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International Socialism, Summer 1961


John F. Crutchley

China and the Right


From International Socialism (1st series), No.5, Summer 1961, p.31.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Anthill
Suzanne Labin
Stevens. 37s 6d.

Communist China has practised a more vicious and ruthless persecution of ordinary people than any other communist regime. China is more Stalinist than the Soviet Union in its period of primary capital accumulation because it started from a far lower level of economic development. Furthermore the degree of bureaucracy due to the size and backwardness of the country explains the inevitable chaotic nature of ‘planning’ in China, and makes it possible that the first Five Year Plan and the ‘Great Leap Forward’ resulted in a decrease rather than an increase in production.

This book, by a right-wing French socialist, is an impressionistic series of interviews with fifty-four Chinese who fled to Hong Kong. It gives much prima facie evidence for the view that things are get-ing worse in China, at least for the common people. It is also a polemic against those ‘totalitarian liberals’ who deserted Russia in the post Hungary and Twentieth Congress period and sought the humanistic spirit of communism in the ‘liberal’ Mao of the ‘Hundred Flowers’. She mentions Jean-Paul (‘We were wrong, but we were right to be wrong’) Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Roy, Daniel Mayer, Edward Faure and other intellectual contortionists of the Parisian, avant-garde Left.

However, because neither Moscow nor Pekin represent the ordinary people of the world does not mean we have to support the policies of Dulles and Chiang Kai-Shek as Mdm Labin assumes. That the Cold War makes reactionary observers a more reliable guide to developments within the Soviet Bloc than the naive Left is a political fact of life that all international socialists must combat. Because Mr Gaitskell has a better insight into the workings of Communist China than John Gollan does not make him a more viable political leader. Nor does it justify a retreat into the Western War Camp.

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