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China and the Olympic Games


John Simkin
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Over the last 25 years I have visited most of the countries that call themselves communist. Cuba seemed to be the closest to being a communist society. On the surface there seemed to be a great deal of equality although at the upper levels of government women and blacks were under-represented. The people were also not afraid to openly voice their disagreements with Castro’s policies. Nor were they afraid of the Cuban police. For example, they refused to wear crash-helmets in the hot weather while riding their bikes.

The same could not be said of other communist countries I visited. Everyone seemed genuinely scared to complain to visitors about their government. When they did, it was usually about the subject of inequality. This is because the level of inequality is so marked in communist countries. The “vanguard of the working class” (Communist Party bureaucrats) was the new ruling class. In the Soviet Union they even had their own shops where they could buy goods that were denied to the masses. It was not surprise that soon after my last visit that communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries.

The country that disturbed me most was China. The situation was similar to the Soviet Union but far worse. The people did not seem to mind their lack of freedom. One dissent whispered to me that as long as the Chinese people are not allowed to starve, they will accept authoritarian government.

A friend of mine recently returned from China. He had been building golf courses for the Chinese elite. He told me how the government was ousting peasants from their land in order to build these golf courses and speculated that it was only a matter of time before the people rebelled against its terrible government.

Members of this forum like Tim Gratz often talk about how the Republican Party won the Cold War. Of course this is nonsense. The people of Eastern Europe destroyed communism. The people of China now need some help in destroying communism in their country. We can start by urging a boycott of the Olympic Games in China.

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Over the last 25 years I have visited most of the countries that call themselves communist. Cuba seemed to be the closest to being a communist society. On the surface there seemed to be a great deal of equality although at the upper levels of government women and blacks were under-represented. The people were also not afraid to openly voice their disagreements with Castro’s policies. Nor were they afraid of the Cuban police. For example, they refused to wear crash-helmets in the hot weather while riding their bikes.

The same could not be said of other communist countries I visited. Everyone seemed genuinely scared to complain to visitors about their government. When they did, it was usually about the subject of inequality. This is because the level of inequality is so marked in communist countries. The “vanguard of the working class” (Communist Party bureaucrats) was the new ruling class. In the Soviet Union they even had their own shops where they could buy goods that were denied to the masses. It was not surprise that soon after my last visit that communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries.

The country that disturbed me most was China. The situation was similar to the Soviet Union but far worse. The people did not seem to mind their lack of freedom. One dissent whispered to me that as long as the Chinese people are not allowed to starve, they will accept authoritarian government.

A friend of mine recently returned from China. He had been building golf courses for the Chinese elite. He told me how the government was ousting peasants from their land in order to build these golf courses and speculated that it was only a matter of time before the people rebelled against its terrible government.

Members of this forum like Tim Gratz often talk about how the Republican Party won the Cold War. Of course this is nonsense. The people of Eastern Europe destroyed communism. The people of China now need some help in destroying communism in their country. We can start by urging a boycott of the Olympic Games in China.

I, personally, have no problem with communism and would prefer to see it proliferate rather than be destroyed. It is far more ethical than capitalism. Under communism the product of labor is socially shared amongst all according to need and there is no leeching of the fruits of another's labor by one unproductive class (e.g. priests or owners of capital) over another (e.g. workers). However, I do not know that there is or has ever has been a communist society. Certainly any country that has tried to do so has been continuously threatened and undermined by the US and its allies. In countering the interference by the US and other nations and MIIC agents there has been unpleasant social consequences. Probably the closest to true communist societies were the hunter and gatherer societies who practiced a type of primitive communism. They have more or less all been wiped out by colonialism and the imposition of capitalism and the primacy of private property has stolen their land. The USSR never called itself communist (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). It was a socialist country as were the other eastern European nations.

My husband lived for many years in Hungary where he was accepted as a refugee. While he had many climatic, cultural and language adjustments to make (like any refugee or migrant) he has nothing but praise for the Hungarian socialist system. He and his then wife and 2 children were given one years salary, housing and a year of intensive Hungarian language lessons. After the first year of study they had a job in a factory and the children had quality childcare that fitted in with the shift work. They did voluntary work on their time off. Spent time with other refugees nearby (there were thousands of them in Hungary and other socialist countries) They traveled freely anywhere within the Warsaw pact countries and also to the west (from where they were bribed not to return by FDR agents), they could receive and send any communication from overseas. They could buy books (very cheap) in their own language from any author even right wing ones. TV consisted of the local Hungarian channels but also included neighboring Austria (including a porn channel :blink: ) Free health care and education at all levels. Sports and cultural activities galore.They were safe and well provided for as was everyone else and the government didn't want to kill them unlike where they came from where he was put in front of a firing squad two times. Just for fun. I wont even go into the other kinds of torture.The Hungarians were very generous in their acceptance of him, his family and the other refugees. They shared everything with them. Things are not so good now since 'freedom and capitalism' arrived according to reports we hear from those that are still there.

Here in Australia the 'security services' regularly let us (especially my husband) know that they are watching us. And no we are not terrorists. We have been to meetings against the draconian terrorist laws that have been introduced here and elsewhere though. Being peace activists we have been to anti-war rallies. I don't really know why they are bothered with us but they are.

I can't honestly say too much about China. I don't know too much about it. I was there as a young person in the 70's. It just seemed quiet compared to HK . I don't think it is like that now. I know they have billions of people to feed every day and I think that is a mammoth task. I have many Chinese people living in my area and I see them come and go to China to visit family or return to after studies here. Most people just seem busy making money and getting on with things and I can't say I have heard any horror stories. Which isn't to say that they don't exist. Repression exists in many societies and coercion in all. Is it communism or repression you want stopped John? I see the problem with repression but not communism.

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Is it communism or repression you want stopped John? I see the problem with repression but not communism.

Repression. As a socialist I am in favour of equality (in all its forms). The communist system in China and the Soviet Union did bring in important reforms but was never willing to introduce a democratic system that is essential if you are going to create a really democratic system.

Sweden is the nearest that I have seen to a socialist society. It is also far less corrupt than most other western countries that I have visited. I have also been impressed by Finland and Denmark.

Australia was far too much like the United States for my sensibilities.

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The people of China now need some help in destroying communism in their country. We can start by urging a boycott of the Olympic Games in China.

John, why do you think such a boycott would have any effect? I'm not sure the US boycott in 1980 against the USSR mattered to anyone - except maybe to this country. It represented a great opportunity to increase our medal haul.

Sweden is the nearest that I have seen to a socialist society.

Parts of Arrnhem Land and some island communities where traditional indigenous culture still exists to varying degrees are the closest I've seen to socialist societies.

Whitlam was heading to something like a Swedish model. Labor learned its lesson on Nov 11, 1975. Free markets and "fiscal responsibility" rule (military spending excluded).

In the last 11 years, Howard adopted ever right-wing/conservative think-tank idea that has ever come out of the US. Mostly out of the US, anyway. One home grown think-tank idea is about to deliver the final blow to indigenous culture in this country if it is carried through by the Rudd Govt. Land ownership within those communities.

Australia was far too much like the United States for my sensibilities.

Geographically, politically, culturally, other?

I'm sure there are places in Aust. you could tolerate. Here in the Central Tablelands for instance, there are 4 very distinct seasons (with snow in winter), there's practically no native flora - mostly British... and people still get dressed up to go into town for dinner, to conduct their business, or just to shop (okay - not quite everyone... though I do recall once owning a tie... :) )

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