Archive for the ‘Partei’ Category

USA: Money matters

Dienstag, Juli 3rd, 2012

“Are nuclear weapons contractors’ millions in campaign contributions buying favors?

on June 12th, 2012 at 8:00 am

By R. Jeffrey Smith — Center for Public Integrity

Employees of private companies that produce the main pieces of the U.S. nuclear arsenal have invested more than $18 million in the election campaigns of lawmakers that oversee related federal spending, and the companies also employ more than 95 former members of Congress or Capitol Hill staff to lobby for government funding, according to a new report.

Contri­bu­tions by top 10 nuclear weapons contractors to key members of Congress
Company Tech­nologies Developed 2012 Total
Lockheed Martin bombers and warhead components $535,000 $2,764,949
Honeywell Inter­na­tional warhead compo­nents $464,582 $2,199,431
Northrop Grumman bombers and warhead components $464,000 $2,568,748
Boeing Co bombers $336,750 $2,272,551
General Dynamics submarines $293,850 $2,183,461
General Electric bomber engines $231,450 $2,097,720
United Tech­nologies bomber engines $158,000 $1,065,350
Fluor Corp warhead compo­nents $103,150 $652,149
Bechtel Group submarines and warhead components $98,500 $769,550
Babcock & Wilcox warhead compo­nents $92,000 $449,749

Total contri­bu­tions” is the total given to current members of the key committees over their political careers.

Source: The Center for Inter­na­tional Policy

Employees of private companies that produce the main pieces of the U.S. nuclear arsenal have invested more than $18 million in the election campaigns of lawmakers that oversee related federal spending, and the companies also employ more than 95 former members of Congress or Capitol Hill staff to lobby for government funding, according to a new report.

The Center for Inter­na­tional Policy, a nonprofit group that supports the “demil­i­ta­rization” of U.S. foreign policy, released the report on Wednesday to high­light what it described as the heavy influence of campaign dona­tions and pork barrel politics on a part of the defense budget not usually asso­ciated with large profits or contractor power: nuclear arms.

As Congress delib­erated this spring on nuclear weapons-related projects, including funding for the devel­opment of more modern submarines and bombers, the top 14 contractors gave nearly $3 million to the 2012 reelection campaigns of lawmakers whose support they needed for these and other projects, the report disclosed.

Half of that sum went to members of the six key committees or subcom­mittees that must approve all spending for nuclear arms — the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and the Energy and Water or Defense appro­pri­a­tions subcom­mittees, according to data the Center compiled from the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. The rest went to lawmakers who are active on nuclear weapons issues because they have related factories or labo­ra­tories in their states or districts.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee this year have sought to erect legislative road­blocks to further reduc­tions in nuclear arms, and also demanded more spending for related facilities than the Obama admin­is­tration sought, including $100 million in unre­quested funds for a new plant that will make plutonium cores for nuclear warheads, and $374 million for a new ballistic missile-firing submarine. The House has approved those requests, but the Senate has not held a similar vote on the 2013 defense bill.

Although lawmakers say their votes are not influ­enced by the campaign dona­tions they receive, and donors routinely say their contri­bu­tions are meant to ensure access — not buy votes, the Center’s report said that the $18 million given by the contractors to key lawmakers over the course of their political careers makes it hard for the recip­ients to ignore what the companies want.

Any effort to downsize the nation’s nuclear force is likely to be met with fierce oppo­sition from the indi­viduals and insti­tu­tions that benefit from the nuclear status quo, including corpo­ra­tions involved in designing and building nuclear delivery vehicles; companies that operate nuclear warhead-related facil­ities; and members of Congress with nuclear weapons-related facil­ities or deploy­ments,” said the report by William Hartung, who directs the Center for Inter­na­tional Policy’s Arms and Security Project.

Other groups have docu­mented that there is a substantial financial stake in nuclear weapons poli­cy­making: At present, the U.S. government spends roughly $31 billion a year on its arsenal, according to a tally released on Tuesday by the Stimson Center, a nonprofit research and policy analysis group in Wash­ington. It has also proposed to spend at least $120 billion on new warhead-carrying submarines, bombers, and missiles over the next several decades.

Ensuring steady access to such funding is vital for some of the companies whose employees made large campaign dona­tions cited in the study — such as Lockheed or Northrop Grumman — because they draw at least 80 percent of their revenue from federal contracts. Of the 137 lobbyists hired by the top contractors, 57 are former members of Congress, 39 are former congres­sional staff, 16 are former defense offi­cials and 8 are former Energy Department offi­cials, the study said.

Although many firms work on multiple weapons and so have various reasons to curry congres­sional favor, some of the best-financed lawmakers are prominent advo­cates of sustaining and modern­izing the nuclear arsenal, according to the study. They have promoted that cause through formal legislative caucuses that promote ship­building, submarines, and long-range strategic bombers, as well as an informal alliance of members from states where nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles are based, the report states.

These include the Ship­building Caucus, the Submarine Caucus, and the Long-Range Strike Caucus. The contractor-supported coun­ter­parts of these groups include the Submarine Indus­trial Base Council, which claims a membership of 5,000 companies; the 60,000-member Navy League; and the 100,000-member Air Force Association.

Of the top twenty Senate recip­ients of nuclear weapons contractor dona­tions, seven are presently members of the members of the Armed Services subcom­mittee on strategic forces. They have collected a total of $272,816 for their 2012 campaigns, and a total of $2.4 million since their first election. On the House side, six of the top twenty recip­ients are members of the Armed Services strategic forces subcom­mittee. They have collected $558,532 for their 2012 campaigns, and $2.2 million overall.

The top single Senate recipient is Diane Fein­stein (D-Cal.), who chairs the Intel­li­gence Committee and the appro­pri­a­tions subcom­mittee that handles the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons budget; she collected $74,500 in this election cycle and $421,747 over her 20-year career, according to the report. Those figures represent only one percent of her total campaign receipts, for the current cycle and over her career.

Feinstein’s spokesman Brian Weiss did not respond to a request for comment. The report noted that she has ques­tioned the high cost of several new facil­ities that the Energy Department sought to build for warhead production or processing.

House Armed Services Committee chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Cal.) is the top House recipient of funding from nuclear weapons contractors, collecting $257,750 so far in this election cycle and $809,150 over his 19-year congres­sional career.The funds represent nearly a fifth of all the campaign dona­tions he has collected in this cycle, and the lifetime tally is nine percent of his lifetime campaign funding, according to data on the Center for Responsive Politics website.

McKeon’s spokesman Alissa McCurley told the Center for Public Integrity in April that “funding from special interests does not always mean some­thing unethical is afoot. Chairman McKeon receives input from senior military leaders as part of routine Congres­sional over­sight. Those views, along with those of Committee profes­sional staff members, are what sets his annual prior­ities” on arms control and nuclear arms.

Capitol Hill records make clear that McKeon’s support for industry posi­tions nonetheless increased as he became a more senior committee member and its dona­tions to him spiked. Defense firms of various cate­gories donated between seven and thirty-two times more to McKeon after he became chairman than they did beforehand, according to a November 2011 study of key House committee chairman by Citizens for Respon­si­bility and Ethics in Wash­ington (CREW), a nonprofit group.

The CREW study further found that from 2007–2008, McKeon’s votes were aligned with defense firms about a quarter of the time, but “since January 2011, Rep. McKeon has voted on average 100 percent in agreement with the indus­tries regu­lated by the Armed Services Committee.” That alignment was higher than the average for House Repub­licans. McCurley did not respond to an e-mail and phone call requesting comment.

