Remembering Robert Weil: Intellectual and Political Activist

Robert Emil Weil Obituary

Robert Weil, 1940-2014

by Swapna Banerjee-Guha

Red Cat, White Cat: China and the Contradictions of Market Socialism

Robert Weil, author of the powerful critique of Deng Xiaoping’s “reforms” entitled Red Cat, White Cat: China and the Contradictions of Market Socialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1996, republished in India by Cornerstone Publications, Kharagpur), quietly passed away in California on 12 March 2014.  Almost a year after, on 15 February 2015 a memorial meeting was held in Santa Cruz, California at the Resource Center for Nonviolence where his family, friends, teachers and long-time comrades from near and far came together to share their memories.  Robert meant a lot to them and for many others across the globe, a true friend, a dear comrade whose political integrity, a rare characteristic in the current milieu, they value immensely, a committed activist and intellectual whose life they considered worthy on all counts particularly while imagining a better world.  Starting off as a student-activist at Harvard University in the late 1950s, right till his last days Robert Weil remained involved in solidarity work with oppressed people around the world.  Even in the face of indifferent health, he did not think twice to join such efforts.  His democratic values in pursuing left politics will remain an example to many for years to come. Continue reading

Should anti-Imperialists oppose only US imperialism?

[The world imperialist system today has entered a period of crisis, internal instability and disarray, growing internal conflict and inter-imperialist contention, conflict, and the beginnings of opposing bloc formations. It is a far-from-healthy and broadly discredited system, forcing the costs of its desperate wars and troubled (and false) bourgeois “recoveries” on the masses of people worldwide. Wave upon wave of resistance and rebellion has begun, sometimes toppling old imperialist puppets, though finding the path to create liberated societies very difficult. Fantasies that the US had, since WW2, successfully formed a system of efficient and unchallengable control of world imperialist domination, have fallen on hard times. Imperialist Russia and imperialist China have grown from the defeat of socialism and the seizure of power by capitalists, and have set upon an assertion of power and authority in regional, economic, political, military, monetary and financial affairs (though each is struggling to contain growing internal discontent). Anti-imperialists and revolutionaries who only think in the framework of decades-long opposition to US hegemony in the world system will look in vain, and to their own discredit, for friends or allies among the contending imperialists. The only path forward is to build revolutionary proletarian class-conscious parties and mass-based political forces with eyes wide open, independent of ties and influence by any and all imperialists.
Revolutionary Frontlines has recently received a new study from, which examines the shape of the imperialist system today, with special emphasis on the still-debated role of China and Chinese imperialism. The introduction to this path-breaking study and analysis is posted here below. The entire document can be viewed at the website of, where the document (produced by an independent research and writing group) was first posted. It can also be viewed and downloaded at — Revolutionary Frontlines]


It has long been known and understood that the entire world has been under the control of capitalist-imperialism. For a time, a section of this world broke from it, beginning with the victory of socialism in Russia and continuing through the Chinese Revolution, constituting a socialist world. Yet, in time, the socialist countries, through internal class struggles in politics and economics, were seized by capitalist conciliators and advocates, and then by capitalists themselves, who were largely within the ruling communist parties themselves. First in Russia, and later in China, when these counter-revolutions and coups took place, there ensued a period of entry and integration into the world imperialist system. The Soviet Union, at first under the existing signboard of socialism, continued much of its established national and economic power relations into a new social-imperialist bloc (socialist in name, imperialist in reality). The Russian capitalist-imperialist attempt to maintain this bloc, or important sections of what had been part of this bloc, and its historic allies, has continued in the years since the “socialist” signboard was discarded. In China, the defeat of the proletariat and the capitalist capture of state power, after the death of the great revolutionary Mao Zedong, have also led to a period of integration into the world imperialist system. China still operates under a “socialist” signboard, but has conducted itself unambiguously as a capitalist power.
Before the last decade, especially since the demise of the “socialist bloc,” the US was commonly seen as the sole Superpower, to which all other powers had to defer. The system which the US had designed, at the end of WW2, was global in scope, and to some more “democratic” in appearance than the old colonial empires. But it was built around the elitist privilege of power and authority, meaning the US as Superpower was at the centerpiece of the controls.
But in the last decade the imperialist world system is not what it used to be. Throughout the world, corrupt and comprador regimes have faced significant and often unprecedented mass popular opposition movements which have revealed the deep instability of the old neo-colonial arrangements. Continue reading

Mao and the new Chinese leadership

In 1976, China was the most equal society in the world while today, it is led by billionaires

by Hukum B Singh, (Nepal), April 11, 2013

After the successful power transition in China,  Xi Jinping is now formally in charge of the Communist Party of China, the Government of China and its formidable military wing. However, there are big challenges ahead for Xi.

