Pictured above, the country of China, 1839-1949, personified as this typical 19th century opium addict: emaciated, weak and mentally incoherent. No wonder Western capitalism was able to sodomize the Chinese people, their economy and government for 110 years, by addicting one-fourth of the population to opium (and later morphine), about 100 million hapless citizens at the time. The Chinese call it their “century of humiliation” for a reason.
The Greanville Post is the best anti-imperial website, bar none. Sign up for the free newsletter…
The Saker provides the best coverage of all things Russia, bar none. Add it to your favorites…
Downloadable SoundCloud podcast (also at the bottom of this page), as well as being syndicated on iTunes and Stitcher Radio (links below)
Ramin Mazaheri juxtaposes Book #3 of The China Trilogy, China Is Communist Dammit – Dawn of the Red Dynasty (https://www.amazon.com/China-Communist-Dammit-Dawn-Dynasty/dp/6027354380/), with John K. Fairbank’s mainstream classic, China: A New History.
The link between Chinese opium money, monarchies, and rich Western families (Astor, Forbes, Kerry, Delano, Roosevelt, etc.) is already well-known, though it’s not publicised enough in the Mainstream Media [editor’s additionally recommended article (http://www.entelekheia.fr/2017/02/24/opium-wars-with-china-1839-1860/)].
One of many images of the time, depicting the Boxer rebellion. Most of the time the Westerners saw the uprising as a form of insolence.
What is even less publicised is how in 2018 the drug trade creates a country – Colombia, Mexico, even Afghanistan, certainly the United States, etc. – which becomes so socially, culturally, financially and politically dysfunctional that the current neoliberal ideal of being anti-government starts to appear…rather sensible.
And thus, neoliberalism wins converts among the 99% who should be promoting socialism, with its insistence on significant government control to promote their needs over those of the 1%.
The era 1839-1949 is called the “Century of Humiliation” by the Chinese, but Western histories call it the “Treaty Century”, the treaty primarily being the forcing in of Indian opium. Therefore, a far more accurate term would be the “Drug Treaty Century”…but that wouldn’t be effective Western capitalist propaganda, would it?
What’s interesting about China’s opium wars is how very, very modern they are – China’s forced drugging was not a millennium ago, but during the birth and installation of our modern political era.
Therefore, aside from birthing modern fortunes, drugs also birthed modern ideologies.
In a sense this article is a bit of a digression in this 8-part series, but it is in many ways the most practical: We can quite clearly chart how in 19th century China drug money fostered a nouveaux riche which in three generations (a generation being roughly 33 years) became the key driving force behind the armed obstruction of China’s socialist and democratic reforms after World War I.
This article goes into much greater detail sociological detail, but here’s a brief description:
We can all agree that China during that century – whatever you may term it – was exactly like a country today in Françafrique, or one of the banana republics of the US: it was an unpopular regime controlling a divided country; foreigners controlled the key areas (the capital, the ports & railroads, the mines and other sources of natural resources); petty tyrants were recruited in order to control the local population in “flyover country”; the governing ideology was Western ideals mixed heartily with the practice of realpolitik and pitched at an absolute cultural war with the local historical ethical system.
If this sounds undesirable…then you are in agreement with the constantly-rebelling Chinese of this era.
HOLLYWOOD TO THE RESCUE The 1963 blockbuster 55 Days at Peking, focusing on the Chinese nationalist Boxer rebellion, largely glorifies the European powers and Japan, hiding the main reason for the uprising, the British desire to keep the opium trade going in China.
But if we dispense with the racist, chauvinistic notion that the Chinese somehow deserved all that because they were “incapable” of “modernising” due to “backwards” or “unscientific” ideas (feel free to insert your own preferred nonsense here), then we are freed up to realize: Drugs were the grease which powered this society-undoing machine.
It’s interesting to recall that drug money was not a factor in the 1917 Russian Revolution – so when they toppled their imperial monarchy, socialism was immediately installed. China was not so lucky. This article examines the political consequences of this historical difference, and it concludes that the “Drug Treaty Century” created a new “druglord bourgeoise” which created obstacles that required a much longer march to socialism than in Russia.
But, more interestingly (I think) is how this article also shows how 19th century China proves that the drug trade can create a social situation so dysfunctional that all governments appear inherently ineffective, producing a situation where everyone in the 1% and the 99% is led to believe that the ideals of big-government democratic socialism are just a recipe for guaranteed social incompetence.
This drug-fuelled incompetence occurred in China a century ago, and it produced the ideological forerunner of neoliberalism; this drug-fuelled incompetence occurs in many nations today, and it produces modern neoliberalism.
But there’s a reason they call it “dope”, dope.
The drug trade: A simple Western recipe for nation-destroying
Drugs are not good, and we all know this. The ability of Westerners to get nearly 100 million Chinese people – 1 out of every 4 – on opium in the 19th century was…not good. (I take that estimate from the incomparably valuable new tome on Chinese history, China is Communist, Dammit! by Jeff J. Brown.)
Understatements aside, is there any product which is more superbly capitalist than drugs? There is no regulation, competition is cutthroat without limitation, and the profit margins are in the hundreds of percent – it’s better than arms dealing.
But it is no overstatement to say that it is profoundly shocking to list the macro-level, societally-destabilising consequences drugs had in 19th century China, and which occurred in just a single generation:
Drug money increased the resources and thus the success of foreign warlords (foreign imperialists). Of course, they were the first ones to profit, as they were the “first movers” in the Chinese drug business. Drug funding allowed the English and French warlords in East Asia to occupy Beijing in 1860. They installed the totally ineffective Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled for almost 60 years (1861-1908), and they “forced open” (invaded and occupied ports and railroad towns) China to “modernity”.
Because drugs are so much more profitable than anything else, the drug trade also created the resources to pay for establishing overly-powerful regional Chinese leaders (warlords), who reduced the power of the central government.
These warlords, to protect the power they took from the central authority, created their own armies and the professionalized military class, elevating it as never before in Chinese history.
Opium is still trade, even if it is opium, and it necessarily requires mid-level merchants: this meant the rise of a bourgeois gentry as never before in China. Merchants and soldiers composed the bottom two rungs on their classical Confucian hierarchy (and soldiers are not even officially granted the status of the bottom rung). This is the opposite of Western society, and we see how Westerners upended Chinese culture upon their very first contact.
Drugs exacerbated the pernicious rural-urban divide: Increased money for “traders” meant the ability to buy more land and become even richer, which meant the ability to move to the cities and run your affairs from far away via a local bully, which dissolved the ancient, much-needed bond between landlord and tenant. This may have been the deepest socio-economic effect.
Drugs provide cheap spirituality, and dangerous religious cults sprouted up. Christianity was introduced, but for every one Chinese person converted forty more became addicted to opium (not just consumers). Hardly a moral proselytisation to an Abrahamic faith….
Concurrent with all of this, and also amazingly clear, is how drugs fueled not just poor governance, but ultimately the anti-government sentiment which is now a hallmark of today’s neoliberal form of capitalism. If the government “sucks”, to use the parlance of our times…then getting rid of it as much as possible is smart, right? China’s government certainly started to really suck:
By the 1860s the drug trade allowed for a new tax on this “trade” – but this new source of income for the central government meant they no longer were pressured to rely on receiving taxes in return for providing good governance or adequate public services, thus deteriorating the quality of governance in China. The foreign-provoked drug trade essentially rewarded the central power with money for not governing (ignoring laws against drugs, ignoring the decreasing health, stability and quality of life of their citizens, etc.).
Chinese in an opium den. Many were considerably more sordid than this one.
The rise of drug money created the resources for traders and the gentry to bribe officials at all levels, further reducing the central government’s ability to govern properly. And that’s even among those public servants who actually tried: For example, when the central government tried in 1884 to fix the tax system it was quickly abandoned. The only reason for such poor policy is corrupt, inept government – corruption techniques clearly permitted the interests of the new local druglord bourgeois to win out.
The trade was also so lucrative it provided local “warlords” with resources to provide their own government services, making them appear superior to the central government. Thus “big government” begins to be fairly disparaged as being staffed by lazy, incompetent and / or immoral people – echoing today’s complaints – even though these new local “leaders” made their money off drugs, instead of real work.
This repeated weakening of the imperial prestige due to this bad governance encouraged some support for local warlords, who are the ultimate capitalist supporters. This further eroded the national / central authority and thus their ability to govern well.
