Archive for the Marx Category

Beijing hosts First World Congress on Marxism [Global Times]

Posted in Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Education, Marx, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on February 8, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhang Hui
Published: 2015-10-12

*** Ideology to help China through social, economic challenges: analysts ***

China attaches great importance to the …first World Congress on Marxism in Beijing in solving its growing social and economic problems during the transition period, and the event offered a chance for China to spread Marxist ideology, observers said on Sunday.

As the biggest academic conference on Marxism held in China, the congress, “Marxism and the Development of the Human Race,” attracted more than 400 Marxist scholars from 20 countries.

The discussions center on China’s development path, theories and systems, together with the worldwide influence exerted by Marxism to promote human development, the Guangming Daily reported on Sunday.

Observers said that the congress helped address China’s concerns during a critical transition.

“China faces an increasing number of problems in the midst of its economic slowdown and deepening reform, such as corruption and the growing income gap, which require the country to use Marxism to explain and solve them,” Xin Xiangyang, a research fellow on Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The congress also provided an opportunity for Western countries to learn from China, as China’s adherence to Marxism for decades has made huge headway in both social and economic development, while the Western world has not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, Xin said.

Observers said that since President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of Marxist ideology, there has been a resurgence of the ideology as the theoretical foundation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in China.

President Xi said in January that Marxist philosophy provides CPC members with the right approach to problem-solving, as China continues its path of reform and development.

He stressed several times “sinicization” and modernization of Marxism in his speeches since 2013.

However, China still faces challenges in adopting Marxism.

China has not reached a level of “common prosperity” as stated in Marxist thought. Corruption still exists, while Marxism has called for clean government, Wang Zhanyang, director of the Political Science Department at the Central Institute of Socialism, told the Global Times.

Peking University, sponsor of the congress, has attached increasing importance to Marxism.

It held a foundation-laying ceremony in May for a building named after German philosopher Karl Marx, to celebrate his 197th birth anniversary.

Edited by Zuo Shou. Original article title: “Beijing hosts 1st Marxism congress”

Full article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/946549.shtml

See also related article from event host Peking University website, link: http://english.pku.edu.cn/news_events/news/global/3979.htm

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Interview: Does capitalism have a future? [The Hankyoreh / 한겨레]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Marx, south Korea on March 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Jan 16, 2015

~Yale professor Immanual Wallerstein says South Korea’s future hinges on integration with the rest of Northeast Asia~

Does capitalism have a future? Today’s capitalist system is facing such serious issues that the word “crisis” has become part of the everyday conversation, while discussions on alternatives have become tinged with despair. Last year saw the publication in Korean translation of a book that asks this very question: Immanual Wallerstein’s “Does Capitalism Have a Future?,” co-written with Randall Collins, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian, and Craig Calhoun (translated by Seong Baek-yong for Changbi Publishing). The release was accompanied by a conversation exchanged in letters between main author Wallerstein, a Yale University emeritus professor and analyst of global systems, and Lee Kang-kook, an economics professor at Japan’s Ritsumeikan University.

In the conversation, Wallerstein said the recent crisis of capitalism is beyond solving through the Keynesian approach of increasing state intervention. While Thomas Piketty, whose “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has drawn global notice, contributed to the public debate on worsening inequality under the current global system, Wallerstein also noted that he suffers from the same limitations as other mainstream economists. According to Wallerstein, US hegemony is in a state of catastrophic collapse, and while its place could be taken by China and Northeast Asia, the growth of the middle-class of Chinese consumers is poised to strain the world economy and exacerbate the crisis…

As South Korea loses its economic vitality, its future hinges on integration with the rest of Northeast Asia, Wallerstein said. He noted that the country could play a pivotal role in that process, but added that doing so would first require improving relations with North Korea and creating a system of inter-Korean integration.

= The Global Financial Crisis and Its Aftermath =

Lee Kang-kook: First, I like to know about the reason and motivation why you and your co-authors planned to write this book. Why should we pose this fundamental question about capitalism now? We will ask you about the end of capitalism later in more detail.

Immanuel Wallerstein: We all believe that the world-system is in enormous difficulty and that the general discussion lacks historical depth as well as weak theorizing. We hope to stimulate a more useful debate about the world’s alternatives.

Lee: After the global financial crisis, the world economy has been in serious recession for long, much longer than economists expected. How do you evaluate the current state of the global economy, and especially responses of the advanced country governments such as quantitative easing policy? Following the crisis, Keynesians appear to have returned and become more powerful. They argue that the crisis was a failure of unregulated capitalism and the state can and should manage the capitalist economy rather successfully. I think that you must be very critical of this view.

Wallerstein: This is one of the things upon which the five authors do not agree. Two of us seem to argue that a Keynesian approach might work. Two others, including me, think the situation is way beyond that point. Even those who are sympathetic to a Keynesian approach argue that this is not enough.

Lee: Then, what do you think are fundamental causes and implications of the global financial crisis, and how is your view different from other positions, including lefitsts? I think that this crisis could be the specific crisis of financialization in the B phase of Kondratiev cycle from your perspective. But I am not so sure whether it is really a part of the structural crisis once in 500 years, as you emphasize.

Wallerstein: The major difference between my own view and that of many, probably most, leftists is that most leftists emphasize the strength of popular resistance to a worsening situation. I don’t deny this, but for me popular resistance is a long-time constant. What has been added now is the fact that capitalist accumulation via market processes no longer works for capitalists. Therefore, capitalists as well as the vulnerable classes are looking for alternatives to capitalism in order to ensure their wealth.

Lee: It is interesting that even in mainstream economics there are now concerns about a gloomy future of capitalism. For instance, Larry Summers mentioned ‘secular recession’ and Robert Gordon argues that growth rate will become lower in the long-run mainly due to stagnation in innovation. Could you make some comments on these arguments from your point of view?

Wallerstein: What you will notice in such mainstream gloom is that there always is an escape clause. They are saying: All is gloomy, unless you do x or y. I don’t think there is such an x or y.

Lee: Now, inequality in capitalism is a hot issue in economics. Thomas Piketty recently presented dynamics of inequality in capitalism in “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, which became a bestseller. He calls for higher progressive income tax and global capital tax in order to reform capitalism. He predicts that the 21st century will become worse without any efforts since the return on capital tends to be higher than the growth rate. It brought about a serious debate among economists. How do you evaluate Piketty’s work and the related debate? What do you think of the dynamics of inequality in the history of capitalism?

Wallerstein: Piketty is basically an intelligent and very technically competent mainstream economist who favors a social-democratic solution to the situation. He suffers therefore from the same limitations of other mainstream economists. That said, his book has had the virtue of reinforcing a public debate about growing inequality in the world-system. And that is a good thing.

~Capitalism and Prospects for Transition~

Lee: You have argued that the fundamental cause of the end of the current system is a continuous rise of cost in production, including labor, input/infrastructure, and tax for several hundred years. I think your explanation is somewhat different from an original Marxist argument about the falling rate of profit rate due to the rise of organic composition of capital. Anyways, one may argue that the trend of rising costs is not so clear in reality. For example, at least wage has been stagnant after the 1980s in comparison with labor productivity growth, which resulted in a fall of the labor share. What do you think?

Wallerstein: The costs of production have always risen in a pattern of two steps upward, one step downward. You are noticing the one step downward, and ignoring the two steps upward. This pattern over 500 years has brought the costs to such a high level that they are approaching an asymptote and are too near the possible maximum price rate for their products. Hence, the system oscillates and is in chaotic wild swings…

Excerpted; full article link: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/674079.html

“Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world” – Interview with Thomas Pinketty [Guardian]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Marx on April 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– One of the slogans of the 2011 Occupy protests was ‘capitalism isn’t working’. Now, in an epic, groundbreaking new book, French economist Thomas Piketty explains why they’re right –

Andrew Hussey
The Observer
12 April 2014

The École d’économie de Paris (the Paris School of Economics) is actually situated in the most un-Parisian part of the city…

Full article link: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/13/occupy-right-capitalism-failed-world-french-economist-thomas-piketty

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

90 years after death, Lenin’s contributions appreciated [Workers World]

Posted in Anti-communism, Engels, Lenin, Marx, Russia, USSR on February 11, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Catalinotto on January 31, 2014

Lenin is the recognized leader of the political party that directed the working-class’s seizure of state power in Russia in the fall of 1917. For the first time in history, a subject class was placed at the head of society.

