Tibet protests grab the headlines

– Daphna Whitmore

Recent protests in Tibet have thrown the spotlight on one of the world’s most remote regions. Led by Tibetan monks, protesters attacked Han Chinese and Hui Muslim immigrants. Tibetans say the Chinese authorities favour the new migrants while treating the locals as second-class citizens.

As the government clamped down on demonstrators. reports have come in of dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. With the Beijing Olympics just six months away, the protests may stay centre-stage.


Cultural swamp

Tibetans accuse China of trying to destroy their culture by swamping the region with ethnic Chinese. On the other hand, allowing some of China’s vast population to move into sparsely occupied areas makes sense.

Tibet remains one of the most underdeveloped parts of the world. Fifty years ago the region had no roads or rail. Travel was by foot, or by mule or yak. The population numbered just a couple of million spread over an area the size of Western Europe. As revolution was sweeping China in the 1940s, the Tibetan region was largely unaffected.

While some Hollywood stars romanticise the old Tibet, it was a hellhole for the majority. They had no more rights than the slaves on the plantations of the southern states of America. It wasn’t until the Chinese People’s Liberation Army went into Tibet in October 1950 that the old lama feudal system of serfs and masters was challenged.

Liberation was not something that could be simply decreed by revolutionary China; the groundwork needed to be laid, and it would take time. In the mid-1950s, revolutionary land seizures began on some of the richest lamas’ estates.

The lamas resisted, and in 1959 they staged an uprising. It failed, and the Dalai Lama fled along with 80,000 followers. Most settled in India; some in Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim.

Land reform in Tibet progressed, and hundreds of communal farms were established in the 1960s. No longer would serfs be seen in rags, carrying the litter of a noble dressed in gold and riches. Disease and superstition declined, and life expectancy grew from 35 years to 67.

A single Tibetan dialect was promoted to make communication across the region possible, and literacy campaigns were launched. For the first time in history, books and films were produced in Tibetan.

Opposition from Tibetans outside China continued, supported, funded and spurred on by the United States as part of the Cold War.

Hypocrites’ haven

While telling his followers to eschew worldly possessions, the Dalai Lama smuggled out millions of dollars when he fled in 1959. Something of a deity to Western “New Agers”, this gold-laden god-king also draws support from some peace activists who fail to notice his silence on the war in Iraq.

Whatever the double standards of the Dalai Lama, he is not the only hypocrite. The United States, while carrying out slaughter in Iraq, castigates “communist” China for human rights abuses. Those outbursts are mainly for public consumption. Washington knows full well that China, now brimming with stock exchanges, has well and truly joined the capitalist club. For the US, China today is both a trading partner and a competitor . New Zealand too has strong economic links with China and has concluded a free trade agreement. While some here decry the agreement on the grounds that “New Zealand jobs will be lost” neither free trade or protection are mutually exclusive. Both are used in the process of capitalist exploitation. Genuine free trade does not exist in a world dominated by big multinational corporations, and even the loudest cheerleaders for free trade – the United States – practice a high degree of protectionism, while demanding open access to other countries.

In the West the progressive stance is not to insist on protectionism to maintain local capitalists – who if successful will grow to become multinationals in their own right anyway. The important thing is to oppose capitalist exploitation, be it local or foreign, and extend international solidarity to Chinese workers.

Despite China’s rapid growth, it still is a third-world country and a long way off superpower status. Since capitalist restoration in China, Washington is less interested in supporting Tibetan separatism. Its aim nowadays is to encourage the Dalai Lama to pressure Beijing to move away from strict centralisation and to open the country up further to supply cheap labour and lucrative markets. That is the sort of freedom Washington really believes in.

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Comments

  1. Sam Flewett says:

    Which Side Are You On?

    It was my understanding that as Marxists, we must support demands for national liberation wherever and whenever they spring up. While there has been an increase in the material standard of living for Tibetans, this is a feature shared by all capitalist regions during their early stage of expansion as was the case for China in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    The role of the Chinese state (which was never a workers’ state – Mao instructed workers to go to work as per normal when his army took power in 1949), is to facilitate the smooth running and expansion of Chinese capitalism. As an instrument of the Chinese capitalist class, the Chinese state seeks to control its more remote provinces, and will always try and dress up its interventions in these regions in humanitarian terms. This is the same approach as taken by the Australian state in its intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory (in this case the justification being child sexual abuse).

    As in instrument of bosses’ control, the capitalist state cannot and will not go out to bat for workers, and in the case of Tibet, it is serving the expansionist needs of Chinese capitalism which needs ever expanding sources of cheap labour to expand into to fuel its rapid development.

    The Tibetans have suffered 50 years of ethnic and religious suppression, and the latest protests have shown that the Tibetan people are no longer willing to be subjected to this oppression by either the Chinese State or the Dalai Lama who to the tune of other bourgeois nationalists (Mahmoud Abbas comes to mind) doesn’t really want independence but just their own slice of the capitalist pie.

    Now that the Tibetans are fighting back, socialists in the West must be taking inspiration from them in the same way that we take inspiration from the struggles of the Palestinians, Iraqis and other oppressed groups. This article is not expressing solidarity with the Tibetans and is instead apologising for the atrocities of the Chinese State. This is the same state that is re colonising parts of Africa, the same state that gunned down hundreds of workers and students in Tiannamen Square, and the same state that crushes the resistance of the workers in the sweatshops of Shanghai and around Hong Kong. This state also has friends closer to home in the form of the Australian Federal Police who violently attacked solidarity protesters outside the Chinese Consulate in Sydney a few weeks ago.

    There are times as socialists that we need to take sides and this is one of them.
    WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

  2. So do you support Chinese troops massacring students in Tiananmen Square? You guys are [personal abuse deleted – moderator] and ought to look at real Marxism.

  3. Sam, as the article makes clear the Workers Party does not regard China in the 21st century as anything other than a capitalist country. Whether China ever was communist at some point in the past is a matter of debate among our members, but nobody pretends that China today is any king of “workers state”.

    Our opposition to calls to “Free Tibet” has nothing to do with any illusions in the Chinese government. Rather, it relates to the fact that the Tibetan issue is being used as a stalking horse for US and Western imperialism. (in much the same way as the Kosova Albanians are in the Balkans), not to mention that the Tibetan leadership in the form of the Dalai Lama is fundamentally reactionary.

    Therefore, to call for independence for Tibet at the current juncture would be to place ourselves objectively in the same camp as George W. Bush and Nicholas Sarkozy et al.

    As I’m sure you are well aware, socialists (including your own group Socialist Alternative Australia and the ISO in NZ) did not join in the chorus of Western support for Kosovan independence in 1999 which saw NATO bomb Serbia and move in to establish an imperialist client-state.

    This did not mean of course that we didn’t think that the Kosova Albanians had a right to self-determination – simply that to raise a call for Kosovan independence at that particular juncture and in the face of an imperialist crusade against Serbia would have been tactically impermissible.

