hold China as a deformed workers’ state and regard it as not capitalist. Explain to me why China, a ‘socialist state’, has such a high Gini index, higher than dozens of capitalist countries?” Commonly used by bourgeois economists, the Gini index measures the extent of inequality in income or consumption expenditure in particular countries.
China is not a capitalist society. There is, indeed, a nascent capitalist class, tied to the imperialists by economic interest and to many CCP leaders by blood. But while this layer poses a grave potential danger of capitalist restoration, it does not hold state power. China remains a bureaucratically deformed workers state akin to the former Soviet degenerated workers state and to Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea and Laos today. Each of these societies was or is based on collectivized property forms.
The Stalinist bureaucracy is not a class—i.e., a social stratum with its own unique relation to the means of production—but a parasitic caste occupying an unstable position atop the workers state. In China, many CCP officials take advantage of their administrative positions, skimming funds and receiving gifts for favors and acting as middlemen for the imperialists. Yet the bureaucracy is at times compelled to defend the workers state in its own way, whether out of concern to maintain its own privileges or to ward off working-class revolt.
The state controls foreign trade and regulates capital markets and currency, with credit determined primarily according to quotas, not by the market. The core of the economy remains collectivized, with state-owned enterprises controlling 90 percent of assets in oil, electricity, communications and other key sectors. There is a CCP cell with the power to veto decisions in every private company, including foreign-owned operations. While the government has opened the door wide to capitalist investment and market forces, it maintains strict controls over the capitalist class, which is prevented from organizing political parties and is subject to strict censorship. This, of course, also applies to the working class: the CCP would see its legitimacy challenged by the development of any workers movement outside its control.
Despite bureaucratic deformation, the Chinese workers state testifies to the superiority of a collectivized economy over capitalist production for profit. The 1949 Revolution in short order led to huge gains for workers, peasants, women and all the downtrodden. Since then, China has gone from a backward, peasant country to a majority-urban one capable of landing a lunar rover. Notwithstanding the yawning gap between rich bureaucrats and princelings on the one hand and the working class and peasants on the other, more than 600 million people were lifted out of poverty in the last three decades. The population on average now eats six times more meat than in 1976, and 100 million people have exchanged bicycles for automobiles. Having done away with guaranteed medical care in implementing “market reforms,” the regime has spent the equivalent of $180 billion on improving health care since 2009. Now 99 percent of the rural population, including migrant workers, have access to basic health insurance.
Compare these gains to the unspeakable misery and despair that define life for the hundreds of millions of urban and rural poor in India: This is the short answer to those ostensible socialists who portray China as capitalist or irrevocably on that road. It is also a starkly clear argument for our Trotskyist program of unconditional military defense of China and the other deformed workers states against imperialism and domestic counterrevolution.
In the past quarter alone, as the capitalist world remained mired in stagnation, the Chinese economy expanded by 7.4 percent, on top of many years of remarkable development. However, China’s explosive economic growth, impressive as it is, is not a harbinger of steady progress toward socialism—a society of material abundance based on the highest level of technology and resources. The all-round modernization and development of China, including its rural hinterland, require the aid of proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist countries, which will set the stage for a globally integrated and planned socialist economy. The CCP bureaucracy, whose program is based on the nationalist Stalinist dogma of building “socialism in one country,” has always opposed this perspective.
Today, CCP spokesmen claim that China is far along the road to becoming a global economic “superpower” by the mid 21st century. This view ignores the economic vulnerabilities of China in its relations with the world capitalist market and the implacable hostility of the imperialist bourgeoisies, above all the U.S. ruling class. Further, it ignores the internal instability of Chinese society. With an enormous divide between corrupt government officials, capitalist entrepreneurs and privileged petty bourgeois on one side and the hundreds of millions of proletarians—in both state-owned and private enterprises—and poor peasants on the other, China has for years experienced a high level of strikes and social protest against the consequences of bureaucratic misrule.
This ferment points to the potential for a proletarian political revolution that will sweep away the Stalinist regime and replace it with the rule of workers and peasants councils (soviets). As Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky wrote in the 1938 Transitional Program, the founding programmatic statement of the Fourth International, in regard to the Soviet Union: “Either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the workers’ state, will overthrow the new forms of property and plunge the country back into capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism.”
