Stalinist and “Trotskyist” Supporters of Chinese Imperialism under the Fig-Leaf of “Anti-Imperialism”

 

 

A commentary on the statement “No to U.S. war threats against China!” by the “United National Antiwar Coalition” in the U.S.

 

by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 4 April 2021, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

A few days ago, the “United National Antiwar Coalition” in the U.S. published a statement called “No to U.S. war threats against China![1] To a large degree, it is politically similar to another statement against the U.S. Cold War against China which has been recently issued by a broad spectrum of prominent reformist and left-liberal politicians and academics (“A New Cold War against China is against the interests of humanity”). [2]

 

The UNAC statement attacks in detail the political crimes and the war-mongering of U.S. imperialism. We reproduce the sub-titles of the chapters which give an overview on the content: “U.S. military bases around the world”, “Biden’s focus on China”, “U.S. Pivot to Asia”, “U.S. claims to champion democracy”, “U.S. threats of nuclear war”, “COVID-19 and U.S. sanctions”, and “The right of self-determination”. The statement ends with the following list of demands: “We demand: End U.S. aggression towards China! No to a new cold war! No militarization of space! Ban US nuclear weapons! Money for jobs and healthcare, not war! End racist anti-Asian slander and attacks!

 

It is worth pointing out to the paragraph under the sub-title “The right of self-determination” which reads as follows: “UNAC supports the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, that is, to be free from military intervention and economic domination. This includes their right to seek and accept aid from other nations to help defend their sovereignty, as with Venezuela, Iran, and Syria. It includes their right to be free from U.S. threats of war, regime change and intervention.

 

A few words on the initiators of this statement. UNAC is a coalition of “left-wing” forces and claims to have 160 affiliates in the U.S. It is politically dominated by an alliance of left-liberal and Stalinist organizations – like the US Peace Council, BAYAN (which is close to the Maoist CPP in the Philippines), the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Workers World Party. It also includes the pseudo-Trotskyist group “Socialist Action”, led by Jeff Mackler, which constitutes the dominant force of the so-called “Left Opposition” in the “Fourth International” (in the tradition of Pablo and Mandel). [3]

 

 

 

Opposing one imperialist camp but not the other

 

 

 

Basically, the UNAC statement shares the same approach as the above-mentioned pacifist-reformist statement. While it denounces all forms of racial oppression in the U.S., America’s militarism and its attempt to stop its decline as a hegemonic power, it does not mutter a single word of criticism against China – the other force in the current Cold War!

 

As we pointed out in our criticism of the pacifist-reformist statement this reflects a one-sided approach which is tantamount to supporting China. In the situation of a Cold War which takes place on the political, economic, military and ideological level, opposing only one camp but not the other means nothing else but taking the side of the latter.

 

At this place we will not repeat our arguments as outlined in our recently published article about the above-mentioned reformist/left-liberal statement. [4] As the TCIT has demonstrated in numerous works, the U.S. is the former hegemonic but now declining Great Power [5] while China is a new and rapidly rising rival. [6] Authentic socialists must neither support the Western nor the Eastern imperialists but oppose all Great Powers – the U.S., China, EU, Russia and Japan. [7] They should support workers and popular struggles and side with oppressed national minorities – both in East as well as in West.

 

Likewise, as we stated in our article, it is utterly cynical to criticize the oppression of racial minorities in the U.S. but not to raise a single word of criticism against the oppression of the Muslim Uyghurs in China!

 

 

 

Cheerleaders of Stalinist-capitalist regimes

 

 

 

In this brief article we want to draw attention to the following. The UNAC statement demonstrates the highly characteristic fact that Stalinist, Semi-Stalinist and Pseudo-Trotskyist forces cynically raise the banner of “anti-imperialism” but, in fact, they act as supporters of one imperialist camp (China-Russia).

 

Some naïve observers might think that the UNAC statement limits itself to criticize the U.S. imperialist policy only because it is based in North America and wants to draw attention to the crimes of “its” ruling class. But the truth is that the main forces of the UNAC coalition are basically supporters of the imperialist powers China and Russia and their allies.

 

The Workers World Party (WWP), originally a split from the Trotskyist SWP in 1959 which transformed into a semi-Stalinist force, is one of the key forces behind UNAC. It claims that China is a socialist country ruled by a “competent Communist Party” which is “guided by Marxism”. “China’s large economy, with a firm foundation of publicly owned industries, can direct huge resources into scientific projects, and its Five-Year plans guide scientific and technological development to reach new heights. Its competent Communist Party embraces and promotes science not only to explore space, but also to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and clean up the environment for the benefit of the people. Guided by Marxism – that is, by scientific socialism – China prioritizes social goals and directs resources in a long-term, scientifically planned manner. Through this basis in Marxism, China has been able to develop rapidly and become a global scientific leader, pushing humanity to new understandings of the universe and opening up new pathways for the future.[8]

 

While the WWP leadership diplomatically addresses the issue of the existence of a large number of capitalists in China, it claims that the socialist foundation still prevails. It expresses its confidence that the regime in Beijing “may now be taking a closer look at the dangers internal capitalist forces bring to the country’s stable socialist development.[9]