Lenin had built the Bolshevik Party, later the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and he was the architect setting up the framework of the new multinational state of many peoples, stretching from Eastern Europe to Siberia, from the Arctic Sea to Central Asia.

Lenin, whose real name was Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, died from a stroke at the age of 53 on Jan. 21, 1924 — 90 years ago. We know that no revolution can be the work of a single individual. Tens of millions of human beings whose life conditions drive them to understand the need to struggle and sacrifice need to participate and cooperate to bring such a revolution about. More than any other single individual, however, Lenin was responsible for the workers’ victory in Russia.

This revolution and the Soviet state aided, inspired and supported the uprisings that liberated many of the oppressed countries from imperialism and workers from exploitation during the 20th century. The USSR, a product of the 1917 revolution, was the greatest nightmare for the imperialist ruling class. For that reason, the bankers, billionaires and their paid propagandists made the Soviet Union a pariah state and hated Lenin more than any other single individual in history. To this day, he remains the number one historical enemy of the rich.

At the same time, Lenin remains a beacon for those who want to struggle. This is especially true for revolutionaries living in the industrialized and urbanized countries that are part of the imperialist world and where the masses most often live in cities. They want to construct a framework to facilitate a revolution that overthrows capitalism and starts to build a new world where exploitation and inequality are eliminated.

Lenin’s contributions to revolutionary history are rich. Others will undoubtedly make their own additions to the four lessons listed here, which remain essential to carrying out class struggle in the 21st century:

Lenin’s analysis of world imperialism, written during World War I, underlined the inevitability of the drive toward war and conquest growing out of the capitalist system when it had become a worldwide phenomenon.

Lenin’s analysis of the “national question” and how communists should relate to the struggle of peoples and nations for self-determination, including independence, united the communists and the movements for liberation throughout the colonial world.

Lenin’s approach to organizing a working-class party. He outlined this in his 1901 pamphlet, “What Is to Be Done,” and carried it out through the 1917 revolution and beyond. Lenin’s work was specific to the reality of Czarist Russia of that period, but the principles he laid out for creating a party that is an instrument of effective working-class struggle have remained intact since.

Lenin extended Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ analysis of the capitalist state in his work, “State and Revolution,” which he wrote in August and September of 1917 while forced into hiding. The imperialist states have grown even more weaponized and bureaucratic since that day, as have the capitalist states in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This pamphlet has the happiest of endings, as Lenin noted in explaining why he had to stop writing: “It is more pleasant and useful to go through the ‘experience of the revolution’ than to write about it.”

He not only experienced that revolution but led it. It was the major factor in the history of the 20th century until it was reversed in 1989-1991.

To open the study of Lenin in this 90th year after his death, we’d like to call attention to an article written by late-Workers World Party founder Sam Marcy in 1992, which is available online at tinyurl.com/jw8mm6v. This work, written after the disappearance of the Soviet Union, analyzes the enormous problems that the Bolsheviks faced in the period just after the 1917 Revolution. It is a good way to begin to appreciate the contributions of Lenin.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/01/31/90-years-death-lenins-contributions-appreciated/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Marx Was Right: Five Surprising Ways Karl Marx Predicted 2014 [Rolling Stone]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Capitalist media double standard, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Marx on February 3, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Since ‘Rolling Stone’ is a liberal periodical, on the one hand they must at least pay lip service to the evident truths of Marxism embodied in the present day while on the other they have to gatekeep and slander aspects of socialism. But I’m happy for the nicely researched summary of Karl’s theories/prophecies; what’s more it seems to be a popular article. – Zuo Shou

By Sean McElwee
January 30, 2014

Article link: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/marx-was-right-five-surprising-ways-karl-marx-predicted-2014-20140130

Overcapacity is economy’s biggest problem: survey [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Economy, Marx on August 13, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(Chinadaily.com.cn)
August 01, 2013

China’s biggest problem for its economy, according to economists surveyed by the Netease Annual Economist Conference, is “overcapacity”.

Half of economists surveyed said overcapacity is the most daunting problem while they said the second biggest concern is the nation’s property bubble, according to the survey released on Wednesday.

Of the economists surveyed, 71.25 percent are “cautiously optimistic” about the new leadership’s reform efforts, while 23.75 percent said they are “optimistic”.

More than 80 percent predicted this year’s GDP will grow by 7 to 8 percent. No one believed this year’s GDP will surpass 8 percent.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90778/8348862.html

Xi urges China to keep red [Xinhua]

Posted in China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Mao Zedong, Marx, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on July 23, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

SHIJIAZHUANG, July 12 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the 85 million members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to work hard and serve the people wholeheartedly to “ensure the color of red China will never change.”

Party members should improve their work styles to withstand tests the Party faces and ensure the CPC’s nature is not compromised, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

He was speaking during a two-day inspection tour of north China’s Hebei Province, which concluded on Friday.

During the trip, Xi visited Xibaipo, an old revolutionary base, where the CPC leadership were based from May 1948 to early 1949 to draw the blueprint of the new country and prepare for the CPC’s new role as the ruling party.

Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s remarks on Party members’ work styles prior to the founding of New China in 1949 still have far-reaching ideological and historical significance, he said.

At an important meeting of the CPC in March 1949, Mao called on the whole Party to resolutely carry forward the work style of displaying modesty and prudence while guarding against conceit and impetuosity, and resolutely carry forward the style of working hard and plain living.

Xi said the comments bear lessons learnt from thousands of years of Chinese history, a summary of the process of the CPC’s growth, and profound thoughts on keeping the Party’s advanced nature and purity as well as on maintaining the prolonged stability of an upcoming state power.

Xi said he had been to Xibaipo many times. “Each time, I came with a lot of respect and left with many thoughts.”

Calling China’s revolutionary history the “best nutrient,” Xi said studying and recalling such history can bring “positive energy” to Party members.

Previous Chinese top leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao both visited Xibaipo shortly after they took office.

Xi’s visit symbolized the Party’s commitment to its traditions, said Prof. Wang Yukai, with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

Last December, Xi chose Guangdong, which served as the testing grounds for reform and opening-up policies more than 30 years ago, as the destination of his first inspection tour out of Beijing after taking the office of general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

“The new leaders are learning from political wisdom and experiences of their predecessors,” Wang said.

Besides Xibaipo, also on Xi’s schedule was Zhengding County, where Xi had been Party chief in the early 1980s.

The President dropped in the house of a local farmer, visited a village community center and the provincial civil affairs department.

The Party’s performance at the grass-roots level matters very much, Xi said.

“If every CPC member and every grass-roots organ have a strong sense of responsibility and do a good job, the Party will be strong, the country will be strong and people will be strong. Thus, the Party’s rule will have a solid foundation,” he said.

The CPC leadership is unfurling a large-scale campaign against harmful work styles, aiming to improve Party-people relations.

At a meeting with provincial officials of Hebei, Xi asked the senior provincial officials to set the example in the campaign.

They should raise the bar higher, examine their own conduct and correct their problems with unselfishness and bravery, the president said.

Senior officials should show the people their courage and resolve to face up to their own problems and their willingness to take advice from the people as well as make actual moves, he said.

The people should be encouraged to take care of the cause of the CPC and be guided to exercise their duty of supervision, according to Xi.

While acknowledging the performance of Hebei, the President urged the province to focus on the quality and efficiency of its development, improve people’s well-being and protect the environment.

The country’s new leadership has sent out a clear signal that the key to the Party’s rule is to improve its capacity to rule and maintain its internal vitality, Prof. Wang said.

Article link, with photos: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-07/12/c_132536880.htm

Also see “Behind Xi Jinping’s call for a return to Marxism” [Workers World] — http://www.workers.org/2013/07/20/behind-xi-jinpings-call-for-a-return-to-marxism/