Video explainer: Stop blaming China for the climate crisis

📺 In this brief presentation for the Friends of Socialist China YouTube channel, Carlos Martinez gives a comprehensive explanation of why the US and its allies’ attempts to push responsibility for the climate crisis onto China are hypocritical and ridiculous, and why cooperation on climate change is essential.

Progressives around the world oppose the propaganda war against China

On Saturday 9 October, Friends of Socialist China held a webinar focused on opposing the propaganda warfare being waged by the US and its allies against the People’s Republic of China. The event was co-sponsored by the Morning Star, the GrayzonePivot to Peace, the Geopolitical Economy Research Group, the International Manifesto Group, and Qiao Collective. The full webinar (along with individual speech videos) can be watched on YouTube. What follows is an event report by Carlos Martinez.

A condensed version of this article appeared in the Morning Star.

Introducing the event, Radhika Desai (Professor of Political Studies, University of Manitoba, Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group) pointed out that, on the left, the most fundamental lie about China is that it is not building socialism but rather that it is just another capitalist country, indeed a particularly brutal capitalist country. Once this untruth is accepted, China can be treated as an enemy of progressive humanity – successes can be ignored, weaknesses exaggerated and accusations hurled.

For decades, the West constructively engaged with China at an economic and diplomatic level. But the capitalist powers were suffering under two illusions: first, that the Communist Party of China would transform itself into a social democratic or even a neoliberal party that would lead China towards the type of financialised, neoliberal, unproductive capitalism that prevails in the West; second, that China would remain on the bottom rung of the global economic ladder, providing low-cost manufacturing for goods consumed in the West.

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Extended interview with Carlos Martinez about all things China

On 25 September, Carlos Martinez was interviewed on the Rebirth of Communism YouTube channel about China, discussing the following questions:

  • What is the nature of the propaganda war being waged against China?
  • What’s really happening in Xinjiang?
  • Why does much of the Western left support this propaganda war?
  • What are the reasons for the different levels of economic and social progress in India and China since the late 1940s?
  • Will China suffer the fate of the Soviet Union?
  • What does China’s project of being a ‘great modern socialist country’ by 2049 entail?

The video is embedded below.

Summary of ‘The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions’

This article by Carlos Martinez, originally published on Friends of Socialist China, summarises the document ‘The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions’, recently released by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. An abridged version of the article appeared in the Morning Star on 1 September 2021. The article has been translated into Dutch by our friends at ChinaSquare.


On 26 August 2021, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee released an important document, entitled ‘The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions’. The publication, consisting in its English translation of over 28,000 words, clearly represents a wide-ranging discussion within the CPC, reflecting on its contributions of the last hundred years and its goals and challenges for the future.

Continuity

The document emphasises the basic continuity at the heart of the CPC’s mission. Since its founding in July 1921, the CPC has devoted itself to the project of building socialism, establishing China’s sovereignty, creating a better life for the population, and contributing to a peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

Continue reading Summary of ‘The CPC: Its Mission and Contributions’

Sovereign development as a human right

This article by Carlos Martinez first appeared (in condensed form) on the Global Times website on 2 August 2021.


Multiple perspectives on human rights

Starting with the Carter administration (1977-81), the US has made human rights a centrepiece of its foreign policy. Jimmy Carter, seeking to improve the international image of the US in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, criticised human rights abuses and the lack of political freedoms in various US-allied dictatorships, including Chile, Nicaragua, Argentina and Brazil. Such criticisms were designed not only to enhance the US’s reputation internationally but also to buttress and give credibility to its ongoing ideological warfare against the socialist world.

Taking up residence of the White House in 1981, Ronald Reagan – a Cold Warrior par excellence – shifted the human rights spotlight away from the US’s geostrategic allies and towards its enemies, particularly the Soviet Union. The USSR’s refusal to implement a Western-style parliamentary system was painted as the quintessential abuse of human rights, and was used to rally support for the Reagan administration’s ‘full-court press’ hybrid warfare against the socialist camp and the Global South. Ironically, this included propping up some of the world’s most violent and repressive regimes, including in apartheid South Africa.

Since then, the conversation on human rights – at least in the West – has been whittled down to a discussion on a specific set of individual political rights. This narrative is framed such that the leading capitalist countries appear as the poster children of human rights; conversely, countries with alternative political models are pariahs.

From a standpoint of international law, however, human rights is a much broader topic. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, speaks of several different branches of human rights, including the right to live in dignity, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom from discrimination; the right to food security and housing security; to work, to education, to healthcare, to clean water and modern energy.

To many people, particularly in the developing world, socioeconomic rights are foundational; they provide an indispensable basis for other rights.

The right to sovereign development is part of the foundation of human rights

The definition of human rights was expanded in 1986 at the UN General Assembly to include the right to development: “All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind.” The right to development includes “the full realisation of the right of peoples to self-determination” and recognises that “states have the primary responsibility for the creation of national and international conditions favourable to the realisation of the right to development.”

As such, national self-determination and sovereign development – the right of each country to choose its own development model – is a pillar of human rights as properly understood in the modern era.

China provides a valuable example. China in 1949 was one of the poorest countries in the world. Its human rights situation was disastrous: millions of people routinely died in famines; the majority of its people were undernourished and lacked access to healthcare and education. Nor did they have even basic political and democratic rights.

The principal reason for this parlous state of affairs is that, for a hundred years, China had been denied the right to sovereign development. Foreign powers, starting with Britain in 1840, had actively imposed underdevelopment on China. These foreign powers – most notably Britain, Japan, the US, Russia and France – were intent on profiting from China, and had no interest whatsoever in the human rights of the Chinese people.

It was the Chinese Revolution, and the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, that created the space for sovereign development; that set up a political and economic environment in which the human rights of the Chinese people could flourish. And in the 72 years since that time, China has been transformed. Life expectancy has more than doubled. Extreme poverty has been eliminated. Literacy is universal. Everybody has access to healthcare, to housing, to modern energy, to clean water.

To achieve all this in a huge developing country of 1.4 billion people clearly represents an enormous step forward in the human rights of the Chinese people. This progress was predicated on the Chinese people exercising their right to sovereign development; on ending imperialist domination.

The hypocrisy of the Western human rights narrative

The hollowness of the West’s focus on human rights is amply demonstrated by its selective application. The US and its allies maintain close and cordial relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, for example, although those countries have appalling human rights records. The US has a long record of supporting – and indeed helping to install – profoundly repressive, violent and anti-democratic governments, such as the Pinochet regime in Chile and the Suharto regime in Indonesia.

In reality, the whole human rights narrative in its current form is a type of political theatre designed to win public support for a foreign policy based on cold calculation of geostrategic and economic advantage.

Meanwhile, human rights are increasingly put forward as a motivation for war, under the doctrine of “responsibility to protect”. Libya is an example: Western governments and media repeatedly criticised the Gaddafi government’s supposed human rights violations. Many of their stories were later proven to be false, but they had the effect of winning public support for a vicious imperialist war in which tens of thousands of people were killed and a whole country was reduced to rubble. Libya had been the country with the highest development index in all of Africa. On all the key socioeconomic indicators – life expectancy, literacy rate, infant mortality rate, access to healthcare – Libya performed impressively. Much of that progress has been wiped out by the war and the ensuing chaos. Thus NATO went to war in the name of human rights, and in so doing wiped out decades of progress in human rights.

The current propaganda barrage about human rights abuses in Xinjiang also has a very clear purpose: winning popular approval for the US-led New Cold War against China. The New Cold War has nothing whatsoever to do with promoting human rights – and certainly nothing to do with the human rights of Muslims, given the role of the imperialist powers in majority-Muslim countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Yemen and Somalia. The purpose of the New Cold War is, rather, to slow down China’s rise; to prevent China from becoming a major power; to prevent the emergence of a multipolar system of international relations; to preserve the US-led imperialist system.

In other words, the imperialist countries have developed an elaborate and sophisticated narrative around human rights which they leverage precisely to deny peoples their human rights.

Perhaps the most startling irony is that the major capitalist countries are themselves failing in terms of providing basic rights for their people. In the US for example, poverty levels are rising. Millions of people don’t know where the next meal is coming from; millions have no hope of finding work; over half a million people are homeless. Racial discrimination is rampant. There are over two million people in prison – the highest incarceration rate in the world. Of this prison population, 34 percent is African-American, in spite of the fact that the black community makes up only 13 percent of the population.

The effects of the pandemic are compounded by the virus of racism. Life expectancy in the US fell by 1.5 years in 2020, largely as a result of the government’s utter failure to manage the pandemic. For Black and Latinx people, the drop in life expectancy was three years. These communities face a human rights catastrophe.