 

The WWP leadership is not only a supporter of Chinese imperialism but also of other Stalinist-capitalist regimes. Only two months ago, it published a letter sent to the Communist Party of Vietnam holding its 13th National Congress. The very first sentence in the letter makes clear how much the WWP admires the regime: “We are so glad to send our congratulations and highest regards to the Communist Party of Vietnam as you evaluate your past experiences and plan the future.” It goes on to praise the “socialist system deeply rooted in the people, such as that of Vietnam”. [10]

 

The WWP repeats such pathetic eulogy also in the case of the notorious totalitarian regime in North Korea which has been ruled since its foundation in the 1940s by one and the same family clan. In another public letter, sent to “dear comrade Kim Jong Un” on the occasion of the Eighth Congress of the ruling party held in January 2021, the WWP leadership knows no limits in praising “your exemplary socialist system”. It concludes: “The DPRK continues to be an inspiration to the people of the world who are fighting to achieve in our own countries a new and just society based in the working class. Long live the DPRK! Long live socialism![11]

 

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), an organization coming from the Maoist tradition, is another key force in UNAC. Like the WWP it is an enthusiastic cheerleader of “socialist China”. In a report called “Eyewitness China: How socialism is defeating COVID-19”, the FRSO praised the authoritarian Lockdown policy of the “socialist Chinese government” and concludes: “Experiencing firsthand how the pandemic was handled here really makes me proud to live in a country that puts the needs of its people as its first priority. Life is truly returning to normal in China, but it’s only because socialism carved a path to victory and helped save humanity.[12]

 

No doubt, Chinese imperialism has loyal friends in the U.S.!

 

At this place, it is useful to note that many socialists consider “Marxist” organizations of Stalinist, semi-Stalinist, Maoist, pseudo-Trotskyist, etc. origin as something like “inconsistent revolutionaries”. They believe that the difference between authentic Marxists and such forces is merely that one is more radical, more consistent in applying the Marxist program. This is, as the RCIT has emphasized repeatedly, a wrong viewpoint. Organizations which directly or indirectly support this or that capitalist dictatorship, this or that imperialist Great Power, are not “inconsistent revolutionaries” but rather forces which support the camp of counterrevolution. They aid the class enemy, not the workers and oppressed!

 

 

 

Supporting the Assad’s murderous tyranny in the name of “anti-imperialism”

 

 

 

These Stalinist cheerleaders of Chinese imperialism uncritically support also reactionary regimes, allied with Beijing and Moscow, which do not even pretend to have any affiliation with “socialism”. A prominent and disgusting example for this is their support for the Assad dictatorship which has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. They cynically denounce the popular uprising, which began in March 2011, as a U.S. conspiracy and support Assad’s efforts to drown the insurrection in blood. While they oppose U.S. military interventions abroad, they support Russia’s air force and troops deployed in Syria. This becomes clear from the above-mentioned paragraph in the UNAC statement (“This includes their right to seek and accept aid from other nations to help defend their sovereignty, as with Venezuela, Iran, and Syria”)

 

This is also reflected by the fact that leading forces of UNAC are also active in the so-called ”Syria Solidarity Movement”. This is a pro-Assad alliance which unconditionally supports the regime and its Russian and Iranian masters. Just a few weeks ago, on the “10th anniversary of the continuing U.S. war on Syria” (in fact, it was the 10th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution [13]), it stated: “Syria has defiantly resisted for ten years, in the face of illegal U.S. attempts to dismember their sovereign state.” Fortunately, the “Syria Solidarity Movement” states, Assad is not alone but has the support of other tyrants. “With allies Russia, China, Iran, Hezbollah and Palestinian militias, support of Venezuela and Cuba to North Korea, and supporters in the global peace movement, the Syrian government has frustrated most of the above schemes and avoided becoming a Libya-style failed state.[14]

 

In summary, UNAC claims to “support the right of oppressed nations to self-determination” but, in fact, it defends the “right” of the Assad dictatorship to oppress the Syrian people. [15]

 

 

 

Shameful “orthodox Trotskyism”

 

 

 

Jeff Mackler’s Socialist Action conveniently fits to this crude alliance of Stalinists and petty-bourgeois alliance as a kind of “Trotskyist” appendage. It also opportunistically adapts since many years to the pro-Chinese/Russian imperialist camp. SA has always praised Cuba’s regime [16], which has also entered the Stalinist-capitalist road since a number of years. [17] Like its Stalinist friends, Socialist Action has a long-standing record of slandering the popular uprising as an “U.S.-orchestrated “regime change” to remove the Assad government”. [18]

 

Unfortunately, there are still many Trotskyist activist which view organizations like the “Fourth International” in the tradition of Pablo and Mandel as belonging to a kind of “Trotskyist family”. [19] In fact, we see once more that verbal adherence to “Trotskyism”, defending “orthodox Trotskyism” in words does not mean anything. Every organization must be measured by its cornet program, by its approach to the main issues of the world situation and the class struggle. All to often, verbal adherence to “orthodox Trotskyism” is nothing but a fig-leaf for support of sectors of the bourgeoisie and one or the other imperialist Great Power.

