Australian Left Review No.63 March 1978

Australian Left Review, Jul 2014

American Barbara Ehrenreich w rites about the relationships between modern feminism and socialism. Peter Nolan, economic historian and student o f Chinese affairs, analyses the course of events in post-Mao China. Some currently debated issues of the state and socialist strategy in advanced capitalist countries are discussed by Eric Aarons, joint national secretary of the CPA. An Australian leftist living in France discusses the current political situation there and the prospects for a victory of the left in the March elections. Our regular features Comment and Economic Notes examine some of the political and economic features of the postelection situation. Kathe Boehringer's review of the Allen-Keaton film Annie Hall and Mavis Robertson's review of A lexandra Kollontai's Love of Worker Bees complete the issue.

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Australian Left Review No.63 March 1978

Left Review - a r c h 1978 socialism c h i n a t h e s t a l e a f t e r m a o * Recommended and maximum price only. Registered in Australia for transm ission through the post as a periodical (Category B) Australian Left IN T H IS ISSUE .... Am erican Barbara Ehrenreich w rites about the relationships between m odern fem inism and socialism. Peter Nolan, econom ic historian and student o f Chinese affairs, analyses the course of events in post-M ao China. Som e currently debated issues of the state and socialist strategy in advanced capitalist countries are discussed by Eric Aarons, joint national secretary of the C P A . A n Australian leftist living in France discusses the current political situation there and the prospects fo r a victory of the left in the M arch elections. O u r re g u la r fe a tu re s Comment and Economic Notes exam ine som e of the political and econom ic features of the post­ election situation. Kathe B oehringer's review of the A llen K eaton film Annie Hall and M a vis R obertson's review of Alexandra K ollontai's Love of Worker Bees com plete the issue. OUR NEW F O R M A T .... W ith this issue, ALR becom es larger and adopts a new cover style. In addition, w e are reverting to a tw o -m o n th ly publication schedule - staffing, copy and technical realities forcing us to abandon, regretfully, our aim of appearing ten times a year. O u r aim s of service to readers remain the same except that w ith m ore space w e expect to provide m ore analytical articles on current theoretical issues as w ell as items of topical political interest. W ith the larger size, card cover and inevitable inflation, our price becom es one dollar, still, w e believe, cheap by com parison w ith other small journals. Subscribers will receive six copies fo r six dollars, postage free. Existing subscriptions will be continued pro rata, i.e. one copy per tw o already paid for at the old rate. As alw ays, w e w elcom e contributions, discussion pieces, com m ents and suggestions from our readers. Review No. 63 C om m en t .......................................................... 1 C on tem p ora ry Fem inism and S o cia list M ovem ents ................................. 8 Barbara Ehrenreich T he State and A ustralian S ocia lism ....................................................... 17 Eric Aarons Peter Nolan E co n o m ic N otes ............................... .............. 25 C h in a A fte r M ao ............................................ 29 F ran ce G oes to the P o lls ............................ 41 R e v ie w s ............................................................ 47 E d itoria l C o lle ctiv e : Brian Aarons, Kathe Boehringer, Gloria Garton, Patricia Healy, Terry O’Shaughnessy, Mavis Robertson, Eric Aarons. S U B SC R IP T IO N S: $6.00 per year (six issues). Surface or airmail postage to be added to overseas subs. Students, apprentices, pensioners: $4.00 per year. Single copies: $1 ea. A u stralian L eft R e v ie w , B ox A 247, S ydn ey South P.O ., S ydn ey. 2000. Printed and published by Red Pen Publications Pty.Ltd., 4 Dixon St., Sydney. The December 10 election result poses several problems which must be squarely faced by the left. Some o f them are: * To anlayse the reasons for Fraser’s victory * T o d e v e l o p a m u c h d e e p e r understanding of Australian society, in particular the ideology and aspirations o f the workers, so as to both understand the vote for Fraser and assist the left to develop the concrete long-term strategy for an ‘Australian road to socialism’. * To devise policies, strategy and tactics to meet the inevitable increase in anti­ worker, authoritarian and repressive initiatives The election merely confirmed in its own way a long-observed fact about the working class, in Australia and all capitalist societies: not all the working class, or even a majority o f it, will always act in its own best short-term or long-term interests. The working class condition under capitalism can lead it to believe and follow the political representatives o f the class which exploits it; to be taken in by the system and its myths and to reject the real solutions to its problems. This often has been, and is, true of some of the most oppressed and exploited workers. All the more, then, can it be true o f a working class which, on average, enjoys living standards and conditions better than virtually any other subordinate class in history, with the possible exception of the contemporary north American working class. The meaning o f the result itself should be neither ignored nor exaggerated. On the * a tjfelief that the L-NCP coalition are the one hand, it is clear that large numW a nf “natural rulers” and can get the best out workers voted either for Fraser o ttihjavtftSITY o f t le system. W O L L O N G O N G LIBRARY Australian Democrats rather than for Labor. On the other hand, Labor still has a very solid base of support - not very much less, in fact, than other big social-democratic