Discussion on 21st century imperialism: Are Russia and China ‘imperialist’?


27/10/2018 by socialistfight



This is Roger Annis’s defence of the theses that neither Russia nor China are imperialist, with which we substantially agree. He crosses swords with 81-year-old Barry Shephard, stalwart of the old US SWP and historian of its decline and fall. He also takes on many others polemically below and acquits himself very well in these exchanges.

We republish it here because it came in the wake of the Maidan Coup in Ukraine in February 2014 when whole swaths of the left were finding excuses why they had to support this fascist0-led and US-directed and funded coup against the elected government, which was balancing between Russia and the west.

The subject is topical now because our comrade Dov Winter has just defended the line that China is imperialist but not Russia and the International Bolshok Tendency has just split, with the Logan-led minority winning the argument by declaring that Russia was imperialist but both sides say that China is not even a capitalist state.

This wide range of difference necessitates discussion internationally because these positions hide more programmatic differences on the United Front Tthe Anti Imperialist United Front and what are proxy imperialist forces and do we oppose them when the attempt coups and wage war on behalf of imperialism itself.

Gerry Downing 27-10-18

Related imageRoger Annis

2 thoughts on “Discussion on 21st century imperialism: Are Russia and China ‘imperialist’?

  1. Ian says:

    Excellent material that shows the real position of Russia and China in the world pecking order.

    The sheer size of China’s population can give rise to impressionism when figures are bandied around. Some of the absolute magnitudes that have been bandied about in this discussion correspond to that population size. But when they are dealt with on a per-capita basis, a very different picture emerges, as this analysis vividly shows.

    China has become more relatively powerful because of its sheer size and the impetus that the deformed workers state gave to its economic development. Ironically it was the deformed workers state that created the conditions for Chinese unification and for its capitalism to flourish. But even despite this paradox, it is not possible for semi-colonies like China was before 1949 to escape from systematic underdevelopment and a subordinate position in the world without world proletarian revolution.

    The ‘China is imperialist’ position contradicts that and in a way cuts against the permanent revolution as one of the driving forces of world revolution.

    Surely if the largest semi-colony in the world by population can escape from subordination and join the imperialist club, then any backward country can do it? In a way that vindicates Stalinism and Maoism, in that it says that they did liberate the Chinese people from imperialist subordination without the aid of the world revolution. Never mind that the psuedo-socialism proved expendable and the gains of the Chinese revolution just served as a springboard to transform semi-colonial China into an imperialist power.

    This has programmatic implications that make socialism and the world revolution surplus to requirements in a way. Or at least it has the potential to act as an anti-socialist drag on the consciousness of comrades whose views on other issues are infused with the subjective desire to overthrow capitalism.

    It is not possible for China or any other semi-colonial country to escape from imperialist oppression without the overthrow of capitalism in the imperialist heartlands. The deformed workers state was able to advance China from Somalia-like chaos under the Kuomintang to the most powerful semi-colony in the world, whose sheer magnitude makes it appear a competitor to US imperialism in some spheres.

    But it is still a subordinate, oppressed country in terms of its position in the world economy and it is still the duty of revolutionaries in the imperialist countries to defend it against imperialism, as part of a joint fight with the workers and oppressed masses of all semi-colonies, including China, for the world revolution.

    Liked by 1 person

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