Parasites and Princelings
The CCP bureaucracy is beset by enormous contradictions. Although it zealously guards its privileges, it does not own the means of production or have at its disposal all the methods of social control that a ruling capitalist class possesses. Its power stems from its political monopoly of the government apparatus. Trotsky’s explanation of the material roots of the Soviet Stalinist regime in The Revolution Betrayed (1936) applies with full force to China:
“The basis of bureaucratic rule is the poverty of society in objects of consumption, with the resulting struggle of each against all. When there are enough goods in a store, the purchasers can come whenever they want to. When there are few goods, the purchasers are compelled to stand in line. When the lines are very long, it is necessary to appoint a policeman to keep order. Such is the starting point of the power of the Soviet bureaucracy. It ‘knows’ who is to get something and who has to wait.”
Observing that the bureaucracy’s “appropriation of a vast share of the national income has the character of social parasitism,” Trotsky wrote:
“To the extent that, in contrast to a decaying capitalism, it develops the productive forces, it is preparing the economic basis of socialism. To the extent that, for the benefit of an upper stratum, it carries to more and more extreme expression bourgeois norms of distribution, it is preparing a capitalist restoration. This contradiction between forms of property and norms of distribution cannot grow indefinitely. Either the bourgeois norms must in one form or another spread to the means of production, or, conversely, the norms of distribution must be brought into correspondence with the socialist property system.”
As in Stalin’s USSR, while the CCP bureaucrats and their princeling offspring feed off state resources, they chafe under the legal restrictions placed on private wealth. Capturing an aspect of this phenomenon, the Financial Times (28 November 2012) wrote, “The fact that property rights cannot be taken for granted means that capital flight has also become an issue,” including money salted away in offshore tax havens. Another conduit is the channeling of funds through relatives living abroad. According to an internal report by the CCP’s Organization Department, 76 percent of the senior executives in China’s 120 flagship state-owned companies have immediate family members who live overseas or hold foreign passports. In a New York Times (11 May) opinion piece, Chinese author Yu Hua reported how corrupt officials are prone to hiding their money rather than depositing it in banks for fear of its discovery. Among the well-known cases are one who stashed 25 million yuan in safe deposit boxes, another who hid his cash in cardboard boxes in the bathroom of his apartment and a third who used a hollow tree, a latrine and other places.
Of the 500 protests, riots and strikes estimated to take place every day in China, many are sparked by anger at profiteering officials who are ostensibly devoted to communist ideals. One response of the regime is to cover up the extent to which the workers state’s resources have been diverted for the use of these parasites. In its 2012 investigation, Bloomberg noted that state controls over the media and Internet help cloak the business dealings of bureaucrats and princelings from view, while public documents often obscure the culprits by using multiple names in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. A mouthpiece of finance capital, Bloomberg News well knows that such practices pale in comparison to the looting by the ruling classes of capitalist countries, as seen several years ago in the hundreds of billions of dollars doled out to the corporate bosses of failing banks and automakers in the U.S.
After he came into office in 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping launched a campaign for the “thorough cleanup” of corruption in the CCP. According to the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, more than 180,000 party officials were punished for corruption and abuse of power last year, with 31 senior leaders investigated. No doubt political maneuvering plays a role here: Purged official Zhou Yongkang is known as a factional opponent of Xi, and there is a CCP tradition reaching back to Mao of using anti-corruption campaigns to get rid of rivals.
The Xi government also aims to help stabilize Chinese society by reining in the ostentatious flaunting of wealth and privilege. Xi’s campaign has included a crackdown on luxury spending. In January, high-end clubs in public parks in Beijing, Hangzhou, Changsha and Nanjing were closed, with a government statement declaring: “The buildings should be used to provide services for the general public rather than the privileged few” (Xinhua, 17 January). Officials have been banned from hosting elaborate banquets and military license plates are no longer allowed on luxury cars. Such a campaign is simply inconceivable in the U.S., where the “right” of the capitalist ruling class to its obscene wealth, and to dispose of it at will, is enshrined in law.
