By NAT WEINSTEIN
The most important single event that crashed onto the center stage of world politics last month was the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. How does that bizarre incident-which the U.S. bipartisan capitalist government is finding so hard to explain-fit into the total picture of the U.S.-NATO war on Yugoslavia?
U.S. weapons manufacturers boast that their missiles are able to zero in on a single building in a large city with bulls-eye accuracy. This gives substance to the widespread belief in Belgrade reported elsewhere in this newspaper that there are very few so-called “errant bombs.”
How this “accident” was explained away by the highest U.S. military and political spokespersons was more than incredible, it was tantamount to an admission that it was no accident.
The explanation baldly asserted by the military and political spokespersons for the U.S. government, that they had “mistakenly” used a seven-year-old map of Belgrade even challenged the credulity of a retired American general interviewed by National Public Radio.
This general, we were unable to catch his name, was interviewed shortly after the embassy bombing. He declared the official explanation to be ludicrously unbelievable to anyone who had the slightest knowledge of the extensive information-gathering apparatus available to the CIA and other American intelligence agencies and how they function.
The NATO command centers for bombing raids are equipped with computerized maps projected on large screens, which are capable of easy updating with the flick of an electronic switch. It is inconceivable that such maps are not updated after each night’s raids so that new targets can be selected for the next night’s raids.
In this light, the notion that the “mistake” was caused by an outdated map is one of the more absurdly unbelievable lies yet to have come off the moving lips of President Clinton.
The Yugoslav people, who surely are in an excellent position, based on bitter experience, to make an intelligent assessment of what is intentional and what is accidental didn’t buy it. And the spontaneous outpouring of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Chinese working people and students on the first two days after the destruction of their embassy was testimony that they didn’t buy Clinton’s alibi either.
But the tell-tale signs were evident that the Chinese government naturally took advantage of imperialism’s incredible “mistake” to advance their own narrow goals by orchestrating a couple more days of not-so-spontaneous demonstrations. However, it’s clear that they were swept along by the mass outrage, and couldn’t stop the demonstrations had they tried.
The demonstrations were reportedly on the scale of those mounted in the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, and other Chinese cities against the Stalinist regime’s bloody suppression of Tiananmen students 10 years ago. Neither was the connection between the two events lost on the Chinese Stalinists. Thus, fearful of it turning against them, they shut it off as soon as they could.
In any event, the mass media in this country was compelled to take as good coin the near-universal belief held by Chinese protesters that the embassy bombing was no accident.
The embassy bombing also contributed significantly to undermining global support for the war on Yugoslavia. It crystallized mass indignation at the ever-increasing rate of so-called collateral civilian deaths and massive destruction and has dealt Clinton and company a major setback.
Moreover, it undercuts one of American capitalism’s favorite means for blackmailing Chinese Stalinism into granting further major concessions to U.S. capitalist penetration into the Chinese economy with its endlessly repeated charge of human rights abuses in China. It’s a classic case of the pot denouncing the kettle for being black.
Chinese spies nab U.S. military secrets
Even more ridiculous, but serving exactly the same purpose-of smearing the Chinese regime-is the propaganda barrage against its alleged theft of secret U.S. nuclear and missile technology.
But what’s so shocking about that? America’s closest allies, the Israelis and the British for instance, have been caught doing exactly the same thing. The alleged shock and outrage expressed by America’s capitalist politicians at the revelation that China hires spies to steal secrets is pure hogwash designed to wrench more economic concessions from China than it has already granted!
The key spy in question, Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwanese nuclear weapons scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was accused of sending stolen atomic secrets to the Chinese Communists. Inexplicably, however, although he has been fired from his job, he has still not been indicted for any crime.
But even more incredible is the fact that before this “spy” was discovered, a bipartisan Congressional committee found that two American aerospace corporations, Hughes Electronics and Loral Space and Communications, had “improperly advised” the Chinese on rocket designs in the mid-1990s. They too remain unindicted although unlike poor Mr. Lee, they admitted having actually handed over military secrets to the Chinese.
Worse yet, while they never charged Mr. Lee with doing it for money, the two American corporations did it exactly for that reason.
These corporations had hired Chinese rocket companies to build rockets to lift U.S. commercial satellites into orbit. Why? Because the Chinese could do it cheaper, leaving higher profits for the two aerospace companies.
But when a couple of Chinese rockets exploded, destroying the very expensive satellites owned by the U.S. corporations, the latter were authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to hand over to the Chinese the “military secrets” they needed to prevent such accidents and thus avoid any further such losses.