Defense industry funding of the committee’s senior Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) simi­larly rose substan­tially when he moved to that position in 2010. But Smith’s voting support for industry-backed policies has fluc­tuated, going from 75 percent in 2007–2008 to 33 percent from 2009–2010 and then returning to 75 percent since Jan. 2011, according to the CREW study.

Some of the top campaign recip­ients have parochial reasons for supporting nuclear weapons contractors: Smith’s district includes a substantial Boeing presence while McKeon’s district includes Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and Lockheed factories, as well as a major Air Force base. Fein­stein has a substantial portion of the aero­space industry in her state as well as one of the three labo­ra­tories where nuclear weapons are designed.

But CREW said the sudden influx of contri­bu­tions given to key members once they became chairman or second-in-rank raised overall ques­tions “about how beholden [they] are to the indus­tries they oversee, and whether they are inde­pendent enough to put public interest ahead of special interest.”

Data Editor David Donald contributed to this article.

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis. We are one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpar­tisan, nonprofit inves­tigative news orga­ni­za­tions. Our mission: to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dere­liction of duty by powerful public and private insti­tu­tions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, account­ability and to put the public interest first.

iWatch News is the Center’s online publi­cation dedi­cated to inves­tigative and account­ability reporting. It provides original and exclusive daily stories as well as in-depth investigations.

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Paraguay: Parlamentarischer Staatsstreich

Montag, Juli 2nd, 2012

„Putsch soll Links-Regierungen in Lateinamerika schwächen.‟

Freitag, den 29. Juni 2012

Von Sergio Ferrari

(Fortaleza, 27. Juni 2012, adital-poonal).- Der streitbare paraguayische Jesuit Francisco “Paco” Oliva, äußert sich zu dem Putsch gegen Präsident Fernando Lugo, der am 22. Juni in Lateinamerika für ein politisches Erdbeben sorgte. Die Guaraní nennen ihn “Pai” Oliva – in ihrer Sprache bedeutet das Priester. Als Vertreter der Befreiungstheologie zählt der 1928 in Sevilla geborene Oliva zu den herausragenden sozialen Aktivisten in Paraguay.

Wie bewerten Sie den institutionellen Rahmen, in dem sich die Absetzung von Präsident Fernando Lugo abspielte?

Wir sind eine parlamentslastige Demokratie. Praktisch seit der Wahl Lugos im April 2008 waren die beiden traditionellen Parteien Paraguays, die Liberalen und die Colorados, bemüht, den Präsidenten zu bremsen. Sie drohten ihm quasi mit einem politischen Prozess. In der vergangenen Woche dachten wir daher, es handele sich mal wieder um eine dieser Drohungen. Doch die Wirklichkeit zeigte, dass dem nicht so war.

Hatte die Bewegung aus dem breiten Volk, hatte die paraguayische Zivilgesellschaft, mit einer solchen politischen „Lösung“ gerechnet?

Nein, es traf uns vollkommen überraschend. Das Ganze dauerte gerade einmal 24 Stunden, innerhalb derer Lugo abgesetzt und Vize-Präsident Federico Franco als sein Nachfolger ernannt wurde. Von Letzterem war bereits seit langem bekannt, dass er nach der Macht strebte.

Die nun regierungsnahen Medien sprechen von einem legitimen Prozess, der sich im Rahmen der Verfassung Paraguays bewegt habe. Aus dem Volk und in zunehmendem Maße auch aus der internationalen Gemeinschaft heißt es dagegen, die Verfassungsmäßigkeit sei gebrochen worden. Was denken Sie?

Es handelt sich um einen parlamentarischen Staatsstreich. Die traditionellen Parteien fanden die 30 Stimmen, die sie brauchten und sprachen das Urteil. Was folgte war reiner Zirkus. Der Schuldspruch wäre in jedem Fall der gleiche gewesen – ob mit einer Verteidigung für Lugo oder ohne. Die Beschuldigungen wurden nicht schriftlich vorgelegt. Und als Beweise dienten schlichte Fotokopien von Zeitungsausschnitten. Die Strafe gegen Lugo war bereits verhängt, bevor der Prozess überhaupt begonnen hatte.

Ist die Absetzung Lugos eine unumkehrbare Tatsache?

Das breite Volk und die Campesinos akzeptieren die Absetzung nicht. Doch die Macht befindet sich in den Händen der zwei Parteien, die das Pseudo-Expressurteil vollstreckten. Institutionell gesehen handelt es sich also um eine vollendete Tatsache.

Es ist doch paradox, dass als Vorwand für die Absetzung ein Campesino-Konflikt diente, wenn man bedenkt, dass Fernando Lugo „der Bischof der Armen“ genannt wurde. Jemand, der sich immer für die Campesinos und die Agrarreform aussprach und dank der entschlossenen Unterstützung breiter Volksschichten an die Regierung kam. Handelte es sich vielleicht um eine Falle der extremen Rechten, oder war Lugo politisch etwas naiv?

Beides trifft zu. Es handelte sich um eine gut vorbereitete Falle angesichts der Mobilisierung, in der das Volk die führende Rolle zu übernehmen begann. Die politische Klasse Paraguays erhielt Signale, besonders die traditionellen Parteien, die sich in der Opposition befanden. Sie hatten Angst vor der zunehmenden Partizipation und beschlossen, diese zu stoppen. Und die beste Lösung bestand eben darin, den Präsidenten auf dem Weg eines politischen Prozesses zu enthaupten. Auf der anderen Seite muss man natürlich einräumen, dass Lugo die Agrarreform nur halbherzig anging. Das Volk, die Bauernschaft wirkten immer heftiger auf ihn ein, doch Lugo traute sich nicht, die Agrarreform umzusetzen.

Viele lateinamerikanische Staaten, darunter Brasilien und Argentinien, erkennen die Absetzung Lugos und die Benenung Francos als Nachfolger nicht an. Meinen Sie, dass Colorados und Liberale, die die Absetzung unterstützen, ihre Haltung überdenken könnten angesichts des internationalen Drucks?

Auf keinen Fall. Hier geht es um politisches Taktieren. Franco war doch der Vizepräsident der Opposition. Er wird gar nichts überdenken, und noch weniger die Liberalen, die nach vielen Jahren wieder einen der ihren im Präsidentenamt sehen wollen. Als Sieger dürften die Colorados vom Feld gehen, die voraussichtlich bei den nächsten Wahlen im April 2013 die Macht erhalten. Es vollzog sich nun lediglich vorzeitig das, was wir befürchtet hatten. Denn die Colorados befanden sich 60 Jahre lang ununterbrochen an der Macht. Lugos Wahl beendete diesen scheinbaren Dauerzustand.

2013 aber werden die Colorados mit ziemlicher Sicherheit zurückkehren, das kann man schon jetzt sagen. Getragen von den traditionellen AnhängerInnen und mit den Stimmen, die es gelingt zu kaufen, werden die Colorados alles tun, um die vor vier Jahren verloren gegangene Macht wiederzuerringen.

Wie lässt sich am besten internationale Solidarität mit den breiten Schichten des paraguayischen Volkes üben? Was erhoffen Sie sich von der Zivilgesellschaft der ganzen Welt?

Dass sie informieren! Dass sie erklären, was in meinem Land geschah. Dass alle Details genannt werden, wie die Absetzung Lugos bereits vor dem Prozess beschlossene Sache war. Dass alles ein Zirkus war, reines Theater. Und die Menschen sollen wissen, dass die VerliererInnen in Paraguay jene sind, die von den sozialen Errungenschaften profitierten, die wir der Regierung Lugo verdanken. Droht Paraguay nun eine strategische Unregierbarkeit? Zunächst einmal gilt es etwas Entscheidendes festzustellen: den USA sind Hugo Chávez und die anderen politischen AnführerInnen, die heute in Lateinamerika fortschrittliche Positionen vertreten, ein Dorn im Auge.