A particular focus of Xi’s anti-corruption drive has been the waste, fraud, nepotism and buying and selling of rank that undermine military effectiveness. Soon after taking office, Xi placed blame for the collapse of the Soviet Union in part on the loss of control of the armed forces by the Kremlin under Mikhail Gorbachev. Xi’s cleanup has included antigraft measures, audits and criticism sessions; enlarged drills to upgrade “battle readiness”; and contentious plans to reform the military’s bloated and outmoded structure.
In our defense of China, we support the development of an effective and advanced military. However, Xi is himself the leader of the bureaucratic regime that endangers the workers state by its utopian pursuit of “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism. The imperialists aim for nothing less than the overthrow of the People’s Republic of China and the reconquest of the mainland for their untrammeled exploitation. To this end, they employ both economic and military pressure—the latter seen, for example, in the Obama administration’s “pivot” toward Asia and U.S./Japan military provocations in the East China Sea.
The Spectre of Tiananmen
China at the time of its revolution was qualitatively poorer and more backward than even tsarist Russia at the time of the Bolshevik-led workers revolution in October 1917. The Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky’s leadership knew that such backwardness could not be overcome without the extension of proletarian revolution to the advanced industrial countries. This understanding is utterly alien to the Stalinist perspective of “socialism in one country,” a false ideology embraced by the CCP bureaucracy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping.
Inequality in China began to grow rapidly in the aftermath of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a bitter intra-bureaucratic struggle launched in 1966 that threw economic and social life into chaos. Having benefited from Soviet aid in the first decade after the 1949 Revolution, China increasingly pursued economic autarchy after the Chinese and Soviet bureaucracies fell out. By the early 1970s, Beijing had treacherously struck an alliance with U.S. imperialism against the Soviet Union, which Mao castigated as “social imperialist.”
Maintaining its own privileges, the bureaucracy under Mao promoted a model of “egalitarianism” that amounted to generalized want among the masses, based on China’s still backward industrial base. When they took the reins after Mao’s death, the Eight Immortals led by Deng Xiaoping resorted to the whip of the market to increase economic productivity. With Western and Japanese imperialist and offshore Chinese concerns invited to invest in designated sections of the mainland, the economy regained its feet, but at the price of greatly increased inequality and the growth of pro-capitalist forces within China.
Twenty-five years ago, popular anger over inflation, official corruption, the rise of the princelings and the bureaucracy’s stifling political control erupted in mass protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In April 1989, a group of students from Beijing University laid a wreath in the square in honor of Hu Yaobang, who at the time of his death shortly before was regarded as relatively open to student protest and as one of the rare CCP officials not to be corrupt. By the time of Hu’s funeral a week later, a mass student protest had assembled and begun to draw in contingents of workers. While sections of the student protesters looked to Western-style capitalist democracy, the protests were dominated by the singing of the Internationale—the international workers anthem—and other expressions of pro-socialist consciousness. The protests were transformed into a mass working-class outpouring against the bureaucracy and the effects of its “market reforms.”
For almost two months, the government was unable to curb the protests, which developed into an incipient political revolution. Workers organized their own defense guards. Even the police were joining the demonstrations, a clear reflection of the class difference between a workers state and a capitalist state. The first army unit called in to crush the demonstrations refused to do so as workers fraternized with soldiers. Not only enlisted men but also elements of the military brass and some of the regime tops came down on the side of the protesters—a manifestation of the nature of the bureaucracy as a brittle caste. The regime finally found loyal units and used them to crush the uprising, marked by the massacre of mainly working people in Beijing on June 3-4. Mass strikes broke out in protest and at least 80 cities throughout China were caught up in the turmoil.
Crucially missing in May-June 1989 was an authentically communist—i.e., Leninist-Trotskyist—workers party, which would have fought to lead the workers to political power. Having regained control, the bureaucracy lashed out not mainly at students but at the proletariat. Arrested workers were paraded through the streets and many were shot.
