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John Passant

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October 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Mao: from mass murder to the market

The triumph of mass murderer Mao Zedong was not the victory of socialism; it was the victory of a de-classed peasant army headed by intellectuals and others parading  as ‘communists’ over warlord capitalism.

Mao proceeded to build capitalism in the backward country, using Stalinism in Russia as his model.

This saw the state concentrate capital in its own hands, forcing peasants off the land into the factories and expropriating the value they made to create more value.

The historic  role of the dictatorship of the Communist Party became to rapidly industrialise the country and thus move it from a backward feudal system to a modern capitalist one.

But by the mid seventies it was clear the state version of capitalism was suffering the same internal contradictions as its market brother in the West. 

The combination of impending economic crisis and the lack of political legitimacy saw the Stalinists in China move to market capitalism as a solution to their economic problems and as a way to buy off discontent. 

The dictatorship of the party is the very opposite of Marx’s vision.

As he wrote  in The Communist Manifesto: 

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

The sideways shift in China to market capitalism to buy off the vast majority has worked, but only because it has managed to ‘free’ state capitalism partially from the shackles of the State and expand the accumulation process across the country.

This hybrid of state and market (in both political and economic guises) has been built on the rapid industrialisation of the  country, with in China’s case this industrialisation being part of the move from a command economy to a  market one.

As Marx wrote in Capital, the history of capitalism is written in blood. 

The rise of Stalinism on the bones literally of the peasantry and any political opposition mirrors and concertinas the three hundred year war against its people the bourgeoisie undertook in Europe  and then round the world which Marx wrote about in Capital.

The working class was at the center of Marx’s understanding of socialist revolution.  The working class as working class played no role in the Chinese revolution.

The small but powerful Chinese working class did not struggle against the old order; it did not set up democratic councils to rule; it did not even strike during the Maoist conquest of power.  

Mao told workers to be calm and not to strike, knowing that the class, if inspired by his impending and then actual victory, took action to reflect its own interests, that could threaten his rule.  

The workers and peasants’ uprising of 1925-276 in China had the potential to overthrow the brutal feudal system and join with the last dying embers embers of the Russian revolution to spark revolutions across the industrialised world and thus save the Russian revolution itself.

Instead the Guomindang and the Chinese Communist Party, under the influence of Stalin, defeated the Chinese workers and peasants uprising.

This defeat, coupled with the defeat of the German Revolution a few years before, condemned the Russian revolution to isolation and cemented Stalin in power.

Stalin with his 5 year plans then began the process of building capitalism in Russia, a capitalism where the State was the essence of capital, expropriating the value society produces to accumulate more value.

Mao in victory replicated this process.

The very success of the Chinese Communist Party in industrialising China is cause for optimism about the future.  The dictatorship has created its own gravediggers. 

The Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989 contained within it the seeds of a workers’ revolution against the dictatorship. It was a dress rehearsal for the future.

The dictators fear a strong working class taking action to defend its own interests (food, jobs, pay. justice, freedom and liberation). The spectre of communism haunts the Chinese Communist Party.

The recent massive stimulus package is an attempt by the dictatorship to stave off social unrest caused by unemployment and poverty.

It may temporarily increase economic activity in China but in the long term the impact of the global economic crisis and the contradictions inherent in Chinese capitalism mean that the working class and peasantry will revolt against the dictatorship again. 

Then and only then can we begin to talk about socialism in China.

Readers might also like to look at Tiananmen Square: a dress rehearsal for the future; Tiananmen Square 1989: China’s uprising;The changing shape of struggle in China; The rise of Stalin: what really happened.


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