Sunday, October 29, 2017

The October Revolution and the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation

Note: I have translated this document from Chinese.  It was published on the Chinese website here: http://www.cwzg.cn/theory/201710/39040.html on October 16, 2017. This is one of a number of Marxist (or “Marxist”) websites operating in China.  If you want to catch their flavour you can consult the list I have put at the end of this article.

I am not fluent in Chinese and I apologise for any clumsiness in the translation. 
It is an interesting article because it follows the current CCP line of working for the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” which, by itself is no expression of Marxism imho; yet it also defends both Lenin and Stalin, and core principles of Marxism-Leninism.  It indicates that there are still areas on ideological contestation within China, a country in which the capitalist-roaders have had the upper hand for several decades.

The article references the article “More on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat” written on the basis of a discussion at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and first published on December 29, 1956.  The article refuted Khrushchev’s revisionism but in defending Stalin, gave too much credence to the slanders heaped on Stalin by Khrushchev at the Soviet Party’s 20th Congress. Nevertheless it has great historic merit should be read by anyone with an interest in the struggle against revisionism.
Reference is made several times to an article published in China in 2007under the title “Only democratic socialism can save China”. This was a call by capitalist-roaders for the dismantling of the dictatorship of the proletariat (or what passes for it in China today) and for departing from socialism (or what passes for it in China today). There was a lengthy rejoinder to this article that I translated from Chinese and put on my blog in twelve parts.  For anyone interested in a major critique of restorationist advocacy, I will put in the links to those twelve sections at the end of this article.

Lastly, there are several items that are obscure or idiomatic that have needed explanation within the text.  I have used the […] brackets to indicate my intervention in the text.
…………………………

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia. Over the past 100 years, the socialist revolutionary movement has surged triumphantly and unstoppably, with brilliant achievements. At the same time, for the past 100 years, the socialist movement has also experienced many twists and turns, going into a low tide, leaving painful lessons. Especially before and after the 90s of the 20th century, the drastic changes that occurred in the socialist countries of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries led to the formation of the period of the lowest tide of the century. The ensuing social trends have reached an unprecedented level of exclusion and denial of the October Socialist Revolution.
Today, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian October Socialist Revolution, which is of particular importance. In fact, the controversy over the socialist revolution in Russia in recent years is related to whether or not to insist on Marxism-Leninism. It is related to whether or not to inherit Lenin's socialist cause. It is a question of whether to continue to push forward the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics created by Mao Zedong on behalf of the Chinese Communists, and whether the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation can be achieved.

1.    The October Revolution opened up a new era of human history and created an important condition for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation
Russia's socialist revolution which occurred on November 7, 1917, opened up a new era of human history. As the important article published by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in 1956, "More on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat" pointed out, "In 1917, led by Lenin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Russian proletariat carried the proletarian revolution to victory and established the dictatorship of the proletariat; it then successfully built up a socialist society. Scientific socialism was thereby transformed from a theory and ideal into a living reality. Consequently, the Russian October revolution of 1917 ushered in a new era not only in the history of the communist movement but also in the history of mankind"[1] (P654)

The October Revolution had far-reaching significance; in fact, it was a multi-level victory. The victory of the October Revolution proved that Leninism had overcome international revisionism, proved that scientific socialism prevailed over social democracy, demonstrated that the working people were able to overcome all the exploiting classes of the world, demonstrated that the path of armed seizure of power defeated parliamentary roads and proved that the world was progressing.  It proved that the historical trend of the world had overcome the reactionary forces of retrogression.
The Russian October Revolution created an important condition for the rejuvenation and liberation of the Chinese nation. These important conditions are the following:

1). The October Revolution provided the guiding ideology and theoretical weapons for the renaissance of the Chinese nation
The October Revolution brought Marxism-Leninism to China, and brought theory to practice, and combined the Marxist style of studying in the light of one’s own national situation. Since the start of the modern era, in order to get rid of imperialist bullying and oppression, to get rid of the shackles of feudalism, China's advanced elements continued to seek truth to save the nation. But none of them succeeded. They never understood why the teachers always committed aggression against their pupil. After the October Revolution an historic change took place. As Mao Zedong pointed out in the article on "People's Democratic Dictatorship": "The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped progressives in China, as throughout the world, to adopt the proletarian world outlook as the instrument for studying a nation’s destiny and considering anew their own problems. Follow the path of the Russians – that was their conclusion."[2] (P1471) "The Chinese people found Marxism-Leninism, the universally applicable truth, and the face of China began to change." [2] (P1470) With the spread of Marxism in China, the process of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation accelerated. A year and a half after the October Revolution, the epoch-making May Fourth Movement broke out in China. A communist group appeared in 1920, and the Chinese Communist Party, which was guided by Marxism-Leninism, was established in the summer of 1921. Through arduous struggle, the Chinese Communists, represented by Mao Zedong, grasped the approach of Marxism to China, inherited and developed Marxism-Leninism, and achieved the brilliant achievements of the Chinese revolution and construction. It can be said that the spread and development of Marxism in China, the achievements of Marxism in China and the emergence of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics began with the Marxism-Leninism brought by the October Revolution.  The Communist Party was born in China and led the people to take the road of the Russian October Revolution; the revival of the Chinese nation embarked on the road from victory to victory. Practice has proved that this road is the embodiment of scientific socialism, is the embodiment of the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism.

In recent years, some people drawing from the negative experience of the socialist construction of the Soviet Union, put forward the "Su Ma Fei Ma" slogan [roughly, “Soviet Marxism was not real Marxism” – Translator] that the Marxism-Leninism brought to us by the salvoes of the October Revolution was not genuine Marxist doctrine. This argument is a subversive logic. According to this statement, not only was the October Revolution denied, but it also denied that since the Chinese Communists began to acept Marxism-Leninism that they had accepted genuine Marxism. This is tantamount to completely denying the 90 years of Chinese Communists' historical and revolutionary struggles. In this connection, socialism with Chinese characteristics has also become an incorrect thing. This "Su Ma Fei Ma" argument, in fact, fundamentally negates the legitimacy of rule by the Chinese Communist Party.
2). The October Revolution provided a successful revolutionary path for the revival of the Chinese nation

"More on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat" states that "the road of the October Revolution reflects the general laws of revolution and construction at a particular stage in the long course of the development of society. It is not only the broad road for the proletariat of the Soviet Union, but also the broad road which the proletariat of all countries must travel to gain victory.” [1] (P568) Although the revolution of our country has many of its own characteristics, the Chinese Communists have always regarded their cause as a great continuation of the October Revolution. This revolutionary road opened by the October Revolution is of particular significance in the current international situation. When the imperialists speak of "changing the nature of the Communist world", what they want to change is this revolutionary road.
The road of the October Revolution came to China, and was embodied in: the struggle of the broad masses of working people and all revolutionary forces under the politically advanced leadership of the Communist Party of the proletariat; through the long-term armed revolutionary struggle of the rural areas and the countryside; taking power from feudal landlords, the bureaucrats and the comprador bourgeoisie, and establishing a socialist system under the leadership of the Communist Party. The success of the Chinese People's Revolution in 1949, the victory of the socialist transformation of ownership in 1956, the establishment and consolidation of the people's democratic dictatorship, and the long-term efforts to achieve socialist modernization were all successful under the guidance of the October Revolution. Although the birthplace of the October Revolution suffered a disastrous national disintegration, the Chinese people forging ahead in the cause of national rejuvenation will never forget the October Revolution for clearly pointing out the correct path.

3). The October Revolution provided a wealth of basic revolutionary experience for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation
"More on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat" states that “The international significance of the Soviet experience in revolution and construction has various aspects. Of the successful experience of the Soviet Union, one part is fundamental and of universal significance at the present stage of human history. This constitutes the most important and fundamental aspect of Soviet experience. The other part is not of universal significance. Moreover, the Soviet Union has had experience drawn from mistakes and failures. No country can ever avoid mistakes and failures entirely, though they may vary in form and degree. It was even more difficult for the Soviet Union to avoid them, because it was the first socialist country and had not the successful experience of others to draw upon.  Such mistakes and failures are extremely useful lessons for all communists. That is why all Soviet experience, including certain mistakes and failures, deserves careful study, while the fundamental aspect of the successful Soviet experience is of particular importance." [1] (P566) This analysis of the Soviet experience or the" Soviet model "is objective, impartial and convincing. It is untenable for those who frequently, with extreme ideological methods, deny the Soviet experience and deny the Soviet model.

What is more valuable is that the Central Political Bureau has also analysed the content of the basic experience of the Soviet revolution and construction in the article "More on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat" and divided these basic experiences into five aspects: “(1) The advanced members of the proletariat organise themselves into a Communist Party which takes Marxism-Leninism as its guide to action;  (2) Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the proletariat rallies all the working people, and wrests state power from the bourgeoisie by means of revolutionary struggle; (3) After the victory of the revolution, the proletariat, led by the Communist Party, rallies the broad masses on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance, establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat over the landlord and capitalist classes, crushes the resistance of the counter-revolutionaries, and carries out the nationalization of the industry, and the step-by-step collectivization of agriculture, thereby eliminating the system of exploitation, private ownership of the means of production and classes; (4) Led by the proletariat and the Communist Party, the state leads the people in the planned development of socialist economy and culture, and on this basis gradually raises the people's living standards and actively prepares for the transition to communist society;  (5) Led by the proletariat and the Communist Party, the state resolutely opposes imperialist aggression, recognizes the equality of all nations, defends world peace, firmly adheres to the principles of proletarian internationalism, and strive to win the help of all labouring people and strive them and all oppressed nations. What we commonly refer to as the path of the October Revolution means precisely these basic things, leaving aside the specific form it took at that particular time and place. These basic things are all universally applicable truths of Marxism-Leninism.” [1] (P567-568), In the process of accepting and adhering to these basic experiences, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation greatly advanced its own cause.
4). The October Revolution provided the necessary international assistance for the revival of the Chinese nation

Mao Zedong pointed out: "After the victory of the October Revolution, the isolated struggle for the Chinese revolution was no longer isolated. We had the help of the Communist Parties and the working class all over the world." [2] (P1359) Not long after the victory of the October Revolution, the Soviet government issued a statement to China in 1919 and 1920, announcing the abolition of the unequal treaties between China and Russia. This was something the Chinese people had never before seen, and never even thought of. Therefore, many progressive people praised the Russian Soviet regime as "the pride of justice," praising the people of the Soviet Union as "the world's most lovely humans." Sun Yatsen, in his posthumous work “To the Soviet Union”, praised the Soviet Union, saying: "I am convinced that your government will continue to assist our country as before." [3] (P922) During China's anti-Japanese war, the socialist Soviet Union gave the Chinese Air Force aid and material assistance, and sent troops to the northeast of China to defeat the Japanese army. In 1939, Mao Zedong wrote: "No other country has renounced its privileges in China; the Soviet Union alone has done so. All the imperialists opposed us during our First Great Revolution; the Soviet Union alone helped us. No government of any imperialist country has given us real help since the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan; the Soviet Union alone has helped China with its aviation and supplies. Is not the point clear enough? Only the land of socialism, its leaders and people, and socialist thinkers, statesmen and workers can give real help to the cause of liberation of the Chinese nation and the Chinese people, and without their help our cause cannot win final victory."[4] (P658)

Even more significantly, at the beginning of the founding of New China, the Soviet Union gave great generous assistance. The Soviet Union on October 2, 1949 was the first to recognize the New China and establish formal ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations. On February 14, 1950 the "Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance" and other documents were signed in the Kremlin. According to the treaty, China and the Soviet Union not only established a military alliance against Japan's aggression, but also the Soviet Union gave up the benefits of the Yalta agreement in China. This included: before the end of 1952, the Soviet Union would transfer all the railroad rights to the Chinese government free of charge; the Soviet Union would withdrew from Lushunkou; the Soviet Union would return the administration of the port of Dalian to China; the Soviet side would provide three hundred million US dollars in low-interest long-term loans to the Chinese side; the two sides would create four joint venture companies in China to for oil, nonferrous metals, aviation, shipbuilding, and later developed 156 huge projects to aid China. After all these projects were completed in 1959, the level of industrialization in China would reach the level of Japan in 1937, equivalent to the level of the first five-year plan of the Soviet Union. This was the initial attempt by New China to use foreign capital to promote industrialization. Without the Soviet Union's strong assistance, New China would not have remained stable; without the powerful ally of the Soviet Union, there would have been no safe international environment for New China.  As Mao Zedong said: "The conclusion of the Sino-Soviet treaties and agreements, and the formally legalised friendship between the two countries, ensured that we had a reliable ally, and made it convenient for us to get on with domestic construction work and to jointly deal with possible imperialist aggression and fight for peace in the world. "[5] (P289)
2 To keep the fruits of the October Revolution, we must defeat         the imperialist armed intervention and the sabotage of the right-wing social democratic forces in order to be successful

After the revolution in October 1917 established the workers and peasants’ government, it was in a very difficult situation. This crisis mainly arose from two aspects: Firstly, the armed intervention by 14 imperialist countries, and secondly, the destructive efforts of the right-wing social democrats. The Soviet Union, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, represented by Lenin, defeated the two enemies to protect the victories of the October Revolution.
After the victory of the October Revolution, the Soviet Union announced its withdrawal from the war. The countries that participated in the imperialist alliance opposed Russia's withdrawal from the war, opposed the revolutionary changes that took place in Russia, and carried out joint encirclement against the October Revolution. 14 countries of the imperialist forces encircled the Soviet Union. On November 28, 1917, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States adopted the decision on the armed intervention of the Soviet Union. In July 1918, the Allies formally adopted a resolution to carry out armed interference with the so-called "rebuild the eastern front, liberate Russia" as a slogan. Britain, France, and the United States landed in two parts of northern Russia, whilst Japan landed in Vladivostok, massacring wherever they went, and equipping Denikin’s White Army in the south. They attacked the cities, killed the Bolsheviks, and posed a great danger to the Soviet state. In the severe situation of imperialist armed intervention, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries worked with the foreign invaders to destroy Soviet Russia. Lenin's Bolshevik and heroic Red Army defeated the imperialist encirclement, demonstrating that the victory of the October Revolution was the victory of socialism against imperialism.