Corruption, profiteering, political repression, inequality: 25 years later, the scourges that drove students and workers to protest en masse are back with renewed force. At the same time, economic growth has drawn new layers of the population into the working class. Migrants from the countryside have flocked to manufacturing and light industrial jobs in urban areas, where they are subject to systematic discrimination. Meanwhile, renewed investment in state-owned industry has strengthened the economic position of workers in that sector. Due to combative struggle by workers and a shortage of labor, wages have risen dramatically. In a recent display of workers’ militancy, 10,000 employees of the Yue Yuen shoe factory in the southern city of Dongguan went on strike on April 14 demanding that the Taiwanese company pay the full amount of legally mandated social security and housing compensation. Strikers returned to work following a combination of company and government promises and repression.
The devastation wreaked by capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union and East Europe is not lost on the Chinese proletariat, which has the power and the objective interest to sweep away bureaucratic misrule. As we wrote in Part One of “China’s ‘Market Reforms’: A Trotskyist Analysis” (WV No. 874, 4 August 2006):
“At some point, likely when bourgeois elements in and around the bureaucracy move to eliminate CCP political power, the multiple explosive social tensions of Chinese society will shatter the political structure of the ruling bureaucratic caste. And when that happens the fate of the most populous country on earth will be starkly posed: either proletarian political revolution to open the road to socialism or a return to capitalist enslavement and imperialist subjugation.”
Victory for the workers in that conflict will require the leadership of a revolutionary workers party, a Chinese section of a reforged Fourth International.
This work is in the public domain
Re: China: Workers Must Sweep Away CCP Tops, Princelings -- Workers Vanguard
by Alex Cockburn
(No verified email address)
07 Jun 2014
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'Democracy' is Not Enough
The Meaning of Tiananmen Square
by ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Alexander Cockburn was born on the 6th of June in 1941. Today would have been his 73rd birthday, always a festive time in Petrolia. In honor of Alex’s birthday (and the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests), we’re running one of his most trenchant columns from the June 12th, 1989 edition of The Nation. –JSC
Transfixed by a million people in Tiananmen Square, the press seems unfazed by the fact that though some students plainly want capitalist democracy, others sing “The Internationale.” Workers carry pictures of Mao. But then, these journalists don’t seem to notice very much. How come, if Deng Xiaoping has been the most hated man in China, we had to wait for a million people to tell us the news?
Speaking as one who has stood in a crowd of a million people-the demonstration in favor of a nuclear freeze, held on June 12, 1982, in New York’s Central Park-I don’t recall the press here getting quite as excited at the turnout. Some millions are more millionish than others.
I hope Deng goes down and his whole crowd with him. They promoted market relations within an authoritarian state, which is fascism. At least Gorbachev is going at it the other way round.
The past decade has spelled long-term misfortune most Chinese peasants and workers. Thatcherization in the countryside has led, as William Hinton observed in the Monthly Review for March, to a dispersal of social assets so great that “it is doubtful if, in the history of the world, any privileged group acquired more for less.” The privileged in this case are those-mostly party functionaries urged to the pillage by the leadership-best positioned to loot the public economy.
So far as urban workers are concerned, Jim Petras points out in a fine article in the May/June issue of Against the Current (7012 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, MI 48210) that they are losing the social benefits of communism and getting little in return, beyond “market discipline,” linkage of wages to profits a contract system hailing back to feudal times.
If 1905 in St. Petersburg, or 1968 in Paris, or 1986 in Manila taught us anything, it is that real political change takes more fuel than mass good will. Undesirable classes do not liquidate themselves voluntarily; vested power is not overwhelmed by yellow roses. “People power” can change the nature of the government but not the nature of the state, because although a mass of citizens can stop an army, as the second entry of the Little Red Book says, “To make a revolution, you need a revolutionary party.” And there is no revolutionary party for those Chinese students to turn to.
The word “democracy” always needs footnotes. There was recently a “democratic” mayoral election in Angeles. About 20 percent of the eligible voters turned out, and the winner was a man, Tom Bradley, who in the recent portion of his long stay in City Hall has mostly represented the causes of real estate (local, Canadian, Japanese), in whose interest tens of thousands of the city’s poorest people are about to be flung from their homes.
