Tibet and the right of nations to self-determination: an Open Letter to the Communist Party of Britain and the Morning Star

April 12, 2008 at 2:53 pm (China, democracy, Human rights, Jim D, left, Marxism, national liberation, socialism, stalinism)

Listen, you Stalinists!

You have been systematically spreading lies about the ‘Free Tibet’ movement, and offering uncritical support to the vicious, red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalist ruling class in Beijing. Of course, you are no strangers to the art of grovelling to, and lying for,  a thoroughly reactionary, anti-working class regime in the name of “socialism”: you adopted that posture towards the so-called “Soviet Union” for sixty years, until the workers of Russia and Eastern Europe (literally) tore down the edifice of Stalinist totalitarianism. I hoped, at the time of the workers’ revolutions against Stalinism in 1989/90, that the sight of  a mass working class revolt against so-called “communism” might wake your ideas up. But no: you have simply continued in negative, embittered “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” mode, seeking anyone – but anyone – who might be able to do what the Stalinist bloc and its satellite movements failed to do: defeat modern capitalism. Hence your increasingly positive attitude towards ultra-reactionary militant Islamism and such movements as Hamas and Hizbollah. But the clerical fascists of Islamism are relatively weak and pose no serious threat to western capitalism and bourgeois democracy (I’m glad to say). But you now reckon you hold a trump card: China.

The Chinese ruling class has made the transition from a bureaucratic non-capitalist economy to turbo- capitalism within a few decades, missing out on the usual bourgeois democratic niceties such as independent trade unions, health and safety regulations and a minimum wage. China is, today, the most anti-working class, exploitative and human rights-abusive regime in the world. And yet you lot offer the ruling class of this totalitarian hell uncritical support!

When you grovelled before the old Soviet Union, it was a grotesque, shameful and demeaning spectacle that made you ridiculous in the eyes of thinking people. Even hacks like Harry Pollitt had difficulty keeping up with the twists and turns of Kremlin-determined “policy”, none of which had anything to do with the interests of the working class or the class struggle, but everything to do with the Kremlin’s diplomatic requirements viz a viz  the ruling classes of the rest of the world. Famously, poor old Harry “zigged when he should have zagged, and zagged when he should have zigged.” 

But at least the likes of Harry Pollitt and (more importantly) tens of thousands of honest and often courageous worker-militants in Britain, Europe and the US, believed that in backing the Soviet Union they were supporting an alternative to capitalism. And, in a sense, they were: the old Soviet Union was not capitalist. Generalised commodity production was not the basis of its economy. Neither, of course, was it socialist, or even that strange elusive half-way house so beloved of some “orthodox” Trotskysists, a “degenerate workers’ state”: it was a vicious, anti-working class bureaucratic collectivist regime based upon non-capitalist property relations.

But your present adoration of China is something more grotesque and reactionary: you know that China is now a fully-fledged capitalist state. It makes no pretense of being anything else, despite still being ruled by an ossified anti-working class autarchy that calls itself (without any obvious embarrassment) “Communist.” You know that independent trade unions are harassed and persecuted by the Chinese ruling class. You know that human rights abuses abound within China, and that (pro rata, in proportion to population) it is by far the most prolific administrator of the death penalty in the world. You adulate China not because of any illusions that it is not a capitalist state…but because you know that it is! Such is your hatred of the US and the “West” that you will support another capitalist power, which you (probably correctly) bet upon to be on the rise, against them. You have given up on the working class and on socialism…but you still hate the “West”, don’t you? Actually, it reminds me of the Stalin-Hitler pact that you still (when forced) defend.

Thus your paper, the Morning Star’s laughable, uncritical coverage of the “11th National People’s Congress” of the Chinese so-called “Communist Party”, including such gems as:

‘People first’ was the theme of the first full session …in his work report, Premier Wen Jiabao promised jobs for 10 million more people within this year and another 50 million over the next four years.”

And thus the disgusting, lying statement on Tibet put out by your hilariously mis-named ‘Unity for Peace and Socialism’ (UFPS) slate in the present GLA elections:

“UFPS GLA candidate Charlie May said: ‘The recent well-funded activists in Athens, London, Paris, San Francisco and elsewhere constitute an attack on the constitutional and territorial integrity of the sovereign republic of China… and (in a truly classic piece of Stalinist techno-determinism):

…”He noted that the Chinese government had recently  built the world’s highest railway line between Qinghai to Lhasa in Tibet to help develop the region.”

There is much else in the UFPS statement that harks back to classic Stalinism, like the filthy smear that Tibetan protesters are “a minority of violent thugs” and the preposterous and outrageous claim that their supporters “echo the rhetoric of the far right” and  “put British Chinese people at risk of racial discrimination and violence from such elements as the fascist British National Party and the National Front.”  Next you’ll be calling me a Trotsky -fascist, won’t you?

After reading this sort of filth in the Morning Star and elsewhere, returning to the writings of Lenin and the Bolsheviks is a cleansing experience. This, for instance:

“Victorious socialism must necessarily establish a full democracy and, consequently, not only introduce full equality of nations but also realise the right of the oppressed nations to self-determination, i.e, the right to free political seperation. Socialist parties which did not show by all their activity, both now, during the revolution, and after its victory, that they would liberate the enslaved nations and build up relations with them on the basis of a free union – and free union is a false phrase without the right to secede – these parties would be betraying socialism.”

-Theses on The Socialist Revolution And The Right Of Nations To Self-Determination, written (by VI Lenin), Jan – Feb 1916, and agreed as Bolshevik policy: read it, then weep and learn, you Stalinists!


  1. modernityblog said,

    good post Jim

    why not post a link to it at SU blog to let the Tankies in Swindon digest your words of wisdom?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Thank you, Mod: I’ll try to do that now…

  3. modernityblog said,

    in fairness to the Morning Star, as inveterate tankies that they may be, I doubt that even they with lower themselves to some of the ridiculous, messy and illogical arguments put forward by comrade Newman on Tibet.

    for his insights see http://madammiaow.blogspot.com/2008/04/madam-miaow-on-radio-china-in.html and https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=1244044300216345080&postID=7425372806755380355 a prize for the first people to spot Newman’s problem with basic mathematics (hint: it revolves around the figure 6%)

  4. johng said,

    The marvelous fraternal style of Denham strikes again…

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Tell me where I’m wrong, John.

  6. modernityblog said,

    funny things is, that the SWP are “sounder” on Tibet than 90% of the Stalinist rejects at SU blog

    I am almost lost for words !

  7. paul said,

    I took that as a compliment from Johng.

  8. johng said,

    I just enjoy the open letter format.

  9. Dave Osler said,

    Let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of the British left has lost the fucking plot completely. How can anybody with an expensive education and a Trot political training come up with ‘Marxist’ justification for repression is utterly beyond me.

  10. modernity said,


    well said, but surely that explains other issues? the failure of the British Left

    despite large chunks of the Left possessing, as you say, expensive education (and it should be added a privileged upbringing) they aren’t very convincing, and when faced with us, oinks, without an education to speak of, and certainly none of that Trot “political training” it doesn’t matter how much ‘Marxist’ jargon they wrap around their ideas, many of their arguments come over as insincere and shallow

    whilst that doesn’t apply to everyone, it might explain in part, why so many Left projects in the past four decades have ultimately been unsuccessful: middle-class leadership, unerring self-confidence, inability to take criticism and a condescending view of the working-class (as if we’ll believe anything as long as it is wrapped up in ‘Marxist’ terminology), etc?

    I think, the debate over Tibet is just the symptom of that problem

  11. johng said,

    Well the largest political trot group in Britain doesn’t. The left list was out on the streets with the free tibet people. Was Modernity? Was David Osler? It IS actually quite interesting that one feature of RR’s output on SUN is a systematic rehabilitation of Stalinist politics. Its a funny old world.

  12. modernity said,

    JohnG wrote:

    Well the largest political trot group in Britain doesn’t.

    largest? how many? 3,000? 5,000? 20,000?

    probably nearer the first figure than the latter, and yet your hubris is boundless, compared to European political parties, the SWP doesn’t even count as a faction

    and yet you lot have been doing this for 30+ years, still minuscule, still inept by your own criteria (the recruitment of members) pretty fucking useless overall

    but none of that enters your mind for a moment, does it?

    you lot are semi-professional politicos, but you’re useless at it, from the antiwar coalition to Respect and even the Left List, basic incompetence**

    JohnG, and it wouldn’t be so bad if you had a moments reflection on that, even some introspection would be good, but that won’t happen, and you can’t understand why the SWP’s perpetual arrogance is a bit annoying?

    **the fact that the SWP didn’t even trouble to register the Left List name as an Internet site (and variations on it) is just another indicator of their hopeless organisational skills and inability to enter the 21st century

  13. tim said,

    And JohnG,
    Galloway was a Stalinist before,after and during his alliance with the SWP.
    And if John Rees and co. should’ve known anything,it was that George would fyuck them and it would involve a shredder,a locksmith or a “burglar”.

  14. Avent said,


    Mr. Lenin, whom you quoted so passionately to bolster your arguments as direct derivative of some natural law and to diliver coup de grace to your fellow reds supporting China instead of Tibet, invaded and occupied Ukraine and Chechnya (just to give you more than one example). This did make Lenin a hypocrite (which like most intelligent politicians he was) and you either an ignoramus or puts you in the same league as dear comrade Lenin.

    And yes, in theory, like Leninist russian empire, in Stalin’s empire states had the right to secede.

  15. paul said,

    Working-class leadership doesn’t necessarily equal good leadership. I give you the Militant tendency.

  16. paul said,

    Oh and worker-leader Alan Thornett.

  17. modernity said,

    yet another parody of the Chinese ruling classes most vigorously defender, Archbishop Newman, and how juxtaposing China and Haiti shows the fallacy of his arguments:

    “25. Quite right too – the people of Haiti have very little claim to independence, only stretching back 200 years when nationalist brigands seized control, unlike China which has been a nation state for 1000 years! Furthermore given Haiti’s strategic position, there is no realistic way an ‘independent’ Haiti was going to be anything other than a pawn of US imperialism. Haiti will undergo tremendous social and economic advancement under China’s guidance. The Haitain nationalists are, in fact a shadowy cabal, under the malign influence of a quasi-religious leader, Jean Betrand Aristide, living in exile South Africa. Don’t be fooled by their mealy-mouthed platitudes – when they ran the country it was one of the poorest in the region! International Solidarity with the people’s liberators!”


  18. voltairespriest said,

    Paul, would you by any chance be a follower of worker-leader George Galloway or worker-leader Alex Callinicos?

  19. free us from the "west" said,

    Notice how the first third world country the Torch passes through, Argentina, and no-one protests? everyone on the Free Tibet demo is 1.) Tibetan or 2.) middle class liberal. Racist white liberals + religious nationalism. No-one in Argentina protested, but maybe some oligarch scum, because everyone in Argentina knows that no.1 enemy of humanity is the “west” which Jim Denham loves and wants to defend.

    Your rhetoric about “the west”. The western bourgeois is the biggest enemy. In the global economic system, third world=dumping ground for western over-accumulated capital, ok. Nothing will improve until US and EU empires are defeated. China has resist this and now “the west” sponsors terrorism in China, like in Cuba.


    Monday 14 April 2008

    Slitty eyes and buck teeth? It must be China

    In its rush to denounce Chinese militarism and pollution, is the British Free Tibet Campaign disseminating dubious stereotypes of Chinese people?

    Brendan O’Neill

    The Free Tibet movement has rarely been out of the news over the past month. In London, Paris and San Francisco, Free Tibet activists have used the opportunity of the forthcoming Beijing Olympics to raise awareness about Tibetan people’s plight. Yet in their rush to denounce Chinese militarism and pollution in Tibet – and in their tendency to transform a complex political situation into a simple morality tale peopled by wicked Chinese and wide-eyed Tibetans – have Free Tibet activists propagated dubious stereotypes of Chinese people?

    In his book Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, academic Donald S Lopez Jnr argued that many ‘Tibetophiles’ in the West tend to present the problems in Tibet in super-simplistic terms, where ‘an undifferentiated mass of godless Communists [are] overrunning a peaceful land devoted only to ethereal pursuits’. Consequently, Tibetans come to be seen as ‘superhuman’ and the Chinese as ‘subhuman’ (1). This risk of depicting the Chinese as ‘subhuman’, as a slitty-eyed, expressionless horde, can be glimpsed in some of the campaigning materials of the British-based Free Tibet Campaign.

    The Free Tibet Campaign was founded in 1987. It campaigns for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for Tibetans’ human rights to be respected. It also takes a very simplistic, moralised, one might even say dumbed-down, view of the problems in China and Tibet. This is captured in the Free Tibet postcard shown below. The postcard was produced in 2006 to protest against the development of the Gormo-Lhasa railway line, which connects China to the heart of Tibet, and which, according to the Free Tibet Campaign, helps to strengthen China’s ‘military and political grip over the region’. Activists were encouraged to send the postcard to UK holiday tour companies that were promoting the railway. The postcard is still available to download on Free Tibet’s website (2).

    The first notable thing is the postcard’s simplification of the crisis between Tibet and China. On one side it shows serene-looking, traditionally-dressed Tibetans on a seemingly peaceful hillside – on the other it shows militaristic Chinese riding in a train that is emitting thick grey smog into the air. The postcard asks ‘Whose side are you on?’, meaning: are you with the nice, naive Tibetans or with the marauding Chinese outsiders? Yet look a little closer, and the underlying message of this piece of campaigning material is ominous: it seems to depict the Chinese as slitty-eyed, alien outsiders. Note the striking contrast between the depiction of the Tibetans and the depiction of the Chinese.

    The Tibetans have calm and peaceful faces. They have properly open eyes and warm smiles. Their skin tone is either brown or a pale white colour. The Chinese, by contrast, have almost featureless faces. Their eyes are extremely slitty; indeed, where the Tibetan characters have eyebrows and opened-up, expressive eyes, the two Chinese soldiers have severe diagonal slits where their eyes ought to be. And in contrast to the soft skin tones of the Tibetans, the Chinese soldiers have a sickly yellow pallor.

    One of the most long-standing prejudices in Western depictions of the Chinese is that they have slitty eyes and buck teeth. As one academic study has shown, from the Western hysteria about a ‘Yellow Peril’ invasion of Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s to the dehumanising depictions of the Japanese during the Second World War, Far Easterners have long been shown with ‘exaggerated physical features’ such as ‘buck teeth, slit eyes and yellow-tinted skin’ (3). These exaggerated features are reproduced in the Free Tibet campaigning postcard, as can be seen on the right-hand side below.

    On the right side of this picture, we can see a close-up of one of the Chinese soldiers in the Free Tibet Campaign’s postcard. He has very yellow skin, slit eyes and ugly protruding teeth. This sits well with the cartoon from the early 1900s, shown on the left-hand side above. This cartoon was published in the Australian magazine The Bulletin in July 1907 and was intended to show the threat of a ‘Chinese invasion’ into Australia. Note that this cartoon also shows the Chinese with slitty eyes and two prominent front teeth.

    Over the past hundred years, ‘Yellow Peril’ depictions of both the Chinese and the Japanese have shown them with disgusting exaggerated teeth and also with glasses, to indicate that they have poor eyesight (as a result of their slitty eyes, presumably) and a general lack of intelligence. The picture on the right is an Australian depiction of a Chinese immigrant, first published in 1886: the Chinese is shown with thick glasses, a weak chin, and with what looks like one protruding tooth at the front of his mouth.

    In his essay ‘Racial Politics in an Era of Transnational Citizenship’, Michael Chang wrote about the tendency in America for depicting the Chinese and the Japanese, at different points in history, with ‘thick glasses, buck teeth and heavy Asian accents’ (4). These stereotypes are repeated in the Free Tibet Campaign’s postcard. On the right-hand side below, there is a close-up of what looks like a Chinese Communist official riding in the train in Free Tibet’s cartoon; on the left-hand side is an anti-Japanese poster produced in America during the Second World War.

    These images are strikingly similar. In both, the ‘evil’ Easterner has slit eyes, arched eyebrows, thick glasses, and large ugly teeth; note, also, how deeply yellow is the skin of the Chinese official in the Free Tibet image. Indeed, the slogan on the anti-Japanese poster from the Second World War – ‘Wipe that sneer off his face!’ – captures the essence of much of the current China-bashing in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. Many have discussed the Olympics as an opportunity to ‘humiliate China’ and have welcomed the fact that, with the debacle that was the Olympic torch relay, China’s ‘mask has slipped’ (5). In other words? We are successfully wiping the grin off the Chinese face.

    Leaving aside the disturbing physical features of the Chinese in the Free Tibet Campaign’s postcard, it is also striking that the image depicts the Chinese as pollutants. It shows expressionless, militarised Chinese riding a train into Tibet and pumping thick smog into the environment. Again, the Chinese have for a long time been shown as a singularly destructive force, indeed as a ‘pollutant’ that threatens the moral integrity and ecological purity of the countries they ‘invade’. For example, the Australian cartoon directly above, first published in The Bulletin in 1886, shows ‘the Mongolian Octopus’ strangling moral goodness in Australia by introducing such terrible things as ‘cheap labour’, ‘immorality’ and ‘opium’.

    As Mike Conroy showed in his essay ‘Yellow Peril Incarnate’ – published in the book 500 Comicbook Villains in 2004 – in late nineteenth-century America, the Chinese were depicted as ‘physical, racial and social pollutants’ (6). At the same time in Australia, the Chinese were seen as ‘a kind of pollution’, argued Desmond Manderson in the book Migrants, Minorities and Health (7). Below, on the left-hand side, is an anti-Chinese cartoon that was published in America in 1899, at the height of American fears about an ‘invasion’ of Chinese immigrants (the US Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882 and renewed in 1902). It was captioned ‘The Yellow Terror in all his glory’, and shows a Chinese man with a gun and a knife leaving behind himself a trail of grey smoke as he tramples decency – as represented by a white woman – underfoot. On the right-hand side there is a close-up of the Free Tibet Campaign’s postcard.

    The message of both seems quite similar: the Chinese pollute. The American anti-Chinese cartoon captures the old idea of the Chinese as a moral pollutant. The Free Tibet image captures a very modern concern about China: that it is poisoning the environment with dirt and dust. Where the Chinese were once seen, in Desmond Manderson’s words, as ‘cultural pollution’, today they are seen as literal pollution, as the harbingers of little more than smog and disease.

    Of course, the motives of the Free Tibet lobby are entirely different from the motives of old Western imperialists: Free Tibet activists demand freedom for Tibetans rather than defending the Empire. Yet the message about Johnny Chinese seems to have remained strikingly similar over the decades. Too often today, the discussion of Tibet is over-simplified and perniciously moralistic, and this seems to have given rise to some dubious images and ideas about the Chinese. Indeed, one might argue that for some Western observers, Tibet today plays the role that the beleaguered ‘white woman’ once played in crude depictions of the Chinese in the past: as the naive, innocent, prostrated victim of the buck-toothed, slitty-eyed outsider.

    Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked. Visit his website here.

  20. voltairespriest said,

    everyone on the Free Tibet demo is 1.) Tibetan

    Err… and? That’s hardly an indictment.

  21. free us from idiot analyses said said,

    @ free us from the “west”

    Diu lei lo mo chao hai!

    Yet more facile orientalist bollocks from Furedi land — completely devoid of class analysis.

    There is something creepy about the relish with which O’Neill repeatedly invokes the ‘slitty eyed’, ‘yellow’ stereotypes, particularly as it appears to have escaped his notice that by the very measures he invokes, Tibetans are also ‘slitty eyed’ and ‘yellow’. To him Tibetans are children/empty vessels to be filled with the gift of bureaucratic centralist capaitalism.

  22. martin ohr said,

    meanwhile over on the socialist unity blog there is a debate raging over whether or not it is acceptable to call the Dalai Lama a c.nt, my question asking whether it is acceptable to use the same language to describe other religious leaders has been swiftly deleted.

  23. modernityblog said,

    pro religious hypocrisy at the SU blog? never?

    what short memories they have?

    does the proprietor of SU blog forget his advocacy of Archbishop Williams?

    or do the denizens of SU forget their own support of theocratic groups?

    of course, the problem is that Tibetan monks are largely peaceful, and even some on SU blog are forced to admit that the Dalai Lama has disavowed violence, stating that he would resign if it continued, see http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/world/asia/article3608466.ece

    you would never suppose that SU bloggers have any familiarity with Marxism and the notion of material conditions shaping perceptions, thus there is a total disregard of the Tibetans as a people and their grievances, instead we are treated to straw men arguments about the Dalai Lama, and in the process completely forgetting the violent repression suffered by the Tibetans

    what stupidity and what hypocrisy at the SU blog, utter political nonsense and as they incapable of arguing a solid case for what they believe in (continued Chinese occupation of Tibet) they are reduced to deleting people’s posts

    how feeble

  24. Jim Denham said,

    A sensible letter in today’s Morning Star! Yes, it happens occasionally – they’re actually more willing to publish criticism than Cardinal Newman over at SU…

    Anyway, here’s the letter; I have no idea who Geoff Breeze is, btw:

