Billy Bob ponders China, Mao, Deng, Xi, Russia, USSR, and what is all means to today’s headlines

“A lot of “anti-imperialists” that have the good sense not to support imperialist wars of conquest, in Syria, Ukraine, or Palestine, are not sold on communism and are wary of those countries that are governed by a communist party.  These folks will often echo imperialist slurs about China and the Soviet Union and their “authoritarian nature”.  Many have internalized anti-communist propaganda and they will often refer to China or the Soviet Union as “imperialist countries”.  So, what can be said to these good folks and how can we present reality in a compelling and persuasive way that would help shift their position from a rejection of communism to the embrace of the mainstream understanding of communism that is shared by the majority of communists worldwide, including the 100 million strong Communist Party of China?

I think we must begin by acknowledging that “non-communists” by definition, probably understand communism differently than the way communists themselves understand communism.  Additionally, it must be acknowledged that even within the international communist community, there exists many different understandings and beliefs regarding what defines communist ideology.

I think it is important therefore to limit our definition of “communism” to the broad Marxist Leninist understanding of communism that was shared by the Soviet Union and is currently the foundational ideology that informs the policies of governments in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and China.  Let’s call this “authentic” or at least “mainstream” communism and let’s call the unsuccessful minority view “western Marxism” or “inauthentic communism” or the “compatible left”.

Given the chasm of ideological difference between Marxism-Leninism on the one hand and Western Marxism on the other, it would be a tremendous mistake to gloss over these differences and treat them like unimportant internal ideological squabbles that can be ignored and that do not need to be appreciate or incorporated into our analysis.

Here is my working definition of “real communism” or “Marxism-Leninism”:

“Authentic communism”: the identification and pragmatic pursuit of the political and economic interests of the working-class majority, within the context of an ever-changing kaleidoscope of material conditions, and against the oppositional interests of the global elite minority.”

This is the prime ideological bedrock that informs the deliberations and policies of the Marxist-Leninist political parties that are in power around the world.  Let’s also keep in mind that the material conditions faced by a given Marxist-Leninist political party is largely dependent on the behavior of Western Imperialism.  So, no two Marxist-Leninist governments are identical, nor do they pursue the exact same policies.

For instance, while Cuba, DPRK, and Venezuela, are all currently subjected to a merciless economic embargo and ongoing efforts to destroy their economies, the West granted China an opportunity to free itself from the Western trade embargo.  Normalizing economic relations with the West, resulted in China receiving trillions of dollars in direct foreign investment, and China has subsequently integrated themselves within the global economy, as much as they possibly could.

China’s eagerness to have the West end it’s efforts to strangle and suffocate their economy, was obviously best for China, but it has also been great for the world.  In a very short time China has grown enough to displace Western global hegemony and by so doing, they are able to offer the developing world an alternative to the rape and exploitation offered by imperialism.  It is for this reason that the West has so quickly decided to abandon their “free trade” policy and return to a strategy of economic “containment” and subversion.

Ever since the West agreed to allow China to join the global economy, China has been playing the long peaceful game of development, principled engagement, win-win trade, peace through mutual prosperity, and strict adherence to a policy of nonintervention in the domestic affairs of other countries.  They have gone out of their way not to antagonize anyone, and they have worked tirelessly not to give the West any reason to attack them.  They have avoided leveraging their power within the global economy, for the purposes of political activism and China continues to maintain a very cautious approach to global affairs.  This approach has paid off to an extent that the West never thought possible, and it is impossible to overstate the unprecedented success that has been achieved thanks to the policies and leadership of the CPC.

Yet, many folks lack an appreciation of the reality laid out above and they are not happy with, nor do they understand, China’s long-term vision.  These folks perceive China to be overly cautious and unprincipled, primarily because of the trade that China conducts with pariah countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine.  They assert that China lacks principles and values and is only doing what is best for China without concern for what is best for humanity and the planet.  Why can’t China “take a side” they ask, and utilize the economic leverage at their disposal to virtue signal their principles to everyone, especially their opposition to Western imperialism?

In essence, these folks are unhappy with the long-term strategy being pursued by China and want China to scrap this strategy in favor of short-sighted adventurism that would quickly end the status quo and escalate the conflict between the declining Western hegemon and the emerging multi-polar world.

I think it is misguided to condemn China for not changing their strategy that has been so successful at peacefully winning the struggle on all fronts.  Russia and China both understand that the West is seeking their destruction.  Both Russia and China understand that together they have the strength to defeat Western imperialism.  The history of the Sino-Soviet split was a disaster for both nations and both governments are smart enough and responsible enough to manage their relationship in a way which will lead to ultimate victory against the West.

China will not let Russia be defeated and vice versa.  This has been made clear by the “no limits partnership” and “closer than brothers” rhetoric that is espoused by both sides.  They are united in a shared ideological interest to resist their mutual destruction at the hands of a desperate and morally unconstrained Western oligarchy.  A strong China is necessary for Russia’s survival just as a strong Russia is necessary for China’s survival.  China has done a lot to stabilize and strengthen Russia’s economy and Russia has done the same for China.  Their relationship is truly complementary as Russia has the resources China needs and China can provide the exports necessary to keep Russia strong and their economy growing.

I believe the Russian government is happy to see China continue for as long as possible, to avoid direct confrontation with the West and to continue to benefit from Western trade.  China of course has the right to determine its own red lines and how to best balance their interests.  On the one hand, China hopes that the West changes course and rejects futile confrontation but on the other hand, China will not back down on core existential interests involving their sovereignty.  China has been clear about their red lines and the US will, in all likelihood, soon cross them in order to initiate a confrontation.  Until then, there continues to be a tremendous amount of cooperation and trade taking place and China is keen to ensure that they are not responsible for ending the era of cooperation or initiating the era of confrontation and conflict.  Such a change in the status quo would be terrible for humanity, terrible for the West, and terrible for Russia and China.  Lamenting that Russia is making all the sacrifices and accusing China of “self-interest”, is to ignore all of these ideological and geo-political realities.

China may be “self-interested” but they understand that their “self-interest” is inextricably linked to facilitating the transition from unipolarism to multipolarism *in the most peaceful way possible*.  They also understand that in order to do this, they must maintain a strong relationship with Russia and that if they fail at this endeavor, they jeopardize both their own survival as well as Russia’s.  China does not abstract “what is good for China” from what is good for humanity.  What is good for humanity is what is good for China and vice versa.  We should not project on to China the “block mentality” and “zero-sum” approach that defines the imperialist approach to global governance.

This brings us back full circle to the foundational ideology of Marxism-Leninism.  Multipolarism, and the peace through development and mutual prosperity practiced by China, is not the same as the violent and exploitative unipolar hegemony practiced by the West for the last 75 years.  Projecting a diabolical Western liberalism onto China and asserting that they are no different than the West in their motives, behaviors, or actions, is to ignore the reality of class struggle and the ideology that has succeeded in changing material conditions in such a way that real and tremendous improvement is possible and indeed unstoppable.

China, deserves our thanks for making success possible and Russia deserves our thanks for stepping up and being the first to resist the trampling of their red-lines and their core security concerns.  But let’s not condemn China for waiting for their own red-lines to be trampled before foolishly running headlong into conflict.  Russia is winning.  A provocative move by China to “prove” their solidarity to Russian partisans, would be both unwanted by the Russian government, and self-defeating.  Let’s let the West make its move and lets trust China to respond appropriately.

If anyone understands the momentous gravity of the current situation, it is the CPC.  If anyone has a handle on the situation and is best positioned to know which tactics and strategies to adopt in order to achieve the most peaceful victory possible, it is the CPC.  I trust their judgement as they have proven themselves with the unprecedented success that they have already achieved.  China has been very clear about their red lines, and they are well prepared to respond to any conflict or confrontation initiated by the West.

Young Mao was absolutely prescient and correct when in 1936 he observed:

“When China finally wins her independence then legitimate foreign trading interests will enjoy more opportunities than ever before. The power of production and consumption of 450,000,000 people is not a matter that can remain the exclusive interest of the Chinese, but one that must engage the many nations. Our millions of people, once really emancipated, with their great latent productive possibilities freed for creative activity in every field, can help improve the economy as well as raise the cultural level of the whole world.”

Deng Xiaoping articulated China’s steady approach to foreign policy and development this way:

 “Those countries want to apply sanctions against us? All right, but first, let’s ask them why this is any of their business. And second, if it is, then we can fight with sanctions, too. Our economic growth might suffer, but not all that much. We’ve done all right under international sanctions for most of the forty years of the People’s Republic. So we don’t have to worry too much; we can take it all calmly. This little tempest is not going to blow us over. We’re not trying to offend anybody; we’re just plugging away at our own work. Anybody who tries to interfere in our affairs or threaten us is going to come up empty.”

Lastly, here is Xi Jinping on the future of the multi-polar world:

“What we need to do is to replace conflict with dialogue, coercion with consultation and zero-sum with win-win, expand the converging interests of all and build a big global family of harmony and cooperation.”

Leave a Reply

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