Brasilien könnte als Bremse wirken, vorausgesetzt, es bleibt so, wie es jetzt ist. Aber wir dürfen auch nicht vergessen, dass Brasilien ein Imperium mit eigenen Interessen war und ist. Ich rede nicht vom brasilianischen Volk, von den Bauern und Bäuerinnen, von den Landlosen. Sondern von der Außenpolitik dieses Landes, die perfekt funktioniert und nach Expansion strebt…

Was ist das Wichtigste, das Paraguay mit der Absetzung Lugos verliert?

Es handelt sich um einen sehr schweren Schlag gegen den Prozess, der gerade im Volk entstanden war, um dessen Lebensbedingungen zu verbessern, das alltägliche Leben. Viele dieser Menschen leben in extremster Armut.

Zum Schluss die Frage: Wie bewerten Sie die fast vierjährige Präsidentschaft von Fernando Lugo?

Er hatte sehr gute Absichten, seine Regierung war allerdings ziemlich ineffizient und Lugos Amtsführung sehr naiv.

(Interview: Sergio Ferrari)

Dieser Artikel ist erschienen in Poonal Nr. 1001 “


(Quelle: poonal.)

Siehe auch:

Paraguay: draft law on professional soldiers

Republik Südafrika: Kritisches zum ANC-Jubiläum

Dienstag, April 10th, 2012

“The ANC centenary: A display of elite power

By Ayanda Kota

The centenary celebrations of the African National Congress (ANC) are being used to persuade the people that a movement that has betrayed the people is our government; a government that obeys the people, instead of a government of the elites, for the elites and by the elites. It is a hugely expensive spectacle designed to drug us against our own oppression and disempowerment.

In his Communist Manifesto Karl Marx wrote that, ‘Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class…The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the affairs of the bourgeoisie’. Here Marx is referring to the ability of the bourgeois to translate economic power into state power, thus reducing our governments to mere managers acting in the interests of capital and not the people. This has happened to governments around the world. But here our politicians are not mere managers. They are, like in Russia or India, a predatory elite with their own class interests and they support capital and repress the people as long as they can get their own share.

Since 1994 there hasn’t been a reorganisation of the economy. The commanding heights of the economy continue to reside in the hands of a tiny elite, most of which is white. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Most young people have never worked. Anyone can see that there is an excessive amount of poverty in South Africa. There are shacks everywhere. In fact, poverty reigns supreme in our country. Every year Jacob Zuma promises to create new jobs and every year unemployment grows.

If things were getting better, even if they were getting better slowly, people might be willing to be patient. But things are getting worse every year. Poverty and inequality are getting worse. The government is increasingly criminalising poverty instead of treating it as a political problem. When people try to organise they are always presented as a third force being used to undermine democracy and bring back racism. But it is the ANC that has failed to develop any plans to democratise the economy. It is the ANC that has failed to develop any plans to democratise the media. It is the ANC that disciplines the people for the bourgeoisie a role that they are very comfortable to play! It is the ANC that follows the line of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is our local leaders who are taking the leap from their old bosses, stealing from us, treating us with contempt, acting like the former colonial government and oppressing us.

During the struggle our leaders embodied the aspirations of the people. But once they took state power they didn’t need us any more. We were sent home. We are only called out to vote or attend rallies. But all the time our people are evicted from farms, paving way for animals as farms are turned into game reserves under the pretext of tourism. Our people are evicted from cities. Our people are denied decent education. The party has become a mixture of what Marx would call an instrument of power in the hands of the bourgeoisie and what Fanon would call a means of private advancement.

Biko wrote that ‘This is one country where it would be possible to create a capitalist black society, if whites were intelligent, if the nationalists were intelligent. And that capitalist black society, black middle class, would be very effective … South Africa could succeed in putting across to the world a pretty convincing, integrated picture, with still 70 percent of the population being underdogs.’

We, as the unemployed, belong to the 70 percent that Biko was talking about. We were happy to see the end of apartheid and we will always fight racism wherever we see it. But we are not free. There has only been freedom for the 30 percent. How can a person be free with no work, no house and no hope for their life?

R100 million is being spent on the celebration spent to entertain elites, through playing golf and drinking the most expensive whiskey. Golf players are even receiving massages from young women sponsored by South African Breweries. This is not a people’s celebration. We are absent! How some of us wish that all that money could have been used to build houses, create employment, build sport facilities or schools for kids who continue to learn under trees! Biko was right. As the world celebrates with the ANC today they put across a pretty convincing picture of freedom while everywhere people are broken by the burdens of poverty.

In his ‘Wretched of the Earth’, in the chapter called ‘The Pitfalls of the National Consciousness’, Frantz Fanon wrote: ‘The leader pacifies the people. For years on end after independence has been won, we see him, incapable of urging on the people to a concrete task, unable really to open the future to them or of flinging them into the path of national reconstruction, that is to say, of their own reconstruction; we see him reassessing the history of independence and recalling the sacred unity of the struggle for liberation. The leader, because he refuses to break up the national bourgeoisie, asks the people to fall back into the past and to become drunk on the remembrance of the epoch which led up to independence. The leader, seen objectively, brings the people to a halt and persists in either expelling them from history or preventing them from taking root in it. During the struggle for liberation the leader awakened the people and promised them a forward march, heroic and unmitigated. Today, he uses every means to put them to sleep, and three or four times a year asks them to remember the colonial period and to look back on the long way they have come since then.’

I am not opposed to the centenary celebration of the ANC. But if the ANC was a progressive movement they would have organised a celebration in a way that includes the people and supports us to build our power. They could have, for instance, asked people to meet all over the country, discuss how far we have come and how far we still have to go, and draw up demands for a new freedom charter for the new era. But this celebration is just a spectacle that we are supposed to watch on TV. It is exactly what Fanon talks about. It is designed to keep us drunk on the memory of the past struggle, so that we must stop struggling and remain in the caves.

In a recent protest in Bloemfontein, police were there in numbers to flush the demonstrators. This has happened in many other demonstrations. The message is very clear: ‘Go back to your caves!’ It is backed up by state violence. As Fanon says, a party that can’t marry national consciousness with social consciousness will disintegrate; nothing will be left but the shell of a party, the name, the emblem and the motto. He says that: ‘The living party, which ought to make possible the free exchange of ideas which have been elaborated according to the real needs of the mass of the people has been transformed into a trade union of individual interests.’

This is exactly what the party has become. Institutions such as parliament and local municipalities have been severely compromised because of individual interests. Corruption is rampant. The Protection of Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) is another illustration of how the selfish interests of individuals have taken over the party.

A true liberation movement would never have killed Andries Tatane, attacked and jailed activists of social movements. It would never send people to lull – it would encourage people to continue organising and mobilising against injustices and oppression. A progressive leader would know that they cannot substitute themselves for the will of the people. A progressive party would never help the government in holding the people down through fascist attacks on the media by the likes of Nceba Faku, Blade Nzimande and Julius Malema to mention but a few. A democratic party would never engage in attacks on protests as we saw most recently with the ANC and ANCYL fascism against the Democratic Left Front in Durban during COP17 Conference.

In the Congo, in Nigeria and across the Arab world people are deserting celebrations of the flag and political leaders as if they really do represent the nation. Some are turning to a politics of religious or ethnic chauvinism. Others are turning to the politics of mass democratic rebellion or a democracy that is truly owned by the people. This is a free exchange of ideas backed up with popular force. We are also seeing this in Europe and North America. Latin America has been in rebellion for many years. Across South Africa more and more people are deserting the party that spends so much money to keep them drunk on the memory of the past struggle, their own struggle, the same struggle that the ruling party has privatised and betrayed. There are occupations, road blockades and protests and the message is loud and clear: Sekwanele! Genoeg! Enough!

The only way to truly honour the struggles of the past is to stand up for what is right, now. The struggle continues and will continue until we are all free.


* Ayanda Kota is chairperson of Unemployed People’s Movement in South Africa.
* Please send comments to editor{at}pambazuka{dot}org or comment online at Pambazuka News.”


(Quelle: Pambazuka News.)

Siehe auch:


BRD: Nebel über’m Bendlerblock

Dienstag, Dezember 13th, 2011

“Widerstandskämpfer mit antiziganistischer Vergangenheit

Nur wenige Menschen leisteten entschlossenen Widerstand gegen die nationalsozialistische Herrschaft in Deutschland. Unter diesen Widerstandskämpfern finden sich neben vielen aufrechten Personen auch einige mit zweifelhaften Motiven und Gesinnungen.

Diese Erkenntnis ist nicht ganz neu. Beispielsweise waren die meisten Mitglieder der militärischen Opposition um Stauffenberg herum eher deutschnational als demokratisch motiviert. Im Stauffenberg-Kreis finden sich ehemalige begeisterte Nationalsozialisten und pragmatische Nazis. Ihnen ging es vor allem darum so viel wie möglich von Deutschland über das sich abzeichnende Kriegsende hinaus zu retten.

Auch Stauffenberg war ein Antisemit, so schreibt er 1939 in einem Brief an seine Frau über seine Erlebnisse im von Deutschland besetzten Polen:

    “Die Bevölkerung ist ein unglaublicher Pöbel, sehr viele Juden und sehr viel Mischvolk. Ein Volk, welches sich nur unter der Knute wohl fühlt. Die Tausenden von Gefangenen werden unserer Landwirtschaft recht gut tun.”

Auch Antiziganismus findet sich bei Widerstandskämpfern. Ein Beispiel dafür wäre Wilhelm Leuschner (1890-1944). Der Widerstandskämpfer gegen das NS-Regime hatte in der Weimarer Republik als Innenminister des damaligen „Volksstaates Hessen” (heutiges südliches Hessen am 21. März 1929 das „Gesetz zur Bekämpfung des Zigeunerwesens” in den Landtag eingebracht. In der Begründung für das Gesetz hat er versprochen, die „Zigeunerplage” zu bekämpfen und auszurotten. Das Gesetz wurde am 3. April 1929 verabschiedet und orientierte sich an dem am 16. Juli 1926 im Freistaat Bayern verabschiedete „Gesetz zur Bekämpfung von Zigeunern, Landfahrern und Arbeitsscheuen“. Leuschner war ein langjähriger Sozialdemokrat, er trat bereits 1913 in die SPD ein und engagierte sich weiter in der Gewerkschaft. Im Jahr 1924 zog er als SPD-Abgeordneter in den Landtag des „Volksstaates Hessen“ ein und wurde 1928 Innenminister im „Volksstaat Hessen“.

Leuschner war von Anfang an ein Gegner des Nationalsozialismus. Er wurde im Januar 1933 in den Bundesvorstand des „Allgemeinen Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbunds“ (ADGB) gewählt und trat im April nach der nationalsozialistischen Machtübernahme zum Rücktritt gezwungen, von seinem Amt als hessischer Innenminister zurück. Als Gewerkschaftsfunktionär weigerte er sich mit den Nationalsozialisten zusammenzuarbeiten und wurde deswegen inhaftiert. In den Jahren 1933 und 1934 war er ein Jahr lang in Gefängnissen und Konzentrationslagern gefangen, darunter im berüchtigten Emslandlager Börgermoor.

Nach seiner Entlassung im Juni 1934 aus dem Konzentrationslager, begann er mit dem Aufbau eines Widerstandsnetzwerks, was sich zur Schaltzentrale der illegalen Reichsleitung der deutschen Gewerkschaften entwickelte.

Leuschner kämpfte in gewerkschaftsnahen Widerstandsgruppen und unterhielt Kontakte zum „Kreisauer Kreis“ und ab 1939 auch zur Widerstandsgruppe des deutschnationalen und antisemitischen NS-Gegners Carl Friedrich Goerdeler. Nach dem geplanten Stauffenberg-Putsch war Leuschner im Schattenkabinett Beck/Goerdeler möglicherweise als Vizekanzler vorgesehen. Doch das Stauffenberg-Attentat scheiterte und Leuschner stellte sich am 16. August 1944, nachdem die Nazis seine Ehefrau als Geisel festgenommen hatten, den Behörden. Er wurde danach vom Volksgerichtshof unter dem Vorsitz des berüchtigten Roland Freisler zum Tode verurteilt. Am 29. September 1944 wurde Wilhelm Leuschner im Strafgefängnis von Berlin-Plötzensee hingerichtet.

Wie ist der Antiziganismus und die aktive NS-Gegnerschaft von Leuschner zu verstehen? Ganz einfach, sie stellen gar keinen Widerspruch dar. Man kann einerseits gegen den Nationalsozialismus sein und andererseits auch eine Minderheit diskriminieren und drangsalieren. Mehr noch, die Geschichte von Leuschner veranschaulicht das bereits in der Weimarer Republik Antiziganismus in der Bevölkerung, auch unter Sozialdemokraten, weit verbreitet war. Die Nazis haben den Antiziganismus nicht erfunden, sie konnten sogar auf bereits bestehende Gesetze zurückgreifen und diese radikalisieren bis hin zur Vernichtung.

Dass sich rassistische und sozialdarwinistische Hetze und eine SPD-Mitgliedschaft problemlos miteinander vereinbaren lassen, zeigt dieser Tage Thilo Sarrazin.”


(Quelle: Antiziganismus Watchblog.)

China: “Unternehmensdemokratie”

Freitag, November 18th, 2011

“Mitbestimmung, chinesisch interpretiert*

von Au Loong Yu

Der chinesische Gewerkschaftsbund (ACFTU, All China Federation of Trade Unions) hat in den vergangenen Jahren eine ganze Reihe von Arbeitsgesetzen gefördert. Bevor wir uns darüber zu sehr freuen, sollten wir uns jedoch daran erinnern, dass diese Gesetze häufig genug auf Betriebsebene keine Anwendung finden. In einem Land, das weder Rechtsstaatlichkeit noch Redefreiheit achtet, kann keine einzige Arbeitsgesetzgebung oder Sozialreform, geschweige denn ihre Wirksamkeit, ohne einen Bezug zu allgemeineren sozialen Aspekten und den Erfahrungen der jüngeren Vergangenheit beurteilt werden.

