Editor's Foreword: 2014, long and tumultuous year, is wrapping up. It's been a year full of news, and hyper-inflated non-news. It's been a year known more for dystopic regression than for its opposite, although the latter will be memorialized. While Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis remain troubled with gang wars, layoffs, and pension raids, the stock markets rallied to an all time high. Where will the financial wizards be off to next? The editorial "Year in Review: China Revolution and Counterrevolution" connects with strategic interests. This year's race riots in Ferguson prove that our future remains mired in the past. Police brutality reconfigures economic progress with an expanding number of Americans financially dependent on food stamps. Couldn't violence also be connected with our culture, which prizes cost-cutting over moral and ethical standards? What about the weakening of middle-class morale due to the stifling of healthy political discourse? "Kim Pham Death Deserves APA Mourning" is an article dedicated to Kim Pham, an aspiring Vietnamese-American writer now more famous in death than life. The Seasoning Rant this month is "Community Fascism Rising" about the sanctioning of hypocrisy nationwide. We can vote as long as it's symbolic. We can even view a third-rate comedy with assassination, kidnap, rape, torture, etc. of national leaders--so long as they don't live in the White House. Whoopee!
As the dream goes, the dogs of capitalism will not rest until, sic them or no, they are unleashed in full fury against the current Communist Party of China.
According to China: Revolution and Counterrevolution by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), while the People's Republic of China (PRC) has adopted market socialism for the benefit of the country, it has not fully embraced market reforms to the satisfaction of the imperialist powers.
The imperialist powers, headed by NATO, are bound to use any means necessary to destabilize and unseat the remaining powerful socialist countries--currently they have their sights set on Russia and China. We are already witnessing anything from all out physical war to covert events, legal and economic sanctions, diplomacy to realign allies, and mass media brainwashing.
2014 was a horrific year in terms of human lives lost to warring actions, direct and indirect. Millions of people in Syria have been displaced and thousands have died due to lack of adequate food and water, let alone loss of livelihoods. In July, mass attacks on the civilian populace in Palestinian territories began, killing thousands. Throughout the year, there has been civil unrest, a staged coup, and fighting in the Ukraine. Meanwhile in Pakistan and Yemen, drone attacks have continued, causing innocent lives to be lost and sowing the seeds of enmity.
Food riots, mass displacements, and the shutting off of water in the Euphrates is aggravating situations in the Near East by design. According to independent economics professor Michel Chossudovsky in a recent interview on Guns and Butter (KPFA radio), ISIS is no less than a CIA counter-terrorist creation, set to destabilize the entire region. The goal is to justify more war by the United States in order to conquer Syria, Iraq, and eventually Iran through borderless territories.
According the China: Revolution and Counterrevolution, the legal parliamentary systems of the United Nations serves to benefit the largely Western imperialist powers that be. China's role in the United Nations has been one of appeasement. In the hopes of survival and improving the lives of its 1.5 billion people, China has downplayed the war in Iraq, and even voted for sanctions against Iran.
Economic sanctions have been used to undermine emergent socialist governments in Africa and South America as forms of punishment over the clashing of ideals, of governments, or in efforts to weaken nations so they become forced to accept IMF loans with its exploitative dogma. Presently, hefty economic sanctions have been placed against Russia presumably for its invasion of Crimea (which voted to stay in Russia) and the controversial downing of the MH17 jet over Eastern Ukraine.
Unfortunately, the U.S. budget for 2015, ongoing base building in South Korea, and the failure by the White House Administration to genuinely support peace talks, plus the New Cold War, are tragic indications that encirclement will continue until full spectrum dominance is firmly established.
In "Independent Development vs Imperialist Domination," contributor Caneisha Mills writes:
Underdevelopment in Africa and all over the world is the legacy of centuries of colonial and neocolonial domination over oppressed countries. Imperialist powers continue today to vie for access to markets and labor in these countries. It is the basis for corporations and banks to extract what V.I. Lenin called "super-profits"--profits above and beyond the "normal" rate of profit in the imperialist homelands (44).
China: Revolution and Counterrevolution underscores the PRC's legacy of socialist roots from the establishment of the Red Army up through the 1960s, when under the proletarian dictatorship, trade was monopolized, and central economic planning drove domestic production. Nationwide public ownership means state-wide programs for employment; it means workers and peasants receive jobs and training, food and housing, access to health clinics, free public education for all.
The socialist scientific viewpoint through the prism of communist revolution in countries past and present is that the imperialist drive for full-spectrum dominance diguises itself in the form of counter-revolutions, and it is easy to do so in socialist countries entrapped in the free market cycle.
Thus a major question arises with regard to PRC's transition and appeasement policy: Has the People's Republic of China (PRC) sold out, now that it has adopted market socialism, a policy supporting increased privatization, defunding communes, state enterprises, townships with public programs, and forcing tens of millions to compete for factory jobs in cities hundreds of miles away?
Ma Bin believes so in his open letter, "Precarious is China's Socialism!" (reprinted in the book). His theme is that the Chinese people--and all socialists by analogy--have reached a critical time. They criticize the Party for allowing neofeudalism to recur, supporting the profit-making engines. Ma Bin deplores the growth of petty capitalists within the party rank, evidenced by widening social gaps.
Imperialism, capitalism, and their agents have encircled and suppressed us in the areas of politics, ideology, economic and political finance, educational methods, national defense, and the military, diplomatic and national issues and religion (104).
Naturally the next question which arises is how badly has the PRC sold out? Is a return to communist-style socialism possible if the PRC is entrapped within the capitalist net on the road to becoming a "medium developed country"?
China: Revolution and Counterrevolution explores these questions in logical elegant prose. Its contributors analyze issues such as whether China's appeasement policy is sustainable, can market methods build socialism, and compare this context against phases in China's socialist revolution.
In the appendix, the PSL resolution on China is included, a tract titled, "For the defense of China against counterrevolution, imperialist intervention, and dismemberment," summarizes the findings as presented in previous articles in the book. This provides an indispensable framework for China students as a case study in Marxist-Leninist theory with extenuations to apply theory with practice. Imperial intervention is already a foregone conclusion, but can it avoid dismemberment such as has occurred in the breakup of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Poland, and elsewhere?
Central to national unity and socialist sovereignty is its call for activism and accountability. While recognizing that the rights of the proletariat are increasingly compromised, PSL recognizes the need for a robust Chinese bourgeoisie, however contradictory:
A strong state that is focused on China's national interests, as opposed to a comprador-based state, is essential both to the independence and economic development of China's working class and peasantry, and to the development of the indigenous Chinese capitalists. If the imperialists have entirely unfettered access to China's markets and resources, the interests of both the working class and the emerging Chinese bourgeoisie will be trampled, reducing the latter to a secondary comprador layer (167).
PSL also recognizes that the struggles of a growing number of workers and peasants may erupt into protests; nevertheless, it believes that the CPC must do what it can to rein in the unrest:
The rightful place of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is to stand with these workers and peasants in their confrontation with the Chinese government and with the domestic and foreign capitalists. If the communists stand aside, they will lose all credibility with their historic social base (192).
PSL's defense is a long, edifying socialist tract. It provides a time-capsule study of the prior emergence of the European bourgeois states prior to and during Western industrialization. It examines how China's recent role on the world stage has allowed transnational companies to reap huge profits, yet stops short in spelling out ways to counter the counterrevolutionary forces.
One must reread the end of Ma Bin, et al's public letter to examine the list of important documents of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought: songs, rules, and books waiting to be rediscovered by Party Members, so that they better understand what socialists must face in China today.
1. Interview with Michel Chossudovsky, Guns and Butter, KPFA, December 24, 2014
2. China: Revolution and Counterrevolution, contributors include Brian Becker, Gloria La Riva, Eugene Puryear, Sarah Sloan, and others, San Francisco: PSL Publications, 2012.
Annie Kim Pham, an aspiring writer, wasn't always perfect. Reports on what happened last year early on January 18th are conflicting. Did Pham step in front of the camera as Adolfo Flores and Anh Do describe in their Los Angeles Times article? Or was it she who was trying to take a picture?
The official word on November 14, 2014 after months of investigation after that fateful night is that Pham "threw the first punch" therefore the defendants could only be convicted of manslaughter.
According to the Daily Mail, the judge chastised the young women saying, "If any of you had just swallowed your pride and walked away none of us would be sitting here."
One thing for certain is that two of the perpetrators will do some jail time, while Pham's family, friends, and the Vietnamese community continue to mourn.
The November 14th sentencing caused even more media stir than last January when Pham had to be taken off life support three days after being kicked unconscious. This could be because for once, a modicum of justice is being meted out by the law.
So many times in the past, high profile cases such as Vincent Chin (1982), Annie Le (2009), Pvt. Danny Chen (2011), and David Phan (2012) only resulted in racially biased court rulings. Is the tide beginning to turn in support for Asian Pacific Islanders/Americans?
A short list of Asian Pacific American news coverage was compiled. Here are a few Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) resources:
Angry Asian Man covers the case in his blog in January and recently
AsAm News has news under the "Kim Pham" tag
Asiance magazine adapts an article for readers
Epoch Times reported that fear and distrust of the police might hamper the investigation
Nguoi Viet (Nguoi-viet.com) covers the Kim Pham trial extensively throughout July 2014
Tumblr has a page of tags: Ms. Pham wrote for magazines, most notably for A Melting Pot of Thoughts, a multimedia project
At YouCaring.com, her friends helped raise money to cover funeral and other expenses
At Change.com, Elizabeth Alarcon started a petition to "Hold people accountable for not helping those in peril."
