First Published: The Worker, for Hawaii, Vol. 1, No. 6, March 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Citizen Richard Nixon went to China on the fourth anniversary of his first visit. That earlier visit had been a complete turnabout by Nixon, who earlier had made himself a political career by being a well known red-baiter and witch hunter of those responsible for “losing China to the communists.”
That about face, going to China hat in hand, happened for only one reason. Nixon, at that time the chief representative of the U.S. ruling class, had been forced to recognize the weakened position of the US rulers in the world, due mainly to the struggle of the world’s people against it and secondly, the growth of their new capitalist rivals in the Soviet Union.
The first Nixon visit produced some results. Open U.S. threats against China were toned down. The U.S. officially recognized that Taiwan, which it occupies, is a part of China. And for the people of this country, many doors were opened to information about China and the life of the people there under socialism.
Since the first visit, the U.S. has done little to improve matters more. The capitalist class apparently decided to cool off their relation with China a bit. Instead they have seen it more in their interest to play the “detente” game with the Soviet Union. So when Gerald Ford, now the chief man for the ruling class, visited China late last year, he just went through the motions and had a pretty “ho-hum” trip.
So now the Chinese have made their response. Saying in effect, “OK, if that’s the way you’re going to play the game, we’ll throw a little fat on the fire!” In order to embarrass the U.S. ruling class and light a fire under them, the Chinese invited Nixon to China. There they wined and dined him and through all this used his visit to make the point “perfectly clear” to the U.S. ruling class that all their stalling and back tracking on their earlier commitments just won’t do.
Nixon, of course, was the ruling class’ chief scapegoat for the Watergate mess and has acquired a reputation as the biggest political jerk in years – and the competition is pretty stiff. His resignation with his tail between his legs grew out of the outrage and anger of millions of Americans. The exposure of Nixon’s crimes led to further exposures of other politicians’ crimes, all leading to today where politicians, pimps and purse snatchers are all about equally popular.
The ruling class tried to keep the spotlight confined to Nixon, but ended up turning up the lights on a whole ugly show. And it was this exposure, more than Nixon’s departure to the beach at San Clemente and his replacement in the White House by a bum of equal stature, that was the real victory when Nixon was dumped from office. Through all this the working class movement was strengthened, and the face of our enemy became clearer.
The Chinese, too, know well who Nixon is. In their dealings with heads of capitalist governments – even negotiating with Chiang Kai-shek, a gangster and flunky for foreign imperialists, who ruled China for years – they have had to set down good food in front of human garbage many times. To the Chinese leaders and people, Nixon is not all that much different from Gerry Ford. It’s six of one and a half dozen of the other. Both sat or sit in the Oval Office, heading up the government of one of the two superpowers, who talk “detente” while they prepare for world war, who talk of “prosperity” while they ruthlessly exploit millions.
The Chinese are doing all they can to help the struggle on the world scale. And today, for them, this includes giving special emphasis to placing all sorts of obstacles in front of the new capitalist rulers of the Soviet Union who are even more on the offensive these days than the U.S., and who pose a special military threat to China. This even includes making use of the contradiction that exists between the U.S. rulers and the Soviets to help in this.
If inviting a low life like Nixon to China can throw some turmoil into the U.S. ruling class and put the heat in them for a useful goal, so much the better. Obviously, none of this changes the fact that our struggle in this country, just as it was in the Watergate affair, is directly against these ruling exploiters and can only have the goal of throwing them off our backs once and for all.
Bringing the Bum to Peking has worked so far. The commentators are commenting, the analysts are analyzing, the politicians are fuming. The Wall Street Journal called Nixon’s visit a “rebuke” to the U.S. government and “a diabolically clever ploy for making their point.” Aides to Ford called it an “embarrassment” to the President. Let ’em stew! And let’s turn up the heat!