Monday, July 12, 2021

Unity Caucus and Chinese Communist Party - Xi Jinping uses Unity as model, China as example of communism failure or success? Can a one party system succeed in holding power over the long run?

Hell yes - look at Unity Caucus. I'd bet anything that if the opposition were to actually win an election Unity would do exactly like Trump and Lukashenko in Belarus - say we somehow managed to steal the election and refuse to leave power and incite a Unity nob to storm the delegate assembly.

Let's explore the concept of one party rule on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, 70 years in power, and compare it to the 60th year of one party rule in the UFT. True that we actually have elections in the UFT, but the system has so been set up as to assure Unity of continued control. I'll get into the details of how that is accomplished at another time.

If one party has total power for decades even if there are so-called opposition parties, I am suggesting that in reality that is a one-party system. After all, Shanker modeled Unity on the foundation of some of the leftist parties he came in contact with in his youth. (A mentor was former communist and Trotskist Max Shachtman who ended up as a neocon, as did Shanker.) One party - or one caucus - systems emerged from one of the concepts of Leninism - a vanguard party of the highly conscious (the woke? elites?) who lead the workers. it is a powerful idea --- but also dangerous in how it has proven easy for the party to be captured by a strongman - and it often seems to be a man, which distorts the party into a personal cult. [My main issue with the idea of that form of socialism - even Marxist-Leninist parties in this nation often are dominated by a tiny group of leaders amountint to a cult.]
Unity Caucus has always been somewhat of a personality cult, even when led by women. (Actually, Sandy Feldman was the least cultish UFT president).

Monday, July 12, 2021


Good morning,

I've been thinking about one party systems. I've been accumulating some articles (below) on the Communist Party of China - which celebrated its 100th anniversary and has been in power for over 70 years. With all the attacks on communist countries as being failures, China represents a success for its one party system - so far - the Soviet one party system did fail around its 70th year. China doesn't seem even close and in fact the Party, which has an astounding 90 million members, seems stronger than ever. But the party under Xi seems to have become more restricted than it has been in decades and that lack of dynamic can affect a party - witness current Republicans. In so many states we in essence have a one party system and laws intended to make that permanent.
The chairman’s call for struggle and violence against capitalists is winning over a new audience of young people frustrated with long work hours and dwindling opportunities.... [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/08/business/china-mao.html]
Mao-Tze Mulgrew- Can we say the same for our own lovable one party system in the UFT? Can we atrtibure bad decision making to the lack of even a hint of internal democratic dynamic?

The standard idea of democracy is two or multi-party systems with the idea that at various times they will occupy power at some point. Now we know that communist run countries are proud of their one party systems. This is different from social democracies like in many areas of Europe which have multi-parties.So if the UFT has had one party in power while the opposition at most could elect less than 10% of the Ex Bd, that is in effect a one party system.

I've come to see how one party systems can have overall benefits for a nation or a union -- think of consistency of a party line -- but at the very least there has to be some level of internal democracy in the party where issues are shared and debated in an open manner even if the Party closes ranks once a decision is made. This is known as democratic centralism and I can see it working for an organization if it is truly democratic --- if the Party is fairly open to many members instead of a small oligarchy -- democracy even if limited can work. But when one person or a small tightly woven group dominate, democracy gets distorted. 

And I will claim that internally, Unity is not and has never been democratic and may be even less so than ever as Xi Jin Mulgrew seems to have consolidated power into three men and one woman in a room. I doubt that Shanker or Randi or even Sandy also didn't have their crew of non-elected henchpeople -- but this is the first time we hear rumors of internal resentment -  even if one person is making the decision, at least a show of consulting others goes a long way.

Even small groups like the MORE Caucus can get distorted - and some of us lost our battle for democracy to a tightly controlled group from the ISO (International Socialists), a party that had run on many of the precepts of one-party systems and were very uncomfortable in an organization of free-flowing ideas. So very Unity like. There are signs that MORE may be moving in a promising different direction organizationally due to the influence of DSA people were are more committed to democracy than ISO people were -- which may make MORE more open -- we'll delve into that in the future. My hope for MORE is that DSA - which I am a member of and seems to have a real dedication to democracy, has a positive influence.

The CCP in China and Unity Caucus have a good chunk of members - ie. Unity has around 1000 or more and if democratic debate and decision making takes place among even an internal fairly representative body -- that would be a form of democracy - in theory. In fact MORE also has increased membership by 10 times -- which if they get to have a say would create more democracy even as the group running MORE would still be one party - or faction.

The UFT one-party system does have elections, even if rigged and set up in a way that the opposition cannot win - retirees vote for every position except the 23 Ex Bd elem, middle and high school positions. Also witness that the almost 7000 people who voted for RA in the recent election get no delegates to the DA or to the AFT/NYSUT conventions -- as one party as you can get.

The only way Unity can lose is if it loses the support of retirees, which they are risking with the move to take people out of Medicare. Given Retiree Advocate went from 18% of the chapter election vote in 2018 to just short of 30% in the recent election, that is a sign of some slippage, but probably not enough to affect the general UFT spring 2022 elections. But then again many retirees still weren't aware of the changes. We got just short of 7000 votes while Unity got around 16,500. These out of potential 70,000 votes. With the Medicare changes probably set to go through on Jan. 1, 2022, we might see further movement away from Unity and then things will become serious.

But I will point out that even if we see a united opposition -- if MORE has come to its senses - I felt the MORE "decision" to blow up the opposition in the 2019 elected was manipulated by the ISO and allies faction and opposing points of view were suppressed -- which led to my suspension.

I would also say the same about New Action too since even they resisted a united front with Solidarity Caucs last time despite strong support fot it -- and I heard from some internally that even their decision was controversial with charges of lack of democracy.

Which just gores to show that democracy is challenged wherever we roam.

I will say that so far in Retiree Advocate we have had complete democracy - consensus -- but we are mostly a dozen people -- but still we come from three different groups and have managed to help lead the resistance on the health care issue.

And RA will play a role in bringing groups tegether for the elections. But if we managed to unite we could win elem, middle and high schools with amajority  and 49% of the retiree votes and still end up with at most 23 Ex Bd seats out of 100 and no officers. To me that is fundamentally a one party system. The key would be turnout - imagine if we even had 50% turnout. But I maintain that winning 23 Ex Bd seats would be revolutionary.

Can we compare Unity to places like Belarus or Hungary where they make sure that even if the other party gets more votes, they don't win. In fact compare it to the Republicans in Trump world where if Dems win in the future, they will be charged with stealing. And I'd bet anything that if the opposition were to actually win an election Unity would do exactly like Trump and Lukashenko in Belarus - say we somewho managed to steal the election and refuse to leave power and incite a Unity nob to storm the delegate assembly.

Ok - enough of this meandering. Here are the articles on China -- with an interesting one that the young people are sort of rebelling the inequality by going back to basics - Mao and his calls for working class rule -- which given his entire history of total conrol of the Party with echoes of Trump control of Republicans might cause you to lol. And Bret Stevens on why Xi will fail - also LOL - Stevens thinks the CCP will fail because they lie to the people -- missing the irony of how often our own government has lied which has created so much mistrust our system may fall before China's does.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/04/world/asia/xi-china-communist-party-school.html

The Communist Party of China just celebrated 100 years since its founding, and for much of that time the Central Party School and similar academies have been “red cradles.” In these schools, cadres are immersed in the party’s beliefs, which trace back to its early decades as a revolutionary movement. Mr. Xi has preached that re-energized party rule is essential for China’s ascent, and he has urged the schools to produce officials who are proudly and vocally loyal to that cause.
After a Hundred Years, What Has China’s Communist Party Learned?

In the machinery of a one-party state, in which the words of a paramount leader amplify as they move through its cogs, Xi’s dark warnings created a thriving cult of paranoia.

A century after the Party was founded by a young Mao Zedong and other students of Marxism-Leninism, it aspires to achieve the ultimate dream of authoritarian politics: an encompassing awareness of everything in its realm; the ability to prevent threats even before they are fully realized, a force of anticipation and control powered by new technology; and economic influence that allows it to rewrite international rules to its liking.

Opinion | China Won't Bury Us, Either - The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/05/opinion/us-china-covid-lies.html

 Brett Stevens

Garry Kasparov has a pithy way of summing up the past 18 months of tribulation. “China gave us the virus,” the chess and human-rights champion told me over a recent breakfast. “And the free world gave us the vaccines.”

For Beijing, the crack is that the regime is based on lying. It isn’t just the historical lies, such as Xi’s omission in his speech of any mention of the Great Chinese Famine, the Cultural Revolution and other atrocities in which Mao killed as many as 80 million of his own citizens. Nor is it merely the political lies, such as Beijing’s aggressive propaganda campaign to hide human-rights atrocities against the Uyghurs of Xinjiang.

The real problem with the lying is that a regime that lies nonstop to others eventually lies to itself as well.

Embracing MAO [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/08/business/china-mao.html

They read him in libraries and on subways. They organized online book clubs devoted to his works. They uploaded hours of audio and video, spreading the gospel of his revolutionary thinking.

Chairman Mao is making a comeback among China’s Generation Z. The Communist Party’s supreme leader, whose decades of nonstop political campaigns cost millions of lives, is inspiring and comforting disaffected people born long after his death in 1976. To them, Mao Zedong is a hero who speaks to their despair as struggling nobodies.

In a modern China grappling with widening social inequality, Mao’s words provide justification for the anger many young people feel toward a business class they see as exploitative. They want to follow in his footsteps and change Chinese society — and some have even talked about violence against the capitalist class if necessary.

The Mao fad lays bare the paradoxical reality facing the party, which celebrated the centenary of its founding last week. Under President Xi Jinping, the party has made itself central to nearly every aspect of Chinese life. It claims credit for the economic progress the country has made and tells the Chinese people to be grateful.

At the same time, economic growth is weakening and opportunities for young people are dwindling. The party has nobody else to blame for a growing wealth gap, unaffordable housing and a lack of labor protections. It must find a way to placate or tame this new generation of Maoists that it helped create, or it could face challenges in governing.

“The new generation is lost in this divided society, so they will look for keys to the problems,” a Maoist blogger wrote on the WeChat social media platform. “In the end, they’ll definitely find Chairman Mao.”

In interviews and online posts, many young people said they could relate to Mao’s analysis of Chinese society as a constant class struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors.

“Like many young people, I’m optimistic about the country’s future but pessimistic about my own,” said Du Yu, a 23-year-old who is suffering from burnout from his last job as an editor at a blockchain start-up in the tech-obsessed Chinese city of Shenzhen. Mao’s writing, he said, “offers spiritual relief to small town youth like me.”

Chinese technology workers are often expected to work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, a practice so common that they call it “996.” Mr. Du’s schedule was worse. After he slept only five hours over three days late last year, his heart raced, he was short of breath and he grew sluggish. He quit shortly after. He hasn’t looked for a job in three months and seldom ventures outside. A doctor diagnosed mild depression.

“Most of my peers I know still want to succeed,” Mr. Du said. “We’re simply against exploitation and meaningless striving.”

While Mao never went away, he was once out of fashion. In the 1980s, as freedom and free markets became buzz words, young people turned to books by Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre and Milton Friedman. Studying Mao was required in school, but many students blew off those lessons. After the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, martial arts novels and books by successful entrepreneurs dominated best-seller lists.

But China has become fertile ground for a Mao renaissance.

Nominally a socialist country, China is one of the world’s most unequal. Some 600 million Chinese, or 43 percent of the population, earn a monthly income of only about $150. Many young people believe they can’t break into the middle class or outearn their parents. The lack of upward social mobility has made them question the purity of the party, which they believe is too tolerant of the capitalist class.

The party’s growing presence in everyday life has also opened doors for Maoism. Intensifying indoctrination under Mr. Xi has turned the youth both more nationalistic and more immersed in Communist ideology.

“Dying for the country? Yes,” goes one online slogan. “Dying for the capitalists? Never!”

New catchphrases among the young reveal this Mao-friendly mind-set. With wages stagnant, young people talk about a “consumption downgrade.” Their employers work them so hard that they call themselves “wage slaves,” “corporate cattle” and “overtime dogs.” A growing number are saying they would rather become slackers, using the Chinese phrase “tang ping,” or “lie flat.”

Those attitudes have helped make the five volumes of “The Selected Works of Mao Zedong” popular again. Photos of fashionably dressed young people reading the books on subways, at the airports and in cafes are circulating online. Students at the Tsinghua University library in Beijing borrowed the book more than any others in both 2019 and 2020, according to the library’s official WeChat account.

“I’ll definitely reread the ‘Selected Works’ again and again in the future,” a young blogger named Mukangcheng wrote on Douban, a Chinese social media service focused on books, film and other media. “It has the power to make a person searching in darkness see the light. It makes my weak soul strong and broadens my narrow worldview.”

Mukangcheng, who declined to give me his real name, uses an email account named “Left Left.” His portrait is a red Mao badge. His posts concern high pork prices and lack of money for his phone bills. In 2018, when he visited the site of the Communist Party’s first national congress in Shanghai, he wrote on the visitors’ book, quoting Mao, “Never forget class struggle!”

Others commenting online about “Selected Works” said they saw themselves in the young Mao, an educated village youth from a backwater province trying to make it in the early 1900s in the big city then known as Peking. They usually call Mao “teacher,” a term he preferred to call himself.

Many social media users like to quote the first sentence of the first volume. “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” Mao wrote in 1925. “This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.”

4 comments:

  1. Ask the Cubans who are risking their lives protesting totalitarian control as we speak how one party rule is consolidated.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You ask the thousands of Central Americans escaping American backed failed capitalist totalitarian regimes first.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There was a Nurenberg trials for Nazis but not for communists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But no trial for the Nazis our country embraced and gave shelter too. I’d bet if given a choice you’d choose Nazis.

      Delete

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