As Petras concluded, “The class lines are being drawn in the East [i.e., China] between the managerial supporters of the market and working-class defenders of democratic collectivism. It is time for those on the left in the West to also define themselves, because historical experience is demonstrating that one cannot be for both the market and ~ socialism.”
Maybe you can have some market mechanisms within socialism that would make it work better, but that’s not what the Chinese “reforms” have been all about. They’re about restoring capitalism. I buy Petras’s point.
Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/06/the-meaning-of-tiananmen-square/
(No verified email address)
07 Jun 2014
The Enemy Within
Beware of Kicking the Dragon and Bear!
by ANDRE VLTCHEK
It is not prudent and it is not safe to stick an iron rod into a dragon’s mouth. Whatever they say in the West about dragons… but here in Asia, the dragon is revered as the greatest fabled creature on Earth and in the sky. The dragon is wise and patient, and it hardly ever uses force first. But if treated with disrespect and aggression, it is capable of retaliating in a deadly, determined and powerful way.
It is also thoroughly idiotic to go and start terrorizing a sleeping bear. It is obvious what would follow if one descended into a bear’s hole and then started poking a hibernating creature in the head. Nothing good would follow, nothing good at all.
But it appears that those who are ruling the Empire are not obsessed with prudence. They seem to be tired of tiny conflicts, which they are continuously stirring all over the globe. Libya is not enough and Congo is not enough. They need something big, really big; even much bigger than what they had already ‘achieved’ a few decades ago – like the destruction of the entire Indochina or Indonesia.
The Empire needs a mortal fight with mighty opponents.
Instead of helping to build a decent and peaceful world, it needs to cover our planet with innumerable corpses.
This time, if it will be allowed to do it, like it was some 70 years ago, tens of millions, and maybe many more, will vanish.
Once again, it would have to be a dragon and a bear, this time in unison, facing fascism and fighting for the survival of the world.
The anti-Chinese and anti-Russian propaganda howl is reaching a deafening crescendo, especially in Asia. Western media outlets are in the highest gear, spreading propaganda through both their own outlets and through their local media affiliates in the client states, mostly owned by big business.
China and Russia are now vilified, openly insulted, and blamed for the escalation of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the military build up. The entire mighty Western propaganda machine is now at work, demonizing China, Russia and other independent countries.
It is because the West is obviously pushing this planet towards the war. Not to see it would require truly great discipline.
Politicians are parading, one after another, in front of television cameras, pledging allegiance to capitalism, the Western-style regime or simply put, to the Empire. All those derogatory and inflammatory speeches against their ‘enemies’ are embarrassing, see-through, but nobody in North America and Europe is laughing, as they are becoming the norm.
Many are warning that this can lead to a world war, that the West has lost all restraint and is ready to bathe the planet in blood, once again. A quarter of century ago it appeared that with the destruction of the Eastern block and with China then increasingly on a capitalist course, the West had finally got what it had fought for centuries for – the total and absolute control of the planet.
But recently, something went ‘wrong’ for the West. Latin America rose and most of it gained freedom, then spat on the Monroe Doctrine. China began pushing for socialist reforms in medical care, education, culture and many other spheres. And Russia refused to get bullied and humiliated, reminding both Europe and North America that it is as always powerful and will not be stepped on as happened in the era of Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
North Korea and Iran (countries that have never attacked anyone in modern history) realized that the only way to survive and not to be reduced to dust is by having their own nuclear capacity.
And all these nations: several in Latin America, China, Russia, Iran, joined forces and decided: “Never again!” Never again will they allow the world to descend to the horrors of Western colonialism.
The wet Western dream of unopposed rule over the world is beginning to disappear into thin air. Is the West going to risk the destruction of our planet simply because it cannot own it?
“Stephen Harper attacks Vladimir Putin and ‘evil’ communism”, reported the Canadian news outlet, CBC News on 31 May 2014, in reference to the “lengthy keynote speech” at a fundraising event that the right-wing Canadian PM gave in Toronto. The speech was spiced with “language reminiscent of the height of the Cold War”.
Grotesquely, the President of the most aggressive country on Earth, the United States, Barrack Obama, was promising to ‘curb the aggression’ of Russia and China, two countries that have not invaded anywhere in the last few decades.
In a speech clearly aimed at provoking China, the US Defense secretary Chuck Hagel, spoke more like a thug than a politician: “The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged.”
‘Which order?’ Some would ask. Was he talking about the order that is being imposed on the world from Washington and European capitals and has been for centuries, at the cost of hundreds of millions of human lives? Quite an order!
Christopher Black, a leading international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, provided an analysis for this report:
“The speech made by President Obama at West Point, the American military academy, that the fulcrum of American policy will be to curb the “aggression” of Russia and China immediately followed by his Defense Secretary Hagel in Singapore accusing China of destabilization in the South China Sea, rightly characterized by Lt. General Wang GuanZhong as “threats and intimidation”, express the clear intent of the United States to wage war in all its aspects against the two most powerful nations that dare to develop independently of American domination.
The United States has attacked China several times since World War II, first in the Korean War, followed by decades of attempted sabotage and isolation and then by the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999. It now has continued that pressure by trying to destabilize China internally through various mechanisms of infiltration of “human rights” groups into Chinese society and within China’s military and administrative mechanisms and a constant propaganda campaign to defame China and its people around the world. The momentum of this strategy has been stepped up with the recent attacks by fanatical Muslim groups from western China against Chinese civilians in key cities and transportation hubs and use of provocateurs to attacks Chinese interests in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Africa and the recent absurd charges against Chinese military officers for cyber attacks.
The recent events in Ukraine show that the pace of this aggression is accelerating as America attempts to complete the encirclement of Russia and China by advancing NATO to Russia’s borders and by repositioning of 60 per cent of US military assets to the Pacific.
But now the true aggressors are blaming the victims for ‘aggression’. And it is nothing new under the sun. Nazi Germany and its propagandists employed the same ‘logic’ and arguments, before and during WWII. And the French used it in Algiers and their other colonies, as did the Brits all over their ‘dependencies’.
In Asia, on a local level, the servile press in countries like the Philippines is taking orders and often surpasses its handlers in the West by its zeal.
On May 25th 2014, The Philippine Star began with lashing out at China, continued by quoting the words of Admiral William Locklear III, the commander of US Pacific forces, that “Russia has its own ‘pivot’ in Asia”. Then the newspaper finally produced a few pieces of ‘brilliant’ analyses: “Official sources said Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has raised concern in Washington that China may try something similar in staking its territorial claims, in the guise of protecting its citizens overseas.”
‘Russian incursion into Ukraine?’ That sounds more like propaganda shouting from the pages of the North American or European daily press. In some 15 years of work in the region, after interacting with hundreds of media people from all over Southeast Asia, I have to testify that such a thought as quoted above, could never have come from a local journalist. Here, knowledge about Eastern Europe is very near absolute zero. And after being brainwashed in London, New York and elsewhere, local journalists do not compare. Someone else wrote it. Who did it? We all know it. It is the same source, which sends trolls biting at all my reports written for RT.
Most of the local Philippine press generally concluded that the US has basically no choice but to expand militarily, because of ‘China’s aggressive moves.’ Almost all the newspapers mentioned the high cost of the permanent US military bases in the region, also arguing that ‘spokes’, bases belonging to local countries but wide open for use by US forces, are the real way forward. Such bases would also be located on Australian and Japanese territories, and possibly in Singapore and Thailand, as well as Malaysia.
Now Thailand is certainly ‘secured’, after the army that has been killing millions in the region on behalf of the West, overthrew the progressive and elected government, and took control of the country. The coup is truly timely, isn’t it?
As if it would not already be enough to have countless bases in Africa, the Middle East, Japan, Oceania and those few client states that are still left in Latin America. But of course, those are too far from the main targets – China and Russia.
The mainstream Philippine media is not even bothering to question the integrity of such a military agreement, which is in direct violation of the nation’s Constitution. It is because the journalists in Southeast Asia are not paid and flown for training abroad, to moralize. They are paid to write what suits the elites and their foreign handlers.