    As Lenin wrote in “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination”:

    “while recognizing equality and equal rights to a national state, the [proletariat] values above all and places foremost the alliance of the proletarians of all nations, and assesses any national demand, any national separation, from the angle of the workers’ class struggle…. Insofar as the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation fights its oppressor, we are always, in every case, and more strongly than anyone else, in favor, for we are the staunchest and the most consistent enemies of oppression. But insofar as the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation stands for its own bourgeois nationalism, we stand against…. That is why the proletariat confines itself, so to speak, to the negative demand for recognition of the right to self-determination, without giving guarantees to any nation, and without undertaking to give anything at the expense of another nation.”

    Finally, in response to Ben’s rather intemperate comment, neither the Workers Party nor any of its predecessor organisations supported the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

  4. BTW there is a good article on the whole issue of Marxism and the National Question in the theoretical journal of Sam’s US co-thinkers, the International Socialist Organisation, which you can find at the link posted below (it also includes the quotation from Lenin that I referred to above):

    http://www.isreview.org/issues/13/marxism_nationalism_part1.shtml

  5. Sam Flewett says:

    A few comments in reply to Tim:

    Firstly, the fact that China today is a capitalist state is not up for debate, this is generally agreed upon by everyone both left and right. The moot point is however what was the nature of the Chinese state in the 1950’s and 1960’s. What essentially happened back then was that Tibet was colonised by Beijing, and Daphna uses much of the same rhetoric in her article as that used by Western apologists for colonialism. If one keeps the rhetoric the same but changes the location to NZ or Australia, she could have been arguing that it is a wonderful thing that books are now written in Te Reo and Maori no longer walk around in grass skirts, conveniently forgetting all of the oppression that took place as one ‘backward’ culture was suppressed by an ‘advanced’ culture.

    Tim argues that it is a matter of debate in the organisation with regards to the nature of the Chinese State in these years. Marx was pretty clear when he said that the emancipation of the working class had to be the work of the working class themselves – clearly meaning that ’emancipation’ at the hands of an invading army isn’t emancipation at all but colonialism instead. Thus by not having a clear view on the nature of the Chinese state, the WP ends up becoming an apologist for colonialism.

    Tim’s argument that we must not voice our support for the Tibetan struggle because it will fall into the hands of Bush et al is simply lame. It is not hard to argue to support the Tibetan resistance and at the same time make the point that any US ‘support’ is little more than cynical opportunism, especially given their record in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    Finally on the point of Lenin’s quote, Lenin states that we should support national liberation struggles when the bourgeoisie is playing a progressive role and by inference in all situations where the the leading forces are from classes below the bourgeoisie. In the case of Tibet, the Dalai Lama is playing a conservative role and in fact the leading forces are to the left of him; meaning that I don’t see the point in this quote in any way backing up Tim’s argument.

    To conclude, Daphna’s article apologises for a Chinese version of the racist ‘white man’s burdan’, and Tim’s lame attempt to defend it is really quite sad given that from my understanding, he is a genuinely left wing person who wishes to fight for a better world. I think this issue really shows how a person’s view of history determines the position that they take on current issues today, and Daphna’s mistaken view of China going through a revolutionary period in the 50’s and 60’s means that she simply ends up as a probably unintentional backer of colonialism.

  6. But Sam if it is true that socialists really are compelled to support national independence movements at all times and in all places, then doesn’t that mean that your old organisation the ISO NZ (of which I was a member at the time!) was wrong to oppose Kosovan independence in 1999?

    Also setting aside the argument about imperialism for a moment, Lenin was also quite clear that where you have a situation of what he called “interpenetrated peoples” (two or more peoples living in the same national territory) to call for the formation of a separate nation state would be sheer folly. This is the case in Tibet today where Tibetans are actually a *minority* outnumbered by the Han Chinese. So the only way you could have a free and independent Tibet would be via enormous forced population transfers along the lines of the 1947 partition in India which led the creation of modern Pakistan (which incidentally socialists also opposed).

    Or to take an even more concrete example, in NZ today the creation of an independent Maori state would be a sheer physical impossibilty due to the simple fact that no part of the country is ethnically homogenous as well as the high rate of intermarriage. Moreover, any attempt to create such an entity would lead not only to enormous suffering and economic deprivation, but it would also neatly divide the working class and set back the prospect of a sucessful socialist revolution for years if not indefinitely.

    Basically, my point is that just because a people are “oppressed” (or suffered territorial dispossession in the past) does not mean that we can or should AUTOMATICALLY decide to support calls for territorial self-determination today. We rightly should support calls for self-determination only where they will remove barriers to future working class unity. Where on the other hand calls for national self-determination will instead *increase* divisions, increase material poverty and strengthen the hand of imperialism then we will generally oppose them.

    At the end of the day we are revolutionary marxists, not militant Wilsonian liberals. Oppression exists for us not as an idealist construct but as a material manifestation of capitalism, and it is the need to build and develop a united working class movement with a revolutionary anti-capitalist consciousness NOT repeating the popular slogans of the day that should decide our tactics and strategy.

  7. andrew t says:

    There can be no question that Marxists must resolutely oppose the occupation of Tibet. Implicit in Daphna’s argument is the idea that Tibet under Chinese occupation was at some vague stage, a socialist state – ie a state under the democratic control of workers and peasants. This is hogwash, as Sam has demonstrated.

    Daphna’s approach may have been demolished by Sam F, but Tim B (a former International Socialist) has ably defended the article (relying heavily on ISO material, to be sure).

    His point about Kosovo is valid. Yugoslav nationalism was a progressive anti-imperialist phenomenon and the break up of Yugoslavia was manufactured by western imperialism and is a product of economic decline. This is not to defend Serb nationalism, which is as reactionary, if not more so, than the Kosovar variety.

    But Tim, because of his allliance with top-down Maoist “socialism” confuses progressive nationalism of the Yugoslav type, which is a popular movement from below even though it may be led by the bourgeoisie, with the Chinese invasion of Tibet, which was straightforward imperialism. The idea of staying on the sidelines in such a struggle is wrong especially because the movement IN Tibet is always to the left of the Dalai Lama.

    The question of interpenetration that Tim raises at the end raises a more difficult problem.

    I think we should call for an end to Chinese occupation and link it to the Iraq occupation but the presence of many settlers means the analogy is limited. In both cases we should link the role of the resistance in the ccupied territory and the role of the working class in the imperialist nation, but the emphasis we put on each of these elements should be reversed. IN Tibet, the Chinese working class is crucial to ending Tibetan oppression while in Iraq, the national resistance is more likely than the US working class to play the decisive role.

    Stressing the role of the Chinese proletariat is doubly important in our domestic context (anti-Chinese racism)

  8. Well first things first, as Andrew is well aware in WP unlike other left groups we don’t insist on 100% ideological homogeneity, so to talk about my supposed “alliance with top-down Maoist “socialism” is like talking about Daphna’s “alliance with Trotskyism”!

