this is progressive/ China

Stephen E Philion philion at
Tue Apr 18 10:40:30 PDT 2000

Charles, It's good to see you are promoting an article from a Marxist who is quite critical of reform in China. This article is well worth studying and discussing. Smith's article and articles like it are the kinds of critical discussion of Chinese reform we need more of

Smith is a sharp Trotskyist thinker. His original article in New left Review on the contradictions of reform is especially worth reading. The only big flaw in Smith's writing is his liberal usage of data from people like Harry Wu. Smith uncritically regurgitates Wu's claims like Workers' World uncritcally regurgitate statistics on unionisation in China. Still, his arguments are important ones in the debate on China's present and future direction...


Charles wrote:

> In a related regard, the February 2000 Monthly Review contains an
> article worth reading, titled, *The Necessity of Gangster Capitalism:
> Primitive Accumulation in Russia and China,* by Nancy Holmstrom and
> Richard Smith. It*s on the web at
> The article goes into the
> differences between Russia and China in their movement toward capitalism
> and their respective methods of primitive accumulation.
> They write: *The emergence of gangster capitalism and wholesale
> corruption in the former Soviet bloc and China should have been entirely
> predictable to anyone familiar with the historical origins of
> capitalism...and to anyone with a passing familiarity with Marx*s
> account of primitive accumulation.* The authors suggest that Yeltsin*s
> U.S. advisers blundered in their guidance, resulting in the
> de-modernization of that once advanced society, but I suspect that was
> Washington*s intention all along. It no more wanted a capitalist rival
> with Russia*s potential than it did a communist rival of the USSR*s
> potential. In general, their analysis of why the Russian economy
> crumbled is quite good.
> The article declares that *China*s increasingly restless and
> combative labor force has yet to find its voice, but when it does, this
> could throw a large wrench into the World Bank-comprador bureaucrat
> plans for a transition to capitalism.* We may have seen a vision of the
> future in the recent three-day street battle to protest the closing of
> an *unprofitable* mine in Liaoning. Clearly, WTO membership (as much
> of the U.S. ruling class understands) will undoubtedly accelerate
> Beijing*s passage down the capitalist road, causing still further
> hardship for the masses. I oppose the theory that *the worse it gets,
> the better it gets,* since this conveys the impression that the
> increasing misery of the working class can ever be positive*but one must
> recognize the possibility that further movement toward capitalism may
> finally result in a serious radical turn from below that will strongly
> impact on the CCP*s left wing and lead to one more great reversal in the
> direction of the Chinese revolution.
> (end)

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