Defending The Revolution

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THE GREAT PROLETARIAN CULTURAL REVOLUTION, the very name unfurls like a crudely painted red banner. Most people, if they have heard of it at all, picked up most of what they know from documentaries in which the Cultural Revolution rates only a few minutes of critical historical scrutiny. What those who grew to adulthood in the years following Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 will never understand, however, is the sheer disruptive energy of Maoism. Mao’s “Little Red Book”; his fanatical “Red Guards”; the whole terrifying experience of the Cultural Revolution; left an entire generation of leftists deeply scarred. Not only in China, but across the entire world.

Recent developments on the left of politics, however, are stirring painful memories of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. On college campuses, in particular, grey-bearded observers are witnessing the same inflamed political passions; the same terrifying group-think; the same reckless determination to tear down the entire cultural inheritance of the past; that characterised the Cultural Revolution. What distinguishes the present ideological extremism from the excesses of Maoism, however, is the opaqueness of its ultimate purpose. The prime mover – and prime beneficiary – of the Cultural Revolution was Mao himself. Cui bono? – who benefits? – from the present “woke” revolt?

Following the abject failure of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” (essentially an attempt to achieve the modernisation of China’s economy through acts of sheer collective will) the “Great Helmsman” of the People’s Republic found himself increasingly side-lined by the more pragmatic members of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. The leader of these “revisionists”, Deng Xiaoping, famously summed up his approach by citing the ancient Chinese proverb: “It matters little whether a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” To recover his supremacy, both within the party and the country, Mao needed to mobilise a force powerful enough to challenge Deng and his revisionist comrades.

With towering cynicism, Mao chose as his battering-ram the first generation to have grown up under Communist rule: literally the “children of the revolution”. The unquestioning loyalty of these young people to the man who had made it possible for China to “stand up” was directed against what Mao called “The Four Olds”: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits and Old Ideas. China, said Mao, was in danger of sliding back towards the untruths and injustices of the past. This could only be prevented by mass struggle. “To rebel is justified”, Mao proclaimed. The time had come to “bombard the headquarters” of a Communist Party which had fallen under the thrall of bourgeois ideas.

Mao’s young “Red Guards” needed little encouragement to attack Mao’s revisionist enemies. Hardly surprising, when his “Little Red Book” offered the following words of inspiration:

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“The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you.… The world belongs to you. China’s future belongs to you.”

The consequences of unleashing the young against the old; of elevating ideological rigor above reasoned debate; and of setting the present against the past; was a decade of unprecedented social stress and tension, interspersed with explosions of murderous mob violence and tragic material destruction. More than 30 years after its final suppression by the People’s Liberation Army in the mid-1970s, the legacy of the Cultural Revolution lingered on in families torn apart, careers destroyed, artistic treasures and historical monuments laid waste.

Visiting China in 2008, I was deeply saddened by the personal testimonies vouchsafed to me by the victims of those terrible ten years. Not the least injured by Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution were the young Red Guards themselves. Seldom in human history has a generation been so cruelly used and cast aside.

It wasn’t only the youth of China who suffered as a result of the Cultural Revolution. Mao’s reassurance that “to rebel is justified” also caught the imagination of thousands of young people in the West who had lost faith in the United States-led capitalist system that encouraged endless consumption at home while dealing out death and destruction to the people of Vietnam. The young people who led the Youth Revolt of the late-1960s in the West took heart from the Maoist anthem “The East Is Red” – seeing their own surging street battles magnified a thousand-fold in China’s teeming cities.

It is one of history’s vicious ironies that the only reward for all the exertions of the young revolutionaries of East and West was the triumph of a form of capitalism ten times more ruthless and exploitative than the one they were rebelling against. Deng Xiaoping survived the Cultural Revolution, and very soon his ideologically agnostic cats were teaming-up with all manner of running-dogs. Likewise in the West, where, by the end of the 1970s, the managed capitalism which had delivered three decades of unprecedented prosperity was being traded-in for the “freedom-loving” neoliberal capitalism we know today.

One could argue that, in both cases, these dramatic changes amounted to a revolution – of sorts. If that was the case, then the resurgence of ideologically-inspired intergenerational conflict that we are witnessing today is explained.

Mao Zedong, just like Joseph Stalin before him, considered it most unwise to let the members of his own revolutionary generation keep alive the traditions of dissent, mass organisation, and lively political debate which had made the overthrow of the previous system possible. Keeping these traditions alive, he argued, was an open invitation to the forces of counter-revolution to subvert the new order from within. Better by far to undermine and discredit the revolutionary values of the past by unleashing against them carefully formulated and entirely contradictory ideas deliberately inculcated in a younger generation of officially-sanctioned “rebels”.

By adopting this profoundly cynical and supremely manipulative strategy of fomenting intergenerational strife, Mao restored himself to absolute power. Is Neoliberalism hoping to do the same? Preserving capitalism by taking a leaf out of the little red Maoist playbook?

 

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. Informative and interesting, as usual, Chris.

    ‘It is one of history’s vicious ironies that the only reward for all the exertions of the young revolutionaries of East and West was the triumph of a form of capitalism ten times more ruthless and exploitative than the one they were rebelling against.’

    Nicely put, Chris, but there’s a little hyperbole there. The form of capitalism that emerged was only five times more vicious and exploitative (but it was/is twenty times more deceitful and manipulative).

    Those who benefit the most from the exploitation of the environment, the exploitation of other humans, the exploitation of other species on this planet and the creation of fake money by various financial institutions may hope to restore the kind of arrangements that prevailed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they are powerless to do so.

    The prerequisites for persistence of the so-called capitalist system no longer exist as a direct consequence of the way the system operates, i.e. the system destroys the very things it needs to survive and is therefore self-defeating.

    The system requires:

    1. Sources of energy that are abundant and cheap to extract: almost all the easy-to-extract sources are gone, burned up decades ago.

    2. Stable and benign climate systems: wrecked almost beyond recognition (via CO2 emissions) and getting progressively worse as the CO2 content of the atmosphere inexorably rises.

    3. Abundant natural resources in the form of forests, fish in the oceans, nutrients for farming, pumpable groundwater for agriculture etc.: severely depleted and suffering the consequences of environmental degradation, abrupt climate change and ocean acidification etc. In other words the forests have been burning like never before because of droughts; the oceans are so contaminated and overheated and overfished their productivity is falling etc.

    4. A healthy and resilient [human] population: people have never been more obese, more subject to diabetes, asthma and cancers etc., as the poor quality food produced by industrial agriculture and promoted by the corporate media take their toll, along with (until very recently) increasingly severe air pollution; never in history have so many people who would have otherwise died been ket on life support -thereby draining the system of resources.

    5. Biodiversity and intact interspecies balance: gone! Recently reported have been ‘The insect apocalypse’, whereby insect numbers have [in some locations, e.g. Germany] plummeted by the order of 80% in a matter of decades; numerous great mammal species are on the brink of extinction, as are species such as eels in Europe; even koalas, the icon of Australia, face extinction in a matter of decades; meanwhile, monocultural agriculture is reaching the limits of expansion and may well go into decline, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts, along with Planetary Overheating wreaks havoc- and there are so few jungles left to chop down anyway.

    6. A financial system that can be expanded and otherwise jigged by money-printing and manipulation of interest rates, whilst toxic debt is collateralised and hypothecated into obscene derivatives that have no real value’; a housing market that is rising rapidly; faith in the system. Well, the financial sector has been on life-support since the repo market crisis of September 2019, and though money printing has kept share markets afloat for many months (even re-inflated the the bursting Dow bubble) that will not be the case for much longer.

    7. The flow of goods from the manufacturer to the consumer to the rubbish dump. Well, that system is broken, never to be revived, as consumers lack funds to buy crap they don’t need and nobody knows what to do with the rubbish, so they cart it [usually by road] to so-called recycling centres where it all gets mixed up with general rubbish and either piled up or transported, at great expense, to a hole somewhere.

    8. An ever increasing population to generate more debt-slaves. Well that system is also broken, and, as coronavirus rages round the world, for the first time in modern history (other than in a few exceptional places like Japan) we are going to witness declining populations.

    There is no question that ‘the powers that be’ will do their best to revitalise the near-corpse of capitalism. And that may well be via extreme violence towards the general population, starting with the usual victims -brown people in Africa, South America and South Asia, slightly less brown people in East Asia and the Middle East, and white people who are expendable by the system in ‘advanced’ nations.

  2. Given that “the establishment” on both sides of the Atlantic beavered away to ensure that a couple of modest social democrats got nowhere near the levers of power, and is now in many cases supporting protesters, at least some of whom claim to be Marxists intent on ending capitalism, your suggestion is not at all outlandish. So long as the idea of “ending capitalism” involves such objectives as defunding the state-paid and unionised police more than taxing or breaking up corporations, the “rebels” are seen as less of a threat than two elderly men, one of whom wanted to universalise health care, and the other to protect existing healthcare from vultures and nationalise public transport.

  3. Tragic that this happened in a great historical country where the Confucian ethic prevailed for centuries – and still does – and influenced well beyond its own borders; size and vastness and and population and entrenched poverty make comparisons with our little backwater difficult – the entrenched poverty being the strongest common denominator.

    Any inter generational aggro first suggested to me here was with Chloe Swarbrick’s disparaging comments
    to Victoria University students that experience doesn’t count – but Chloe is the NZ resident expert on marijuana, and the darling of the fast-tongue worshippers, so I guess that that’s all OK – and “OK Boomer”, was a cheap shot which reverberated around the world.

    Marama Davidson’s comment that some people have more money than they need sent shivers down my spine. I wondered, ” Is this what she tells her six children ?” I soul-searched about what I may have ever said to my own children which could turn them against others.

    There is a pattern of several-tongued engineered social conflict surfacing in New Zealand, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that it is being deliberately utilised by neo libbers, and succeeding – the shooting of Constable Matthew Hunt was a fairly natural outcome of assiduous brainwashing depicting cops as the enemy – and by persons who well know that equivalence with US scenarios is absurd, and dishonest.

    Hatreds are being fomented, but until I read this, I’d not really considered it as planned; the Greens’ blithe dismissal of history, and of the persons who shaped it, is crude and primitive.

  4. China’s cultural Revolution vs NZ Cultural revolution…

    China, Millions were accused of being members of the Five Black Categories and were persecuted, suffering public humiliation, imprisonment, torture, hard labor, seizure of property, and sometimes execution or harassment into suicide.

    NZ, Dirty politics against NZ politicians, intellectuals and scientists
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/81194202/public-health-researchers-fighting-back-against-lobbyists)

    Surprise, surprise – the bloody pigs clear themselves over illegal Hager raid
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/08/20/surprise-surprise-the-bloody-pigs-clear-themselves-over-illegal-hager-raid/

    Cunliffe: grubbiest election campaign yet
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10425677/Cunliffe-grubbiest-election-campaign-yet

    3 billion dollar ‘shovel ready’ employment program – Recall the movie, The Pianist when Władysław Szpilman works as a bricklayer to survive during the holocaust because only essential workers doing slave labour are deemed worthy to survive.
    Only in NZ! Watch – Papamoa blocklayer’s epic piano performance on job site goes viral
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12344454

    China, Intellectuals were considered the “Stinking Old Ninth” and were widely persecuted; notable scholars and scientists such as Lao She, Fu Lei, Yao Tongbin and Zhao Jiuzhang were killed or committed suicides.

    NZ, New Zealand brain-drain worst in world
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/7973220/New-Zealand-brain-drain-worst-in-world.html

    Statistics New Zealand no longer measuring ‘brain drain’ to Australia
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/03/statistics-new-zealand-no-longer-measuring-brain-drain-to-australia.html

    (Don’t worry NZ, for every experienced registered nurse or doctor or experienced trade professional leaving NZ we get a nurse support worker/labourer/retail manager/chef/supermarket worker plus their love interest and 2 kids coming into NZ).

    China, Schools and universities were closed with the college entrance exams cancelled.

    NZ – we don’t close universities down we just profit from students without noticing if they are attending their courses or not

    New Zealand university student lay dead in room for nearly two months
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/25/new-zealand-university-student-lay-dead-in-room-for-nearly-two-months

    No need to know anything to pass!
    NZ lecturer says half of international students in their class failed for cheating, universities turning blind eye

    Student visa fraud: ‘It’s not about education’ https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11759352

    Widespread fraud found among education agencies representing Indian students https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/81386128/widespread-fraud-found-among-education-agencies-representing-indian-students

    Student visa scam: Company provided info for five years https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/363084/student-visa-scam-company-provided-info-for-five-years

    Banning freedom of speech has become part of NZ universities agenda!
    Massey Vice-Chancellor bans Don Brash
    https://croakingcassandra.com/2018/08/07/massey-vice-chancellor-bans-don-brash/

    AUT denies cancelling Tiananmen event over China govt pressure
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/395573/aut-denies-cancelling-tiananmen-event-over-china-govt-pressure

    China, Over 10 million urban intellectual youths were sent to the countryside in the Down to the Countryside Movement.

    NZ, Liquor stores and tobaccos factories around NZ… all now essential services with Covid https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120518508/coronavirus-no-need-to-stock-up-on-beer-and-wine–its-considered-essential https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/120654996/coronavirus-cigarettes-are-essential-mbie-confirms

    Meth pandemic!
    Meth, coke and MDMA: Police reveal how the drugs are in our wastewater
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/04/meth-coke-and-mdma-police-reveal-how-the-drugs-are-in-our-wastewater.html

    Precurser Meth drugs being manufactured in Wuhan, in a state sponsored Chinese factory. https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/121121233/coronavirus-cartels-are-scrambling-as-covid19-hits-global-drug-trade

    China, Red Guards also destroyed historical relics as well as artifacts, and ransacked cultural and religious sites.

    NZ, Loss of libraries is a symptom of Auckland University’s decline
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12034770

    Bauer offered magazines to Government for a dollar, but says it got no clear response
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/120787598/bauer-offered-magazines-to-government-for-1-but-says-it-got-no-clear-response

    NZ On Air has released details of its latest funding decisions for locally made drama and comedy productions.
    https://mch.govt.nz/latest-nz-air-drama-and-comedy-funding-decisions-released

    RNZ propose dumping Concert programme and targeting ‘youth’
    https://yournz.org/2020/02/08/rnz-propose-dumping-concert-programme-and-targeting-youth/

    NZ Youth music videos.
    Gun-toting YouTube sensation whose hit video ‘Jail’ has been viewed more than 13 million times faces deportation for his role in a grubby driving licence scam
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7258975/Gun-toting-YouTubeer-faces-deportation-role-driving-licence-scam-shoots-fame.html

  5. By adopting this profoundly cynical and supremely manipulative strategy of fomenting intergenerational strife, Mao restored himself to absolute power. Is Neoliberalism hoping to do the same?

    More than likely.
    Capitalism has failed, yet again, and so the capitalists are making sure that they’re still at the top and in control.

  6. I have though some more about my comment regarding declining populations; there is a very uncertain dynamic operating, and we may well witness a surge in births [due to lockdown and people having more sex] whilst at the same time we will witness a surge in deaths [due to Covid-19 being out of control in numerous nations with large populations]; which will dominate in the short term is conjectural.

    However, it is clear that the implosion of the global economy continues, with attempts to remain open (Sweden, the US, Brazil, Belarus etc.) and attempts to reopen after closing (Italy, France, Germany etc.) being counter-productive, and causing a re-ignition of the pandemic or an absolute surge in cases. The Guardian has given up trying to report globally and focuses in just a few of the disaster zones on a daily basis.

    55,000 new cases daily -and headed for 100,000- in the US pretty much tells us where things are headed in the short term. The phony job reports of improving employment conditions and falling unemployment -even if partly true in the very short term- indicate nothing other that better weather associated with the onset of summer [in the Northern Hemisphere] in combination with stubborn idiocy on behalf of many state governors. The only sectors ‘doing well’ in the US are those associated with virus control (i.e. disinfection and PPE), hospitalisation, and dealing with dead bodies. (Oh, and making weapons that can’t be used, of course.)

    https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/Screen%20Shot%202020-07-03%20at%207.54.15%20AM.png?itok=gtnsitRY

    A revolution is underway. But it’s not so much one of fighting in the streets (that’s occurring too) as the onset of a meltdown of the financial system that has inherent flaws which are exposed by failure of economies to grow.

