By Saswat Pattanayak
The lesson that China provides is simple, yet very revealing. True that the old guards of the left haven’t had a say in decades, during which periods, puppets of free markets, like Jiang Zemin have only created a “privatized” communist party by allowing business houses to have a say in the country’s governance. It’s also true that the current president Hu Jintao has proved no better with his pro-market initiatives whereby China allows FDIs worth billions in its continued commitment to the World Trade Organization, the single biggest global testament of capitalism.
Alongside, Wen Jiabao, who can be called the Manmohan Singh of China, in that both the prime minister are famous for their constant adoration of a brand of liberalization that promotes national growth only to increase rich-poor divide, has also kept the official policies of China in line with free market than socialist economy.
Clearly it signals two things: after its official differences with the erstwhile Soviet Union following Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in early 60’s and of the Soviet-Chinese border clash in the mid-60’s (following Czech crisis), the US of A has grown to be a bigger player in determining Chinese future courses. It became apparent also recently with the unfolding of Nixon archives, where it was found that the US was clearly subverting the subcontinent region by playing China and Pakistan against India in Indira Gandhi’s pro-Soviet decision to liberate Bangladesh. If not in relative types, in certain degrees more or less, the bipolar world (highly ideology driven, and entirely governed by conspirators who were no mythical then as active they are today) has continued to exist.
I would argue that from an entirely Eurocentric view, the end of cold war may have signaled an end to bipolarism and hence led to the demise of the ideological battles. But from an international peoples’ viewpoint, this is entirely untrue. First, the cold wars were never cold—the obsession to contain communism from spreading caused to numerous mass-scale wars initiated by the pro-capitalist lobby of western militarists in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Secondly, after the demise of Soviet Union, the philosophy and practice of communism never withered away. Rather quite a few places in the world started grappling with the fact that the power of capitalist lobby that they were in constant tussle with, in cooperation with the erstwhile Soviet Union, were looming yet larger without the union. It led even Fidel Castro to buckle under pressure, letting Cuban economy go liberal (a topic not often discussed, lest it becomes another classic case of study to see the disparities in economy during and after a socialist economy). Likewise, just about the same time that his long time friend Nelson Mandela had declared emancipation of working class in the South Africa, to avoid a further escalation of peoples’ armies, the world body “granted” immediate power to the African National Congress, not to lead a revolution by no means, but to conduct structural adjustments with the oppressor class of the country and simmer down the power of its revolutionary peoples forever by singing the garb of newly declared (and never found) freedom. The 90’s heralded the so-called liberation of Eastern European economies too—Czech, long considered as occupied (by the western media), the Poland of its Pope, who never lost interest in ranting his anti-communist views in every trip to his land, and in his enthusiast trips to all lands the then communistic. In other words, the economic pressures, after the systematic downfall of the Russian communism definitely led to (in)voluntary end of many socialist economies in the world. The capitalism had succeeded to intervene in many countries, by sheer intervention, blackmailing, and economic hijacking.
But what had not ended was the bipolarity of the world. What had never ended was the battle of ideologies. With the much less publicized, way less talked about hundreds of events of protests against the world trade organization (the holy cow of capitalism, considering the fates of people who voiced anything undesirable about it) in several countries of the world, where millions of protestors clearly represented the unified voices of the billions of underrepresented people of the world, the private media industry refused to acknowledge these contradictions of its ‘free world’.
With the homegrown crises of capitalism rocking its world, increasing the poverty circles in the so-called western societies, the ruling elites (who also call themselves G-7) decided to shift focus from their unique needs (a la Nato) to massive onslaughts on the economies that still refused to partake in its expansion mode (a la Wars). What we saw in the early 90’s throughout the world was a with-the-enemy-or-with-us approach to free trade agreements. By the mid 90’s, several of those poor yet dignified countries of the so-called third world had already succumbed to the papers. Those who did not, or did so partially, (like India’s yes to markets, and no to NPT), there have been pressures which would eventually make them do so. Recently, Indian PM’s overly enthusiastic agreement to everything that was on the offing is one indication. Not only during the late 90’s, the partners in crime of global militarist lobby, the Indian right wing party BJP was allowed to conduct the N-test, thus leaving behind a corpse of past glories of disarmament advocacies, but with the present Singh government, the unabashed partner in crime of the global capitalist lobby, it was allowed to enter into nuclear pact –very soon it will also sign the NPT. Ha! Don’t be surprised—and go have a dance of death on the debris.
Again, not to say that the entire country of India was dancing on the deathbed of its dignity. Indeed a huge majority of people in China or India –that comprise the majority of people in the world, by the way—work in agrarian sector (if that helps to shatter the myth of a “great Chinese consumer class”, a “great Indian middle class” or “the hi-tech India/China”) and they did not dance to the tunes of mantras that would bereft them from whatever they still have—a home in the forest they do not want to give away to the industrialists, a village by the river they do not want to sacrifice, a low rent apartment in the cities they do not want to let go for their inability to pay higher on the same, a medical bill that continues to spiral by global price rise, a grocery bill that rises in price for essential commodities. This refusal to buckle under pressure to the high price rise of essential commodities, a avowed disapproval to any moral deviation from the disarmament pledge, an economic decision to live cooperatively, a social rejection of the conditions leading to disparities between the elites and the poor—this is an ideology that’s shaped to counter its only one opponent—the high priests and missionaries of corporate capitalism.
The most glaringly obvious example today can be found in China today. The introduction of a bill to usher in right to privileges to the private property owning class, has been challenged highly and mightily by the minority left law makers, making it almost difficult to bridge away from the main question. The question, that was being taken for granted for so long as a non-existent one. A question when answered will show not the predictable fall of communism, but the predictable trends of market economy that result in greater divide between the rich and the poor. In the resurgent neo-capitalist China of 10% annual economic growth, the disparities between the rich and the poor has in fact grown in the proportion of 3.3:1. The case for every capitalist economy is more or less same or worse today in the world, with the flagship country US reeling under economic crises of the poor majority which it refuses to officially acknowledge. But the crack, beginning with China, has started to show and the pundits of market reforms better watch out.
The national economic growth does not have anything to do with the poorest section of the society, purely because the line of development, until taken in the direction of cooperative economic emancipation, will not broaden its base to be inclusive; rather from a purely economic sense of competitive market economy in a capitalist or neo-capitalist society what will prevail are monopolistic trends, bringing in more profits alone, to stay exclusively elitist. For all we know from our basic standards of education, profits are differentiated from welfare in that, they are hoarded for personal greed, not distributed for social benefits.