Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

There is certainly some sense in Marx's historical development thesis, which goes something like; from feudalism to capitalism to socialism and that would seem to suggest that for socialism to come into its ascendency society would have had to have moved onto the capitalist stage of development. Yes, it would appear that the brave new world envisaged by Marxists suffered a major setback during the 1919-20 revolutions in Europe. The Soviet Union, which had never had an industrial revolution and, therefore, lacked a conscious, educated industrial proletariat sort of summersaulted the stages in Marx's theory and went onto cultivate that wonderful stalinist concept of "socialism in one country", a model which is better portrayed by George Orwell's '1984' than it is in any of Charlie's writings, and then we had China!
While living in China I was all too aware of being in just about one of the most unsocialist countries that I had personally experienced. Alright, not quite as bad as Oman or Bahrain, admitted. However, there they are, the little men at the gates of your compound saluting the cars of some big fat guy in his car and there are 900 million or so, living in shit, while the mob with the "guanxi" live their lives on the gravy train. China, a country where everyone knows his or her place, and while it has, no doubt, improved a bit since the days of Cíxǐ Tàihòu, the Empress Dowager, it is, to put it mildly, not really what a working class Glaswegian means when he talks about socialism.
Still, even in China they have got their "May Day" and it is that time of the year again when the CCP extols the virtues of the class they are supposed to represent and on browsing the 'China Daily' I can see that they are doing their usual propoganda job. There was one particular picture of migrant workers in Yinchaun, the capital of the Ningxia Hui province in the north of the country and even in, this, what the Chinese officially refer to as,"a second tier city", these workers, deprived of the “hukou” that residential permit which would give them equal rights in the place where they are forced to eek out their living, empitomise a China that reminds me more of Orwell's, "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" than of that socialist society that, for me, must still be on the agenda.
The picture shows migrant workers in Yinchaun celebrating their pay rise to 1,000 rmb a month.

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