    Once the globalised food production and distribution system gets SERIOUSLY affected -and it will- we will probably see rioting in the streets on a scale far exceeding that of the last time the cost of basics went through the roof [in the Middle East].

    Undoubtedly those who believe themselves to be in control will enact policies geared to suppression of dissent, as usually happens under such circumstances. But there’s nothing like an angry mob that is hungry to overturn a decrepit system.

    Add to that toxic mix a forecast for an ‘above-normal’ hurricane season.

    ‘Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020
    Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely’

    https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/busy-atlantic-hurricane-season-predicted-for-2020

  7. Capitalism relies on decoupling experts from management teams and replacing them with placeholder executives normally neoliberal accountants, marketing and lawyers and often allowing a culture of fraud or safety risks to take place.

    Questions being asked how Oranga Tamariki now has 10 executives but only 1 in the leadership team with a social work qualification…

    Only 7 out of 12 regional managers have a social work qualification or are registered social workers.

    Only 1600 of all front line workers of 4000 staff are front line social workers. So 60% of all front line workers at Oranga Tamariki are NOT front line social workers.

    “On social work experience, Moss said the leadership team of herself and 10 deputy chief executives “benefits greatly from the deep social work experience of the Chief Social Worker” (the only one in the leadership team with a social work qualification); just over half (seven of 12) regional managers had a social work qualification or are registered social workers. Eight-five percent of OT staff were in the front line, she said in answer to one question, but later said just 1600 of the total 4000 staff nationwide were frontline social workers.”

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/the-brave-new-world-of-oranga-tamariki

    This is a problem growing around the world where organisations lose the organisational knowledge of their industry at executive level, and then turn it into a dysfunctional and poorly operating organisation….

    Air NZ concerned about Auckland Airport’s loss of ‘aeronautical competency’
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/120177368/air-new-zealand-concerned-about-auckland-airports-commercial-focus-and-loss-of-aeronautical-competency-in-management

    “Auckland Airport’s website shows two out of nine of its senior managers have past experience in an airport or airline.”

    Where it eventually leads to…

    The 1997 merger that paved the way for the Boeing 737 Max crisis
    https://qz.com/1776080/how-the-mcdonnell-douglas-boeing-merger-led-to-the-737-max-crisis/

    Or frauds… how did Joanne Harrison become a senior manager in NZ after committing multiple frauds previously without being detected and with other mangers and hiring her husband who apparently never worked at the job but was paid for a year?

    ” The Parole Board detailed Harrison’s lengthy record of offending – saying she had committed “frauds in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, is alleged to have committed fraud in Australia on an employer in 2010, and committed the index [Transport Ministry] frauds from 2012 to 2015”.

    “Whilst in the community she has been a recidivist, manipulative fraudster with a unique ability to persuade, deceive and mislead others,” the board said in its decision.”

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/352047/i-did-ridiculous-things-with-the-money-ministry-fraudster

    Absolutely same issue with health care when there are so many people who are outside of front line medicine, or are bought in after lengthy periods of overseas work, are in ancillary roles and do not have any local knowledge or interest in NZ anymore but seemingly led by self interest.
    Serious Fraud Office sends terrible message over former Waikato DHB CEO’s $200k ripoff
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/07/05/dave-macpherson-serious-fraud-office-sends-terrible-message-over-former-waikato-dhb-ceos-200k-ripoff/#comment-466337

    Note the SFO itself has managers like Adam Feeley who perhaps were too good at their job under the Natz.

    Whenever you find a dysfunctional organisation in NZ, you tend to find that the management team are ‘career’ managers who have little knowledge of the industry they work in and all know each other and are on similar boards, aka Auckland Transport Management… they do not bring people up to managements in organisations anymore (too busy making their staff redundant) .. instead they bring placeholders in from their networks or overseas.

