Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Photos from Kunming and Yichang

Kunming is the capital of China's Yunnan Province. I've just come back home after doing a two-week loop that went Kunming-Dali-Lijiang and then Chongqing to Yichang via the Three Gorges, and then back to Kunming.

A couple of things that warmed the cockles of my old proletarian heart were driving into Kunming on the first day and seeing the international proletarian symbol in pride of place for China's National Day (photo 1). We later walked past the Party headquarters which is still emblazoned with the slogan “Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Yiqie Quanli Shuyu Renmin” – “In the Peoples Republic of China, all power belongs to the people”. How great those sentiments were and are!

In Lijiang a couple of days later we paused at the statue of Comrade Mao Zedong still standing in the town's main square (photo 2).

Later, in Yichang we got into a taxi that had a large transfer of the model Communist soldier, Lei Feng, on the bonnet. Noticing the driver's Party card on the dashboard, I pointed to Comrade Lei Feng and asked whether it was some sort of advert (after all, what hasn't been commercialized and post-modernised these days?) The comrade taxi driver said it wasn't a commercial. So I said, “So this is actually promoting the spirit of Lei Feng?” It certainly was, and a handful of other taxis also had the same transfer, so it must have been some sort of Party movement amongst the taxi drivers. When I got out, I saw an inscription (not visible from the front seat due to the bonnet's curvature) which read "Lei Feng jingshen shifan che", or "Taxi for demonstrating the spirit of Lei Feng". The driver was quite surprised when I asked to take a photo of his taxi (photo 3).

Full support to these Chinese comrades still upholding the spirit of Lei Feng!


Anonymous said...

Great photos but all too brief account! Looking forward to more.

It amazes me how the ultra-leftists can argue that the PRC has restored capitalism.

Amigos de Cuba said...

Nice bonnet!

Anonymous said...

Lei Feng.
Mao laughed at those who believed deep investigation of class and society took the form of "looking at the flowers from horseback".
Now we have- The petty bourgeois method .Riding in taxis while looking at the brands on taxis . Touring Mao medal collectors .
-Class investigation as the (surprising?) appearance of class consciousness as a revolutionary idea in the minds of taxi drivers.
Marxists should look for the flows of surplus value not at surface appearances.
Who owned the capital invested in this expensive looking "serve the people" Lei Feng image branded taxi fleet?
The drivers providing a service (working how many long hours a day to "serve" these fleet owners?) deliver up surplus value extracted from their unpaid for labour , whether the form of their income is a fixed wage contract or profits from a day hiring contract for the taxi itself .
Yes Virginia ,Yes Comrade, this actually happens in "Socialist China"!
If that was the companies "Lei Feng" brand , any driver who did not claim to support the "serving the people" concept would be sacked tomorrow.
Ownership in the mode of production or of the capital invested in providing services such as taxis, determines the distribution of any surplus value created in those industries.
As life is now very unsecure ,savings by the Chinese people are huge.
The banks of China are now paying out less in interest rates than the official rises in inflation ,making it now impossible for workers to save for their retirement, as the value of their saved money ,even plus the low interest they getting , is actually worth less next year .
Hyper-inflation looms. Savings are being desperately removed from these banks and invested in shares and property including privatised industries in a search for security. The early speculators in these assets are crowing about the great progress in profits being made from these assets and in export of value 'development" under 'socialism with Chinese characteristics' and are rushing to join the once Communist Party.
It is a Marxist economic concept that surplus value is exploited from the workers in production and is embodied in the value of commodities produced and is then realised at the final sale of the commodity . All of these exported products contain the surplus value (profits) exploited by capital from Chinese labour. Exports are flows of commodity value and of surplus value produced by "cheap' labour in of China
Did the touring Mao medal collector notice if any of these banks actually used the Lei Feng Brand too?
These banks still probably claim to be all Lei Fengs too , by "Serving the people " and helping in building "socialism" ,as they hand the collected and centralised savings of the working people over to the capitalists ,especially foreign corporations ,at a state enforced low interest rate as a cheap gift
to capital. This is the main source of capital in China ,the people.
Not the foreign investors who also gain access to these, socialised for capital ,savings too. This money ,the savings of the people , invested as capital, is then used to make more money by exploiting Chinese working people. For example by investing in a fleet of "Lei Feng" taxis.
Do you not find it strange that a socialist country the Chinese government and banks have one and a half trillion invested $ in foreign reserves propping up the imperialist currencies and their deficit spending on wars while begging for foreign investment ?
That is the way imperialism has developed in the stage of finance capital imperialist/globalism and how the dollar hegemony works ,by creating export economies ,the main source of its profits is now the exploited peoples of the third world. The old imperialism used to plunder the raw materials and cheap labour of the colonies while creating monopoly control of markets for its own exports industrial manufactured products.
By the way, What is the going rate for exchanging old Lei Feng or Chou En Lai style serve the people medals with Mao medals?
Is the value of these medals in the hands of collectors actually outpacing the inflation rate of the Yuan?
underclasswp@ hotmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Sorry mike-serve the people website..
The criticism I posted above is unfair , negative,smug and appears to be sneering and even personal.This of course is a reflection of my own petty bourgeois cynicism.
It was cynically unfair even on the exspessed ideology of these worker-taxi drivers in China
In my opinion China has long since abandoned socialism and state power is fully in the hands of a selfish comprador imperialist serving bourgeoisie .
I merely intended to state that isolated images , surface appearances ,the odd "flower" or Lei Feng image ,mean very little.
It is necessary to understand the material property relations , the class relations and mode of production that actually exist beneath the surface appearances in China .
That it was necessary to understand these, in relation to the taxi drivers and the taxi owners before the significance of the image could be grasped.
It is necessary to analyse concretely the flows of surplus value in each particular economy and internationally in order to understand class.
Even if personally encouraging to the author of the article. The fact that the author was surprised and inspired to find such images still exist and that it was exceptional 'newsworthy" enough to photograph, helps shows the reality of China today .
Modern capitalist China is dominated by the ideas and culture and greed of the new ruling class.
Actually ,I think that on the whole this website is excellent
I may not agree with all it says but, politically ,it has good socialist class stand and support for oppressed peoples ,in particular it shows a strong active concerned practical support for our first nation peoples.
Mike is making a great contribution in the translation of some important articles with a working class point of view from the Chinese language, allowing us a better assessment of conditions and class struggle as it is in China today .
China still remains a big point of focus for internationalists today
The future prospects for socialism are now once again becoming very bright in China .
The working class by the tens of millions is learning some sharp lessons on the nature of imperialist exploitation in the factories .
While the peasantry is the most experienced peasantry in the world today at changing the relations of production in the countryside.Within the lifetime of some still living peasants they have seen these relations of production change from feudal to land reform ,then to collectives and socialist communes and then back to the misfortune of individual capitalist property relations .
They know from their own life experience that class struggle is the practical method that will put them back on the socialist road.
The website has a good support for the idea and role of the masses as the makers of history while highlighting the valuable important contributions to historical progress that can be made by even ordinary individuals like Lei Feng and Norman Bethune.
This greatly encourages ordinary people to themselves take up an active role in struggle.
That they too can all make a valuable contribution as individuals to the collective struggle of humanity for change .
That is a website serving the people .
In literature and art style it is lively and popular in content.
The bright artistic images published are encouraging
And in the sea of the domination of the ruling class ideas and culture of the dominant "white settler" Au$tralia today , like the Lei Feng image on some taxis in China , such websites are the odd exceptional flower rather than the general rule of crap.