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China

Philippines socialists call for negotiated settlement to Spratly Islands dispute

For more background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"

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June 10, 2011 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) condemns any actions that increase military tensions in the region and contribute to a regional military conflict, by countries that lay claim to the Spratly Islands. We are opposed to any sabre-rattling and stand for a negotiated, political settlement of the disputed claims to the area. Therefore we deplore China’s strong-arm tactics and bullying, which undermines efforts towards a peaceful, political settlement, of the disputed claims.

The Spratly Islands, less than four-square kilometres of land area spread over 425,000 square kilometres of sea and usually submerged, probably have strategic importance fuelling the numerous territorial disputes. The area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas: reportedly some 17.7 billion tons of oil and natural gas reserves, larger than the 13 billion tons held by Kuwait, thus making it the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. In an energy hungry world, these reserves intensify the disputed claims over the area.

Pamphlet: Capitalism and workers’ struggle in China (revised edition)

[For more on China, click HERE.]

By Chris Slee

Preface to the revised edition (2011)

June 6, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There are a number of changes in this edition compared to the first edition (Resistance Books 2010). Most of these changes merely expand on points made in the original, supplying more detail in the text and/or the footnotes. Others take account of new developments in the year since the first edition was published.

The biggest change is in the discussion of the Great Leap Forward, which has been significantly expanded and rewritten. I felt this was necessary for two reasons. First, I wanted to acknowledge that natural disasters as well as mistaken policies played a role in the reappearance of famine in 1959-61. Second, I wanted to explain in more detail what the policy errors were, and why I consider that Mao was largely responsible for them.

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Is the economic crisis over?

Introduction by Mike Treen

May 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below is the latest entry from the Critique of Crisis Theory blog by Sam Williams [posted here with Williams' permission]. In it he analyses the current stage of the industrial cycle and asks, “Is the economic crisis over?”.

I hope that reading this post will encourage people to look more closely at the entire series on Critique of Crisis Theory, which has taken the form of a developing book on crisis theory.

The first chapter explains the biggest challenge the author faced — the fact that Marx did not leave a completed crisis theory. It was certainly the plan when Marx began Capital, but in the end only one volume was completed before his death and volumes two and three only took partial steps to a completed theory.

Tariq Ali's 2011 Robb Lectures: Empire and its futures -- Islam, US hegemony and China

Lecture 1: Islam and its discontents, March 17, 2011. Lectures 2 & 3, below.

A series of three lectures by Tariq Ali.

Renowned Marxist and anti-war campaigner Tariq Ali presented these three lectures as part of the University of Auckland's annual Sir Douglas Robb Lectures, delivered March 17-23, 2011. The videos have been made available to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal courtesy of the University of Auckland library.

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Soundtrack to a revolution: interview with Asian Dub Foundation's Chandrasonic

February 23, 2011 -- British-born South Asian punk-dance band Asian Dub Foundation (ADF) released their latest album A History of Now just as the revolution in Egypt was starting to build. Someone unknown to the band edited news footage of the revolt to the album’s title track and stuck it on YouTube (above). 

The video, which set ADF’s brittle shards of guitar and searing eastern strings to images of hurled tear gas canisters and bloodied revolutionaries, built a following to rival the crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to guitarist and band leader Steve Chandra Sevale -- who is better known as Chandrasonic for his habit of detuning all his guitar strings to one note and playing the instrument with a knife. Here is the interview in full.

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New book reveals the history of rubber: holocausts, environmental destruction and class struggle

The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011

[Order the The Devil’s Milk from Monthly Review Press HERE. John Tully launched the book in Melbourne on February 17, at Readings Books, Carlton (309 Lygon St). He will also launch it in New York City on February 22, 7.30pm, at The Brecht Forum,  451 West Street.]

February 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This new book from Monthly Review Press – by Australian socialist John Tully -- documents the history of rubber and the role it has played in the development of capitalism.

Rubber is an essential industrial material, although underappreciated by most of us, even though we are surrounded by it. Since its industrial uses began to be fully appreciated in the 1800s, the quest for rubber has been, in Tully’s words, “a paradigm of imperialism”.

China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?

By Michael Karadjis

February 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last year or so, tensions have been heightened in the dispute over two island groups in the South China Sea (also known as the East Sea in Vietnam), involving rival claims to some or all of the islands by Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and even Brunei. The first three of these countries claim all of both island groups.

