A Study of Monthly Review’s Marxist Political Science in the Twenty-First Century: A View from China

by Cheng Enfu and Fu Hao

MR Online | September 18, 2021

| Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman in Cuba BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT | MR Online

An important and principled academic journal dealing with the theory and practice of Marxism and socialism, Monthly Review, was established by Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy in 1949, at an especially difficult time for the U.S. left-wing movement, when it was encountering attacks and slanders under the Truman Doctrine and McCarthyism. Nevertheless, Monthly Review grew and eventually became one of the world’s most influential left-wing magazines. Over seventy years, it has published articles from numerous well-known social activists including Albert Einstein, W. E. B. DuBois, Che Guevara, Barbara Ehrenreich, Noam Chomsky, and Bernie Sanders. It has also brought together and developed many renowned Marxist scholars, such as Harry Magdoff, Paul A. Baran, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Robert W. McChesney, and John Bellamy Foster. In this way, it has made an outstanding contribution to the development not only of Marxist theory in the United States, but of world socialism as well.

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China: Imperialism or Semi-Periphery?

Minqi Li

Monthly Review | 2021Volume 73, Issue 3 (July-August 2021)

China is currently the world’s largest economy measured by purchasing power parity. As the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy reshapes the global geopolitical map, Western mainstream media has begun to define China as a new imperialist power that exploits cheap energy and raw materials from developing countries. Some Marxist intellectuals and political groups, drawing from the Leninist theory of imperialism, argue that the rise of monopoly Chinese capital and its rapid expansion in the world market have turned China into a capitalist imperialistic country.

Whether China has become an imperialist country is a question of crucial importance for the global class struggle. I argue that although China has developed an exploitative relationship with South Asia, Africa, and other raw material exporters, on the whole, China continues to transfer a greater amount of surplus value to the core countries in the capitalist world system than it receives from the periphery. China is thus best described as a semi-peripheral country in the capitalist world system.

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How US Media Misrepresent the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Laboratories and Safety Protocols

Joshua Cho

MintPress News | September 15, 2021

Lab Leak Media Feature photo

Editor’s Note | We recognize that COVID-19 coverage can inflame passions and is prone to controversy. In the past, MintPress News has published varying viewpoints on the topic (including ones that stand in contrast to those represented in the following article). We strive to provide well-researched articles representing a diversity of views to our readers in the interest of fostering healthy discussion in the public interest.

WUHAN, CHINA — While many people have already criticized the lack of evidence and scientific basis for the hypothesis that the Covid-19 pandemic originated from a laboratory, both critics and proponents of the lab-leak theory appear to have uncritically accepted false or unproven premises regarding work done at the laboratory most often implicated in these speculations, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

Some of the most prominent accusations pointed at the WIV are that it was conducting research as part of China’s alleged biowarfare program, and was conducting its experiments in substandard biosafety conditions. The implication is that if the WIV lied about not having SARS-CoV-2 before the outbreak, the virus would also be more likely to have originated from there owing to their inadequate biosafety standards. However, after investigating these widely circulated claims and contacting several scientists, it turns out there is actually little evidence for any of these allegations.

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China Firmly Rejects Illegal Detention of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

Orinoco Tribune | September 19, 2021

On Friday, September 17, the People’s Republic of China firmly rejected the illegal detention of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab and urged the United States to respect the norms that govern international law.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, stated at a press conference that the US “has been playing a shameful role in regard to Venezuela. The US has constantly abused political and judicial maneuvers, including sanctions and extraditions; with the purpose of meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela.”

Lijian went on to point out that the US harassment policy “affects the regular international personnel exchange and endangers mutual trust and cooperation between countries,” and due to this reason “China firmly rejects this.”

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

11. US slips out of Kabul but is vengeful

The back-to-back press briefings on August 30 by General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, commander, US Central Command and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, on Afghanistan conveys the picture of a superpower badly bruised and embittered but remaining vengeful. This is bad news. 

Gen. McKenzie said, “Taliban had been very — very pragmatic and very business-like… they were actually very helpful and useful to us as we closed down operations”. But then, Americans wouldn’t even share with the Taliban the exact time of their “tactical exfiltration”. Nor was there any “discussion of turning anything over.” 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-11/

12. To recognise, or not to recognise, that’s the question

At the weekly briefing in Moscow on Thursday by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Russia will consider recognising Afghanistan’s new authorities once an inclusive government is formed in the country. 

To quote Zakharova, “We call for the establishment of an inclusive coalition government in Afghanistan that would involve all of the country’s ethnic and political forces, including ethnic minorities, so the question of recognising the country’s authorities will rise after the process is over.” (TASS

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-12/

13. Panjshir revolt becomes footnote

At the daily foreign ministry briefing in Beijing on Friday, Russian correspondent of Sputnik asked spokesperson Ambassador Wang Wenbin how China viewed the Taliban decision to attack Panjshir and how this will affect the Afghan situation. 

Ambassador Wang replied that “it is China’s sincere hope that all parties in Afghanistan will go with the Afghan people’s eager aspiration and the international community’s expectation to resolve differences through consultation and ensure a steady transition so that the people of this war-torn country can live free from war and conflict and build lasting peace at an early date.” 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-13/

14. The fall of Panjshir

Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because the short-lived ‘resistance’ had a tame ending. 

A BBC report said the revolt’s two top leaders Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh were not even in Panjshir during the past 4 days at least but had left for Tajikistan and were apparently leading the so-called ‘resistance’ via Twitter. It may seem farcical and will have deleterious consequences. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-14/

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

The Taliban fighters posing for family photo and relaxing in the Presidential Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug 15, 2021

1. Collapse of the Afghan Army 

Social media reported that at the Kabul residence of the Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib who post-haste fled to Tajikistan on Saturday with President Ashraf Ghani, three Toyota Landcruiser SUVs were found stacked with American dollar bills. 

Mohib was the shadow king of Afghanistan. He controlled the country’s defence budget. In the coming year, he would have handled over $3 billion, which the US has earmarked as assistance for the Afghan armed forces. The Taliban spoiled his party. 

The mystery of the Afghan armed forces losing the will to fight is actually no mystery at all. The main reason has been the misappropriation of defence budget. In Ghani’s set-up, Mohib, his trusted flunky, controlled the Defence Ministry — not the Defence Minister — and he obviously did well for himself — and probably Ghani too. Time will tell. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan/

2. The green shoots of politics are reappearing 

The explosion of life is unstoppable. The first buds are edging their roots from the dirt no sooner than Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on Sunday, without telling anyone, carrying a massive loot of ill-begotten wealth stolen from his people. And the green shoots of political recovery are appearing. 

Tense and urgent care is needed. The region is rallying. Pakistan has taken the lead. 

On Sunday afternoon, a galaxy of senior Afghan politicians, largely drawn from the erstwhile Northern Alliance of the late 1990s, arrived in Islamabad to cogitate with the Pakistani leadership regarding the mainstreaming of the Taliban. The delegation comprised three top figures from Panjshir Valley, veteran Hazara leaders, the Jamiat-e Islami, Afghan Parliament (including, interestingly, the eldest son of the Tajik leader from Mazar-i-Sharif Mohammed Atta Noor.) 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-the-events-in-afghanistan-2/

3. The Return of the Native 

There is immense curiosity about the Taliban’s first moves following the dramatic return to Kabul after two decades. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether the Taliban has ‘changed’ since the 1990s. Opinions vary. But, so far at least, there are no signs of a return of repressive authoritarian rule. 

The stunning press conference on Tuesday in Kabul by the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid distinctly exuded an air of moderation and tolerance to dissenting voices. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-3/

4. The ‘X’ Factor in Kabul 

The Chinese commentaries vehemently reject the western claims of democratic transformation in Afghanistan. A conversation on Tuesday between the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart Antony Blinken (at the latter’s initiative) brought this out sharply.

Wang told Blinken that ‘facts have once again proved that mechanically copying an imported foreign model cannot readily be fitted to the use in a country with completely different history, culture and national conditions, and ultimately, is unlikely to establish itself.’

Wang said that without the support of people, ‘a government cannot stand’, and the use of power and military means to solve problems will only cause more problems, and ‘lessons in this respect deserve serious reflection.’ Wang underscored that Afghanistan’s open and inclusive political framework ought to be ‘in accordance with its own national situations.’ read more

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-4/

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Caleb Maupin’s homage to Dr Norman Bethune

Most Americans and Canadians never heard of this great internationalist hero, but he is revered in China.

