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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"The Unknown Cultural Revolution - Life and change in a Chinese village"

From A World to Win News Service:
Fifty years ago, when China was still a socialist country, Mao Zedong set in motion the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. This was a momentous and historic effort to prevent capitalist restoration through unleashing hundreds of millions of Chinese to rebel against those in authority whose orientation and policies would take China down the capitalist road – and who, after a decade, eventually succeeded with a military coup after Mao's death. Fifty years later, the Cultural Revolution is still feared and attacked by the powers that be in China and the world, with renewed venom.

We are reprinting the following abridged version of a session at the end of a speech by Dongping Han given in December 2008 at a New York symposium. The full version appeared in the 6 September 2009 issue of Revolution. ( 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. 

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. When the central government announced the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, high school and middle school students left their schools, and began to write big character posters in the streets. The high school students dragged 20 of their teachers to the marketplace and denounced them publicly and shaved off half their hair in front of a big crowd. I do not think that most people knew what the Cultural Revolution would be like at the beginning.

Many students began to publish newspapers and pamphlets. There were so many pamphlets at the time, criticizing government officials. In the beginning they were mostly written by students. Not long after this, farmers and workers began to write them as well. There was so much information going on at the time. Later on, there was a group of high school and middle school students from my county that travelled all the way to Beijing to see Chairman Mao. When they came back in August 1966, they began to organize into different Red Guard factions. They started to organize mass rallies to criticize the county and commune leaders. All officials were under some kind of popular scrutiny and attack at the time. 

Almost everybody, I would say 90 percent of the population, was part of a mass organization.

I was in third grade at that time. Five of my friends and I also organized a Red Guard organization. We designed our Red Guard symbols and began to publish a single page newspaper. We collected enough money to get a hand printer to print our newspaper. In my school there were 13 small newspapers. We would recruit others and write something and go to the marketplace to distribute it to the people. That's how it started. There were big character posters everywhere. The village streets were plastered with big character posters, mostly criticizing village leaders. Before the Cultural Revolution, the village leaders had a lot of power. They normally didn't work in the field and they would eat and drink a lot at the village's expense. And the Cultural Revolution held them to task. That's how it started actually.
In all these activities with the big character posters, all were written by the farmers themselves. And I remember some of the farmers who didn't know how to write. They came to us, they came to the school kids, and we would write it for them. So it was a very mobilizing movement. Everybody in the village was touched by that.

The reason the officials are corrupt today and were not during the Cultural Revolution years is because the masses were really empowered. There was always a mass meeting every night and all the government policies and directives were read to the farmers. And it was required by the government at the time. They were read to the farmers and then the farmers discussed these documents, so everybody knew what was going on and why. The reason why the Chinese people were eager to read and willing to recite Mao's works at the time is because they found what Mao said represented their best interests. And Mao said what they wanted to hear. For example Mao's article "To Serve the People" is only one and a half pages long. But in this short article Mao elaborated on how a communist official should behave. A communist official shouldn't have any self interests. He should work for the people and serve the people. They should care about the poor people and the farmers. They should welcome criticism. If they were not doing something right, they should change it for the sake of the people. This is all something the farmers never heard and they wanted to hear.

Q: Why during that time, during those 10 years of the Cultural Revolution, was there no effort made to purge the Communist Party of the right-wing capitalist roaders?

DH: The Cultural Revolution was not to purge people, it was to educate the people. Many of the capitalist roaders had fought for the revolution and made important contributions to the Chinese revolution. It was an accepted traditional idea that those who fight for the revolution should enjoy the privileges when the revolution succeeded. It was not enough to purge these people. The problem was the old traditional ideas. So the Cultural Revolution was to do away with the traditional ideas and educate the people through mobilizing the farmers and the workers. I think if there was no coup in 1976, I doubt that this government apparatus would have changed by itself. It happened because there was a coup. But I don't think to purge people is a solution either. I remember during the Cultural Revolution there were some high officials in my county who encouraged their own children to work with the farmers and to ask for the most difficult assignments and tasks to build their character. It seemed that these high officials did change with the change of social climate during the Cultural Revolution years. But when the social climate changed, they changed back.

Most people were not aware that there was a coup in 1976. Mao's wife and three other important leaders were arrested. And there was a very extensive purge throughout China. Hundreds of thousands of people who supported the Cultural Revolution were arrested right away. Some people argue that Mao should have killed Deng Xiaoping [the leader of the "capitalist roaders"] and a few others to prevent the arrest of the Gang of Four. Maybe he should have, but he did not.

Q: Could you paint a picture comparing what the average daily life was like for you and your family during the Cultural Revolution compared to, on the one hand communism before the Cultural Revolution, and then compared to your family now in capitalist China?

DH: The Cultural Revolution was launched because the Great Leap Forward failed. It failed partly because there was a 100-year natural disaster on the one hand. On the other hand, it failed because communist officials in the villages were not really socialist yet. They ordered farmers to do too much and they themselves didn't want to work hard. There was not enough to eat during the Great Leap Forward because of the natural disasters on the one hand and mismanagement on the other. So the reason I think the Cultural Revolution was launched by Mao was that he realized at the time that the Chinese officials needed to be educated and that the Chinese people needed to be educated through a socialist movement. That's why he mobilized the Chinese farmers to criticize the officials in the village. And of course, I was too young, I don't remember too much about the Great Leap Forward. But during the Cultural Revolution, I remember very well. I was working in the fields with the farmers and at that time in the rural areas, each village had a production brigade, and each brigade was divided into several production teams. In my village there were eight production teams. Each production team had about 40 families. We elected five production team leaders each year. We had a production team head, a woman leader, an accountant, a cashier, and a store keeper. Before the Cultural Revolution these people were appointed by the village leaders and the village leaders were appointed by the commune leaders. It was not democratically elected. During the Cultural Revolution years, these production team leaders were elected by the farmers.

We worked in the fields together. Everybody came out and worked together. And at the end of the day the cashier would record how many people worked that day. And at the end of the year, when the harvest came in, the village accountant, together with the production team accountant, would develop a distribution plan. Seventy percent of the grain was distributed according to how many people you had in your family. Thirty percent was distributed according to how much you worked in the collective. So if you did not work in the fields, you were still entitled to 70 percent of the grain from the collective. That was the distribution on the production team level. There was also distribution at the production brigade level. The village owned many enterprises. After putting away money for a welfare fund, money to purchase new equipment and so on, the village would distribute its income according to how much you had worked in the collective. The collective also produced vegetables, fruits, peanuts and we also raised pigs. These would be distributed to villagers regularly according to the same distribution schedule as grain was distributed. We also purchased fish, wine, cigarettes collectively with the money earned by the village enterprises, and this was distributed to each family on important occasions like Chinese New Year and other holidays. We got almost all our supplies from the collective.

After the Cultural Revolution years, I went to college and my two sisters who used to work for the village, found jobs in a state-owned factory in the early '80s. Now the factory has been sold and my two sisters have been unemployed since 1996. My younger sister is still working in the village, as the village cashier now. My village is doing well compared with other villages. Life has changed dramatically in the countryside. I think for most working class people, life has changed for the worse. Even though they may get more money, they have lost benefits like free medical care and free education of the socialist past. They now have to pay for their education. They have to pay for their medical care. Most farmers cannot afford the medical care. If they are sick for a small problem, they just endure the problem. If they are sick for a big problem, they just wait to die. Many of them say they do not want to leave a big debt for their children by going to the hospital. The medical care is very expensive now and it is beyond the reach of most farmers and working class people in urban areas.

Q: Could you talk a little about what the cultural life was like in your village and how that changed?

DH: Before the Cultural Revolution, Chinese performing arts were mostly about talented young men and beautiful ladies, kings, generals and so on. That's what the Chinese traditional plays were about. During the Cultural Revolution, there was a surge of a new kind of art. Every village at the time had a group of farmer artists and they played instruments, sang revolutionary songs, danced revolutionary dances, and staged revolutionary plays. There was some kind of performance in the village almost every night. These performances became educational tools. Revolutionary ideas spread because of these revolutionary performances. And it was very powerful. But of course today you don't see that any more in the countryside. But if you go to China today, you can still see older people singing the revolutionary songs in parks and public spaces to entertain themselves.

Q: In the movies that we see about China and the Cultural Revolution, there is a representation of people being picked up and tried by popular tribunals and paraded around town, punished. My question is: where does this image come from, did you hear about things like this in China, how widespread was this?

DH: That image was from the Cultural Revolution years. For a few weeks in the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, many Chinese officials were being criticized on the stage. That was very common. I saw it many times. I would say most government officials went through some of that at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. At the same time, I would argue, many of these people deserved some kind of punishment. They had made mistakes in their work. And because of their mistakes, people suffered. People were looking for ways to air their anger. In the villages, the struggle against village leaders was more gentle and peaceful.

These public struggle sessions to deal with officials who committed crimes and made mistakes were different ways of dealing with these people. After they were struggled with for a day or two, they were allowed to go free. They were taught a lesson by the people. In the U.S. people are sent to prison. I still think this public education during the Cultural Revolution was very effective, not only to educate the village officials, but also everybody else. After the session, they were free. So I don't think that was a bad practice. I think it was a very good practice.

Q: What about the situation in China now, particularly the economic crisis and how you think that's working itself out, especially in the rural areas, but more generally?

DH: The Chinese government is faced with a huge challenge today and the Chinese government officials themselves have admitted that on many occasions. Some people estimate that there are 100 incidents involving more than 100 people challenging the government and 300 incidents involving less than 100 challenging the government each day. I read in a document about an incident in Guangdong province where three police officers stopped a car without a license plate and upon further check they found the driver without a driver's license. But the three people came out the car and yelled that the police are harassing people and about 2,000 people came out. They turned the police car upside down and set it on fire. The government is warning the police to be careful because the tension between the people and the government is very high. 

And there are a lot of people in the countryside who are very angry with the township government. I was told by a farmer about an incident in a rural township. The party secretary was taking a nap one day. But about 100 farmers ,who were angry with the township government's decision to move the market to a different place, went to his bedroom. They actually dragged him by his four limbs into the marketplace and threw him up into the air for a half hour. They didn't hit him. They just toyed with him for a half hour. In the end the government had to remove him from office because he had become an embarrassment for the government. This happened last year. There was another government official who was beaten by the farmers. The villagers wanted him to take a patient to the hospital. He refused. He said that not everyone could ride in his car. The farmers almost killed him, but the government didn't punish the people who did it. So I think the government realizes how tense its relationship is with the masses.

In the old days, the Chinese government officials came to the village and worked with the farmers. And today they don't do that. They come to the village in big cars, only to get money from farmers and to enforce the one child policy... I think the government has a legitimacy crisis. The Chinese government was able to survive the challenges of the Great Leap Forward posed by unprecedented natural disasters and mismanagement by its officials because of the socialist legitimacy. I don't think it will be able to survive any challenges close to that of the Great Leap Forward.

Q: Could you talk about what happened during the coup in 1976 and also how that whole period was being understood where you were? 

DH: I still remember where I was on 9 September 1976. At 4 o'clock that day, I was walking with my friend outside the village when the loudspeaker said there was a very important announcement. And we immediately realized something was wrong. And they said Chairman Mao had passed away. I don't know how I walked home that day. I remember that everybody around me was crying. Finally I reached home. My father cried all the way home from his factory. When my grandpa died he didn't cry. He gathered the family together and he said, today our poor people's sky has fallen and we do not know what life will be like tomorrow. At the time, I thought, in my heart, how could that be possible? We have built the socialist state. How could the poor people's sky fall just because Chairman Mao died?

It turned out that my father was right. When the Gang of Four was arrested, the Chinese government said the people were really happy. That was not true. In my home town many young people really respected Jiang Qing because of an incident that happened in a neighbouring commune. On Chinese New Year in 1975, the village leader played over the loudspeaker a traditional drama which was criticized during the Cultural Revolution. A young man in the village criticized the village leader for playing that over the loudspeaker. But the village leaders accused him of causing trouble in the village. He called the police and the police took him away. While he was in prison, he wrote a letter to Jiang Qing, and in less than five days, Jiang Qing responded to his letter. Jiang Qing ordered that the person be released. And the village leader was dismissed from office. Young people in my area loved Jiang Qing. When the Gang of Four was arrested a few weeks after Mao died, we knew things were going to be different. 

Question: You were saying that the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution were the most exciting of your life. Could you give some examples of that spirit that you felt?

DH: The way that I felt at that time was that I had a strong sense of security. I was not alone in this world. My neighbours, my production team leaders, the village leaders would take care of anybody if they needed help. 

In 1998, one of my friends who worked with me committed suicide. When I received the news from my village I cried. The reason I cried was because I felt that if the collective had not been disbanded he would not have died; he would not have committed suicide. And this person was about my age. When he was young, he couldn't get up early in the morning. So every morning my production team leader told me to go to wake him up. When I went to wake him up the first time, he answered me, and got up. The second day, he said, I'll get up but he never got up. So I had to drag him up from his bed. The third day his grandmother was very upset that I woke him up every day. She told me that her grandson needed more sleep. But the production team leader said to me: "Do not mind his grandmother. Wake him up. He needs help." So he came to work with us with my help. He worked every day. He was a very good worker. He was very talented as well. He played the Chinese instrument, the erhu very well and he also painted well. But after the collective was disbanded, nobody went to wake him up anymore. He was able to sleep as much as he wanted. So eventually his wife left him. And by 1996, 1997 he became mentally disturbed. And the last time I saw him was in 1997 when I went back home. I saw him walking naked on the street. He saw me and ran back home. I followed him to his house. I asked him why he walked naked in the streets. He said that life was bad for him. He did not want to live any more. I told him that he had to change his mindset, that he needed to face the challenges. I asked him why he didn't go back to painting if he could not do anything else. I told him that I would be in the village for another 10 days, and I would like to buy a painting from him. He promised that he would do it. But the next day, he came to see me. He said that he could not do it now. He told me that he would do it for me the next year. I told him that it was him that I was interested in not the painting. I wanted to see him stand up and take control of his life. But three months after I left the village, he committed suicide. He hung himself. When I learned of this news from my younger sister, I cried very hard. I felt that if the collective were not disbanded, he did not need to commit suicide. The community was no longer there. Your friends and your neighbours became competitors and strangers to you. The security network had been taken away. For Americans you're used to this kind of competition. But for Chinese farmers who lived under the socialist system before, the change was too dramatic for many people.

Q: The Cultural Revolution sent shock waves around the world. In your village, how much were you aware of the international situation, the influence this was having internationally?

DH: At that time when I was in the village, I really felt we were part of the international revolution. We were young and we were part of a big picture. I remember in 1971 there was a huge drought in our area. The county government held a huge rally in the marketplace. At the rally, government leaders and representatives of farmers and workers said that we were fighting this drought not just for ourselves. We were fighting this in support of the Vietnamese people's fight against U.S. imperialism. We were fighting this drought to support oppressed people in Africa and so on. After the rally, everybody in our school wrote a pledge to join the fight against the drought. The school was closed for two weeks. We went back to the village to fight the drought with the villagers for two weeks. Everybody worked very hard. I felt that I was doing something significant to help the revolution. At that time I didn't really understand what it meant. It was standard language. I believed what we were told by the government that we had friends all over the world. After the Cultural Revolution was over, the Chinese elite told us that it was government propaganda. But it was not simply propaganda. I found this out when I studied in Singapore. When Mao died in 1976, China did not have diplomatic relations with Singapore. So the branch bank of Bank of China decided to hold a memorial service for Mao for three days. Ordinary Singaporeans and seaman from all over the world came to show their respect for Mao day and night. The line was so long, the staff at the Bank of China had to extend the memorial service from three days to ten. I realized then that our fight in China was connected with the struggle of oppressed people all over the world.

Q: I want to step back to your experience in the Cultural Revolution. You were able to go to school, you grew up and became an educated youth in the countryside, and yet there was this political campaign that was going on for 10 years. How did this intersect with you, how much were you continuing to follow it?

Dongping Han: My whole value system was changed very dramatically. Before the Cultural Revolution, my father never allowed me to talk back to him; that's how the Chinese family was. He never allowed me to talk back to him. Whenever there were guests in the house I was never allowed to say a word. But during the Cultural Revolution years that changed. I said, "Chairman Mao said I can talk back to you!" But many people in the U.S. country think that the revolutionary campaign is an interruption of life. No. The revolution did not disrupt most people's lives, particularly in the village. During the day most work continues, and at night people went out to the streets and there was a lot of debate; different groups debate in the streets. My cousin and I went to shops at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution to propagate Mao's ideas. The government-owned shops extended their hours until 10 at night at the time. So we went to the shops to read Mao's teachings and perform the plays, and so on. We loved that.

Maybe I can give you an example to illustrate the change. Before the Cultural Revolution years, people in my area never gave blood to anybody. If you needed a blood transfusion, you went to your family: your wife, your father or your brothers. People thought that if you gave blood to another person, you would lose your own vitality in life. But one day, one of my colleagues was sick and needed a blood transfusion. Most of the factory workers were working in fields harvesting. It was a busy time in the village. Twenty young people who were working in the village went to the hospital. The nurses checked our blood types. I was the only person who qualified to give the blood. I knew at the time any one of the 20 people would give their blood to save my colleague. The village party secretary asked me what to do. I said that we needed to save the patient. They took more than 700 cc from me and after that I couldn't walk and they had to take me home in a wheelbarrow. And the next morning I woke up and my mom and my two aunts were all crying. They actually cried the whole night. They thought I wouldn't be able to get married, nobody would marry me. But life changed, and it wasn't just me. All the people who went to the hospital that day would have happily given blood to that person that day.

Whenever there was a storm, even at midnight people would get up to cover the collective crops. If it snowed we would get up to clean the streets. We did not have bulldozers. Everybody would get out to clean the streets. Another important change in the rural life was that there were almost no crimes during the Cultural Revolution years. For 10 years, we did not have any crime in the village. In my commune of 50,000 people, I did not hear of any serious crime for 10 years. But now, crime has become so common in China.

Q: Could you compare your daily life during the Cultural Revolution to what the daily life would have been like for your grandparents before 1949?

DH: The reason why my father was so supportive of the Communist Party was that he had to work 18 hours a day. He had to pick up the capitalists′ night soil and did household chores beside long hours of work in the workshop. When the communists came to power, the workday became eight hours, so my father's life changed for the better under socialism. My father used to believe in Buddhism. After the communists came to power, he no longer believed it any more. On the Chinese New Year, my mom always asked to kowtow to the gods of the family. My father would always tell me not to do it. He was told that he was suffering because he did something wrong in the previous life. He changed his previous life, but his life suddenly changed for the better with the Communist Party in power.

Both my father and my mom begged before 1949, and were hungry all the time. Both my grandmothers died in their 30s in 1944, without any medical care. But ever since I could remember, I never felt hungry. I always had enough to eat. My father never bought any toys for me when I was young. I often compare my childhood with my son's in the U.S. At the time, we had a lot of kids in the neighbourhood to play with and we made toys for ourselves. We played a lot of games ourselves. We worked on the collective farm during the summer, spring and fall. In winter we played popular games in the streets when there was nothing to do in the fields. And I always ask my son which childhood is better. Of course it's very hard for him to imagine. But I strongly believe that my childhood was much more healthy, much more creative than that of my son who has nothing else but toys and video games. We had community, and we learned how to interact with one another; we learned how to build up leadership skills and things like that. And my son didn't have those skills. When I first came to the U.S, I had a class on the Cultural Revolution. And the professor said that Cultural Revolution education was a disaster, and most students in the class agreed with him. In the end, I told the class that I was a product of the Cultural Revolution education. I challenged the whole class to a competition with me to see who is better educated. Nobody was willing to take on the challenge.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another US Memorial Day raises its ugly head

By SJ Otto
We are just about 2 days away from Memorial Day. It is a major holiday, although not as major as Labor Day, Christmas or Thanksgiving. A lot of people will get the picnic baskets and food out for a happy day of getting the family together for an outing in a nearby park or just someone's back yard.
Some of us will visit cemeteries, as I will since my brother died back in the 1990s and my Mom died a few years ago. I have no family that died in combat. My wife's dad, who died about 15 years ago and he was a vet of World War II. He was a military career man. He fought in D-Day. on the beaches of Europe. He never liked to talk about that. He fought in one of the last "good wars." A war that had some justification to it. Adolf Hitler not only fought America and Europe, be he also wanted to get rid of Joseph Stalin.
Stalin was our ally at that time and it was OK to like him.

Some people will got to some vet honoring event, such as a parade or service in one of Wichita Kansas's many pro-vet parks. I lived through the 1960s and 1970s when it was not cool to be pro-military. Today it is real cool to be pro-military or in the military. Many young people can't wait to join the military and play soldier. I heard a young woman on the radio a few months ago who was asked why she wanted to fight in the military: "To kick the bad guy's ass!" she gleamed. Yes for many today, war is our chance to kick the bad guys ass, who ever that bad guy is and what ever he/she did to be labeled a "bad guy."
So as I prepare for Monday's festivities I will concentrate on honoring those who died, were wounded or were tortured by our pro-imperialist military. "To those who stood up to the US or NATO empire and lost their lives!"Europe have decided that ALL people in the world must agree to. This is not a world were people of a nation can decide what ideology they want to believe in and support. They must support "free enterprise" and all the belief systems that comes with that, including pre-packaged political parties designed to keep the system from ever changing.
I oppose a nation that takes on the position of "world cop" and will enforce politics that this country and most of
I will also join in with those who want to honor those black people who died at the hands of our police.
With those two goals in mind, I will celebrate the lives of those who died at the hands of our imperialist army and racist police.
So pass the hamburger buns and the ketchup.

Friday, May 27, 2016

India- CRPP Statement on the release of Dr. G. N. Saibaba on bail

The Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr GN Saibaba whole-heartedly welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of India to release Dr GN Saibaba on bail forthwith. This is indeed a much needed and long awaited relief for Dr Saibaba, who has been languishing in the anda cell of the Nagpur Central Jail since December 2015, when the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court and ordered him to surrender within 24 hours. It was reported by various agencies that Saibaba’s health conditions have been deteriorating drastically as the jail authorities refused to offer proper medical care or continue the special facilities that the High Court had ordered considering the precarious health conditions of a wheelchair-bound person with 90% disability.
The Committee notes that the Supreme Court did not mince its words when the Honourable Judge noted that the opposition to the bail by the State was unfair as the Court had categorically announced that Saibaba would be released on bail once the condition set by the Court in its last hearing in the month of March, 2016 that all the material witnesses have to be examined on a day-to-day basis within a month was fulfilled. In today’s hearing, the Counsel for the State submitted that 8 more formal witnesses have to be examined and that needed Saibaba’s custody till that is also over, as they have apprehensions that he would indulge in anti-national activities if he is released. Rejecting all the arguments presented by the Defence Counsel, the Judge asked them why they wanted to torture a person like this. “Do you want a pound of flesh”, he asked.
The Committee thanks all the lawyers, activists, individuals and organizations that have extended their support so far in the struggle and hopes that they would continue their support till Saibaba gets justice. If the stance taken by the State in the Court proceeding today is any indication, the intimidatory tactics adopted by the State machinery against those who are relentlessly engaged in the struggle for the oppressed and the downtrodden is far from over.
(Hany Babu MT)
For the Committee.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sander’s revolution should include dropping the use of assassin drones

By SJ Otto

While Bernie Sanders is starting to realize he won’t be nominated for the Democratic candidate, it is time to seriously look at his “revolution” in American that he is pushing for. Continuing to push for change is a good thing. But his foreign policy is not so good. He has supported the “kill list,” a list of terrorism suspects that this country plans to assassinate using drones. There is not due process and no trial. If a person’s name is on the list they can be killed along with their family members.

This is a barbaric practice that no civilized country should undertake. It is ridiculous to accuse others of terrorism and then taking up a practice that actually is terrorism. This is one of the worst foreign policy ideas this country ever came up with. It is a disgrace to hear Sanders speaking in support of this, but that is exactly what happened the recently:

"Look. Terrorism is a very serious issue," Sanders told MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "There are people out there who want to kill Americans, who want to attack this country, and I think we have a lot of right to defend ourselves." However, the senator added, "it has to be done in a constitutional, legal way."

The New York Times revealed in 2012 that President Obama hosts a meeting every Tuesday at the White House where he decides which suspected terrorists will be added to a so-called "kill list." Those on the list can then be targeted for killing, typically with an unmanned drone.

"Do you think what's being done now is constitutional and legal?" Hayes asked Sanders, noting the existence of "a list of people that the U.S. government wants to kill."

"In general I do, yes," Sanders replied.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Congressman Pompeo has faith in the military but plays his own people as cowards

By SJ Otto
While US Representative Mike Pompeo R-Kansas is one of the most pro-military politicians of the US House of Representatives, he seems to believe that his constituents are all cowards.
And while he likes to glamorize the military and its heroic efforts to save us from terrorists in the middle-east, he thinks his followers in Kansas are chicken-shits.
 In a recent statement to his constituencies:

"This past week was very important for my fight to help keep the people of Kansas safe.  I’m talking specifically about the fight to stop Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) detainees from being transferred to U.S. facilities such as Ft. Leavenworth.
During the first half of the week, Congress voted on numerous amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation that sets policy for America’s military for the coming year.  Many of the proposed amendments focused on the detention facility at GTMO, and the detainees held there, including one an amendment that I introduced....

Taking questions from Kansans this winter about the potential transfer of GTMO detainees to Kansas
But before I could do so, I joined fellow members of the House of Representatives to stop an amendment that would allow President Obama to move GTMO detainees to the United States, including potentially to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  These terrorists are the worst of the worst.  Data shows that when released, they return to terrorism at a rate that would stun most Kansans. I took to the House floor to forcefully push back against the amendment and protect the people of Kansas from such reckless action."  

