Thursday, September 28, 2017

China’s Kiwi Invasion: It’s not the ‘Yellow Peril’ or the ‘Red Tide’ but China’s reborn imperialism


Former Prime Minister John Key with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, 2014

This reactionary NACT regime has sold out to China like the parasitic ‘compradors’ – gentry dressed-down as jumped-up land agents – they are. Nothing to do with ‘one party states’, ‘Red tides’ or ‘yellow perils’, but a born-again imperialist global power sucking out profits. While we moaned about US oligarchs buying NZ citizenship, the ‘market socialists’ were scavenging NZ’s finite resources from its neoliberal pimps. Yet working people must reject all attempts to resist China on racist, chauvinist terms, but recognize that what motivates China is the same as all imperialist powers, the inexorable drive to increase its capital wealth by super exploiting its neo-colonies.

Brady’s Magic Weapons or WSWS dogma?

Let’s look at the work of Anne-Marie Brady on China’s ‘soft power’ as the ‘Red menace’ invading NZ. Brady is an academic with a foot in both the US and NZ. Her analysis documents the growing formal and informal ties with China which accompany the increase in its economic stake in NZ. Her factual analysis of the growing Chinese State/National Government partnership in the management of the NZ economy is one thing, but her political conclusions are another. For Brady ‘Red China’ is a threat to ‘Western Democracy’ defended by the US and its ‘allies’ such as NZ. This reflects the rise of China and decline of the US, marked by China’s ability to use ‘soft’ economic power to ‘out-compete’ the US forcing it to resort to the ‘hard’ power of military aggression.

This is the main thrust of the WSWS critique of Brady’s research being introduced into the recent electoral campaign to stir up racist hostility to Chinese immigrants and portray the National Party as in bed with ‘Red China’. No doubt Brady is siding with the US warmongering against China as a rival that threatens US hegemony – she presented her recent paper at a conference on ‘democracy’ in Taiwan. We too reject any attack on China by the US but not in order to defend ‘Red China’. ‘Red China’ exists only as the bogey of the neo-liberals who want to destroy it as a rival to US hegemony. Yet to the dogmatic WSWS, ‘Red China’ is a restored capitalist state but far from imperialist. China is therefore a semi-colony at the mercy of existing imperialist powers and has to be defended in any war with US imperialism.

This is a dogma that unfortunately too many of the ‘crypto-Stalinist’ Western left hold – all those who still see Russia and China today as ‘progressive’ forces against Western imperialism. China (and Russia) both restored capitalism in the 1990s by opening up to the global capitalist market. From that point, the prices of goods and services in China became set by the price of commodities on the global market. Their value was set by the labour-time required to produce commodities. Over two decades China transitioned from state ‘socialism’, to ‘market socialism’ to ‘state capitalism’. But because of its history as a deformed workers’ state, a reborn capitalist China was able to avoid re-colonization by Western imperialism and turn its restored ‘state capitalism’ into a new imperialism.

Fight Racism and Fight Imperialism! 

We will not side with China in a war with the US because we recognize it is a new imperialist power. Unlike Brady who wants us to go to war against ‘Red’ China, and WSWS who wants us to defend ‘semi-colonial’ China from the US, we say a curse on both their heads. That means we won’t fight in any imperialist war on the side of China or the US. We are for the defeat of both – at the hands of their own armed workers. Yet, because we live in a small, weak neo-colony of both the US and China, we cannot sit back and wait to see who wins and gets NZ for its prize. As we continue to point out with greater urgency, new imperialist wars are between the rival ruling classes that use national chauvinist appeals to drag their working people into fighting their wars. A WW3 or even regional wars such as we could see over the DPRK, threatens the survival of humanity itself.

That is why when the debates about China’s role in NZ start to escalate we have to resist all attempts by the NZ ruling class to pressure workers into new imperialist wars on the side of any imperialist power. Chinese expansion into NZ is motivated not by any ‘Red Menace’ to spread the communist revolution, or ‘Yellow Tide’ to spread the influence of Chinese as a ‘race’. China today is the antithesis of real socialism let alone communism. Nor is China reviving the Middle Kingdom. China is behaving like any other existing imperialist power – expanding globally to take advantage of cheap labour and resources to maximize profits.

In the debates about migration we have to differentiate between Chinese capitalists who buy their citizenship in NZ and Chinese workers who come to settle and work. We should oppose the entry of all capitalists whatever their country of origin, which includes NZ capitalists who promote foreign ownership and investment. They are all the agents of imperialist exploitation and oppression. We should be for the free access of Chinese workers who come to NZ to find work rather than to escape the working class. They are part of the international working class that has no country.

Resist all imperialist wars!

Working people of all nationalities must defend NZ as an oppressed neo-colony against all attempts by any imperialist power, US, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, Japan etc., to exploit and oppress us. In doing so we are acting in unison with Chinese, US, and workers everywhere, against the threat of WW3. It should be very clear after this election that to do this we have to replace the existing state that represents the interests of the capitalist ruling class with a Workers State and a socialist program which would include the expropriation of all capitalist and imperialist property!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Class Struggle, 122, Spring (September-November) 2017

Friday, September 08, 2017

Where is the FLTI on Russia/China in Venezuela?

When a revolution stops halfway instead of going all the way to victory, it will be defeated by the counter-revolution. Since Chavez took power in the name of the Bolivarian Revolution and proclaimed “21st Century Socialism” we saw this clearly as an attempt by the ‘Bolivarian’ fraction of the national bourgeoisie to build a sort of half-way house Cuban/Chinese 'socialism-in-one-country'. The fate of such a half-baked revolution would be that the weak national bourgeoisie would have to act as compradors to not only US imperialism, but the rising Russian and Chinese imperialism, to suppress the workers’ revolution.

We wrote in 2009 that the regime was nationalising US oil interests, but at the same time becoming dependent on Chinese and Russian loans to keep the state oil company, PDVSA, solvent. The regime's anti-imperialist posture against the US was boosted by its Castroite and Chinese ‘market socialist’ credentials under the guise of a “5th International”! When we pointed this out to the FLTI we were condemned as US social chauvinists.

As predicted, today we see the Bolivarian regime under pressure from imperialism, and from its own working class suffering from years of deprivation and repression by the regime. The FLTI see this crisis as one of the US staging a coup d’état to restore the opposition bourgeoisie to power and control of the PDVSA. We see it as much more than that.

The US under Trump is acting to limit the growing influence of its big rivals, Russia and China in Venezuela. Already its sanctions have forced the regime further into the arms of Russia and China. They have responded by upping their ownership and control of Venezuelan oil resources.

This means that as Russia and China increase their stakes in Venezuela, US sanctions will hit their investments hard. The have every reason to support the regime and its repression of the workers who turn against it.

Most important, the failure of the FLTI to understand the rise of Russia and China as imperialist powers, disarms workers who still have faith in the Bolivarian regime and its Russian and Chinese allies. If the army splits and a coup is attempted, then it is all on for a war between the regime backed by the US bloc and the opposition backed by the Russia/China bloc.

The FLTI is calling correctly for workers to break from the Bolivarian regime and build an independent workers government. And in the event of a coup and civil war it will correctly defend the regime militarily from US imperialism. But what will it say about the role of Russia and China when they take the side of the regime to defend their investments, and workers illusions in the Bolivarian revolution disarm them in the face of these new imperialist powers? To claim that Russia and China are dupes of the US won’t wash. Time to face the reality that Russia and China are new imperialist powers.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

US vs China/Russia = WW3

Trump and Putin in the guise of Roosevelt and Stalin

The Pentagon now agrees with us that the US is in decline and faces the rise of Russia and China. They term this the “loss of US primacy” or hegemony, and want the US military to gear up to take on Russia and China.

China and Russia are engaged in purposeful campaign-like activities that are focused on the material reduction of American influence as the principal arbiter of consequential international outcomes. They seek to reorder their position in the existing status quo in ways that—at a minimum—create more favorable circumstances for pursuit of their core objectives. However, a more maximalist perspective sees them pursuing advantage at the direct expense of the United States and its principal Western and Asian allies. Each possesses substantial conventional and nuclear military capability. Further, each is aggressively pursuing interests in direct contravention of international norms and in ways that are threatening to U.S. and allied interests.
In bourgeois, bureaucratic and military jargon, this passage is a useful summary of Lenin's theory of imperialism where the rival imperialist powers "core objectives" are to grab more territory and resources at the "expense" of their rivals, by going to war to "re-order their position" and re-dividing the world. Then the Pentagon spoils it by revising Lenin.

Thus, while the United States faces a clear resurgent great power challenge, the nature and character of that challenge is not a mirror image of past—especially Cold War—competition. Contemporary great power antagonism instead occurs principally in the “gray zone” where U.S. adversaries’ substantial military capabilities are side-lined, over the horizon, or only marginally employed, but deter more activist U.S. responses nonetheless. Meanwhile, the principal competition occurs in murkier, less obvious forms of state-based aggression, where “rival states marshal various instruments of influence and intimidation to achieve warlike ends through means and methods falling far short of unambiguous or open provocation and conflict.

What the Pentagon, along with Trump, fails to see is that this ‘gray zone’ reflects the early stages of “great power antagonism” where Russia and China can successfully compete with the US without resorting to world war. But that does not mean that we can avoid the inevitable armed clashes between the two imperialist blocs as the stakes get higher. Right now, we can see the stakes in the Middle East and East Pacific escalating rapidly. Neither US in decline, nor the rise of Russia and China, can be stopped by the military might of the Pentagon because the decline is terminal. Only socialist revolution can avoid a WW3.

We argue that the US decline is terminal for two related reasons. First, US capitalism has exhausted its ability to survive without forcing workers worldwide to pay for its crisis of falling profits out of their wages and living conditions. Despite its boasts, it has failed because workers and other oppressed have refused to pay the price with their livelihoods and their lives. The US has not returned to profitability and GDP growth is largely fictitious.

Here it is important to make a clear distinction between Marxists who recognize that crises arise from the TRPF (tendency of the rate of profit to fall) which demands that terminal decline must necessarily be overcome by survival socialism, and under-consumption theory which explains crises as the overaccumulation of capital due to low wages and consumption and which can be overcome by capitalist reforms to equalize income-distribution.

Second, the US also faces (along with all other states) the devastating impact of climate change that will provoke massive social unrest and instability as there are more extreme climate ‘events’ such as Cyclone Harvey. The link between the two aspects of the terminal crisis is manifest in the contradiction between profits and nature; that the ‘value’ of the US ‘petro-dollar’ is pegged to carbon production backed by a strong US state when this is the prime cause of impending climate catastrophe.

So, US imperialism is in decline and its military adventurism can only accelerate this. Trump is symptomatic of this decline and look to see him try to concentrate state power in the Presidency. China on the other hand is proving capable of out-competing the US in productive growth. Along with Russia it is developing an alternate financial structure which began well ahead of Trump and his populist rhetoric. It has the production of goods and services to back a new global currency.

China’s and Russia's success in restoring capitalism and projecting their global reach is mainly due to inheriting the command economies of the former degenerated workers’ states. They will not sacrifice this under political or military duress. We will never see a Wall St take over China's state banks. This reality is clear to the EU powers that are now hedging their bets on the future of the Atlantic Alliance vs Russia/China. They can see that the balance of geopolitical power is shifting to Eurasia.

For world’s working class, future inter-imperialist wars can be stopped only by workers refusing to fight workers and instead turning their guns on their own ruling classes and fighting for a global Bolshevik Revolution.