 

In summary, the UNAC statement represents a declaration of support for Chinese imperialism and its allies under the Fig-Leaf of “Anti-Imperialism”. Authentic socialist organizations and activists against the Cold War must totally refute this statement.

 

 

 



[1] United National Antiwar Coalition: No to U.S. war threats against China! 24 March 2021, https://nepajac.org/usmilitarychina.htm, https://www.workers.org/2021/04/55554/

[3] See the list of the members of the UNAC Administrative Committee, https://www.unacpeace.org/about.html

[4] Michael Pröbsting: One-sided and Naïve … at Best! A joint call by the friends of Chinese imperialism and the daydreamers of well-meaning global capitalism, 31 March 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/joint-call-by-friends-of-chinese-imperialism-and-the-daydreamers/

[5] See on this e.g. the book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/; See also the latest pamphlet by the same author: “A Really Good Quarrel”. US-China Alaska Meeting: The Inter-Imperialist Cold War Continues, 23 March 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/us-china-alaska-meeting-shows-continuation-of-inter-imperialist-cold-war/; we refer readers also to numerous documents of the RCIT on the Global Trade War which have been compiled at a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-global-trade-war/.

[6] For our analysis of China as an imperialist power see e.g., in addition to the above-mentioned book “Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry”, Michael Pröbsting: Chinese Imperialism and the World Economy, an essay in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope. It has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, in 2020, https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-91206-6_179-1; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91206-6_179-1; see also by the same author: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; How is it possible that some Marxists still Doubt that China has Become Capitalist? (A Critique of the PTS/FT), An analysis of the capitalist character of China’s State-Owned Enterprises and its political consequences, 18 September 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism-2/; Unable to See the Wood for the Trees (PTS/FT and China). Eclectic empiricism and the failure of the PTS/FT to recognize the imperialist character of China, 13 August 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism/; The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-csr-pco-on-china/

[7] For a more detailed discussion of the program of revolutionary defeatism, we refer – in addition to the above-mentioned book “Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry” to the RCIT document Theses on Revolutionary Defeatism in Imperialist States, Resolution of the International Executive Committee of the RCIT, 8 September 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-on-revolutionary-defeatism-in-imperialist-states/.

[8] Joshua Hanks: China replacing U.S. as world’s leading scientific power, December 7, 2020, https://www.workers.org/2020/12/53105/; see also Fred Goldstein: Marxism and the social character of China, June 13, 2013 http://www.workers.org/articles/2013/06/13/marxism-and-the-social-character-of-china/#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_tot=1&at_ab=per-11&at_pos=0  

[9] Sara Flounders: Class struggle in China – How to deal with multibillionaires? November 23, 2020, https://www.workers.org/2020/11/52640/

[10] Paddy Colligan: Vietnam Communist Party to hold 13th National Congress, January 28, 2021 https://www.workers.org/2021/01/54134/

[11] Workers World Party: Long live the DPRK! Long live socialism! January 6, 2021 https://www.workers.org/2021/01/53630/

[12] FRSO: Eyewitness China: How socialism is defeating COVID-19, April 7, 2020, http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/4/7/eyewitness-china-how-socialism-defeating-covid-19

[13] The RCIT has published numerous documents on the Syrian Revolution which are compiled on a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/.

[15] We draw attention to an excellent statement supported by numerous progressive Syrian and non-Syrian activists: Erasing People through Disinformation: Syria and the “Anti-Imperialism” of Fools https://www.thecommunists.net/forum/erasing-people-through-disinformation-syria-and-the-anti-imperialism-of-fools/

[16] Only two years ago, SA claimed that “Cuba’s proud revolutionary achievements remain largely intact and a shining example to oppressed people everywhere.” (U.S.-backed revolt fails in Venezuela, Socialist Action, 2019-05-30, https://socialistaction.org/2019/05/30/u-s-backed-revolt-fails-in-venezuela/)

[17] See on this e.g. our book by Michael Pröbsting: Cuba‘s Revolution Sold Out? The Road from Revolution to the Restoration of Capitalism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/cuba-s-revolution-sold-out/)

[18] Jeff Mackler: U.S. imperialism bombs Syria & Iraq, October 11, 2014, https://socialistaction.org/2014/10/11/u-s-imperialism-bombs-syria-iraq/

[19] On the degeneration of various “Trotskyist” organisations see e.g. Workers Power (the precursor of the RCIT): The Death Agony of the Fourth International and the Tasks of Trotskyists Today (1983); this book can also be read online or downloaded as a pdf for free at https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/death-agony-of-the-fourth-international-1983/; Michael Pröbsting: Healy’s Pupils Fail to Break with their Master. The revolutionary tradition of the Fourth International and the centrist tradition of its Epigones Gerry Healy and the ”International Committee”, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/healy-and-fourth-international/ There are also critical assessments of various so-called Trotskyist organizations in our above-mentioned book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry as well as in Chapter 13 in our book by Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013: this book can also be read online or downloaded as a pdf for free at https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/great-robbery-of-the-south/; see also, by the same author: Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the "Left". The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syria-great-power-rivalry-and-the-failure-of-the-left/