After all, this state is not afraid to put serial killers and insane criminals of all types on trial. He implies that Kansans are not safe with Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) detainees. These are the detainees that are denied due process of law. They have never been before a judge...never allowed to challenge the accusations against them, that they are terrorists. Pompeo said they are the "worst of the worst."When we consider that we give serial killers trials, we let some of the worst mass murderers of history get trials, we must wonder how bad these people can be. And while many Kansans are willing to join the military and fight, he assumes the rest of Kansas' people are cowards...too afraid to let these "crazed-criminal-foreigners" a chance at a trial. He says it is way to dangerous to take a chance on giving them a fair trial. These people might win. And then what? And our own system of justice may simply not work. That means it was too flawed to allow foreigners t have trials in the fist place.

Some of the danger cold be that this country would realize that our people also commit war crimes. We assassinate people. We bomb hospitals. And worst  of all, no matter what these "detainees" did, they deserve their day in court.
To continue Pompeo's tirade:

"I’m pleased to report that the amendment was defeated.  I countered this with an amendment of my own, which aims to provide Americans with information on just how committed the GTMO prisoners are to violent jihad.  My NDAA amendment would require that the administration review the terrorist activities of former GTMO detainees, and release to the American public any information on the detainee’s past terrorist activity that can be safely declassified. 
My amendment would require the Obama administration to look Kansans in the face and tell them exactly the type of radical terrorists they are bringing into our state.  With resounding support, this amendment was adopted.  Then, with strong provisions included to keep GTMO open and detainees out of the United States, the House passed the NDAA." 

 No Matter what these detainees actually believe, Pompeo has played the people of Kansas as cowards. And the people of Kansas deserve better than that!

Pompeo makes accusations against alleged terrorist ^^ who never get to defend themselves in their day of court.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Joint Statement by three Revolutionary Maoist Parties-Nepal

Nepal- Sharpen the ideological struggle against the revisionists–the bourgeois.

(On Thursday, May 19, Three Maoist Parties–Nepal Communist Party (Revolutionary Maoist) led by Com. Mohan Baidhya ‘Kiran’, CPN Maoist led by Com. Netra Bikram Chanda ‘Biplav’ and Communist Nucleus Nepal , led by Hemant Prakash Oli ‘Sudarshan’ have published a joint statement regarding the so-called Maoist unity between UCPN(Maoist) and other small factions. One of them there is a faction led by Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ that just split with the Maoist party led by Mohan Baidhya ‘Kiran”. This ‘new unified party’ named as ‘Nepal Communist Party Maoist Center’ has accepted pluralism, multi party system and the current reactionary constitution of Nepal.
It is a matter of surprise that these revisionists have declared themselves as the revolutionaries and their so-called Maoist center as the center of Nepalese Maoists. Not only this they have made Prachanda the renegade as their ringleader. In fact, it is not a party unity rather than it is a gathering of rightist opportunists, who have already lost revolutionary spirit, revolutionary ground and want to take part in the reactionary system. Indeed, they are trapped in a design, designed by the imperialist and expansionist forces. Just they are following the direction of their master.
Realizing the confusion produced by these revisionists the revolutionary three parties have made the situation clear through the Press statement. They have urged the revolutionary cadres and oppressed people not to be confused and stand firmly on the side of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and New Democratic Revolution. The revolutionary parties also have urge to wage ideological struggle against the revisionists. Here is the full text of the Press Statement.)

Joint Statement on so-called Maoist unification
Today in the leadership of UCPN Maoist, some opportunistic groups of so-called Maoists have made a noise and whimper of party unity-a polluted wind. This unity between the rightist groups has produced a lot of confusion among the oppressed people and it is also dangerous for the struggle of the national sovereignty, people’s livelihood , people’s democracy and revolutionary movement. It is not a party unity, but a liaison between the rightist groups and we must go ahead sharpening the ideological struggle against this liaison. In the light of Marxism-Leninism -Maoism, we are dedicated for the New Democratic Revolution and to move ahead in the way to Socialism and Communism. To achieve this goal, it is necessary for the polarization and unification between the true revolutionaries. Therefore we urge the revolutionary people, our well wishers, and true Communists, not to be confused on such false unity and the noise and polluted wind of so-called Maoist unification, and we specially urge to stand firmly on the side of Revolutionary Trend of Nepalese Communist Movement.
May,19, 2016
Kiran, (Chairman, Revolutionary Maoist)
Biplav, ( General Secretary, CPN Maoist)
Hemanta Prakash Oli, Sudarshan(Communist Nucleus, Nepal)

Friday, May 20, 2016

PROSPECTS UNDER A RODRIGO DUTERTE PRESIDENCY –Central Committee of Communist Party of Philippines

The changes to come from the new President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines present possible hope for real change. Duterte seems like a fascist in some ways. But he has made some gestures for peace for the Maoists in that country. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces there will take stock of these changes and analyze the possibilities and pitfalls of cooperating with the new government. -SJ Otto

May 15, 2016
From Democracy and Class Struggle:

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces take stock of the significance of the rise of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as chief political representative of the ruling classes and head of the reactionary client-state and its consequences in advancing the national democratic revolution through people's war.

1. Significance of Duterte's election as president

The election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as next president of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is a resounding rejection of Aquino's claims of "good governance", "inclusive growth" and "tuwid na daan."
He routed the ruling regime's fund-rich and political-favored candidate Mar Roxas.
Duterte strongly attacked the Aquino regime and presented himself as an anti-thesis of the oligarchic and cacique rule, keenly aware of the Filipino people's profound hatred of the Aquino regime and its six years of corruption, mendacity, puppetry and wholesale failure to address the needs of the Filipino people.
By drawing broad support, mobilizing large crowds, social media drumbeating and hitech counter-actions, Duterte succeeded in preempting the plans of the US-Aquino regime to use the automated counting system to steal the elections from him.
Still, there are strong indications that election results were manipulated to boost Roxas' votes, favor Aquino's vice-presidential and senatorial candidates, as well as to prevent progressive partylist groups from gaining more seats in parliament.
With election-related assassinations, vote-buying, use of public funds, party-switching, automated fraud and so on, the recent reactionary elections is as dirty and rotten than before, contrary to insistent claims that elections were democratic, clean and credible.
Duterte’s rise to the presidency is a reflection of the deepening and aggravating crisis of the semi colonial and semi feudal system. He was able to draw broad support from the people because he presented himself as sympathetic to their discontent and deep desire to put an end to the oppressive and rotten ruling system.
Duterte's election also reflects the deepening factional strife among the ruling classes. In running his election campaign, he relied on the strength of contributions by big business and political groups, kingmakers, religious sects, military cliques and other interest groups in his presidential campaign kitty, in exchange for economic and political favors come payback time.
He spent billions to fund his media and advertising campaign, as well as his technology-supported social media campaign.
He polarized the political elite with his cuss-filled bluster. Duterte and his allies advocate federalism criticizing scant national attention and resources, slow delivery of services and failure to develop the local economies. Such a proposal is a reflection of the demand of the ruling classes to further divvy up the country's resources among the ruling elite.
Certain sections of the political elite support Duterte in the hope of pushing his anti-crime crusade to justify the establishment of a police state.
They seek the imposition of more draconian measures to suppress workers' democratic rights and people's human rights to more effectively carry out the exploitation and plunder of the country's human and natural resources.
With Duterte set to become GRP president, for the first time, the Philippine client-state is to be headed by one who is not completely beholden to the US imperialists.
Duterte has railed against the US and the US CIA for whisking away its agent Michael Meiring who accidentally exploded the improvised bomb he was preparing inside a Davao hotel during the height of the 2003 US terror bombings in Mindanao.
He has opposed the use of the Davao airport as a base for US drone operations and has spoken disfavorably against the EDCA. Duterte has slammed the current US and Australian ambassadors for political meddling after recently making comments about his tasteless rape joke.
On the other hand, the rest of the political elite are largely pro-US and favor US dominance and military presence. The CIA and US military and its local agents continue to hold sway over most aspects of the ruling state, especially the AFP. Duterte himself is surrounding himself with pro-US and pro-IMF/WB officials.
The US also continues to hold dominant sway in the Philippine congress, the Supreme Court, the GRP economic policy and finance agencies, media and cultural organizations.
If Duterte seriously and vigorously pursues his promise to eradicate criminality, especially widespread drug trade, within three to six months, he will likely drive a wedge deep into the ranks of military and police generals and bureaucrat capitalists who are protectors, operators and associates of criminal syndicates.
He has bared his intention of declaring a ceasefire as one of his first acts as president in order to boost peace negotiations with the NDFP, as well as with various groups representing the Moro people. He has flaunted his friendship with and respect for the revolutionary forces to the chagrin of the militarists who seek only the suppression of the people's resistance.
Duterte has styled himself a maverick, an anti-establishment politico and a "socialist" and claims he will be the country's first "Left president." Duterte’s avowal of being a socialist, his anti-US fulminations, openness to develop relations with China and enthusiasm for peace negotiations with the revolutionary forces will not sit well among the more rabid defenders of US military intervention, hegemonism and counter-insurgency dogma.

2. Prospects of accelerated peace negotiations with the Duterte regime

After 15 years of stalled NDFP-GRP peace negotiations, the Filipino people are highly desirous of progress in efforts to attain a negotiated political settlement of the long-running civil war.
Certain progressive aspects in Duterte's discourse, his recognition of both the political legitimacy and armed political strength of the revolutionary movement and his history of cooperation with the revolutionary forces in Mindanao, make possible the acceleration of peace negotiations.
The CPP and revolutionary forces welcomes Duterte's plan to seriously pursue the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations as well as his plan to visit The Netherlands in order to personally meet NDFP senior political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison and the Utrecht-based NDFP peace panel.
The CPP fully supports the NDFP proposal, put forward by Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, to pursue NDFP-GRP peace negotiations under the Duterte government with the aim of forging an agreement to establish a government of national unity, peace and development.
Duterte and Prof. Sison can forge a plan for accelerated peace negotiations with the aim of forging comprehensive agreements addressing the substantive issues in a matter of a few months. The CPP and NPA are open to consider proposals for a mutual ceasefire during the definite period of peace negotiations.
The revolutionary forces expect Duterte to recognize and uphold all standing agreements signed by the NDFP and the GRP over the past 20 years, including The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 which has served as framework and anchor of the negotiations; the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG); the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of 1998; and so on.
Necessarily, among the first measures that need to be carried out by the Duterte regime to boost peace negotiations would be the release all detained NDFP consultants and facilitation of their travel to a neutral territory where negotiations can be conducted. They were treacherously arrested in violation of earlier agreements and made to suffer unjust prolonged imprisonment.

3. Challenge for significant reforms under Duterte

Duterte's rhetoric has raised high the people's expectations for substantial and accelerated reforms.
As an avowed opponent of US meddling, Duterte has the unique opportunity to end the 70 year chain of US puppet governments since the 1946 Roxas regime.
He can undo Aquino’s legacy of national humiliation for having served as a pawn in the US "Asia pivot" strategy by allowing the US to restore its military bases and maintain permanent presence of its warships, jet fighters, drones and interventionist troops.
To countervail Aquino's puppetry, he must withdraw his stand to let the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) stand. He must immediately notifiy the US government of his intent to abrogate the EDCA which was signed as an executive agreement in April 2014.. He must rescind the EDCA-sanctioned use of five AFP camps in the Philippines as US military bases and facilities.
He can serve the US notice to end the unequal Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) and the Status of Forces Agreement (SFA) as well as the Mutaul Defense Treaty of 1951, the parent agreement and source of all military iniquities.
He can immediately send home US Ambassador Goldberg for interference in Philippine internal affairs and ask that the US government send a replacement.
Duterte can be the first Philippine president to pursue an independent foreign policy, one that is not beholden to and dependent on the US.
Towards this, Duterte must condemn US war-mongering and US-China saber-rattling and oppose militarization of the territorial sea by the US and Chinese military forces.
He must not allow the US military to use the Philippines as base for its interventionism. If he does so, he is bound to be the Philippines' first world-class president who stood for Philippine sovereignty and prevented the military buildup in the region.
He must oppose the US demand to effect charter change to remove the remaining restrictions against foreign ownership as requirement for Philippine integration into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, dubbed as the "dirtiest deal ever".
Corollarily, he can pursue a policy of developing mutually-beneficial economic and trade relations with China with an aim of ending economic and trade dependence on the US.
He can pursue a policy of engaging China in bilateral talks to peacefully resolve the South China Sea conflict and opposing US military presence in the area.
He can take advantage of the availability of low-interest funds from China’s Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) to support the development of local industry and manufacturing.
Duterte can choose to forge agreements with oil producing countries such as Venezuela, Russia or Iran for state centralized procurement of cheap oil which has been a non-option so far because of the US-defined Philippine foreign policy.
As an ardent anti-crime and anti-corruption advocate, the challenge is for Duterte to prioritize the biggest criminals. The small-fry criminals will disappear without their big fish protectors and sharks up high in the bureaucracy and military and police organization.
He can immediately carry out the arrest and swift prosecution of Benigno Aquino III, Florencio Abad and the biggest criminal perpetrators of the trillion-peso DAP swindle and prevent them from leaving the country. He must follow-through with the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ensure that she is held criminally responsible for the anomalous ZTE broadband deal and other corruption cases, including fraud in the 2004 elections.
The biggest drug lords and criminal syndicates continue to expand their operations under the protection of the top generals of the AFP and PNP. To address the widespread drug trade, Duterte will have to risk subjecting the top echelons of the military and police to a major shakedown to weed out, charge and punish the criminals. Street-level drug pushers and users must be rehabilitated through employment and by establishing centers for medical and psychological rehabilitation from drug abuse.
Duterte has rightly declared his plan to prioritize agriculture, education and health. He must immediately address the urgent needs of the toiling masses of workers and peasants.
To develop agriculture, Duterte is challenged to heed the clamor for genuine land reform which is both an urgent economic and social justice measure. Genuine land reform is the free distribution of land to the peasant tillers and producers. The fake land reform of the past 30 years was a burdensome real estate transaction where peasants were made to pay for the land that they have already earned through years of feudal exactions.
Duterte must cancel all unpaid amortization as well as absorb loans where land titles were collateralized under the prenda system. He can work with organizations of the peasant masses to effect genuine land distribution of Hacienda Luisita, as well as Hacienda Dolores and many other feudal land holdings. He can put an immediate stop to the widespread land-use conversion of farmlands and privatization of public lands that have resulted widespread eviction of peasants and national minorities from their lands.
As an economic policy, genuine land reform can unleash the productive potentials of the peasant masses as owners of land and expand the local market for manufactured commodities.
A correlated national industrialization policy must be geared, among others, towards the mechanization of agriculture in order to boost food production and processing to ensure sufficient supply of low-priced rice, poultry, meat and vegetables. Irrigation facilities must be expanded and subsidized for free use of the peasant producers.
Duterte has declared he is not much of an economist and said he will listen to the experts.
Unfortunately, the supposed experts he is set to appoint are technocrats and big businessmen who excel at neoliberal economic policies and and serve foreign big capitalists, and not at promoting domestic economic growth and production. They advocate the economics of "attracting foreign investments" and "easing restrictions" as sought by the US and foreign big capitalists.
In framing economic policies, Duterte should listen first to the workers and peasants, rather than big business and technocrats who advocate the same failed economic policy of more than half a century. This is decisive. Failure to do so will in the end prove his regime to be not simply part of the neo liberal continuum.
To aim for rapid Philippine independent economic modernization with balanced and integrated development of heavy, medium and light industries, Duterte must repudiate the neoliberal thrusts of liberalization, privatization, deregulation and denationalization of the previous regimes. Advancing land reform and national industrialization will generate jobs and end the need for such palliatives as the conditional cash transfer (4Ps) that only perpetuate the people's poverty and smokescreen the deterioration of public social services.
The Duterte regime must heed the demand of workers and employees for a national minimum wage and the abolition of the regionalization of wages. He must end contractualization and take back his earlier statements against unions and workers rights. Without their unions, workers have nothing to defend themselves against attacks on wages.
In education, Duterte is challenged to scrap the K-12 program which generalizes technical and vocational education to produce cheap contractual labor for export and for export-oriented semi-manufacturing. He must reverse the policy of state abandonment of education and uphold state policy of providing free education for all.
He can push for the integration of education with independent economic modernization through the promotion of research and development in the fields of agricultural production, energy generation, manufacturing, computer technology, new materials and others. To leave a lasting legacy of patriotism, he must gear education to a patriotic cultural renewal by rewriting history from the point of view of the Filipino people instead of its colonial subjugators.
In public health, Duterte is challenged to revoke the policy of privatization of public hospitals and uphold the state policy of providing free public health care for all.
He can end the Philhealth milking cow system of private health insurance and instead ensure that everyone is given access to free health care.
He must deliver the basic social services demanded by the people and recast the national budget to allot sufficient funds for education, health, housing and such.
Furthermore, Duterte must cancel Aquino's highly questionable PPP contracts, including the MRT Cavite extension, which gives the Ayalas, Cojuangcos, Consunjis, Pangilinans and other big bourgeois compradors undue advantage in using state funds and state-guaranteed loans and government assured profits.
In the field of human rights, Duterte must effect the release from prison of close to six hundred political prisoners who continue to suffer from detention, mostly peasants and workers, who are facing trumped-up charges. Duterte can effect their release from prison as a boost to his government's effort to uphold human rights and as a turn back on his endorsement of vigilante killing.
He must pave the way for the return of the Lumad evacuees by ordering the pull-out of the operating troops of the AFP from their schools, communities and land and allow the people to re-open their community-run schools.
He must heed the demand for justice of the Lumad people and recognize their all-encompassing rights as a national minority people, as well as those of other minority groups.
He must undertake steps to punish all violators of human rights of the past thirty years. He must put a stop to extra-judicial killings. He must heed the demand to put an end to the US-instigated Oplan Bayanihan "counterinsurgency" operations and militarization of the countryside.

 4. Challenges to the Filipino people and revolutionary movement

While engaging the Duterte regime in peace negotiations and possible alliance in order to advance the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people, the revolutionary forces will continue to relentlessly advance the people's armed resistance and democratic mass struggles. While open to cooperation and alliance, they must relentlessly criticize and oppose any and all anti-people and pro-imperialist policy and measure. There will be no honeymoon with the Duterte regime.
While incoming GRP President Duterte has displayed progressive aspects, the revolutionary forces are also aware that he is mainly a part of the ruling class political elite.
For the past four decades, he has served the system as a bureaucrat and implemented its laws and policies. He has worked with foreign and local big capitalists, plantation owners and big landlords who expect returns under his regime. The masses of workers, peasants and farm workers in Davao City have long-suffered from the oppressive and exploitative conditions in the big plantations and export-oriented contract-growing businesses.
In his policy pronouncements, Duterte has yet to declare a clear deviation from the dominant neoliberal economic thinking which has brought about grave hardships to the Filipino people for more than three decades.
Indeed, world history has seen the rise under certain conditions of anti-US leaders in countries dominated by the US. In recent years, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) and Bolivia’s Evo Morales (2006-present) have stood militantly to defend their country’s right to self-determination.
Their anti-imperialism allowed their government to free large amounts of resources such as land and oil from foreign control and accrue these to the people in the form of increasing state subsidies for education and public health.
 On the other hand, while clearly benefiting from their government's anti-imperialism and increasing resources for the delivery of social and economic services, the broad masses of workers and peasants continued to suffer from oppression and exploitation because foreign big capitalists and landlords remained dominant in other fields of the economy and state power.
The worsening conditions of the semi colonial and semi feudal system, the deepening factional strife among the ruling classes, the prolonged recession of the US and the rise of China as a competing imperialist power are among the prevailing conditions where we find the rise of political maverick Rodrigo Duterte as GRP president.
The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces keenly look forward to the possibility of forging an alliance with the Duterte regime within a framework for national unity, peace and development. Duterte's mettle is about to be tested. Will he walk his talk and take on the opportunity to stand up against US imperialism? Or will his bombast end up as empty rhetoric?
Duterte must heed the people's mounting clamor for land, jobs, wage increases, free education, public health and housing, reduction in the price of commodities, defense of Philippine sovereignty against US intervention, defense of national patrimony and economic progress and modernization, an end to corruption and crime in the bureaucracy, military and police.
If he fails or refuses to heed the people's clamor, he is bound to end up a mere historical anomaly and suffer the same fate as the Estrada regime.
The Filipino people are ever ready to intensify the people's war to advance the revolution and mass struggles to amplify their democratic demands.
The New People's Army must continue to carry out the tasks set forth by the CPP Central Committee to intensify the people's war by launching more frequent tactical offensives and seizing more arms from the enemy.
Armed with a strategic and historical point-of-view, the Filipino proletariat and people know fully well that only a people's democratic revolution can decisively and thoroughly end imperialist and local big bourgeois comprador and landlord rule by overthrowing its armed state.
By intensifying their struggles, the Filipino people are bound to attain more and more victories in the years to come.
The people's war is set to press forward under the Duterte regime.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the western news media can't and won't explain what it REALLY MEANT!

It is the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and if there is one certainty in life as definite as death and taxes it is that the average reader will learn NOTHING from reading the average bourgeois newspaper or periodical of any kind. For example there is "China’s Cultural Revolution, Explained", an article in The New York Times. The fact is this article does not explain any of the cultural revolution except the usual horror stories of the Red Guards. for example:

"The movement was fundamentally about elite politics, as Mao tried to reassert control by setting radical youths against the Communist Party hierarchy. But it had widespread consequences at all levels of society. Young people battled Mao’s perceived enemies, and one another, as Red Guards, before being sent to the countryside in the later stages of the Cultural Revolution. Intellectuals, people deemed “class enemies” and those with ties to the West or the former Nationalist government were persecuted. Many officials were purged. Some, like the future leader Deng Xiaoping, were eventually rehabilitated. Others were killed, committed suicide or were left permanently scarred. Some scholars contend that the trauma of the era contributed to economic transition in the decades that followed, as Chinese were willing to embrace market-oriented reforms to spur growth and ease deprivation."

The entire article is bull shit. That is not to say that the horror stories of the Red Guard are false or made up. There were some excesses of the Red Guards. But the Red Guards were only one small part of the Cultural Revolution. There were several campaigns combined and all of them were designed to move the country forward politically and to empower the bottom classes of Chinese society who had been traditionally treated as little more than slaves or serfs.
But none of this can be found in The New York Times article. That article follows the standard political line that the Cultural Revolution was nothing more than a purge of Mao's enemies and it supposedly resulted it chaos, massive upheaval and horror stories. To put things bluntly the bourgeois press hates the Cultural Revolution and to specify what I mean by bourgeois press I mean the entire capitalist political spectrum from ultra-conservative to left-wing liberal and even many Democratic Socialists. That is because the Cultural Revolution violated a sacred western tenant of ALWAYS supporting the free enterprise system and opposing any movement that seeks to promote equality among the lower classes with the upper classes. Both free enterprise and the value of wealthy elites are the sacred cows of western civilization.  
Another example is " 'What mistake did we make?' Victims of Cultural Revolution seek answers, 50 years on" in The Guardian(British). The first line in this article is typical of the patronization of the Chinese people;

"Families destroyed by Mao’s political upheaval say they cannot forgive while China still refuses to face up to its past"

By "face up to its past" this publication is saying that a group of western intellectuals know more about the Chinese experience than those people who actually witnessed it first hand and lived under it. This is classic western elitism and simply takes the position that "if we don't like this and we see it as a major crime, then there is something wrong with all of you that you don't see things that way." The Chinese could just as easily question the US, NATO and Australian policy of assassinating suspected terrorist leaders, without du process using drones. That could also be seen as a major war crime and today this program is going without question. So one cultures' crimes are another cultures' conveniences.
However we do have some left authors who are looking at the Cultural Revolution for it's positive aspects. Not to long ago I posted an article here about a girl who went to the countryside to work with the peasants and she did not view it as a form of punishment as most bourgeois press does. She understood the reasons behind that campaign and found the experience rewarding. In "China- Despite what we read from our mainstream press, we can get books showing the other side of Mao’s China," Wang Zheng, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Michigan, is quoted for writing “We had a dream that the world can be better than today.”
And recently I came across; "The Cultural Revolution: What Revolution Looked Like and Will Look Like," from Red Midwest. This article is a rebuttal to The Guardian article quoted above. It is a good piece and well worth reading, although I wish those who write such articles would go a little easy on the Marxist rhetoric and focus more on simple writing that the average person could understand. And still it is worth reading:

"Two days ago, the bourgeois liberal/social democratic newspaper Guardian put out an article, well received by anti-communists of various types, including many “leftists” in the West, which repeats tired canards about the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which began in earnest on May 16, 1966, 50 years ago this Monday. The Guardian piece, titled “What mistake did we make?’ Victims of Cultural Revolution seek answers, 50 years on”, is an atrocious piece, calling the Cultural Revolution a “ruinous political movement” and copying accounts from people whose family members were struggled against and died as a result, one of whom stated “Nothing like this happened in 5,000 years of Chinese civilization…it can’t be allowed to happen again”. What shouldn’t be allowed to happen again, and why? Does this individual interviewed for this bourgeois hit piece not know that the lion’s share of China’s 5,000 year history, for the masses of Chinese people, was spent under indescribable pain and suffering in the slave, feudal, semi-feudal, and bureaucrat-capitalist system? The revolution that saw military victory in 1949 with the overthrow of the Kuomintang reactionaries and bureaucrat-capitalists under chief warlord Chiang Kai-Shek marked the essential end of 5,000 years of oppression and soul-crushing depredation for hundreds of millions of people! This thing that shouldn’t be allowed to happen again was, objectively, the most free stage of recorded human history in China from the perspective of the masses, if not the world."

For the rest click here.
- សតិវ​អតុ