    Regarding the question of the differences in the history behind secessionist movements in the former Yugoslavia and the PRC, Andrew is correct to point out that the formation of Yugoslavia did arise out of a popular national liberation movement, wheras Tibetans were given little choice over their forcible re-incorporation into China in the 1950s.

    A closer analogy to the situation in Tibet might be found perhaps in the Soviet military intervention into Afghanistan in 1979 in support of the secular pro-Moscow PDPA regime in its struggle against the clerical-fascist Mujahideen.

    I would argue that as in the case of the Chinese invasion of Tibet the Afghan intervention was *wrong* from a socialist perspective precisely because as Andrew says the Russians and their PDPA alllies sought to impose liberation “from the top down”. HOWEVER, nonetheless it is impossible to deny that in both countries (Tibet and Afghanistan) the material position of the peasantry, of women and indeed pretty much everyone outside of the feudal and religious elites improved dramatically post-intervention.

    Therefore I would feel very uncomfortable calling for the victory of “national liberation movements” in Afghanistan and Tibet which are led by precisely those same old feudal and religious elites. In the 1980s many Trotskyist AND Maoist groups supported the struggle of the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and we all know what a wonderful result that brought about for the Afghan people!

    I would argue that an independent Tibet under the Dalai Lama would be, although taking into account local peculiarities perhaps not as violent as present day Afghanistan, undoubtedly materially much poorer and more inegalitarian than it is at present.

    It would also open the way to the Balkanisation of the rest of China, where many other national minority such as the Uighurs and Eastern Kazakhs in Xinjiang have just as good if not better claims to independence, yet are also now like the Tibetans outnumbered by Han Chinese and other recent immigrants in their own territories.

    The only way in which all of these competing claims could be realised would be through a bloody process of forced population transfers and mass genocide that would make the breakup of the former Yugoslavia look like a Sunday picnic!

    So as you can see despite differing on historical issues, it is possible for comrades like myself and Daphna to reach the same practical political conclusions.

    On Andrew’s last point though, I certainly agree that the revival of a mass revolutionary movement of Chinese workers is crucial to combating the Han chauvinism of the PRC regime as well as providing an axis of unity against the centrifrugal tensions that have the potential to set China on the same tragic path of destruction as Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

  9. hi comrades,

    articles on chinaworker.info may be of interest to you.

    ks

  10. andrew t says:

    As Sam pointed out before, the Russian and Chinese Stalinists claimed – like all good colonising powers – to be lifting the locals out of poverty, ignorance and backwardness. The invasion and subjugation of Ireland, Poland, the African continent, South America etc etc were all justified on these grounds.
    Marxists, following Lenin, argue that nation states exist within an imperialist system, a competitive, dog-eat-dog world. When the Soviet bureaucracy, headed by Stalin, abandoned international revolution for “socialism in one country” they joined the imperialist rat race, with all the filthy revivals of national chauvinism that implies.
    The invasions of Tibet and Afghanistan were all part of the “great chess game” – the fate of the local people was completely irrelevant.
    In Afghanistan, the “socialist” PDPA was typically Stalinist – they planned to drag their country “kicking and screaming” into the 20th century. All they did, in collaboration with the Soviet invasion, was make socalism a dirty word throughout the Middle East. Stalinism is directly culpable for the rise of fundamentalism – look at the Iraqi CP for a lesson in the bloody incompetence of Stalinist “leadership”.
    It’s no wonder that “despite differing on historical issues, you and Daphna can agree on practical and political issues” – you have adopted wholesale a Stalinist approach to national liberation struggles.
    What differences remain between you and Daphna?
    Worse, your Stalinist logic leads directly to supporting any imperialism. After all, isn’t the US army the only force holding back fundamentalist warlords in Iraq, aren’t Putin’s thugs better than Chechen bandits, isn’t the African Union force in Mogadishu better than tribal militia?
    Many Stalinists have taken this path before you. Some self-proclaimed ‘Marxists’ even support Israel because it is the “most democratic” country in the Middle East.
    It’s true the Tibetan struggle could destabilise the whole of China and the fact that you see only horror in this prospect shows how far you have moved away from revolutionary socialism. Of course there are dangers – extremely grave dangers, but also amazing possibilities. Karl’s website looks very interesting, I haven’t read it in depth, but I liked this para:

    “To go forward against such a powerful state [China], and one which moreover is supported in its policies towards Tibet by the capitalists around the world, the Tibetan masses must therefore link their struggle for basic democratic rights and an end to Chinese military occupation to the unfolding struggle of the super-exploited Chinese working class. . . Genuine democratic socialism has nothing in common with the bureaucratic one-party dictatorships of Mao or Stalin, let alone today’s neo-liberal ‘communists’ who rule China and the TAR. By linking up with the oppressed masses of the Himalayan region and india also, the Tibetan people’s struggle – as a socialist and anti-imperialist struggle – could inspire a continental movement to settle accounts with the rotten and corrupt system of capitalism and to establish international socialism.”

  11. Andrew, I’m still bemused by your claims as to my alleged “Stalinism” and your inistence that only “Stalinists” would oppose Tibetan independence!

    You might like to take a look at the following article by Andy Newman of the Socialist Unity website which gives a very detailed rebuttal of a lot of the arguements about Tibet currently being put forward by large sections of the far left (Andy was a member of the British SWP until he was expelled in the mid-90s and certainly no Stalinist!):

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=2063

    I’m quite willing to concede btw that there *is* a legitmate debate to be had on Tibet and that it is not at all a straightforward issue – but to try and insist that your opponents are a priori doomed to be in the wrong simply because they have not received the divine gospel of Tony Cliff IMO smacks of sect politics not revolutionary marxism.

    I think the major problem though for your argument by analogy re: Iraq and Somalia is that you assume there exists an = sign between the actions of US Imperialism and those of China under Mao or the former USSR. Apart from members of the IS tendency, no other marxist groups would subscribe to this.

    And even though China today in the 21st century is undoubtedly a capitalist market economy, I’ve yet to see any convincing argument that it is actually imperialist in the Leninist sense of the word:)

  12. Hi Tim, that was a very interesting article.
    eg weak central state means lobbying and protest are common – and becoming more so – Chinese protests are under-reported in the West, while the Tibet protests are relatively over-reported.

    “In the first half of 2005, there were 17 protests involving more than ten thousand people; and during that same six months 1700 people were injured and 100 killed during demonstrations.”

    Also interesting that Tibetans are NOT becoming a minority in their own country “only 6% of the population of the TAR is non-Tibetan” – so your point about “interpenetration” is not relevant.

    Also interesting about one material base for monasticism: “A preferred traditional Tibetan method of controlling rural population is to send people into monasteries, as the monastic population is sustained by the whole nation, and not only by the poorest rural farmers. ”

    And the way that Tibetan culture is in a much stronger position than Maori – and this is causing problems for their integration: “The paradox for Tibetans is that the fact they are educated in Tibetan and not Mandarin excludes them from well paying jobs . . . (It is worth reporting here that since 1988 it is compulsory for all officials to be conversant with the Tibetan language…)”

    These are just some of the interesting facts – the argument is something else.