In the US and Britain, the number of Covid deaths per million population so far is around 1,900. In China it is three. If China had followed the Anglo-American strategy for managing the pandemic, it could be expected to have suffered a death toll upwards of 2.5 million. In fact, fewer than 5,000 people in China have died of Covid. Is the right to life not a human right? And should we not say that China has done significantly better at protecting that right?

Ending double standards and moving towards a productive global conversation on human rights

The imperialist countries should no longer be allowed to dominate the discussion on human rights, and the voice of the developing world should be heard. People in developing countries for the most part recognise that promoting human rights at the international level includes promoting the right to sovereignty development; this means adhering to the principles of peaceful cooperation, multipolarity, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

Once countries are allowed to develop in peace, freely, according to their people’s specific situation and needs, choosing a development model that suits them, their human rights prosper. As such, the fight for global human rights is inextricably bound up with the struggle against imperialism.

Explainer: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution

In this video lecture, Carlos Martinez argues that, while the Chinese Revolution has taken numerous twists and turns, and while the CPC leadership has adopted different strategies at different times, there is a common thread running through modern Chinese history: of the CPC dedicating itself to navigating a path to socialism, development and independence, improving the lot of the Chinese people, and contributing to a peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

The video is based on the essay No Great Wall: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution.

Morning Star series: A Century of the Communist Party of China

The long article on the history of the Chinese Revolution, No Great Wall: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution, has been serialised in six parts in the Morning Star:

Carlos Martinez interviewed on ‘By Any Means Necessary’ regarding the New Cold War

Invent the Future editor and No Cold War co-founder Carlos Martinez was interviewed by Sean Blackmon on the Sputnik Radio show By Any Means Necessary on 30 June 2021.

We talk about the US-led New Cold War, in particular the parallels with the original Cold War against the Soviet Union; the New Cold War as a war on multipolarity and the right of nations to determine their own destiny; the Biden administration and the basic continuity in US foreign policy; and the disastrous failure of much of the Western left to take up a consistent position against the New Cold War.

Important event on Saturday 26 June: China’s Path to Zero Poverty

Friends of Socialist China is organising its first webinar, co-sponsored by the Geopolitical Economy Research Group, on Saturday 26 June, 9am US Eastern / 2pm Britain / 9pm China.

You can register for the Zoom event on Eventbrite.


Details

On 1 July 2021, the Communist Party of China celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding. Of all the CPC has accomplished in that period, the elimination of extreme poverty is unquestionably among its most impressive and historically significant achievements.

In this webinar, academics, politicians, journalists and campaigners from around the world will explore how China has been able to carry out the most extensive poverty alleviation program in history, and what lessons there are for humanity.

Speakers

  • Senator Mushahid Hussain (Chairman, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and Pakistan-China Institute, Pakistan)
  • Li Jingjing (Reporter for CGTN, China)
  • Utsa Patnaik (Marxist economist, India)
  • Ovigwe Eguegu (Columnist for the China Africa Project, Nigeria)
  • Camila Escalante (Broadcast journalist, producer, presenter for Kawsachun News, Bolivia)
  • Roland Boer (Professor of Marxist philosophy in the School of Marxism at Dalian University of Technology, China)
  • Mick Dunford (Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex, Visiting Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  • John Ross (Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China)
  • Qiao Collective (Collective of diaspora Chinese challenging US aggression on China)
  • Tings Chak (Lead Designer/Researcher at Tricontinental Institute and Dongsheng News)
  • Chair: Radhika Desai (Professor of Political Studies, University of Manitoba, Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group)

About the organisers

Friends of Socialist China is a new platform based on supporting the People’s Republic of China and promoting understanding of Chinese socialism. Its website (edited by Danny Haiphong, Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez) aims to consolidate the best articles and videos related to China and Chinese socialism, along with original analysis.

The Geopolitical Economy Research Group is a policy institute based at the University of Manitoba and run by Radhika Desai and Alan Freeman. It analyses and proposes policy alternatives for managing the interaction of national economies and states to promote human development and mutual benefit in today’s multipolar world.

Carlos Martinez interviewed by Rania Khalek and Eugene Puryear on G7 and NATO

Invent the Future editor Carlos Martinez was interviewed by Rania Khalek and Eugene Puryear on BreakThrough News on 17 June 2021.

We talk about the recent summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin; the US government’s supposed human rights agenda; the NATO and G7 summits; the prospects for multipolarity and the use of a New Cold War to prevent it; the Belt and Road Initiative; global production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines; whether China is imperialist; whether China is socialist; and the record of the recently-deceased Zambian prime minister and liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda.