Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Struggle in China - Part 8: U.S. remains hostile to China

Struggle in China, Part 8
U.S. remains hostile to China

While supporting rightists & demanding concessions
By Fred Goldstein
Published May 28, 2012 11:09 PM

Part 1: A critical moment in China
Part 2: Capitalist crisis versus planning
Part 3: The Chongqing vs. Guangdong models
Part 4: Right-wing goes on the offensive
Part 5: After Bo’s ouster, capital takes another step forward
Part 6: Imperialism hails Chen, attacks Bo as Wall Street gains in China-U.S. talks
Part 7: Global economic slowdown & leadership struggle in China
Part 8: U.S. remains hostile to China

The capitalist government and the big business media in the U.S. have firmly and vociferously taken sides against Bo Xilai and any manifestation of leftist policy in China. These same media and government have also demanded economic and political concessions from the Chinese government.

But the Chinese leaders’ massive campaign of suppression against Bo Xilai, the former Communist Party secretary of Chongqing; the recently negotiated permission for U.S. firms to own up to 49 percent of Chinese non-bank financial institutions; and the release to the U.S. of the counterrevolutionary lawyer Chen Guangcheng cannot diminish the underlying, profound hostility of the U.S. ruling class toward China.

The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, among other mouthpieces of big business and the State Department, have been working with traitorous bourgeois elements and anti-Bo bureaucrats inside the Chinese state security system and the government to spread reams of leaked and unsubstantiated hearsay against Bo Xilai, while at the same time crying out for the “rule of law.”

It is reminiscent of the way the press works to frame up oppressed people in this country, especially revolutionaries like Mumia Abu-Jamal, and conduct trials by government leak and media slander. This is precisely the way in which CNN, NBC, CBS. ABC and other media are preparing the ground for freeing the cop-supported, racist vigilante George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin.

They are in close collaboration with the right wing in China, who desperately need to reduce the case of Bo to a criminal matter to conceal what it really is: a 21st-century version of the earlier two-line struggle between the left and the “capitalist roaders” over whether to take China further down the capitalist road or to slow down reliance on the capitalist market in favor of state planning and state-owned enterprises.

If the Chinese leadership can reduce the matter to one of corruption or criminality, they do not have to deal with the progressive accomplishments of Bo in Chongqing, where he built massive low-cost housing for the workers, increased social spending in order to raise the masses’ standard of living, paved the way for the peasantry to gain urban status and other benefits, and emphasized “red culture” in state-owned media and at public events.

The capitalist media in this country repeat every unverified rumor, accusation and lurid detail spread by “anonymous sources” and suspect individuals against Bo, as well as making up their own. These reports poison public opinion in the U.S. and the West. They then go back into China through the Chinese press and social media, reinforcing the campaign.

The Chinese government humiliated itself by freeing Chen Guangcheng into U.S. custody after the sightless lawyer was secreted into the U.S. Embassy via the most egregious CIA intervention. Chen is part of a network of Chinese counterrevolutionaries who used opposition to China’s one-child policy as a lever in an anticommunist campaign. The affair was a total violation of Chinese sovereignty, which, in more militant days, would have called for national anti-U.S. demonstrations.

The Chinese government made this concession during negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in order to keep the talks from breaking down. During the negotiations the Chinese leaders also made concessions to Wall Street, while Geithner and Clinton stonewalled the Chinese on their requests to be allowed to import crucial items of technology that are now banned by the Pentagon on “national security” grounds.

Whether Washington was angry because all its demands were not met, or whether the U.S. was trying to attack while the Chinese leadership was off balance with a major internal struggle, or both, the visit was immediately followed by escalation of the anti-China offensive.

Times attacks leadership for ‘corruption’

The New York Times opened up a front-page attack on not just Bo but the entire Chinese top leadership for alleged corruption, including President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and their children. This “newspaper of record” for the U.S. bourgeoisie then expanded its attack on the Communist Party of China itself.

Much was left unsaid in the charges. Most of the accusations amounted to the fact that children of the leaders were in charge of many state-owned enterprises and that they attended Western educational institutions.

Of course, any degree of nepotism, privilege or corruption that exists at the leadership level is an absolutely impermissible violation of socialist norms, and should be stamped out. That was the goal of the great Cultural Revolution initiated by Mao Zedong. It was the defeat of Mao and the left that led to the present regime, which adheres to the concept of “market socialism” invented by Deng Xiaoping. We doubt that the New York Times wants to revive the Cultural Revolution.

The capitalist press reach unparalleled heights of hypocrisy when they condemn the Communist Party of China’s leadership for “corruption.” These charges derive from the deepest hatred of the Chinese Revolution and all that is associated with it, including the CPC and the People’s Liberation Army. The New York Times and the ruling class it speaks for — and it does speak for the ruling class in this case — would like to see the total destruction, not only of the party and the PLA, but of all remaining institutions of socialism established by the Chinese Revolution.

Furthermore, these charges have nothing to do with concern about corruption. The U.S. is the land of corruption. Frederick Engels noted back in the 19th century that corruption was one of the principal instruments of rule used by the U.S. capitalist class. The robber barons bought legislatures and got titles to lands for their railroads and mining companies — lands that had been expropriated from the Native peoples during genocidal campaigns.

Today Washington, D.C., is populated by more than 40,000 lobbyists whose occupation is to foster corruption among the legislators and other branches of the capitalist government. Every state capital in the U.S. is infected with a similar plague of corrupters.

Super Pacs, empowered by the Supreme Court, now openly ply candidates with tens of millions of dollars. And these Super Pacs are financed by billionaires seeking to corrupt their candidates.

Tariffs on Chinese solar panels

Within days of the negotiations in China, the Commerce Department issued stinging tariffs of 31 percent on Chinese solar panels. China is the largest exporter of solar panels in the world. It has developed the technology to its highest state.

This tariff was levied by the Commerce Department on the grounds that China is a state economy and therefore its exports are unfairly subsidized. This ruling has been pending now for over a year, but it was levied right after the U.S.-China talks, in a stinging rebuke to the Chinese leadership.

The Chinese leaders appropriately reacted with fury and denounced the measures as protectionist. “China’s exported solar panels have a relatively competitive price, mainly because of technical research and development work done by Chinese companies,” said China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei. “At the same time, China has imported a lot of raw materials and production equipment from the U.S., and this has benefited the U.S. economy. … This action by the U.S. has hurt cooperation between China and the U.S. in the renewable-energy sector, and hurt the U.S. itself. We hope the U.S. will appropriately resolve this issue.” (Wall Street Journal, May 18)

The truth is that these tariffs will hurt the masses in the U.S. by drastically raising the cost of solar panels, just when the Obama administration is touting renewable energy and “a green economy.” It will also lead to the loss of jobs here among the 100,000 workers who are presently employed in installing affordable Chinese solar panels.

Pentagon attacks China’s military

On the heels of the tariffs, the Pentagon issued a report denouncing China for building up its military and called it “the lead cyberattacker of U.S. computers.” (Christian Science Monitor, May 12)

A New York Times article on May 19, quoting the Pentagon, said that China’s “air force is ‘transforming into a force capable of offshore offensive and defensive operations,’ the report said, with prototypes of a stealth fighter seen starting last year. Other areas of investment include defenses against ballistic missiles, early warning and air-defense missiles, and their land and naval equivalents.”

Excerpts from this report were made public just after the Chinese Minister of National Defense, Gen. Liang Guanglie, ended a meeting in Washington with Pentagon chief Leon Panetta.

In other words, the U.S. has a dual approach in its relations with China. It tries to gain economic and political concessions by carrying out negotiations on a government-to-government basis, and at the same time, it carries a big stick.

Left out of the Times report about China building up its military was that the U.S. has recently carried out so-called “joint military exercises” in the Philippines directed at China, at a time when the Philippines and China are engaged in a dispute over island territories in the South China Sea. “Joint military exercises” means U.S. military exercises. The Philippine government and military are hardly a threat to the Chinese military.

Marines are being rotated out of Iraq and Afghanistan into Australia as part of the Obama administration’s (read Pentagon’s) “pivot” toward Asia and the Pacific region. This so-called pivot is in large part a soft military threat disguised as an alleged change in policy. In fact, the U.S. has been pivoting toward the Pacific since 1854, when Commodore Matthew C. ­Perry sent gunboats to “open up” ­Japan. The U.S. colonized and conquered Hawaii, Samoa and the Philippines and sent troops to put down the Boxer Rebellion in China toward the end of that century.

Washington has had the goal of conquering and ruling over the Pacific Basin for more than a century. The U.S. threw massive forces into the war against Japanese imperialism in the Pacific with a view to conquering China. The Chinese revolution of 1949 put an end to the Pentagon’s strategic drive.

The U.S. then proceeded to try to isolate the Chinese Revolution, keeping it out of the United Nations for a quarter of a century, building up the Seventh Fleet to menace the Chinese People’s Republic, and launching two wars, one in Korea, followed by one in Vietnam, both on China’s borders.

The profound hostility of the U.S. ruling class to China and the Chinese Revolution has deep historic and material roots. Washington and Wall Street will be satisfied with nothing less than the complete recolonization of China, the destruction of the remaining pillars of socialism, and the untrammeled rule of capital over one-fifth of the human race who dwell there.

No concessions by the Chinese leadership will mitigate this hostility. The cause of this hostility lies precisely in the continued existence of the socialist sector of China. The Chinese leadership can protect China against irreversible incursions of imperialism, even on a nationalist basis, only by defending the state-owned enterprises. They are the foundation of its economic survival and the development of its military and the PLA.

In the long run, the only salvation for China is for the Chinese masses to retake the center stage of Chinese history. This is the surest guarantee of socialism in China and victory over capitalist counterrevolution and imperialism.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information about these books and other materials is available at www.lowwagecapitalism.com.
The author can be reached at

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Class Struggle In China Part 7: Global economic slowdown & leadership struggle in China

Global economic slowdown & leadership struggle in China

How to deal with impending crisis

Global economic slowdown & leadership struggle in China

Struggle in China, part 7

Published May 16, 2012 9:06 PM

Workers protest for unpaid wages at privately owned factory.

The Chinese economy is slowing down as part of the global economic slowdown now engulfing the capitalist world. China is also suffering from internal capitalist contradictions of its own.

The leadership of the Communist Party of China is now confronted with a decision about how to deal with this slowdown. And this decision comes at the very moment that the “reform and open up” faction has just carried out a political purge of the forces in the CPC headed by Bo Xilai. Bo’s grouping had wanted to strengthen the state-owned, planning side of the economy as opposed to those who wanted to deepen reliance on the capitalist market.

The issues in the purge of Bo were stated bluntly by Premier Wen Jiabao. In a March 14 news conference, Wen blamed Bo for the “incident” in which Wang Lijun, former police chief of Chongqing, went to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu where he is said to have made charges against Bo Xilai and showed documents to U.S. officials.

Wen made clear that he linked what he called “the Wang Lijun incident” to a broader agenda.  Answering a question about Chongqing and Wang’s flight to the consulate, Wen said, “We’ve taken the major decision of conducting reform and opening up in China, a decision that’s crucial for China’s future and destiny.” (Washington Post, April 26)

But Wen and the “reform and open up” current of which he is the leader are now faced with a stark contradiction. Can a deeper reliance on the capitalist market and the further intervention of imperialist corporations reverse the current slowdown in China? Or will the leadership reverse its current course and strengthen planned state intervention by the state banks and the state-owned enterprises to counteract the effects of capitalism in China?

Global capitalist economic slowdown spreading

Right now the economy of India is slowing down, as is the Brazilian economy. This is the result of the slow growth of the U.S. and Japanese economies and the outright downturn in Europe. Given its partial integration with world capitalism, China cannot but be seriously affected by this development.

This sharply poses the question of what measures to take to protect the Chinese economy and the Chinese workers and peasants from the downturn. Will the leadership rely on the capitalist market, or will it pull back and strengthen state intervention and planning, plus give aid to the masses who will be affected by this slowdown, as the CPC did during the 2008-2009 crisis?

Of course, that crisis was far more acute and severe. Some 20 million manufacturing workers in the eastern provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and other export-oriented areas lost their jobs. The measures taken to counteract this crisis, brought on by world capitalism, were massive and effective in creating an equal number of jobs and raising the income of the population during the crisis. (See Part 2 of this series, “Capitalist crisis versus planning,” March 27.)

The New York Times of May 13 described the present slowdown: “China’s General Administration of Customs announced on Thursday that growth in imports had come to a virtual halt in April compared with a year earlier. The development was unexpected in an economy that depends heavily on imported raw materials as well as on imported computer chips, sophisticated factory tools and other high-end imports for its industrialization.

“China’s exports also grew half as fast as expected in April.

“Figures released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing showed that industrial production, fixed-asset investment and retail sales in April all increased somewhat more slowly than expected. Separate figures from the central bank also showed weak growth in bank lending.
“China’s central bank has been working behind the scenes to make it easier for banks to lend, but so far that appears to be having little impact. New loans fell to 681 billion yuan in April, down from 1,010 billion yuan in March and their lowest level so far this year.”

He Weisheng, a China strategist at Citibank, said this reflected weak demand for loans rather than insufficient capital at banks. “The banks have the money to lend; the problem is that firms don’t see profitable opportunities to invest, so they don’t want to borrow.” (Wall Street Journal, May 11)
The People’s Bank of China — the central bank — is reacting to the crisis with bourgeois monetary methods similar to those of the Federal Reserve Board in the U.S. It is allowing the banks to have more money to loan to private capitalists. But they see no profit in any further investment and thus don’t want to borrow.

‘Reformers’ in charge after defeating Bo

Among the chief economic officials in China are Premier Wen Jiabao and Zhou Xiaochuan, head of the People’s Bank of China. Zhou is firmly in the camp of the “reform and open up” grouping. He told U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during recent negotiations in Beijing that China should surrender to long-standing U.S. pressure to raise the value of its currency so that U.S. capitalist exporters could more easily penetrate the Chinese market and Chinese goods would be more expensive to sell abroad.

The May 3 New York Times quoted Zhou as saying: “The two sides have some views in common. They both think that exchange rates should be determined by a market system.”

The article continued, “The official also praised recent Chinese policy changes to allow more foreign investment and liberalize markets, an outgrowth of closer talks.”

Another key figure in making policy is Li Keqiang, who is scheduled to replace Wen Jiabao as premier.

The German newspaper Deutsche Welt explained in its online edition: “Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang commissioned the study ‘China 2030’ during a visit by [World Bank head] Robert Zoellick in 2010. Li oversees economic policies and appears to be the most promising candidate to run for office of prime minister in 2013. The main focus of the World Bank study is the state-owned enterprises, which have control over the energy sector, raw materials, telecommunications and the infrastructure. They dominate the public sector.

“The World Bank suggests implementing oversight of the state-owned companies by independent, outside managers will help. The managers will ensure the companies are run in accordance with the rules of the market economy and thus become more politically independent. Redundant units should be sold off, which will greatly benefit private competition. In addition, Zoellick suggests China reduce restrictions and obstacles for private companies.” (“The World Bank warns China of an upcoming crisis,” www.dw.de, Feb. 29)

The fact that the highest “reform” officials in charge of the Chinese economy have temporarily won out in the struggle against the left forces within the party establishment — who want to limit the market, emphasize state investment and prioritize the fight against growing inequality — is a dangerous conjuncture of circumstances. This is the very moment when such an anti-capitalist approach is urgently needed.

Socialist state intervention the answer

With the Chinese economy in an across-the-board slowdown in investment, retail sales, exports, imports, electrical energy output, construction and bank lending, and having to cope with a housing bubble, manipulating the capitalist market is a negative prescription for the economy and potentially spells hardship for the workers and peasants. Compared to the progressive, interventionist manner in which the Chinese government reacted to the 2008-2009 crisis — with massive planning, vigorous intervention by the state-owned enterprises and raising the income of the lowest-income people — using bourgeois monetary methods to combat the slowdown would be a drastic step backwards.

Stimulating the economy with cheap credit for the capitalists or trying to promote recovery through tax breaks would only make a bad situation worse. Planned, socially useful investment that deals with the economic downturn by ensuring the well-being of the masses and helping national development is the best antidote to the downturn at the moment.

If anything, the developing downturn only vindicates the left forces, represented by Bo, who want to limit the market, emphasize state intervention and fight growing economic inequality.

Of course, what is needed in the long run is a full-scale return to the socialist road and the complete abandonment of the capitalist road disguised under the false label of “market socialism.” The capitalist market and socialist society are totally at odds and cannot coexist indefinitely.

Hopefully, the left can take advantage of the present slowdown to regroup and point to the repetitive crises that are endemic to capitalism, both international and domestic. What is needed is to go on the political offensive against the right, begin to chart a course away from dependence on the capitalist market and reinstate socialist norms, including the empowerment of the workers and peasants.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information on both books is available at www.lowwagecapitalism.com. The author can be reached at fgoldstein@workers.org.

Huey P. Newton on gay, women’s liberation

Huey P. Newton on gay, women’s liberation

A Black Panther’s view in 1970:

Huey P. Newton on gay, women’s liberation

Published May 16, 2012 11:45 PM

The following speech was given by the late Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, on Aug. 15, 1970, on gay and women’s rights. Shelley Ettinger, a member of Workers World Party and a lesbian activist, wrote on her blog, “Read Red,” about Newton’s speech: “I think it's important to remember this speech because the Black liberation movement and javascript:void(0)even the Black community as a whole are so often slandered as though they're somehow more sexist and/or homophobic than other movements or other sectors of society, and here we have a great revolutionary leader speaking out just one year after the Stonewall Rebellion, far earlier than almost anyone else.” In light of President Barack Obama’s recent announcement in support of same-sex marriage, WW is reprinting in its entirety Newton’s historic speech that urged revolutionary class solidarity with these oppressed groupings.

During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion.
I say ”whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.
We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the white racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest white person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations, there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counter-revolutionary, because they are not.

We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge, somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are unrevolutionary or counter-revolutionary, then criticize that action.

If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies, and we need as many allies as possible.
We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.
We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as [Richard] Nixon or [John] Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.
We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and women’s liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the most appropriate manner.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

CLASS STRUGGLE IN CHINA - PART SIX: Imperialism hails Chen, attacks Bo as Wall Street gains in China-U.S. talks

Imperialism hails Chen, attacks Bo as Wall Street gains in China-U.S. talks

Imperialism hails Chen, attacks Bo as Wall Street gains in China-U.S. talks
By Fred Goldstein 

Published May 12, 2012 9:15 AM

The capitalist media worldwide have given a resounding show of support for the cause of Chen Guangcheng, a sightless dissident activist and pawn of U.S. intelligence who was smuggled into the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 27.

This is in sharp contrast to the universal media condemnation of Bo Xilai, formerly the Communist Party of China’s secretary for the provincial city of Chongqing, who was purged because of his left-wing challenge to the course of China’s economic and social development.

Chen appeared in the U.S. Embassy on the eve of scheduled negotiations on economic and political matters between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, on the one hand, and top Chinese government officials, on the other. Whether this was engineered by a Republican Party-oriented faction of the CIA to embarrass the Obama administration, or was a failed attempt by the Obama administration to make a showing in defense of so-called “human rights” in China, is hard to determine.

In any case, this carefully worked out plot to get Chen to the U.S. Embassy must be seen in light of the timely defection in early February by the police chief of Chongqing, Wang Lijun, to the U.S. Consulate/CIA station in Chengdu, in Sichuan province. Wang showed up at the consulate and handed over alleged evidence of crimes by Bo and his spouse, Gu Kailai, to U.S. officials. Wang’s visit to the U.S. Consulate set the stage for the purge of Bo, who was at that time a strong candidate to become a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC. In both these incidents, U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats were central to the events.

Chen’s escape was carefully planned and orchestrated. It included a 300-mile drive to Beijing, safe houses and a closely choreographed transfer of Chen from the getaway car to a U.S. Embassy car, which then raced to the Marine compound inside the embassy. (New York Times, May 2) However the Chen affair was organized, it shows the underlying aggressiveness of Washington in its campaign to subvert the People’s Republic of China.

While the purge of Bo has far greater significance than the case of Chen, the details of the Chen case are revealing. Chen is a sightless lawyer who brought a class action suit against the government opposing alleged forced abortion. The Chinese government policy seeks to limit the number of children a family can have to control population growth in order to ensure its ability to feed the 1.3 billion people already there. It is a complicated issue.

Whatever one’s position on this, the fact is that counterrevolutionaries in China make it a practice of wrapping their anti-communism in popular grievances. Some are legitimate — like workers’ rights and peasants’ rights. Some are not — like bourgeois political reforms to empower the growing middle and upper classes who have prospered under the capitalist reforms. Whatever cause they take up, the goal is to undermine or destroy the institutions of Chinese socialism that have survived the capitalist reforms.

A counterrevolutionary network

The issue here is that Chen is part of a counterrevolutionary network that conspired to get him to the U.S. Embassy. It swung into action, from Washington to Texas to North Carolina to New York University, in a coordinated effort to fan anti-China flames.

The cheerleaders for Chen include “Pastor” Bob Fu in Midland, Texas, who “found God” after being part of the failed attempt to overthrow Chinese socialism in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square counterrevolutionary uprising. He settled in Midland, surrounded by oil wells and cattle ranches, and founded the Christian “rights” group China Aid to reach out to other counterrevolutionaries inside China. In his office is a photo of George W. Bush posing with Chinese exiles. (Washington Post, May 2)

Fu turned up at a hearing of the House of Representatives’ China Commission on May 3. The hearing was interrupted as Fu translated for national television a conversation between Chen and the chairperson of the commission, Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey. Chen was telling Smith how “disappointed” he was in Hillary Clinton, among other things.

The Obama administration suffered another setback when Chen changed his mind about staying in China, saying he wanted to go into exile in the U.S. Chen held a phone conversation while in the hospital with his lawyer, Teng Biao, who allegedly talked him into changing his mind.

Teng Biao is a lawyer at the China University of Political Science and Law. He has been the legal representative for the anti-communist group Falun Gong and for pro-imperialist Tibetan separatists. Teng was also a signer of Charter 08 in December 2008. This document was modeled on the anti-Soviet Charter 77, a counterrevolutionary manifesto signed by Czechoslovakian reactionaries that helped pave the way for the destruction of socialism in Eastern Europe.

Charter 08 called for many bourgeois rights in China. Demand number 14 of the charter begins with the following: “Establish and protect private property rights, and implement a system based on a free and open market economy,” including privatizing state enterprises and land. (foreignpolicy.com, Oct. 8, 2010)

NYU law professor Jerome Cohen, a long-time collaborator of Chen and the U.S. government, on signal from the State Department became Chen’s U.S. legal adviser during the embassy events and extended an offer for Chen to study at NYU. Wang Dan, leader of the Tiananmen uprising, now in exile in California, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times welcoming Chen to exile in the U.S.

Boxun, a counterrevolutionary chat room run out of Durham, N.C., by Watson Meng, took up the cause. Meng tried to promote a “jasmine revolution” last February to start a Tunisian or Egyptian-style movement to overthrow the Chinese government. (Financial Times, April 22)

A true counterrevolutionary chorus sing the praises of of Chen reverberated from one end of the capitalist ­media to the other, inspired and led by the baton of the CIA and U.S. imperialism.

Clinton, Geithner & Wall Street

Alongside political subversion was the even more important pressure brought to bear by Clinton and Geithner in the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Geithner opened up the talks with an arrogant lecture: “China must rely more on domestic consumption rather than exports, and more on innovation by private companies rather than capacity expansion by state-owned enterprises.” (New York Times, May 4)

The U.S. delegation came with a plan for China to improve the “safety net” for the Chinese people and to build a consumer society: China should “rebalance” its economy and not rely on national development projects and exports. China should raise the value of its currency and allow more competition. It should reduce subsidies to the state-owned corporations and give private capital a better chance. State-owned enterprises should pay more dividends to the government to finance the safety net to ensure that people would spend more money.

In these demands, the predatory interests of Wall Street are couched in soothing words about improving the lives of the Chinese people. But the fact is — as the Chinese leaders know full well — the imperialist corporations are facing a world capitalist crisis and are desperate for markets, not only to utilize their overcapacity in the production of commodities but to expand their areas of capital investment.

The pressure to further open up the Chinese market is growing more intense with every report about the growing recessionary tide in Europe and the economic slowdowns in India, Brazil, Russia and throughout the world capitalist system. Capitalism is slowly buckling under the weight of its own productivity and the consequent stresses of overproduction.

Concessions on investment

Washington got agreement from the Chinese negotiators at the meeting to allow foreign firms to take up to a 49 percent stake in joint securities ventures. A hefty increase from the current limit of 33 percent, this gives American financial firms greater ability to invest in the country. China also agreed to make it easier for American firms to offer financing for auto loans. This permits U.S. finance capital to take more wealth out of China and to wield greater financial influence in the markets.

This is a Chinese concession to the urgent pressure of U.S. bankers and brokers to find new sources of profitable, secure financial investment, which is being called into question every day as the global debt crisis deepens.

The struggle over exchange rates seems to have ended in pretty much of a stalemate. The Chinese made soft, verbal promises to consider many of the measures put forward by the U.S. delegation. The U.S. side then emphasized in their briefings with the media that a new conciliatory mood existed among the Chinese negotiators. Whether or not the U.S. was spinning the talks is hard to say.

To be sure, the head of China’s central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, said that the two countries agreed that exchange rates should ultimately be market-determined. “The two sides have some views in common. They both think that exchange rates should be determined by a market system.” (New York Times, May 4)

Zhou is in the right-wing reform camp, along with Premier Wen Jiabao, who has vowed to carry forward political and economic reform. But all these soft concessions can be pushed back by resistance from within the rest of the party, from the state enterprises, the state banks and the planning apparatus.

The concessionary attitude of the Chinese leaders, in spite of the political sabotage by Washington in the Chen case, cannot be separated from the victory over Bo Xilai and the massive campaign of political intimidation against the party grouping in China that wants to halt, if not reverse, the course toward further market reforms.

That is why the U.S. ruling class during these negotiations wanted to quickly take advantage of the political momentum to the right and get as many concessions as possible from the present leadership, before they retire and the tide turns against the new incursions of capital.

But all these leaders are looking over their shoulders. There is palpable anxiety among them that the attack on Bo could eventually backfire and openly pose the question of which direction China should take — further toward capitalism or back toward strengthening socialism. What they all dread is the day that the Chinese working class takes up the struggle to revive the political role of the working class in building socialism, as it existed during the era of Mao Zedong.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information is available at www.lowwagecapitalism.com. The author can be reached at fgoldstein@workers.org.

Friday, 11 May 2012


The News Line: http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/7526
Thursday, 10 May 2012


Grinning Royal Marine with his "trophies". Brit troops regularly tortured, mutilated and beheaded villagers in the colonial Malaya war.

SUCCESSIVE British administrations have hidden the truth about the massacre of 24 unarmed Malaysian rubber plantation workers by UK troops in 1948, says a UK-based lawyer representing relatives of the victims.

The current Tory-led government’s refusal last November to hold a formal investigation into the Batang Kali killing was challenged in a two-day judicial review hearing at the High Court in London that began on Tuesday.

Family members of the victims asked the court to quash the UK government’s 2010 decision against holding an inquiry into the case, despite evidence pointing to an extra-judicial killing spree.

‘What happened at Batang Kali was an extremely serious human rights abuse on any view at all,’ said John Halford, one of the lawyers of the families of the victims, in a press conference on Monday.

‘It was a massacre of 24 unarmed people who weren’t in any sense combatants, weren’t offering any kind of threat to the British troops who killed them.

‘That in itself is serious enough, but what then followed was a cover-up that has basically lasted the following 60 years to this day, where the British government has denied that anything untoward happened at all.’

The massacre involving members of G Company, 2nd Scots Guards, occurred 64 years ago, while British troops were trying to put down the post-Second World War Communist insurgency known as the Malayan Emergency.

Soldiers surrounded the rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh in Batang Kali, north of Kuala Lumpur, and shot dead 24 villagers before setting the village on fire.

‘What’s happened ever since is that officials, essentially British officials, have conspired to maintain the official account and suppress that very basic truth that these killings were unlawful and could never be justified,’ Halford added.

Meanwhile, condemning the ‘cold-blooded massacre’by UK troops, 76-year-old Lim Ah Yin, a survivor who has travelled to London for the case, asked for the UK government to show ‘fairness’ about the case.

Furthermore, Loh Ah Choi, who was seven at the time of the deadly incident, said, ‘I would like the British government to apologise.’

However, a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said, ‘It is very unlikely that a public inquiry could come up with recommendations which would help to prevent any recurrence.’

In Tuesday and Wednesday’s the High Court judicial review test case, the family members are seeking a public inquiry or other effective, independent investigation into what happened at Batang Kali, its misrepresentation as lawful and justified by British officials, and the active steps taken to suppress the truth.

They are asking the High Court to quash decisions of the Secretaries of State for Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs refusing both that inquiry and investigation.

Loh Ah Choi is the second claimant in the judicial review case – his uncle Loh Kit Lin, a student, was shot in the stomach on 11 December 1948 then ‘finished off’ as he lay wounded on the ground.

Loh Ah Choi was being taken away by lorry with other women and children from the village as 23 male villagers were walked from the village huts and executed.

Chong Koon Ying, also present in the village as a child, is a witness.

Lim Ah Yin is a further witness who was age 11 when the killings took place.

The families are being represented in Court by barristers Michael Fordham QC, Danny Friedman and Professor Zachary Douglas.

The Batang Kali massacre occurred during what was referred to as the ‘Malayan emergency’, a guerrilla war between colonial forces and the communist Malayan National Liberation Army, who were principally of Chinese ethnic origin.

A counter-insurgency operation was launched in the Selangor region, now in peninsular Malaysia, because British forces had received intelligence of ‘bandit’ (insurgent) activity there.

As part of this operation, between 11 and 12 December 1948 soldiers of the 7th Platoon, G Company, 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards surrounded and took control of the village of Batang Kali, part of a British-owned rubber tapping estate.

None of the villagers was wearing a military uniform or emblem.

None was armed, and none offered any violence to the patrol. In those circumstances, there was simply no basis or justification for the use of lethal force.

However, over the course of two days the patrol shot dead 24 unarmed Chinese rubber tappers – all but two of the adult men of the village.

Many of the victims’ bodies were mutilated. The village was burned to the ground, leaving the victims’ dependents destitute.

The bodies were left where they lay, and had begun to decompose by the time the women and children were allowed to return. One was found beheaded.

In contrast to similar incidents elsewhere in the world (e.g. the My Lai massacre by US troops during the Vietnam war and the massacre at of villagers at Rawagede, Indonesia) there has been no proper investigation into the Batang Kali incident.

The UK authorities have never apologised or accepted anything done was wrong; on the contrary, a demonstrably false ‘official account’ has been disseminated, including in statements to Parliament.

Mark Curtis writes in ‘The War in Malaya 1948-60’ – ‘At Batang Kali in December 1948 the British army slaughtered twenty-four Chinese, before burning the village. The British government initially claimed that the villagers were guerrillas, and then that they were trying to escape, neither of which was true. A Scotland Yard inquiry into the massacre was called off by the Heath government in 1970 and the full details have never been officially investigated.

‘Decapitation of insurgents was a little more unusual – intended as a way of identifying dead guerrillas when it was not possible to bring their corpses in from the jungle.

‘A photograph of a Marine Commando holding two insurgents’ heads caused a public outcry in April 1952. The Colonial Office privately noted that “there is no doubt that under international law a similar case in wartime would be a war crime”. (Britain always denied it was technically at “war” in Malaya, hence use of the term “emergency”).

‘Dyak headhunters from Borneo worked alongside the British forces. High Commissioner Templer suggested that Dyaks should be used not only for tracking “but in their traditional role as head-hunters”.

‘Templer “thinks it is essential that the practice (decapitation) should continue”, although this would only be necessary “in very rare cases”, the Colonial Office observed. It also noted that, because of the recent outcry over this issue, “it would be well to delay any public statement on this matter for some months”.

‘The Daily Telegraph offered support, commenting that the Dyaks “would be superb fighters in the Malayan jungle, and it would be absurd if uninformed public opinion at home were to oppose their use”. The Colonial Office also warned that, in addition to decapitation, “other practices may have grown up, particularly in units which employ Dyaks, which would provide ugly photographs”.’

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Full video of Red Square 2012 Military Parade - Victory Over Fascism, 1945

Bo Xilai and the Left in China: Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a scandal
Sunday 06 May 2012
by Ben Parankulangara

Twenty-twelve is proving a difficult year for the Chinese government. In some senses this was to be expected - the party general secretary Hu Jintao is due to retire (though he will not step down as president until next year), as is Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and shifts in leadership are always accompanied by political wrangling.

The 80-million-strong Communist Party is not a monolith and there are significant differences of opinion on the course of the country's development, which is not of itself a bad thing.

But the furore over the highly mysterious Bo Xilai incident is a scandal which has attracted an unusual level of international attention and has fuelled intense speculation, both in the Western media and on Chinese social media sites, both as to what exactly happened - many details are still unknown - and why.

Since the rumour mill has gone into overdrive many observers may feel they know more about this political scandal than is justified by the facts.

The unravelling of former Chongqing party leader Bo's career began on February 6, when the city's police chief Wang Lijun presented himself at the US consulate in nearby Chengdu.

Since then various tales of what Wang told the US have abounded - that Bo had put his life in danger, that Bo was involved in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, which had previously been ascribed to alcohol poisoning, that Wang had sought political asylum.

Actually we know nothing of what transpired. The US says that Wang had an appointment at the consulate and left voluntarily the next day.

This clearly isn't the whole story - a Chinese police official might well have an appointment at a US consulate, but would hardly stay the night under ordinary circumstances - but nothing else has been confirmed.

In March, however, following a speech in which the prime minister told the party in Chongqing to "learn from the Wang Lijun incident," Bo lost his position as the city's party leader.

On April 10 he was suspended from the central committee and the politburo for "serious disciplinary violations" to be investigated, and his wife Gu Kailai has been formally charged with Heywood's murder in a case which has again prompted endless speculation.

Bo Xilai was a prominent figurehead of China's "new left," and his downfall caused an explosion of critical commentary on left-wing websites in the country, many of which accused the government of concocting the whole affair for political reasons. This does not stand up to scrutiny.

If the Chinese leadership wanted to disgrace a political rival, they would hardly do so in a way which provoked an international scandal and damages relations with a foreign power.

So can we just dismiss the political aspect and treat this as an ordinary criminal case, albeit with an unusually high-profile suspect?

As far as Bo personally is concerned, yes. But the political significance lies in its sensitive timing - a leadership transition year - and in Bo's status as the most high-profile "new left" figure in China.

The case may not be politically motivated, but figures who opposed Bo's style of politics are certainly attempting to use it to discredit the new left in general.

So what is the new left? The term encompasses quite a wide range of views, from full-on Maoism which rejects the country's entire path of development since 1978 to a more nuanced position which sees a major role for the state in regulating the economy and redistributing wealth.

Ironically this broader definition has seen Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao described as part of the movement in the past, since their policies have concentrated on developing China's poorest regions, strengthening employment law, giving more independence to trade unions and massively investing in "green" technology.

But it also includes out-and-out dissidents, such as the four activists arrested in Zhengzhou in 2004 after running a leaflet campaign under the slogan Mao Forever Our Leader which denounced the government as imperialist.

This form of anti-government activism rarely receives much attention in the West but resonates more in China than its "liberal" counterpart, which barely registers.

Bo Xilai's tenure as Chongqing party secretary was characterised by a more aggressive and populist approach than that of Hu and Wen, but could hardly be said to be in opposition to the line taken by central government.

His injunction to party leaders to "eat the same, live the same" as ordinary people was far better illustrated by the lifestyle of the modest Wen than it was by his own behaviour, if we take into account that he sent his son to school at Harrow in England.

His habit of sending out "red text messages," usually quotes from Mao, has been described rather hysterically as harking back to the Cultural Revolution, but then Hu began his term in office back in 2003 by delivering the most favourable speech on Mao from a party leader in decades on the 110th anniversary of the former chairman's birth and Mao's stature and popularity have seldom been higher in China than they are at the moment - since his death, that is.

Granting residency status to migrant workers, and thus allowing them access to all the social security and welfare benefits that that brings, is again part of a wider national trend, not some sort of rebellious Chongqing experiment.

His rigorous defence of state-owned industries and intervention to save small businesses from bankruptcy in the wake of the 2008 economic crash was actually closer to the Beijing line than the approach of his rival Wang Yang - Chongqing party leader before Bo, and now party secretary of Guangdong province - who remarked that "unproductive" businesses would be "eliminated by the market" and dragged his feet over preventing factory closures despite public pressure from Wen to do so.

So will the end of Bo career - it's always unwise to make predictions in Chinese politics, but it's hard to see how he could weather this scandal - mean the end of the much-admired Chongqing model? Will the party lurch to the right?

That powerful figures, including Wang Yang, would like this is undeniable. Wang has been openly contemptuous of Bo's egalitarian policies and has argued, neoliberal-style, that redistribution hampers economic growth under the slogan "bake the cake, don't cut it up."

That the reform and opening-up policy followed by the Communist Party since the 1980s has allowed the emergence of a capitalist class in China is indisputable, though unlike in the West it is not the ruling class.

But where capitalist economic relations exist there is class struggle - and the capitalists have in some ways strengthened their hand under Hu and Wen, for example when the party announced in 2005 that a long-standing ban on property owners joining it would be dropped.

While most observers have seen Hu and Wen's emphasis on social justice and strengthening of labour laws as part of a shift to the left in Chinese politics, it is also possible to see them as rearguard actions by a socialist leadership in the face of an increasingly powerful and confident capitalist class eager to lock horns with its US counterpart and supplant it as the arbiter of the world economic system.

And that prominent economic liberals have stepped up their lobbying for right-wing projects, such as rail privatisation, since Bo's downfall is undeniable, although opinion columns in state media suggest that the party leadership remains hostile to such moves.

Ultimately the Chongqing model has been portrayed as more unique than it really was.

In fact there are a number of economic "models" at work in China, as provinces have significant autonomy over how to spend their half of the tax intake - the other half goes to central government.

Chongqing is one of several regional administrations that have taken a more left-wing approach, as Guangdong is one of several that incline to the right.

The economic debate on China's future isn't over. The left has been embarrassed by the Bo Xilai scandal. That doesn't mean it has lost the argument.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Racist atrocities & class consciousness

Racist atrocities & class consciousness

Racist atrocities & class consciousness

By Larry Hales
Published May 7, 2012 8:38 PM


It took a month and a half after George Zimmerman executed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin before an arrest was made. Though special prosecutor Angela Corey asserts that an investigation had been ongoing, all the evidence and statements made by the police chief and others involved with the case make it very clear that, had it not been for a massive outpouring, especially from the Black community, George Zimmerman would still be walking free.

It was fear of a rebellion that led to the state responding and to Zimmerman’s arrest. And not to be forgotten or glossed over were the resilience and determination of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin to win some justice for their son.

It was definitely a surprise, but further injury, that George Zimmerman was released on bail on April 23 after a judge set the bond at $150,000, which meant his family only needed to lay out 10 percent, or $15,000.

With the recent discovery that the Zimmermans had raised more than $200,000 via the Internet, the parents of young Trayvon, their lawyer and the Black community are calling foul. They are demanding a review of the bail decision, especially in light of the fact that Zimmerman’s family failed to disclose the amount earlier and claimed not to have enough money to pay for the higher bail of $1 million that had been sought after it was determined that the judge would set bail.

There is speculation that some of the same wealthy right-wingers who supported the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the owners of Koch Industries, may be making donations. Whether this is fact or merely speculation, $200,000-plus is a hefty sum. That it was not disclosed and that bond was set relatively low, either because the Zimmerman family and his lawyer omitted giving information or were deliberately misleading, should lead to a rearrest. This is what Trayvon Martin’s family is calling for.

More cases of police violence and racist murders

As tragic as was the killing of Martin, the tremendous movement that rose up in response has brought to the fore more cases of police violence and racist killings.

Most notable is the case of two white supremacists who deliberately went into North Tulsa, Okla., early in April to terrorize Black people. They killed three Black men, an act that brought to mind the massacre of hundreds of Black people in the Greenwood section of Tulsa in 1921.

Another killing by a suspected white supremacist occurred in North Carolina months before Trayvon Martin’s death and is just now coming to light. Jasmine Thar, 16, her godmother and a friend were preparing to go Christmas shopping when they were struck by a bullet from a Remington rifle. Thar died as her 15-year-old brother was trying to stop the bleeding. The shooter claims an accidental discharge of his gun, but was found to have not only a Confederate flag but also Nazi memorabilia. No charges were filed.

There were also the police killings in March of Kendrec McDade, 19, in Pasadena, Calif., and Dane Scott, 18, in Del City, Okla. Others that happened a few years ago are now gaining more attention, like the 2010 killing of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, 32. A video has emerged of Border Patrol agents beating and tasing him to death.

The case that not only shows the brutality of the police but illustrates even further the systemic oppression and repression of people of color is the handcuffing of 6-year-old Salecia Johnson by police. Conventional wisdom would lead one to believe that even the most hardened of racists would show restraint in the face of a child, but history dispels such a notion. In fact, it is rife with the youngest and most innocent being brutalized just as viciously.

Salecia Johnson, although only 6, will live with the memory of being put in handcuffs and treated as if she had committed a crime — when she was guilty only of being Black and emotionally distraught. For this she was handcuffed and taken to jail.

It becomes more evident with each new day that the police are violent and routinely get away with killing people of color and other brutal acts of oppression and repression because they act as an occupying army in oppressed communities. The police are part of the capitalist state apparatus, an entity whose sole function is to be the buffer between the bosses and the workers and oppressed. It is those whom we must sell our labor to in order to survive who benefit from the racism prevalent in U.S. society.

Why ruling class needs racism

Racism is a tool that keeps workers separate and apart. Ultimately white workers will find their position is weakened by allowing separate and unequal conditions to exist and adhering to backward beliefs of inferiority based on race. More than being just a tool, though, racism in U.S. society has been deeply ingrained because U.S. capital was amassed through some of the most extreme and brutal forms of repression.

National oppression — the systemic oppression of sectors of the working class based on cultural, linguistic and historically shared circumstances — is a permanent feature of capitalist society because of its usefulness in keeping the working class divided. But it also persists because the most revolutionary sectors are those who have suffered the most brutal forms of degradation and repression — primarily the Black, Latino/a and Indigenous nations.

Revolutionaries say that political consciousness usually lags behind objective developments. Though economic conditions have worsened drastically for oppressed communities since the recession started four years ago, there has been no mass response yet. There have been some tragic and heartbreaking incidents in which massive numbers of oppressed workers showed up to apply for jobs or social services, but in most cases those events did not raise mass consciousness for a general fightback from the perspective of the oppressed.

The subjective or political consciousness only lags, but not forever. There is no telling what historical acts will lead to a mass response.

It remains to be seen if the murder of Trayvon Martin will lead to a sustained response, but its aftermath shows that the sense of needing to fight racism has grown, along with the understanding that the abuse of communities of color by police is systemic.

The cases of police killings and brutality cannot be separated from the economic conditions that prevail in communities of color — conditions of high unemployment, homelessness, poverty, a crumbling infrastructure and declining social services, and the criminalization of those who suffer the most desperate conditions. The conditions are stubborn. Capitalism finds itself in a deepening crisis, and it is in times like these that not only does the state become more repressive and the government begin to pass laws further curtailing democratic rights, but also the tool of racism is more aggressively used to pit the dominant sector of the working class against oppressed workers.

It is insidious but not inevitable. Revolutionaries should be in solidarity with the aims and desires of the most oppressed, but not abandon white workers to a debased right wing or ultra-right-wing. It is in the interest of all to rebel, fight racism, support self-determination of the oppressed and fight against the capitalist system. n

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US, Philippines conduct war games in South China Sea & the "containment of China"

US, Philippines conduct war games in South China Sea

US, Philippines conduct war games in South China Sea
One component in overall US strategy to contain rise of China

By Matt Murray
MAY 4, 2012

U.S.-Philippines war games in the South China Sea, April 2012

Recent joint military exercises by the United States and the Philippines in disputed territories of the South China Sea have heightened tensions between the United States and China.

The two-week-long series of so-called “war games” reached its tensest moment on April 25, when U.S. and Philippine troops performed a mock assault on the island of Palawan, claimed by both China and the Philippines.

In response, China’s military issued its strongest warnings to date to the United States. Previous warnings from China had stated that any actions taken by the United States in the South China Sea would raise the risks of armed confrontation between the two countries.

“The South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and the U.S., because the U.S. doesn't have claims over the South China Sea,” said Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai.

The annual U.S.-Philippine military exercises are part of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, one of many “security alliances” forged by the United States in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea

The South China Sea has long been a region of contested territories. China and the Philippines, as well as Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of the area, also a former home to a U.S. Navy base at Subic Bay.

In addition to the one-third of global trade passing through it, the South China Sea also contains considerable energy reserves. It is estimated that anywhere from 4.8 to 213 billion barrels of oil and up to 3.8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas deposits are contained in the South China Sea—equivalent to the known oil reserves in Alaska and in excess of the known natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico. (CNN Money, April 26)

Such vast energy resources are seen as major prizes by global energy monopolies intent on dominating access to supply in pursuit of the maximization of profit. ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron, among others, are already drilling in the region.

ExxonMobil, currently operating in Malaysia, has so far defied warnings that the company would be banned from Chinese markets if it pursued plans to drill in Vietnam. U.S.-based Murphy Oil and Philippines-based Philex Petroleum are also actively drilling in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, in the nearby Gulf of Thailand, Shell and Chevron are pursuing drilling programs.

US imperialism intends to isolate and contain the rise of China

Despite strong evidence to the contrary, U.S. and Philippine officials claim their presence in the South China Sea has nothing to do with China.

"Never was China ever mentioned in our planning and execution," said Philippine military commander Lieutenant General Juancho Sabban. The exercise "simply means we want to work together, improve our skills." (Reuters, April 26)

However, the joint military exercises with the Philippine military are only one component of a developing U.S. military strategy in Asia. In an effort to contain the rise of China as a global power, the United States has been increasingly shifting military assets from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the cooperation of its allies in the region, including the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

In mid 2010, the U.S. Navy deployed newly equipped submarines to the Philippines, South Korea and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. It was the first time these assets—armed with Tomahawk missiles capable of striking anything within a 1,000-mile radius—had been deployed from U.S. ports. At the same time, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and significant amounts of heavy weaponry were sent to South Korea. In early April this year, 2,500 additional U.S. marines were deployed to northern Australia.

It is clear the United States intends to expand its presence in the region—what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called a “pivot” towards Asia. In response, all revolutionaries and progressives must stand against increasing U.S. hostilities towards China and all oppressed countries struggling to maintain or achieve sovereignty.

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