> -------------------------
> Via Workers World News Service
> Reprinted from the June 1, 2000
> issue of Workers World newspaper
> -------------------------
> By Fred Goldstein
> Confusion, deception, and reaction reign in the public 
> debate over the vote in the U.S. Congress to grant 
> Permanent Normal Trade Relations to the People's Republic 
> of China. 
> It is difficult for any worker or progressive person to 
> find an independent class orientation. Both sides of the 
> debate consider the Chinese government as an opponent. They 
> differ only on whether China has to be punished by 
> withholding PNTR, or be politically and economically 
> transformed through forced concessions granted to 
> imperialism in return for PNTR. 
> It is the height of chauvinism that nowhere in the debate 
> is the sovereignty of the government of China even 
> considered. It represents one fifth of the human race, 
> liberated from centuries of oppression, invasion, and 
> occupation only 50 years ago by a socialist revolution. 
> Whatever happened to the right of self-determination for 
> 1.2 billion people trying to overcome poverty and 
> underdevelopment? China's onerous legacy comes from the 
> very colonial interventionist powers--Europe, the United 
> States and Japan--who rule the World Trade Organization. 
> The corporate CEOs and the billionaires they work for 
> support PNTR because they don't want their European and 
> Japanese corporate rivals to gain any advantage in a 
> developing market that has twice the population of the U.S. 
> and Europe combined. They are palpitating over the prospect 
> of sales, particularly as the rest of the world's markets 
> grow more and more saturated with overproduction and the 
> capitalist expansion is perpetually in danger.
> President Bill Clinton and all the politicians promoting 
> PNTR and pushing for China to enter the WTO in return for 
> economic concessions say this is the way to strengthen 
> "economic reform" and "human rights" in China. The 
> translation of these catch words is that they want to 
> strengthen and deepen capitalist penetration of China, 
> subvert the political rule of the Chinese Communist Party, 
> and ultimately re-colonize China.
> All the more shameful is it that the leadership of the 
> AFL-CIO has spent over a million dollars of the workers' 
> money on a deeply chauvinist campaign of "no blank check 
> for China." It has frightened the workers into fighting 
> China as a way of protecting their jobs. But the 
> capitalists are forever taking away high-paying jobs for 
> low-paying jobs as well as eliminating jobs altogether. 
> This is the nature of capital. 
> The way to protect jobs and wages in the present situation 
> is for the unions to fight against layoffs and plant 
> closings at home. The class struggle must be waged here. 
> The bosses have no right to lay off workers. If they want 
> to open up a plant in China, Indonesia, or Haiti, they 
> still have no right to lay off the workers who made them 
> rich and who built up the capital that created the plant in 
> the first place. The fighting slogan of "a job is a right" 
> should be made as fundamental as the slogan for a living 
> wage in the labor movement.
> But equally important, the unions should begin by 
> establishing relations with the 103-million-member All-
> China Federation of Trade Unions, and discuss the situation 
> in the spirit of class solidarity. So far the Sweeney 
> leadership has not even publicly considered such a course, 
> even though it was suggested by the general secretary of 
> the Congress of South African Trade Unions. 
> In this regard it is very important to note that the 
> International Longshore and Warehouse Union on the West 
> Coast recently shone a ray of light in the labor movement 
> by passing an important resolution at its convention in 
> Portland, Ore., at the beginning of May. While expressing 
> opposition to PNTR and so-called "human rights" violations 
> in China, the emphasis of the resolution was to combat the 
> campaign of China-bashing. The resolution denounced 
> "racially tinged pronouncements" spoken at labor rallies as 
> " and causing "distress among all people of Chinese 
> descent." 
> The resolution concluded "that the ILWU will prioritize 
> and prepare for a delegation of rank and file members to 
> travel to China to make contact with trade unionists from 
> China, including government-sanctioned unions as well as 
> opposition leaders, and report to the ILWU on 
> recommendations for enhancing worker conditions and human 
> rights in our two nations.
> It is to be hoped that this break with the official policy 
> of total hostility to China will reverberate through the 
> progressive ranks of the labor movement and the leadership 
> will be forced to pull back from Cold War style anti-China 
> and anti-communist baiting.
> In fact, the "human rights" argument being mouthed by the 
> Sweeney leadership was originated by the bosses and their 
> propaganda machine as a way of trying to undermine the 
> socialist camp. The unions and the workers must know that 
> "human rights" is a vague slogan concealing class aims. 
> The capitalist class understands the "human rights" of 
> pro-imperialist intellectuals and religious leaders who 
> want to overthrow socialism in China, but they have a hard 
> time understanding the "human rights" of striking workers 
> here on picket lines who fight cops, scabs, and attempts by 
> employers to starve them into submission. They seem 
> unconcerned about the "human rights" of the two million 
> people, mainly Black and Latino, suffering from 
> incarceration in the U.S. prison-industrial complex.
> In fact, the bosses, although they are inconvenienced by 
> having to spend a lot of money and energy getting PNTR 
> passed over the objections of the AFL-CIO leadership, 
> really do not mind one bit seeing the minds of the workers 
> poisoned against socialist China. In fact, both sides are 
> condemning China in the same way. The difference is that 
> the bosses want the business and the profits.
> It is false for the labor leadership to compare the 
> struggle over PNTR for China with the NAFTA struggle. The 
> struggle over NAFTA was about deepening the exploitation of 
> a long-standing neocolony of the U.S. corporations-Mexico. 
> The struggle over PNTR for China is over the right of China 
> to enter the WTO, a right it should enjoy without having to 
> give any concessions whatsoever to the transnational 
> exploiters.
> China's policy of concessions to U.S. and European 
> monopolies is complicating the entire question. Ever since 
> the ascension of Deng Xiaoping to leadership in 1976, the 
> government of the PRC has thoroughly retreated from its 
> earlier revolutionary road. The pragmatic use of the market 
> has now given rise to widespread unemployment, growing 
> discontent among the workers and peasants, and a dangerous 
> new layer of capitalists and bourgeois intellectuals, with 
> all the corruption and subversion that they purvey. The 
> dangers to socialism are all too apparent and are of the 
> deepest concern to all partisans of the Chinese Revolution. 
> To make matters worse, the giant U.S. transnational 
> corporations, which have worked overtime to get Congress to 
> pass PNTR, have extracted concessions that, on paper, 
> further weaken the grip of the Chinese government over its 
> economy. 
> Indeed, the agreement crafted by Premier Zhu Rongji in 
> April of 1999 and renegotiated in November seems to come 
> dangerously close to crossing the line that has been 
> followed up to now. From mutual concessions made by both 
> sides, in which China has gained much in national 
> development, the new agreement appears to have moved 
> heavily to one-sided concessions by China, in accord with 
> Zhu's line of "integration" into the world capitalist 
> economy. Such "integration" will surely end in disaster 
> when the world capitalist expansion inevitably ends in 
> collapse.
> Specific concessions in the new agreement include, among 
> others, giving up the demand that foreign auto companies 
> turn over blueprints of plant construction; allowing 
> corporations to bypass state distribution networks and set 
> up their own; letting imperialist banks make consumer loans 
> in Chinese currency; and a phase-in period of opening up to 
> U.S. agribusinss.
> Of course, this is all still on paper. China has a 
> powerful apparatus capable of finding ways to protect its 
> interests within the framework of any agreement. Only the 
> actual struggle will show what the real effects of the 
> agreement will be, should it be implemented.
> All this does not change the fact that China is still a 
> socialist country. The state still owns the commanding 
> heights of industry, although in diminishing proportions. 
> It still owns transportation, communications, finance, and 
> the land. All this was established by the revolutionary 
> transformation flowing out of the 1949 socialist 
> revolution, when the bosses, landlords, and imperialists 
> were expropriated and the masses took over under the 
> leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the People's 
> Liberation Army. 
> The pillars of socialism--state ownership, the planned 
> economy, and the monopoly on foreign trade--have been 
> considerably eroded. But the Chinese Communist Party, which 
> has presided over this situation, is nevertheless the 
> inheritor of the socialist foundations and is trying to 
> hold on to them, while at the same time promoting economic 
> market reforms that seem to further undermine them. 
> This contradiction must sooner or later be resolved.
> The worst thing that could happen to the world working 
> class and oppressed people, already impacted by the 
> collapse of the USSR, would be the overthrow of socialism 
> in China and its recolonization by imperialism. The 
> complete subjugation of 1.2 billion people by world 
> capitalism would have a truly devastating effect on the 
> wages, working conditions, and all other aspects of life of 
> all the workers, including the U.S. working class. Anyone 
> here who disregards this fact and adopts slogans that help 
> imperialism undermine the Chinese government is objectively 
> aiding reaction.
> Although there are clearly forces both inside and outside 
> the CCP that are moving in the direction of imperialism, 
> the true sentiments of the masses were reflected after the 
> U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during 
> Washington's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. This 
> sentiment will ultimately be reflected in the party. In 
> fact, in spite of rightist elements, the CCP and the 
> People's Liberation Army are the only real barriers to 
> counter-revolution in China. 
> Profound hatred of colonial and imperialist domination 
> lies beneath the surface of Chinese society. But in the 
> long run the only way to secure China from recolonization 
> is to march firmly back onto the road of socialist planning 
> and put the material security and morale of the workers and 
> peasants back on the highest priority, along with national 
> development. This is the surest antidote to capitalist 
> subversion and the best way to fortify the revolution 
> against imperialist hostility. 
>                          - END -
> (Copyleft Workers World Service. Everyone is permitted to
> copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but
> changing it is not allowed. For more information contact
> Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
> [EMAIL PROTECTED] For subscription info send message
> to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Web: http://www.workers.org)

     --- from list [EMAIL PROTECTED] ---

Reply via email to