China Shakes the World

Author: Jack Belden
This Month Reddit 3


by lets_study_lamarck   2019-08-24

they took inspiration from the actual revolution that brought mao to power. if you are interested in that, this is the first political book i ever read and covers it extensively. but i dont think it has implications for the us, which lacks the population density and social structures present in 1940s chinese villages. (it is still a great fucking book).

by lets_study_lamarck   2019-08-24

Each of these happened in some parts of the CCP territory:

During the war with the Japanese, the nationalists were disorganised, their landlord allies fled or ~~surrendered~~ collaborated while the CCP guerrillas built their network and fought.

So they emerged stronger and with a deeper connection with the people after the war.

By redistributing land in each village they controlled, the earned loyalty.

Sometimes they would meet willing women and oppressed peasants ready to revolt, these were very strong and loyal allies.

The landlords were genuinely awful.

The KMT army were conscripts and their morale wasn't great. Many of their generals weren't united either.

Source: from memory, having read this 10-12 years ago:

by lets_study_lamarck   2019-08-24

I'm replying in good faith though it's probably a bad idea lol

I started as some kind of Maoist (my first politics book when I was literally a child) but have become a pessimistic demsoc - a socdem.*

I read enough about the failures of ML states, on things like arrests/murders (I was told, as a kid, some of the stuff that is now common here - that the Great Purge was justified and the GLF was a massive success) and just reading some accounts of them made me question everything else. I also realised that the soviet economy entered stagnation sometime before the 80s and was never able to come out. I basically stopped thinking about any of this. I was hoping the Naxals could beat back the mining companies from tribal forest land, but never connected this with capitalism as a system. (edit - I also saw modern China at this time, and the total apathy towards Mao which broke my mother's heat a bit).

A few Chomsky videos and Glenn Greenwald's reporting on drones made me a little conscious again. This video and this article in particular. Then I read a bit more - Jacobin, some stuff on Rosa, bits of Marx, mostly I like reading reporting more than theory. The 2016 US election clarified a lot of things in terms of the power of capital and what it can and can't tolerate.

The upshot is, while I'm convinced that private power has to be beaten and is incompatible with any real democracy or freedom, I'm skeptical that the ML model would manage to rein itself in, and whether it would produce a sustainable economy. (Nothing I've read about economic planning has convinced me that it can work for life as a whole, rather than a single-minded task like climate change or war mobilisation). I really like this article on the limitations of both social democracy and planning, and a possible next step beyond social democracy. Also this one.

To add to it - I've also seen the Naxalites destroyed, I've seen the apathy of the western public, the right-wing militancy in India and the US (the militias and "border patrols"), the fascist street power growing in Europe - all this makes me think a revolution will only benefit the right.

*The same turn happened to Finkelstein as well, and he was in much deeper and with omre understanding than I ever was: