Category Archives: China

Mao Was Right

Sisera: So what does that mean then? You believe rich people are inherently oppressors who don’t deserve rights but then White men are okay?

I dunno. There are some North Koreans worth up to $100,000. The party doesn’t seem to care much. There are many rich Chavistas and the Ortegas have plenty of money. There are some Cubans who are living quite well now – marble counter-tops and floors, etc. The state doesn’t care.

I suppose a good CP would just argue that moneyed people can be kept around as long as they support the party and the basic socialist nature of the system. Progressive rich people are not unknown. The father of the famous terrorist Carlos was a life member of the Venezuelan Communist Party and a millionaire.

Do the Chinese Communists (Chicoms) believe that the rich are inherently oppressive? I doubt it as the party is full of millionaires. There is even a billionaire in the party now pushing the rightwing politics of all billionaires everywhere. I think they ought to throw him out of the party.

Mao said reactionary and capitalist elements would be springing up in the party all the time, and you to wage more or less constant cultural revolution to keep the rightwingers from taking over the party. That’s one of the pillars of Maoism that distinguishes it from other Marxisms.

Then Deng came along, aaand…

Mao was right.

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Hardline or Fanatical Anti-Communism Is Nearly Always Reactionary

Sisera: I guess he would say you believe the philosophy but just not how it is being applied.

You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits. You should know by now that fanatical anti-Communists are almost always wildly irrational, typically pathological liars and usually reactionary shits.

Not that Communism is great or that there is no rational reason to oppose Communism of course. There is a rational way to oppose Communism, but most anti-Commies don’t seem to abide by it much.
I mean there ought to be space for pro-free speech, pro civil liberties liberals and progressives who are anti-Communists, but they never seem to pop up much.

I mean, Communists do violate a lot of civil rights and there are some serious problems with democracy in Communist states.

Witness the recent violent demonstrations in Vietnam for instance. Those demos are arguably leftwing or at least nationalist demonstrations protesting against objectively rightwing policy by the Vietnamese Communist government to set up more free enterprise zones with 99 year leases. The protesters fear that these will quickly be bought up by rich Chinese and Vietnam will just become a Chinese colony again as it was for centuries. I would support the protesters in this case, but here you see a Communist government enacting rightwing policy in the face of a Leftist opposition by the people. There’s a serious lack of democracy there.

Those of us who oppose police state tactics, support freedom of speech and assembly, extensive civil liberties, etc. would find that these values of ours are not supported by Communists at all.

But there are not a lot of good liberal or progressive rights-based people among the anti-Communists for whatever reason.

Hardline anti-Commies almost always tend to be conservatives or reactionaries, and I include the Democratic Party in the conservatives here.

Typically as you get further left, a lot of social democratic parties don’t really care about Communism. They are not going to implement it of course, but a lot of them think if you do, that’s your business. A lot of social democratic governments in Europe supported Cuba, the USSR and the Sandinistas and a lot even supported the FARC. The social democratic revolutionary PRI government of Mexico had warm relations with Cuba and Nicaragua. They even supported the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador. They were headquartered in Mexico City. But the modern PRI is not even social democratic anymore, or its gone over the European garbage of rightwing social democracy.

Of course all the real left social democrats are gone now, and the only “social democrats” left are rightwing jerkoffs. Many of the parties in the Socialist International now would be characterized by this new rightwing social democracy. The fact that social democrats around the world have all become rightwingers and more or less neoliberals shows me that the Marxists were correct about social democracy. They always said it was bankrupt and unworkable. I think it worked fine for a while, but it probably always had the rightwing seeds of its own destruction planted within it somehow, and now they are bearing fruit.

Perhaps some of my commenters can elucidate the rightwing trend in social democracy, the reasons for it, and whether social democracy was doomed from the very starts, as I suspect, weighted down with its own contradictions.

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Why Do Some Countries Lack a Class Conscious Working Class?

John Engelman: Contrary to what Karl Marx said, for most people most of the time loyalties of nation, race and ethnicity are stronger than loyalties of class. The working class in the United States has always been more diverse than the working class in European countries. It is becoming more diverse with the influx of non whites.

To get class consciousness you really need a homogeneous working class. It helps if the working class is ethnically distinct from the upper class. In Scotland the upper class is English, or Anglicized Scottish. That is to say Scottish, but educated in England, and often speaking with English accents.

The clear majority of Scots vote for the British Labour Party. English workers are more likely to vote for the British Conservative Party.

The argument is circular in a sense because as you look around the world, generally what you see in most cases is an ethnically homogenous working class.

Would you describe the working classes of Latin America as homogeneous or diverse? They seem to be a mixture of White, Indian and Black and the mestizo, mulatto and Zambo mixtures, correct? Yet the diverse working classes down there have high working class consciousness despite their diverse nature.

Aren’t North African and Gulf countries fairly mixed between Blacks and Arabs?

Certainly in Arabia, lands with diverse working classes of Kurds, Arabs and Iranian working classes are all very left.

I believe Sri Lanka even with the vicious Tamil versus Sinhalese war, the diverse working class is leftwing. In Burma the working class is very left although there have been wild ethnic wars sputtering on for decades.

In Russia and other nations of the former USSR, there are many ethnic minorities, but the workers are still working class.

A recent exception is Ukraine where workers have gone radical Right. The former Yugoslavia is still very leftwing even after all of the ethnic conflict and even slaughter of past years. Spain’s working class is very radical despite an armed conflict in the Basque region and separatists in Catalonia. The different religions hate each other in North Ireland, but the Scottish Protestant workers are as class conscious as the Irish Catholic ones. Switzerland is divided between three ethnic groups – French, Germans, and Italians – yet it is a very leftwing country.

The extreme tribalism in Africa has not prevented the working classes from being class conscious.

Is the working class of England voting Tory yet? Or do you just mean that they are more likely to vote Tory than the Scots are?

Most workers in Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Africa, the former USSR, China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Japan, South Korea, Nepal are the same ethnicity as the ruling classes of those places, yet workers have a high degree of class consciousness in all of those places.

The places where working class consciousness has been harder to develop were those that had a Chinese ruling class as in Philippines and Indonesia.

I think we need to come up with some better theories about the poor class consciousness of the US working class. If you are looking for examples elsewhere, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, the Baltics and Colombia are places with quite poor working class consciousness.

In Australia it is recent as US style conservatism is imported.

A similar trend is underway in Canada and has been since Thatcher in the UK. But the UK is in nearly a revolutionary situation. A lot of the working classes are militant and radicalized, while a lot of the country has at the same time gone Tory. When Thatcher died, there were anti-rich riots in housing estates across the land. Thatcher was burned in effigy in the streets. Can you imagine that happening in the US?

The recent riots in the UK also had a class undercurrent. I was dating a British woman at the time, and she told me that local storeowners who treated the community well were spared by rioters. Rioters focused on stores selling upscale goods to the rich. Many corporate outlets were also smashed.

She told me that a number of those outlets had a reputation for not paying taxes to the UK by hiding money offshore. She said the rioters knew who those companies were, and they were brutally singled out. Many outlets were burned to the ground. Can you imagine heavily Black rioters in the US having class consciousness like that?

The Baltics are a case of entire nations full of complete idiots who hate Communism so much that they went into an extreme overreaction against Communism and turned against anything socialist, left, liberal or mildly progressive. Fascist heroes including many Nazis with a lot of Jewish blood on their hands were celebrated. Communist parties were outlawed, and Russian minorities were viciously maltreated.

Radical rightwingers were elected in all of these lands, and Chicago Boys Friedmanite experiments were undertaken. The results were predictable. In the recent economic crash, the most neoliberal European countries were the most devastated of all. Estonia was eviscerated, and Latvia was almost wiped off the map. 1/3 of the Latvian population left the country, including almost all of the educated people.

The Philippines and Indonesian cases are up for discussion, but these are Latin American situations of a ruling class of a different ethnicity than the working classes holding forth brutally and anti-democratically over the people. In addition, the workers have little consciousness.

Taiwan has a similar legacy where extreme hatred of Communism resulted in being ruled by reactionary fascist anti-Communists for decades. There is a nascent Left now, but it has little power yet. The wealth of the country seems to have gotten in the way of working class consciousness. Probably the extreme anti-Communism helped too, as any working class movement could be quickly portrayed as Communist.

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Whites Are Only Decent and Progressive When They Are a Majority

Answered on Quora.

Jason: Anyway, what I meant to say is that SA whites being richer were jerks out of fear of safety – and also the richer behave that way everywhere else – regardless of whatever race they’re in.

But South African whites, to be honest, got on the bad side of the liberal community – especially, cause their social system was race based. In other words, they could have done the same thing by just hiding into rich neighborhoods, like California people do now. In other words, California is just as racist as South Africa – in a sense – cause the poor are kept out of richer areas “unofficially” via crime laws.

I agree with you that the middle classes and rich act like shits pretty much everywhere on Earth, but here in California, we do have some decent middle class and rich people, at least in some areas, particularly on the coast. I am thinking of the Bay Area in particular. Those are probably some of the best-behaved middle and upper class Whites outside of Europe.

Also rich and middle class Whites act pretty good in all of Europe (except the UK), Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The problem is that in most places on Earth where Whites become a minority, they turn into the worst fascist fucks on Earth. A process that is presently unfolding here in the US.

Face facts. White people only act decent when they are in the majority. When they are a minority, get ready for fascism, genocide, death squads, etc.

Show me anywhere on Earth where a White minority acts decently at all, except California and Hawaii.

Honestly though, the Chinese do not act much differently. Chinese in China and Taiwan act pretty good, but the Chinese minorities in the Philippines and Indonesia are complete monsters, especially the ones in the Philippines.

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A Chinese Man Looks at Africa

How many times have we heard this before? This video is being condemned in the comments as racist. It’s not. Anyway, how many times have you heard similar things about Africans? There’s no end to anecdotes like this.

That said, I think the Chinese will be very good for Africa. People do not understand the Chinese Communist Party. They really are Communists. I know this. There’s no need to argue about it.

This notion that they have all turned into radical neoliberal laissez faire capitalists is wishful thinking on the part of the capitalists. Their system is called Market Socialism or the Social Market, and that is exactly what it is. 88% of investment in China comes from the state. 45% of the economy is publicly owned. All of the banks are publicly owned. The private sector is severely regulated. They still have a planned economy all the way down to actually existing five-year plans. And they have admitted that they are still committed to the goal of spreading Communism around the world. They are spending a lot of money at US educational institutions to promote socialism.

The Chinese effort in Africa is not neocolonialism or imperialism. China is not an imperialist country. It can’t be. They work on the basis of solidarity, not neocolonialism and imperialism. A Communist country can’t be imperialist anyway. Social imperialism was a made up thing that never existed. Soviet imperialism was a notion invented by the Cold War.

The Chinese do and will operate in Africa on a win-win basis. We win, you win. Exactly the opposite of the way the US and other imperialist countries operate – my way or the high way, do as we say or else, we exploit you while you lie back and enjoy it, etc.

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Defend Your People

An African immigrant attacks a Chinese beggar. It goes on for 10 seconds before a patriotic young Chinese man jumps in to defend his people.

Everyone, please, always defend your people. It’s the honorable thing to do. A people who will not defend themselves are doomed to destruction.

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Corpse Landmarks on Mount Everest

I don’t care about all the fools who died climbing Mt. Everest or K2. Actually K2 has killed quite a few more people than Everest. The people who got killed climbing Everest are still sitting there on that mountain, frozen human hot dogs on an icebox mountain. I’m not sure what it means that they are still there. Maybe there is no way to go get the body. Those bodies are actually marked on maps and are used as landmarks by people climbing the mountain!

Can you believe it? You are looking at a map climbing Everest and your friend points in the distance at this darker colored object on the mountain. That’s Climber #74 over there. We call him Human Frozen Burrito for short. It’s on the map. Find Human Burrito on the map, and you can figure out where we are on this infernal mountain.

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Repost: The Classification of the Vietnamese Language

This ran first a long time ago, but I just sold an ad on this post, so I decided to repost it. Rereading it, it’s a great Historical Linguistics post.

One of the reasons that I am doing this post is that one of my commenters asked me a while back to do a post on the theories of long-range comparison like Joseph Greenberg’s and how well they hold up. That will have to wait for another day, but for now, I can  at least show you how some principles of Historical Linguistics, a subfield that I know a thing or two about. I will keep this post pretty non-technical, so most of you ought to be able to figure out what is going on.

Let us begin by looking at some proposals about the classification of Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese language has been subject to a great deal of speculation regarding its classification. At the moment, it is in the Mon-Khmer or Austroasiatic family with Khmer, Mon, Muong, Wa, Palaung, Nicobarese, Khmu, Munda, Santali, Pnar, Khasi, Temiar, and some others. The family ranges through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, China, and over into Northeastern India.

It is traditionally divided into Mon-Khmer and Munda branches. Here is Ethnologue’s split, and here are some other ways of dividing up the family.

The homeland of the Austroasiatics was probably in China, in Yunnan, Southwest China. They moved down from China probably around 5,000 years ago. Some of the most ancient Austroasiatics are probably the Senoi people, who came down from China into Malaysia about 4,000 years ago. Others put the time frame at about 4-8,000 YBP (years before present).

A major fraud has been perpetrated lately based on Senoi Dream Therapy. I discussed it on the old blog, and you can Google it if you are interested. In Anthropology classes we learned all about these fascinating Senoi people, who based their lives around their dreams. Turns out most of the fieldwork was poor to fraudulent like Margaret Mead’s unfortunate sojourn in the South Pacific.

The Senoi resemble Veddas of India, so it is probably true that they are ancient people.  Also, their skulls have Australoid features. In hair, they mostly have wavy hair (like Veddoids), a few have straight hair (like Mongoloids) and a scattering have woolly hair (like Negritos). Bottom line is that ancient Austroasiatics were probably Australoid types who resembled what the Senoi look like today.

There has long been a line arguing that the Vietnamese language is related to Sino-Tibetan (the family that Chinese is a part of). Even those who deny this acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of borrowing from Chinese (especially Cantonese) to Vietnamese. This level of borrowing so long ago makes historical linguistics a difficult field.

Here is an excellent piece by a man who has done a tremendous amount of work detailing his case for Vietnamese as a Sino-Tibetan language. It’s not for the amateur, but if you want to dip into it, go ahead. I spent some time there, and after a while, I was convinced that Vietnamese was indeed a Sino-Tibetan language. One of the things that convinced me is that if borrowing was involved, seldom have I seen such a case for such a huge amount of borrowing, in particular of basic vocabulary. I figured the  case was sealed.

Not so fast now.

Looking again, and reading some of Joseph Greenberg’s work on the subject, I am now convinced otherwise. There is a serious problem with the cognates between Vietnamese and Chinese, of which there are a tremendous number.

This problem is somewhat complex, but I will try to simplify it. Briefly, if Vietnamese is indeed related to Sino-Tibetan, its cognates should be not only with Chinese, but with other members of Sino-Tibetan also. In other words, we should find cognates with Tibetan, Naga, Naxi, Tujia, Karen, Lolo, Kuki, Nung, Jingpho, Chin, Lepcha, etc. We should also find cognates with those languages, where we do not find them in Chinese. That’s a little complicated, so I will let you think about it a bit.

Further, the comparisons between Chinese and Vietnamese should be variable. Some should look quite close, while others should look much more distant.

So there’s a problem with the Vietnamese as ST theory.

The cognates look like Chinese.

Problem is, they look too much like Chinese. They look more like Chinese than they should in a genetic relationship. Further, they look like Chinese and only Chinese. Looking for relationships in S-T outside of Chinese, and we find few if any.

That’s a dead ringer for borrowing from Chinese to Vietnamese. If it’s not clear to you how that is, think about it a bit.

Looking at Mon-Khmer, the case is not so open and shut. There seem to be more cognates with Chinese than with Mon-Khmer. So many more that the case for Vietnamese as AA looks almost silly, and you wonder how anyone came up with it.

But let us look again. The cognates with AA and Vietnamese are not just with its immediate neighbors like Cambodian and Khmu but with languages far off in far Eastern India like Munda and Santali. There are words that are found only in the Munda branch in one or two obscure languages that somehow show up again as cognates in Vietnamese.

Now tell me how Vietnamese borrowed ancient basic vocabulary from some obscure Munda tongue way over in Northeast India? It did not. How did those words end up in some unheard of NE Indian tongue and also in Vietnamese? Simple. They both descended long ago from a common ancestor. This is Historical Linguistics.

The concepts I have dealt with here are not easy for the non-specialist to figure out, but most smart people can probably get a grasp on them.

A different subject is the deep relationships of AA. Is AA related to any other languages? I leave that as an open question now,  though there does appear to be a good case for AA being related to Austronesian.

One good piece of evidence is the obscure AA languages found in the Nicobar Islands off the coast of Thailand. Somehow, we see quite a few cognates in Nicobarese with Austronesian. We do not see them in any other branches of AA, only in Nicobarese. This seems odd,  and it’s hard to make a case for borrowing. On the other hand, why cognates in Nicobarese and only in Nicobarese?

Truth is there are some cognates outside of Nicobarese but not a whole lot. In historical linguistics, one thing we look at is morphology. Those are parts of words, like the -s plural ending in English.

In both AA and Austronesian, we have funny particles called infixes. Those are what in English we might call prefixes or suffixes, except they are stuck in the middle of the word instead of at the end or the beginning. So, in English, we have pre- as a prefix meaning “before” and -er meaning “object that does X verb”. So pre-destination means that our lives are figured out before we are even born.  Comput-er and print-er are two objects, one that computes and the other that prints.

If we had infixes instead, pre-destination would look something like destin-pre-ation and comput-er and print-er would look something like com-er-pute and prin-er-t.

Anyway, there are some fairly obscure infixes that show up not only in some isolated languages in AA but also in far-flung Austronesian languages in, say, the Philippines. Ever heard of the borrowing of an infix? Neither have I? So were those infixes borrowed,  and what are they doing in languages as far away as Thailand and the Philippines, and none in between? Because they  got borrowed? When? How? Forget it.

Bottom line is that said borrowing did not happen. So what are those infix cognates doing there? Probably ancient particles left over from a common language that derived both Austronesian and AA, probably spoken somewhere in SW China maybe 9,000 years ago or more.

Why is this sort of long-range comparison so hard? For one thing, because after 9,000 years or more, there are hardly any cognates left anymore, due to the fact of language change. Languages change and tend to change at a certain rate.

After 1000X years, so much change has taken place that even if two languages were once “sprung from a common source,” in the famous words of Sir William Jones in his epochal lecture to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on February 2, 1786, there is almost nothing, or actually nothing, left to show of that relationship. Any common words have become so mangled by time that they don’t look much or anything alike anymore.

So are AA and Austronesian related? I think so, but I suppose it’s best to say that it has not been proven yet. This thesis is part of a larger long-range concept known as “Austric.” Paul Benedict, a great scholar, was one of the champions of this. Austric is normally made up of AA, Austronesian, Tai-Kadai (the Thai language and its relatives) and Hmong-Mien (the Hmong and Mien languages). Based on genetics, the depth of Austric may be as deep as 30,000 years, so proving it is going to be a tall order indeed.

What do I think?

I think Tai-Kadai and Austronesian are proven to be related (more on that later). AA and Austronesian seem to be related also, with a lesser depth of proof. Hmong-Mien seems to be related to Sino-Tibetan, not Austric.

The case for Vietnamese being related to S-T is still very interesting, and I still have an open mind about it.

All of these discussions are hotly controversial, and mentioning it in linguistics circles is likely to set tempers flaring.

References

Author and date unknown, What Makes Vietnamese So Chinese? An Introduction to Sinitic-Vietnamese Studies.

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Check Out New Airtracks from China!

Wholesale Airtrack in China is one of the world’s largest producers of inflatable airtracks. We have been producing these airtracks at our air track factory in China for several years now, longer than our competition. It is these years of development along with hundreds of tests of our product that have allowed us to produce the finest quality airtracks. There are a number of other companies also producing airtracks right now, but theirs tend to be cheaper and of poorer quality. Over time, they break down more quickly than our airtracks. Click the links to check out our great airtracks!

They can be ordered either wholesale to sell in your store or you can buy wholesale direct from the site and have it shipped to you.

These airtracks are generally purchased by families with small children. The children use them to do exercises, gymnastics, etc. It could be seen as an exercise mat. Many parents are quite happy with the airtacks they have purchased and they say that their children use them all the time.

The item below, is called an Inflatable Small Air Track Tumble Trak Air Floor. This is about the typical size for most of these models.

Inflatable Small Air Track Tumble Trak Air Floor

This is an example of a Inflatable Small Air Track Tumble Trak Air Floor . It looks like a lot of fun!

 

Pink Airtrack Mini Tumble Track

This airtrack is called a Pink Airtrack Mini Tumble Track. It is a lot smaller than most airtracks the company sells, but it is also a lot cheaper. The design is very attractive.

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Diglossia in China

Dear Robert

I have no basis on which to agree or disagree with your assessment of the linguistic situation in China. However, aren’t nearly all Chinese born after 1949 sufficiently conversant with official Mandarin to understand it, read it and also carry on a conversation in it? In that case, China would be a country with diglossia, with all the non-Mandarin languages/dialects spoken in informal settings between locals, and official Mandarin spoken in formal settings and between people of different regions.

Regards. James

The younger people speak, read, and write Putonghua (a version of Mandarin) very well. A lot of the older adults can do the same. I believe there may be some monolinguals of the other tongues out there. And there are also monolinguals under age 5. Some Westerners adopted a 2-3 year old girl, and the girl could only speak some obscure Gan language. It took them a while to figure what the Hell language she even spoke because it was not obvious and the tongue was not well-known.

A problem is that some varieties have actually developed their own Putonghuas now! So in a sense the experiment is having unexpected consequences. Putonghuas of various regions can hardly be understood by Putonghua speakers of other regions. So even the standard is starting to split! However, getting everyone to speak, read, and write was definitely a good idea.

My father was stationed in China in 1946 after the war for a while. The US occupied China for a while there. He said that when he was in Peking (the old Beijing), there were rickshaw drivers everywhere. If you wanted to get anywhere, you summoned a rickshaw. He said that the rickshaw drivers had the pens and pads and they were always running around offering the pens and pads to passengers and other drivers because the other person spoke some other lect, so they could not understand each other. But most of them could read and write Mandarin! So if worse came to worse and you could not talk to each other, you could always write it down! So actually, China had a Putonghua of sorts even before the Communist victory and the introduction of Putonghua.

And I do not believe that Putonghua was introduced in 1949. I think it took the Communists a little while to come up with it and formulate it properly.

The “Speak Mandarin” campaign has had some unintended consequences because it is not allowed to teach school in any language but Mandarin for Sinitic speakers. I believe that speakers of other tongues such as Tibetans can have home language education, which is considered a progressive thing. I know that teachers were still teaching classes in Shanghainese not so long ago. Also speaking dialects was discouraged and possibly even punished at school. I am not sure if even today you can take courses in other Chinese languages at school. But the Mandarin only campaign went too far and it has led to the destruction of a lot of the less spoken varieties, which in many cases are full languages and not dialects at all. So it has been very controversial.

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