The LA Times (January 21) quote:
“She was a beautiful person, not because she was a beautiful young lady, but because she had a heart of gold,” said Mai Bui, executive editor of the collections [Thirteen Minutes magazine].Nguoi-Viet.com (November 14) quote:
“I loved my daughter very much,” said Pham's father, James Pham. “The world means nothing to me as one of my children is not here with me. No matter what the sentence is, it will not bring my daughter back. I feel happy and sad at the same time – happy we found who was responsible for my daughter's death and sad for the families of the two women.”
One perspective about this tragedy is that it is a call to reflect upon our societal failings. What our country does in the world at large, what our culture celebrates repeatedly in the promotion of occult fantasy Hunger Games or Warcraft has transformed our internal and external sense of humanity.
We are no longer humans, but rather, gadget operaters and occupiers living in the Matrix.
What we can employ our liberal arts education toward is examining the growth in public malfeasance. For instance, subject this senseless beating to critical analysis in terms of the intersections of feminism and contemporary culture.
Women fighting outside the traditional male night club: the unspoken discourse of unconscious female competition over perceptions of what they lack---seen through their male libido camera lens.
The interplay between unconscious despair and do-me-dare speaks volumes in literary discourse about the devolution of contemporary American civilization, one which prices drums of oil and its manifold contaminating processes over the priorities of people in our nation and around the world.
It raises questions such as why people so cherish the notion of being seen at a hip nightspot for culture. One wonders if it is that their self-conception feels trivialized.
Based and feted by keeping up appearances, the women from Amazonia battle their counterparts, the Far Eastern women warriors, like to so many heroic anime jumping out from the manga books.
Elitist oil drum capitalists pump money into Hollywood to support various dark movies and demonic pop groups precisely for replification, programming the pitting of young women against one another, plus the ideal that we must fight to the death in order to be portrayed as "successful."
Believing only in our supposed selves and the power of the individualist, the dream of a better society that benefits everyone--where corporations are owned by people for the benefit of all--dissolves like chalk paintings subject to a storm.
We chase after the shiny icons, and if or when we fail, subject ourselves to unnatural hate rituals.
Can we be more than the clever amoral animals our profit-driven institutions are conditioning us to become?
Can't we see that the grappling over status, jobs and the money it brings to help us survive, brings the perverse specialist, or military operators joy?
When we act like we enjoy being pigs in mud-wrestling contests, then they are encouraged to feed us more slop for culture....
Welcome to the New World Order, where the perfect cameo of the public stoning, filmed, tweeted, or shared on shiny gadgets exemplifies clever technology--and living proof of the mind trapped in the Matrix.
Photo posted at Angry Asian Man (January 22, 2014). Article previously published online and cross-posted with slight modification by the author.
America, the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave!
Sung at nearly every single ball game during half-time, no child could possibly have the national anthem not memorized.
I have a problem with the words "Free" and "Brave"; in particular, how they no longer apply to our every day ability to express ourselves, to engage in political discussion, to explore issues that affect the citizenry across the board.
"Free" as defined by this country's founders meant freedom of religion, speech, and expression; however, these have become seriously undermined since 9-11.
It used to be that people could more or less openly discuss politics, along with books and current events, in schools, church meetings, public spaces, cafes, town-halls, and during travels.
However, these days, mention politics, and you are liable to be met with hostility, and even combativeness, because politics--and almost any other subject deemed controversial--is taboo.
This is the opposite of the free and literate society envisioned by great democratic philosophers.
We are not a free, literate society if we cannot even sharpen our thoughts and viewpoints against the whetstone of others in open debate. Or when speech arts is only an elective in school.
Thomas Paine's Rights of Man, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens by The National Assembly of France, Four:
Political liberty consists in the power of doing whatever does not injure another. The exercise of the natural rights of every man [human being], has no other limits than those which are necessary to secure to every other man [human being] the free exercise of the same rights; and these limits are determinable only by the law.
How is it that we feel as if it's no longer the case where we can assert our right of free speech anywhere without threat of surveillance outside of sanctioned topics? Can we really voice our opinions? On politics? On religion? How about presenting an independent viewpoint?
The only exception seems to be within the academic unit curricula, facilitated by careful limited discussions. Pre-drawn conclusions form the core of developmental hearings. Church members are encouraged to surrender their citizenhood to surrogate political lobbies. Free speech platforms are legislatively mangled to the point of dismantlement on college campuses.
The result is a society innocent of current affairs outside the nightly news. It's become a private affair, at most safely tweeted about. Nobody is worried if you are ignorant, but they are evidently distressed if you seem be too well-rounded, know too much, so pretty soon pretty-you is forced to prate only about nice weather, wonderful shopping, save-on-foods, fashion clothing...
How can it be that we are not the mealy-mouthed objects of Fascist-Oligarchy fantasy? Just something to think about...
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