by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
Between 108 BC and 1911 AD there were no fewer than 1,828 recorded famines in China, or nearly one each year.
Since 1962 there should have been in China – if their historical average remained unchanged – 50 serious famines.
Instead there have been zero.
When one discusses “China” and “famine” – how often do you hear this totally valid point of view?
I wonder… given 50+ years of success, how much longer can the West wave this bloody shirt? Will there still be a thriving Great Leap famine intellectual cottage industry in 50 years? 100 years? 200 years…?
Kudos to you if you are a reasonable person who prefers fairness and honesty to anti-socialist animosity of the knee-jerk variety, but even that one fact doesn’t allow us to fully appreciate how difficult it was for the Chinese Communist Party to defeat famine.
Blame Mother Nature: Topographically, China is very far from India: Wide-open India can allow cows to graze in peace, but mountainous China can only afford to allot just 2% of its land for pasture, compared with 50% for the US. Nearly 90% of China’s farmland has to go for crops because they have to feed 20% of the world’s population, and from just 6% of the world’s arable land. Around 85% of the population already lives on the one-third of land which is arable, and there is little chance that they can increase this amount of arable land. The South farms year round, but in Northern China, where “China” began, the topography and climate is akin to the Midwestern United States or Ukraine; however, average annual rainfall is a US Dust Bowl-like 25 inches, with annual variances of 30%, making the region especially prone to famine.
No wonder Chinese farmers backed the central planning, cooperation and easy credit of socialism….capitalistic individualism could obviously never thrive in such harsh conditions, and thus it never has, and this cultural fact well-predates 1949 whether one likes it or not.
China’s constant famines were (are we not grateful that we can switch to the past tense now?) despite a 2 millennia-old system of centralised imperialism so cooperative and well-planned that ancient farmers knew they were growing crops expressly to be shipped to a famine-prone region on the other side of China. Such central planning is what allows unity, China will attest. This view is the polar opposite of today’s Germans, who turn their immoral noses up at the idea of showing solidarity with debt-blighted Greeks (who were blighted by German bankers, of course). But China’s governments – imperialist and communist – did their best to not permit the anti-harmony societal disorder caused by unrestrained individualism. Indeed Mao’s food procurement policies – taking food from those who grew it and giving it to the less successful farmers – was truly a continuation of age-old cultural policy; it is only the West that derides that policy as a horrible violation of their supreme sanctity, which is: “my private property is all mine”.
And despite all of these constraints and historical proofs of guaranteed failures, in 2018 China’s malnutrition is lower than in developed countries. China exports food! Accordingly, in 2016 the UN’s World Food Program signed a memorandum of understanding intended to help developing countries learn from China’s success in fighting hunger.
Hunger should be treated in the same way as a natural disaster; Iran’s biggest curse is earthquakes and, were it not for vast anti-Iran sentiment, many more would learn about our similarly amazing, socialist-inspired techniques for dealing with the aftermaths of earthquakes.
The Chinese Communist Party has seemingly done the impossible – ended the scourge of famine in China.
Yet, despite all this success, the famine of the Great Leap Forward is perhaps the single-most important pillar in the West’s anti-China propaganda. It is all the proof one Westerner must cite in order to discredit the Communist Party, Mao and any of China’s successes in any field.
This is the 2nd part in a 8-part series which examines the rise of new, internet-available Western scholarship on China. Finally, the average person can easily find analysis of Red China which focuses on the view from the 99%, as a long-awaited counterbalance to the decades of Western scholarship on China which primarily sought to maintain the 1%’s insistence of the West’s total ideological superiority.
The only remedy to such absurdities are articles such as this one, but especially books such as China is Communist, Dammit by Jeff J. Brown. This type of new scholarship on China is a remedy to the old Western scholarship on China, which is typified by a book called China: A New History. This Harvard professor-written book is likely the most popular university-level textbook on China in the United States, and Fairbanks is known as “the West’s doyen on China”.
In this series I toggle back and forth between these two sources which are clearly on both sides of the spectrum, and the comparison is illuminating. Fairbanks’ establishment view is well-known, but is it accurate? Of course, the pro-socialist side provides us with a new perspective, but is it based on facts? Judge for yourself in the following comparison, which also adds in my personal views on the matter.
The West’s false ‘moral causes’ of the Great Leap’s Famine
The 1959-61 famine is not close to China’s worst famine, historically: you had three famines which claimed 15, 30 and 45 million people in the 19th century alone. Six million died in 1927, and there were major famines in 1929, 1939 and 1942.
All of these were caused by environmental factors, and of course political factors as well: it’s not as if China didn’t have a government back then – it’s just that they didn’t have a government which could cope…in undeniable contrast to China over the last 50+ years.
I am not saying that the deaths of 15-20 million people were not important – I’m accurately adding that they were, sadly, not unusual in China whatsoever. Nobody honest would consider this context of near-annual famines irrelevant, but the West focuses like a laser on the Great Leap Forward’s famine in an usually-ahistorical vacuum.
For the West, the Great Leap’s famine was caused by ineffective, overpaid bureaucrats who worked for a totalitarian regime…along with the routine implication that the Communist Party inflicted this famine on purpose in order to settle scores / intimidate the populace / hoard wealth for themselves / are inherently immoral and callous in a way which capitalists could never be, and other such similar nonsense.
Another common Wester stereotype in scholarship on the Great Famine – and a routine “explanation” for Fairbanks – is the “docility” of the Chinese farmer.
This “docility“, it is implied, is the only way they would have allowed the Communist Party to take control (LOL), and they just plain lack the testosterone which the West has in spades and which is their aggressive answer to everything. I guess we need to get Chinese peasants some crystal meth to pep them up? That method sure worked before – getting 1/4th the Chinese population hooked on opium smoothed the path to their “Century of Humiliation” by the West & Japan. I assume the “docile” farmers didn’t even notice what was going on around them during this era….
The histories of those 19th century famines are appalling – entire villages dead by hunger, bodies everywhere, no rain for three years, deaths coming quickly…but death by hunger must seem quite long.
The difference between academia and journalism is that journalists have a direct point to make, while academia is claiming to describe a totality (in which they use indirect points). But even establishment Fairbanks can’t go as low as most journalists and say that the Great Leap’s Famine was a calculated, genocidal policy:
“In 1959-60 China was better organized, and famine areas full of starved corpses were not seen. But malnutrition due to thin rations made millions more susceptible to disease. The higher-than-usual mortality did not become known until the statistics were worked out. Not until 1960 was it finally realized that many peasants were starving….
I will prove later how quickly the Chinese Communist Party reacted humanely after 1960 to change policy. But before any exoneration there must first be reasonable explanation.
The simple, understandable, all-too-human reasons of the famine
Socialism has to be built: After all, what the heck is an agricultural cooperative where farmers are running things? For the millennia the system was: “This is the tax – you pay now!”
But once China’s gentry was kicked out and the farmers gathered round as equals…this was the question to which they could only scratch their heads, think, and start drawing up diagrams in the dirt.
Therefore, of course the Great Leap Forward was inefficient in some ways: Socialism is something which has to be constructed daily, still, because socialism has to make it up as it goes along. It is a social experiment, and society has to experiment on itself. That obviously implies an increased risk for failure, but only in the short term. It certainly contains the moral exoneration of: the capitalist status quo was certain to be worse in the short, medium and long terms.
China realised in the late 1950s that they had to create a new method – the Soviet model could not apply to farmer-dominated China. Indeed, the Great Leap Forward represents when the Chinese broke with the USSR because they needed Chinese solutions to Chinese problems, not Russian solutions to Chinese problems.
It’s terrible how Western propaganda can turn up into down, but: The Great Leap Forward was not caused by increased totalitarian oppression of the Communists on farmers – it was fuelled by not enough central control. I quote here Fairbanks here, because not only do you likely think I am not objective, but you mistakenly don’t realize that socialism is truly based on giving power to the average worker, not taking it away:
“For this purpose there was a general decentralisation of economic management in 1957. Many enterprises and even monetary controls were decentralised down to the local level. The central statistical bureau was broken up and localised together with functions of economic planning. This was the context in which the overambitious targets of the Great Leap were formulated in each locality, not by economists, but by cadres inspired by emulation who were contemptuous of experts but intensely loyal to the cause.”
(The “experts” are capitalists to Fairbanks, of course.)
And that is a Western academic assessment – it is quite the opposite of the journalistic scaremongering of power-grabbing Mao, no?
In fact, we see how Mao (as he did time and again) rejected the centralisation of power in himself – this very idea as impossible for many individualistic Westerners to grasp – and how socialism is a constant devotion of power from the king to the local person.
I continue with that same passage to show how the Great Leap Forward succeeded in many ways. Of course, the average Chinese person was thrilled and electrified to finally be empowered in their own lives…yet all we hear about is the famine:
“The result in 1958 was a mighty paroxysm of round-the-clock labor. The face of the country was changed with new roads, factories, cities, dikes, dams, locks, afforestation, and cultivation, for which the 650 million Chinese had been mobilised in nationwide efforts of unparalleled intensity and magnitude.”
As any modern analysis of China admits, this is the true bedrock of Chinese economic success post-1980: the Mao-era programs which literally built the infrastructure needed to allow the emergence of a middle class. For the West, as is well known, Chinese economic success starts only after the death of Mao. Yet none of those dams or roads have disappeared, and are indispensable to the Chinese economy.
These points are well-known to those who care, but are obsessively blocked by the West. I will not perseverate on these myriad positive economic points of the Mao era – though that would be a fair analytical tactic – thanks to new China scholarship, you can easily find them!
Back to the true causes of the famine.
OVER-ZEALOUSNESS!!! I love the smell of socialism in the morning!
Overzealousness was also seen during the first Soviet collectivisations, and it produced the exact same problems and phenomena I will describe here. Overzealousness is thus a repeated risk which any newly-socialist nation should expect and guard against. It is very, easily explainable if we simply imagine Mao and the Chinese as humans, instead of monsters / docile idiots.
At the start of China’s revolution – with the foreigners kicked out – revolutionary spirit is higher than high, and the cadres report to their superiors with unassailable intentions:
“Yes, we will meet our target plans, and more! Long live the Revolution!”
The cadres mark on their report:
“These guys are proven winners, after all. I’m marking them down for a 100% success rate in indelible ink!”
The party leaders say:
“These are great reports! Plus, we are going to give jobs to all the unemployed, so for certain we are going to exceed expectations. And all that new equipment is going to revolutionise things as well! So I’m going to promise that my region is going to over-perform the quota by 10%, and that way I’ll bring great honor to my people, and my career! Utopia, here we come! ”
And then reality hits.
And, in the case of China in 1959, bad weather hits. And locust plagues.
And the books – which are based on the great year of 1958, when total food production doubled nationwide – are thus totally screwed up.
(Sidebar: Locust populations likely ballooned as a sad and unintended consequence of 1958’s “Four pests” anti-disease and hygiene campaign against rats, mosquitos, flies and especially sparrows, which upset the ecological balance and eliminated a predator of locusts.)
And bureaucratic, statistical chaos is just as big a problem as the decreased production, because the promised 100% of X to distribute collectively turns out to be only 30% of X.
Furthermore, in the pre-computer age, by the time the hard data arrives that the promised X from Region A can’t head to Region B, C, G and Q, then a re-ordering prompted by this failure is obviously needed. But the higher-ups can’t meet because they are addressing the same crisis in their home regions.
But, finally, the higher-ups are able to assemble and they discuss who needs what immediately. The capitalists are laughing gleefully that the ideal of total, equal, communist distribution has to be postponed, but the Party cares far more that the grain has already started to rot on the rails.
What I have just written is a less academic, more humanised form of what Harvard’s Fairbanks described:
“By concentrating solely on Chairman Mao as the leader we would fail to convey the national mood of fervent self-sacrifice and frenetic activity that characterised the Great Leap Forward. Peasants worked around the clock to break their own work records, cadres in charge locally kept on reporting totally unrealistic production figures, and Mao’s colleagues such as the economist Chen Yun and Premier Zhou Enlai found no way to stop the fever.”
(Sidebar: What capitalist ever works that hard, eh? What is the profit motive compared to the encouraging power of the moral-political creed? Indeed, there is no comparison: As Jesus said to the devil when tempted with food during his fast: “Man does not live on bread alone.”)
The above passage – again, by someone who is definitely not sympathetic whatsoever to socialism – shows that the famine was the product of ALL the Chinese people, of good intentions, of the sad human reality that we live in an imperfect world where bad things happen to good people, that we do not dominate Mother Nature as much as we think. The idea that it was all Mao is…pathetic propaganda.
These early problems, history proves over and over, is indeed socialism in its earliest form. China, the Soviets, early Communist Cuba’s difficulties to radically change from capitalist-imperialist one-crop dominance (sugar) to diversified agriculture. In some ways, the West’s ordering of Hussein to attack Iran immediately after their revolution was a boon in that it sharply focused organisational energies on one thing – the war effort. Questions of privatising an economy almost totally state-owned and guided by central planning could only begin after the war, giving the Iranian state a huge head start.
For more fortunate socialist-inspired countries like China, however, initial chaos at the first bump in the road is the logical and expected (or should be, by now) outcome caused by drastically reordering society from capitalist to socialism. The hardest step is the first one – the mistake is to kneecap yourself by giving up on the revolution when it has only just begun.
It should also not be forgotten that China’s hand-farming method was already extremely difficult to improve on.
LOL, do you think there’s a machine that can do as careful a job as a bent-over person scrutinising every square centimetre for weeds? Nobody can beat that. In the US the problem was simply putting vast tracts of land to use – thus improving yields from nothing to something – but not in China, where labor was not the scarce resource but arable land, as I discussed earlier.
There was thus likely a significant over-estimation of the ability of modern machines to increase production.
But what definitely increased farmer efficiency were the centrally-planned and centrally-operated major infrastructure projects: vast irrigation networks, huge road building programs to improve transportation, tunnel-building for mass drainage, lake and dam building, new railroads, steel production for all these projects, etc. And this is where the Great Leap Forward’s central planning undoubtedly succeeded, and why productivity did grow.
But the ancient, backbreaking Chinese model – a family meticulously farming a small plot land with the maximum amount of care – as inefficient? That’s obviously false, and their huge population despite a small amount of arable land stands as millennia-old proof. To say Chinese culture is farmer-centric – in the economic, social, cultural and ethical sense – is to say that water is wet….
The Great Leap Forward will always prove Mao’s socialist genius, thus the propaganda effort…
Indeed, the primary theoretical contribution of Mao was to recognise this reality and to create a “farmer-centered” socialism, breaking away from the industrial worker-dominated socialism of the USSR, Stalinism and Trotskyism, which despite the latter’s claims of universality simply did not translate into the Chinese society in which Mao lived.
The historic Sino-Soviet split occurred precisely because of the Great Leap Forward’s ideological differences with the current Soviet model, pushed by Khrushchev. Khrushchev was an outspoken critic of the Great Leap Forward, the success of which threatened Soviet ideological dominance.
But even more than ideological dominance, Khrushchev was, as Mao correctly saw, a revisionist (revising socialism until it turns back into capitalism), and a right-wing socialist whose mantle would be carried by Gorbachev…into socialism’s grave and the arms of capitalist depredation, as we all know. There is no doubt: Mao was clearly a hugely important thinker and revolutionary, while Khrushchev is remembered as a bureaucrat who denounced Stalin for political gain (severely undermining the Soviets’ ability to emulate what worked: revolutionary socialism) and who was ultimately fired for incompetence.
The Great Leap Forward, and its inherent insistence on the need for specific, nationalist/locally-based solutions, was and remains a major dagger in the Trotskyist version of a universal socialist method; furthermore, Maoism simultaneously defied and yet upheld Stalinism, stripping it of the egotistical pride it bestows upon “more advanced” factory workers, but retaining its right to pursue “socialism in one country”.
This is also why the Soviets made a major contribution to the absurd idea that “China is NOT communist, dammit”: the intelligent refusal of Chinese Communists to follow their Soviet advisors led to the perpetual Russian accusation that Chinese communists were mere “radishes” – red only on the outside.
The Great Leap Forward clearly marked the beginning of the ideological superiority of China over the USSR; Khrushchev’s ideology marked the beginning of the Soviet’s lack of revolutionary commitment, their failure to adapt their ideology to cultural ideas from other areas of the world from which they could have learned and supported, and their eventual descent into Yeltsin-era chaos.
Focusing on famine deaths is tabloid journalism
“If it bleeds it leads”, especially if your ideological enemy is bleeding….
Western propaganda implies that the Great Leap Forward’s famine was somehow a boon to Mao’s bloody grab for power. It takes modern English-Language scholarship to debunk those lies (from Brown):
“With the challenging Great Leap Forward, 1959-1961, Mao lost a huge amount of credibility and his ability to push his platform was weakened. He even had to transfer presidency of China to Liu Shaoqi. This is not evidence of a despotic dictator.”
A major political pause was instituted in order to regroup and chart a new path. The third-five year plan would not start until 1966, four years after the ending of the 2nd 5-year plan.
The Chinese people became aware of the failures, and public disapproval forced political punishments accordingly. It’s the “people’s dictatorship”, not the Mao dictatorship….
Another viewpoint never taken is: amid bad weather, locusts, overzealousness and the usual domestic and foreign reactionary sabotage which accompanies any socialist revolution, the death toll could have been 50 million, 100 million or more.
The West never even considers this line of thought, but the Chinese are well aware that the government continued to distribute rations, to coordinate between differently-hit and differently-producing regions, to provide obviously revolutionary amounts of services to peasants, that education programs went on the entire time, and that these cumulative efforts by the government likely prevented worse results amid the succession of setbacks.
And the failure to pursue this line makes it impossible for Westerners to understand why, despite the famine and hardship, the Chinese did not abandon the Communist Party, and a nation awash in guns overthrow it violently. If there was a protracted hoarding by Party leaders, or a wilful refusal to aid the people, it is absurd to think that a war-hardened, widely-armed populace wouldn’t have decapitated the Party. Of course, maybe you operate from the assumption that the Chinese are “docile” (hey, that kind of thinking can take you all the way to Harvard).
Indeed, the CCP was put in power by a popular revolution with the mandate to institute great leaps forward, and to hell with the old gods of rain, harvests, locusts, whatever.
It is also never admitted that, despite the famine and harship, the Great Leap Forward and its agricultural revolution empowered the peasants more than ever.
This People-centred view – this from-below view of the culture of socialism – was denied by people like Fairbanks for decades, but as a historian he is obliged to at least give the broad strokes, even if he always gets defensive at the end:
“Once they had been called into being and had found their way upwards in society through the collectivization of agriculture, this new stratum of activists in the countryside needed things to do and were ready to go further. The Great Leap Forward was hard to rein in because once the activists got started reorganising the villages, they tended to keep on going. ‘Liberation’ in effect had produced a new class who wanted to keep on liberating.”
The Chinese don’t put their “Liberation” in quotes, as their previous status included so many shackles….which may be a minor consideration to non-Chinese, but it shouldn’t be.
To sum up, replacing what they have told you about Great Leap Forward is a real step towards your own liberation. Why? Because Western views are based on historical nihilism, sensationalism, misinformation and deliberately misleading information.
I hope that this article has not given the impression of any sort of whitewashing of the Great Leap Forward’s famine. Obviously, that would be dangerous. I do hope it is clarified the context, actions, philosophical motivations and results. My main hope is that this leads to de-demonization – showing that the famine was not the result of demons but well-intentioned humans is a very modest goal, but sadly quite needed.
‘Mao’s famines’ were feasts compared with the West’s famines
A perfectly acceptable analytical tactic – yet totally abandoned among modern Western leftists – is to force the West to admit their own crimes before they can accuse others of wrongdoing.
Brown – of course not Fairbanks – makes very apt trans-national comparisons of famines. He begins by accepting the opposition’s high estimate of deaths during the Great Leap’s famine:
“So, 30 million is 4.6% of China’s total population of 654 million….Ireland lost 25% of its people during the British-legislated Great Potato Famine Genocide 1845-1853…French colonialists in Vietnam, in a terrible drought, caused two million to starve to death in 1945, which was 7% of the local population. The United States massacred 7% of the Filipinos, starting in 1898, when it colonised that island country….I could keep going all day long about massacres and genocide in Palestine, India, Asia, Africa the Americas, Oceania and Europe, during the last 500 years of Eurmerican colonialism, with whopping percentages of the local population decimated every time. The point is, in historical perspective, yes 4.6% of the Chinese population lost during the Great Leap Forward period is a tragedy, which Baba Beijing officially accepts. But it is by no means unusual, as an event nor in its magnitude.”
Extremely well-said. Extremely rarely heard.
I’d like to add the Great Persian Famine of 1917-19 orchestrated by the British, which killed a minimum of 20% of our population and possibly as high as 50%. Ten million people died, making Iran actually the greatest victim of World War One. I bet you’ve never heard that view, either…. I defy you to find any English-language literature on the Persian Famine, yet you’ll have no problem finding English-language scholarship on the Great Leap’s famine – new works are always being written, published, reviewed in their Mainstream Media, advertised, etc.
Returning to the global famines perpetuated by colonialists – who attempted no Great Leaps for the natives: Why is that we have no Western names or faces associated with these crimes, and yet Western schoolchildren are universally taught that Mao is a butcher?
Were I to list the names of the persons in charge of Brown’s modest list of genocides, I would be listing the names of beloved Western heroes. The answer to this question is: apathy, ignorance, racism, hypocrisy, elitism but, absolutely above all, the total lack of the politically-modern view which can only be supplied via socialism.
All this proves, and as all non-Westerners already eye-rollingly know: Despite the fear-mongering over Mao (and Islam) it is Western capitalists who are by far the deadliest; despite the constant trumpeting of socialist misdeeds, it is the capitalists who have the guiltiest war machine. The only difference is that the Western Christian capitalists stay on message and practice propaganda / auto-critique much better.
Brown also bluntly encapsulates (and I understand his possible exasperation) the Chinese people’s reaction to the Great Leap Forward’s famine:
“In sum, did people die during the Great Leap Forward, due to droughts and flooding? Yes. As a result was there hunger and starvation? Yes. Did the masses blame the CPC, rise up and overthrow it. No.”
And they absolutely could have because, as I mentioned, this was a postwar, battle-hardened society. Arms were all over, per Brown:
“Due to the Korean War, Taiwan, the CIA in Tibet and Western-fomented suicide missions, a village often had had 1-200 arms on hand until confiscations began in the early 1980s.”
Yet they did not have a popular (counter) revolution. So either the Westerners are right and the Chinese are just plain “docile“, or they collectively decided to keep the Communist Party in power because they did enough things right.
I’m sad to say that this is a crucial question for Westerners to pose themselves: Chinese “docility” – and other racist nonsense – has clearly formed a major part of their intellectual culture on this matter, and many others. Therefore, it must finally be admitted that the Chinese Communist Party remains in power via democratic choice.
The problem with Westerns on this point is two-fold: consciously, it is probably not the choice they would democratically make right now, given their capitalist-imperialist leanings; subconsciously, they feel as though Westerners should be making the choices for the Chinese, still.
The only way to resolve such cognitive and emotional issues is via new scholarship, and thankfully we have books such as Brown to clear away the old debris.
Officially, the Chinese Communist Party says Mao was right 70% of the time and wrong 30% of the time. How rarely is this fact – universally-known in China reported in the West?!
They are clearly more honest than what you have likely read in the West on the Great Leap Forward, which is: the Great Leap Forward was 100% wrong, the famine was proof of it’s ideological / moral incorrectness, and that it did not even contribute to China’s later economic success.
That is the view of an extremist.
I concede that mismanagement is a crime, and that mistakes were made during the Great Leap Forward, but I am no extremist: I say that the West is 90% wrong in their journalism, and 80% wrong in their academia.
It is a tough task to bring the West down from their perch of extremism on this subject – I hope this article has made a small contribution to that humane effort.
This is the 2nd article in an 8-part series which compares old versus new Western scholarship on China.
Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!
Old vs. new scholarship on the continent of China: a 7-part series
Daring to go beyond Western propaganda on the Great Leap Forward’s famine
When Chinese Trash saved the world: Western lies about the Cultural Revolution
Mao’s legacy defended, and famous swim decoded, for clueless academics
The Cultural Revolution’s solving of the urban-rural divide
Once China got off drugs: The ideological path from opium to ‘liberal strongman’ Macron
Prefer the 1% or the Party? Or: Why China wins
China’s only danger: A ‘Generation X’ who thinks they aren’t communist
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.
Link to Part 1, which I neglected to add:
An excellent riposte to the Western psychopaths who, in their paroxysms of Sinophobic racist cant often claim 100,000,000 victims (a number that has grown over the years in a typical example of Western mendacious hysteria)of Mao’s (as if he ran the country single-handed) ‘deliberate’ famine. And the ‘docile’ Chinese peasants have launched scores of revolts throughout Chinese history, the last being Mao’s successful revolution. Still, you can tell the eminence of any public figure by the depth of hatred that the Western ruling class psychopaths direct at them.
Western corporate propaganda, and by now the ‘history’ we are told is also pure propaganda, can be summed up very simply. Anything or anyone who challenges the bankers and the rest of the 1% grabbing and hoarding all of the wealth to them is evil.
A sign that used to be seen at leftist protest read “People over Profits”
The western corporate propaganda states firmly “Profits over People”.
And they don’t care if this kills us. They love it when it enslaves us to generate maximum profit.
Western sponsered Chinese communists murdered between 50 and 100 million people, using mass starvation as the primary tool of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, to remake Chinese society according to plans conceived by Bankers and Satanists in the City of London.
I’m glad to see it is the first thing on your mind too Mulga. Such crimes should never be forgotten, least of all by those now confronted by competition from British allied slave societies.
Personally I support 1000% tarriffs on all goods made by Chinese or other slaves working in Zionist controlled manufacturing facilities. F*** globalism and f*** all Zionist rules for how economies should be organized or how history should be remembered.
LUDICROUS racist gibberish, I fear. The Imperialists really hate and fear China, and so do their disinformers. The idea that China is controlled by the ‘City of London’ is beyond ludicrous.
May I suggest you to add this Another Look at the Great Leap Forward to your article as footnote for further reading? The author (Chinese) provides the historical background and global geopolitical and ideological context why Mao and CPC embarked on Great Leap Forward (GLF), which has seldom been discussed in any anlysis of GLF in Western by Westerner experts. Lots insightful info in the commentary section.
Another book I’d like to recommend is China Shakes The World by Jack Belden in 1949. As American war correspondent, Belden spoke Chinese, went to the frontlines and witnessed firsthand the devastation and sufferings of the Chinese. If you want to understand why Chinese stick to CPC, you should read this book.
Another Look at the Great Leap Forward was written by a Ray, he is not from China. This is a United States Propaganda page, it soft propaganda meant to look objective.
Ray [author] – Ray is a 4th generation overseas Chinese born in Malaysia. He got an engineering degree from the US, and has extended family relation all the way from mainland, Taiwan, US, Canada, to Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and he has also worked and lived in several of those countries. He has no desire to see the decline of the west but is disappointed with the misrepresentation of China in the mainstream western press. He believed that a region which promotes freedom and equality should be held to the standard they advocated and want to see relationship between countries progress in a positive non-confrontational manner. He sincerely believed that a more balanced view is required in the western press.
I recall reading on another blog that during the Great Leap famine, the US government blocked efforts by the Chinese government to buy food on the international market. Can anyone confirm this?
Interesting, that during the infamous Holodomor western government also tried to force USSR to sell food.
They just demanded payment by contracts and refused to take anything but food for the payment. Not even gold.
Still Stalin said “f. you then! We would not fulfill such contracts until domestic problem fixed. Stay tuned.”
Normally I wouldn’t post a link to the CIAPost website, but this is a more historical document about Nixon’s opening to China. Just be careful not to click further on the CIAPost website, or to at least make sure you have a proper anti-propagand hazmat gear/mindset available.
Remember, “who lost China?” was a debate in American politics after the Communists won the Chinese Civil War. Also remember that China and the US had fought each other in a war in Korea.
This article talks of lifting the embargo and that they expect American farmers and food exports to benefit.
“Secretary of Agriculture Clifford M. Hardin cautioned that farmers should not expect big increases in grain exports immediately.
“We hope it will eventually result in meaningful trade for farm exports along with products from American industry,” Hardin said. “We do not anticipate significant trade developments with either China or the Soviet Union in the immediate future.”
But Hardin hailed the President’s action as a “constructive step” that will ultimately benefit American farmers.
U.S.-China trade was roughly $200 million annually in 1950 when President Truman imposed an embargo after China entered the Korean War on the North Korean side.”
Since the USA had this policy on its own, its rather likely that the rabid anti-communism of the McCarthy era would lead the US to try to push this policy internationally. Don’t know if they had a lot of success or not, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t try.
Below is an excerpt from Henry C K Liu’s writing:
In 1963, the Chinese press called the famine of 1961-62 the most severe since 1879. In 1961, a food-storage program obliged China to import 6.2 million tons of grain from Canada and Australia. In 1962, import decreased to 5.32 million tons. Between 1961 and 1965, China imported a total of 30 million tons of grain at a cost of US$2 billion (Robert Price, International Trade of Communist China Vol II, pp 600-601). More would have been imported except that US pressure on Canada and Australia to limit sales to China and US interference with shipping prevented China from importing more. Canada and Australia were both anxious to provide unlimited credit to China for grain purchase, but alas, US policy prevailed and millions starved in China.
Still remember Madeleine Albright says 500,000 dead Iraqi Children was “worth it” , and she wins Medal of Freedom. This kind of immoral and inhuman behaviour is just so consistant in US government and among US politicians.
Strongly recommend to read Another Look at the Great Leap Forward, the author (Chinese) provides the background and context why Mao and CPC embarked on Great Leap Forward (GLF), which you seldom see in or hear from any anlysis of GLF in Western by Westerner experts:
1949 Kuomintang (KMT) took, CPC inherited a China Chinese economy was suffering hyper inflation due to corruption. Bandit gangs was rampant in country side.
Confrontation with US:
The Chinese Civil War was also a geopolitical and ideology war between US and Soviet . US has sided with KMT government and supported it with arms, training and transportation as well as money. During Korean War, US sent its 7th Fleet and Air Force to Taiwan trying to help KMT to retake mainland China (反攻大陆).
US air force bombed Northeast (Manchuria), the most industrialized area of China, in August ,1950. To have US amy stationed in Taiwan and along China-Korean border is simply unacceptable.Hence PRC sent in the People’s Volunteers Army to defend its border.
Challenge and Break-away From Soviet:
Mao is a self-made communist in China by China for China.
Unlike the parachuted Comitern representives, Mao and spent years to study and analyse the social and economic problems faced by the poor people and Chinese society. Mao was pushed out office by Braun and Comitern faction several times due to difference on strategies.
Mao did not have cordial relationship with Stalin or the Chines Moscow faction (aka Wang Min faction).
Khrushchev came to power in 1953.and also requested to set up naval bases for its submarines fleet in China, CPC leadership repeatedly refused, ever fiercely independent Mao declined.
So no more aid-project from Soviet since 1957 and offical cut off of all technical support in 1960. PRC needed to pay back for the 156 aid projects provided by Soviet to help China’s industralisation. (Till today China is very grateful to the help from USSR and Soviet experts to lay down the foundation of China’s industralisation.)
Apart from this, Mao and CPC considered Khrushchev a revisionist, who betrayed Stalin .
So when talking about GLF and the famine, we have to take all these into consideration: historical legacy, fear of potential attacks from two Super Powers, urge to full scale industralisation to defend its security and sovereignty..
As for “Apart from this, Mao and CPC considered Khrushchev a revisionist, who betrayed Stalin” I’ll add that for example, in mid 60’s and later Greek hardcore communists (ex-stalinists) turned Mao’ists and were very hostile towards mainstream communists, who supported Khrushchov and later Soviet leaders, considering them traitors of the cause. It’s not hard to guess that they are really turning in their graves (MAO including) seeing the likes of KKE and Syriza today, or even Chinese or Vietnamese communist systems today.
Disappointed about Syriza’s capitulation to IMF and EU banksters. Well, when you don’t have economic freedom, democracy is just a joke.
MAO famously said: Satelite flies up to the sky, red flag goes down to earth (卫星上天，红旗落地), which he referred to the “change of colour” with the revisionist Khrushchev’s socialism, he was acutely aware the possibility of Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping would/could become revisionist when he died. Hence the Culture Revolution.
In 1950s, MAO had quite some struggle/fighting against Liu and Deng in regard to which road PRC should take for its development. MAO insisted on producing products, developing/mastering technologies as well as establishing heavy industry as priority, while Liu and Deng preferred to buy products whereas possible and available.
Had it not for MAO’s insistence and persistence against the opposition from Liu and Deng and other top cadres, China would not have developed nuclear weapons in 1960s, which was and is a national security guarantee, given the hostility China then faced from both USSR and US. MAO is a great strategic thinker with strong belief, Deng is a pragmatist with no theoretic deepth.
You can go to the bottom of the commetary section for another of my post, in which I wrote the roles that both Liu and Deng played in the GLF famine. None of this has been discussed by either Western or Chinese media and academia. Because of political necessity and convenience, all the mistakes have been assigned to MAO, the devil.
We hear a lot of glorifying of Deng’s reform and his greatness in leading China to where it is today in the last 30 years, but in reality without the foundation laid down in the first 30-years under MAO, there could never be a take-off under Deng:
– Full scale industrialisation －> indutry backbone and infrastrucure
– Nation wide education －> literate and organised labour pool
– Successful Korean War －> sickman of East Asia standing up against the most powerful empire and its allies
– Developing nuclear weapons －> national security
MAO would be definitely happen that China now is no.1 producer of steel, no. 2 economy, but also he ‘d think Deng a revionist, I guess.
luba, if you use the best comparator, the Purchasing Power Parity parameter, China’s economy is already much bigger than the USA, not weighed down with huge, totally parasitic, financial sectors, and growing more strongly than the USA. Hence the Exceptionals fury and frantic determination to ‘…bring China down’.
Repost some info. from aforementioned article just to give you some flavour how much pressure PRC was facing in 1950s:
15 February 1961 A Republic of China Air Force PB4Y (423) was shot down by Burmese fighter aircraft, near the Thai-Burmese border, killing the crew of five. Two other crewmembers were taken prisoner. This aircraft was carrying supplies for Chinese Kuomintang forces fighting in northern Burma.”
And also US involvement in the Chinese Civil War:
29 December 1947 A US Marine Corps plane crashed in China and the four man crew was captured by Communist forces. They were released in July 1948.
19 October 1948 A US Navy plane crashed near Tsingtao China. Two crew members are held prisoner by the Communists for 19 months.
23 November 1952 A US Navy PB4Y-2S Privateer, of VP-28, was attacked, but not damaged, by a Chinese MiG-15 Fagot off of Shanghai People’s Republic of China.
29 November 1952 A Civil Air Transport C-47 flying from Seoul South Korea, on a mission to pick up agent Li Chun-ying, was shot down in Jilin province, People’s Republic of China. CAT pilots Robert Snoddy and Norman Schwartz were killed. CIA agents Richard Fectau and John Downey were captured and held in China until December 12, 1971 and March 12, 1973, respectively. In July 2002, the Chinese government allowed a US government team to search for Snoddy and Schwartz’s bodies. This expedition brought back sufficient airplane remains to prompt a more in-depth archaeological dig in July 2004.
12 January 1953 A US Air Force B-29 Superfortress on a leaflet-dropping mission over Manchuria was shot down by a swarm of 12 enemy fighters. The plane was assigned to the 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing and carried a crew of 14. After the attack, B-29 aircraft commander, John K. Arnold, ordered the crew to bail out. Unfortunately, three men died during the attack, but the other 11 parachuted to the ground, were captured and taken to China for interrogation and imprisonment. These men were not released until 1956.
18 January 1953 A US Navy P2V-5 Neptune (BuNo 127744) of VP-22, based at Atsugi Japan, was damaged by Chinese anti-aircraft fire near Swatow People’s Republic of China, but was able to ditch in the Formosa Strait. Eleven of thirteen crewmen were rescued by a US Coast Guard PBM-5 Mariner, under fire from Chinese shore batteries on Nan Ao Tao island. Attempting to takeoff in 8-12 foot swells, the PBM crashed. Ten survivors out of nineteen total (including five from the P2V-5) were rescued by the destroyer USS Halsey Powell (DD 686). During the search effort a PBM-5 Mariner from VP-40 received fire from a small-caliber machine gun and the destroyer USS Gregory (DD 802) received fire from Chinese shore batteries. Dwight C. Angell, Ronald A. Beahm, Paul A. Morley, William F. McClure, Lloyd Smith and Clifford Byars were the P2V-5 crewmen reported lost.
6 March 1953 People’s Republic of China PLAAF pilot Yaxiong He claimed to have shot down a US Navy F4U Corsair at Qianlidao in Qingdao.
23 April 1953 A US Navy P4M-1Q Mercator (BuNo 124369) piloted by Dick Renner and Mel Davidow, was attacked by two MiG-15 Fagots while flying off the Chinese coast near Shanghai. The MiGs made a several firing runs and the crew of the Mercator returned fire. The Mercator was not hit, and as far as the crew of the Mercator could tell, their return fire did not damage the MiGs. William Haskins, the radioman on this Mercator, was later killed in the downing of another Mercator on August 22 1956.
Luba, I noticed as a youth that a little reading revealed that EVERYTHING the local fakestream media sewer and our political stooge castes said about China was a lie, often a racist lie. I was lucky enough also to have as acquaintances (friends of my father) old Commos who visited China through the 50s and 60s. And they set me straight. Today, ALL fakestream stories re. China, as with, Russia, Iran, Venezuela etc are negative, often viciously and stupidly so. And an atmosphere of outright racist hatred against the Chinese is being assiduously cultivated by stooges of the USA, of which species we have a super over-abundance.
“CPC was initially controlled by a faction supported by the Comitern. From 1934-35 the communist forces even came under the direction of a German communist Otto Braun. The CPC only broke away from Moscow directive….
This is another blunder here.
In 1934-1935 ComIntern was anti-Moscow structure, as different sides in Trotsky+globalists vs Stalin+statesmen
“Apart from this, Mao and CPC considered Khrushchev a revisionist, who betrayed Stalin.”
Indeed, many think that Khruschev by his mind and soul was Trotskyite.
So, if ComIntern could exist in 1956 it would be pro-Moscow again.
But when it comes to the China&ComIntern – during their co-existence ComIntern was anti-Moscow political body
A fine article, Mr. Mazaheri, many thanks. Worthy of mention also it the UK’s other deliberately inflicted famine, the great Bengal famine of 1943-4, that killed from six to ten millions.
Tony, you should read ‘Late Victorian Holocausts’ by Mike Davis, which lists, and illustrates with harrowing pictures and descriptions, the series of Great Famines deliberately inflicted on the Indians by the English occupiers, that killed tens of millions. When news of the suffering reached England during one such Great Famine, and decent English (some yet exist, if powerless among the Evil psychotics)like Florence Nightingale protested, the English authorities established a ‘famine relief’ process where, in return for back-breaking labour, the victims were granted a ration that was less than that given to prisoners in Belsen. Western Moral Values, indeed pluperfect ‘liberal values’ as the odious UK ‘Fraudian’ might call them, at their finest!
Late Victorian Holocausts repeatedly points out that the famines (they continued over a number of years) were caused solely by British economic policies and not by any natural forces. Estimates of the dead are between fifty million and eighty million. Free markets for Englishmen, forced confiscation for Indians.
Very true, Macon. The English were exporting food from India, as they had from Ireland during the potato famine, even as the Indians died in the millions. And the direct and unchanged descendants of those genocidal swine, like the Evil May and the ludicrous, but also Evil, Johnson, and the rest of the vile UK elite still have the filthy audacity to lecture others about ‘human rights’.
To that Mike Davis title, let’s add Shashi Tharoor’s more-recent one:
“estimated total of 1,800 million [!] avoidable deaths due to British-imposed deprivation over 2 centuries”
Inglorious Empire: what the British did to India
Book review: Shashi Tharoor’s angry history of British rule in India is a timely response to empire nostalgia
“Up to 35 million died unnecessarily in famines; London ate India’s bread while India starved, and in 1943 nearly four million Bengalis died. It was their own fault, according to the odious Churchill, for ‘breeding like rabbits’. Collectively, these famines amounted to a ‘British colonial holocaust’.”
“Under British rule India’s share of world manufacturing exports fell from 27 per cent to 2 per cent as East India employees made colossal fortunes.”
Review: “Inglorious Empire. What The British Did To India” by Shashi Tharoor
Dr Gideon Polya
September 8, 2017
“Inglorious Empire. What the British did to India” by writer and celebrated Congress MP Shashi Tharoor is a must-read, powerful, 294-page excoriation of 200 years of rapacious British rule over India that should be in every library, and especially those in British Commonwealth countries. However Tharoor is iconoclast-lite and massively understates the horrendous mass murder of Indians through imposed deprivation that occurred under the British and continues today in a neoliberal-dominated India.
“Inglorious Empire”  acknowledges that scores of millions of Indians died over 2 centuries of recurrent famine events during British occupation and acknowledges that Indian life expectancy was less than 30 years under the British, but understates the carnage of major man-made famine atrocities and ignores the horrendous, estimated total of 1,800 million avoidable deaths due to British-imposed deprivation over 2 centuries . Using Indian census data 1870-1950, assuming an Indian population of about 200 million in the period 1760-1870, and estimating by interpolation from available data an Indian avoidable death rate in (deaths per 1,000 of population) of 37 (1757-1920), 35 (1920-1930), 30 (1930-1940) and 24 (1940-1950), one can estimate Indian excess deaths of 592 million (1757-1837), 497 million (1837-1901) and 418 million (1901-1947), roughly 1.5 billion in total or 1.8 billion including the Native States .
Brilliant Tharoor Video:
British Rule in India
Great links, Proton. Havn’t heard of Shashi Tharoor before.
Gideon Polya is EXCELLENT on Western genocides. He appeared on the Government owned ABC years ago, but NOT since it was taken over by Murdoch operatives.
You obviously mean the ‘imperialist’ values of the British ruling elite. You mention just before that ‘liberals’ like Florence Nightingale were opposing the policy and trying to change it. And yes, the imperailist British ruling elite came up with a token measure that claimed to address the problem but which in reality only generated slave labor for the minimum possible cost in food. But the only blame you can give to ‘liberals’ like Nurse Nightingale is that they didn’t stage a revolution and force a change to a more humane policy.
One thing that has occurred, which Mr. Mazzaheri refers to, is that western corporate propaganda has constantly tried to smear anyone on the left who cares about people over profits. The weird and distorted definitions of words like “liberal” are a part of this effort. The fact that right-wing psychopaths like Hillary try to call themselves “liberal” is both a fraud on voters (who want to put people over profits) as well as being a part of the propaganda effort to smear anyone to the left of Genghis Khan.
Did it really? You hear people howling that the figures of the great famines in USSR (deliberately induced) have been grossly exaggerated by the ‘knee-jerk’ psychopathic anti-communist propaganda, but you take as gospel (should I say quranic?) truth the figure of 7 million in the Bengal famine, when they have not exceeded 2.1 million (not to say anything about the “Great Persian Famine” where 10 million people supposedly died “making Iran actually the greatest victim of World War One”), when the real figure did not exceed 2 million , mostly due to the flu pandemic of 1918-20 (which killed in Britain only more demob soldiers than there died at the front), only because they supposedly ‘have been orchestrated’ by the British.
Speaking about Chinese famines in the 19th century, 45 million people died up to 1860. But why overlook the great famine of 1860-73 which claimed 60 million as a result of the the first communist experiment in China, the Taiping rebellion (connected with Muslim rebellions – Pantay rebellion and Dungan revolt), and of subsequent droughts?
1. Cite the numbers of dead that you give.
2. This article’s scope is limited to the great leap forward famine when the communist party was fully in power. It serves to counter the extremist western narrative of the event. It neither paints Mao as a hero nor as a demon which the western scholarship makes him out to be, but a human who made mistakes.
1. “famines in USSR (deliberately induced)” — oh really? says who? or are we to take this as gospel, because you said it?
2. “7 million in the Bengal famine, [but the real figure does] not exceed 2.1 million” — oh really? says who? or are we to take this as gospel, because you said it?
3. “Great Persian Famine where 10 million people supposedly died… when the real figure did not exceed 2 million” — oh really? says who? or are we to take this as gospel, because you said it?
4. “why overlook the great famine of 1860-73 which claimed 60 million as a result of the the first communist experiment in China, the Taiping rebellion” — AS A RESULT OF? says who? or are we to take this as gospel, because you said it?
Regarding #4: It was a chaotic period of civil war, and yes there was famine, but to claim or imply, as you do, that this had something to do with the proto-communistic aspect of the rebellion is ridiculous. You might as well blame the famine on the quasi-Christian aspect of the rebellion.
Also, regarding the Bengal famine and other Indian famines, see my post above with snippets from reviews of Tharoor’s book.
Generally, you are correct to suggest that we should be critical of fantastic death-toll numbers, just as we should be critical of everything. But a large part of the reason that you are correct is that famine and other death-toll numbers have been so fantastically inflated — and sometimes simply fabricated from nothing — in bourgeois, CIA-bought, fascist “histories”; the “histories” that you, more than likely (judging from the tone of your comment), lap-up uncritically. We’ve been told, for example, that Stalin killed 40 million, 60 million, 80 million… it becomes surreal. 80 million, right! That would be over HALF the (removed,language.MOD) population of Russia at the time! (Whereas, as it turns out, the real number is perhaps 1% of that, and perhaps even less, with those being out-and-out traitors, seditionists, and other criminals; see Grover Furr as I mentioned elsewhere on this thread.) Same with the accusations against Mao: wildly exaggerated bullshit, and obviously so just on the face of it. SO, therefore, we are obliged to be critical of all big death-toll claims, since clearly this is an area that has seen more than its share of abuse (usually for political purpose).
The 60 million of Stalin is a typical straw-man. Showing that they were less is supposed to show that it did not happen at all.
And whatever the figures of Bengal famine they do not demonstrate intent. Neither do the figures for the ‘Persian famine’ demonstrate that it was ‘genocide’ as the Iranian authors would like us to believe. Now the real figures are given by studies that I recommend you to read (you can find them indicated by Wikipedia).
Look, your problem is rather that even if it were true that Stalin killed ten times that amount during his 30 year reign of the USSR, it would still be far less than the death toll of Western imperialism in a frigging decade. The roaring inflation of ”Stalin’s death toll” is how the Zionazis ”deal” with this fact.
To add insult to injury, Stalin is held in high regard in Russia; Western intelligentsia not so much.
Lastly, this is a true gem of yours — hats off:
”Now the real figures are given by studies that I recommend you to read (you can find them indicated by Wikipedia).”
Is it too difficult to read the bibliography if it is given by Wikipedia?
is it too difficult for you to cite? to provide a link to some reputed and verified source? It is a standard procedure for any scholarly study.
In an era of mass propaganda, fake-news, and paid internet trolls, I dislike and discount any claims that are not supported by evidence. And evidence I find creditable, not just that someone else said it so now someone is repeating it.
Lots of Rightwing ‘Anonynmice’ about, a protected from criticism for some reason.
1. “The 60 million of Stalin is a typical straw-man. Showing that they were less is supposed to show that it did not happen at all.”
The reality is that it almost did not happen at all. You have to read non-bourgeois, non-CIA sources to learn this, however. (Though even some bourgeois sources, like J Arch Getty, are quite informative.)
2. “Whatever the figures… they do not demonstrate intent”
“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.” — Winston Churchill
3. “the real figures are given by studies that I recommend you to read (you can find them indicated by Wikipedia”
You’ll have to do better than that. Wikipedia is a notorious resource, generally better left ignored.
> the first communist experiment in China, the Taiping rebellion
wikipedia, Taiping rebellion, Belligerents….
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom vs Qing dynasty + France + United Kingdom
So here we see a typical aboriginal rebellion against colonial administration.
As most of them it failed and was drown in blood by European occupants.
But somehow communists (which did not even exist yet) are to take responsibility
The leader of the Taiping claimed to be Jesus Christ’ younger brother! Pure communism!
Isn’t it strange that the ‘typical aboriginal rebellion against colonial administration’ of Christians, fought it by seeking the ‘conversion of the Chinese people to the Taiping’s version of Christianity’?
Hong Xiuquan had his mystical visions after reading a pamphlet he had received years before from a Protestant Christian missionary (not incidentally one Issachar Jacox Roberts, an American Baptist missionary). Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Sun Yat-sen was baptized in Hong Kong (on May 4, 1884) by Rev. C. R. Hager, incidentally(?) an American missionary of the Congregational Church of the United States.
And Chiang Kai-shek was a Methodist, through the agency of the same American missionaries.
Oh, yes, eventually the ‘typical aboriginal etc’ turned to European Marxism.
You see, all these ‘typical aboriginal’ sought, no more, no less, than the suppression of, guess what… Confucianism! ‘Criticize Lin Biao and Confucius’!
> Isn’t it strange that the ‘typical aboriginal rebellion against colonial administration’ of Christians, fought it by seeking the ‘conversion of the Chinese people to the Taiping’s version of Christianity’?
Not much more than when soldiers enlisted to an army, or knights accepted to some Ordeal have to bring their truthfulness oath to it.
Basically if an smaller entity can not establish “cult following” among their members – they have little chance to rebel against much much larger mainstream body.
> Hong Xiuquan had his mystical visions after reading a pamphlet he had received years before from a Protestant Christian missionary
Had visions – or told he is having them to boost his political case?
Joan of Arc – who also “had visions” and used them to assemble her own cult following, was she a communist as well?
> Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Sun Yat-sen was baptized in Hong Kong (on May 4, 1884) by Rev. C. R. Hager, incidentally(?) an American missionary of the Congregational Church of the United States.
Perhaps it was not. Rebels often seek for ideological and material and informational support from abroad.
But yet again, how that proves Taiping being “Kingdom of Communism”? Kingdom. Of Communism. Kingdom. Sounds legit.
> And Chiang Kai-shek was a Methodist…
….and anti-communist. So we at his example see as soon as religious influence starts dominating it turns the person into anti-communist, incapable even of co-existence and cooperation with “bloody reds”.
Perhaps we should suppose that IF religious influence was strong in Sun Yatsen and/or Hong Xiuquan – that was making them anti-communists not communists.
> Oh, yes, eventually the ‘typical aboriginal etc’ turned to European Marxism.
and European Marxism. “eventually turned to” so called Cultural Marxism, which is obsessed by gays and immigrants but somehow does not give a rat ass about proletariat and peasantry.
> You see, all these ‘typical aboriginal’ sought, no more, no less, than the suppression of, guess what… Confucianism!
Yep, they saw Confucianism proved inefficient tool to fight invaders off, so they sought for more efficient ones.
But wanting to get rid of Confucuanism does not make person a Communist yet
Ramin, excellent. As you said it, I for one never heard of the Persian Famine. I’ll add that Greece suffered severe famine due to colonial powers. The years? I do not remember but my guess would be shortly after the WWII. I have seen pictures where people in Athens looked just like the people in Auschwitz. People in Ethiopia come to my mind as well.
I remember reading what Lenin said about the difference between socialism, peoples’-rule and communism. The answer was “people’s the state of mind”, in his opinion in Communism people would be self driven. This is why Kolkhoz idea in Soviet Union was a failure. The attitude was: “it belongs to the government, I am the government I take as much as I can and sell on black market”. Everyone wanted more from the government, the problem was: the government was always short because everyone was expecting others to put an effort, not them. Poles had a saying: “whether you stand, or lay down you will get your 2000zl”, again where was the government going to find the 2000zl if you spent your workday under the bench somewhere.
Having said all that, I am pretty sure China has the same problem, but China’s great advantage is the ability to sell huge amounts of goods to the West, bring in tons of money which more than enough covers all the inefficiencies of the system. Thus they can afford to buy extra food from say Russia or other parts (Iran?) of the world. This is the luxury that Iran or Russia do not have. Both of these countries have to really work hard to make the ends meet since they are constantly under severe sanctions. Someone actually said it, maybe even on this blog, that Soviet Union always had to spend money to keep all the “hungry satellites” happy, instead of ripping them off like the USofA does.
> The attitude was: “it belongs to the government, I am the government”
1) it started under Khruschev, who made kolkhozes de facto another name for sovkhozes. Under Stalin kolkhozes – KOLLective holdings – belonged to peasants. Which did not meant it always most smart nor most honest people as chief manager.
More so, peasants tended to join into kolkhoz, take leases from the state ( seeds, fertilizers, tools ), then before they had to pay out that debt with gathered crops – just bankrupt and dismiss their kolkhoz, and gather those crops as individuals. Then assemble into yet another kolkhoz and repeat…
> This is why Kolkhoz idea in Soviet Union was a failure.
Questionable. Verily so.
Bread was so cheap – rural people used to purchase bread to feed their household animals (hens, ducks, dogs, goats, pigs).
With all the problem of Soviet agrotechnical economy sector – it did met its primary objective: prevent famine, warrant people survival.
So while it was very far from perfection, it was equally far from failure.
> Thus they can afford to buy extra food from say Russia or other parts (Iran?) of the world
China buys some food from Russia. But it also sells some food into Russia.
For example tomatoes, not only from Turkey :-D
> This is the luxury that Iran or Russia do not have
New Zealand – despite being one of Five Eyes – is struggling to get into Russian food market.
Russia does import a lot of food.
Afterall we are quite a northern country, the snow is not totally off in Moscow yet.
Israel sells potato (yes, unexpected, but I saw it in March few years ago).
Lots of states sell banana and all kinds citrus fruits. And if in USSR they were seen rare luxury – today they are cheap and abundant.
Personally I am buying teas directly from China, and damn me they do know how to do it.
Arioch, Thanks good addition. Damn that Khrushchov he destroyed just about everything (I am serious here). This is why older people, loved Stalin and hated Khrushchov.
I think Khrushchov — despite his slanders against Stalin — was quite all right as Soviet leader. He quelled the clerico-fascist putsch in Hungary; he helped the GDR secure its borders, hence neutralizing the NATO hub of subversion in West Berlin; he stood firm with the Cubans. Too bad the relations with China soured.
Oh, he maybe meant well.
But he did not cared about building means to meet ends.
He was exploiting infrastructure laid by Stalin/Beria but added not a lot of his own.
He also destroyed CPSU authority both within and outside of USSR, just to take upper hand in his coup.
He also stopped persecution of Bandera followers, and they switched to incorporation (successful, as future shown) into Soviet government structures of Ukraine.
Many suspect he was Trotskyite by his modus operandi if not his covert beliefs.
I found the page about Greek Famine (actually it happened during WWII:
“With the challenging Great Leap Forward, 1959-1961, Mao lost a huge amount of credibility and his ability to push his platform was weakened. He even had to transfer presidency of China to Liu Shaoqi. This is not evidence of a despotic dictator.”
But what IS evidence of a despotic dictator and totally repressive government are the tens of millions of people in China that were MURDERED by the communist regime there over the last 70+ years. This article is one of the more disgusting examples of an apologist view of socialism/communism I’ve ever seen.
Study: U.S. regime has killed 20-30 million people since World War Two
A million Iraqis in the Bush regime’s “Mission Accomplished” alone. Probably 2 million in subsequent mortality. Another million or two in Libya and Syria. Mass starvation in Yemen and South Sudan. That’s just the start of the current PNAC (Pindo’s New American Century).
In fact Dr., if you calculate ‘excess deaths’ ie increased mortality in a country or region compared to that which might have been expected without malignant US intervention and interference, the death toll of US malevolence is in the hundreds of millions. Principally caused by the diabolical Free Market capitalist system that the US imposes globally, through threats, aggression, bribery, and coercion through its cats-paws, the ‘Washington Consensus’ of the IMF, World Bank, WIPO, WTO etc, a system that once caused 30,000 infant deaths PER DAY, a figure now reduced to a mere 10,000, in a real triumph of ‘Western Liberal Values’ as the sewer known as the UK Fraudian would call them.
Yes it is, and the intellectual dishonesty required to ignore all of that in order to promote a socialist utopia is hard for me to fathom. If you’ve read anything else by the same author, you’ll see essentially more of the same.
Thank you for the praise! However, perhaps I should not accept it – you have quoted a passage from Jeff J. Brown’s book instead of mine. His work certainly is the superior.
Mr. The Reality Checker, I would suggest buying Brown’s book, re-reading this article and checking reality more closely.
“tens of millions of people in China that were MURDERED by the communist regime there over the last 70+ years.”
Wow! Quite a charge. I’m sure you have extensive documentation to back up that MASS MURDER charge — from sources NOT associated with the CIA or other rabid China-hating communism-hating entities.
proton, the West is the Empire of the Lie, and ‘Reality’ is a true believer in the power of ‘creating reality’ as Karl Rove, such a living embodiment of ‘Western Moral Values’ described the process of ‘exceptionalising’.
The problem you have, “Reality Checker”, is that the massive edifice of fascist lies that the West has constructed about Chinese and Soviet communism, and other communisms — lies that you have internalized and now regurgitate — is coming down. Collapsing. There are many instances of this, but one recent one is the scholarly work of Grover Furr:
Very interesting link. I would like to know more about Grover Furr.
In that case, spend time listening to his vids (link given), and check out his book, free online here:
Blood Lies: The Evidence that Every Accusation against Joseph
Stalin and the Soviet Union in Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands Is
False, 2014, by Furr Grover (Author)
also, there is a wealth of stuff on his personal page here:
Simply lies. Whether driven by race hatred, ideological hatred, or the hatred of the ‘Exceptionals’ who can see their TRULY genocidal reign of terror over humanity coming to an end thanks to China, or some combination of these bilious bigotries-who really cares
”This article is one of the more disgusting examples of an apologist view of socialism/communism I’ve ever seen.”
Sounds promising. It means you are grossly disappointed because you had expected to hear the Westish gospel. Scientifically speaking, coprophagia breeds pronounced intolerance to anything but ”the staple diet”.
On a more serious note, the most disgusting thing about Western supremacists isn’t actually their coprophagia but their blatant immorality. Forever throwing temper tantrums against foreign governments, past and present, for ”mass murder” of their subjects while at the same time thirsting for Western imperialist mayhem and murder targeting the very same people. The Soviets were 100% on point: Bourgeois ideology merits mental hospitalization.
Do you realize how ‘bourgeois’ the communist ideology is? Marx, Engels, Lenin, all ‘bourgeois’. Engels was a capitalist exploiter. Marx didn’t work an hour all his life. Neither did Lenin.
Wrong; none of them subscribed to what is today known as Cultural Marxism, the very epitome of Western bourgeois decadence.
But this thread is actually about Mao; for some reason, you failed/forgot to pass your esteemed judgment on him.
Oh, yes Mao was just from a family of wealthy farmers and grain dealers.
The so-called ‘Cultural Marxism’ is…well, Marxism.
Marx was dirt poor, and he worked as a journalist, besides, what does it matter? their family background cannot invalidate or validate their ideas.
Outstanding article! I guess I should’ve known that Western propaganda is responsible for our info about the Chinese famines. Agriculturally in the USA today we’re seeing our food production model fail. It was based on growing crops where they could be grown most efficiently, ie tomatoes in Florida, grains in the Great Plains, ect. This was based on cheap logistics, $.05 per gallon gas and hybrid produce that could withstand weeks in transit. Now that gas is ridiculously high the system’s falling apart. Local, Organic farming is filling the gap. Which is to say, agriculture is returning to the way it was prior to industrialization. And in places where it’s actually encouraged as in California, high value species not amenable to industrial production such as ‘jujubees’are returning. But the trend is, (of course) that BigAg and the Gov is doing all possible to prevent the organic industry from succeeding. 99.9 percent of the USA’s Ag subsidies are GMOs which many countries won’t even feed to livestock. Despite the U.S. Gov engineering some kind of law that forbids GMO labeling, major corporations are ignoring it and are producing Non GMO products. Otherwise as a rule of thumb if you don’t like GMOs, to be safe don’t buy American products. Salut!
Momentum is building in Nebraska, as we type, to shift away from industrial agriculture. Deserves a post in this thread, I think.
China and India fed their populations, most of the time, with organic agriculture, that recycled everything, including ‘night soil’, that preserved soil fertility for centuries. In contrast the industrialised agricultural model based on fossil fuel inputs and the vast use of poisonous chemicals, that are annihilating insect populations and consequently, birds and other creatures that depend on them for food, has impoverished soils, devastated bio-diversity and lowered the mineral and vitamin content of ‘foods’. China is experimenting widely with various types of sustainable agriculture, and in the unfolding trade war with the dying Exceptionalist Reich, will, hopefully, turn to Russia for its food supplies now coming from Thanatopia. As well it will get non-GE foods, not soaked in the carcinogenic Roundup variety of glyphosate.
In a conference on Eco Cities in Tianjin, China, a few years ago (5 years?), I made a comparison between industrialized agricultural practices (agribusiness) – and the vast array of diseases that it has caused – and the intensive practices of people’s controlled urban agriculture (a feature common in China, as well as in Cuba) – and their unique guarantee of healthy food. The addition of the term sustainable health to our definitions of sustainability was suggested, as it can indeed be achieved through appropriate agricultural practices. So, these ideas have been around for some time. Unfortunately, they seem to never get to the majority of the people in the west…
I see, Emily, that in Paris the mayor is promoting urban food growing, including on roofs. Another contributor put me on to an excellent documentary on Youtube, regarding the ecological rehabilitation (the ‘greening’)of the loess plateau in China. I watched it yesterday. Highly recommendable.
Excellent summary of the great leap forward famine. I worked in China for four months in 1980. Many of the points you mention were told to me by party cadre during that trip. Especially the policy errors that aggravated the problem. Things like eliminating an independent statistics bureau and giving its functions to policy makers so that the famine was already six months long and the relevant administrators in Beijing were largely unaware of what was happening. Also, killing most of the song birds was a direct cause of locust plagues [one of the heroes of that episode was an ornithologist who warned in 1956 that eradicating sparrows would likely result in insect population explosions, he was purged from his teaching position for being a “capitalist roader” as a result]. Another difficulty not mentioned here was the consequences of the back yard iron furnaces that were introduced to increase iron production. This resulted in many peasants forging their work tools to reach their quotas resulting in decreased farming productivity.
In any case 20 years after the famine these cadre were quite aware of these errors and were open, to this westerner anyway, with criticizing Mao’s errors.
The British deliberately starved the Irish — British troops guarded the food as it was shipped out of the country. Standard British tactic that was also used in Iran and India. Calling it a “Potato Famine” is a euphemistic joke perpetrated by the British elites.
Any articles that push the East vs West narrative are automatically suspect. We are all victims of international finance, whether it disguises itself as Communism or neo-Liberalism; whether Nazi or Bolshevik. These movements that destroy society through fake revolutions are always planned and funded by the banksters. The Chinese “revolution” was no different.
Marx was a scion of industrialists and financiers; he married into wealth. He spread factionalism and dissent where ever he went. He was not interested in helping the workers or the poor; only in directing their efforts into destroying themselves. The bankers are safe when there are Marxists about.
The problem is the power of international central banking; the Chinese elites are up to their necks in it as well.
Calling it a “Potato Famine” is a euphemistic joke perpetrated by the British elites.
You really need to check your history. The British reaction to the “real Potato Famine was appalling combined with indifference and incompetence but the Potato Famine was real. The Gov’t could have done much to alleviate things and they failed, often because of a firm belief in free markets and the inviolability of property.
There were a lot of hungry highlanders in Scotland where the potato had become a key staple in the diet and who were hit by the same potato blight. Fortunately they were not totally dependent on the potato as the Irish Catholic peasantry was.
Luckily my family got out in 1834, before the horror.
In 1847 the Choctaw Nation of the S.E. states on America were so moved by the plight of the Irish people they raised $170 from their meagre resources to provide aid for the starving Irish. True kindred spirits.
While at the same time on a single day..
Oops wrong link above
Intended link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKH1vbl1b1g
“These movements that destroy society through fake revolutions are always planned and funded by the banksters. The Chinese “revolution” was no different.”
What do you call a revolution that results in DRAMATIC improvement in the condition of the peasants and poor, that rescues hundreds of millions from desperate poverty and malnutrition and disease, and that DOUBLES life expectancy (from a horrid ~30 to over 60) inside of two generations? That was the Chinese revolution. If it was “planned and funded by the [evil] banksters”, then I say: three cheers for the “evil” banksters! Here’s hoping that the “evil” banksters are planning and funding more communist revolutions.
Somehow, its become standard right-wing propaganda that socialists and communists are somehow funded by banksters.
Too bad they somehow missed me. I struggled for years as a socialist activist, and never got a single check from a bankster. And it seems rather obvious that banksters and their money hate socialism and communism and never miss a chance to attack those ideas and try to kill them.
And yet, I’m supposed to believe strange claims that they actually funded the socialists and communists who were overthrowing banker-friendly governments and seizing control of banks and thei assets and nationalizing them. And of course, I’ve never seen anyone actually cite any believable proof of this strange claim.
I can just state from personal experience that I never got any checks from the banksters supporting me. I suppose they got lost in the mail!
Of course, since the same sources of right-wing propaganda always claimed that banker-supported politicians like Bill Clinton and Obama were actually socialists, I suppose it was easy to get confused.
”Any articles that push the East vs West narrative are automatically suspect. We are all victims of international finance”
Deeply regret to inform you that both the Third World — whose victimhood is genuine — and the West understand that China and Russia really are game-changers. Just because the West has an uninterrupted 500+ years’ track record of oppression, lawlessness, and mass murder doesn’t mean the East and South have something to answer for. The West’s Human interventionists and its notorious anti-authoritarians are both ”up to their necks” in Western imperialist privilege and colonial arrogance.
Thanks for the great article!
I could not understand the following: “In some ways, the West’s ordering of Hussein to attack Iran immediately after their revolution was a boon in that it sharply focused organisational energies on one thing – the war effort. Questions of privatising an economy almost totally state-owned and guided by central planning could only begin after the war, giving the Iranian state a huge head start.”
Did the revolution in Iran privatise the economy?
The 1979 revolution nationalised all heavy and medium industry, big farms, insurance, banking – it was an Islamic SOCIALIST revolution.
The question of scaling back the massive nationalizations with limited privatisation did not start until after war effort, and have only made very small inroads due to, well, the popularity of Islamic socialism in Iran. This is something very few people know about – they even say that Iran has gone “neoliberal” under Rohani, LOL, when the truth its he economy remains massively state-owned by any standards.
Here’s an article I wrote explaining the socialist aspects of Iran. The link is not actually working now, for some reason…
Iran: Socialism’s ignored success story
> Since 1962 there should have been in China – if their historical average remained unchanged – 50 serious famines.
> Instead there have been zero.
> When one discusses “China” and “famine” – how often do you hear this totally valid point of view?
LOL, so familiar!
Everyone and his dog knows about Holodomor.
Either it was evil Russians ethnociding proud Ukrainians.
Or it was greedy Commies extorting last bread crumbles from peasantry.
But it was and it was awful!
And it is somehow was because of Kollektivisatzyja.
Either those freedom-loving Ukrainians did not want into kolkhozes, and Russians killed them for disobedience.
Or it was when inept Commies forced peasantry into their kolkhozes, and in Commie-ruled farms productivity plunged to zero.
Or, perhaps you can remember some other story.
What you would very seldom see mentioned, that was the LAST famine of many famines regularly coming to Russian Empire and then to USSR.
Even after WW2, even under Khruschev tenure – people were not dying of starvation. They perhaps eat bad cheap scarce food, but were not starving to death.
But that is inconvenient.
Isn’t it amazing how the entirely invented term ‘Holomodor’, is so very close alphabetically, to the Holy Holocaust, ie the Nazi Judeocide. I wonder if there have been any trade-mark disputes-yet.
The difference is that presiding the ‘Holodomor’, or how you’d like to call it, was Tovarishch Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich, your typical ‘Khazar”.
And who presided Holodomor in then-Polish parts of Ukraine?
Blaming ‘the Jews’ for EVERYTHING doesn’t add to your, anonymous, credibility.
Only in Australia have I heard of a procedure called ‘Rambaming’, applied to any politician who nurture desires to get ‘on top’ (of the shit-heap, that is). Aussies are not all that stupid bunch, and some ask (anonymously, which shows that they are not that stupid): “Rambaming does not entail taking some oaths?”.
I let you scratch your head to find out what that means (if you don’t know, which I doubt). I won’t tell you.
Never heard of ‘rambaming’, but after Googling it looks like ferocious sycophancy to the Holy State and the ‘Gods Upon the Earth’. I know who Rambam was, of course, and I’d like to know why he was chosen as source of the eponym. It’s true however-in ALL political parties here, groveling boot-licking to Israel and Jews is ABSOLUTELY mandatory. No ifs, buts or maybes. The slightest criticism, say of the regular child massacres in Gaza, brings instant vilification as an ‘antisemite’, usually led, with Talmudic fury, by the Murdoch cancer, and then follows years and years of a trade-mark Murdochite vendetta, even post-mortem.
You would have known had you perused the MERC site which is around since at least 2007.
“A perfectly acceptable analytical tactic – yet totally abandoned among modern Western leftists – is to force the West to admit their own crimes before they can accuse others of wrongdoing.”
Very true. And another fundamental truth here is that Western Leftists have never liberated anybody — nor will they ever. To them, finding even two (2) successful revolutions/revolutionaries that they approve of is utterly impossible. To them, ordinary mortals — especially non-Eurmericans — are unenlightened, horribly boring people not worthy of any Western Leftists’ attention.
“Yet they did not have a popular (counter) revolution. So either the Westerners are right and the Chinese are just plain ‘docile’, or they collectively decided to keep the Communist Party in power because they did enough things right.”
Those lousy ‘authoritarians’, LOL.
the “docility” of the Chinese farmer
Luckily I had put my drink down. I had had the impression that there was a farmer’s insurrection about every other day—ranging from a mob scene to a change of dynasty.
It is easier to talk about the “docility” of the USA worker and middle classes. The recent strikes and other industrial actions by teachers in various states illustrates this. In any other country outside of a total dictatorship, teachers would have been on the picket-lines 7 or 8 years ago.
You have to, figuratively, get to the “rotten meat on the Potemkin” stage before people in the US take action.
You believe the USA is not a total dictatorship?
Perhaps we can invent a new term to fit the USA. “Dictatorship with Term Limits”. :) Yes, the dictators rotate in and out of office, but the ruling power behind the hair-do remains the same. The US convinces the public face of its dictators to rotate out to a life as a millionaire in retirement. And it stages a fake charade that says that divides the public face of the dictators in to two “parties” each of which claims the other is the cause of all of the problems. They thus create the illusion that changing the public face of the dictators is the solution of the moment.
But surely anyone can see that the policies of the US government continue on unabated and unchanged except for a few cosmetics as these public faces of the dictatorship rotate in and out of public housing in DC.
Historians have similarly debunked the Ukraine famine of the ’30s. It was certainly a famine, and several million people died. No doubt about that. But it was highly similar to several previous famines in Tsarist times, so Marxism wasn’t the relevant variable.
The real common factor in all of these is not genocide but a brutal disregard of farmers. All of these rulers were willing to let farmers die in order to keep other parts of the country running.
The best COUNTER-example is FDR’s handling of the Dust Bowl drought of the ’30s. Instead of focusing on industry, he focused on maintaining the human capital of good farmers through subsidies. It was important to keep the farmers on the farms because their skills were crucial to the country’s survival.
Yeah, FDR did so much better, that USA census data for those years is still top secret
Had to toss in a link to filmmaker, John Liu
who filmed some remarkable environmental recovery projects by China. The documentary on Greening China’s Loess Plateau is super inspiring, I find.
My take on all this is more psychological/spiritual than it is ideological/analytical, in terms of Comparative Faminology: The Ego is The Enemy!
Of WHAT is the Ego The Enemy?? It is the enemy of Truth. Universal Truth. And Care for the Larger Self….by the smaller self that does not see or feel the connection.
Why is that so? It is so, because the Ego is limited to a particular individual. A Preference for the particular (Little Me) over the Universal is the essence of evil. Although there can be a Collective Ego, whether socialist or capitalist, and the individualist can be restrained by morality and care for others, a non-caring is more endemic in the “every man for himself, war of each against all” west than it is in collectivist Russia…or the Chinese that I know.
Ironically, other than my landlord that moved out of the house and back to Beijing, the Chinese that I know are not from the Mainland. They are from Taiwan and I do Tai Chi with them in order to keep my carcass moving and flexible another decade or two. They are very caring and the level of instruction is quite excellent, with all experienced participants in a class helping the less experienced, but when a discussion session unfolded and I used the word “comrade”….there was a quick, wide-eyed and semi-alarmed consensus that another word would be better, and THAT one should definitely be avoided! LOL.
People in socialist societies also have egos, and there are those who move within feigned “socialist” care for the Greater Good who are primarily out for # 1. But they have to pursue their objective a LOT more carefully and clandestinely than Gordon “Greed is GOOD!” Gecko, in the movie “Wall Street”, a sort of examplary, “in your face” satanist our tens of millions of “littler satanist” (and poorer….) movie fans actually look up to, and admire…and wish to learn a few things from…..in order to “get ahead”.
Otherwise, what is notable in the comments is the westerners whose egos will not even allow them for a nano-second to (without yet deciding!) even consider arguments such as Ramin’s or Jeff Brown’s. Now clearly someone from societies as Iran’s that have progressed under comparatively far harder conditions than ours here, or someone from Oklahoma that has spent years in China, may just know a few things and offer a perspective that could aid a person lacking those perspectives …..to GAIN additional perspective…..??
But NOOOO!! We ( a couple of commenters here) read one book and heard people repeat bullshit for a few decades, had our minds made up for us, by others, without our knowledge or awareness of how it was done, and now can’t risk playing with the concepts or even arguing different sides in an internal dialogue (like practicing both white and black sides of the chessboard) for even a split second!
That rigidity is clear evidence of fear, not reason, and (Get as offended as you like!) Mind Control.
And fear is the sheep-prod that herds the “little me” Ego and makes mind control so effective……
Relax! All of us are very partially right and mostly wrong….or at least quite incomplete in what we imagine we know. Try a different perspective. Travel. Read a book that challenges rather than strokes your ego. That’s the only way to get relatively less wrong….and freer of the prejudices of your ego, that devil within!
A good, positive appraisal, Bro 93. It is hard for a human being from any culture to divest him or herself of the assumptions inculcated by a lifetime of insularity. For many, travel in other lands is not easily available. Still, today, there is a technologically enabled awakening by the general populace in all countries that cannot be kept in abeyance. The tools are at our fingertips, and good souls such as Mr. Mazahert do their best to enlighten us. My respect for the leaders of Russia and China is founded on a belief that they know, being well educated in these matters, that a misinformed public, even in hostile seeming governances, is not thereby the enemy. I try to weigh the information carefully, and it is comments such as yours, much more than the black and white indictments of some comments which persuade me. Thank you.
Real famines are difficult to hide. When a million people starved to death in colonial Ireland in 1846-47, the world knew immediately and when three million died in the 1943-44 Bengal famine the news raced around the globe. The idea that eight million people starved to death in the US and twelve-million died undetected in China seems farfetched–especially since China’s and Canada’s weather-related harvests were no secret. Seeing an opportunity, the US Government blocked grain shipments to China and assigned the CIA to monitor the embargo’s success. The Agency reported:
4 April 1961: The Chinese Communist regime is now facing the most serious economic difficulties it has confronted since it concentrated its power over mainland China. As a result of economic mismanagement, and, especially, of two years of unfavorable weather, food production in 1960 was little if any larger than in 1957 at which time there were about 50 million fewer Chinese to feed. Widespread famine does not appear to be at hand, but in some provinces many people are now on a bare subsistence diet and the bitterest suffering lies immediately ahead, in the period before the June harvests. The dislocations caused by the ‘Leap Forward’ and the removal of Soviet technicians have disrupted China’s industrialization program. These difficulties have sharply reduced the rate of economic growth during 1960 and have created a serious balance of payments problem. Public morale, especially in rural areas, is almost certainly at its lowest point since the Communists assumed power, and there have been some instances of open dissidence.
2 May 1962: The future course of events in Communist China will be shaped largely by three highly unpredictable variables: the wisdom and realism of the leadership, the level of agricultural output, and the nature and extent of foreign economic relations. During the past few years all three variables have worked against China. In 1958 the leadership adopted a series of ill-conceived and extremist economic and social programs; in 1959 there occurred the first of three years of bad crop weather; and in 1960 Soviet economic and technical cooperation was largely suspended. The combination of these three factors has brought economic chaos to the country. Malnutrition is widespread, foreign trade is down and industrial production and development have dropped sharply. No quick recovery from the regime’s economic troubles is in sight.