parties in advanced capitalist societies and still bigger than many such parties. It is important to look at votes rather than seats. The L /N C P vote dropped from 52.6 per cent in 1975 to 48 per cent, yet even without the distribution o f Democrat preferences, the coalition has a majority similar to that o f ’75. (Labor with a 52 per cent vote in ’72 had a majority o f 11 seats.) Labor with 40 per cent o f the vote got 30 per cent of the seats; the NCP with 9,6 per cent has 15 per cent o f the seats; the Democrats with 9.3 per cent got no seats in the Reps. As almost always, the sin gle m ember con stitu en cy electoral method, almost unique to English-speaking countries (most other democracies have some version of proportional representation) tells against Labor. But, accepting the fact that a substantial section o f workers voted Liberal, there are both immediate and underlying causes. The immediate ones include: * * * * Fear o f change and the unknown; fear o f a return to what is seen as upheaval and mismanagement under the Whitlam government; a belief that Labor w as/is a poor economic manager; doubt that Labor could do anything to overcome the crisis and improve things; The underlying causes involve fflore long­ term processes and factors at work in Australian society. These have to do with both the objective circumstances o f life here for many working people and with the traditions and culture o f the working class, derived from Britain and developing in Australian conditions. The main tradition of the British working class has always been reformist and so it has been in Australia. In Britain this tradition was sustained by the crumbs which the ruling class could afford from its well-stocked imperialist table. In Australia, during many militant struggles, workers have been able to win very good conditions relative to those o f workers in other countries. (We are speaking here of an average - many unskilled, migrant and women workers work and live in poverty-line conditions.) None of this has been due to the benevolence or cleverness o f Australian capitalists - rather to what the system could concede to working class militancy. In some senses, reformism has succeeded for many workers over the long boom period. This is especially so in terms of the aims many workers set themselves during this period: to substantially improve their living conditions and achieve personal security after the insecurity o f the Depression and war years. It is not to ignore the poverty and hardship of many to note the fa ct that the real living standards o f most workers rose substantially during the boom period. Many workers associate these improvements with Liberal-Country Party government. In 1977, as in 1975, one component of the vote for Fraser was a mistaken yearning for the boom period o f the ’fifties, associated with Menzies and the Liberals. In Australia as in few other capitalist countries, it was possible for some workers to find individual solutions and personal advancement. This section provides the base of ‘working class conservatism' although Liberal-voting workers can also be found among unskilled and poorer workers. It was reasonable to expect that the onset o f a long period o f economic decline and s t a g n a t i o n w o u l d l e a d t o a n e w radicalisation o f the working class and a renewed interest in socialist solutions. To a certain extent this has happened, especially in countries with a strong Communist Party and/or left-leaning Socialist Party, where socialist consciousness is already high. But it is observable that in most advanced capitalist countries, working class support for reformist and even conservative parties has not swung dramatically away and towards the left. Indeed, in some places, it has swung right, although usually this is where the ‘left’ alternative has been a reformist party incapable o f providing credible solutions to the crisis. A small section o f workers has even been attracted to racist and reactionary groups like the National Front in Britain. All this merely reinforces the historical lesson that a period of capitalist crisis does not necessarily throw up the social forces which have the vision, organisation and active spirit necessary for a basic social transformation in the direction o f socialism. To take just the most obvious example: the Great Depression, one o f the most traumatic events in the history of capitalism, did not lead to one socialist revolution. In Germany, it not only led to fascism but to the wiping out o f the German Communist Party as a mass force (speaking, of course, of West Germany). This cannot be blamed only on the mistakes o f leaders and parties, although these abounded. These experiences, and today’s realities, raise very sharply the question o f ruling class hegemony - the hold o f the system’s ideas, values and culture over the mass of the people. This hold is a feature o f all class societies and is what, together with the use o f force and coercion, has made oppressed classes and groups throughout history accept, for long periods, their oppression as inevitable or even right. Modem capitalist society is characterised by great sophistication o f capitalist ideas, by vastly improved methods o f inculcating and reinforcing them (via the mass media and the education system) and by objective circumstances (the long boom) which give added weight to them. Australian capitalism h a s h a d b o t h f a v o r a b l e o b j e c t i v e circum stances and the absence o f a revolutionary and socialist tradition in the working class to assist this process of ideological hegemony. A concrete example illustrates the point and drives home the fact that glaring examples of ills o f the system do not in themselves necessarily move workers to outrage or protest. When the scandal about Utah’s repatriation o f huge profits to America was headline news, it was related to me by a friend how workers on his job said: ‘Good luck to