By Rainer Shea – Jun 4, 2021
Apart from the Marxist-Leninists who share the goals of the Communist Party of China, virtually every facet of the political continuum within the U.S. and its aligned countries is hostile towards China. Reactionaries hate China because it’s socialist. Liberals (which include many anarchists) hate China because it’s supposedly “totalitarian.” Maoists, Trotskyists, and other socialist factions which often act antagonistic towards Marxism-Leninism hate China because they don’t see it as socialist. Why do even leftists in the core of global imperialism join in on a consensus that’s being cultivated by the organs of internal covert CIA propaganda? Because living in the core of global imperialism instills one with a certain hubris.
U.S. culture, entrenched in imperialist arrogance and the narcissistic ideal of “libertarianism,” has made most Americans immediately susceptible to the fabricated claims of Chinese Uyghur “concentration camps,” Chinese pandemic “coverrups,” and Chinese “aggression” that the media has shoved down our throats during the last several years of escalating U.S. imperialist reaction to China’s rise; a survey from this year found that since 2018, favorable views of China from the U.S. public have dropped from 53% to 20%, an all-time low.
This propaganda campaign has been so successful because its range of lies and slanders directed towards China has been so broad, allowing Americans to pick and choose their reasons for resentment. If you’re a religious fanatic who thinks abortion should be outlawed, they’ve given you a misleading Amazon documentary claiming that the Chinese government has forced women to get abortions. If you’re a racist who doesn’t like Asians, they’ve given you a pseudo-scientific rumor from notoriously unreliable intelligence agencies justifying the belief that Covid-19 was created in a Wuhan laboratory. If you’re a leftist who rightly hates capitalism and imperialism, they’ve given you ahistorical and undialectical “analysis” on why China is supposedly just another capitalist empire. Sinophobia allows the imperial chauvinist imagination to run wild.
Yes, Americans have a lot of opinions about China these days, and many of them will never give up those opinions because they’ve already chosen the political camps which are tied to them. But it doesn’t matter what Americans think of China, or of the geopolitical and socioeconomic trends which surround it. Because the PRC’s rise is going to continue dramatically reshaping the direction of history in the coming decades, and Americans will be forced to confront the implications that this will have for events within U.S. borders.
Despite the debunkable charges about China’s trade practices being “imperialist,” the country’s economic rise is reversing the global economic inequities created by Euro-American colonialism. As the Indian Marxist scholar Saikat Bhattacharya has assessed about the Belt and Road Initiative, one of the Chinese programs that our media likes to fearmonger about:
BRI is best understood as the antithesis of colonialism. While colonialism was a Western response to its trade deficit with Asian kingdoms and also to the supremacy of Asian mode of production over Western pre-industrial revolution era production, BRI is the response of trade surplus China to the fact that US share of global GDP is becoming too small to generate demand for Chinese products. So China must invest around the world in developing countries which will give Chinese products market simultaneously. While colonialism is associated with the decline of Asia, BRI is about sharing resources of rising China with the rest of the world. Before the rise of the West, China was the top global producer and that period is not associated with colonialism. So China reclaiming back its old position cannot be termed as colonialism rather BRI is the antithesis of colonialism.
This isn’t speculation. Tangible evidence has been coming out in recent years which proves that China is lifting the world’s most exploited peoples out of the poverty imposed on them by the imperialists. As the rapper and entrepreneur Akon assessed last year, around half a billion people in Africa have gained electricity because of the infrastructural development project that China has enabled him to help carry out within the continent. Akon said that this fact alone proves China has done more good work for Africa than any other country. He also observed that prior to the enrichment which the Deng reforms brought, China was in a similar position to the deep impoverishment which Africa was in before the PRC embarked on these projects within the continent.
And these recent gains are built upon the unprecedented benefits that China had previously brought to Africa. As Global Times wrote last year:
President Nyerere, one of the initiators of Tazara, had this to say about the railway: In the past, construction of railways by foreigners in Africa was for the purpose of plundering Africa’s wealth. The Chinese did it for a totally different purpose; they built it to help us grow our national economy. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s founding President and leader of the independence movement in the southern part of Africa, described that part of history emotionally, “The history of Tazara is that former President Nyerere of Tanzania and I, myself went to the West and told them we need this railway between Tanzania and Zambia… The West rejected that proposal. They said… don’t think of this. President Nyerere and I then went to see Chairman Mao, and the prime minister (Zhou Enlai). We talked and put it to them, and they readily agreed, ‘we’ll go together to build that railway,’ this came. They came as brothers and sisters, as friends, as comrades with common struggle… So you can see, the friendship is genuine. When others thought it was not necessary… we built it. What more friendship do you want to see more than that?”
As the shift towards a multi-polar world continues, China is taking this generations-long practice of lifting up the exploited world closer to its logical conclusion: making the exploited countries so wealthy that they can no longer be exploited. These accounts from those who’ve benefited from this process show whose opinions on China really matter. Americans can talk all the nonsense about China they want, but it won’t stop the masses within the nations China is enriching from embracing the emerging global order where Washington no longer holds an iron grip.
Washington is trying to hold onto this grip through intensifying its occupations of Africa and other parts of the Global South. The Biden administration is expanding its military installations across Africa, boostingits military presence in Oceania and southeast Asia, and fortifying U.S. support for the despotic Latin American regimes which Washington has been militarizing in recent years. But as In These Times assessed this year, Washington’s global arms buildup isn’t able to prevent the U.S. empire’s decline, especially not in Latin America:
For much of the 20th century, the United States used Latin America as a laboratory to develop its tools of colonial rule: annexation, military intervention, clandestine and paramilitary warfare, kidnapping and so-called “extraordinary rendition.”…This kind of subterfuge enabled the United States to forge a Pax Americana that was never all that peaceful and has ultimately proven unsustainable. Today, the imperial lab is in disarray; the machines have malfunctioned (or ceased to function at all), and the floor managers have gone raving mad. Even as the United States is reckoning with decades of imperial violence in the form of mass migrations along its Southern border, the Biden administration wants to limit Latin American trade with China while simultaneously refusing to end patent protections for urgently needed Covid-19 vaccines in the Global South.
In a different way from Africa — though also one where China is a major help — Latin America is shaking off imperial control. In the last year, the Bolivian masses have reversed the 2019 CIA coup within their country, Peru has elected a socialist as president, a socialist candidate has come to lead Chile’s presidential race, and Colombia and Haiti have undergone great uprisings in response to their brutal and anti-democratic neo-colonial regimes. Despite the imperialists having succeded at sabotaging the presidential campaign of an anti-IMF candidate in Ecuador earlier this year, Ecuador and the rest of the neo-colonies will at some point join the circle of rebel countries. Especially because Washington continues to fail to oust the region’s anti-imperialist governments in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela, and because China’s influence continues to spread throughout the region, an expansion of Latin American anti-imperialist governance is inevitable. When this new wave of revolutions starts, it’s not going to be limited to Latin America, and it’s going to weaken capital in the core imperialist countries as well.
The economic isolation that the U.S. is creating for itself with its sanctions will increase, exacerbated by a coming dollar crash that gets furthered by Washington’s shrunken capacity to exploit global markets. As Washington is forced to withdraw its global forces and enters into an even worse depression than it’s in now, the U.S. ruling class will react by importing its foreign private mercenaries to become police forces, further stoking Sinophobia among the population, imposing further neoliberal austerity, purging political dissidents, and potentially provoking the other superpowers into a world war. But the contradictions of U.S. colonialism and capitalism will have already grown too big for an internal revolt to be stopped.
It’s then that the Marxist-Leninist movement within U.S. borders will have an opening to rise above all the retrograde political factions which have kept it marginalized. The anti-Chinese orthodoxy may dominate our culture for now, but its hegemony will be thrown into question once China wins the geopolitical and economic battle. Imperial hubris means nothing in the face of dialectics and history. Reality will give the Americans who despise China so much a series of hard lessons.
Featured image: File Photo