EDITED BY PATRICE GREANVILLE

The Greanville Post | August 15, 2021

An informal chat with Caleb Maupin as your guide to the multitude of news, lies, distortions, rumors, idiocies, hypocrisies, and ideologies that shape our world.

Taking the example of Canadian surgeon Dr Bethune, who offered his services to help the Spanish Republican army and later China’s revolutionaries in their hour of need, Caleb discusses what makes a person dedicate his life to the betterment and liberation of others. 

China has many monuments to Bethune’s memory. The Chinese people never forget their true friends, let alone those who will put their lives on the line to help them, as Dr Bethune did. Mao wrote a heart-rending eulogy to him, which I reproduce below. 

IN MEMORY OF NORMAN BETHUNE

December 21, 1939


“We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man’s ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people.”—Mao Tse-tung

By Mao Tse-tung

Comrade Norman Bethune,[1] a member of the Communist Party of Canada, was around fifty when he was sent by the Communist Parties of Canada and the United States to China; he made light of travelling thousands of miles to help us in our War of Resistance Against Japan. He arrived in Yenan in the spring of last year, went to work in the Wutai Mountains, and to our great sorrow died a martyr at his post. What kind of spirit is this that makes a foreigner selflessly adopt the cause of the Chinese people’s liberation as his own? It is the spirit of internationalism, the spirit of communism, from which every Chinese Communist must learn. Leninism teaches that the world revolution can only succeed if the proletariat of the capitalist countries supports the struggle for liberation of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples and if the proletariat of the colonies and semi-colonies supports that of the proletariat of the capitalist countries.[2] Comrade Bethune put this Leninist line into practice. We Chinese Communists must also follow this line in our practice. We must unite with the proletariat of all the capitalist countries, with the proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and all other capitalist countries, for this is the only way to overthrow imperialism, to liberate our nation and people and to liberate the other nations and peoples of the world. This is our internationalism, the internationalism with which we oppose both narrow nationalism and narrow patriotism.

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WHO Plan on COVID-19 Origin Tracing Is Politicized, China Says

teleSUR | August 02, 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus. | Photo: Twitter/ @zhang_heqing

The work plan continues to consider the hypothesis that the virus may have escaped from a Chinese laboratory. The WHO-China joint mission report, however, clearly concluded that a “lab leak is extremely unlikely.”

The work plan of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the second phase of investigation into the origins of COVID-19 is politicized and lacks a spirit of cooperation, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Britain said Sunday.

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China Asks the US To Lift Its Sanctions Against Cuban Officials

teleSUR | July 23, 2021

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, Beijing, China.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, Beijing, China. | Photo: Twitter/ @zlj517

“The U.S. should foremost examine its human rights issues instead of meddling in other countries’ internal affairs,” the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian asked the United States to remove the sanctions against the officers of Cuba’s Interior Ministry (MININT) and Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).

“The U.S. should foremost examine its human rights issues instead of meddling in other countries’ internal affairs,” Zhao stated and reiterated China’s support for the Cuban government and people amid the U.S. blockade.

On Thursday, using the 2016 Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the Biden administration sanctioned Cuban senior officials for allegedly repressing citizens during the demonstrations staged on July 11.

In response to this arbitrary act, besides accusing the U.S. of being behind these protests, the Cuban government pointed out that the recent sanctions against FAR and MININT officers are slanderous and unfounded.

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China launches world’s largest carbon market: but is it ambitious enough?

Experts welcome the trading scheme, but question whether it is up to the task of helping China achieve its climate goals.

Bianca Nogrady

Nature | July 20, 2021

Steam billows out of chimneys of a coal-fired power plant in Hangzhou in east China’ s Zhejiang province.
A coal-fired power plant in Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province.Credit: Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has launched its first national emissions-trading scheme. Such carbon-pricing mechanisms exist in around 45 countries already, but China’s scheme, which began trading last week, is the world’s biggest.

It has been plagued by delays, and researchers argue it might not be ambitious enough to enable China to meet its emissions-reduction goals, including a 2030 deadline for peak emissions and a 2060 goal of net-zero emissions.

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