Tatsächlich war es nicht in grauer Vorzeit, dass 100 Millionen Arbeiter in staatlichen Unternehmen Arbeitsplatzsicherheit und grundlegende Wohlfahrt genossen. Die Gesetze zu industrieller Demokratie und betrieblichen Interessenvertretungen (SWRC, Staff and Workers Representative Congress) gewährten ihnen Rechte, die viel weiter reichten als das deutsche Betriebsratsmodell. Hinzu kommt der Verfassungsrang der „führenden Rolle“ der Arbeiter in der Führung des Landes. Jedoch schaffen es diese Gesetze nicht, die Arbeiter davor zu schützen, dass ihre Betriebe privatisiert werden, oder dass sie gegen geltendes Recht entlassen werden.
Im Juli 2009 widersetzten sich die Arbeiter des staatlichen Tonghua Stahlwerks in der Provinz Jilin mit Gewalt gegen die wiederholten Versuche, ihre Betriebe zu privatisieren. Das ging so weit, dass sie den Manager zu Tode schlugen, als er ihnen drohte, sie alle zu entlassen, sollte er am Leben bleiben. Ihr Kampf half ihnen, die Privatisierung zu blockieren und ermutigte zu vergleichbaren Kämpfen in anderen staatlichen Stahlwerken. In der Folge gab die Zentralregierung Anweisungen an die kommunalen Behörden heraus, in denen daran erinnert wurde, dass die lokalen Vertreter und die Manager staatlicher Unternehmen die Gesetze insofern zu respektieren hätten, als es das Recht der SWRC sei, vor jedweder Privatisierungsinitiative konsultiert zu werden. Aber selbst für den Fall, dass diese Regierungsdirektive diesmal wirken sollte, bedeutet der Umstand, dass bis 2001 bereits 86% der staatlichen Industrieunternehmen umstrukturiert wurden und 70% entweder vollständig oder wenigstens teilweise privatisiert waren(1), dass diese Initiative schlicht zu spät kommt, um irgendeine substanzielle Bedeutung für die Arbeiter zu haben.
Das SWRC-Modell wurde erstmalig in der Folge des Sieges der Chinesischen Kommunistischen Partei (CCP) im Jahr 1949 eingeführt. Jedoch existierte es während der Mao-Ära über Jahrzehnte im Grunde nur als Papier. Während der Staatsrat in den 1980er Jahren die Wiederinkraftsetzung der SWRC formal erklärte, führte die Solidarnosc-Bewegung in Polen zu einer vorsichtigeren Haltung der CCP. Dies erklärt wohl zum Teil, wieso die SWRC institutionell so gestaltet wurden, dass sie die Kontrolle der Arbeiter über eben diese Institutionen schwächte, während sie doch dem äußeren Schein nach gestärkt wurde.

Betriebsräte in Deutschland sind den SWRC in China vergleichbar, abgesehen davon, dass die chinesische Variante mehr Macht hat als ihr deutscher Cousin. Zum Beispiel müssen deutsche Betriebsräte bei der Besetzung des Chefpostens oder überhaupt in der Auswahl des Managements nicht einmal konsultiert werden, von einem Recht, an der Entscheidung beteiligt zu werden, ganz zu schweigen. Zhu Xiaoyang und Anita Chan führen aus, dass „wenn die SWRC in China tatsächlich imstande wären, ihre gesetzmäßigen Rechte auszuüben, die Rechte von chinesischen Arbeitern in staatlichen oder genossenschaftlichen Unternehmen weit über die von Arbeitern im kapitalistischen System hinausgehen würden.“(2)

Aber der Teufel liegt im Detail. Während die CCP sehr eindrucksvolle Sprachbataillone auffährt, wenn es um „Unternehmensdemokratie“ geht, versucht sie doch in Wirklichkeit über die aktuelle Politik und das Kleingedruckte in den Gesetzen zu gewährleisten, dass das Parteikomitee fortfährt, sämtliche Macht zu monopolisieren sowie die gesetzlichen und politischen Rechte der Arbeiter in Luft aufzulösen. Während das Unternehmensmanagement in Deutschland nicht für die Betriebsratswahlen kandidieren darf, ist es ihrem chinesischen Gegenstück – Angehörige des Managements und Führungskader – nicht nur erlaubt in SWRC-Wahlen zu kandidieren, es ist tatsächlich gewährleistet, dass „Management-Führungskader des Unternehmens, einschließlich solcher in der Produktion und den verschiedenen Abteilungen, ein Fünftel der SWRC-Delegierten ausmachen.“ In der Praxis übersteigt der Anteil der SWRC-Delegierten mit einem Management-Hintergrund dieses eine Fünftel oft, manchmal reicht er bis über die Hälfte.(3)

Das bringt uns zu einer allgemeineren nationalen und gesellschaftlichen Situation, die noch immer von vielen Arbeitswissenschaftlern vernachlässigt wird. Grundsätzlich kann „Unternehmensdemokratie“ – oder eine verkrüppelte Ausgabe davon – einfach nicht die Interessen der Arbeiter verteidigen, wenn die Partei sämtliche politische Macht monopolisiert und die meisten ökonomischen Ressourcen und sich selbst über die Gesetze stellt. Mike McConville, Professor an der Rechtsfakultät der Universität von Hongkong, zitiert in seinem neuen Buch „Criminal Justice in China“ (Strafjustiz in China) ein chinesisches Buch zur Strafprozessordnung wie folgt: „Die CCP ist die einzige legale Partei; die Staatsführung wird von der Partei betrieben, alle staatlichen Organe stehen unter der Führung der Partei und das Justizsystem bildet hier keine Ausnahme. In einem solchen Herrschaftssystem müssen sich legislative und judikative Aktivitäten nicht nur an das Gesetz halten, sondern auch die Strafpolitik der Partei exekutieren.“(4)

Trotz der von der Partei gepflegten Rhetorik von der Rechtsstaatlichkeit, behaupte ich, dass das Eigeninteresse der chinesischen Bürokratie schlicht dagegen spricht. Diese Bürokratie unterscheidet sich sehr von der von Max Weber beschriebenen. Sie gibt sich einfach nicht damit zufrieden, gegen eine angemessene Bezahlung der willfährige Diener des Adels oder der Bourgeoisie zu sein. Im Gegenteil, sie ist die herrschende Klasse; sie ist zugleich Bürokraten und Kapitalisten und will deshalb einen garantierten Lohn und maximierte Profite zur selben Zeit. Bürokraten auf allen Ebenen betreiben oder besitzen Unternehmen direkt oder indirekt und profitieren von ihnen. Es ist allzu deutlich, dass dieser Status Quo eine Arbeiterklasse nicht tolerieren kann, die volle politische und Arbeitsrechte genießen will.”


* Originaltitel Co-determination with Chinese characteristics; Übersetzung von Stefan Hochstadt erschienen in AMOS Nr. 3-2011
(1) Exit the Dragon? Privatization and State Control in China. Herausgegeben von Stephen Green und Guy S. Liu, Blackwell 2005, S. 18
(2) Staff and Workers’ Representative Congress. An Institutionalized Channel for Expression of Employees’ Interests? Zhu Xiaoyang und Anita Chang, Chinese Sociology and Anthropology. Vol. 37, Nr. 4, Sommer 2005, S. 6-33
(3) Zhidaihui weishenme meiyong (Why are the SWRCs useless?) Dong Fang Daily, 17. August 2009.
(4) Criminal Justice in China. An Empirical Inquiry. Mike McConville und Satnam Choongh, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., UK 2011, S. 400 – Im englischen Originaltext wird von „the criminal policies of the Party“ gesprochen; das kann neben der hier gewählten Übersetzung „Strafpolitik“ auch mit „kriminelle Politik“ übersetzt werden. Wahrscheinlich ist diese Doppelbedeutung vom Autor beabsichtigt (und wird deshalb wohl auch von Au Loong Yu zitiert); Anm. des Übersetzers.


(Quelle: Forum Arbeitswelten China – Deutschland.)

China: Wie sozialistisch ist der chinesische Parteienstaat?

Donnerstag, Juli 7th, 2011

“How Socialist Is the Chinese Party State?

The End of Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity
By: Wang Hui
London: Verso, 2010, 272 pp., $26.95

Reviewed by Au Loong Yu

The publisher of Wang Hui’s book described it as follows: “arguing that China’s revolutionary history and its current liberalization are part of the same discourse of modernity, Wang Hui calls for alternatives to both its capitalist trajectory and its authoritarian past.”

      What follows is our review of the book in the light of this description: how far this assessment is correct, and how relevant it is for those social activists who are pursuing just such an alternative in China.

      We must bear in mind that Wang Hui is first and foremost a cultural and philosophy scholar who specializes in China’s intellectual history. Therefore even though the book’s name suggests a highly politicized debate, much of the content of the book is concerned with cultural and intellectual history in contemporary China, more so than political aspects. For practical reasons we would like to focus our comment on Wang’s political writings. This basically includes the first three chapters, and accounts for half of the length of the book.

      After defeating the 1989 democratic movement, the Chinese Communist Party under Deng Xiaoping pushed forward an agenda of full scale capitalist restoration combined with rapid industrialization, which was made possible only because of the opening up of its market to foreign capital. The huge size of China and the gradual process of the opening up gave enough space and time to domestic capital to grow fast enough to fend off foreign capital in becoming dominant in the commanding height of the economy, which laid the base for the rise of China. This came at a price, though, and it was the workers in the state and collective sectors who paid for it with the loss of their jobs and the accompanying free medical care and accessible education for their children. Most intellectuals went along with this great tide of neoliberal attacks on the old welfare state. Most liberals enthusiastically embraced the downsizing of the workforce in the state sector, seeing it as part of the retreat of the all powerful state and the growth of an autonomous market which would lay the base for a democratic society in the future. The only complaint they had was that privatization was not accompanied by moderate constitutional reform.

The Relevance of Social Movements

Wang Hui was among other leftists who argued against the liberal or neo-liberal discourse. His earlier articles were published in English under the title China’s New Order by Harvard in 2003. It carries a 1997 article “Contemporary Chinese Thought and the Question of Modernity” in which he mocks the liberal idea that the logic of the market is a free exchange of individual rights and therefore capable “to put certain restrictions on the excessive expansion of state power.” Echoing Karl Polanyi’s distinction of market and market society, he says:

Within the dichotomy of planning/market, the notion of the “market” has been assumed to be the source of “freedom.” This notion, however, blurs the distinction between markets and a market society. If we can say that markets are transparent and function in accordance with the price mechanisms of the marketplace, then a market society would use market mechanism to govern the realms of politics, culture, and all other aspects of life — the working of market society cannot be distinguished from a monopolistic superstructure. It is in just this way that the notion of markets obscures the inequalities of modern society and its unequal structures of power.[1]

      In this turn of the century debate, the liberals tried to defend market reform by disconnecting from it all the social ills which people commonly related to the reform: increasing social inequality, rampant corruption, open contempt for labor and environmental laws, etc. They argued that neither the market, nor capitalism should be held responsible for these social ills; rather it was socialism and the party state which should be held responsible. Wang Hui responded that they were

unable to come to an understanding of the fact that China’s problems are also the problems of the world capitalist market and that any diagnosis of those problems must come to terms with the steadily increasing problems produced by the globalization of capitalism…Even the state behavior that was the primary target of New Enlightenment thinking has been constrained by this huge market.[2]

      In China where the memory of Mao still looms large among the people, any attack on the capitalist reform from the left often results in referring to Chairman Mao and his version of socialism to justify its attack and looks to the party state as the only salvation from the savageness of capitalist reform. They, like the neoliberals, rarely see movements from below as positive things. This was how a current of nationalist and statist discourses began to emerge among the so called New Left intellectuals — a label which Wang Hui himself finds problematic. Wang Hui may not be critical of the nationalist discourse, but he is one of the very few intellectuals who acknowledges the importance of social movements in the winning of social justice, be it under capitalism or socialism. Although he himself is not an activist, it seems he pays attention to the birth of social movements in China. This is one of the threads running from China’s New Order to The End of the Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity. He reminds the liberals that when they hold Western capitalism as a reference point for its respect for individual rights and its parliamentary democracy, they should not forget that these were the results of prolonged social movements. Not surprisingly, he is one of the few leftist intellectuals who highly value the 1989 democratic movement and direct participation in public affairs in general. Blinded by the false dichotomy of market/state and each seeking salvation from one end of the dichotomy, both neoliberals and nationalists are equally negative in their evaluation of the 1989 democratic movement and social movements in general, seeing the 1989 movement as either “counter reform” or an “anti-socialist revolt incited by imperialism.” In the second chapter of The End of the Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity Wang Hui came to defend the movement by pointing out that there were socialist leanings deeply inherent in the movement[3]:

Students, intellectuals, and other movement participants all supported reform (including political and economic reform) and demands for democracy…What people were demanding was to proceed with economic reform, albeit upon the basis of democracy and justice; they were not demanding so-called absolute egalitarianism or moral idealism. These demands were in fundamental conflict with those put forward by the special interest groups demanding more radical privatization, even though the full extent of this conflict was not understood at the time.[4]

      Having presented Wang Hui’s idea on market reform, social movements and democracy we think it is true to say that Wang Hui calls for alternatives to both capitalist trajectory and authoritarian collectivism.

Socialist Tradition:
How Much Is Left Anyway?

One must also be aware of the limitations of such a call though. Wang Hui’s contribution lies in his attack on neo-liberalism and the myth built around the market in the midst of a sharp turn to the right in government policy since mid 1990s. However, he rarely carries his attack further to target the regime which is precisely the force which has pushed through two waves of privatization, first in state and collective enterprises, then second on urban land. Although Wang Hui is troubled by the rampant corruption of the party, he nevertheless only targets a force which he terms “special interest group”:

Among those strata participating in the 1989 social movement were those special interest groups that had massively benefited from the decentralization of power and benefits in the 1980s, and who were now dissatisfied with the impending adjustment policies.[5]

The present issue of corruption not only involves individual corrupted officials but also the question of the relationship between social policy, economic policy and special interests. The development of the hydrocarbon industry and energy projects, for instance, are often impeded or led by individual special interest groups…Domestic and international special interest relations have now seeped into state mechanisms and even the process of legislation to an unprecedented degree. Under these conditions, the question of how the state can represent the so-called “universal interest” has already become extremely tenuous.[6]

      While the liberals put the blame of most social ills on the party state alone, many left nationalists act in just the opposite way and blame the market economy alone so as to save the honor of the party. For the latter, if the party has a problem it is either from outside forces (the market or imperialism) or from some mysterious “special interest group.” So logically it means that it is this “special interest group,” not the party, which should be responsible for the capitalist restoration and the imposing of an intensively anti-labor regime. It is problematic to make such an argument, however, because it is precisely the party which made the decision to crush the 1989 movement, to adopt full capitalist restoration since 1992 and to switch from being anti-bourgeoisie to deeply pro-bourgeoisie and anti-labor, to the extent that it sacked 60 million state-owned and collective enterprise workers. It is only in this context that this mysterious “special interest group” can reap its own benefit at the expense of the people.

      Wang Hui may not have gone as far as the left nationalists, but his uncritical usage of the left nationalist’s discourses may not enable him to distance himself from the latter either.

      Maybe it is because Wang Hui cannot speak freely. Anyone who is more or less informed about China knows very well the heavy censorship there. Any writer who questions the official characterization of the party or the state as the bearer of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is risking punishment from above. Indeed Wang Hui has already received punishment by being sacked from the editorship of the well known journal dushu. To avoid censorship it is common for Chinese writers to use all sorts of code to represent sensitive terms or critical ideas, and one of these terms is “special interest group.” While this practice may enable writers to get around the censorship it also means sacrificing political clarity – people can have very different interpretations of what a “special interest group” is. In fact, the rampant corruption in the party and the moral decay in society are increasingly compelling people to be more explicit in speaking out. Even the very mainstream and well known economist Wu Jinglian now openly attacks the present system as “crony capitalism” without fearing retaliation.

      While we must take into account the factor of censorship, we suspect that the inner logic of Wang Hui’s writings may carry enough weakness to obstruct him from further developing his call for a real alternative. The crux of the problem lies in the questions: What is the class role of the party state since 1989 anyway? Which class interest does it serves since then? For us the answers are clear: the party state has undergone a qualitative change in its class role and now is in the service of the bourgeoisie. If Wang Hui acknowledges the importance of providing answers to these questions but fears the consequences of speaking out, he can choose silence. However, he, like many left nationalists, continues to give credit to the party state which it does not deserve. He has done this by over-stressing the supposed living tradition of socialism amongst the party state:

The Chinese Communist Party, while thoroughly repudiating the Cultural Revolution, did not repudiate either the Chinese Revolution or socialist values…This has created a twofold effect. First, the socialist tradition has functioned to a certain extent as an internal restraint on state reforms…Secondly, the socialist tradition gave workers, peasants and other social collectivities some legitimate means to contest or negotiate the state’s corrupt or inegalitarian marketization procedures.[7]

      The CCP had not repudiated either the Chinese Revolution or socialist values? Can one really take the CCP’s rhetoric of socialism at face value? Can one really argue this, considering the two great waves of privatization and the great wave of dismissals of 60 million workers? We do not deny that occasionally common people may win partial victories when they invoke the socialist principle enshrined in the constitution, but one must not also lose sight of the other side of the story, namely that much, much more has been lost, gone with the wind; that the party has betrayed the revolution and has transformed itself into a party of the propertied class, that the labor power of hundreds of millions of workers and farmers are once again reduced to a mere commodity, freely bought and sold at miserable prices, and that no socialist tradition in China has ever been able to stop this from taking place. No qualified accountant can draw up a balance sheet for a company just by entering the small sum of assets left over without also entering the huge losses and mountains of debt it has incurred as well. If Wang Hui has made that mistake, it also means that he is making a theoretical concession to the left nationalists, who have been trying to whitewash the Communist Party by arguing that although there was a break between Mao’s China and Deng’s China, fortunately it has only taken place in the economy, while at the political level there is more continuity because the ruling Communist Party still rules and the “socialist tradition” is still alive (how much?) in the party state,[8] and what is left to do is to persuade this party state to once again turn to the left. For instance, this is what Giovanni Arrighi argues in his book Adam Smith in Beijing.[9] His idea was later echoed by a Taiwan scholar Huang Debei, who looks favorably at Mao’s socialism and who argues that up until now the state of China has been an autonomous Bonapartist state, therefore not yet submitted to the class interest of the bourgeoisie; hence it can turn either to the right or to the left (how far?).[10] In contrast, we will argue that although in appearance the party state stands above all classes, it does not imply that it has no class character at all, or that it is entirely “neutral” or “autonomous” of all classes. Rather, it is crystal clear that since 1989 the party state has betrayed its own founding principle to the full and has been in the service of the bourgeoisie, hence a bourgeoisie party state.

Sources of Corruption:
Within or Outside of the Party?

This notion of “socialist tradition” happily forgets that it is the party state bureaucracy which constitutes the hard core of the new born bourgeoisie at the expense of workers. In the course of making a U turn in its class policy from anti-bourgeoisie to pro-bourgeoisie the bureaucracy has first and foremost enriched itself. So when Wang Hui should look within the CCP for the source of capitalist restoration he looks elsewhere. The truth, however, is that it does not require some exogenous “special interests” to “seep” into the state machinery to corrupt it; it is the source of its own degeneration. For Marxists, the state is always an alienated force from society, and the bureaucracy always serves its own interest, and this is doubly the case when the state bureaucracy, the supposed “public servants,” have taken all political power from the hands of the “masters of the house” very early on. They did this not just out of supposed necessity due to a state of siege during the cold war, but also due to their own needs to monopolize the right to distribute social surplus and to benefit from it. Thus the degeneration of the party into a fully restoration party is more the result of endogenous than exogenous forces. Therefore leftists, including Wang Hui, erred when they thought that it was a wrong policy choice when the CCP embarked on the market reform; they forgot that what drove the CCP to take this decision had less to do with political correctness but more to do with the material interests of this hardened bureaucracy. If there is any continuity between Mao’s China and Deng’s/post-Deng’s China, it is less the continuity of a “socialist tradition” but more the privileges of the bureaucracy as represented by the CCP: what “ism” it believes is always of secondary importance; what is paramount is its monopoly of political power. And as time went by the party became more and more conscious of the fact that without the introduction of the right to private property there was always the risk that its monopoly on political power to distribute social surplus would not pass down to its children. Therefore what characterizes the 60 year history of the PRC is not just a break between an authoritarian collectivist past and an equally authoritarian capitalist present, but also continuity incarnated in the monopoly of power by this party of the bureaucracy. The break occurs precisely because it was the only way to allow the party’s rule to continue indefinitely. Therefore an alternative to both a capitalist trajectory and authoritarian collectivism can only be conceivable by opposing the party, not by giving it credit by saying that this party state still carries certain aspects of “socialist tradition,” and is hence capable of self reform, and what is left to do is to try persuading the CCP to make policy changes. To argue for the second option is bound to sow illusions among a rising new working class.

Where is the Place of Class Struggles?

Wang Hui has not gone that far, but his characterization of the class nature of the party state, or the lack of it, and his acceptance of the persistence of “socialist tradition” theory, may act as a bridge to a position which simply accepts the role of lobbying the ruling party, while a revolt from below is both necessary and urgent. Indeed it is striking that in Wang Hui’s writings the issues of classes, state and bureaucracy and their relation to contemporary China are always brief and abstract, if not largely missing. Nor is there any account of class struggle as one of the forces in moving contemporary Chinese history forward. In fact, Wang Hui treats the subject of the dramatic transformation of the role of the party state so lightly that he just summarizes his observation in a few sentences in his first English book:

The modern socialist movement was brought about by an analysis of the internal contradictions of capitalism and by the aspiration to overcome these contradictions, but the practice of socialism not only failed to complete the task of this aspiration, but it ended by being absorbed into global capitalism. At the same time, capitalism derived from socialism and from various movements for the protection of social rights opportunities for reform and self-critique, to the point where today, it is impossible to define socialism or capitalism in their original senses on the basis of the autonomous unit of the nation-state.[11]

      It seems that there is a dose of fatalism in this description of the failure of socialism; that the defeat is just a natural evolution of socialism. This kind of proposition makes too much of a concession to the neoliberal’s discourse of “transitional economy,” according to which the socialist movement in the 20th century was just a momentary departure from the market economy, and its centrally planned economy was fated to abdicate its position to market economy once again as this is the only viable way of organizing an effective production and distribution system. Such a discourse is too ahistorical, however, because it leaves out altogether the element of class struggle. Wang Hui’s own account does not fare much better. Although Wang Hui highly values the 1989 democratic movement, he was not able to see this as a massive revolt against the CCP’s agenda of capitalist restoration, that the aspiration of the majority of the participants was precisely an aspiration for “alternatives to both its capitalist trajectory and its authoritarian past,” that the intensity of the movement had for a time made the top leaders of the CCP so nervous that the latter feared that if they did not act fast to crush the movement the army might split. Although Deng Xiaoping eventually succeeded in his dirty work, after the crackdown most top leaders were probably still haunted by the scene of the biggest, boldest and direct challenge to the CCP ever seen in the history of the PRC. It left such a deep mark in the memory of the bureaucracy that it became paranoid about a movement from below that in the ensuring 20 years it turned China into a perfect police state by contributing a budget for internal security even larger than its budget for defense.[12] Therefore neither was there anything natural about the metamorphosis of the class role of the CCP, nor was the capitalist restoration entirely fated by some mysterious ahistorical forces. Any suggestion of this sort is in fact depoliticizing a very political subject.