Mao, the founding father of modern China and the Chinese communist party, is still popular in China but the present leadership is fast moving away from his thought. The life and work of Mao is an inspiration to the poor, oppressed people in many parts of the world, including present China. That is why capitalists in China and their followers hate the memory of Mao and do everything they can to denigrate the great revolutionary leader. In Nepal and India, millions of workers and peasants are in favour of Maoism. Mao’s conception of a people’s war is being applied by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is leading an armed insurrection in many parts of India.

As it becomes clearer that capitalism—the oppressive system under which we live—is in decline, capitalists and those who serve them are becoming more desperate to convince us that no alternative, especially socialism, is possible. Hence, capitalist roaders in China and rest of the world have been attacking Mao’s revolution of China.

A century ago, when Mao was young, the once great civilisation of China had been reduced by internal reactionaries and external imperialists to a state of disorder and destitution. Mao was a young Chinese determined to find a way to save China and turn it into a prosperous, modern society. It was the Communist Party of China, eventually led by Mao, which found the way forward leading to the defeat of internal and external enemies and the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949. In China today, Mao is widely respected and revered for the leading role he played in this great revolutionary struggle. Continue reading

“Shocking” disclosure of extreme wealth at pinnacle of capitalist China’s power elite

[While the socialist fig-leaf of China no longer has the power to confuse all who have watched, from near and from afar, the discarding of socialist  — peasant and workers’ — power for over three decades, the Western bourgeoisie have continued to slam the emergent exploitative and oppressive Chinese capitalist system as characteristic of “socialism” — in hopes that once overthrown, socialism will not rise again.  But all this exposure in the New York Times does, is describe a common feature of capitalist systems worldwide.  Such “investigative journalism” is a good example of “the pot calling the kettle black.” “If you live in a glass house, you should not throw stones at other glass houses.”  The bourgeois Chinese state, in response, has blocked access in China to the New York Times online, in hope, no doubt, that the tattered and shredded socialist fig-leaf  may yet be a useful cover.  But, to use another analogy, “the Emperor has no clothes” that serve to disguise the reality. — Frontlines ed.]


October 25, 2012

Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader


BEIJING — The mother of China’s prime minister was a schoolteacher in northern China. His father was ordered to tend pigs in one of Mao’s political campaigns. And during childhood, “my family was extremely poor,” the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said in a speech last year.

But now 90, the prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, not only left poverty behind, she became outright rich, at least on paper, according to corporate and regulatory records. Just one investment in her name, in a large Chinese financial services company, had a value of $120 million five years ago, the records show.

The details of how Ms. Yang, a widow, accumulated such wealth are not known, or even if she was aware of the holdings in her name. But it happened after her son was elevated to China’s ruling elite, first in 1998 as vice prime minister and then five years later as prime minister.

Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion.

Deng Xiaoping, who led the new and resurgent capitalists to seize power from the working people of China after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. He popularized the slogan promoting individual greed against social and collective advance: “To get rich is glorious!”

In many cases, the names of the relatives have been hidden behind layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, work colleagues and business partners. Untangling their financial holdings provides an unusually detailed look at how politically connected people have profited from being at the intersection of government and business as state influence and private wealth converge in China’s fast-growing economy.

Unlike most new businesses in China, the family’s ventures sometimes received financial backing from state-owned companies, including China Mobile, one of the country’s biggest phone operators, the documents show. At other times, the ventures won support from some of Asia’s richest tycoons. The Times found that Mr. Wen’s relatives accumulated shares in banks, jewelers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, sometimes by using offshore entities.

The holdings include a villa development project in Beijing; a tire factory in northern China; a company that helped build some of Beijing’s Olympic stadiums, including the well-known “Bird’s Nest”; and Ping An Insurance, one of the world’s biggest financial services companies.

As prime minister in an economy that remains heavily state-driven, Mr. Wen, who is best known for his simple ways and common touch, more importantly has broad authority over the major industries where his relatives have made their fortunes. Chinese companies cannot list their shares on a stock exchange without approval from agencies overseen by Mr. Wen, for example. He also has the power to influence investments in strategic sectors like energy and telecommunications. Continue reading

China: Over 30 years since capitalism seized power, the slow discard of socialist fig-leaf

[While the  use of “reform” language undoubtedly refers to the planned bourgeois “democratic” invigoration of capitalist forces — and to no hope for “democratic” relief for the peasants and workers suffering greater impoverishment (as fruit of their removal from socialist power) — the discarding of Maoist imagery by the billionaire capitalist rulers of “reform” China is unmistakeably clear. — Frontlines ed.]


Reuters:  “China hints at reform by dropping Mao wording”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

* Removal of wording about Mao Zedong signals push for reform – analyst

* Internal debate about direction of incoming leadership

* Others say it may be too soon to write off Mao’s deep legacy

By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The subtle dropping of references to late Chinese leader Mao Zedong from two policy statements over the last few weeks serves as one of the most intriguing hints yet that the ruling Communist Party is planning to move in the direction of reform.

Mao has always been held up as an ideological great in party communiques, his name mentioned almost by default in homage to his role in founding modern China and leading the Communist Party, whose rule from the 1949 revolution remains unbroken.

Which is why the dropping of the words “Mao Zedong thought” from two recent statements by the party’s elite Politburo ahead of a landmark congress, at which a new generation of leaders will take the top party posts, has attracted so much attention.

Also absent were normally standard references to Marxism-Leninism. Continue reading

“Reform vs. Revolution” among the “post-Mao” Maoists in China

Details on this painting have been provided by a reader: “This artwork was done around 2005 by an artist who prefers to stay unidentified….Notice the portraits hanging on the wall; the center piece is Jiang Zemin who opened the floodgate to allowing super-rich big bourgeois elements to join the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the early 1990s. On the left is Deng Xiaoping who is hailed by CPC capitalist roaders as the grand architect of their great reform and opening up of China for world capitalist super exploitation. On the right is Zhao Ziyang who was the first to openly embrace Western bourgeois lifestyle by popularizing suits and ties among CPC party members and playing golf. After the Tiananmen uprising in June 1989, his flashy bourgeois walk and talk earned him the boot from Deng and older CPC capitalist roaders who prefered hiding behind “socialism with Chinese characteristics”…. The priest is GW Bush who seems to have just closed a secret deal with three persons who are popularly known in China as the corrupt “Iron Trio” — Chen Liangyu (seated far right) represents the incumbent comprador bureacrats and was also the former Shanghai party secretary who was convicted of massive fraud several years ago; Zhang Weiying (seated next to Chen) representing the intellectual elite; Ren Zhiqiang (seated nearest the door) representing the big-time capitalist enterprenuer…. Mao is portrayed in the prime of his Yenan-era revolutionary demeanor accompanied by the two leading protagonists — Li Yuhe and his daughter Li Tiemei — from one of the famous revolutionary opera, “Hongdeng Ji/The Red Lantern Saga”. The father and daughter represent the vast majority of workers and peasants in China who have suddenly decided to invite their late Chairman Mao back to the present-day era to help them settle historical accounts with US imperialism and its comprador-bureaucrat puppets who have been oppressing and super expoiting the working masses not long after he died in 1976. Regarding the URL for the source of the painting, it is; it is “wu you zi xiang” in Chinese. It’s one of the two foremost pro-Mao websites in China and is very popular among newly awakened leftist intellectuals and students.”

