Posted by MLToday | Nov 29, 2021

A Reader Comment on MLT Review of China’s Great Road

To the Editors:

I would like to share my thoughts on a recent post.

I read with interest the book review of John Ross’s China’s Great Road by Roger Keeran. However, the reader can’t help but get the impression Roger Keeran is very much sitting on the fence and is not willing to take a clear position on the subject of so-called “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

In his review, he correctly points out the recent increase in anti-China propaganda from certain quarters in the US ruling class. It is not clear though that this truly constitutes a new “cold war”. To me this phrase was used in the last century to describe the international class struggle mentioned by Keeran. Furthermore, Keeran’s suggestion of a new cold war equivalent to the one against the socialist camp, contradicts his own observation that Ross disregarded the negative role of China in that struggle against imperialism.

It also disregards the positions of imperialist neoliberal knights such as Tony Blair, and old cold war warriors Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski vis a vis the need to “work” with China rather than start a new cold war. It also disregards the position of Wang Yi in New York. Certainly, the US capitalists didn’t increase their investment in the eastern bloc during the cold war and have not done so in Cuba. Surely, Soros is unhappy about investments in

China but that did not stop Blackstone! In summary, cold war would reflect a bipolar world and in this connection I find the CP Greece’s position more objective.

One is surprised to read Keeran’s sentence: “Ross’s argument is straightforward and compelling: “ Compelling in what? The question is not whether class collaboration can have economic benefits. The question is if such class collaboration and complete betrayal of proletarian internationalism is to be condoned and or justified. Was such class collaboration the only way for China to develop? Collaboration with the Soviets would have been damaging to the development of China?

It is surprising to uncritically accept “China has followed a path that hews close to what Marx envisioned, and more importantly, by following this path the Chinese economic achievement“.

Keeran is correct in his criticism of Ross’s incomplete reading of Marx, and one could argue Ross and other Chinese apologists are in effect pushing an Eurocommunist view of transition to socialism. In this regard, one could respond to them by referring to the article on the role of private in transition to socialism by Asad which appeared in MLToday some years ago. It is interesting to realize that Asad clearly shows the Soviets did experiment with the market economy. Of course, they did not have the luxury of trillions of dollars of imperialist capital and their huge market for their exports.

The more important question should be has China followed a path that hews close to what Lenin envisioned? Certainly not. In this regard, Keeran’s reference to the CP Greece’s position and data is completely correct and justified.

In my view, any assessment of China’s experience must be based on Marxism-Leninism, since attempting to divorce Leninism from Marxism is at best an illusion and experience shows it to be an old tactic justifying class collaboration under the guise of immature material conditions, the need to develop the productive forces, something that is heavily pushed by Chinese “scholars.”

One cannot overemphasize the real negative role of China and its supposed economical miracle in aiding imperialism in its victory in the cold war via imposing huge costs on the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. One should be unequivocal in this respect.

I have not read the book by Ross but based on the highlights provided by Keeran I cannot agree that “Unquestionably, Ross makes a strong case.”

Keeran is completely correct “Moreover, it is difficult to comprehend Ross’s idea that the Soviets should have returned to the market and some private property after World War II, since the external threat that justified the turn to rapid collectivization of property and central planning hardly diminished in any way during the Cold War, when the Soviets faced an immensely more powerful United States armed with nuclear weapons and surrounding the Soviet Union with military bases…”

In summary, what Ross is saying is hardly anything new. Again, see the critical review of Atkins’ position by Asad Ali in “What is the Role of Private Production in Getting to Socialism?” (MLToday April 1, 2011)

Certainly and if the last 40 years are any indication, then one has to agree with Keeran that “Moreover, the idea that this opening up represented not a betrayal of socialism but the basis for a new advance toward developed socialism is something that remains to be determined.”

Best Wishes,

A. Azarang


Henry Kissinger on the State of U.S.-China Relations | NCUSCR Gala Dinner 2019
Speech by Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi. September 24, 2019 | China-U.S. SkyClub, New York City.

What is the Role of Private Production in Getting to Socialism? Posted by MLToday | Apr 1, 2011

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has responded to sharp criticism from billionaire investor George Soros over the firm’s investments in China.


U.S. investment firms have been increasing their positions in China, following a global trend…estimates that U.S. investors held $1.1 trillion in equities issued by Chinese companies, and that there was as much as $3.3 trillion in U.S.-China two-way equity and bond holdings at the end of 2020.

Marriott rejected Uyghur conference to maintain ‘political neutrality’. See CNN.

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