by Andre Vltchek, via NEO
People all over the world are fed up with capitalism. They don’t always know how to formulate their aversions anymore (the result of a confusing ‘education’ and disinformation campaign pouring out of the West). But intuitively they are increasingly longing for socialism or even communism; definitely for some humane, compassionate system based on social justice, kindness and anti-imperialist principles.
Such sentiments are everywhere, in countries as diverse as the Philippines and Bolivia, South Africa and Kirgizstan.
The rulers and propagandists in the West are well aware of this ‘dangerous trend’. And they are trying to reverse it, with increasing determination, even with brutal force.
In the past, they used to simply try to fully ideologically discredit all socialist and communist thoughts. Billions of dollars were spent on propaganda and disinformation, on ‘re-education’ of the masses in all corners of the globe, on targeted scholarships and tactics aimed at dividing the Left.
This approach was successful, but only to a certain degree. All over the world, the leftist revolutionary ideas would lose some ground for a while, but then they would re-emerge again, often under some new labels and banners.
Lately, the Empire has begun changing its strategy. Instead of trying to contain its main adversaries, it has decided to exterminate them ‘intellectually’ once and for all.
And how better to do it than by what it always does the best – by spreading confusion, nihilism and chaos!
Instead of attacking socialism and communism directly, the Empire has begun its massive campaign to discredit most of the countries that are being governed by left-wing governments and movements.
This is of course by itself nothing new. What is ‘innovative’ is that this time Western propaganda has actually began arguing that the anti-imperialist countries are essentially not left wing at all, that they are more capitalist than the West itself, that they are ‘anti-people’, and sometimes even fascist.
New derogatory and thoroughly grotesque terms like ‘state capitalism’ have been invented and put to destructive work. These terms have then been repeated so often that they have become domesticated, and eventually been adopted by the Western ‘soft left’, the liberal media and academia, as well as by the countless ‘progressive’ but anti-communist movements, including anarchists.
While I was told by some of the greatest revolutionary figures like Eduardo Galeano and Pramoedya Ananta Toer, that it is time for ‘un-dusting the old flags and symbols’ (and they were clearly talking about the socialist and Communist ones), the Western official propaganda and much of the Western ‘left’ were busy spreading their vitriolic but contagious doctrines that ‘the labels’ should be once and for all declared obsolete. “I don’t want to be part of any political party or any movement”, one hears increasingly from millions of couch and cafe revolutionaries in cities like London or Paris. “I don’t like to be labeled”. Or typically so in those places: “I have my own mind”.
Except where there are no structures, no strong organization, no labels or flags, there can be no true victory.
But who cares about victory? Soon it became clear that the ‘progressive’ Western ‘opposition’ was not truly seeking to take power or to implement real revolutionary changes. It wanted to ‘improve things at home’, instead of abolishing the entire monstrous world order. It felt cozy and comfortable being a toothless discussion club, hating everything that was truly fighting, risking life while trying to stop imperialism and the Empire from devouring the Planet.
Thus was born the grand quiet alliance of the Western establishment (the Empire), the liberals and of those undefined (or of loosely defined) movements like the anarchists.
It was directly antagonistic to almost all the countries where the Left was by now holding power. It ‘distrusted’ leading revolutionary figures. Needless to say – the criticism of the world revolutions has been based strictly on Western liberal values and doctrines.
Those countries that decided to face the Western Empire were generally labeled as un-democratic, as being arch violators of human rights.
Socialist nations became the main target of the propaganda. Their every move has been scrutinized, each error blown out of proportion. Grotesquely, the West was, as mentioned above, now criticizing them for ‘not being socialist enough, or socialist at all’. It is because the demagogues in London, New York and Paris knew perfectly well that socialism, even Communism, is once again, for many people all over the world a great asset, not liability.
In the meantime, millions of ‘purists’ from the pseudo-Left in the West got engaged in endless and pointless theoretical debates about what was or not true socialism and Communism.
“Is socialism, the Chinese way, truly socialism?” they are repeating, like parrots, all over Europe and North America. “Is Russia socialist at all, or is it governed by a strongman and by a bunch of selfish oligarchs?” And of course: “How socialist are countries like Iran or South Africa?”
