Letter from a fan. People like Henrik Wahren inspired me to fight for the Global Majority and tell the 5,000-year story of the Chinese people.

Hello Jeff,

it’s peculiar how using your first name seems appropriate even though we don’t know each other. But having read many of your writings and listened to you for about a year now, it feels like I’m talking to someone I know. Apologies for the presumption and if this email adds to an already overflowing inbox simply flick it to the bin; I would fully understand.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to contact you is mainly to thank you for the wonderful work you do in educating people about the world, China in particular. Your shows, along with Ben Norton’s Geopolitical report and a few others, are the essential antidotes against the vile filth that the BLPM spews forth every single day. A daily cleansing is such a relief!

A related reason for contacting you was to provide another story of someone in the West who woke up and how. Yes, it’s a self-serving exercise, but perhaps it also shows the range of backgrounds and experiences of the people that learn to accept the truth. Whether such a story is useful only you can judge.

So, how did this privileged westerner, imbued in western ‘history’, political discourse and culture since birth, come to see the West as the most destructive, grotesque, evil and malignant example of human culture, beliefs and worldview in history? It’s a long story, but don’t worry, I’ll only mention a few highlights. 

I was born in Sweden and grew up in Finland and Sweden during the early 1960s. This was a typical conservative, protestant, northern European upbringing. At that time, the Soviet Union was the evil empire and the US was nirvana, a point of view that stayed with me for several decades. At the age of 10 my family shifted to Australia and after finishing school, I got into university with little clue of what to pursue, but stumbled upon ecology. It was love at first sight and became my profession for over 30 years. My knowledge of and interest in economics and politics was minimal, because life was good for middle-class white people and most of the research I was involved with involved field studies that were largely apolitical. Or so I thought and wanted them to remain. 

Despite my wishes, politics and social issues would constantly intervene in my thinking and analyses. The questions I pursued, annoyingly and invariably, led to broader social and political issues, issues I didn’t fully grasp. Later in my career, these became my main interest, along with history and philosophy. Such disciplines were not dismissed in discussions with colleagues, but they were also not encouraged and in writing papers they were to be left out. “Stick to the science!” was the constant refrain. The injunction disturbed me because it was clear that social and political factors played important roles in what we were researching, and it seemed to me that an ‘objective’ stance was impossible and stupid. This all occurred toward the end of my career and largely led to my decision to retire early. 

Also, during this latter part of my career, I came across a book by authors whose scientific articles I had enjoyed over several years. It was called ‘The Dialectical Biologist’ by Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, which was about how dialectics can be used in ecological research to great benefit. It was an enjoyable read and seemed to speak directly to me because it showed the relevance of politics and social realities to research, and that science is as influenced by politics and power as any other discipline. But I didn’t really grasp what dialectics was all about or the relevance of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two dead white men from the 19th century. 

In response, I searched for books on dialectics and came across an unassuming little volume called ‘Dance of the Dialectic’ by Bertell Ollman. For me, the book was like a nuclear bomb going off. “Holy shit!”, I thought. “This fellow Karl Marx was a damn genius! Forget the communist stuff”, I thought at first. “He and Engels had developed ecosystem theory waaaaay before it became fashionable in the late 20th century. And he showed the critical relevance and interrelationship between science, society, history and philosophy. Yes! I have to tell people about this. They must know!” After calming down a bit and looking into the matter a little more soberly, I rapidly came to realise that the connection between Marx, Engels and science, ecology in particular, had always been there, influencing several generations of scientists up to the present, and not just in the Soviet Union, but in the UK, the US, Europe and elsewhere (a great book on this history is in John Bellamy Foster’s ‘The Return of Nature’). Most scientists today, however, are unaware of this history, as is the general public. Instead, a different form of science came to dominate, and this was largely for ideological reasons with roots going back hundreds of years.

Today, it’s very difficult for me to see anything good in the western world, except the potential in people, while China stands out as a beacon of hope. And I’ve never even been to China! Living in southern Tasmania, you can probably imagine the constant vilification of China and Russia. It is exhausting, sad and irritating. The level of ignorance, inanity and psychopathy displayed by ‘our’ government and talking heads – let alone the general public – has led me to the conclusion that we’re dealing with a chronic disease that has afflicted the western world for 2500 years or more. Why? Because much of the underlying philosophy and laws of the west stem from the slave societies of ancient Greece and Rome. In China, the worldview appears to be one based largely on or significantly influenced by Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. No wonder Marxism was such a natural fit for China. 