  8. We are in the midsts of another cultural revolution. However it is coming from the right. Trump supporters are closer to the Red Guards than people want to admit.

    • There are A LOT of very pissed off people in America after Trump’s latest outrageous behaviour – almost a white supremacists meeting with the insults and racist rhetoric we have come to expect from Trump.

      If anyone can get to the Mount Rushmore with enough explosives to do some serious damage we might see the long-awaited Second American Civil War -this time the government ]and the ‘elites’ it serves] versus the people morphing into mass violence.

      “You Are On Stolen land” – Protests Intensify At Mount Rushmore Ahead Of Trump’s Arrival

      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/trump-visits-mount-rushmore-1st-fireworks-decade-cancel-mob-homes

      And

      ‘The president, in remarks Friday night at the South Dakota landmark, offered a discordant tone to an electorate battered by a pandemic and seared by the recent high-profile killings of Black people. He zeroed in on the desecration by some demonstrators of monuments and statues across the country that honor those who have benefited from slavery, including some past presidents.

      Four months from Election Day, his comments amounted to a direct appeal to the political base, including many disaffected white votes, that carried him to the White House in 2016.

      “This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore,” Trump said. He lamented “cancel culture” and charged that some on the political left hope to “defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.” He said Americans should speak proudly of their heritage and shouldn’t have to apologize for its history.

      “We will not be terrorized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people,” Trump added. “It will not happen.”

      The speech and fireworks at Mount Rushmore came against the backdrop of a pandemic that has killed over 125,000 Americans. The president flew across the nation to gather a big crowd of supporters, most of them maskless and all of them flouting public health guidelines that recommend not gathering in large groups.

      The discord was heightened as the Trump campaign confirmed during the president’s speech that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the campaign and the girlfriend of Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr., had tested positive for the coronavirus while in South Dakota. Both Guilfoyle and Trump Jr., who serves as a top surrogate for the president, are isolating themselves and have canceled public events, according to Sergio Gor, chief of staff to the Trump campaign’s finance committee.

      During the speech, the president announced he was signing an executive order to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the “greatest Americans to ever live.”

      Amid the campaign headwinds, the president has sharpened his focus on his most ardent base of supporters as concern grows inside his campaign that his poll numbers in the battleground states that will decide the 2020 election are slipping.’

      https://muscatinejournal.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/at-mount-rushmore-trump-digs-deeper-into-nations-divisions/article_b1d4e2de-5856-5a52-ba3b-5096cffa5e7b.html

  9. I read shades of McCarthy and comparisons which are not even academic .
    The cultural revolution has been well researched and dismissing many of the puerile simplicity that is parroted here.
    The setting is different, the warlords are different, the technologies available are different and the successes are not really touched upon.
    No mention of the USA and Nationalist crew creating destruction and famine.
    Stalin and Mao are the bad boys to the West but do a bit more reading to gather another side of the story. They were not angels but a lot less corrupt than Churchill.

    • Stalin was not corrupt in the sense that he could be bought (unlike most politicians and mayors etc.) but he was a vicious, psychotic monster, and a thoroughly bad leader. Read Khrushchev’s memoirs to get the inside story of how Stalin was so paranoid and erratic you didn’t know whether you would be lavished with gifts or ‘disappeared’. Khrushchev recounted the occasion when he got in to a car and thought “I’ve got about half an hour of life before they shoot me.” He was driven to the airport and given special responsibility to improve the quality of rubber tyres, which were not being made well and were wearing out quickly. Khrushchev also recounted the week Stalin hid in his room, shocked and without a plan, after the Germans advanced into the USSR. He was responsible for the deaths of millions of Ukrainians and Russians (maybe ten million) via deliberate starvation and gross incompetence in military strategy.

      Mao was responsible for the deaths of around 30 million Chinese peasants during the Great Famine, when grain was taken from starving Chinese and delivered to the USSR to pay for manufactured goods.