The other aspect was the right-wing social democratic forces’ diplomatic and ideological attacks on the October Revolution. Their destruction was also very intense. Before the October Revolution, the right-wing social democratic forces strongly resisted and destroyed the revolution itself. In April 1916, at the Second Congress of the International Socialists, held in Kienthal near Berne, the right-wing and Centrist social democrats opposed the Leninist left-wing socialists’ slogan of "changing the imperialist war to a civil war”. After the February Revolution in 1917, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, representatives of the right-wing social democrats in Russia, advocated the regime of the bourgeois interim government in which the Soviets only played a supervisory role. When the conditions of the October Revolution were ripe, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries even publicly defended the Provisional Government in an attempt to prevent the climax of the revolution. On April 20, Lenin's "April Theses", "The tasks of the proletariat in the current revolution," published in "Pravda", publicly called for "All the power to the Soviets", and for transforming the revolution from the first stage of the bourgeois provisional government to the second stage of power to the proletariat and poor peasants. The Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries were extremely hostile to the April Theses, and they asserted that Lenin's claim was a "dream", and that in Russia, "the objective conditions required for the revolution did not exist".  They argued that the socialist revolution should first begin in an industrially developed country before it can go to Russia; Russia was not yet mature enough to realize the degree of socialist revolution. And some also denied the possibility that the socialist revolution in Russia, in a single country, could win victory, and advocated the removal of the socialist revolution from the agenda.
In the May 3, 1917 crisis, the army mobilized by the provisional government had already begun to refuse to execute its order, had refused to shoot the masses at demonstrations. As the revolutionary situation matured, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries would rather join the temporary government spurned by the revolutionary people and accuse the Bolsheviks of a "conspiracy" of violent revolution. This had been spread up till then in the traditional preachings of the opportunists. In the "July Incident" of 1917, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who were in the provisional government, fired at the demonstrators who demanded all power to the Soviets and openly took a hostile position against the revolutionary masses. They even mobilized the army, wantonly arrested the Bolsheviks, ordered the arrest of Lenin. Such a situation showed that the possibility of a revolutionary peaceful transition had ceased to exist. As the resolution adopted by the Sixth Congress of the Bolsheviks on Stalin's report states: "It is now impossible for peaceful development and for the regime to pass without pain to the Soviets, because the regime has in fact passed to the hands of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. The elimination of the counter-revolutionary bourgeois dictatorship is the correct slogan. "[6](P 484)

As the conditions of the October Revolution became more and more mature, on September 25-27, Lenin wrote two letters to the Bolshevik Central Committee: "The Bolsheviks must seize power" and “Marxists and the uprising”, indicating that the situation for the armed uprising was ripe, that the armed uprising must be put on the agenda, and that they should formulate the entire plan for the armed uprising. Opportunists clamoured against this, opposing Lenin's idea, and tried to immediately destroy Lenin’s letter. The October socialist revolution finally broke out and was victorious on the night of November 6, 1917 through to the early hours of the 7th, when the capital of Russia, Petrograd, had been occupied by the Bolshevik insurgents. The revolution quickly spread to the country. With the opening of the Second Congress of the Soviets of Workers 'and Peasants' Representatives on the evening of 7 November, the first proletarian dictatorship of the world - the Soviet government – was established, and Lenin was elected Chairman of the People's Committee.
In January 1918, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries used the opportunity to hold a constitutional meeting to fight against the Bolsheviks.

At the international level, the right-wing parties of the "Second International" (the “Yellow International”) and "Second and a half International", were gathered together; after the Revolution, the "Third International" joint meeting was used to besiege the Soviet representatives, creating a grim international political landscape. Despite the twists and turns, Lenin's Bolshevik adhered to and developed Marxism, defeating the right-wing social democratic forces.
In the case of the 14-nation imperialist intervention in the Soviet Union, the representatives of the international right-wing social democratic forces, while verbally condemning foreign interference, in fact followed the historical precedent of Britain's help in the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty, joining in with actions of Russia’s enemies. In April 1922 at the Berlin International Joint Conference, they also attacked the Soviet revolution being carried out inside the country and publicly supported the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries in Russia exerting pressure on the Bolsheviks. They argued that the Bolsheviks " must re-enact new economic policies, and redefine their political strategies”.

After the theoretical system of democratic socialism had been basically determined, it had adopted an incompatible and hostile attitude in ideology and politics towards the October Revolution and its resulting socialist system. The so-called "Frankfurt statement", "Aims and tasks of democratic socialism" adopted by the First Congress of the Socialist International in June 1951, in the "Political Democracy" part of the statement, claimed: "Socialists express their solidarity with all peoples suffering under dictatorship, whether Fascist or Communist, in their efforts to win freedom. "[7] (P5) It also said: “International Communism is the instrument of a new imperialism. Wherever it has achieved power it has destroyed freedom or the chance of gaining freedom. It is based on a militarist bureaucracy and a terrorist police. "[7] (P5 These remarks explain the connotation of the word "democracy" in the terminology of the Social Democrat Party's "democratic socialism". It is different from the essence of the Communist Party and should be so defined. During the Cold War launched by imperialism, Social Democratic forces openly stood on the side of imperialism and acted as its helper, while Social Democratic forces used the economic and military superiority of the developed capitalist countries to carry out peaceful evolution of the socialist countries under the leadership of the Communist Party.
Social democracy in China had no foundation. Because China did not have a long history of reformism in the workers' movement, there was no history of reformism, and there was no material power to support reformism. However, today's domestic social democratic forces, imitating the attitude of the Western democratic socialists, have retrieved the “dirty shirt” of social democracy long-ago discarded by the Communists, and have taken this moribund old thing as a newly-discovered baby. It is ridiculous. They completely ignored their own ignorance.

In our country, the trend of democratic socialism is often mixed with historical nihilism to create the noise of ideological and political aspects. In the spring of 2007, China published a public document, a signed article: "Only democratic socialism can save China." Democratic socialism is the starting point of the anti-Communist trend of thought, and has become a helper of imperialism; Since the 1970s, it has become a major force in the collapse of the socialist countries in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.  What is this trend of thought that could turn into the idea of “saving China”? There were a few people in the Soviet Union who had learned how to spread the history of nihilism for a long time, openly slandering the October Revolution and spreading the view that "October Revolution was a disaster for the world." "Lenin and Stalin were two knives harming China." “The October Revolution was first a disaster for the Russians, and then China also suffered”. In the final analysis, did the October Revolution make a way out for the revival of China, or has it brought disaster to China? The history of the past century and the history of New China gave rise to eloquent conclusions. However, those standing on different political grounds will have different political conclusions.  This is not surprising in the world where the two different social systems coexist.
3 The complete negation Stalin is a disruption of the road of the October socialist revolution

Looking at the history of the more than half a century since Stalin's death, it can be seen that the struggle surrounding Stalin's evaluation has been a point of departure in defending or rejecting Leninism and the October Revolution. Soon after the death of Stalin, his evaluation has become a typical controversial issue. Due to the role of Western hostile forces and the complexities of the international communist movement, Stalin's evaluation was a matter of heated controversy for decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Red Flag, after the dust of history was settled, it was more clearly seen that the controversial issue of Stalin's evaluation was due to the different political pursuits, the different social and economic interests of the people and groups concerned.

The founders of the socialist countries are not only ordinary leaders, but also symbols of the system, symbols of history, the spiritual banners of a generation, representatives of socialist and communist ideals and beliefs. All those who want to continue to advance the cause of socialism will love their founding leaders like their own eyes. The attitude towards the founders of the socialist countries is the touchstone of the true attitude towards the cause of socialism.

With the reform movement of the socialist countries that began in the 1980s, the question of Stalin's evaluation arose again. Especially in the Soviet Union, Gorbachev made a big issue of being anti-Stalin as a stepping stone for the so-called reforms, and as a prelude to negating Lenin. For a time, a variety of anti-communist elements and liberals reached an unprecedented level of madness in slandering Stalin. The image of Stalin was severely demonized. Then the slander against Stalin turned to Lenin, with the words: Stalin's "crimes" are based on Lenin's theory and instructions. Lenin and Stalin were negated. However, extremes meet. Gorbachev's so-called "reformers" were thoroughly exposed and their so-called "reforms" led to the tragic death of the country, but this led to the awakening of the people. Over the past 20 years, the Russian people's ideological tendencies have undergone substantial reversal. Russian popular and official re-evaluation of the Stalin phenomenon is worth pondering. As Stalin predicted: “I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy.” Sure enough, what Stalin said has begun to come true.