Private investigators agreed with the CIA. Ridiculing the Great Leap Forward as ‘The Great Leap Backward,’ Edgar Snow saw no famine, “Were the 1960 calamities actually as severe as reported in Peking, ‘the worst series of disasters since the nineteenth century,’ as Chou En-lai told me? Weather was not the only cause of the disappointing harvest but it was undoubtedly a major cause. With good weather the crops would have been ample; without it, other adverse factors I have cited–some discontent in the communes, bureaucracy, transportation bottlenecks–weighed heavily. Merely from personal observations in 1960 I know that there was no rain in large areas of northern China for 200 to 300 days. I have mentioned unprecedented floods in central Manchuria where I was marooned in Shenyang for a week..while Northeast China was struck by eleven typhoons–the largest number in fifty years and I saw the Yellow River reduced to a small stream. Throughout 1959-62 many Western press editorials continued referring to ‘mass starvation’ in China and continued citing no supporting facts. As far as I know, no report by any non-Communist visitor to China provides an authentic instance of starvation during this period. Here I am not speaking of food shortages, or lack of surfeit, to which I have made frequent reference, but of people dying of hunger, which is what ‘famine’ connotes to most of us, and what I saw in the past”.
In the House of Commons, Britain’s Colonial Secretary, Reginald Maudling, reported official intelligence from Hong Kong, “There was little evidence that Chinese refugees attempting to enter Hongkong were suffering from malnutrition and a long, detailed eye-witness report by Fong Hughes appeared in the New York Times in June: ‘After the initial shock of the mass influx, the next surprise was that the great majority of the refugees was not starving or even seriously undernourished’…Except for occasional signs of vitamin deficiency those refugees seen by Mr. Hughes indicated to him that ‘food rationing–to cope with three years of failing agricultural production and bungled corrective methods–has obviously served to ward off mass starvation”. In A Curtain of Ignorance, Felix Greene tells of traveling through China at the height of the famine in 1960, “With the establishment of the new government in Peking in 1949, two things happened. First, starvation–death by hunger–ceased in China. Food shortages–and severe ones–there have been; but no starvation. This is a fact fully documented by Western observers. The truth is that the sufferings of the ordinary Chinese peasant from war, disorder and famine have been immeasurably less in the last decade than in any other decade in the century”.
 Snow, Edgar. Red Star Over China, Victor Gollancz 1937. p.120
> The idea that eight million people starved to death in the US
But the national census figures of USA during defarming years are still top secret.
almost 80 years later – public still prohibited to know them.
So, yeah, that would be hard to conceal in the calm silence.
But you may hide leaves in the forest, you may fan non-stop hysteria about famines in Russia, China, Cuba, here and there – and in this noise the traces of your own history become faint and almost invisible.
“A perfectly acceptable analytical tactic – yet totally abandoned among modern Western leftists – is to force the West to admit their own crimes before they can accuse others of wrongdoing.”
This is true among the successful ‘leftists’. Unfortunately, all of the genuine leftists who try to challenge the socially acceptable analytic model are thrown out of their jobs and never get another one (my personal experience…).
What really opened my eyes was when I went to Asia and saw maybe dozens of different small tribal and ethnic groups living in close proximity, certainly for hundreds or thousands of year. Contrast that with invasions of North America, where the vast majority of people were deliberately gotten rid of by war, biowarfare, exile, destruction of habitat, and so, real genocide of the first order. Why did the Europeans deem it fit to engage in mass murder when in South East Asia, China, India, Russia, many peoples have lived a multicultural existence within nation states?
Not that it has been easy for minorities, but they weren’t wholesale slaughtered! It is ironic that the West deems itself racially superior, when in fact, it lacks from a historical point of view, a sense of harmony and basic human decency, projecting its Lack of Humanity on to others it seems as somehow sub human.
“Not that it has been easy for minorities, but they weren’t wholesale slaughtered! It is ironic that the West deems itself racially superior, when in fact, it lacks from a historical point of view, a sense of harmony and basic human decency, projecting its Lack of Humanity on to others it seems as somehow sub human.”
The chilling logic is that by ridding themselves of the local population, Northern European settlers kept the purity of the white race and thus their racial superiority by not interbreeding in sharp contrast to what happened in South America. This is addressed in Jeff Brown’s latest podcast in his interview with James Bradley.
This article should be read with another one from UNZ Mao Reconsidered, Part Two: Whose Famine?, especially the comment section, in which you’d find quite a few non-Western-narrative-conform comments, such as the one from “chinamom” who wrote about her family’s experience in Great Leap Forward .
Thanks for information to enlighten me about “Great Persian Famine”, which I have never encountered in Western media.
Thank you for these enlightening essays. My own discovery of the lying, murderous West has opened me up to the humanity of the Other.
Western and a fraction of Chinese intellginstia who suffered under Culture Revolution and Anti-Rightist Campaign are the main force behind demonising Mao, exagerating GLF famine, total negating Culture Revolution.
The benefactees of Deng’s reform and open-door policy use every chance to glorify Deng and his reform while assign every wrong-doing and mishap to Mao to hide their benefactors’ mistakes and justify/verify their claim of capitalism has won over the evil communism, Western over Eastern. As Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama promply announced in 1992 “The End of History” .
But truth somehow always reveals itself and prevails.
Here is another facet of GLF that few Westerners get to know, let alone to discuss:
Mao stepped down as President of PRC at second National People’s Congress in spring of 1959 , since he had already been President for terms starting from 1949. Therefore Liu Shaoqi was elected as President in 1959 .
In March 1953, Stalin died with no heir. Khrushchev finally took the power after a bloody struggle. This prompted Mao to propose in the second half of 1953 to divide the power structure of the government into two levels in order to groom the suitable successor to avoid what happened in Soviet:
-Tier 1/Level 1 leaders, i.e. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaopin responsible for daily business.
-Tier 2/Level 2 leaders for advisor roles. Mao concentrated more on philosophy/ideology and military because he was worried KMT would try to wage a war and India was very agressive along the borders. From April 1959, Mao, Zhu De, Dong Biwu, etc. retired formally to level 2 .
When talking about GLF and its consequence, people seldom mention the roles Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping played, who were actually running the daily management of economy in 1958. Neither Liu nor Deng has working expierence with grain production in the countryside, their previous focus was more on workers. So they took the exaggerated/soemtimes falsified havest figures from the local officials as truth and foolishly encouraged them to continue.
For exmple, Liu Shaoqi started his first “Communist Expriemental Commune” in Xu Shui County, Hebei Provincce, from which came the first exaggeration of havest figures, e.g. a cabbage weighted 250 kilo, wheat 6000 kilo/mu. (1 mu=0.067 hectare), etc.
Li Shaoqi encouraged the peasants to speed up to upgrade from collective co-ops to communes, to run public canteens, to set up local steel furnaces.
Li Jinquan, Governor of Sichuan Province and Deng’s inner circle loyalist, boasted the rice havest in Chengdu suburb was 1200 kilo/mu, in fact 400 kilo/mu maximum. The actual output of rice in 1959 in Sichuan was 15.82 million tons，but Li exaggerated the figure to 35 million tons, 49% of which then should go to the central government. When he couldn’t fulfill his quota, he used all sorts of cruel methods to extort/expropriate the rice from the peasants and local cadres. That’s why Sichuan was one of the worst hit areas duing GLF.
People from Sichuan hated his guts, they beat him almost to death during Culture Revolution because of his cruelness. However, after Deng became the top boss again, Li got promotion.
Here is link of photo of Deng standing on the grain stacks of an exaggerated havest field 08.10.1958: Deng and GLF . You can use google to translate the whole letter that Mao wrote to some officials, in which he expressed his doubts about the exaggerated harvest figures all around China.
Mao wrote: “Last year the havest per mu was 300 jin, it would be very good to increase it by 100 or 200 jin. To say it to 800 or 1000 or even more is simply exaggeration. What’s point (by exaggeration)?”
Excellent article. I believed all that famine atrocity porn and, as a chap who’s been living in China for several years now, I always struggled to square it with what I see on a daily basis, ie. that the Chinese aren’t idiots. Well, except in regard to u-pipes, but that’s another matter…
Regardless, one does love to have the scales knocked from one’s eyes. Thanks for the ‘knock’.
This is my response to a NY Review of Books article Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin or Mao. It is apropos to the discussion at hand.
The New York Review of Books has another regurgitation of the perennial red herring, comparing how many people died at the hands of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Lumping Stalin and Mao with Hitler is, to begin with, an abomination. It totally ignores the historical circumstances that contributed to the alleged death tolls. Without that context the raw figures, whether reliable or not, have little meaning and serve merely to cast aspersions and obfuscate reality.
The death toll associated with Hitler and the Nazis, as begrudgingly admitted by the author, was based on premeditated genocide and wars of aggression. The deaths said to have occurred in the Soviet Union and China under Stalin and Mao were of an entirely different sort. Besides the enormous number of deaths resulting from invasions by Germany and Japan, the deaths allegedly attributed to Stalin and Mao were the result of both natural disasters and bad policies while their nations were under direct threat from powerful foreign adversaries. It has been acknowledged by China that serious mistakes were made by Mao that led to severe setbacks although his positive contributions far outweighed the negative. The same can be said for Stalin.
But let’s take a broader look at the historic record. The European invasion of the Western hemisphere led directly to the death of 90% of the indigenous populations of North, Central and South America and the enslavement of those who survived. There is no question that within a generation tens of millions of people died and entire civilizations were reduced to ruin. The ramifications of this genocide reverberate to this day.
The population of the New World was subsequently augmented by the African slave trade conducted by European Christians, Conservative estimates are that 60 million people perished as a result of slave wars conducted in Africa to obtain the human cargo and the torturous trans-Atlantic voyages.that brought the slaves over.
Then there are the wars of colonial conquest that enslaved the people of Africa and Asia and the deaths that resulted as a consequence. The numbers are incalculable but must be in the tens if not hundreds of of millions.
And let’s not forget WW1, the war to end all wars, an inter-capitalist war to redivide the world between the old and newly emerging imperialist powers leaving 10 of millions dead and a continent in ruins ripe for the even more devastating toll of hell of WW2.
Finally, the wars conducted by US imperialism after WW2 in Korea, SE Asia, Central America, the Middle East and elsewhere have resulted in additional tens of millions of dead.
So, tell me. Who can sit in judgement of the vicissitudes of history? The West has been responsible for untold suffering, the murder of countless millions and the decimation of whole civilizations .Revolutionary movements in response to these depredations have made mistakes and people have suffered as a result. But, whatever mistakes made were meant to resuscitate entire nations that were brought to the edge of extinction by predatory forces imposed on them from abroad.
In the long sweep of history the sacrifices made by the people of the Soviet Union, China and other revolutionary nations will be seen as the price paid to overcome the devastating legacies of colonialism and imperialism and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity
The interesting thing is that when we look at the very bare facts, that even Western researchers agree on, it is indisputable that “China’s growth in life expectancy between 1950 and 1980 ranks as among the most rapid sustained increases in documented global history.”
Unfortunately while this is well known to academic demographers, but does not seep through to the Western corporate media.
Indeed when you pit the record of Maoist China against that of similar developing countries of the time, it could be argued that Mao saved tens, if not hundreds of millions of lives.
Comparative life expectancy trends:
Comparative crude mortality trends:
Note the huge upswing in life expectancy in China during the supposedly disastrous years of the Cultural Revolution