      Yes, we are bringing back the old fashioned debate of capitalism and socialism, of classes, class struggles and the state. But this is not the same kind of squabbles as among little sects which are more interested in abstract political formula as they understand it, than real struggles in the real world. On the contrary, we bring it back precisely because many former state owned or collective enterprise workers have asked these sorts of questions many times over: why did the one apparently most “revolutionary” party end up becoming a party of restoration? Why was the CCP under Deng Xiaoping able to make this turn? Why was there no serious opposition to this turn? What is the nature of the CCP and the state it controls anyway? Isn’t it true that it has now entirely become protectors of the exploiting classes?

      What is most unfortunate is that few leftist intellectuals ask the same questions. Hence even when some of them argue against the market and capitalism either they do so in the most abstract and academic way (for instance reaffirming the priority of “equality” over “efficiency”), or if they ever argue in a more political way it is always trapped in the false dichotomy of state and market, and they end up supporting the party state’s continuous monopoly of power as a means to fight off capitalism. In this way they have written off the working class and socialism altogether.

      Wang Hui is one of the few who performs better than most of the other leftists, and part of his writing can act as a starting point to an alternative, but since he also makes so much of an intellectual concession to the official ideology his writings can also lead in the opposite direction.

      While writing this comment the author here has tried his best not to misunderstand Wang Hui. It has also proved to be a difficult task, however, because his writing, as usual, tends to be abstract and so densely loaded with so many references to schools of ideas in one single essay that it sometimes makes one doubtful of its usefulness. What is more, his Chinese essays can be very different from his English ones even if they bear the same title. For instance the essay “Depoliticized Politics: From East to West” is not a full translation of the Chinese original, rather, it is heavily abridged to just 15 percent of the original. We are not sure of the reasons for making such a short summary of the original but frankly in my view the Chinese original is not quite so successful in bringing out clearly his train of thought. Another leftist writer Li Tuo complained in a recent interview about how he thought Wang Hui’s style damaged the effective expression of his ideas.[13]

Wang Hui on National Minorities

Western readers are also warned that it is difficult to make full and fair comment on Wang Hui by reading English translations alone. For instance, the English translation of The Year 1989 and the Historical Roots of Neoiberalism in China deletes altogether from the Chinese original Wang Hui’s wholly negative evaluation of the right to self-determination for national minorities.[14] His critique is merely based on associating the right to self-determination with the imperialist agenda in Yugoslavia, forgetting that it was Marxists, like Lenin, who were major proponents of the right to self-determination. By arguing in such a way he is not doing enough justice both to the principle of self-determination and to all the oppressed minorities in the world, including China. Indeed, Wang Hui, in another Chinese essay which was later published in book form along with other essays, denies the right to self-determination to Tibetan people by quoting approvingly Zhou Enlai, who rejected the right to self- determination. According to Zhou, in order for self determination to work without creating conflicts among minorities, there must be a situation where these minorities each occupies a distinctive territory, as was allegedly the case in Tsarist Russia. That was why the Russian revolution could allow minorities the right to self-determination and secession and reunited them into a federation of soviets states. Since China, unlike the Soviet Union, — so the argument goes — had a Han majority and the minorities all mixed geographically, China should hence not adopt federalism; rather, there was no choice but to choose a unitary state. The second reason given by Zhou was that a federalist state solution (with the right to self determination as its prerequisite) might invite intervention from Imperialism.[15] Anyone with a fair amount of knowledge of the Russian revolution and its position on minorities knows very well that Zhou’s remark was factually wrong and theoretically invalid. For Lenin, self-determination should never automatically imply secession or the founding of a new state or federalism. It is disappointing to see that Wang Hui quotes Zhou approvingly.

      But let us not be too harsh on Wang Hui. If we have to look somewhere else in the search of an alternative it is less because of Wang Hui’s personal failure, but more because of the general failure among the intellectuals in thinking independently in relation to both the official ideology and to Western liberalism, or to the false dichotomy of state versus market. If the party state, despite its betrayal of its founding principle, still maintains a spiritual hold on left intellectuals, this hold comes less from the party’s supposed “greatest popular legitimacy than at any time since the fifties,” resulting from “economic growth and diplomatic success,” as suggested by Perry Anderson[16], but more from its stunning success in combining capitalist restoration with rapid industrialization, which in class terms means success in its apparent independence to all classes and its ability to make classes disappear and appear at will: first exterminating the landlord class and the bourgeoisie in 1950s, and then promoting the re-birth of the bourgeoisie (with itself standing at its core) since 1980s; first granting the honor of “master of the house” to the working class and then decades later reducing it to pauperization and in its place drawing 250 million peasants from the rural and turning them into a new working class, not only as cheap labor but also to counterbalance the threat of a possible rebellion from the state sector workers. It is the great success of this 21st century Leviathan which has stunned all classes and keeps them in submission. Anyone who seriously looks for a left alternative is, therefore, required to first look at the history of the PRC in terms of class, bureaucracy, and the state. It is precisely this aspect which few left intellectuals are able to provide in a satisfactory way.


1. China’s New Order, (Cambridge, MA: 2003), 176.

2. Ibid., 180.

3. The End of the Revolution, p. 22.

4. Ibid, 32-33.

5. Ibid., 31.

6. Preface to Ibid., xxviii.

7. Ibid., 18.

8. This is echoed in Perry Anderson’s essay Two Revolutions in which he argues that the “PRC …is the combination of what is now a predominantly capitalist economy with what is still unquestionably a communist state — each the most dynamic of its type to date.” Note that he is not saying that it is a Chinese Communist Party led state, but a “communist state.” New Left Review, Jan Feb 2010, p. 95.

9. See p. 332 and 369.

10. Dangdai zhoingguo guyong gongren zhi yanjiu (Research on Contemporary Chinese Workers),Weber Publication International Ltd., 2008, Taipei, p. 18

11. New order, 183.


13. Jiushi niandai de fenqi daodi zai nail (What were the differences of opinions in the 1990s?), Interview with Li Tuo, 17 Aug, 2007, Southern Metropolitan Weekly, abridged version. The full version was published in the Utopia Electronic Monthly, Sept 2007.

14. Qu zhengzhihua de zhengzhi, (The Politics of De-Politicization), Joint Publishing Company, 2008, p. 150.

15. Quoted from Wang Hui’s essay Dongxi zhijian de ‘xizang wenti’ (“The Tibet Issue in the East and in the West”), in Yazhou Shiye: zhongguo lishi de xushu (Asia Perspective: the Narrative on China’s History), Oxford, Hong Kong, 2010, p. 140-141.

16. Two Revolutions, p. 95. The problem is, how is one going to justify such claims when even conducting a social survey in China requires permission from the authority? Interestingly, the Pew Research Center released its Global Attitude Survey 2010 where it stated that “China is clearly the most self-satisfied country in the survey. Nine in ten Chinese are happy with the direction of their country (87%), feel good about the current state of their economy (91%) and are optimistic about China’s economic future (87%).” What general readers may not know is that the Research Center was forbidden by the Chinese authorities to include questions concerning human rights and democracy.

For a summary of the Survey, please click here.

For the report on the survey not including questions on human rights and democracy, please see report in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Zhongguo Renmin Manyi Ma? (“Are Chinese People Really Satisfied?”), by Dai Yao Ting, April 13, 2011.


About Author
Au Loong Yu is editorial board member of the China Labor Net: He co-authored two Chinese books on China reform and on free trade and globalization. He was the main author of the booklet Women Migrant Workers Under the Chinese Social Apartheid.”


(Quelle: New Politics.)