Eduardo Tadem, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Philippines, explained, during our recent conversation in Manila:
“The recently signed agreement between the Philippines and the United States is called EDCA (Economic Defense Cooperation Agreement). In this agreement the Philippine government offered virtually all the military bases in the Philippines for total access to American soldiers, for a ten-year period. But who knows for how long, really… This is very dangerous, because all military installations of the country are now open for ‘entry’ of the US forces. And this certainly goes against the Philippine Constitution, which bars the establishment of foreign bases on our territory.”
Then what really happened? Why the sudden change?
“It has to do with certain factors. One, of course, is the factor of the so-called ‘US pivot’ to Asia. Under Obama there is this strategy of ‘pivoting to Asia’. Second has to do with the so-called Trans-Pacific partnership proposal of the United States; to build some sort of integrated market in the Asia Pacific region. Except that the Philippines is not part of it for now… The third one has to do with the territorial disputes that are taking place in this region, both in the South China Sea and the North China Sea.”
“It is mainly an issue of nationalism. And it is also because here they were always asking for more assistance, including military assistance. And this is the way to get that assistance. Also remember that Philippine Presidents were consistently supportive of the US. You probably saw the survey that shows that the Philippine people love the United States more than Americans love themselves. So for the Americans it is easy to get support for their China policy here.”
I asked both Teresa Tadem, Professor of Political Science at the University of Philippines, and Professor Eduard Tadem, how was it possible that a country, the Philippines, that suffered so severely during its occupation by the United States, during the colonial era, when there were human rights violations, massacres… How come it feels so positive towards its former brutal colonizer?
“It has to do with the extremely intensive American propaganda machine, which depicted the colonial era as a benevolent type of colonialism. Atrocities during the Philippine – American War at 1898–1901, which saw 1 million Philippine people killed, which was then almost one tenth of the population, were made to disappear from the consciousness of the people… the genocide, torture… The Philippines was known as the ‘first Vietnam’… all of this has been conveniently forgotten, hidden in the history books. And then of course the image of Hollywood that we are bombarded with…
How dangerous is it to antagonize China and even Russia? For centuries, China had been a very peaceful country, and it still is to this day. Many Filipinos come from China; it is a natural, historical ally… While the West is liquidating, and bombing entire countries into the ground, overthrowing governments, China pulls one oil-rig into disputed waters, sprays a few boats with water cannon, and it is immediately defined as the aggressor.
“It is again all about propaganda. They depicted China as Communist and here they always attach a negative connotation to that word”, said Professor Teresa Tadem. “
“For me the most dangerous country on Earth now is the United States”, continues Eduardo Tadem. “It has been the most aggressive… intervening in many countries all over the world, thousands of miles from its shores, trying to impose on the planet its vision of a global capitalist system. So, if you compare what China is doing in the vicinity of its territory, and compare it to what the US is doing in all parts of the world, on every continent… then you clearly see the disparity in the image that has been created, depicting China as a danger to peace in the world.”
Both professors then expressed deep concern over the fact that the Western propaganda is igniting Sino-phobia in the Filipinos and in other Asians. They pointed out that what the US is doing is actually fanning ultra-nationalism, which can easily mutate into fascism. This is, according to them, an extremely dangerous situation – planting seeds of Sino-phobia all over the continent.
“This can lead to a point of no return”, explains Eduardo Tadem. “I am afraid that this is what is happening now in the Philippines, as well as in other parts of Asia where territorial disputes are taking place.”
And it is clearly not only Sino-phobia that can lead to the destruction of the world, although Sino-phobia is partially, definitely is. Stirring hatred against Russia is also clearly on the menu of the Western masters of propaganda. Stephen Harper of Canada, Polish and Baltic politicians and their irrational anti-Russian speeches, is all leading to a frightening outcome: manufacturing racism against those nations that are standing in the way of US and European domination of the world.
Dehumanizing a potential enemy, unleashing racist and derogatory sentiments against him or her, is the first step in the Western ‘art’ of war, the first step towards a confrontation.
One should seriously question what is being planned? One should demand to know, because what is being planned is most likely really awful.