It’s hard to match such hypocrisy. The real reason for the media campaign against China has nothing to do with military secrets. It has to do with American imperialism’s desperate need to get China to open up its economic infrastructure to a gradual takeover by American corporations, banks, and other financial institutions.
It all boils down to profits
The Chinese Stalinist regime, like their counterparts in eastern Europe and Asia, is deeply committed to their goal of restoring capitalism in China and transforming themselves from a parasitic caste into a class with a legal right-something they presently do not have-to own the wealth they siphon off from state-owned industry and from the country’s natural resources.
That’s a main reason why the bureaucratic castes in these degenerating workers states are likened to the robber barons of 19th century America and it is why they so desperately seek to become a property owning class.
After all, the Chinese masses can take their property back any time they get it into their collective heads that they have been and are getting robbed blind.
Moreover, it cannot be a bloody conflict since, unlike in capitalist countries in which the capitalist classes have a significant measure of support in the most prosperous layers of the petty bourgeoisie (i.e., small capitalists), the objective basis for such support for capitalism in the degenerating workers states is virtually insignificant.
China, of all the bureaucratized and degenerating workers states, has been able to make the greatest progress toward capitalist restoration. But unlike the former Soviet bloc countries, which have generally suffered a large decline in industrial production, China has expanded its productive capacity significantly. That’s largely because China was the most undeveloped of those countries that carried through a socialist revolution.
But like its counterparts in Europe, the Chinese bureaucracy and their allied neo-capitalist entrepreneurs are getting rich and morphing into capitalists while the great majority in China, as in Eastern Europe, are suffering a decline in their living standards.
It’s no surprise that all the bureaucratized workers states attempting to metamorphose into market-driven capitalist states are required to give away control over their economy, bit by bit and chunk by chunk, in order to gain entry into the world capitalist market and ultimately make the transition to capitalism.
But Chinese Stalinists, like their counterparts in Eastern Europe, know that every concession they make brings them a step closer to coming under the complete domination of world imperialism. That’s why they must trade away, little by little, control over their economy in exchange for access to world trade on capitalist terms.
Sooner or later, they know, their economies will come under imperialist control, or they will be wrecked, as has already happened most decisively in Russia.
Just think of what will happen to these states in flux between capitalism and socialism as well as all the weaker economies of the world when the currently deepening economic crisis breaks down into a global depression!
The parasitic Stalinist ruling castes are swept along their hopeless trajectory because of what they are-an entirely self-serving privileged bureaucratic elite seeking to become independent of the constraints their social system imposes on their privileges.
But they are caught between a rock and a hard place. In order to be free of these constraints, the Chinese bureaucracy must buy their freedom by selling their country and its 1.1 billion inhabitants bit by bit into the slavery of imperialist capital-that is, toward becoming not a powerful and independent class of Chinese capitalists but essentially a neo-colonial class of compradors. That is, they can only become small-time capitalists completely dependent on imperialist capital.
On the other side of this equation we see what appears to be a schizophrenic alternation by Clinton and his bipartisan cohorts between the wooing and the bashing of China.
This strange, crazy dance between portraying China as a friendly and welcome trading partner one day, and a deadly enemy the next, however, reflects the fundamental fact that despite their best intentions, both bureaucrats and capitalists are based on social systems that cannot peacefully coexist except for brief historical moments and not without sharp confrontations.
But there is another factor of potentially far greater force in the equation represented by these mutually incompatible social systems. And that is another far more sharply opposed conflict of interests between the working class in these degenerating workers states and the bosses and bureaucrats inside and outside the countries in which they live.
And then there is the working class in the world’s capitalist countries, whose class interests are similarly counterposed to that of the world’s capitalist class. And the fact should also be obvious that the class interests of workers everywhere are essentially identical.
So far, the death agony of world capitalism, which began almost exactly 100 years ago, has mostly taken the form of uninterrupted wars and preparations for war, and has only been punctuated by colonial and socialist revolutions.
The pace of war has been accelerating as the global capitalist economy sinks deeper into economic crisis. Indications are that all these manifestations of a dying social order-the endlessly alternating sequence of economic and military crises-are converging and coming to a head.
The only alternatives before the human race today are world socialism or capitalist barbarism. And the barbarism Karl Marx warned of 150 years ago is not somewhere in the future, it is now!
But there is no cause for pessimism. The world working class and its natural allies, all those victimized by the profit system and its wars, have shown that they have the power to change the world. The challenge, the necessity, the opportunity to do just that is before us. It can be done and it will be done!