The islands in question are known in English as the Paracels and the Spratlys, in Vietnamese as the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, and in Chinese as the Xisha and the Nansha. Both island groups are uninhabited rocky islands and reefs; there is neither a Vietnamese population oppressed by the current Chinese occupation of the Hoang Sa nor a Chinese population oppressed by Vietnamese rule over most of the Truong Sa. Thus there are no questions of self-determination of actual peoples. Therefore, international law would seem to be the best way to judge the status question, unless further negotiations settle things differently.

Martin Hart-Landsberg: China and the jobs issue

"Approximately 90 per cent of China’s high technology exports to the US are produced by multinational corporations and many of them are being bought and sold in the US by other multinational retailers."

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

January 21, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front -- The president of China, Hu Jintao, just completed a visit to the United States and, not surprisingly, many people used the occasion to raise the jobs issue. The US economy continues to suffer from high unemployment. And the US continues to run an enormous trade deficit with China, a deficit that dwarfs any other bilateral deficit. The connection made is as follows: China is an unfair trader. Its state policies, including subsidies and labour repression, are a major reason for the destruction of the US manufacturing sector and jobs.

This nation-state framing encourages us to see US workers in direct competition with Chinese workers, with their gains largely coming at our expense. It also tends to promote a simple response: force China to quicken its embrace of market forces so that its economy will become more like ours. Unfortunately, this framing misleads more than it helps to clarify current economic dynamics. It also leads to a counterproductive response.

US imperialist aggression in the early 21st century

Washington has reactivated the US Navy’s 4th Fleet to ensure US power projection over the Caribbean, Central and South America.

[This talk was presented at the regional “socialism conference” was held in Manila from November 27 to 28, 2010. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network Transform Asia.]

By Rasti Delizo

How the Communist Party of Australia exposes the Democratic Socialist Party's 'Trotskyism'

By Doug Lorimer

[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin, The Activist, volume 10, number 7, August 2000.]

The Communist Party of Australia has recently published a pamphlet by David Matters entitled Putting Lenin's Clothes on Trotskyism which claims that the DSP's rejection of Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution is really a cover for its support for Trotskyism. However, the real purpose of the pamphlet is to criticise the DSP's position on the 1998 waterfront dispute.

This is made clear in the introduction to Matters' pamphlet by CPA general secretary Peter Symon:

In writing Putting Lenin's clothes on Trotskyism, David Matters has contributed to the task of clarifying ideas and maintaining the validity and truth of Marxism...

The attack on Marxism in the name of Marx, or on Lenin in the name of Lenin, is a particularly pernicious form which can easily mislead those who are not familiar with what Marx, Engels and Lenin actually said and wrote.

The pretension that Trotsky was a great Leninist is one of these misrepresentations and was refuted time and again by Lenin.

China: An international dialogue on Marx

A trader in Lijang, China, selling images of Karl Marx. Photo by Malias.

By Norman Levine

January 4, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Organised by Marcello Musto of York University (Toronto, Canada), an international delegation of scholars from Canada (Marcello Musto and George Comninel), USA (Norman Levine), England (Terrell Carver), Japan (Hiroshi Uchida and Kenji Mori) and South Korea (Seongjin Jeong) participated in a two-week series of colloquiums and lectures in China. This delegation was invited and graciously hosted by Fudan University of Shanghai and Nanjing University (two of the top five universities in China), and by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Chinese Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (CCTB) of Beijing. The faculties and administration of each of these institutions partnered in these colloquiums, which also saw the participation of Chinese academics from 23 different universities (and, among them, of many deans and chairs of departments).

China, Mao and the global neoliberal offensive

Review by Chris Slee

The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy
By Minqi Li
Monthly Review Press, New York, 2008

January 4, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Minqi Li’s The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy deals with a range of topics including the history of the Chinese Revolution, China's role in the world economy today and the future of the world economy. This review will not deal with every aspect of the book, but will focus on Minqi Li's discussion of China's history, economics and politics, and its current role in the world.

China: Workers' strikes -- what did they win?

By Boy Lüthje

December 23, 2010 -- Labor Notes -- 2010's auto worker strikes in South China reverberated throughout the country and overseas. As workers in supplier companies for Honda, Toyota and other auto multinationals downed tools, the international business press expressed fear over the rising power of workers in China.

At the same time, a tragic series of suicides at Foxconn—the world’s largest contract manufacturer of computers and iPods—exposed the inhumane nature of low-wage mass production for global brands such as Apple, HP and Nokia.

Both events shook unions and the public in China—and experts thought they could be a watershed moment for labour relations in the country.

But the workers’ activity disappeared from the media radar almost as quickly as it arrived. What happened?