The verdict of the purists is always extremely stern. Almost nobody manages to survive the scrutiny! The purists in the West don’t hold power, and it is apparent that they don’t really want to. They bark. They philosophize. They throw sticks into the wheels of those who are truly and determinedly fighting for a better world. They ridicule the revolutions and any powerful left-leaning state.
Victorious and actively militant anti-imperialist governments and nations make them feel irrelevant, obsolete, embarrassing.
And the Empire knows it. It understands. It uses the soft Western left against the arch socialist and communist enemies.
It is using soft left effectively because it is selfish, cowardly and it lacks discipline. But above all, because it is self enamored.
And so, in great unison with the Western Empire’s palace propagandists, the soft Western anti-communist ‘left’ is arguing that the governing Left all over the world is not really true left, that the countries that call themselves socialist are in fact more capitalist than the West, and the world can only be saved by some extremely vaguely defined and abstract system of collective production means (unrealistic and utopian, as nowhere except in the West and in a handful of countries inhabited by European descendants, like Argentina, would such concepts be supported by the masses).
The new alliance is against China, Russia, South Africa, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Eritrea; it is basically against all countries that are still opting for an independent, anti-imperialist course.
All these countries are ‘wrong’. All of them are brutally ‘oppressing their people’ and in almost all of them the local ‘oligarchs are more brutal than in the West’.
You look closer, and it’s all manipulation and lies, or at least a half-truth. But those ‘falsehoods repeated a thousand times have a tendency of becoming the truth’, as an ‘icon’ of German Nazism explained many decades ago. And so it goes…
Fabrications are sinking deeper and deeper into the sub-conscience of the people, in the West but also in countries that are being targeted. Nobody dares to protest, to scream loudly: “Nonsense! These countries are actually socialist!”
What eyes are seeing and what the brains are conditioned to ‘conclude’ are suddenly two thoroughly different things.
The strategy of the Western Empire is clear: it makes things thoroughly confused, too complex to understand, lacking in transparency.
“Capitalist China, right-wing Russia, anti-black South Africa, state-capitalist Venezuela, monolithic and Fascist DPRK. Who would want to follow their examples? Better to accept the familiar Western fundamentalist capitalism and imperialism”. That’s what the world is being maneuvered into thinking.
Brilliant indoctrination strategy! Except… Red flags, fresh from being washed, are proudly waving all over the world, once again. In China and Russia, in South Africa and in so many other places, people are proudly returning to the old labels.
Not everyone can understand, anymore, but many are still able too feel, instinctively.
And as a result of these basic human impulses, a violent clash between depressing deceit and simple human desires and dreams will soon become imminent.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.
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I have only seen the term ‘state Capitalism’ used to describe USSR and specifically by Prof R. D. Wolff.
Socialism isn’t doing itself any favors having Vltchek as its proponent, that’s for sure. Not unlike drilling holes in the bottom of a sinking ship to make water flow out the bottom. Maybe Clinton lost because Vltchek was secretly moonlighting for the Clinton campaign? Most likely 🙂
While it is true that China’s economy has capitalistic characteristics, the Communist Party still rules politically.
My understanding is they are waiting for global capitalism to implode through its own internal contradictions.
After that happens, they will be uniquely placed to lead the world into a new socialist-communist era.
“While it is true that China’s economy has capitalistic characteristics, the Communist Party still rules politically.
My understanding is they are waiting for global capitalism to implode through its own internal contradictions.
After that happens, they will be uniquely placed to lead the world into a new socialist-communist era.”
This is delusion to an extreme degree, and is really a manifestation of the demoralization that set in across much of the Left because they didn’t want to believe that capitalist-imperialism had defeated the first round of international socialism. It’s much less emotionally and psychologically taxing to believe that socialism survived in China than it is to admit that the Deng clique overturned it. People who think that China is in any genuine way “socialist” have escaped into a surrealistic phantasm.
Firstly, China’s economy doesn’t merely have “capitalistic characteristics”, as you casually intone, but rather has many VICIOUSLY capitalistic characteristics. Environmental pollution is off the charts; exploitation of Chinese workers by foreign labor is not only tolerated by the Chinese “Communist” Party, it is actively encouraged. Everything that Mao predicted would happen if the capitalist-roaders were to gain state power has come to transpire.
“My understanding is they are waiting for global capitalism to implode through its own internal contradictions.”
That’s extremely difficult to sustain, given that China is now thoroughly integrated into the world capitalist system, and they themselves face many of its contradictions within their own borders, namely: debt crises, the environmental crisis, the over-accumulation of capital, and the contradiction between the social nature of labor and the private appropriation of profit (leading to some of the most extreme inequality in the world).
“After that happens, they will be uniquely placed to lead the world into a new socialist-communist era.””
Why on Earth would the Chinese social-imperialists “lead” the world “into a new socialist-communist era”? Pending another revolution in China, they will simply compete with the US imperialists to try to suppress such an eventuality.
I repeat what was said to a friend of mine in London by visiting Chinese Communist Party members.
They – and he – believed in what they were saying.
Why should I – or anyone else – doubt their sincerity?
“Why should I – or anyone else – doubt their sincerity?”
Simple: their actions. And all those actions point to China getting ready to lead the world not to socialism-communism, but to establishing its own capitalist-imperialist hegemony at the expense of its imperialist rival.
But don’t ask me why you should doubt their sincerity; ask the Chinese working class. There are some 70,000 riots and disturbances every year in China. Some 200,000 Chinese people die every year from air pollution-related breathing problems. Such facts don’t exactly converge with the notion of a state run in the interests of the masses. Those are the basic realities that no amount of sophistry can surmount. If your friend heard that the CCP is getting ready to do as they told him they would, then the context I alluded to offers an alternative explanation to “sincerity”: it’s to co-opt him and turn Left people into shills for the Chinese Capitalist Party (sorry, “Socialism, the Chinese way”).
Seriously, how naive can you get? This belief in China as “socialist” is lazy, idealist and represents an extreme right-deviation within the socialist movement (by the way, Louis Proyect: don’t think that I’m going to leave you alone, either. Your cruise missile “socialism” is just as extreme and poisonous a right-deviation).
Socialism is a way of viewing social responsibilities and creating a more cohesive, supportive society. There is no precise road map, every country and culture needs to take it’s own path. It is up to the country and citizens to decide not us western outsiders who always go about the world interfering, criticising and condemning… time we left countries alone to progress their own way and looked to our own societies where many are struggling and living standards declining!
All of that is true, but what has it to do with China? A country isn’t following a “socialist path” simply because its leadership says it is.
“The strategy of the Western Empire is clear: it makes things thoroughly confused, too complex to understand, lacking in transparency.”
That is true. And it is also the reason why the western empire has a problem. If its propaganda becomes too complicated to understand, people have to think for themselves to understand what their world is about. And they will do this, because the alternative is extremely boring and dangerous at the same time (not seeing things coming).
Most people can understand a game of football and politics is not much more difficult to understand than a game of football is. What will help in understanding is when they switch channells. Or turn the channell off and see with their own eyes, think with their own mind. And this will happen if the news channell which is broadcasting propaganda is ‘too sophisticated’ and therefore too boring to look at.
Do people here deny that China is a capitalist country?
For once I agree with you. I see China’s rise – like Russia’s refusal to be bullied – as positives not because their rulers are Good Eggs but because America unbridled is terrifying. Unlike the author I don’t see Russia as “anti-imperialist” or the Asian Industrial Infrastructure Bank as socialist. But insofar as the one sets limits to America’s mayhem in the middle east, and the other promises an alternative to the draconian neoliberalism of the IMF, I welcome them with much relief.
Duh! Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank …
No, but there are degrees of capitalism, from the laissez-faire model fashionable in the west to the state capitalist model of China and East Asia. Key industries are under state control and China has capital controls and a currency which is pegged to other global currencies, notably the US$. The Chinese model is essentially no different from the rest of the East Asian economic models of development. In all cases, Perhaps with the exception of Hong Kong, they eschewed the Ricardian comparative advantage model which was felt unsuitable for economic development and which was.
In actual fact the Chinese approach in the 20th century wasn’t dissimilar to the United States and Germany in the 19th century.
Being involved in a Capitalist economic and financial system does not make a country ‘Capitalist’.
That’s true, but the EXTENT to which China is “involved” in capitalism does indeed make it capitalist. Consider the following:
1) A large part of its economy is privately owned and is explicitly and unabashedly run along capitalist lines (profit maximization, personal self-enrichment, out-competing rivals, externalizing costs).
