(A Response to Climate change –a major shift by John Molyneux)
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Two things in Climate change – a major shift prompt me to write. First, to my mind the throwaway anti-China slur (‘Because of state censorship…’) shows a misunderstanding of today’s reality. China has a different system of governance to ours: democracy at the bottom and meritocracy at the top (i.e. governance by the most talented and virtuous), and experimentation in between. The approach is consultative rather than combative, and is rooted in 3000 years of Confucianism. It’s suited to long-term planning and to a high degree of decentralisation. It suits a country of its size, and where 50% still live on the land, and literacy is still a problem in places. It’s also constantly evolving. Village-level elections were introduced in 1988. Direct elections at other levels are experimented with (e.g. in Hong Kong). But China is determined to have a system of governance that acts effectively and for the good of the people, and Western style democracy is hardly a role model. If there was any doubt, Rosalind Fuller in Beast and Gods has shown how impossible it would be under western democracy. China’s system of governance involves a ‘party’ of 95 million people dedicated to working for the greater good, often making personal sacrifice, and the results are impressive, as in the poverty eradication work, or the covid-19 response. China’s government scores over 90% approval among its people, compared with 25% in the US. In the West we’re propagandised to see enemies everywhere, all socialist countries are attacked/vilified, China especially (Tibet, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, authoritarian…), but we should be able to see past these ‘lies of empire’. Take a look at China Global Television Network (cgtn.com/tv) and you will find it the most in-depth, intelligent and unbiased source of world news…and inspiring too. China has committed to principles of peaceful coexistence, committed to helping other poor countries develop, and committed to becoming an ecological civilisation…harmony with nature and harmony between peoples. China has learnt to be nonideological…whatever works best, and China only wants to be a force for good (nonexploitative…win-win).
Second, I’m unconvinced by the concluding vision of revolutionary working class mass action. Of course there’s a class dimension, but ecosocialism is not class warfare. It’s more than that. I make two points.
- Regarding system/mindset change there’s a bigger change afoot…civilisational change. Our white western civilisation (WWC) is characterised by three things: [a] capitalist exploitation of people and planet, [b] endless war making, and [c] ethos of duplicity and superiority. But the WWC is past its use by date, and our task should be to ensure that its passing is as speedy and peaceable as possible. Let us nurture sense of global cooperation, connectedness, and global goodwill. We’re one people one planet now…or soon will be. The hardest thing will be for we in the WWC to learn to share some of our wealth, out of self-interest for a better world, as reparation for the past, and because giving will be good for us…by sharing we will be able to rediscover something of the sense of community that we lost 400 years ago when the land was enclosed and the landless driven out of the villages into the towns, and by embracing sense of global community and ecological civilisation we shall open the door to national-level transformation possibilities.
- Regarding class struggle, Keir Hardie said ‘socialism makes war on a system not a class’, and that’s even more true today. With a larger middle class, part exploiter part exploited, on the one hand complicit with consumerism and house prices and pensions and on the other hand insecure in the face of financialisation exploitation and coming AI, the class issue is not so clear cut, if it ever was. In WWC societies it’s the complicity of the middle classes that keeps the exploitative system going and only when the middle classes support it will change occur. The future’s hard to predict, but I see greatest hope for change in the US, the centre of empire, where an alliance of BLM, enlightened wealth and eco-activism might be able to counter the neoliberal-MIC alliance of forces. The rise of BLM consciousness is a fundamental challenge to WWC, because nonwhites are less attracted to global dominance. But above all, it’s the seriousness of global ecodestruction which will make ecosocialists of us all, whatever our class.
Perhaps the wall-building empire mentality will triumph for a while, and perhaps war with China will come, but the profits and waste of capitalism are now clearly unsustainable, and there’s a logic to the desirability of ecosocialism that gives hope that humanity and reason will prevail. It’s time to mature as a species, and end the exploitation of people and planet.
Off topic, for some lifestyle inspiration, check out Li Ziqi’s youtube channel.
Finally, I’d like to share this excerpt from a 2017 speech/report of Xi Jinping, which speaks for itself.
XII. Following a path of peaceful development and working to build a community with a shared future for mankind
The Communist Party of China strives for both the well being of the Chinese people and human progress. To make new and greater contributions for mankind is our Party’s abiding mission.
China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit and uphold its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development. China remains firm in its commitment to strengthening friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and to forging a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation.
The world is undergoing major developments, transformation, and adjustment, but peace and development remain the call of our day. The trends of global multi-polarity, economic globalization, IT application, and cultural diversity are surging forward; changes in the global governance system and the international order are speeding up; countries are becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent; relative international forces are becoming more balanced; and peace and development remain irreversible trends.
And yet, as a world we face growing uncertainties and destabilizing factors. Global economic growth lacks energy; the gap between rich and poor continues to widen; hotspot issues arise often in some regions; and unconventional security threats like terrorism, cyber-insecurity, major infectious diseases, and climate change continue to spread. As human beings we have many common challenges to face.
Our world is full of both hope and challenges. We should not give up on our dreams because the reality around us is too complicated; we should not stop pursuing our ideals because they seem out of our reach. No country can address alone the many challenges facing mankind; no country can afford to retreat into self-isolation.
We call on the people of all countries to work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. We should respect each other, discuss issues as equals, resolutely reject the Cold War mentality and power politics, and take a new approach to developing state-to-state relations with communication, not confrontation, and with partnership, not alliance. We should commit to settling disputes through dialogue and resolving differences through discussion, coordinate responses to traditional and non-traditional threats, and oppose terrorism in all its forms.
We should stick together through thick and thin, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all. We should respect the diversity of civilizations. In handling relations among civilizations, let us replace estrangement with exchange, clashes with mutual learning, and superiority with coexistence. We should be good friends to the environment, cooperate to tackle climate change, and protect our planet for the sake of human survival.
China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. We respect the right of the people of all countries to choose their own development path. We endeavour to uphold international fairness and justice, and oppose acts that impose one’s will on others or interfere in the internal affairs of others as well as the practice of the strong bullying the weak.
China will never pursue development at the expense of others’ interests, but nor will China ever give up its legitimate rights and interests. No one should expect us to swallow anything that undermines our interests. China pursues a national defence policy that is in nature defensive. China’s development does not pose a threat to any other country. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.
China has actively developed global partnerships and expanded the convergence of interests with other countries. China will promote coordination and cooperation with other major countries and work to build a framework for major country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. China will deepen relations with its neighbours in accordance with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with its neighbours. China will, guided by the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith, work to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. We will strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the political parties and organizations of other countries, and encourage people’s congresses, CPPCC committees, the military, local governments, and people’s organizations to engage in exchanges with other countries.
China adheres to the fundamental national policy of opening up and pursues development with its doors open wide. China will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative. In doing so, we hope to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial, and people-to-people connectivity and thus build a new platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of shared development.
China will increase assistance to other developing countries, especially the least developed countries, and do its part to reduce the North-South development gap. China will support multilateral trade regimes and work to facilitate the establishment of free trade areas and build an open world economy.
China follows the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in engaging in global governance. China stands for democracy in international relations and the equality of all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor. China supports the United Nations in playing an active role in international affairs, and supports the efforts of other developing countries to increase their representation and strengthen their voice in international affairs. China will continue to play its part as a major and responsible country, take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and keep contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance.
Comrades, the future of the world rests in the hands of the people of all countries; the future of mankind hinges on the choices they make. We, the Chinese, are ready to work with the people of all other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind and create a bright tomorrow for all of us.