The Post-Mao Chinese Left: Navigating the Recent Debates

July 16, 2011

By Zhun Xu. Guest contributor, Sanhati. The author is a member of the Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This year saw an unprecedented rise in political fights among the Chinese leftists. An outside observer might surprisingly discover such big differences on the “left” when all of the major leftist online forums began publishing harsh political polemics from opposing camps. Various issues are discussed, but the practical political stake is whether the left should be a political ally of the current CCP leadership or not, i.e. political program of a united leftist camp. One group, which mostly posts on one of the largest online leftist forum in China (Utopia, or wu you zhi xiang), has been a long supporter of the government and tries to consolidate the leftists under its pro-CCP flag and advocate reforms under current regime to “restore socialism”; while other groups, mostly publishing on relatively smaller online forums, take a different stance and argue that socialism cannot be built under the current capitalist state. The pro-CCP people accused other groups as “extremists”, and their opponents also called them “reactionary and opportunist”.

Who are our friends and who are our enemies? This is the most fundamental question for any political program. There has always been huge difference in the answers to this question among the Chinese left.

Some people argue that although China became largely a capitalist society and the class conflict between the workers and the new rich people including the CCP cadres and compradors, the major contradiction is between the Chinese as a people and “imperialist power” like the US. Continue reading

China: More than 50 million farmers have lost their land since the 1980s

[When the article mentions the “reform and opening up,”  the “reform” refers to the dismantling of socialism that took place after the death of Mao in 1976 and the arrest of his closest allies in the party leadership.  Under China’s collectively-run system of agriculture  from the 1950s to the 1970s,  the vast dispossession of farmers from their land described in this article would have been unthinkable.  The “opening up” refers to the decision in the 1980s by the new government led by Deng Xiaoping to invite a host of multinational corporations looking for cheap labor into China.–Frontlines ed.]

China Daily, November 11, 2010

Rural land disputes lead unrest in China

BEIJING About 65 percent of mass incidents in rural areas are triggered by land disputes, which are affecting rural stability and development more than any other issue, land experts said.

China’s quick urbanization has provoked a new round of land seizures in rural areas to facilitate economic development, Yu Jianrong, a professor with the Rural Development Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted by the Beijing News as saying on Friday.

Jiangsu Province: Some of the 20,000 farmers who came to protest against illegal takeovers of their land by local government officials. When the officials were unresponsive, the farmers took over a government building for 5 days--after which riot police beat up hundreds of farmers to drive them away.

“Since the reform and opening-up,  more than 50 million farmers have lost all their land and nearly half of them have no jobs or social insurance. This has caused social conflict,” Yu said.

Land disputes are mainly caused by forced land acquisition, low compensation and unfair appropriation of the compensation, Yu said.  Land transactions have become a substantial contributor to local governments’ revenue.  For the past two decades, the difference between the land compensation paid to farmers and the market price of the seized land is about 2 trillion yuan ($294 billion) for 14.7 million hectares, Yu said.

Zheng Fengtian, a professor of the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development of the Renmin University of China, said that due to the conflict between the shortage of land for construction required for quick economic development and the strict “red line” of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land – the least amount necessary to feed the country’s 1.3 billion population – local governments turn to rural homesteads for development.

Governments should be service providers, not money-makers, in rural land management, but now many local governments want to make money through real estate development, triggering conflicts, the Beijing News quoted Li Changping, professor of the Rural Development and Construction Research Center of Hebei University, as saying, on Friday. Continue reading

Dongping Han speaks on the radical transformations in the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution


"Barefoot doctors" brought free medical care to the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution

A World to Win News Service, October 18, 2010

Dongping Han grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution and now teaches in the U.S. He is the author of the book The Unknown Cultural Revolution—Life and Change in a Chinese Village. Following is an abridged version of the session at the end of a speech he gave in December 2008 at the New York symposium “Rediscovering the Chinese Cultural Revolution: Art and Politics, Lived Experience, Legacies of Liberation,” sponsored by Revolution Books, Set the Record Straight Project and Institute for Public Knowledge-New York University.

Question: You went back to China in 1986. When did you and others like you start to see that things were different, that China had become very different than what it had been during the Cultural Revolution?

Dongping Han: I think people realized right away. The land was privatized in China in 1983. Many people tend to think that farmers are stupid and ignorant. But I think the farmers are very intelligent people. Many of them realized the implications of private farming right away. That was why they resisted it very hard in the beginning.

And in my village and in other villages I surveyed, the overwhelming majority of people, 90 percent, said the Communist Party no longer cares about poor people. Right away they felt this way. The Communist Party, the cadres, no longer cared about poor people in the countryside. The government investment in rural areas in the countryside dropped from 15 percent in the national budget in 1970s to only 3-4 percent in the ’80s. So the Chinese public realized that the Chinese government no longer cared about them by disbanding the communes. But I was in college at the time and I didn’t start to think about the issue very hard until 1986.

Q: Can you explain a little bit more how the Cultural Revolution came to your village?

DH: The Cultural Revolution started slowly. Before the start of the Cultural Revolution, there was a call to start to study Mao’s works. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army came to the village to read Chairman Mao’s works. They held performances in the village. They came to people’s home to teach people to read Mao’s three classic articles: “Serve the People”, “In Memory of Norman Bethune” and “The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains”. They explained to the villagers what these articles were about. After the PLA soldiers left, many school children, like myself, started to teach villagers about Mao’s works as well. Continue reading

Book Review: The Unknown Cultural Revolution-Educational Reforms and Their Impact on China’s Rural Development

China Left Review, Issue #3, Summer 2010

The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village by Dongping Han

Reviewed by Joel Andreas

Among books about rural development in China during the Mao Zedong era, Dongping Han’s stands out for two reasons. First, Han was born and raised in a village and worked for many years in a village machine shop before he went to college in 1978. Second, he is sympathetic with the project of collective rural development undertaken during the Mao era and, in particular, with the radical turn this project took during the Cultural Revolution decade (1966-76). In this book, a case study of the rural county–Jimo County in Shandong Province–in which he grew up, he develops a cogent argument about the contributions of the Cultural Revolution to rural development.

In alternating chapters, Han develops two theses, one about rural education and the other about village politics. In the chapters about education, Han first describes the backward state of rural schools before the Cultural Revolution and discusses the reasons most village children did not advance beyond the first few years of primary school, arguing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) neglected rural education during its first decades in power. He then describes the massive expansion of rural middle schools and the development of rural-oriented vocational education during the Cultural Revolution decade.

In the chapters about politics, Han writes that after the CCP came to power its rural cadres tended to adopt the autocratic style of the old rural political elites. This autocratic style, he argues, was effectively challenged by rebel organizations during the Cultural Revolution and as a result ordinary villagers gained the confidence to confront cadres who abused their power. Continue reading

Flood control and social transformation in socialist China

[This article has special relevance to the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, where the imperialist-dominated government and oppressive social relations in the countryside have stood in the way of building an effective flood prevention system.-ed.]

6  September 2010. A World to Win News Service. Following are excerpts from an article originally published in the Revolutionary Worker, voice of the RCP,USA, 10 June 1985.

For hundreds of years, floods and droughts had been the “twin scourges” of China. A major flood or drought hit large parts of the land at a pace of almost once a year, destroying crops or making it impossible to plant and thus leading to terrible famines that took the lives of hundreds of thousands at a time.

With the defeat of the U.S.-backed Koumintang (KMT) reactionaries in October 1949, the revolutionary regime led by Mao and the Communist Party of China faced an immensely difficult situation. U.S. imperialism and its reactionary allies surrounded and blockaded New China in an attempt to smother it to death. The land and the people had been ravaged by the decades of Japanese imperialist invasion and occupation and the rampages of the KMT army, which compounded the devastation from flood, drought and famine.

As a 1974 Peking Review article titled “Harnessing China’s Rivers” recalled, “What did the Koumintang reactionaries leave behind 25 years ago when New China was born? With all the waterways, dykes and embankments long out of repair, the peasants were completely at the mercy of nature. Flood and drought were common occurrences, wreaking havoc alternately or concurrently and taking a heavy toll on millions of people, with tens of millions more rendered homeless. Such being the plight of old China, certain imperialist prophets gleefully awaited the collapse of New China in the grip of these twin disasters which all past governments had failed to cope with.” Continue reading

Mao’s Concept of the Mass Line–and Some Misconceptions

Scott Harrison

We hope that this article will be the first in a series of articles and reader commentaries on the mass line and related concepts on FRS.  As the article explains, the concept of the mass line is talked about often, but is often misunderstood and misapplied with bad results. This article  is adapted from a letter written by the author to a fellow revolutionary in December 2009.

One of the biggest problems in talking about the mass line is that there are many different conceptions already out there of what it is all about. Strangely enough, however, both within the Maoist movement and outside of it (including within Sinologist circles) this multitude of different conceptions of what the mass line is very seldom recognized or taken seriously. Everybody seems to jump to the conclusion that their own initial notion of it is the correct notion and the notion that everyone else shares (or at least should share).

If someone were setting out to write a historical treatise on how the term has been used over the past 75 years, including in different countries, then all these various conceptions would have to be mentioned. And I suppose in that case there would be no right or correct view about what the mass line is, and no wrong or incorrect views. (This is the lexical semantics approach that modern dictionary makers use.)

But it has seemed to me that as Maoists we ourselves have the obligation to put forward Mao’s conception of what the mass line is all about. That is, we have the obligation to champion one particular conception of the mass line, and specifically the conception that Mao put forward. Continue reading

Joan Hinton, US Internationalist who Joined China’s Revolution, Is Dead at 88

From the book Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits (about Joan Hinton and her husband, Sid Engst):

“Perhaps the person who appreciated [Joan Hinton] the least, even less so than Fengfeng, was the guy in charge of security in the village, Wang Yuwen, the chief of police. Standing obliviously on a hill with the family, explaining seriously that there were certain things that women just couldn’t do, he suddenly found himself grabbed by the ankles and thrown to the ground.

The enormity of the loss of face that Joan caused the chief of police with her Shady Hill style wrestling technique is difficult to measure. Suffice to say that some 20 years later, when Joan and Sid returned to Dazhai to visit old friends, Wang Yuwen was still completely stone faced when the story was recounted to the amusement of everyone else in the room.”

Joan Hinton went to China in 1948 to take part in the revolution, the building of socialism, and the Cultural Revolution


June 11, 2010

Joan Hinton, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, which developed the atom bomb, but spent most of her life as a committed Maoist working on dairy farms in China, died on Tuesday in Beijing. She was 88.

The cause has not yet been determined, but she had an abdominal aneurysm, her son Bill Engst said.

Ms. Hinton was recruited for the Manhattan Project in February 1944 while still a graduate student in physics at the University of Wisconsin. At the secret laboratory at Los Alamos, N.M., where she worked with Enrico Fermi, she was assigned to a team that built two reactors for testing enriched uranium and plutonium.

When the first atom bomb was detonated near Alamogordo, N.M., on July 16, 1945, she and a colleague, riding a motorcycle, dodged Army jeep patrols and hid near a small hill about 25 miles from the blast point to witness the event.

“We first felt the heat on our faces, then we saw what looked like a sea of light,” she told The South China Morning Post in 2008. “It was gradually sucked into an awful purple glow that went up and up into a mushroom cloud. It looked beautiful as it lit up the morning sun.”

Ms. Hinton thought that the bomb would be used for a demonstration explosion to force a Japanese surrender. After the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she became an outspoken peace activist. She sent the mayors of every major city in the United States a small glass case filled with glassified desert sand and a note asking whether they wanted their cities to suffer the same fate.

In 1948, alarmed at the emerging cold war, she gave up physics and left the United States for China, then in the throes of a Communist revolution she wholeheartedly admired. “I did not want to spend my life figuring out how to kill people,” she told National Public Radio in 2002. “I wanted to figure out how to let people have a better life, not a worse life.” Continue reading

Syphilis on the Rise in Capitalist China

"Modern" China -- post-socialist, now capitalist

New York Times

China: A New Market Economy and Old Stigmas Lead to an Increase in Cases of Syphilis

Syphilis, which was nearly eliminated from China under Maoist rule, is now the most commonly reported communicable disease in the country’s largest city, Shanghai, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine last week.  The national rate of syphilis in babies of infected mothers, which can be disabling or fatal, is also soaring.

“No other country has seen such a precipitous increase in reported syphilis cases in the penicillin era,” wrote the co-authors, who are from American, Chinese and British medical schools.

They blamed two factors:  First, the new market economy has made many men rich enough to buy sex from poor young women and men. Also, the traditional stigmatization of prostitution, along with authorities who fine sex workers or send them to so-called re-education centers, make both the workers and their clients afraid to go to clinics for testing.

In the 1950s, the Communist government closed hundreds of brothels and treated thousands of sex workers with penicillin. Within a decade, sexually transmitted diseases were almost unknown in China, the authors said (while not mentioning the many other social restrictions imposed in that era that could have contributed). 

To tackle the problem in today’s China, the authors suggest that national and local governments admit the problem and commit money to it. But they also suggest that private advocacy groups be encouraged to do screenings at bars, brothels and other sex venues using new rapid blood tests that need only a half-hour to wait for results. (Note:  see excerpt below, “It Was Different In Socialist China”). Continue reading

Henan, China Speech: “We Will Fight to Restore True Socialism”

Mao's role in leading the Chinese people in building socialism is still honored by some in today's capitalist China.

Posted by Utopia ( on April 14, 2010

A banner says: A Rally by Luoyang People to Pay Tribute to Chairman Mao and Other Martyrs

Chairman Mao worked hard his entire life to win the revolution and to establish a new China. Anyone who has conscious will always be grateful to him. We can say with certainty that without Chairman Mao there could not have been a new China.

Chairman Mao often reminded us that we should always remember the revolutionary martyrs for the contributions they made, and we should understand why they sacrificed their lives to fight for the cause. Chairman Mao once asked us whether we remember the many martyrs who died in the revolution. He said that he thought about them often. He said they sacrificed their lives, because they wanted to build a new China – a new China where there would be no class exploitation or class repression, a new China where the people would become the master of the country. Those revolutionary martyrs wanted to build a new China where foreign and domestic reactionaries could no longer oppress our working people.

1974 Mao wrote a poem as a memorial to the martyrs for their accomplishments. He said the revolutionaries were very courageous, and that they dared to challenge the sun and the moon in order to change our destiny. Chairman Mao repeatedly reminded us that we must not betray the road our martyrs traveled, and we must not betray the high ideals these martyrs held. Continue reading

Articles about Socialist China by the MLM Revolutionary Study Group

  • “Evaluating the Cultural Revolution in China and its Legacy for the Future”, by the MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (85 pages, March 2007)  What does it mean to embark on and wage a determined revolutionary struggle to stay on the socialist road to communism? This comprehensive paper describes the sweep of the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976; its theoretical foundations; its many achievements in the areas of culture, education, industry, agriculture and the liberation of women; the serious obstacles it faced and its shortcomings in a number of areas; and why future revolutionary movements and socialist states must stand on its shoulders. An extensive bibliography on the Cultural Revolution is included.
  • “Chinese Foreign Policy during the Maoist Era and its Lessons for Today”, by the MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (40 pages, January 2007)   All socialist states face a continuing, and at times acute, contradiction between the necessity of defending the socialist country—including through making agreements with imperialist and reactionary states—and the goal of promoting and supporting the world revolution. This paper examines how socialist China handled this tension during four periods between 1949 and 1976. It contrasts the strong internationalist support given to the Korean people and to the Vietnamese and other struggles for national liberation in the 1960s, with the development of bourgeois nationalist lines around the 1955 Bandung Conference and the reactionary “three worlds theory” of the early 1970s. This paper also takes on the view that nationalist governments and their leaders, not revolutionary people’s movements, are the most important challenge to imperialism in the world today.
  • “The Political, Military and Negotiating Strategies of the Chinese Communist Party (1937-1946) and Recent Developments in Nepal”, by the MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. (February 2007, revised April 2009. 17 pp.)   The most germane experience in assessing recent developments in a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country like Nepal is the military and political strategy and tactics of the Chinese revolution. A close look at the CCP’s integrated political-military strategy and negotiating tactics from 1937-1946—which served to advance China’s protracted people’s war to final victory—can yield important lessons for the revolution in Nepal and other countries, for how revolutionaries should be “firm as a pine and flexible as a willow.”

These and other articles are available at