      Churchill was responsible for entry of Turkey on the side of the Germans in WW1, the tragic attempt to take Constantinople via gunboat diplomacy, the tragic Gallipoli campaign, the deliberate bombing of civilians in German cities, and the Dresden affair, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians were incinerated to demonstrate to the Russians what British air power could do, on top of his numerous crimes when swanning around Africa in his early life.

      I agree that there are shades of McCarthy; fascism never really died in America; it was morphed into smiley-faced advertising and weird political correctness, whereby the sight of a nipple resulted in outrage but multiple murder was/is celebrated.

      • Afktt
        Yes the controversy surrounding leaders is still alive and so it should be as there is much to discuss and research yet.
        The toll of death attributed to Mao range from a few million to 80 million depending on who is stacking up the history.
        China had gone through many changes with emperors, colonisations by several European countries serially and in parallel in various regions, but usually in cahoots with local Warloads, the Japanese invasion and then the struggle to rid China of the Japanese culminating with the push by communist to rid China of foreign powers including the Nationalists who worked with US forces to prevent the Chinese communists from growing stronger and eventually running China.
        So a prolonged period of upheaval and not without a legacy of displacement of existing local Govts and systems of land ownership as well as irrigation.

        Mao was established as a Leader but was a part of the leadership structure over a wide area, a leadership structure that was evolving but not uniform.
        Land tenure was moved from wealthy owners to a system based on Henry George’s ideas of govt or communal ownership and allocation of land according to need of use. Sun Yat Sen also explored this model earlier.
        In the eagerness to create local resilience and some industrialisation, simple foundries and other communal ownership of new technologies, happened too fast. Changes from traditional rice cropping which were well meaning turned out to be a failure. Those two endeavors coupled with Yellow river flooding as had not been seen for a generation, then followed by relative drought over two years for much of China, was attributed to creating grain shortages that were poorly managed and caused deaths by starvation.

        The death toll was not evenly distributed across China and is still the subject of debate today. As one might expect this has become a centre piece for negative propaganda against China and Communism by many Western sources.

        https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Justin_Lin5/publication/24098166_The_Causes_of_China's_Great_Leap_Famine_1959-1961/links/0c9605386e76632fdd000000/The-Causes-of-Chinas-Great-Leap-Famine-1959-1961.pdf

        The famines and death tolls in India while under British rule and exploitation, were far greater but receive little attention by Western media.

  10. And the ‘polite’ civil war that has been escalated by Trump gets taken to a higher level of fascism versus social justice:

    Gregory “Joey” Johnson, who won a supreme court decision in 1989 that makes burning the American flag a constitutionally protected right, has said he will stage a flag burning ceremony in LA today “in defiance of the fascist Trump’s call to re-criminalize burning the flag in protest.” The president said last month he wants the burning of the flag to be punishable by up to a year in jail.

    Johnson, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, urged people to “defy the fascist in chief, the white supremacist in chief, the misogynist, xenophobic, jingoistic, America first chauvinist imperialist in chief. We all should have nothing but contempt and revulsion for him and his fascist regime – and be determined to mobilize millions of people to drive the regime from power.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2020/jul/04/donald-trump-fourth-of-july-mount-rushmore-speech-coronavirus-protests-live

    We have to wonder whether the ‘elites’ (scumbags at the top of the wealth pyramid) have decided to stoke the furnace of social upheaval in order to profit from the next round of ‘disaster capitalism’ or whether they are now running scared, as the wrecker-in-chief pushes everyone who stands for justice and egalitarianism into a corner, forcing them to fight.

    • The chances of an irrepressible revolt and change of system in the USA are remote at present.
      The public are well trained to think using memes showered on then daily, so are well captured and confined.
      Poor people may revolt on an empty stomach but US society is deeply divided on many fronts. There are even groups that would take up arms and shoot their fellow strugglers and so support the fascist leaders.

      But when the system falls apart the US will be in deep internal conflict with every man for himself along the lines they have been taught.
      Socialism is equated with evil and the enemy yet may be the only rational force that may bind together a confrontation towards the robber baron oligarchy.

      The death wish capitalist have many cards stacked in their favour when it c0mes to putting down rebellion.

      But a crash is inevitable on many fronts.

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