In this context I wanted to mention Shuchen Xiang’s recent book, ‘Chinese Cosmopolitanism: The History and Philosophy of an Idea’. The book lays out why the west’s idea of universalism is false and the differences between western and Chinese metaphysics. Crudely, one is based on idealism, the other on materialism. This has led to the west’s foreign policy of confrontation and domination, while the Chinese seek harmony and cooperation. Western history of racism, colonialism and imperialism makes all this crystal clear, but Xiang explains the underlying metaphysical reasons for this contrasting history and worldview. This also means that to attempt to understand China and Chinese foreign policy based on a western metaphysics will fail. This will be extremely difficult for a westerner to understand: Western metaphysics does not apply. None of this is news to you, and I apologise if it seems that I’m trying to tell you how to boil potatoes. My point is only that Xiang’s book could, along with your ‘Big Red Book on China’, greatly benefit a western audience willing to listen.

Thanks again, Jeff, for all the great work you do.

Cheers, Henrik Wahren

Note: I gave Henrick a nice reply. He followed back with,

Hello Jeff,

and thanks for the lovely reply! Of course, you can use my message with attribution, although my little story is just one among millions who have woken up. And you’re right about all the extraordinary individuals you mentioned, from Lenin, Stalin, Luxemburg, Mao and Castro to Sankara, Lumumba, Chavez and Maduro. So much to learn (and so little time), but I’m dipping into Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin now and recently got hold of Vijay Prashad’s selection of Ho Chi Minh’s writings in the book ‘Selected Ho Chi Minh’. It’s such a feast, but utterly wasted unless it combines with organising and political action. With Xiang’s book, my only gripe with her overall argument is that it’s largely based on idealism.

Tassie is beautiful (although still somewhat socially backward), so come for a visit any time.

In defiance of the colonialists’ best efforts, not all aboriginal people were killed off in Tasmania, although their culture has almost been completely destroyed. They persist and are fighting back not only here in Tassie but throughout Australia. This is despite the failure of last year’s referendum to give Aboriginal people a voice in parliament. Even that tiny concession was rejected by over 60% of people here. Sadly, racism and fascism are alive and well downunder, but this is to be expected given that White Oz is a child of empire and remains a sycophantic lickspittle of today’s hegemon.



4 Responses to “Letter from a fan. People like Henrik Wahren inspired me to fight for the Global Majority and tell the 5,000-year story of the Chinese people.

  • A wonderful story of enlightenment–and a spot on critique. Thank you, Henrik, for all the references to good books. “So much to learn and so little time” indeed! Such knowledge is necessary, but unfortunately not sufficient–“utterly wasted unless it combines with organising and political action” as you say. Unfortunately, even the most well-meaning in the West are so thoroughly propagandized and confused that a coherent Left is impossible. It is only the example of the East which combines intellectual truth with an actual program, that links enlightenment with material reality. This is the hope of Mankind. Thanks to you both, Henrik and Jeff.

  • Richard, I will let Henrik know of your wonderful reply and hopefully he can comment.


  • Thank you for your kind words, Richard, and for adding your voice to a chorus that seems to be getting louder. Perhaps too many in the west remain asleep, confused and ignorant. As you point out, we are propagandised to the eye-balls, immersed since birth in a mythology and worldview more deadly than the Black Death. And yet, protests are popping up everywhere: in Europe, North America, South America, even in sleepy vassal states like Australia. Agricultural reforms, wage theft, wars, recessions, inflation, debt, housing crises, persecution of journalists, censorship, global warming, chemical pollution, racism, genocide, the list is endless. Unfortunately, most of us in the west largely respond individually to individual horrors, rather than acting cohesively, based on the understanding that these disparate obscenities are systemic symptoms. It is only from such an understanding, I think, that national and international solidarity can develop and it becomes possible for us to organise collectively. And here education is critical. It is up to all of us to educate ourselves and to help others without condescension or condemnation.

  • Thoughtful and hopeful discussion, Henrik and Richard. Thank you.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *