"When in China a butterfly spreads its wings...”, stagnated growth, increase of riots and strikes by Fredo Corvo
“When in China a butterfly spreads its wings … — stagnated growth, increase of riots and strikes"
Hardcover ISBN: 9789402153767 ; E-book ISBN: 9789402153842 (both in dutch language)
As an explanation of the present chaotic markets the article presents the theory of crisis and imperialism by the Dutch council communist Anton Pannekoek. In this theory the concept of industrial reserve army is essential for the imperialist need for the conquest of extra capitalist areas as to integrate more people as wage slaves into capitalism. Within this theoretical framework Pannekoek considered the Russian Revolution as catalyst for movements of national 'liberation' overcoming Asian Despotism. In 1920 he was rather optimistic that its nationalist tendencies and its hostility towards the proletarian liberation movements could be overcome under influence of bolshevism. After WW2 Pannekoek predicted that capitalisms main historical task would be ended when the masses of India and China would be transformed into wage slavery.
A rather unknown council communist critic of Lenin's 'The State and the revolution' is brought forward against Chuangs idea of a 'socialist' period in the history of the Peoples Republic, declaring it should be considered as State Capitalist. Lenin actually adopted a reformist position that nationalisation of the means of production falsely equals with socialism, a position already criticised by Engels and refuted by Social-democracy in the late 19th century.
Lenin's identification of state capitalism and socialism fits into his distinction of two phases in the period of transition from capitalism to communism, a first socialist phase, followed with a second and communist phase. Lenin and Trotsky — in an analogy with the strategy of Marx and Engels in the European revolutions of 1948 — considered the Russian Revolution as a bourgeois revolution executed by the Russian proletariat, that — with help of proletarian revolutions in the rest of Europe - could be transformed into a communist revolution as a part of the world revolution. While this analogy overlooked that capitalism already left behind its progressive phase as shown by WW1 and therefore bourgeois revolutions were not on the agenda anymore, it may explain why the Bolsheviks adopted a reformist vision identifying state capitalism with socialism. “The irony of history made that while the Bolsheviks attempted to make the working class execute a bourgeois revolution along the lines of 1848, in reality however they became the executors of the global trend towards state capitalism. Thus they changed from the internationalist vanguard that they had been in the struggle of the working class against WW1 into the gravediggers of the world proletarian movement that began in Russia in 1917 and ended with the defeat of Chinese workers in 1927.
Yes, the workers Central and Western Europe could have saved the Russian revolution, but not with the Bolshevik tactics that the Comintern pushed on them — tactics based on a supposed bourgeois revolution accomplished by a barely conscious working class under the leadership of a party that substituted itself for the class. This also does arise the question of the character of Russian Revolution that could have been saved by the workers of Europe, given the fact that power of the workers' councils disappeared soon after October behind the increasing power of the state.” Lenin’s identification of state capitalism with socialism as first phase to communism, was changed by Stalin into the idea of socialism in one country, thereby denying the necessity of world revolution. In WW2 the idea of the proletariat executing this transition to ‘socialism’ was replaced by military conquest.
China escaped only to the bankruptcies of other ‘socialist’ countries by an overt integration in the neoliberal world order as ‘factory of the world’. With the stagnation of economic growth and increasing strikes and riots, after 100 years world capitalism starts tumbling for a second time by war and threatening workers struggles. While agreeing with Chuangs self confident analyses of the struggles in China — the impact for the world proletariat of an eventual uprising of the proletariat in China is equalled with that of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 — the article brings forward some critics against what it sees as modernist and academic tendencies in "No Way Forward, No Way Back”. Starting from Marx and Engels 1845 historical analyses of the importance of the proletariat, the article opposes its limitation to an aspect of its ‘identity’ like that of ‘real subordination’ or ‘precarity’, or to just a part of the class, like the ’new’ or ‘migrant’ part, the unemployed or the working part, or to limit its consciousness to what it derives from ‘heterodox folk traditions’.
The conclusion warns against supposing a mechanist relation between crisis and consciousness and brings forward the present need of groups of revolutionaries in the process of growing self consciousness of the working class. See the article by Chuang http://chuangcn.org/journal/one/no-way-forward-no-way-back/ See for clickable notes of all articles in the book :
and more in Dutch: http://arbeidersstemmen.nl/chinavlinder.html