All these combined social catastrophes culminated in multiple rebellions and civil war: the “Taiping Rebellion” (1851-1864) was a multinational affair, which the English and French took advantage of to prop up their puppet, and which gutted Chinese society as significantly as the American Civil War and over roughly the same time period. These rebellions also caused government to respond by militarising of the countryside for the first time since the Qin era (221-206 BC). The war effort also caused the rise of new taxes on peasants, which never endear one to the government.
That’s quite a few kicks in the teeth to the idea of good governance, no?
To recap: The West’s (drug) “Treaty Century” was – in the span of just one generation – able to 1) totally discredit the central government, 2) discredit all government, 3) discredit the longstanding cultural and religious authorities, 4) foster the rise of self-interested, unpatriotic, extremely violent local governments, 5) create new classes of super-landed rich, who turned into an out-of-touch, absentee, uncaring urban elite, 6) foster corruption at all levels, 7) create spiritual chaos, 8) create political-cultural chaos and elitism, because who can have faith in the democratic ideal of the self-governing abilities of one’s neighbours when 1 out of every 4 of them is on drugs? 9) Actually create situations of open rebellion against the government, 10) Create situations of the societally-draining need for armed resistance to invading powers.
And things only got worse in the two coming generations!
Book #2 of the must-read China Trilogy, China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations (https://ganxy.com/i/113798/)
The link between drugs and capitalism, and thus anti-democracy, is thus clearly illuminated in modern Chinese history: Imperialism, drugs and bad governance clearly have a synergistic effect, like the sky-high cancer rates of people who worked with asbestos and also smoked.
Indeed, the history of socialist-inspired countries which have true wars on drugs – China, Iran, Cuba – illuminate this link, and also explain why their zero tolerance efforts are so strong and their punishments so harsh.
I imagine that the Dutch would not have been so content to be drug-happy if a foreign power had been the one controlling its influence in the Netherlands….
Again, this clear cause-and-effect between Western-backed drug schemes and the end of non-Western society as we know it is obviously not limited to just China, but has been replicated in countless societies in 2018:
One may not support the ideals of the Taliban, for example, but what chance did they have to improve Afghan society when the US invaded and made opium production higher than ever? Indeed, many Afghans undoubtedly say the Taliban are much better than living in a state of US imperialism. Opium has, once again, been used to totally create a dysfunctional, divided society which doesn’t know what is up or down, just as it did in China pre-1949.
By Generation 2, the taint of drug money is gone & cultural revolution is underway
The various effects of drug money – quite logically – totally reduced support for any government by making them appear incompetent…which they were.
By the 1890s China was so weakened that the Japanese invaded, and China lost the Sino-Japanese War. Payments required to fund this failed war caused the monarchy to become heavily indebted to the West.
In 1900 the Boxer Rebellion – against foreigners and arrogant Christian missionaries, but unlike the Taiping Rebellion now with the imperial dynasty (rallying cry: “Support the Qing, destroy the foreign!”) – saw China become effectively split: the rich south allied with the foreigners against the rebellious north; opium made the southern “capital” Shanghai the new vice capital of the world and also the home of China’s new “trade” bourgeoisie (we know of mainly which product). Effectively an entire continent was split and not just a country (China as continent is explained in the first part of this series). It was balkanisation under Western auspices and to the detriment of the local 99%, as usual.
Clearly, by just the 2nd generation of the “Drug Treaty Century” China had totally fallen apart politically, morally and culturally.
The drive to remodel China’s political culture began in this 2nd generation. We must strive to put ourselves in the shoes of the Chinese back in that era:
Just as the ideals of socialism are being heavily discussed in Europe and Russia, there is one generation in adulthood and another one growing up with the idea of government as a completely-negative force. Monarchy is on the way out, but socialist ideals are being heavily discredited from the get-go, with resources being stored up to fight against it:
“Socialism and this new guy Karl Marx?! Government by and for these drug-addled bozos?! No thanks – I’ll get and keep mine by any means necessary. ”
This 2nd generation sees China changing from a “China with Chinese characteristics” to a “China with West European (bourgeois) characteristics” – it’s a cultural revolution.
The new Chinese druglord bourgeois were – being bourgeois – ultimately a class loyal only to themselves, their power and their money. They had unprecedented means to reshape classic Chinese culture in the Western bourgeois mold, and they did.
This nouveaux riche class will sound quite modern:
They worked with foreigners for personal gain at the expense of the nation’s 99%.
They claimed to be “philanthropists” who supported charities with unpaid taxes that should have gone the central authority. However, these charities did not capably replace the reduced central government services, of course.
They denigrated the state bureaucracy as incapable.
They claimed to be “activists” who promoted modernity, but were mere individualists promoting their own interests.
They remade society’s most important instructional force – education.
In 1901 major school reforms started, adopting the Japanese system which – unlike Vietnam and Korea – was not strongly influenced by China’s civil service test. (Japan is, in my mind, a Western country: “Western” is a culture, and Japan went over whole hog, as evidenced by their decades of imperialism – this did permit them to avoid getting the fast-drip China Drug Torture treatment….)
The government examination system was unwanted by the new drug-money elite because it was meritocratic: its existence directly challenged the new concept of the “private school” (a foreign concept imported to China) which the 1% use today to maintain their dominance.
The privatisation of schools – the loss of state control – serves to transfer control of schooling to the 1%, and schools henceforth exist to indoctrinate a new technocratic class – one which is loyal to their privileged class and not their own People or their own State. And what is the biggest anti-union drive in Anglophone countries today? The drive to privatise schools: if capitalists can get that instituted, one of the biggest remaining unions will be no more, and a huge percentage of the government will also disappear.
So we should not be surprised to see how John King Fairbank, Harvard’s first China scholar and the author of the leading English-language university textbook on the country, China: A New History, celebrates the end of the Chinese civil service tests:
“Alas, it was soon found that students would continue to aim mainly at the old examinations as a more prestigious and much cheaper route of advancements, bypassing the difficult modern curriculum and greater cost of the modern schools. There was nothing for it but to abolish the classical examinations entirely in 1905. This great turning point stopped production of the degree-holding elite, the gentry class. The old order was losing its intellectual foundation and therefore its philosophical cohesion….The neo-Confucian synthesis was no longer valid, yet nothing to replace it was as yet in sight.”
The gentry class – who had previously earned their status via merit (the meritocratic examination system – was “stopped”, while this new gentry class earned their status via the drug trade. The “neo-Confucian synthesis was no longer valid” only to foreign invaders and drug barons.
But Fairbank, being unsympathetic and unknowledgeable of Chinese culture (and certainly unwilling to allow it to stand strongly and in opposition to Western dominance), celebrates the death of thousands of years of native culture because he wants to replace it with neoliberal capitalism. Revolutions in learning are fine, but not when they are not focused for the benefit of foreign capitalists and the local bourgeoisie, whether China’s drug lords or modern Brussels’ technocrats. Indeed, then these changes are not “revolutions in learning”, but reactionary, stultifying and impoverishing changes. Ultimately, these schools were remembered for producing the “warlord generation” of 1916-27: indeed, China became most Westernised in this period.
What’s hugely important to realize is that the 99% of the second generation of the “Drug Treaty Century” certainly did not agree that nascent neoliberalism had brought local benefits. The people hated this switch to “local governance”, and thus they had major rebellions, of which I only mentioned the two biggest as is common. Fairbank admits this, but doesn’t really care (as a capitalist and neoliberal):
“’Local self-government,’ despite its happy resonance in the minds of Western advocates of democracy, had its own rather different meaning for the Chinese common people. The term in reality usually designated a managerial agency of the local elites, which they used to secure their villagers’ taxes to support modern improvements. Road building, setting up modern schools, and paying for police were improvements desired by the modernizing elite, but paying higher taxes to secure them increased the villagers’ burden faster than it benefited them. There were many peasant protests against ‘reform’.”
By 1908 the drug profit-fueled gentry had too much money, too much land and too much power: the Empress declared a constitutional system, with 0.4% of the population (all men) allowed to vote in a bourgeois system. This 0.4% were not just drug dealers, but European-apers in every way – they were the bourgeois, selfish merchants and militarists (whether in open or secret) which Western society is based on.
The monarchy – gutted by foreign debt from the Boxer Rebellion Against Foreigners And Arrogant Christians, unable to restore power usurped by the provinces, out-spent by the new bourgeois class, unable to create a unified army – abdicated in 1912 and was replaced by the Chinese Republic.
Bourgeois constitutionalism in the context of a monarchy is – history, and also today’s newspaper, repeatedly proves – a pact between the monarchy / aristocracy and the bourgeois traders against the 99%. However, even Fairbank admits the 99% wanted no part of this change, because the Chinese imperial system – where a Heavenly Mandate rested upon demonstrably good governance and not mere bloodlines like in Europe – was arguably superior to Western Europe’s “modern” democracy despite being a monarchy, because China ostensibly switched from a pact between the monarchy and the 99% for a pact between the 1% themselves.
For nations without popular, socialist-inspired revolutions…a monarchy-1% pact, or a pact to self-deify the 1% and boot out the monarchy, is where history effectively ends and their present is found.
But for Western academics like Fairbank, the clear tragedy which was the first two generations of the (Drug) “Treaty Century” could never be lain at the feet of obvious collusion between a new Chinese free trade-loving, drug lord upper-class and Western warlords. Instead it was the natural result of the inherent stupidities of Chinese culture and, that old standby, the “passive” character of the average Chinese person (which I noted that Fairbank also employed as a politically-scientific explanation to explain both the Great Leap’s famine and the Cultural Revolution):
“These inadequacies of the old regime in administration and finance were deeply rooted in Chinese custom, political values, and social structure. It became apparent that the Qing government had been superficial, passive, and indeed parasitic for too long. It could not become modern.”
Fairbank – like all Americans – may be against monarchical rule, but he is definitely not against aristocratic-technocratic-1% rule….
Clearly, by the birth of the third generation China’s drug-fueled failures had destroyed seemingly everything, and of course the bourgeois are all-too happy to pick up (and keep) the pieces.
Early Chinese drug barons were truly just ‘modern conservatives’
Just as Westerners inaccurately call it the “Treaty Century”, it is also inaccurate to call this 3rd generation the “Warlord Era”, as is common: these warlords were not tribal savages, as the name implies, but instead the supporters of West European (bourgeois) democracy and modern conservatism.
And yet despite the crystal-clear similarities, I have never read of an early 20th century Western small town or big city politician demoted to a “warlord”, much less even Hitler or Mussolini?
Chiang in full regalia: As head of the Kuomintang, he always put ruling class interests above China’s masses, thereby endearing himself to the Western powers.
“Warlord Era” is thus a racist term which allows Western people to fancifully indulge in allusions to Genghis Khan which only they find witty; crucially, it also reveals a racist mindset when viewing China which helps them to deny that China could ever be “modern” like the West. But this was indeed the case: these anti-socialist “warlords” were the local fascist Brownshirt-type of leaders which were everywhere in Europe and America in the 1920s and 1930s – the fascist supporters of Chiang Kai-Shek were known as the Blue Shirts, after all.
China’s fascists, like their European peers, were capitalists but they had the virtue of at least being nationalistic capitalists; neoliberal capitalists, however, have no nation whatsoever. This is why neoliberalists – who are currently dominant, probably because they are so unsentimental and ruthless – deride any modern nationalistic capitalist movement as “fascist”, “populism”, “Trumpism”, etc. In 1930’s China, nobody was crazily saying “I’m proud to have no country” yet, but the times do change quicker than we all think….
I take this quote here from Fairbank to describe the ideology of this group of neo-bourgeois, which he applied to the first generation but which obviously holds true to the third generation:
”From the perspective of modern times they were conservatives. Their eventual alienation from the effete Manchu ruling house would be based on the cultural nationalism of Chinese patriots determined to preserve not only their country but also their own social leadership and domination.”
If one insists that Fairbank would not have used that quote to describe the 3rd generation, that’s fine with me: I agree that modern Western conservatism is equal to what passed for modern in 1860s China. I certainly agree modern conservatives are that backward! But, clearly, the quote holds true into the 1940s.
“Warlord Era”, and the like, allows Westerners to picture the Chinese as an unchangeable Yellow Horde, when they were really just plain-old modern conservatives. This is a common tactic of not just Fairbank but all pre-Politically Correct Western academia: repeatedly dehumanising non-Whites and making it appear unthinkable that modern Westerners can feel kinship with modern non-Whites.
But China’s druglord bourgeois were indeed all in favor of the harsh repression of modern conservatism’s targets: of socialist, labor and feminist movements. Make no mistake: These social trends had obviously reached China too, and no more so than in Shanghai, where Chiang massacred the communists and made the Kuomintang dedicated modern fascists.
“In Shanghai, Chinese merchants soon stood opposed to the new and leftist labor movement. In this stance they had foreign support. In reflecting many years later on his raising funds at Shanghai for crushing the labor movement, Chen Guangfu stated the aim had been to topple militarism, the warlords, and support a modern government.”
Fairbank quotes and elevates Chen Guangfu, one of Shanghai’s most powerful US-allied entrepreneurs and high financiers. He was clearly part of the new druglord bourgeoisie which opposed the many anti-capitalist aspects of 20th century fascism – Chen was truly a modern, small-government, no-nation neoliberal, and thus Fairbank is trying to exonerate his funding of the massive massacres of human beings for being leftist. This is modern conservatism, of course.
However, repressing “the new and leftist labor movement” – which certainly included feminist, racial-equality and other socialist-inspired popular movements – can never be considered “modern”. 1849 China was not “modern”. Indeed, this is only a “modern government” to West European (bourgeois) neoliberals like Fairbank, who is clearly the same ideologically as Chinese warlords (and from 1849 or 1948 – your choice).
The monarchy-free drug lord gentry would have been quite happy if the Chinese Republic still existed today instead of the People’s Republic of China, of course.
The indispensable Book #1 of the expansive China Trilogy, 44 Days Backpacking in China- The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass (https://ganxy.com/i/88276/)
Macron the ‘liberal warlord’, tool of drug barons (and spouse of one, too?)
Somewhat thankfully, President Yuan dissolved parliament in 1913, setting off civil war.
Or to use another racist Western term employed by the likes of Fairbank: “civil warlordism”. LOL, certainly the United States battle between Lincoln and the Confederacy’s aristocrats was a far more totally barbaric “civil warlordism” – one side was defending slavery, after all. “Civil warlordism” is only reserved for China not only because of the ruthless effectiveness of the ancient Mongols, but because Mao and other Chinese socialist leaders were nothing but lying warlords to the likes of Fairbank, even though they fought to end China’s human bondage.
But China’s less than decade-long experience with bourgeois constitutionalism, before rejecting this West European invention, thus parallels the Russian experience:
The difference being that Russia was fortunate enough to have a drastically revolutionary concept to implement – socialism – whereas China was not as much at the crest of the wave of progress, and that China was further from the geographic centre of this movement in an era of limited communication abilities. And, again, 25% percent of Russia was also not using drugs.
But make no mistake – Yuan, in collaboration with the druglord gentry, ended the Chinese Republic specifically in order to forestall socialist-inspired changes:
“Having initiated the 1911 Revolution that ended the imperial check on their power, the provincial elite (which did not exist in the imperial era, and which only rose to power recently during the Drug Treaty Era) resumed their stance for stability and so ‘gave a pivotal support in 1913,’ says Esherick (Joseph Esherick, one of Fairbank’s own proteges), for Yuan’s assumption of dictatorial powers. Their instinct was to save China from the chaos that they feared further change would create. In this way conservatism thwarted any social revolution.
That is exactly what modern conservatives do in 2018 – use dictatorial powers to thwart social progress.
French President Emmanuel Macron, celebrating his use of dictatorial decrees, to dismantle France’s socialist contract.
We clearly see the antecedents of today’s “liberal strongman” like French President Emmanuel Macron, who is using rule by executive decree – i.e., the dictatorial power of one person – to deconstruct socialist policies and programs which existed before he came into office?
Therefore, “liberal warlord” should be the term used by those historians who come from the opposite side of the political spectrum as Fairbank to describe modern France.
(It’s too bad I came up with this phrase on the final edit of this article – it would have made this article’s title more interesting than ‘liberal strongman’, LOL! Too late to change it now though….)
Macron is indeed equivalent to a Chinese / Taiwan warlord: Not only is he waging imperialist wars (in Africa and the Middle East), but he is waging war against his own people (normalized the police state of emergency) and is repeatedly and profoundly undermining the prestige, services and reach of France’s central government.
Scientists, and many women, might even say he is also a true drug baron: he married into a chocolate empire!
But the straight line is clear: Anglophone golden-boy and neoliberal darling Macron is the clear ideological inheritor of these drug baron bourgeois. 1849, to a Chinese (and an Iranian) was not that long ago – this line is straight and clear and now proven.
(I won’t countenance that Macron is actually pro-government because he pushes for more EU government, for multiple reasons: The “more government” does not at all equal an increase in true democracy; I think he knows they have no chance of even getting approved; these are the exact same ideas the French 1% has been pushing for since after World War II, as I have proven; and this pro-government stance is not more defining than his obvious disregard for democracy, the opinion of the 99% and the socialist safety net.)
Both Macron and China’s druglord gentry want a bourgeois ruling class, which lives apart from a continually-impoverished 99%, and which has no problem denying modern democratic changes and suppressing popular rebellions: “Modern conservatives” and “liberal warlordism” indeed….
Show me a country awash in drugs, and I’ll show you a capitalist-imperialist nation
Unlike a typical drug crash, we can still finish on a high note!
It is impressive how short this bourgeois, Western republic stood: the Chinese people quickly saw that socialism was needed but – unfortunately – that required a long civil war provoked by modern conservatives and liberal warlords.
Fairbank, a modern conservative himself, must have known he was on the wrong side: He even relates how Mao knew the problems caused by West European, bourgeois, “modern”, “multi-party” democracy, all of which are similar today. Fairbank cites Mao in 1926:
“Peasants are oppressed, he said, by (1) heavy rents, half or more of the crop, (2) high interest rates, between 36% and 84% a year, (3) heavy local taxes, (4) exploitation of farm labor, and (5) the land owners cooperation with the warlords and corrupt officials to exploit the peasantry in every way possible. Behind this whole system laid the cooperation of the imperialists, who sought to maintain order for profitable trade in China.”
(Ya can’t say Mao didn’t see things clearly….)
We see how applicable this is to modern times (indeed, our elderly were living in this recent era!):
Just replace high taxation with “continuously low wages / purchasing power” and the effect is the same; interest-induced debt slavery remains unchanged; in a Europe which is seeing the rich Germans, French and Dutch cannibalise the weaker Greece, Ireland, Portugal and others, we see that Western warlords have merely ended their White Power solidarity and have started imperialising their own race.
The EU, as I have proven and was already-well known, is a series of structures which are defined by being corrupt, anti-democratic, anti-socialist and unrepentantly neoliberal.
And in drug trade nations, they are pushing in this negative direction as well. Compare the differences between Columbia and Venezuela: One nation is the leader of Latin neoliberalism and the biggest tool of Washington in the region, the other is the leader of Latin socialism – despite being neighbours and being in regular contact, their peoples and cultures couldn’t be more different. Indeed, I have yet to meet a Columbian who isn’t anti-Chavismo – this can only be explained by the fact that A) I have only met Columbians from the 1%, and that is certainly not the case, or B) Many of Columbia’s 99% have been duped into believing that big government and socialism are bad, via drug-induced powers.
So, above all, I hope this article showed that pre-socialist China illustrates how drug money created a situation where the idea that all government is corrupt becomes embedded at truly all levels of society, and that this has elevated the neoliberal model of anti-governance to higher prominence and success.
Just as Chinese opium created riches in places far from China, so it impoverished political thought in both faraway lands and faraway times as well.
Indeed, I am certain that if an outside imperialist force were to be applied to the paradigm of Western societies (which are militarily impregnable), we would certainly see how neoliberalism would immediate descend into chaotic “civil warlordism” – because that is what happened in modern China.
And it was only socialism which was able to defeat that corrupt, elitist, capitalist system.
The reason for this may be because the visions of earthly paradise in capitalist and socialist societies are very, very different:
The capitalist view is clearly quite drug-addled: their goal is to retire rich at 40, live in sensual pleasure, free from societal constraints, and to have the ability to rule their tiny empires like petty dictators.
Modern socialism’s vision is superbly expressed in China’s President Xi’s lovely, enchanting phrase a “moderately prosperous society”. I love that modest ambition for materialism! And it so obviously implies ethical self-restraint in order to promote equality.
What is far more important than preserving the right for an individual to completely satiate their materialist ambitions is to have the universal stability required to do the good works necessary to always preserve an ethical, harmonious society.
If you disagree with that: what are you…on drugs?
This is the 6th 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!
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
About the author
RAMIN MAZAHERI, Greanville Post Senior Correspondent & Contributing Editor, Dispatch from Paris • Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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.
If you find China Rising Radio Sinoland‘s work useful and appreciate its quality, please consider making a donation. Money is spent to pay for Internet costs, maintenance, the upgrade of our computer network, and development of the site.
Or better yet, buy one of Jeff’s books offered below.
Why and How China works: With a Mirror to Our Own History
For Jeff J Brown’s Books, Radio Sinoland & social media outlets