Last of 3 parts
IN contrast to the fall of socialism in the Soviet Union, China has persevered in its socialist rule. But in so persevering, China has not really gone as far as even an attempt to bring about the Marxist notion of the “withering away of the state”; from the looks of it, China is not ever going to go that far. She has become too well-off to disturb this happy state of affairs.
Economically, China appears headed to achieving world hegemony; she has already displaced the United States as the No. 1 trading partner of the Southeast Asian countries. Through her One Belt, One Road strategy, China is well on the road as well to achieving that status on a world scale.
As of the latest data obtained from the South China Morning Post as released by China’s State Council, the country has given about 400 billion yuan (US$58 billion) in development aid over the past six decades to 166 countries and international organizations. This figure signals China’s “eagerness to boost its status on the global arena through aid.”
AidData, a research unit at the College of William & Mary in the United States that tracks more than US$40 trillion in development aid, claims to have collected data on 117 African leaders’ birthplaces and ethnic groups and geocoded 1,955 Chinese development finance projects across 3,553 locations in Africa from 2000 to 2012.
And an interesting facet of Chinese moves abroad is the establishment by the People’s Liberation Army of a naval logistics center in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti. This is the same place where the United States and France have long had military bases operational. Although the Chinese defense ministry has refrained from referring to the installation as a military base, consistent with China’s policy of not establishing military alliances or a permanent overseas military base, the naval logistics center at Djibouti is widely seen as the first overseas base for its military that has increasingly become powerful by world standards.
Marxism in practice
All told, economically, politically, militarily, China has gone a long way in applying in practice, according to the specific condition of Chinese society, the tenets put forward by Marx in 1848. China had dared deviate from Marxist historical restrictions, beginning with Mao Zedong’s “surrounding the cities through the countryside,” ultimately embracing capitalism under Deng Xiaoping. The latter had made good Mao’s condemnation of him as a “capitalist roader” by declaring: “I don’t care if a cat is black or white, as long as it kills mice.” With much encouragement from the US itself, China under Deng took a big leap into the “white capitalist arena” and soon was harvesting mice to the extent of being able to render its capitalist benefactor America a cool $1 trillion indebtedness that remains to be paid to this day.
As to the Chinese workers, I was informed by my tour guide in Shianghai this past August that 90 percent of them are homeowners, indicating that the private property concept—a scourge of the proletariat by Marxist reckoning and envisioned by Marx in 1848 as destined for “withering away” along with the state –lives on in China. And in no nook of Shanghai did I witness any semblance of the squatters’ shanties of the working class in the Manila metropolis. If anything, workers’ housing approximate the look of modern Metro Manila condominiums. Hardly is there any official claim now that China is a socialist society.
At least in Shanghai, China strikes me as a bourgeois society. Girls romp on the sidewalks in short shorts like they were denizens of Ayala Alabang or Makati. Or promenaders in a cafe-lined Paris boulevard. You want coffee, walk into Starbucks or Costa Coffee. Hamburger? McDo of course. The streets are clean but no sweepers in sight. Hardly is there a need it seems for footbridges that clog the view of Metro Manila thoroughfares – and are a torture to senior citizens – as people are so disciplined that all you need to cross to the other side of the street according to the rule of traffic lights.
In Shanghai, the term “bourgeois” could be just a brand. What is important is that that brand is under the control of the proletarian state, ruled by a socialist government, which is elected by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through its appropriate agencies. During my visit in the city, I realized that all my tour guides were members of the CCP. All members of the editorial staffs and all employees of the publications I visited were members of the party.
No need for armed revolution
In China you are confronted with the realization that the workers don’t really have to go through the nitty-gritty of an armed revolution to achieve emancipation from oppression and exploitation. All they need is for their advance detachment, the Communist Party, to seize control of the state and get all the things they need to do done.
Now, how can capitalism be declared evil without at the same time condemning the course taken by China. Can a country which has done the many good things enumerated above be evil?
So, to the final point. China has shown the way in how to apply Marxism in the 20th century. Rather than continuously dwell on the romance of the war-ravaged feudal epoch, Filipino workers will do themselves a great service by unshackling themselves of their chains of historical bondage and thereby embrace the Chinese brand of working-class liberation.