It is surprising that the recent reappraisal and objective evaluation of the phenomenon of Stalin in Russia have caused the opposite thinking among some Chinese. Early in the 21st century in China, there was some noise by a small, uncoordinated gang pushing a negation of Stalin. Some people have openly always sung a different tune to the Chinese Communist Party on the evaluation of Stalin, trying to repeat in China the painful lessons that occurred in the Soviet Union. Some of the major principles of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which Stalin insisted on, were called "three whales". [According to an old Russian fable, the earth rests on the backs of three giant whales. Any three-part policy underlining a basic political approach is said to constitute these “three whales”. The Bolshevik policy of “Peace, bread and land” was an example. In the following sentence, it applies to the three components of the dictatorship of the proletariat under Stalin – Trans.] Mao Zedong criticized Khrushchev in the 60s for discarding the knife of Stalin; some people said: this knife that is Stalin is embodied in coercion, repression and purges and it cannot be abandoned. [8] There were also some people who, seeing the Russian people's re-evaluation of Stalin, even tried to overthrow the principled evaluation by the Chinese Communist Party that Stalin comprised "seven parts correct, one-third error", advocating a so-called "seven parts wrong, three parts right" public opinion of Stalin. [9] (P3)

It seems that the controversy over Stalin's evaluation is quite intense in the current Chinese mind. Gorbachev and others in the Soviet Union were faced with the severe punishment of history for their anti-Stalinism; it appears that some people in China today are studying the Gorbachev line, taking an extreme position of opposition to Stalin. How can this bring good fortune to China? No-one would believe this at all. Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist, a towering tree. It is only the wishful thinking of a few, slandering his name.  History will prove again and again, that the retrograde nature of these people, in the final analysis, is the unrestrained activity of an ant trying to topple a giant tree. [This paraphrases Mao’s poem of January 9, 1953, replying to Guo Moruo “Ants on the locust tree assume a great-nation swagger/ And mayflies lightly plot to topple the giant tree”, a reference to imperialists and revisionists – Trans.]

Today, although the controversy over the evaluation of Stalin still exists, history is moving on. The experience of the Soviet people, the continuous decryption and publication of the Soviet archives, creates better and better conditions for the people of the world to correctly evaluate Stalin. In particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin vigorously restored the real history of the Soviet Union, to get rid of the foul atmosphere of historical nihilism of the Gorbachev period. Russia has also in recent years republished the Chinese textbook called “The Marx project” compiled by the publishers of the “History of the international communist movement”. Therefore, we should face the truth and the fake truth, and also the true colors of history, so that the majority of people can see the truth through objective thinking and with a clear conscience, and after a profound reflection, reach a profound understanding of Stalin's great historical position. At the same time, they will develop a profound understanding of sinister intentions of the anti-Stalin hostile forces of those times. “Although Stalin made some serious mistakes in the later stages, his life was the life of a great Marxist-Leninist revolutionary. In his youth, Stalin struggled against the tsarist system and spread Marxism-Leninism, and after participating in the leadership of the Party Central Committee, struggled to prepare for the 1917 revolution. After the October Revolution, Stalin struggled to defend the fruits of the October Revolution. In the three decades after the death of Lenin, in order to build socialism, to defend the socialist motherland, to develop the world communist movement and struggle, Stalin, on the whole, always stood in the front of the historical trend to guide the struggle, and was an irreconcilable enemy of imperialism.” [1](P574) The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee spoke these words, and the experience of more than 60 years of severe historical tests, further spreads the light of this truth.

The evaluation of such a great Marxist as Stalin, should grasp the essentials.

Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist. His contributions to theory of Marxism-Leninism and his profound knowledge of Marxist-Leninist practice and development left his successors far behind. Stalin never described his theory as "Stalinism"; so-called "Stalinism", originated as a word imposed on him by his enemies. He insisted on objectively treating his relationship with the founders of Marxism, and on always being a student of and successor to Leninism. The most important aspects of Stalin's adherence to and development of Leninist theory are the following: First, Stalin enriched and developed Lenin's idea of building socialism in one country, shaping it as a systematic theory. Second, Stalin creatively put forward the guiding ideology of Soviet socialist transformation and construction. Thirdly, Stalin's research on some theoretical problems in the socialist society of the Soviet Union is rich in theoretical achievements. Fourthly, many theoretical explorations of Stalin's later years are of particular theoretical value. On the relationship between Stalin and Lenin, the comments of the Russian philosopher Richard Ivanovic Kozolapov in January 1998 are worth pondering. He said: "Stalin gave later Soviet leaders an object lesson in moral education, for as the leader he was the only one who did not belittle others and raise his own prestige. Some people may oppose this view and say that it is because of Lenin. But the words and deeds of 'democrats' such as Gorbachev and Yakovlev, Volkonov and Ratsev, have fully proven that for several US dollars they would even dare to insult Christ. Stalin always remembered Lenin, although his relationship with Lenin was very complicated in his later years, but he never betrayed the oath he made on the tomb of his leader." This evaluation is objective and fair.

Stalin led the socialist construction of the 1930s and made brilliant achievements, so that the Soviet Union began to enter the ranks of the powerful nations. The Russian scholar Yukimov, editor of "Records: History and Reality", published a commentary on Stalin: “The Great and Mysterious Stalin” which evaluated Stalin thus: “Stalin has already become one of the symbolic figures of the twentieth century and is arguably the greatest politician and state activist of the Soviet Union. Over the past century, no-one has ever led one of the world's most powerful countries like the Soviet Union for more than 30 years, and has endured every test and defeated every enemy. The Communist Party, founded by Lenin, under Stalin's leadership, proved to the world that the socialist system had great dynamism and potential and created a path to the future for mankind. The Communist Party ended capital's exploitation of the working people, and the poverty and unemployment associated with it. After the completion of the cultural revolution in the Soviet Union, the working people’s level of education and knowledge was first in the world. In the 13 years prior to WWII they completed several "five-year plans", so that Soviet industry rose from that of a backward country to the most advanced in Europe, and to second place in the world. Agriculture underwent socialist transformation and laid the foundation for the rapid development of industry. Developments In science and technology development made great achievements. The people of the Soviet Union lived in a friendly and harmonious manner.” This text can be seen as contemporary Russia's objective and impartial evaluation of Stalin's leadership of socialist construction.

Stalin was the paramount leader and great commander of the great Soviet patriotic war. The victory of the anti-fascist war is always a testament to the great Stalin. At a time when the world's major capitalist countries could not stop the attack by the fascist military forces, and the United States and other countries had not opened up the Second Front, the Soviet Red Army led by Stalin became the main force of the victory over fascism, and captured Berlin, completely destroying fascism. Stalin's name is always linked to the victory of the people over fascism.
Originally, at the beginning of Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union, the CPSU explained that the anti-Stalin's actions at that time were aimed at "getting rid of Stalinism and cleverly defending Lenin and Leninism." But this was not the result, and the trend treacherously moved from negating Stalin to a comprehensive negation of Lenin. At the February 1990 plenary meeting of the Soviet Communist Party in the Soviet Union, the editor-in-chief of the Soviet Cultural News stated: "We have seen discussion in some magazines of the evil role of the October Revolution and Lenin's own disaster in subsequent countries. Stalin was only considered to have inherited Lenin's career in terror. "[10] (P140) When the Soviet Union passed into history, Gorbachev described his true thoughts to Japan's Ikeda Daisaku: "The Communist Manifesto largely contains the extremist revolutionary things inherited from the Leftist communists of the French Revolution ". "The tragedy of Russia lies in fact that the ideology of Western Europe had already died in the later years of Karl Marx, but in the early twentieth century Russia was chosen, and it was introduced into the actual society of Russia. This was an unfortunate mistake. Lenin, especially in his younger days, was more dogmatic than Marx's comrade Engels."[11] (P361) This is Gorbachev's confession of betrayal. The result was inevitable. Originally, Stalin’s cause was inherited from Lenin and Stalin's negation became Lenin’s negation. The denial of Stalin by reactionary forces at home and abroad is always a complete denial of the Communist Party, a denial of Lenin, and a denial of the turning point of the path of the October Revolution.