Workers vs. boss—and government

Tariq Ali on Mao Zedong and communism in China

"Mao images are for sale, popular in China and not just with tourists, his ideas on protracted war used frequently for `guerrilla marketing'. His fate, like that of Che, seems now to be that of a treasured commodity—all that is missing is a Chinese equivalent of the Motorcycle Diaries."

Review by Tariq Ali

Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World
By Rebecca E. Karl
Duke University Press: Durham, NC 2010
paperback, 216 pages, 978 0 8223 4795 8.

November-December 2010 -- New Left Review -- The emergence of China as the world’s economic powerhouse has shifted the centre of the global market eastwards. The People's Republic of China’s (PRC) growth rates are the envy of elites everywhere, its commodities circulating even in the tiniest Andean street markets, its leaders courted by governments strong and weak. These developments have ignited endless discussion on the country and its future.

Message to the US -- Blame the wars, not China

By Paul Kellogg

December 2, 2010 -- PolEconAnalysis -- There is a growing chorus of voices in the media and the academy singling out the actions of the Chinese state as central to the dilemmas of the world economy. This focus finds its most articulate presentations, not in the xenophobia of the right, but in the polite analysis of many left-liberals.

Paul Krugman, for instance, writing in the run-up to November’s G20 summit in South Korea, praised the United States’ approach of creating money out of nothing (“quantitative easing”) as being helpful to the world economy, and criticised the Chinese state’s attempts to keep its currency weak as being harmful. “The policies of these two nations are not at all equivalent”, he argues, adding his influential voice to the chorus which is increasingly targeting China for the world’s woes.[1] Krugman’s, however, is a simplistic analysis which overlooks the role of the US over decades in creating huge imbalances in the world economy, and has the dangerous effect of scapegoating one of the poorest nations of the world (China) for the problems created by the world’s richest.

Samir Amin: Global currency wars, US imperialism and the global South

November 25, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Marxist economist Samir Amin speaks to Pambazuka's Firoze Manji on the misleading rhetoric over the so-called currency war. The real problem, he argues, is the disequilibrium in the global integrated monetary and financial system, in which the US insists on the right to control its currency, but denies the same rights to others, such as China. The countries of the global South need to leave the US and its allies to sort out their own problems and concentrate on developing regional currencies and exercising strict control over capital flows, Amin argues.

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The left cannot ignore China’s achievements, but neither can it be too celebratory

Rural poverty in China is much higher than urban poverty.

By Michael Karadjis

November 24, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I strongly agree with Reihana Mohideen (“The left cannot ignore China’s achievement in poverty reduction), that the left cannot simply ignore China’s impressive achievements in poverty reduction and other related social development. I also agree very much with Reihana that the main source of China’s outstanding success as a Third World capitalist power is to be found in the Chinese revolution itself, despite the undoing of its socialist basis and the uncontrolled capitalist development that has taken its place.

I would make a few points about poverty reduction.

South Korea: Epic Ssangyong workers' strike remembered

Currency wars and the privilege of empire

By Paul Kellogg

October 23, 2010 -- PolEconAnalysis -- In uncertain times, the headline was soothing: "Secretary Geithner vows not to devalue dollar".[1] United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was saying, in other words, that if there were to be "currency wars" -- competitive devaluations by major economies in attempts to gain trade advantage with their rivals -- the United States would not be to blame. Who, then, would be the villain? China, of course.

Earlier this year, Democratic Party congressman Tim Murphy sponsored a bill authorising the United States to impose duties on Chinese imports, made too inexpensive (according to Murphy and most other commentators) by an artificially devalued Chinese currency. "It's time to deliver a strong message to Beijing on behalf of American manufacturing: Congress will do whatever it takes to protect American jobs."[2]

The left cannot ignore China's achievement in poverty reduction

Source: UN Human Development Report, 2007/2008.

By Reihana Mohideen

October 15, 2010 -- China’s achievements in reducing poverty have been outstanding. From 1978 – when the restructuring of the Chinese economy began – to 2007 the incidence of rural poverty dropped from 30.7% in 1978 to 1.6% in 2007. The biggest drop took place between 1978 and 1984 when the number of rural poor almost halved, from 250 million in 1978 to 125 million in 1985. During this period the per capita net income of farmers grew at an annual rate 16.5%. Urban poverty, measured by an international standard poverty line of US$1 per day, reduced from 31.5% in 1990 to 10.4% in 2005. No other Third World country has achieved so much and made such a significant contribution to reducing global poverty, as China has, over this period.

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