  13. Andy Newman, regardless of what politics he once held, is advising the Tibetan people to seek gradual reforms from the “social democratic” wing of the Chinese CP. This is not the kind of approach that Lenin and other Russian revolutionaries took to teh question of minorities.
    I’ll quote Newman at length; “Tibet is poorer than most of China, but it shares this situation with most of the Western provinces, and it must be appreciated that the policy of economic development for the Western provinces was a victory for the left in the CCP, as the neo-con right wanted to concentrate all development only on the Eastern seaboard, whereas the left were worried about growing regional inequality.

    “It is hard to see that there is any social or economic class in Tibet whose interests would be improved by independence, and without such an interest then there are probably no grounds for a mass struggle for independence. Cultural and political autonomy within the Peoples’ Republic is an acheivable option, whereas full political “independence” would just mean Tibet swapped China for domination by the USA or India.

    “The disadvantages and social exclusion of Tibetans in their own land need to be addressed, but the fact that many of their economic grievances are the same as, or similar to, the problems faced by Han Chinese throughtout the whole of China must be recognised. Given the paranoia of the CCP about any threat to the unity of the Peoples’ Republic, then the least effective way to gain reforms to solve these problems is to link them with the demand for independence, and be seen to be aligned with the foreign powers who are enemies of the Chinese government. The last thing the Tibetan people need is to be used as a pawn in a propaganda war against Beijing.”

    Basically Newman says “China is fragile – don’t rock the boat. Trust in the “good” rulers”. Whatever you like to call that – realism, reformism, Stalinism, or craven cowardice – it is not revolutionary socialism.

    Yes, the nationalism of oppressed minorities could link up with a working class movement and overthrow the CP. Personally, I would be surprised if the CP is still in power in 10 years time – history can only suffer such absurdities as communist billionaires for a limited time.

    Yes, there are grave dangers. It is easy to forget that Chinese national liberation, led by Mao and the ‘communist’ party, drove out foreign occupation and warlords not so long ago. China could be dismantled.

    But exactly the same situation – no a far worse situation – faced revolutionaries during the First World War. Most so-called socialists sold out and bought the line that their own imperialism was better than the rival imperialism. The Russian revolutionaries were the notable exception and because of that they were able to lead a revolution.

    Revolutionaries should argue for the right of Tibet to secede and against the decision to secede – for a free association with China. You might say that is “unrealistic”, but any other position just means lining up with this or that ruling class.

    Having dispensed with that theoretical point (which will be illustrated again and again in the coming decade) it is possible to relate it to the current, NZ situation.

    In the west, our slogan should be “Support the resistance in Iraq and in Tibet”.

  14. I stand corrected on the issue of Tibetan population demographics (although checking on wikipedia I see that there are some 200 000 non-ethnic Tibetans living in the TAR – a fairly significant number who would not one imagines be terribly keen on independence – just like the Serb minority in Kosovo).

    But I’m still unconvinced that supporting imperialist-backed secessionist movements is a good idea. The following article on the UK website 21st Century Socialism contains some rather disquieting revelations in this regard, such as the fact that one of the most vocal pro-independence groups the Tibetan Youth Congress is directly funded by the US government via its “National Endowment for Democracy”!

    http://21stcenturysocialism.com/article/the_unusual_suspect_01635.html

  15. Alastair Reith says:

    “Revolutionaries should argue for the right to secede and against the decision to secede – for a free association with China”

    Hmm, this is strange… THAT’S THE EXACT LINE THAT THE WP IS PUTTING OUT. We have NEVER said that Tibet has no right to secede, and I challenge you to provide a quote that indicates that we have, Andrew.

    What Daphna’s article is saying is that A: The Tibetan people will be no better of as an indpendent state than they will as part of China, and B: Revolutionaries in the West should not jump on the “Free Tibet” bandwagon (ast he ISO appears to have done, judging by the posters you guys have put up outside Clubs and Socs) and line up behind our ruling class and those of the other imperialist countries in their support of Tibetan secessionism.

    YOU are the one “lining up behind this or that ruling class”, Andrew, not us.

    The WP is made up of Marxist-Leninists, and as such we have a Leninist position on the national question. So that’s an empty argument you’re throwing at us.

    What the ISO is doing, as per usual, is jumping on the latest liberal bandwagon that rolls past with vaguely left leaning students waving “Free Tibet” banners over it’s side.

    The ISO, like Socialist Alternative in Australia and other such Cliffite organisations around the world, sees students as the people it should build it’s support base amongst rather than workers, and as such the ISO is tail-ending the student liberal consciousness in order to try and recruit students to it.

    It deflects attantion from the actual issues at hand by going off on tangents about Stalin, the Russian Revolution and state-capitalism, because in the ISO’s warped view of the world the most principal concern for any revolutionary organisation is having a rabidly sectarian policy towards anyone who isn’t a Trotskyist, and specifically a Cliffite, and correct practice can only flow from this position.

    Here’s a dilemma for you Andrew, since Tim’s “Stalinist logic” is apparently to blame for his heinous crime of not blindly tail-ending his own ruling class – since the British SWP originally supported British troops going into Ireland in 1969 there must be a “state capitalist logic” that leads to support for imperialist occupations!!

  16. None of the substance of my points has been addressed.

    Alastair, the WP position as put forward by Daphna – a Maoist – deliberately fudges the issue of Chinese invasion and occupation. You can’t claim ANY exact line on Tibet.
    Tim, I thought that the point of WP was that there would be healthy debate between two traditions resulting in better, more concrete analysis. Reread this thread, and and see who is calling names and who is debating facts.
    Also, reread the debate that followed the Newman article and see how far he goes to defend the CCP regime and the occupation of Tibet.
    cheers
    A

  17. Andrew, it is actually one of the most positive features of WP that we DON’T have an “exact party line” on how the revolution should be fought in other parts of the world. So it´s no wonder that Daphna´s article does not attempt to lay down what should be the “key slogan of the hour”.

    WP members are free to voice their own opinions on issues such as Tibet, but at the end of the day we’re realistic enough to realise that whatever socialists in NZ say or do counts for very little. Our main duty is simply to oppose Western imperialism and leave the finer details of strategy and tactics to the people who are actually on the ground and have a much better idea of the political terrain.

    I´m sorry that you feel there has been too much “calling names” in this debate, but I think I can honestly say that most of this has been (alas) on the part of ISO comrades, who insist on accusing all WPers of being bloodthirsty Stalinists in cahoots with the government in Beijing.

    cheers

  18. tehrealandrew says:

    BTW, that Andrew is not Beastmahon. I am Beastmahon. I agree with Daph on this one, largely. Tibet got a massive handup thru their PRC bro’s.

    I’m probably more of a Chinese nationalist on this one, however.