People are beginning to speak up. Geoffrey Gunn, a prominent Australian historian and Professor Emeritus at Nagasaki University in Japan, wrote to me, for this report:
“The international media big notes the “China threat,” yet who is the provocateur? We observe the Japanese Prime Minister in Singapore (May 30) offering to lead an international coalition to check Chinese aggression offering ‘quality’ Japanese naval vessels to obliging clients as with the Philippines and Vietnam. This is madness coming from a nation without official contrition seeking as well to unpick its god-save, the “peace constitution.” Meantime, the neo-con government in Australia overreaches with matching rhetoric, together snaring the US Defense Secretary to offer his own “pivot” to the South China Sea. My spin is to let Asian nationalisms (China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea) resolve their own problems diplomatically – after all the central kingdom has been in place for several millennium - outsiders keep out, militarists watch your step, and China rise peacefully.”
From Vietnam, saddened by the new wave of hostilities between two Communist neighbors, Vietnam and China, a renowned Western artist who did not want to be identified, explained the situation:
“I have no doubt the West is delighted at the turn of events and will do all it can to further exacerbate the China-Vietnam etc. rift. Of course it serves the pivot to Asia and other nasty USNATO agendas. But the Vietnamese are just angry at bully China and one can’t argue with them about it. The Vietnam’s PM has been sending text messages to the entire mobile network warning people not to listen to “bad guys” and to only protest within local and international law…”
It is striking how emboldened and self-assured Vietnam is becoming, lately, considering that it is actually doing an identical thing as China is – drilling in the disputed area.
Many see tensions between Vietnam and China as dating back to the Chinese punitive expedition to Vietnam (after Vietnam entered Cambodia and deposed the Khmer Rouge), known as the Sino – Vietnamese War of 1979. And it is almost bizarre to observe how unforgiving Vietnam is towards China, but how reconciliatory it has become towards the United States.
During the Sino-Vietnamese War some 10,000 Vietnamese civilians lost their lives – definitely not an insignificant number. But how could it even be compared to the millions of Vietnamese civilians who died in the “American War” (or the “Vietnam War” as it is known in the West). During the American War, entire cities were leveled into the ground, fields poisoned, women raped and people burned by napalm and other chemicals.
But, as in case of the Philippines, the creeping Western propaganda erased many of the horrors from people’s minds.
I spent 3 years in Hanoi. Holding US citizenship, I was treated with respect and never insulted. In a stark contrast, now Chinese businesses are being attacked and going up in flames, while Chinese people (from Mainland China, but also from Taiwan and elsewhere), are being chased, beaten, and even killed.
In the meantime, RT reported:
“Visiting Washington, General Fang Fenghui also blamed the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia as a reason for heightened tensions in the region. He said some Asian nations have used the strategic shift to create mischief in the South and East China Seas.”
Are we being dragged into the final global confrontation, to a possible WWIII? Observed from Asia Pacific or from Ukraine, it clearly appears so.
Christopher Black has no doubts that provoking, antagonizing and insulting powerful independent countries like Russia and China may be the next step towards the destruction of our human race:
All these actions are preparations for war. In fact, the positioning of American anti-ballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe is in preparation for a nuclear first strike on Russia. Those batteries are deployed solely for the purpose of trying to intercept a retaliatory strike by Russian nuclear forces after a US first strike. They have no other purpose. These preparations for a war of aggression, in fact nuclear war, are a clear violation of the UN Charter and all international laws and can rightly be characterized as war crimes. But since the United States has contempt for all international laws and civilized standards of behavior we can expect these preparations to continue.
Mankind rests on the brink of annihilation for no other reason than the American pursuit of unlimited profit. They are the extremists of the capitalist system. We must hope that the skillful diplomacy we have seen employed by both Russia and China, the increased pace of their bilateral cooperation with each other and their increased steps to achieve multilateral cooperation throughout the world from Latin American to Africa and Europe and Asia will change the power dynamics of the world sufficiently to prevent the Americans and their allies from achieving their aims so that the peoples of the world can live in peace and devote their energies to solving mankind’s pressing problems.”
Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His discussion with Noam Chomsky On Western Terrorism is now going to print. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is now re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. He has just completed the feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.