07 October 2006


we have seen class analyses of everything else -- now Peter Kwong grants us a class analysis of the Chinese economy. An excerpt:
According to a report by the China Rights Forum, only 5 per cent of China's 20,000 richest people have made it on merit. More than 90 per cent are related to senior government or Communist Party officials. The richest among them are the relatives of the very top officials who had used their position to pass the laws that have transformed state-owned industries into stock holding companies, and then appointed family members as managers. In this way the children of top party officials --China's new "princelings" --took over China's most strategic and profitable industries: banking, transportation, power generation, natural resources, media, and weapons. Once in management positions, they get loans from government-controlled banks, acquire foreign partners, and list their companies on Hong Kong or New York stock exchanges to raise more capital. Each step of the way the princelings enrich themselves ­not only as major shareholders of the companies, but also from the kickbacks they get by awarding contracts to foreign firms. To call this "socialism with Chinese characteristics" is a joke. Even capitalism is not the appropriate term. A Chinese sociologist has defined it as "high-tech feudalism with Chinese characteristics."
To tie this together with a related subject: I still can remember, quite vividly, asking Richard Heinberg last month about the future of the class struggle, in front of a full house in an auditorium at Scripps College in Claremont. Heinberg predicted that the future would see some sort of neofeudalism, although he hoped that some more democratic spirit would seize the world. But it didn't seem to me that Heinberg himself was doing anything to fight the possibility of neofeudalism, which would seem all too real from a reading of Kwong. Rather, the "oil depletion protocol" he promotes appears to be more geared to policy makers wishing to stay in power. We can, I argue, do better.

Footnote: my old review of Heinberg's The Party's Over is still on this blog...

05 October 2006


Now, The World Can't Wait is a well-intentioned movement full of well-intentioned people. I even signed on myself. But it needs to be put to work doing something more than just protesting. How about ripping out concrete and putting in urban farms? Stan Goff's blog, Feral Scholar, has a lively commentary on the politics of urban food production...

Read here...

03 October 2006


The wealthy AND powerful -- we run society for these people! No wonder the whole thing's out of control, given that one could only ascend to such heights out of the narrow pursuit of (owning) class interest. Government of, by, and for the rich -- who says it's not a commodity?

01 October 2006


Read here... capital must screw agribusiness in order to repress labor through the "illegal immigrant" standard -- this is what you get when you have a system where capital can move from country to country according to the standard of "free trade," yet labor must remain in its own sacred nation... yeah, build that wall, screw some more agribusinesses...