  19. tehrealandrew says:

    How come I can’t copy and paste that article?

  20. WP Admin says:

    “tehrealandrew” please try to keep your comments relevant to the topic and intelligible.

    Not sure why you can’t cut and paste – have you tried removing html formatting?

  21. tehrealandrew says:

    Yeah sorry. Anyway. Will comment later on Tibet.

  22. To say that the “Workers’ Party does not have an exact party line” is nothing more than an excuse for sloppy thinking. Either you agree with the Tibetan right to succession and self-determination, or you side with the state-capitalist Chinese government in it’s occupation of Tibet. A pro-Tibetan stance, however, in no way necessitates that you side with the Dali Lama and the Tibetan ruling class. This is more than simply a battle between two elites, and the Tibetan capitalists are in no way progressive. This much should be simple bread and butter for Marxists.

    Tim’s claims that Daphna does not attempt to “lay down a slogan” in her article. Granted, analysis is needed but one that does not draw political conclusions or suggest a line of march from this is worse than useless! Our main duty is not “simply” to oppose Western imperialism (although this is our first) – it is to oppose ALL imperialism. And that includes that of a capitalist China. AT is correct on the Middle East where a lack of clarity on the issue of Stalinism lead to the wholesale decimation of the Socialist movement in many countries there, and the subsequent rise of fundamentalist Islam. The CIA may have pay-rolled the Mujihadeen, but the USSR paved their way.

    Clearly, these are no “historical arguments”. Their ramifications extend further than whether we are pro-Tibet or pro-China. Stalinism, and Maoism – it’s dressed up form, has not ceased to be counter-revolutionary simply because the Iron Curtain fell. Now, as before, the issue is one of the rulers or the ruled. Who’s side are you on?

  23. Cory how concretely does this “Third Camp” position manifest itself when your group is plastering posters around campuses screaming “Free Tibet” and backing protests that have the support of all the worlds major imperialist powers?

    Even if you believe that calls for Tibetan independence are justified, why would you chose to agitate on this issue only at this precise juncture? And surely if you are to be consistent in your “Third Camp” position you would have to devote equal amounts of space in your posters and leaflets to denouncing (for instance) France over its conduct in Haiti, where UN peacekeepers have shot at people in the street protesting over food prices? That you do not exposes the fact that you are simply opportunistically tailing the anti-China corporate media campaign in the hope perhaps of gaining a few more young “angry liberal” recruits.

    I come back to my earlier example of socialists refusing to support Kosovan indepedence during the 1999 Nato onslaught against Serbia. Were the Kosova Albanians any less oppressed than the Tibetans? No, yet most socialists (including ISO) did not support them because they saw that by doing so they would be objectively allying themselves with Nato.

    As food for thought I leave you with the following words from Jewish peace activist Uri Avnery, excerpted from an article he recently wrote in the Pakistan newspaper the Daily Times:

    “…Like everybody else, I support the right of the Tibetan people to
    independence, or at least autonomy. Like everybody else, I condemn the
    actions of the Chinese government there. But unlike everybody else, I am not
    ready to join in the demonstrations.

    Why? Because I have an uneasy feeling that somebody is washing my brain,
    that what is going on is an exercise in hypocrisy.

    I don’t mind a bit of manipulation. After all, it is not by accident that
    the riots started in Tibet on the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
    That’s alright. A people fighting for their freedom have the right to use
    any opportunity that presents itself to further their struggle.

    I support the Tibetans in spite of it being obvious that the Americans are
    exploiting the struggle for their own purposes. Clearly, the CIA has planned
    and organised the riots, and the American media are leading the world- wide
    campaign. It is a part of the hidden struggle between the US, the reigning
    super-power, and China, the rising super-power – a new version of the
    “Great Game” that was played in central Asia in the 19th century by the
    British Empire and Russia. Tibet is a token in this game.

    I am even ready to ignore the fact that the gentle Tibetans have carried out
    a murderous pogrom against innocent Chinese, killing women and men and
    burning homes and shops. Such detestable excesses do happen during a
    liberation struggle.

    No, what is really bugging me is the hypocrisy of the world media. They
    storm and thunder about Tibet. In thousands of editorials and talk-shows
    they heap curses and invective on the evil China. It seems as if the
    Tibetans are the only people on earth whose right to independence is being
    denied by brutal force, that if only Beijing would take its dirty hands off
    the saffron-robed monks, everything would be alright in this, the best of
    all possible worlds.

    There is no doubt that the Tibetan people are entitled to rule their own
    country, to nurture their unique culture, to promote their religious
    institutions and to prevent foreign settlers from submerging them.

    But are not the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria entitled to the same?
    The inhabitants of Western Sahara, whose territory is occupied by Morocco?
    The Basques in Spain? The Corsicans off the coast of France? And the list is
    long.

    Why do the world’s media adopt one independence struggle, but often
    cynically ignore another independence struggle? What makes the blood of one
    Tibetan redder than the blood of a thousand Africans in East Congo?

    Again and again I try to find a satisfactory answer to this enigma.

    In vain. Immanuel Kant demanded of us: “Act as if the principle by which you
    act were about to be turned into a universal law of nature.” (Being a German
    philosopher, he expressed it in much more convoluted language.) Does the
    attitude towards the Tibetan problem conform to this rule? Not at all.

    What, then, causes the international media to discriminate between the
    various liberation struggles that are going on throughout the world?

    Here are some of the relevant considerations:

    * Do the people seeking independence have an especially exotic culture?

    * Are they an attractive people, i.e. “sexy” in the view of the media?

    * Is the struggle headed by a charismatic personality who is liked by the
    media?

    * It the oppressing government disliked by the media?

    * Does the oppressing government belong to the pro-American camp? This is an
    important factor, since the United States dominates a large part of the
    international media, and its news agencies and TV networks largely define
    the agenda and the terminology of the news coverage.

    * Are economic interests involved in the conflict?

    * Does the oppressed people have gifted spokespersons, who are able to
    attract attention and manipulate the media?”

  24. “I come back to my earlier example of socialists refusing to support Kosovan indepedence during the 1999 Nato onslaught against Serbia. Were the Kosova Albanians any less oppressed than the Tibetans? No, yet most socialists (including ISO) did not support them because they saw that by doing so they would be objectively allying themselves with Nato.”

    Exactly. The only reason the ISO comrades are shotuing “Free Tibet” over this issue is because A: they want to recruit lefty-liberal students who support these kind of campaigns, and B: Tibet wants to secede from China. China is where Mao came from. Mao was an evil baby-eating Stalinist. Therefore, Free Tibet!

  25. Alastair: I just saw a brilliant post from you on Kasama (mikeely.wordpress.com) about Nepal. Thanks for commenting on the ‘hot chicks’ on that serious communist site; ‘hot chicks’ who are incidentally also guerrilla fighters and politicians. If you are a communist (you may not be, because my sense of humor just died), must you insist on degrading women, talking like an idiot teenager and dragging down the discourse of another serious discussion? Grow the fuck up–I’m tired of seeing men on atheist websites and Left websites making such comments and howling about my sense of humor like its 1972, and I should be typing, getting them coffee or looking hotter for the movement. Delightfully, you also said ‘Dudes…’, as though your audience was men, not knowing which posters were men or women, gay or straight. If you are a communist, you need to crack a book and get out of whatever boys club you’re in.

    The way men consider women to “there to look at” is a chain communists must break to emancipate humanity. Maybe if you go to Nepal, one of those ‘hot chicks’ will use her deadly aim and hand-me-down rifle to re-educate your pitiful sexist Imperialist self. I mean, shes so strong and exotic right?

  26. Oh, yeah: open you eyeballs and think really, reeaaaaaallly hard about the socialist and communist program: emancipate women from violence, hate, reduction from human beings to ‘hot body parts’ and baby-makers, and ending the economics which garner their free labor and impoverish them disproportionately.

    Now compare (I hope other people are cringing if you’re in the party, and made such an ass of yourself at another website developing a serious communist project) your comments on our website: “Fuck yeah, go Nepal! Dudes, Nepal has hot chicks! Winking smiley face!” to the goal of emancipating humanity (or at least having a basic sense of progressive human values and eschewing backwards ass shit like, say, racism, sexism, homophobia–in word and deed–etc.). and think reaaaallly hard about how maybe I’m not the one lacking a sense or humor or anything like that, that maybe I’m a woman–oppressed class–who is genuinely offended, maybe your outlook is wrong. Then try realllllllly hard–and apologize.

  27. Philip Ferguson says:

    Andrew T wrote:
    >Alastair, the WP position as put forward by Daphna – a Maoist – deliberately fudges the issue of Chinese invasion and occupation. You can’t claim ANY exact line on Tibet.

    Actually, Andrew, Daphna is not a Maoist and has never described herself as such. She has no particularly strong position on Tibet. Moreover, as you must be aware, most Maoists oppose the current Chinese government just like you (and WP) does. So trying to stitch us up as “Stalinists”, which in the context of this debate, is mere abuse, doesn’t do your side of the discussion any credit.

    I have to say I was quite gobsmacked when I saw Sam F’s initial denunciation of us. The outfit he belongs to recently enthusiastically supported the Aussie Greens in the federal elections there. The Greens, of course, don’t just support Australian imperilaist troops and police intervening in other parts of the world; they positively advocate it. They also positively advocate that the imperialists set up and maintain world courts to put Third World leaders on trial. So after campaigning for votes for the Greens, it seems kinda rich for Sam to come on here and be more-anti-imperialist-than-thou.

    This, of course, also presents a porblem for you. How can your criticisms of Daphna’s artcile be taken too seriously when your own group has not criticised the position your Aussie sibling organisation has in relation to the pro-imperialist (and pro-capital;ist) Green Party?

    I’m also kind of at a loss to wonder why ISO members should be so keen to start a big debate on the issue with us. We are not opposed in principle to the idea of Tibetan independence and nothing in Daphna’s article or anything any of us have written here suggest we are.

    However, we have learned from experience that mindless cheerleading for anyone who is in opposition to a repressive regime (like the Chionese regime) is not automatically suportable nor are their demands. Your views remind me of those Trotskyists (including myself) who uncritically supported Solidarity (Reagan’s favourite union organisation) in Poland in the 1980s, all the people who were against the shah of Iran in the late 1970s, and so on. Of course, once Solidarity got into power it began launching neo-liberal economic policies, attacking the working class and helping restore the power of the Catholic Church. And we all know how Iran turned out.

    So it’s necessary to be somewhat more discerning in analysing what is going on in places like Tibet, Zimbabwe etc and which social and political forces are involved.

    So let’s be totally clear: We do not support Chinese repression in Tibet and we are not opposed *in principle* to the idea of Tibetan independence. But we do not merely line up as cheerleaders for the other side. Since your tendency was, historically, largely formed on the basis of “neither Washington nor Moscow”, our position on Tibet should not really be too hard to understand.

    Which brings me back to the point as to why you guys have got all hot under the collar about an article on Tibet in our paper. I hope it is not a way of establishing a barrier between ISO and WP in terms of some form of collaboration for the upcoming NZ elections. That would suggest a petty-minded sectarianism which I would hope ISO would be well beyond.

    I’m sure we can continue to discuss Tibet, hopefully without infantile name-calling like the references to ‘Stalinists’, and within the context of discussing how our two organisations can fruitfully collaborate to put the anti-capitalist message before workers and progressives in the 2008 general election.

    Phil

  28. Alastair: “The only reason the ISO comrades are shotuing “Free Tibet” over this issue is because A: they want to recruit lefty-liberal students who support these kind of campaigns, and B: Tibet wants to secede from China. China is where Mao came from. Mao was an evil baby-eating Stalinist. Therefore, Free Tibet!”

    Indeed. In fact this seems to be characteristic not only of ISO-NZ but of IS Tendency politics the world over – see the comment below posted on an Irish blog about the antics of the SWP in Northern Ireland:

    “On walking by Queens yesterday, my eye was caught by a large yellow poster bearing the legend “Free Tibet” and a photo of an oppressed Tibetan. On closer examination, this proved to be advertising a meeting under the rubric of “People Before Profit”, which is the Swips’ funny hat of choice at the moment. What this has to do with socialism or the class struggle is not immediately apparent – and the poster had no slogan other than “Free Tibet” – but I suppose it marks a return to the tried-and-true methodology of being the loudest advocates of whatever’s popular with the kids.

    There may be a pitfall or two here. I hear that the Chinese community in Dublin are starting to organise counter-demonstrations. And I don’t know how many supporters of the Dalai Lama there are in the north of Ireland, but there are a hell of a lot of Chinese. Attracting Amnesty-type students is one thing, but do you really want to run the risk of attracting lots of angry Chinese?

    On the other hand, these are the guys who not so long ago were running pro-hijab demonstrations outside the French embassy. The Swips’ love affair with the Muslims may have foundered on the rocks of factional politics in Respect, but could an alternative be presenting itself? Could Buddhism be the new Islam?”

    full post here:
    http://splinteredsunrise.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/tin-men-discover-shangri-la/

  29. Philip Ferguson says:

    Andrew T wrote:
    “Revolutionaries should argue for the right to secede and against the decision to secede – for a free association with China”

    So how come the slgoan that appears on your posters is not this position but Free Tibet, the precise two-word slogan of the Dalai Lama-supporting campaigners?

    It’s also unclear exactly which revolutionaries you think should argue this. It would be odd if you were saying that Tibetan revolutionaries should argue this since you are not in Tibet and not aligned with any mass revolutionary force there. It would also be odd if you thought NZ revoltuionaries should advocate this, because it would have absolutely no practical relevance at all.

    My experience of the NZ far left is that the less impact they have in the working class here, the more ‘expert’ they are at coming up with lines and slogans for revoltuionary struggles elsewhere.

    Our job in NZ is quite different from this. It is to help organise and raise the political level of consciousness of the working class here as part of the global struggle against capitalism and for socialism. It’s not about latching onto liberal middle class preoccupations and slogans or developing a party line on the correct course to be followed in Tibet, Zimbabwe, the Congo, Nepal, Venezuela etc.

    Perhaps you could explain how the actual slogan on your posters – ‘Free Tibet’ – differentiates you from Richard Gere and how it fits into the main anti-imperialist task in NZ: educating and organising NZ workers against NZ imperialism.

    Phil

  30. “Alastair: I just saw a brilliant post from you on Kasama (mikeely.wordpress.com) about Nepal. Thanks for commenting on the ‘hot chicks’ on that serious communist site; ‘hot chicks’ who are incidentally also guerrilla fighters and politicians. If you are a communist (you may not be, because my sense of humor just died), must you insist on degrading women, talking like an idiot teenager and dragging down the discourse of another serious discussion? Grow the fuck up–I’m tired of seeing men on atheist websites and Left websites making such comments and howling about my sense of humor like its 1972, and I should be typing, getting them coffee or looking hotter for the movement. Delightfully, you also said ‘Dudes…’, as though your audience was men, not knowing which posters were men or women, gay or straight. If you are a communist, you need to crack a book and get out of whatever boys club you’re in.

    The way men consider women to “there to look at” is a chain communists must break to emancipate humanity. Maybe if you go to Nepal, one of those ‘hot chicks’ will use her deadly aim and hand-me-down rifle to re-educate your pitiful sexist Imperialist self. I mean, shes so strong and exotic right?

    Iris Says:
    April 17, 2008 at 3:07 am
    Oh, yeah: open you eyeballs and think really, reeaaaaaallly hard about the socialist and communist program: emancipate women from violence, hate, reduction from human beings to ‘hot body parts’ and baby-makers, and ending the economics which garner their free labor and impoverish them disproportionately.

    Now compare (I hope other people are cringing if you’re in the party, and made such an ass of yourself at another website developing a serious communist project) your comments on our website: “Fuck yeah, go Nepal! Dudes, Nepal has hot chicks! Winking smiley face!” to the goal of emancipating humanity (or at least having a basic sense of progressive human values and eschewing backwards ass shit like, say, racism, sexism, homophobia–in word and deed–etc.). and think reaaaallly hard about how maybe I’m not the one lacking a sense or humor or anything like that, that maybe I’m a woman–oppressed class–who is genuinely offended, maybe your outlook is wrong. Then try realllllllly hard–and apologize.”

    Woah… First of all, I’d much prefer you attacked me via email,alastair.reith@gmail.com, rather than splattering this all over my Party’s website. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, but it wasn’t my intention and to be perfectly honest I don’t see any cause for offence. I made a passing comment (and yes, I was joking ffs) in a thread featuring pictures of Maoist supporters celebrating their victories in Nepal, in which my exact words went as follows;

    “And another thing… Dude, hot Maoist chicks! I think I might move to Nepal! :P”

    Stupid perhaps, but offensive? Unless you think that females who are considered to be attractive by a male (a reactionary, evil anti-communist male of course, because true communists have no concept of male-female attraction) cannot be “guerillas and politicians”? That being found attractive by a male rules you out of any of those jobs?

    Sadly, there are very few female communists my age (17, btw, which of course automatically makes me and idiot) in my part of the world, so ALL I was implying (in jest, and yes I do not think you have a sense of humour) was that it’d be great if there were. I sincerely apologise for making a comment that was not 100% pure and related to communist ideological advancement. My bad…

    And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t call me an “imperialist”, a “racist”, a “homophobic”, or imply that I think you “should be typing, getting them coffee or looking hotter for the movement”. I’m perfectly capable of doing the first two myself, and I really couldn’t possibly care less about what you look like.

    I’m very pleased to have made the discovery that under the dictatorship of the proletariat, men will no loner be able to find women attractive. I’m sorry if this makes me a filthy misogynist, but I really don’t see how my comment was degrading to women.

    Hopefully that’s the end of that…

  31. WP Admin says:

    I would ask that all posters please keep their comments relevant to the thread, otherwise they will be deleted in accordance with our comments policy.

  32. WP Admin says:

    Andrew M – I have deleted your comment due to its use of abusive language (see comments policy). However if you would care to re-post your arguments without the personal insults feel free to to do so.

  33. tehrealandrew says:

    [moderator snip]

    Now here is an exerpt from a series of email exchanges I had with a buddy of mine.
    *
    they are also helping mugabe. do you support china’s role in the pacific and Dafur in Africa?
    *
    They are dealing with other countries on equal terms without meddling with their internal politics. That’s the real world. Or would you rather have shitty relations with everyone.
    *
    Cuba and China are rather different. one is sustainable, one is not, one is in competition with imperialist america, one is sending doctors to other countries. one is selfish, and is occupying the territories of minorities.
    *
    China is making Cuba stronger. With economic aid and trade deals. Good thing. I wish their was someone nicer than China doing it. Their isn’t.

    China is not perfect. It’s a strategic friend and a force for peace.

    *
    china was against the maoists in nepal and also represses other minorities like russia and israel do (ie palestinians and chechnya).
    *
    Since the election of Hu Jintao Chinas’ position on the maoists has shifted.

    After the election victory of our friends in Nepal, China made a statement that they ‘will not tolerate any meddling’ in their neighbours personal affairs.

    That is exciting. America- your worst nightmare. It’s like the cold war except EVERYONE now hates america.
    *
    Tane, when you’re ready to accept reality we will have a drink to celebrate.

    *
    Tibet is not china, like Basque country and tuhoe is not new zealand or spain. and ireland is not UK.

    you are ignoring minorities for the sake of a strong state.
    *

    I’m opposing an ‘independence movement’ that is reactionary to the core for the sake of defending China from being broken up and victimised.

    That can’t be allowed to happen again. Have you ever read about what the imperialists did to China. Never again.

    *
    doesnt sound very anti imperialist, sounds rather nationalistic, when communism is meant to be internationialist not nationalistic. do you also support america in their stance on cuba? or france in its role in the pacific.
    *
    The class nature of french and US imperialism is different to chinese and soviet.

    *
    tibet is a colony, not a part of china.
    *

    It operates as a part of China. It is a part of China. The tibetan people have the same right to join the party or do anything else that other Chinese from anywhere else in China. China has about roughly 50 minorities as well. It’s a multi-ethnic republic and most people don’t give a shit whether your Hui or Han or Hainanese etc…

    *
    do you support mugabe and burma like china does?
    *

    I think I would have defended Mugabe before against western imperialist victimisation, he had support before. He is no longer worthy of support.

    *
    do you support non independent trade unions, slave wages and executions for organ harvest.
    *
    No, no and don’t care.

    China’s workers are getting stronger. The wages will get better and I don’t give a shit about organ harvesting from people that are already dead.

    People are not executed for their organs, however. That is straight up rubbish.

    china is not democratic, it is not socialist, it is state capitalist.

    China has elements of all three. It’s largely capitalist however. A state guided mixed economy.

    The best chance for the victory of socialism is to defend the territorial integrity of China rather than let it fall pray to western attempt to split it up.

    *
    you are on the side of a super power not people power.
    *
    A couple of big powers helping us out is great. Really great.

    *
    china is pro capitalist. being against it doenst make someone a greenie isolationist.
    *

    No, it just sounded like the kind of anti-chinese bullshit I hear from hippies. They hate what they don’t understand. It’s just wrapped in liberal sugar coating.
    *
    I’m not making character judgements on you though, Tane. That’s just what you sounded like.

    *
    i think we should trade windmills with china, not slave made goods and coal.
    *

    Whatever we can get away with.

    *
    and i think tibet like tuhoe people have a right to defend their autonomy.
    *
    I’m not opposed to autonomy, I think it’s a very good idea. In fact Tibet is technically supposed to be autonomous. I think it should be made more so.

    *
    troops out of afghanistan and iraq but not tibet and africa? sounds like double standards.

    troops out of china..? no they are ok they are ‘communists’.
    china has a lot to do.

    being against their tyranny is not xenophobic, it is basic class politics, anti imperialism and internationalism.
    *

    China is not commiting imperialist atrocities in foreign countries.

    *
    china’s human rights suck, face it.
    *

    Maintaining order in a huge country trying desperately to modernise is a mammoth task. Don’t apply the same standards to China as one would to the US.

    Besides China’s human rights situation has been consistently improving for the past 20 years. Should we blast them when they’ve been getting better?

    The west and it’s liberals were a lot more silent when the HR record was worse.

    Seriously man come to our side, we’ve got tanks!

  34. tehrealandrew says:

    He goes first by the way. I post after the asterixes.

  35. tehrealandrew says:

    Oi can I get a confirmation on the exact time and place of the China solidarity demo tommorrow?

    We’re gonna kick some arse.

  36. WP Admin says:

    Afraid I can’t help you there Andrew. In any case I think the politics of the “China solidarity” demonstration will be just as problematic for socialists as the Free Tibet protests. Really a “third camp” position is the only viable option.

  37. tehrealandrew says:

    I’ve just come back from the demo. It was easily the most excilirating demo I have ever been to in my life. I ended up getting interviewed by an ‘asian’ radio station, where I gave a rousing speech in defense of China. Sorry to brag but it was utterly on the money.

    I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such intensity of feeling ever. It was truly beautiful. There was a handful of violent incidents, but on the whole most of it was peaceful. Organisers were stepping in to prevent vandalism and fights.

    I absolutely ripped into Bomber to which he had absolutely no reply.

    It was totally amazing, watch the news tonight.

  38. I agree with Tim – while we should oppose the imperialist efforts to split Tibet off from China and restore the brutal theocracy that existed before the PLA reentered, at the same time we should not be lining up behind the Chinese ruling class, which is just as bad as the Western imperialists.

    Third Camp is the only way to go – we don’t need to take a position either for or against on this one.

  39. tehrealandrew says:

    I’m not lining up with the ‘ruling class’. I just recognise that China is a friend and that the best hope for the restoration of socialism INCLUDES a process that will happen within the party and bureaucracy.

  40. China is a “friend”? Since when? And a friend of who? The Chinese ruling class (e.g. the Party bureaucrats and capitalists who have emerged since the counter-revolution of the mid 1970s) is just as oppressive and exploitative of the Chinese working masses as any other ruling class in the world today, and more so than many of them!

    You can’t have sweatshops and socialism existing together – there’s a fundamental contradiction between that kind of exploitation and the ideals and requirements of socialism.

    I understand where you’re coming from on this, but just because a regime is under attack by Western imperialism DOES NOT MEAN WE SHOULD SUPPORT IT. For example, we do not need to support the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, and in an article I recently wrote about the elections in Zimbabwe that can be found on this website, I tried to make my opposition, and the WP’s opposition, to both the MDC AND Mugabe clear.

    The Western imperialist powers are attacking China not because it represents a progressive force in the world, but because it is a RIVAL. China’s growing economic muscle, and the extension of it’s exploitative tentacles into other Third World countries, particularly in Africa, represents a challenge to the hegemony of Western imperialism.

    China’s the new bully on the capitalist block, and it’s not taking any shit from the guys that were there before it. BUT IT IS STILL A BULLY. And Marxists do not side with or defend bullies when they’re squabbling amongst each other.

    The only way that socialism will be restored in China is through a full scale revolution that overthrows both the capitalist class there AND the bureaucracy. The two are inextricably linked. We can’t rule out the participation of left wing members of the CCP in such a process, and we certainly can’t predict or set out from New Zealand how it’s going to happen. But the Chinese Communist Party itself is never going to restore socialism, because it is no longer a socialist party.

  41. tehrealandrew says:

    That will cause nightmarish instability and endanger the existing socialist and progressive states.

    How is China a bully, BTW?

  42. “That will cause nightmarish instability and endanger the existing socialist and progressive states.”

    Well, “instability” kinda comes as part of the deal when you have a revolution. Believe it or not, the capitalist class generally don’t quietly give up and accept the destruction of their systwem without a fight! As China is a capitalist country ruled by a capitalist class, a revolution is necessary for the people of China to liberate themselves from their exploiters.

    And what on earth do you mean by “the existing socialist and progressive states”?!!? I assume countries like China, Vietnam, Laos etc are not included in this. Sweatshops kinda run contrary to the basic principles of socialism mate.

    And “progressive” state could mean anything.

    China is a bully because in my analogy, the term bully refers to powerful capitalist countries, of which China is one. China’s ruling class ruthlessly and brtally exploits and oppresses it’s own people, and increasingly does the same to the people of other countries as well, esp in Africa. there really is nothing to be defended about China today, and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong about that.

  43. Jorein Versteege says:

    I think the Workers Party of New Zealand is not Stalinist. Because this discussion about Tibet and China would be impossible on a website run by a bureaucratic communist party. Stalinists would never allow free discussions, let alone let people post a replay to articles.

    I’m an anti-stalinist; Marxist Leninist and I hate the ruling (state)capitalist regimes in China, Vietnam and Laos. The regime in Cuba, I see a Stalinist because of the single party state and the rule of the party bureaucracy. Stalinism is more then just the cult of one leader. It is the rule of a bureaucracy who uses Marxist-Leninist rhetoric to justify a dictatorship. Cuba and North Korea are the last bureaucratic Stalinist regimes, were capitalism has not yet arrived.

    Genuine socialism must be democratic. Other political idealis must never be banned. Freedom is always the freedom of the other thinker. That is what Rosa Luxemburg said in 1918. That is a lesson the leaders of the Vietnamese, Chinese, Cuban, Korean, Lao and many other communist parties must learn.

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