    “In response to Dick Maunders (M Star April 10), I admit that I have not got a chance to read the CPB pamphlet yet, but I see little if anything at all that looks like a move towards socialism in China
    “Instead I see all the multinational corporations moving in, a drive towards all-out capitaism, imperialism in its actions and attitude toward Tibet and exploitation of workers beyong Maggie Thatcher’s wildest dreams.
    “It is good that there is modernisation going on in China, but let’s not confuse that with socialism. Socialism is supposed to be democratic, but do you ever hear of strikes going on in China? No, because workers have no right to strike.
    “Every time that there is protest against the government, it is put down, sometimes violently.
    “On the issue of Tibet, there are thosewho will argue that the old Tibet under the Dhalai Lama was oppressive and backward, but it was the right of the people in Tibet to liberate themselves from their oppressors not the right of China to come in by force and say: ‘ We will bring you socialism and modernisation.’
    “That is just as bad as the old colonial powers coming into Africa and saying: ‘We will civilise you because you’re not capable of doing it yourselves.’
    “Ther is no move towards anything resembling as socialist society in China and it is about time that the CPB woke up to that fact

    It’ll be worth reading the Star over the next week or so just to read the ignorant , ant-Marxist, Stalinist crap that readers will send in as “replies” to Comrade Breeze…

  25. tim said,

    Imagine what a stir would be caused if the Leadership of the SWP were to say

    “I think that our Muslim vote has been split and the more extreme elements have probably gone over to support George Galloway.”


    SU bunfight.

  26. Dr Paul said,

    Jim D wrote: ‘… until the workers of Russia and Eastern Europe (literally) tore down the edifice of Stalinist totalitarianism. … the time of the workers’ revolutions against Stalinism in 1989/90…

    Now this is being unrealistic. To be sure, there were some demonstrations, most of them smaller than ones here which have had absolutely no impact on government policies, and things did flare up in Romania. However, my reading of the situation is that the real movers in the events of 1989 were powerful elements within the ruling élites in Eastern Europe. They realised that the game was up for the Stalinist system (Gorbachev told them that they were on their own), and they made a conscious attempt to go for the market and for patronage from Brussels and/or Washington.

    Some of the more obdurate bureaucrats had to be shoved aside — Romania being the most obvious example — but I cannot believe that any ruling élite, and especially one with much repressive machinery at hand, would allow demonstrations to threaten it and its state, unless the bulk of the élite itself wanted thoroughgoing change.

    Had the Eastern European élites not wanted to throw aside obsolete relics at the very apex of their regimes and radically to change their own societies, they would have deployed the police and armed forces against the demonstrators, and crushed them in the usual manner.

    To see the collapse of Stalinism as a workers’ revolution is sheer romanticism. A workers’ revolution would have overthrown Stalinism, and brought in a workers’ democracy, not a pro-Western, pro-market regime.

  27. modernity said,

    Dr Paul wrote:

    A workers’ revolution would have overthrown Stalinism, and brought in a workers’ democracy, not a pro-Western, pro-market regime

    an organise workers revolt might have, but spasmodic anti regime activities by workers would not necessarily lead to that workers democracy and to work back on that premise skews analysis

  28. Dr Paul said,

    To Modernity: Yes, that’s true, but Jim D writes of ‘the workers’ revolutions against Stalinism’, not ‘spasmodic anti-regime activities by workers’.

  29. Jim Denham said,

    Dr Paul: I honestly don’t understand what point you’re trying to make here; Stalinism in the USSR and Eastern Europe was brought down by the resistance and protests of the working class: FACT. When you say “powerful elements… within the ruling elites…realised that the game was up for the Stalinist system”, you fail to address the question of WHY? Thwe answer is, surely, because of mass resistance, based upon the working class. That’s why the idea that these states were “workers’ states” is so ridiculous. The fact that the workers’ revolts (OK: I agree that to call them full-scale “revolutions” may be a bit of an over-statement) did not result in workers’ democracy, but rather in the resoration of capitalism, doesn’t in anyway change the working class nature of those revolts. To suggest otherwise is to read history backwards.

  30. Shiraz Socialist on Tibet « The Blog and the Bullet said,

    […] by Jack Stephens on April 19, 2008 Jim writes: Listen, you […]

  31. Jenny said,

    I know this is awkward,but I’m curious, Jim if you’ve read this: http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html

    Personally,I believe parenti glorifies Mao too much,but at least he tries to highlight China’s human rights flaws. However, I also don’t think anyone’s arguing ancient Tibet was a utopia because don’t all religions have skeletons in their closests? And just because the past of the country isn’t pretty doesn’t mean people living there today deserve to be tortured or to live without rights(childcare,etc.)


    […] think that Socialist Unity’s Nooman (a born-again Stalinist) is generally far too soft on capitalist China – presently undermining wages in Poland. But at least he’s posted these amazing pictures of […]

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