2) Its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are run largely according to classic capitalist criteria for judging success and themselves act as huge engines for capital accumulation, even if they don’t only exclusively in accordance to the maxim of profit (for example, if an enterprise is seen as strategically important, it can do very poorly from the perspective of profit but still remain buoyant thanks to infusions of money and resources from the state). These enterprises are run by cliques who have a fundamental interest in capital accumulation because it is one way in which they can gain a foothold in other parts of the economy and the state bureaucracy and help ensure that they will not be outdone/repressed by other cliques. There’s a good paper online called “China’s Communist-Capitalist Environmental Apocalypse” that talks about this, even though it lays too much emphasis on the non-capitalist aspects of the SOEs.
3) Its export of capital around the world.
4) Its participation in the stock markets of foreign countries.
5) Its reliance upon governmental, corporate and personal debt, which are all fundamental ways of keeping the capitalist mode of production in motion.
6) The presence and scale of Foreign Direct Investment, which actively exploits the Chinese working class (notably, the size of China’s own FDI in other countries recently eclipsed FDI in China itself).
7) The sheer frequency of “mass disturbances”, many of them revolving around working conditions and corruption, speaks to the presence of extremely acute class contradictions.
8) The ecological crisis in China shows an obvious indifference to the health and safety of the Chinese people, at least when compared to catering to the interests of capitalists.
9) The gargantuan inequality that has arisen in Chinese society, and the consumerist culture and ethos of individual self-interest that now pervade it from top to bottom.
10) The cynical lack of revolutionary solidarity shown by the Chinese leadership towards revolutionary movements around the world, with the leaders instead adopting a “business-like” approach towards the established leaders of other countries, even selling capitalist-feudal dictatorships weapons and surveillance equipment and forming relations on the basis of business deals and economic leverage.
11) Its important role in propping up of the world capitalist order. It is entirely possible that without China’s involvement, the world capitalist system could have hit a much more acute crisis by now. Instead, China has become integrated into global capitalist institutions and arrangements, cushioning the shocks of capitalist crises, and facilitating US deficit spending (and therefore imperialist war, even if the wars the US provokes are not to China’s liking). China sees its own success as being tied to its success within the global capitalist system, and therefore has an active interest in MAINTAINING and buttressing that order.
None of this is to say that China doesn’t have socialist and progressive elements, or that socialist countries cannot have capitalist elements and even partial reversals to respond to concrete historical situations. The question is: 1) in what overall direction has Chinese society been heading – one with socialism in its basic relations of production and distribution, albeit with some capitalist features, or one that accumulated so many capitalist features and wedges that the socialist features tend to get obliterated?; and 2) do socialist aspirations still form the basis for state actions, or have the dynamics of capitalism engendered values and goals that are incompatible with socialism? It seems to me that China is now thoroughly capitalist (and even more lawlessly so in many instances than its American counterpart).
Russia proved that as a basis for national economy, Communism simply doesn’t work! However there are many nations that practice a soft form of socialism allied with democracy, to provide a very humanitarian kind of society. Certainly the Scandinavian States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada fit into that scenario. American imperialism has become brutal and violent and the backlash is evident within the US itself where society is totally dysfunctional and self destructive!
This was somewhat true of Canada in the past, but not so much now. NAFTA was the beginning of the end as it opened the floodgates to legal contests from the huge, mostly American, multinationals that challenged the country’s basic social safety net – medical, social security, pensions, etc – claiming at various times that one or the other amounted to “unfair competition”. Canada, like the US, has also had increasingly right-leaning governments, culminating in the governments of the last 10 years or so that have stumbled over themselves trying to be as neocon/neoliberal as their southern masters, including the ideology of austerity that sees social programs for the populace as bad, but social programs for the corporations and their owners as good. As in the States, there’s no substantive difference between the two major parties. The TPP will put another couple of nails in the coffin.
Capitalism doesn’t work.
Capitalism epitomises human nature and will always prevail in the human battle of the fittest
This is simply a re-statement of conventional ideology. Why bother?
If you have no argument to make why not remain silent?
“American imperialism has become brutal and violent”
When was it not brutal and violent?
There WAS one socialist country and that is probably the main reason for its destruction – Yugoslavia.
As far as “left” is concerned – something like that DOES NOT EXIST in the “west”. Those acting under that label are just used to throw sand in the eyes of the rest of the world with their bullshit as “anti-war” movement (they have NEVER stopped one single war and by paying taxes to their genocidal colonial homelands they actually pay for all these wars).