Revolution Vs Counter-Revolution

Peaceful Transition to Capitalism

Ismail Chaudhury

Revolution without violence is unthinkable. No revolution ever took place without bloodshed. The Bolshevik revolution was bloody. So was the Chinese revolution led by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Vietnamese Revolution, Cuban revolution–all were violent. It is not really the case with counter-revolutions. Strangely enough, most counter-revolutions were peaceful. Before the reversal of social order in the former Soviet Union, Gorbachev, the then chief of Soviet Party, prepared ground for peaceful transition to capitalism, through his much publicised and yet less understood policies of glasnost and perestroika. It was actually a prolonged counter-revolutionary process and anti-communists hidden in the party rallied behind Gorbachev to abolish actually existing socialism while allowing capitalists and oligarchs to return to power peacefully. Guns were not needed to restore the old order. The propertied classes got back their paradise without an armed campaign. Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun but counter-revolutionaries in Soviet Russia seized power without guns.

Old Soviet Party is gone. What now exists in its place is at best a euro-centric prototype, solely dependent on parliamentary power politics. It has very little influence among Russian workers. Nobody thinks they will be able to resurrect the Bolshevik spirit of yesteryears. They are now part and parcel of Euro-communism, having nothing to do other than participating in periodic elections and hope to gain control of parliament some day. Russian oligarchs today are so powerful, both politically and financially, that it is next to impossible to isolate them without a sustained campaign against the unequal system. It is the question of class. But class question doesn't figure in any of functioning communist parties, including Russian communist party, in Europe.

When Khrushchev propounded the theory of peaceful co-existence and peaceful transition to socialism, the revisionists of all hues, across the world heaved a huge sigh of relief as they would fight the radicals–the proponents of violent overthrow of reactionary regimes–inside the communist movement with the Khrushchev an ideological and political weapon.

Inter-imperialist contradiction is there. Also there is competition. But competition is very much within the limit of non-antagonistic range, it never reaches the flash-point. As a result another world war to divide the international market and redraw the sphere of influence is not imminent. They talk of war while seriously avoid it. The military-industrial complexes in America and Europe are satisfied with limited and low-intensity wars, mostly in third world countries. A war on world scale is not on the horizon despite the return of cold war.

Russia with its present economic and social base is not in a position to compete for superpower status. Abolition of Warsaw pact has strengthened NATO to such an extent that it is unlikely for Moscow to gather enough military and economic clout to challenge the American hegemony in foreseeable future. Western Europe too has no option but to accept American leadership, notwithstanding the formation of European Union.

Union without Britain is a limited power bloc, having no intention or capacity, to challenge the undisputed authority of America. The rise of capitalist China, again through a peaceful counter-revolution, seems to have sharpen inter-imperialist contradictions to some extent but international institutions led by America are there to resolve their disputes, mainly trade disputes, through peaceful means, of course. This is a world of banias, bania raj everywhere. In India too it is Modi's bania raj with saffron tinge.

America has now too many satellites, in the east as also in the west. Euro-capitalism despite Germany's dominant position, can hardly defy American diktats. The emergence of another Hitlar in Germany looks impossible. Nor is another Benito Mussolini in the making in Italy--the sick man of Europe. Fascists and Nazis cannot revive their ideology of aggression the way they did prior to World War II. In truth political parties in India talk about fascism rather loosely, they have not seen the real face of fascism, Europe has seen it.

Looking east is now on the agenda of all–fascists or antifascists. And looking east actually means looking at China. Peaceful transition to capitalism in China is the most dramatic event of the present epoch. At the fag end of Mao's life the capitalist roaders in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) got upper hand while capturing the top leadership, defeating the radicals, the Mao followers. They became the new rulers without firing a shot. The world-shaking slogan 'Bombard the Headquarters' which the communists throughout the world heard for the first time, ultimately succeeded only in restoration of capitalism in full swing in a decade. Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was an unprecedented phenomenon in international communist movement but it also failed to stop the march of capitalist roaders. Red Guards were later described as hoodlums who destroyed the Chinese economy and turned Chinese clock back. The Communist Party of China now reviews the cultural revolution period as the lost decade. No doubt the marked capitalist roaders, including Liu Shao Chi, were harassed and subjected to physical torture but at no point of time the two-line struggle became violent. The reformers or revisionists inside the party were actually waiting in the wings to reverse radicalism and bury socialism, to build capitalism with Chinese characteristics. They soon got their own world with return of Deng Shiao Ping—the strong man of CPC, at the helm of affairs.

From Deng to Xi, during the long journey, they—the capitalist roaders —never faced any violent resistance, notwithstanding the Tiananmen square episode which will go down in history as a footnote. Masses cannot revolt without a proper leadership. Spontaneous outbursts are bound to fail. And they fail everywhere. For one thing, unlike Indian communist movement, the Chinese party or the Soviet party never split vertically on ideological and political issues, frequently. Despite differences they used to maintain unity, following the majority-minority rule. So they succeeded in making revolutions. In India even minor differences led to split.

The naxalites movement is a classic example of 'split within split' syndrome. It seems all members in the CPC agree, at the moment, not to disagree on the main issue of building capitalism as fast as possible, to become the super power in a decade or so. For all practical purposes Xi's grandiose scheme of OBOR i.e. One Road One Belt Initiative is aimed at dominating the world. In place of Soviet empire what is emerging is the most powerful Chinese empire. In many respects the Han chauvinism, the symbol of Chinese pride and might, is more powerful than Russian chauvinism. Cold War now raging between China and America is unlikely to produce another world war any time soon but a limited conflict in the Asian theatre cannot be ruled out if American decline does not get reversed or stabilised.

For one thing cold warriors in America desperately need India in their design to contain China and halt China's capitalist, rather imperial, ascendency. America's steady advance in making the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or what is called Quad, involving India, Japan, Australia and the US, a functioning entity, is causing enormous concerns in the Chinese camp. But two years earlier the situation was in a fluid state and China didn't take it seriously. Speaking at a press conference in March 2018, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi referred to the Quad grouping as nothing more than " sea foam on the Pacific and Indian oceans" that would eventually dissipate. But now they are talking differently. Quad is kicking. Laura Zhou of South China Morning Post, quotes Wu Shichun, president of China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government-backed think tank, as saying that Quad has recently become more focused on security with China as the potential rival. At the beginning the Quad mechanism was not only about security, it had also an economic dimension in the Indo-Pacific region. Of late it has become more and more security-oriented. Laura further writes that Australia has accepted India's invitation to join the Malabar naval exercise along with the US and Japan, which will be the first time the four countries will hold a joint military war games of this size. The inclusion of Australia in the Malabar naval showdown cannot be taken lightly by China which is currently at loggerheads with Australia over trade, spy accusations and Covid-19 origins.

All this is happening at a time when China is facing global ire for trampling democracy in Hong Kong, human rights violations in Xinjiang, alleged breach of internet privacy in various countries and repeated attempting to unilaterally change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in India's eastern Ladakh violating all bilateral agreements and protocols. In a sense China is pushing India into America's strategic orbit because New Delhi has no illusion that China will continue to create trouble along the LAC so long as India doesn't accept the Chinese perception of a permanent border as proposed by Chou En Lai in 1959. Given the current developments Beijing is displaying strong-arm tactics in the South China Sea. Despite China's denial Covid-19 originated in its labs in Wuhan. It informed the WHO about the pandemic when it was out of their control. There is every reason to believe that Covid-19 is the fall out of biological weapons programme.

It is quite likely that more countries will join the Quad in future. Indications are that America is trying to hook even a small country like the Maldives. Quad is not yet an alliance and there is no reciprocal obligation among the countries who are involved. But the situation may compel the members to formalise an alliance when super power rivalry between America and China reaches its peak.

Recently China marked 70th anniversary of Korean war. Last time China's troops fought US troops was in October 1950 when Chinese troops crossed the Yalu river on the border with North Korea while the Soviets provided air cover. Over 2 million Chinese troops were deployed in the KOREAN WAR. The invincibility of the US military was shattered and 'an armistice treaty was signed on July 27, 1953'. Because of this agreement the Korean border is still peaceful. And now they have reportedly stationed 60,000 troops along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. For China's military strategists the number matters. It so happened in 1962 war too. The Chinese outnumbered Indians in no time and Indian army lost the war very badly." Without a strong army, there can be no strong motherland". So said Xi Jinping while marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army's participation in the Korean War. What is true of China is equally true for all countries, big or small. Xi didn't refer to the US directly but it was implied that he was actually hitting at the Uncle Sam, against the backdrop of current tensions between the world's first economy and the second largest economy. What is more Taiwan has become a growing point of contention and military tension. Xi, however, didn't forget to tell the world, in his own arrogant way, of course, that "Let the world know that the people of China are now organised and are not to be trifled with". He was addressing the distinguished dignitaries and concerned people at the Great Hall of the People, quoting the Chairman Mao. And the great helmsman was lucky that even capitalist China was citing him to prove their 'rational' or irrational behaviour. With Washington stepping up sales of military hardware to Taiwan and sending high-ranking officials to the island nation, tensions between America and China are mounting but it is very much within the realm of Cold War. After the Maldives US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was on a mission to Srilanka, in the last week of October. Pompeo reportedly urged the Sri Lankan leaders to scale back their dependence on China which has invested billions of dollars building ports and highways but left the island nation in debt. It is a matter of time that Quad will expand horizontally, including even Indonesia which is also locked in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. America needs more allies, strategic allies to thwart China's alarming growth. America's renewed South Asia diplomacy is to ramp up pressure on China.

All the major socialist countries have transformed themselves into capitalist countries. Cuba remains an exception. All things considered the major conflict on a world scale is likely to occur between the emerging capitalist economies in former socialist states and the old dogs. Marxists have so far given little thought over why bloody revolutions easily turn into their opposites, rather peacefully. Peaceful transition to socialism is a grand utopia. But peaceful transition to Capitalism is a bitter reality. Then cultural revolution is no guarantee to defeat the covert enemy of socialism and communism.

China once launched a virulent propaganda against the erstwhile Soviet Union, 'being a social imperialist country', became a big prison house of small nationalities. Today China seems to have stepped in the shoes left by the Soviets. Prison labour is an important component of China's export engine. The ethnic minorities in mainland China are in a process of Sinofication as it was the case with Russofication in Asian Russia. Tibetans have no right to demand 'right to self-determination'. The Chinese are said to have made it a point, particularly among pro-Chinese communists that they have liberated, Tibetans from medieval serfdom but they have in reality, subjugated the Tibetans into modern slavery. They are colonised by Han chauvinism and imperial mandarin in Beijing.

Vol. 53, No. 22-25, Nov 29 - Dec 26, 2020