In today's China, how to evaluate Stalin is still a major political issue that concerns the future and destiny of the country. Some people have an excuse to oppose Stalin, denying the dictatorship of the proletariat, the socialist basic system, the socialist ideology, and the leadership of the Communist Party as "the Soviet model" or the so-called "Stalin model". And some even deny Marxism-Leninism, scientific socialism, and communist ideals as the so-called "Stalin socialist model", as well as undermining the basic concept of socialist ideology. In fact, this is a major political struggle which is going on in China.
4 To defend the road of the October Revolution is to adhere to the premise of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in 1956 summed up the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat, formed in the historical experience since the October Revolution, and pointed out: "It is of particular significance to defend the Marxist-Leninist road opened up by the October Revolution. When the imperialists proclaim that they want to bring about a "change of character of that [communist] world," it is precisely this revolutionary path which they want to change.” [1] (P568)

This conclusion from 60 years ago, is as if it had come from today’s reality. Those who said "Lenin and Stalin were two of the knives who killed China," those who distorted the most basic socialist system of the Soviet era into "Stalin's model" and then distorted the "three whales", those who described politics, economics and ideology as "three monopolies" in the basic socialist system of the Soviet Union, are the same kind of people as those who attempted to change the socialist road opened up by the October Revolution. They deny the basic system of socialism in the October Revolution, and in fact, they are trying to divert China from the road of the October Revolution, that is, they oppose the rejuvenation of China and the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Studying Lenin and Stalin as pioneers in the cause of socialism, or studying Gorbachev as a traitor to the cause of socialism, is a major choice in front of all socialists. In recent years, some people think that the so-called "Soviet lesson is not necessarily a lesson for China ", meaning that the social democratic formula, although it was able to destroy the Soviet Union, might be able to succeed in China. This is a vain attempt to attempt to perpetrate a fraud on the fate of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. In the spring of 2007, the debate on democratic socialism also illustrated this question. Some people lied that "only democratic socialism can save China", and that "Marx and Engels in their later years did not believe in communism," but this was strongly rebutted by upright and honest scholars, so there was already not much market for their lies. But the essence of the question, is whether we should advance along Lenin's socialist road of the October Revolution, or whether to embrace Gorbachev's democratic socialism.

Comrade Xi Jinping celebrating the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, said: " As everything moves forward, we must remember the path we have trodden; no matter how far we go and how glorious our future may be, we can never forget the past, and we can never forget why we embarked on this journey in the first place. As we confront the future and face challenges, our Party must stay true to its cause and continue marching forward.  "[12]

Since the Opium War, Chinese volunteers have been fighting for 170 years along the path of the Chinese nation's revival. In the 170 years of difficult exploration of this road, in the several centuries-old history of the Chinese people, it has only been since the October Revolution that we have found the dawning of hope. Take the road of the Russians, this has been the conclusion. In this century of hopeful history, it was only by the Communist Party members advancing along the road of the October Revolution, not fearing sacrifices, struggling heroically for 28 years to lay the foundation of national renaissance, and establishing of New China that Chinese nation rose in the East. The 68-year history of New China’s national rejuvenation, only by overcoming all obstacles, and going from victory to victory, has brought about the bright future of today’s great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

If we are to continue to go forward, and to advance towards the glorious future, we must keep in mind that our "original intention" was to be "for the pure heart of the people," always standing on the side of the overwhelming majority of the people, adhering to the cause of serving the people. "Standing on the people’s side represents the fundamental political stance of the CPC, and it is what distinguishes a Marxist political party from other political parties." Putting the people at the very center of their hearts, all members of the CPC should uphold the CPC’s fundamental tenet of wholeheartedly serving the people; work to realize, safeguard, and develop the fundamental interests of the people; and take the support, approval, satisfaction, and consent of the people as the fundamental criterion for appraising all initiatives. Doing these will give the CPC an inexhaustible source of strength."[12] The purity of heart of our Communists is loyalty to the fundamental interests of the people. It was only the support of the people for the leadership of the revolution by the Communist Party that enabled us to create political power; it is only the people’s trust in the Communist Party, that enabled us to defeat all the destructive trouble-making of enemies at home and abroad; it is only the people's public awareness of the reform that has enabled us to continue its in-depth development. We can only undertake reform in the name of the people, and never in the name of reform deviate from or hurt the interests of the people. The reason for the movement for education in the mass line, undertaken since the 18th Party Congress, has been to emphasize this point. Article 5 of the "Guidelines on the Political Life of the Party in the New Situation" adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Party put forward the requirement to "Adhere to the government and the people, be responsible to the people, work for the people, never be self-opinionated or domineering in front of the masses, never allow the official to be the master, do not ignore the sufferings of the masses, never oppress the masses, and never damage or encroach on the interests of the masses."[13] (P19) Those who at every turn slander the masses of the people are "trouble-making people", those who cannot move to the elite to try to suppress the people by wielding the big stick of "criticising populism", are people who do not keep the to the rules for Communists, which is a serious error of political stance. Chairman Mao said that the Communist Party in power was "going to Beijing for an exam", and that the examiner is the people. The set of theories, rules and positions of the Communist Party of China were completely transmitted to us by the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union after the October Revolution. We can never deviate from these instructions of the October Revolution. [At the time of the ancient Chinese imperial examination system, the students of the country first went through the township exam to be a scholar, and then those who passed the county examinations became eligible to enter the Beijing exam for the highest level of scholar. Those who failed the exam had to return home. On March 23, 1949, Mao Zedong and other central leaders traveled from Xibaipo to Beijing to take over the control of the whole country. Along the road, Mao Zedong excitedly remarked to Zhou Enlai: "Today is the day to ‘go to Beijing for the exam', let’s go and do it". Zhou Enlai smiled and replied: "We should be able to pass the exam, we won’t have to return home.” Mao Zedong said: "To go home is to fail. We will never become a Li Zicheng, we all want to get a good test result!" Li Zicheng (1606-1645) was a Chinese rebel leader who overthrew the Ming Dynasty in 1644 and ruled over China briefly as the emperor of the short-lived Shun Dynasty before his death a year later – Trans.]

If we are to continue to go forward, and to advance towards the glorious future, we must keep in mind that our "original intention" was the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and the combination of the truth of Marxism-Leninism with the reality of the Chinese revolution. The most valuable thing that has been given to us by torch of the October Revolution is the Marxist-Leninist methodology of the scientific worldview. This world view methodology indicates that the highest goals we pursue are the ideals and beliefs of communism. Marxism-Leninism is the ideological system of scientific communism. In the century following the October Revolution, all the ruling Communists who adhere to this guiding ideology and ideals and beliefs have been able to develop, progress and succeed; on the other hand, those who deviated from this and betrayed this ideology and these ideals and beliefs, experienced decline, unrest, and collapse. This is a matter of common knowledge. Being clear on this point is essential to the success or failure of our party's cadres.

Our party's victorious development is most fundamentally because our party has always adhered to the guidance of Marxism-Leninism in the past 96 years and upheld the ideals and beliefs of socialism and communism. Xi Jinping said: "Whether it is in good times or adversity, our party’s faith in Marxism will never be shaken." "Marxism is the fundamental guiding thought upon which our Party and country are founded. Were we to depart from or abandon Marxism, our Party would lose its soul and its direction.  "[12]

In a sense, the disintegration of the Soviet Union began with Khrushchev's abandonment of the Marxist theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. He castrated Marxism's important theory of the need to uphold the dictatorship of the proletariat during the whole period of capitalism to communism. He believed that the Communist Party did not need the dictatorship of the proletariat after the establishment of its own regime, thus proposing the "the party of the whole people" and "the state of the whole people" and other absurd theories, believing he had innovatively developed Marxism, but in reality, he completely deviated from Marxism. This caused the socialist system in the Soviet Union to collapse, and led finally to the death of the party.

Therefore, whether or not to adhere to the truth of Marxism-Leninism is the most important thing in the life or death of socialist countries. The Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, has repeatedly emphasised that Marxism-Leninism should be really studied, really understood, really believed, and really used. Indeed, this decides whether or not the socialist countries are stable and united, whether they can continue to take the socialist road and whether they can achieve national rejuvenation. This is the key issue. The truth of the Marxism-Leninism sent to China by the October Revolution is the most precious treasure of the Chinese nation; it absolutely cannot be discarded.

If we are to continue to go forward, and to advance towards the glorious future, it must be firmly kept in mind that the reason that we started out was to thoroughly carry revolution through to the end. As for the party of the proletariat, the advanced nature of the Communist Party comes from the advanced nature of the proletariat, it is the most radical organization of the revolution. The communists have played a leading role in both the revolutionary wars of the past and the long-term peaceful construction, and are all models of advancing the revolution at various stages. For this reason, the revolutionary thoroughness of the Communists is the starting point for the complete realization of the cause of communism. As the ideal of communism requires difficult work for a long-term, and passes through all kinds of hardships, time and again some people fall behind, some people leave, and only the communist fighters persevere to the end and are the mainstay of the cause of communism along the road of revolution. In this regard, from Mao Zedong to General Secretary Xi Jinping there is a certain sense of urgency. They have constantly reminded us to have the spirit of “entering the capital for the exam”, they are concerned that the cause of the party and the country will always develop in the right direction. Ninety li is only half of a hundred li journey. [An idiomatic expression meaning that the going is toughest towards the end of a journey and that one must sustain one’s efforts when a task is nearing completion - Trans.] The greater the prospect of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the more necessary is it to prevent disruption and mistakes. To have a clear mind and a sense of urgency, and to be good at defusing risks and difficulties is the greatest loyalty to the cause of the October Revolution.

In socialist China, we have been fortunate to have produced several generations of leaders following on from Mao Zedong who have insisted on Marxist guidance. The supreme power of the state is in the hands of Marxists who have persisted in the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, especially after the 18th Congress formed a centralized and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core. This has been the nation’s good fortune. As long as we cultivate millions of reliable successors of socialism, and advance socialism amongst the broad masses of the young people, and educate people in communist ideals and beliefs, we will be able to ensure that China's socialist cause will not deteriorate for generations to come. We firmly believe that under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, proceeding along the socialist road opened up and laid down by Mao Zedong and inherited and developed by successive leading groups, the Chinese people will surely achieve their historic success. The dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation will certainly be successful.

At present, the cause of socialism is still at a low ebb. But the concept of a low tide should be dialectical, not absolute; it is in development rather than being fixed. Marxists have always advocated the use of materialist dialectics to approach their own circumstances.

In 1956, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee collectively discussed and wrote "More on the history of the dictatorship of the proletariat", reflecting deeply on the emergence of world socialism saying: "Temporary and partial failures have occurred in the past and are still occurring in the present, they will occur in the future also. Failure is the mother of success. Indeed, the temporary and partial failures of the recent past have already enriched the political experience of the international proletariat and will help to pave the way for great successes in the years to come. Compared with the history of the bourgeois revolutions in Britain and France, the failures in our cause are of little or no account. The bourgeois revolution in Britain stared in 1640. The defeat of the king was followed by Cromwell’s dictatorship. Then came the restoration of the old royal house in 1660. It was not until 1688 when the bourgeois party staged a coup d’etat inviting to England a king who brought with him troops and naval forces from the Netherlands that the British bourgeois dictatorship was consolidated. During the eighty-six years from its outbreak in 1789 to 1875, when the Third Republic was established, the bourgeois revolution in France went through a particularly stormy period, fluctuating in rapid succession between progress and reaction, republicanism and monarchy, revolutionary terror and counter-revolutionary terror, civil war and foreign war, the conquest of foreign lands and capitulation to foreign states. Although the socialist revolution faces the concerted opposition of all the reactionaries in the world, its course as a whole is remarkably steady. This genuinely reflects the unparalleled vitality of the socialist system.”  [1] (P593)

In commemorating the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, we can completely say that the low tide in the cause of socialism is inevitable, but the low tide will inevitably become the past through the efforts of the proletarian vanguard party and progressive people. The low tide is just a good time for us to reflect on history and sum up the lesson. The period of the low tide is also a great time for us to seriously reflect on history. The period of the low tide is a time for us to keep in touch with the masses and carry out timely changes free from worry. By the conscientious efforts of the proletarian vanguard party and progressive people the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will be realized and the high tide of the development of the socialist cause will arrive.
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Chinese language references:

[1] A selection of important literature since the founding, Volume 9 [M]. Beijing: Central Literature Publishing House, 1994.
[2] Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Volume 4 [M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 1991.

[3] Sun Yat-sen selection, the next volume [M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 1957.
[4] Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Volume 2 [M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 1991.

[5] History of the International Communist Movement [M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, Higher Education Press, 2012.
[6] The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, representatives of the Conference and the Central Plenum resolution compilation, Volume 1 [M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 1958.

[7] Social Party International Document Collection (1951-1987) [M]. Harbin: Heilongjiang People's Publishing House, 1989.
[8] Zheng Yi Fan. Stalin's "three whales" pick up [N]. Chinese Journal of Social Sciences, 2007-03-22 (3).

[9] Liu Shulin, Cai Wenpeng, Zhang Xiaochuan. Stalin: evaluation of the history and reality [M]. Beijing: Social Science Literature Publishing House, 2009.
[10] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Soviet Union Eastern European Studies Institute of the Soviet Union. [Beijing]: Oriental Press, 1990.

[11] [Russia] Michael Gorbachev, [Japan] Ikeda Daisheng. Twentieth Century Spiritual Lesson [M]. Sun Li Chuan Translation Hong Kong: Heaven and Earth Book Co., Ltd., 2004.
[12] Xi Jinping. Celebrating the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China speech [N]. People's Daily, 2016-07-02 (2).

[13] Guidelines on the Political Life of the Party in the New Situation [M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 2016.
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Some Chinese websites of interest:
http://www.wengewang.org/
http://www.crt.com.cn/
http://www.quanxue.cn/
http://redchinacn.net/portal.php
http://jiliuwang.net/
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Democratic socialism is Capitalism:
Pt 1: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/05/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt-1.html
Pt 2: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/05/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-part.html
Pt 3:http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/06/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-part.html
Pt 4:http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/08/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt-4.html
Pt 5: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/07/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt-5.html
Pt 6: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/08/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt-6.html
Pt 7: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2007/12/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-part.html
Pt 8: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2008/03/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt-8.html
Pt 9: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2008/06/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt-9.html
Pt. 10: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2008/07/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt.html
Pt. 11: http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com/2008/07/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt_09.html
Pt 12: https://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com.au/2008/07/democratic-socialism-is-capitalism-pt_13.html

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


More than 500 of us rallied today to protest the lack of action over deaths at work in the construction industry.

Ironically, on the same day as we stood on the steps of Parliament House in SA, another worker, a pneumatic drill operator collapsed and died on a construction site at Flinders Uni.

The response of the federal government to the CFMEU's fight for the safety of its members has been to revive the construction industry gestapo, the ABCC, giving it increased powers and raising the financial penalties it can impose on the unions in this industry.


The focus of the rally was to strongly condemn the State Government and SafeWork SA for dropping charges against employers over the death at work at Jorge Castillo-Riffo.

Speeches were made, but it was Jorge's partner who delivered the most telling attack on the giant corporations that refuse to prioritise workers' safety. She related how she had been deprived of the chance to read a victim impact statement to the court now the charges had been dropped.  So instead, she read it to the rally to thunderous applause.

The tactic of stringing out “investigations” for as long as possible, and then dropping them at the last moment, is wearing thin.

We saw it used in the case of Brett Fritsch, who died on the Desal plant in June 2010.  One week before going to court, two years after his death, the charges were dropped, but ultimately reinstated under union pressure, resulting in convictions and fines.  But that was in July 2013, three years after Brett’s death.

Three days before Jorge’s employer was due to face the court, and 27 months after his death, the case is closed. It is closed largely because key employer witnesses refused to be interviewed, leaving a less-than-determined prosecutor with a “lack of evidence” capable of securing a prosecution.  It is closed because workers who wanted to be interviewed and to provide evidence were never interviewed.


On the one hand we have Master Builders and contractors putting workers under pressure to finish various stages of the job by a deadline created to maximise corporate profits.

On the other we have a “go-slow” by investigators and prosecutors designed to put the brakes on the wheels of justice to protect bosses’ profits from being paid out in fines.

Speed-ups and intensification of work and long hours and exhaustion for workers; dragging things out, continual obstructions and delays for the bosses.

No worker killed or injured on the job has had a giant “X” on their forehead to indicate that they will be the next to be maimed or killed.  Accidents don’t pre-select their victims.  It is a random happening and any person is as liable to be a victim as the next.

That’s why resistance to the pressures to cut corners in getting the job done “on time” can’t be random, or left to a few.

Sure, the unions in the construction industry are severely hampered by special laws and a special body designed to cripple them financially and to intimidate and discourage their officials.

But so long as the union officials are doing a reasonable job under difficult circumstances then shit sheets and smear campaigns need to put aside, and the closest ties maintained between those on the job and those trying to look after them.

Everyone needs to be in their appropriate union and creative ways found, if necessary, to circumvent the boss and the ABCC to ensure that the union has presence and influence on the job.

We don’t know when or where it will happen, but ultimately the tables will need to be turned on the bosses and the rights at work that have been lost in recent years restored and strengthened.

Then it will be time to crush the ABCC and not workers’ bodies.

Then there will be opportunity again to put daring back into struggle and daring back into winning.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

An open letter to Andrew Bolt

You are not Indigenous!


Dear Andrew,

In the ABC TV show featuring yourself and Linda Burney, you claimed to be an indigenous Australian by virtue of your having been born in Australia.

Like you, I am a white Australian born here, as were my ancestors on both the matrilineal and patrilineal sides of my family. My great-great grandfather arrived in South Australia in 1839, three years after the founding of the colony.  He was a direct participant in the unsettlement of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and Fleurieu Peninsula.

However, I can see no justification for calling myself indigenous to Australia.

Most dictionary definitions of “indigenous” agree on two things: firstly, that indigenous means to have originated in a particular place; secondly, that indigenous means to have certain characteristics that have developed over time in that place.

My language and its associated cultural reference points are largely English in origin. I can certainly slip some Australian slang or neologisms into my English, but its cultural origins are in England. I love my country’s landscape, its diverse flora and fauna, but that simply means I am a proud citizen of Australia, not an Indigenous Australian.

Can you please do something for me?  Find a warehouse wall or any type of building with a long brick wall.  Find a suitable starting point and count out at least 40 and probably 60 bricks in a straight line.  Each brick represents a thousand years. Now divide the last brick into ten equal portions.  If you mark somewhat less than the final two tenths of that brick, you will have approximately the length of time that my direct ancestors have been in Australia.  My grandchildren might eventually push that timeline into the last three tenths of that brick, but surely any reasonable person will deduce that any claim I might make to have developed a language, culture and economy originating in Australia in the short space of time that my family has been here is simply fallacious.

For your part, having been born here, you will need to mark out somewhat less than the final tenth of that final brick to represent the time you have been here.  Now look from that final tenth of the final brick back over that line of 40-60 bricks.  They represent the time that Aboriginal occupation of Australia has occurred.  They represent the time in which the skyscapes, landscapes, languages, laws and cultures characteristic of Australian First Nations people have developed.

The entire continent of Australia, together with Tasmania and the Torres Strait islands, had Indigenous people here prior to European unsettlement. You cannot look at that line of 40-60 bricks and say to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, with smug equanimity, that your position at the end of the last brick in the line entitles you to call yourself an Indigenous Australian.

There are of course some qualifications that need to be made,  An Anangu from the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara language groups in Central Australia is certainly an Indigenous Australian, but he or she is not indigenous to the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia any more than a Narungga person from that region is indigenous to the APY Lands. Both groups are Indigenous to our continent, and on an equal footing as Indigenous Australians, but their languages, cultures and economies are characteristic of different parts of the continent.

Another example: there is a hardy little daisy that comes to life every now and then after soaking rains near Oodnadatta.  It is called Senecio gypsicola, and as its name suggests, has developed its defining characteristics at its place of origin, the gypseous plains around the Painted Desert.  It is an Australian indigenous plant, but it is not indigenous to the Adelaide Hills or Cape York Peninsula.

Neither you nor I have developed our defining characteristics with Australia as their place of origin.  We are Aussies, but we are not Indigenous.  It is sheer sophistry to argue that having been born in one place negates the historical roots of our languages, economies and cultures in another and entitles us to equal footing with Indigenous Australians in terms of a supposed indigeneity.

Monday, August 24, 2015

To whom does the Eureka flag belong?


I was prompted to write this following the anti-racist rally at Parliament House on July 18.

As I walked past the Railway Station on the way to the rally, a young bloke noticed my Eureka flag and fell in with me, saying it was great to see the flag out and that he hoped we had a good turn-out.  After a bit of chatter, I asked him which of the rallies he was going to, and he said Reclaim Australia.  I said, “I’m not going there mate, this is a multicultural flag, it doesn’t belong to racists”.  Getting ready to duck in case he tried to snot me, he instead patted me on the back, said “Fair enough, I’ve got a Filipino friend”, wished me luck and went to his side of the police lines while I went to mine. I guess it takes all kinds....

While the anti-racists outnumbered the Reclaim mob about 5-1, and there were more Eureka flags on our side of the lines than on theirs, there is confusion about the flag and what it represents.

There were at least two guys on the Reclaim side who gave Nazi salutes and called out “White Power!”  One of them had a Eureka flag (centre, top, below).  There were a couple of others with Eureka t-shirts.


So who does the flag belong to and why does it matter?

The Eureka Rebellion took place on December 3, 1854.  There were at least 21 nationalities represented among the diggers.  Among the Irish, Prussians (Germans), French and Italians were veterans of various revolutionary movements which reached their climax in 1848 across much of Europe.  Quite a few were refugees from political and religious persecution. None of the Anglo-Australian diggers shouted out “Send them back!” when they all had to stand united against British colonial tyranny.

There were men of colour among the diggers.  Two of these were arrested with 11 other “ringleaders” and put on trial for treason, a hanging offence. John Joseph, a black man from New York, was the first to be put on trial, the prosecution believing that it would be a relatively easy matter for a jury to condemn a black man, and that this would set the precedent for the conviction of the others.

The jury instead freed Joseph.  Ten thousand Melbournians waited outside the court-house for the verdict, one in every ten of Melbourne’s population.  When John Joseph emerged from the court, he was put in a chair and carried around the streets in triumph.  All other ringleaders, including a black Jamaican, were subsequently released without conviction.

None of the diggers called out “White Power!” when they all had to stand united against British colonial tyranny.

Rafaello Carboni was an Italian who wrote the eye-witness history of the Eureka Rebellion. He recounts how he addressed a mass meeting of the diggers on 30 November, 1854:

We must meet as in old Europe — old style — improved by far in the south — for the redress of grievances inflicted on us, not by crowned heads, but blockheads, aristocratical incapables, who never did a day’s work in their life. I hate the oppressor, let him wear a red, blue, white, or black coat. — And here certainly, I tackled in right earnest with our silver and gold lace on Ballaarat, and called on all my fellow-diggers, irrespective of nationality, religion, and colour, to salute the Southern Cross as the refuge of all the oppressed from all countries on earth. — The applause was universal, and accordingly I received my full reward:

Prison and Chains! Old style.

None of the diggers, “irrespective of nationality, religion and colour”, rejected Carboni’s sentiments when they all had to stand united against British colonial tyranny. Rather, they universally embraced the Eureka flag “as the refuge of all oppressed from all countries on earth”.


Not all of the diggers were fleeing oppression in Europe.  Some had already freed themselves from British colonial tyranny – the Americans.  The US Declaration of Independence was issued on July 4, 1776, but the War of Independence was not concluded until September 1783. The presence of American diggers on the goldfields was threatening to the British colonial authority in Victoria.  The Americans were referred to as “democratic agitators” and “democratic revolutionaries” with a foreign ideology and backed by a foreign power.  Remember, there was no democracy in Victoria in 1854: it was in every respect a foreign and dangerous threat to the way that colonial authority was exercised.  The Americans, and particularly the California Rangers’ Revolver Brigade, were spoken of in the press in the same tones that were later used against Communists during the witch-hunts a century later.  The Americans (ironically, in view of their nation’s later imperialist ideology and practice) were on the far left of the left/right divide of the 1850s.  None of the diggers raised objections to “agitators” and “revolutionaries” when they all had to stand united against British colonial tyranny.  They were the Left of their day.

Democracy was not the only “alien ideology” that threatened the Anglophile authorities.  The Americans, the Irish and a number of the Europeans were proudly republican.  When the Age in January 1855 identified the three main currents of thought running through the colony of Victoria, they were “the overwhelming expressions of contempt towards the authorities, of sympathy for the diggers…and…the open assertion of republican principles”.  For Governor Hotham, the Eureka flag was the “Australian flag of independence”.  None of the diggers wrapped themselves, Cronulla-style, in the Union Jack or tried to cling to a British heritage which had oppressed them when they had to stand united against British colonial tyranny.


(Above: A younger and hairier SA MP Eddie Hughes displays his support for independence and a republic and his rejection of the Union Jack-dominated “Australian” flag)

Were all the oppressed brought under the Eureka flag at Ballarat?

Women were excluded from the fighting, although they created the flag and served as scouts beating rubbish bin lids and pots and pans to warn of the movement of colonial troops.  The right to vote was not extended to women as part of the diggers’ demands.
 

There were around 2000 Chinese on the Ballarat goldfields.  While it was not uncommon for European miners to speak 2 or 3 or more European languages, none spoke Cantonese and the Chinese had little English.  Yet the Chinese could have been an invaluable ally.  From 1839-42 the British fought their first war against China for the freedom to export opium into that country.  Millions died. In 1850, the Taiping Rebellion against both the British and the Qing Dynasty broke out.  It eventually saw 20 million Chinese killed and was in full swing at the time of Eureka.  Despite later anti-Chinese sentiment on the goldfields, anti-Chinese demands were not raised in the context of the Eureka rebellion.  Chinese miners were not involved in the Rebellion but were a visible presence around Ballarat, which makes even more remarkable the inclusive rhetoric of people like Carboni, and the acceptance of that rhetoric by the diggers.

In terms of the politics of the Reclaim mob, and of the Nazis embedded within them, there is nothing to associate the Eureka flag with anti-Chinese racism or with opposition to immigration.

 


(Above: the European miner and the Chinese may have gone in different directions, but both were on the road that unsettled and excluded the real owners of the land.)

All of the diggers were unsettlers of the Wathaurung people, the traditional owners of the country in which Ballarat is situated.  Chinese and Europeans alike invaded their lands and dispossessed them, although their sovereignty was never ceded.  While there is some evidence of unsettler miners utilising Aboriginal local knowledge about the terrain and bush tucker, and some Aborigines were employed by as labourers by miners, there were few positive relationships built between the two groups.  Carboni was an exception: he stayed with Aborigines long enough to learn some language, and he later wrote a musical, Gilburnia, about the unsettling of the Tarrang people and the kidnapping of a Tarrang woman by unsettlers.  Knowledge held by the Aborigines could have been used to ambush and trap the colonial troops and may have led to a different outcome to that which followed the Sunday morning attack on the depleted diggers’ ranks at the Stockade.
 

(Above: Aboriginal artist Peter Clarke's Spirit of Ballarat hangs in the Ballarat Trades Hall offices)
And what about after 1854?  We know the Nazis, National Action, Nazi Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party and other racists have tried to claim the flag in recent times, but how has it been used, and by whom, since the Rebellion?

There had been some trade unions before 1854, but the formative period really began twenty years later with the Amalgamated Miners’ Association in Victoria, and in 1886 with the Amalgamated Shearers’ Union in Ballarat.  Founding members of both organisations claimed to be part of the tradition of Eureka.  Lawson wrote tributes to Eureka and the flag of the Southern Cross in the late 1880s and the flag was flown with the Eight Hours Banner in 1890 at a mass meeting of 30,000 people on the Yarra Bank.   The following year, the Eureka flag flew over armed shearers’ camps in Queensland as they drilled in military formation.  In 1938, the Port Kembla wharfies swore the diggers’ oath as they took on Menzies and banned the transport of pig-iron to Japan in support of China’s fight against Japanese invasion.  The Eureka flag was also featured in materials produced by the Communist Party in 1951 when it fought against Menzies’ attempts to have the Party banned.  Since the early 1970s, the Eureka flag has often featured in union logos, and in rallies, strikes and occupations too numerous to mention.


(Above: “My freedom flies with the Southern Cross, and there’s nothing you can do” – Ark Tribe tribute song “Stand Tall”)

Clearly, the Eureka flag belongs to the unions, republicans, anti-racists and refugee advocates.

The best argument against its misuse by racists is a widespread public embrace of the flag as the first expression in Australia of a multicultural aspiration for democracy, freedom and Australian independence from imperialism. 

No union should be ashamed to claim the flag as part of this inheritance.  It is part of our history, of the history of our class and our people.  It can only be a divisive symbol so long as Nazis and racists are allowed to carry it unchallenged as to its symbolism and its multicultural origins. 

Unions, more than any other organisations, should protect and defend the Eureka flag from misuse by those who would divide the unity of the working class.