them. If they can get away with it they deserve the rewards’. The only explanation for such attitudes, when even the media felt constrained to criticise Utah, is that capitalist views and ethics are very deeply ingrained in some sections o f workers. They accept the myths o f private enterprise and ‘get what you can when you can’. Also, some workers express such views because they are reasonably satisfied with their own lot or have inflated ideas o f their prospects. A more exact indication o f working class views was given in a survey o f AMWU members in 1976. Conducted by students in S y d n e y U n iv e r s it y ’ s G o v e r n m e n t Department, the survey sought workers’ attitudes to a number o f issues concerned with their workplace and the union. The AMWU membership is one o f the most advanced sections o f workers. Yet the survey showed that, depending on the issue, anything from one-quarter to one-half o f the membership was conservative in their views. For instance, 29 per cent thought unions put too many restrictions on employers; 63 per cent d isa g re e d that unions should have more power; 41 per cent thought unions strike too often; 23.5 per cent thought the government should have more control over unions, 21 per cent disagreed that everyone in the factory should be in the union; 63 per cent agreed they were satisfied with working conditions on their job; 53 per cent agreed they were paid what their work was worth; 41 per cent thought that ‘if we start letting the workers make more decisions then the company will go broke’; 53 per cent thought that most workers are not capable o f making important factory decisions; 69 per cent agreed that ‘workers would fight too much between themselves if allowed to make their own decisions about who to hire and fire’; asked whether it should be the company or the union which sets up a system which lets workers help make factory decisions, 13 per cent said the union, 38 percent the company, and 42 per cent both. As with any survey of opinion these results may be open to challenge and to different interpretations but, in general, they are probably a fair reflection o f workers’ attitudes. They do need to be balanced by the answers o f the section who showed more class consciousness and advanced views. Equally, the contradictory nature o f the attitudes should be recognised. For instance, while 53 per cent thought most workers were not capable o f making important factory decisions, 73 per cent agreed that ‘I would work better if decisions on things like how my work is organised were made by both the workers and the bosses’. 80 per cent thought most workers will accept more responsibility if they are more involved in factory decisions, and 61 per cent would like a chance to make more decisions about how things are run in the factory. The many indications of conservatism among large sections o f workers should not blind us to the positive features o f the Australian working class. On some counts, Australian workers have shown a radicalism not seen elsewhere. It was militant struggles which gained Australian workers their high living standards; sections like the wharfies and seamen have an impressive record o f internationalism; the Green Bans were a unique phenomenon, way in advance o f similar workers’ actions elsewhere; it is not often that other working classes have taken actions similar to the 1969 Penal Clauses strike during the jailing o f Clarrie O ’Shea; the mass movement against uranium mining is amazingly strong when it is realised that Australia does not have nuclear power itself so that to be opposed to mining requires more than a direct personal threat. In general, there is a better ‘integration’ o f the workers’ movement with the new social movements than in other countries. Then, too, it must be considered that conservative and reformist ideas may be changed very suddenly by circumstances: such a process has occurred in most revolutions. Which is not to say that policies and political methods can be based solely on the p o s sib ility such a thing will happen some time in the future, since this might be next year or next centu ry. But it is to say that the hold o f ideas is not fixed and permanent but relies very much on social circumstances and is open to contestation by the proponents of different ideas. The fact that working class conservatism and reformism are often inconsistent and contradictory shows too the possibilities o f ch a n ge in the right circumstances. None o f the problems of conservatism mean that the left should become pessimistic and abandon the struggle for socialism in Australia as hopeless. But a socialist strategy must, in the first place, be based on an o b je c tiv e analysis of society and social development. Analysis of social structures, a n d th e u n d e r ly in g d y n a m ic s an d contradictions o f a given society are essential. But, so too, is the accurate appraisal o f the balance of political forces, o f mass opinion, degree of class consciousness and org an isation and the aim s and aspirations o f workers and others who must provide the mass base for socialism. The Political Level It is often easy for marxists to forget about this last aspect and concentrate on laying bare the objective ‘skeleton’ o f capitalist society: its structures, contradictions and tendencies o f development. But the political level o f society has its own relative autonomy from, as well as connection with, the levels o f structures and inner dynamics. Experience and history show conclusively that even when the objective realities of capitalism manifest themselves most obviously, as in inflation, unemployment, poverty and oppression, those who suffer most do not necessarily see the real causes, nor support socialist solutions, nor even organise themselves to fight for their own conditions and rights. It is this gap between reality and consciousness which Marx was referring to when he distinguished between a ‘class in itself and a ‘class for itself. Speaking o f the French peasantry he pointed that insofar as they shared a common social situation and objective relation to other classes they formed a class. But insofar as they did or did not perceive a common situation and common interests and develop organisation to collectively fight for their interests, they did or did not form a class. So, for Marx, class consciousness is not only important, it enters the very definition o f class, which has a contradictory tension, both in fact and in concept, between objective and subjective factors. Since it is at the p o litica l level o f society that a party and movement operate, it follows that socialists in Australia must, among other things, think long and hard about how, and in what conditions, the prevailing working class commitment to reformist and conservative ideas might be changed. Such thinking cannot be done in ivory towers or armchairs but only in the course o f practical struggles from which conclusions and lessons are drawn which enrich theory and provide a factual basis for strategies and policies. Too much the marxist practitioners in the armchairs and ivory towers want to make the facts fit the theory, preferring to ignore those facts and realities which might upset the picture. Labor Debate As after any major defeat for the ALP, there is now a major debate on the party’s future course, policies and strategy. The election for the party parliam entary leadership showed a turn to the right and to ‘moderation’. And so far it has been the right of the party which has been most vocal in advocating solutions to the party’s problems. Broadly speaking, the line is that Labor must show itself to be a better ‘economic manager’ than the L-NCP coalition and introduce only such reforms as are made possible by ‘economic realities’. As Mr. Hayden put it at the press conference after his election as leader: the Labor Party wants change to the extent this is ‘responsible’. At the same conference he said he believes there is “ a very strong case for reward for initiative and risk in a mixed economy” . He qualified this by saying there is also a need to make sure that people are not disadvantaged and perpetuated in thatdisadvantage. Writing in the F in a n cia l R e v ie w under the heading ‘Hayden does a Fraser’, Brian Toohey commented on the similarity o f this to F r a s e r ’ s s t a t e d ‘ c o n c e r n f o r th e disadvantaged within an economy based upon reward for initiative’. But what risks and initiatives are taken by the really big profit-making corporations in Australia which could not have been taken by public sector enterprises? The story of the Holden is well known - how the Chifley government underwrote all the risks of the US car giant GM which then showed its gratitude by taking over all Australian interests when the company was well established and making huge profits. Even more glaring is the way that vast natural resources are now being handed over to multinational corporations who are or will be raking in fabulous profits by ripping out the resources in a way which maximises their profits but minimises the benefits to ordinary Australians, not to mention the environmental destruction and hazards from woodchipping, uranium mining, and so on. It is said in favor o f such policies that only big multinationals have the money and know-how to develop our resources. Yet a public enterprise backed by the full resources o f government and tapping the know-how of Australian workers and technicians could match these. In any case, know-how can be bought and hired and capital borrowed if needed. It was revealed recently that Utah’s huge profits from the Bowen Basin coal deposits derive from an initial investment o f $25 million. This is a piddling sum for a government and would by now have been returned many times over, providing capital for development o f other natural resources. As advocated by the CPA’s A N ew C ou rse f o r A u stralia, the income from a planned and publicly-ow ned natural resources developm ent could in turn fund an expansion o f public sector manufacturing industry under democratic worker and community control to avoid the bureaucratic inefficiencies of traditional nationalised industries. Mr. Hayden’s view o f the relation between the Labor Party and its mass base is that any organisation which seeks to serve the Australian public must ‘evolve along with that community’. There is no doubt that a mass party must listen to the masses. But equally it can only fulfill its responsibilities to them if it presents the facts and an analysis of what is happening. To its credit, the Labor Party did this on the issue of Viet Nam, despite the waverings of many o f its leaders including Whitlam, and was in the end vindicated in its stand. As admitted by defeated prime m inister M cM ahon, revulsion against the Vet Nam war played a part in Labor’s 1972 victory. The key fact ignored by the Hayden argument is that the economic problems are the products o f the very system he proposes to manage better and more ‘responsibly’ than the Liberals. In particular, the crisis of Australian manufacturing industry has as one major cause the diversion o f investment capital into the much more profitable resources area. Because the mining sector is more capital intensive than manufacturing (by a factor of at least 10) this diversion o f capital creates more unemployment, with little prospect o f improvement so long as such investment priorities remain. If this analysis is even only partly correct, there is no way that a private profit system based on ‘reward for initiative’ will ever build a healthy manufacturing industry and restore full employment. Naturally, if reward for initiative is the guiding philosophy, then capital and human efforts will be directed to gaining the greatest reward for the least initiative, i.e. by ripping out natural resources as fast as possible, in the process running down all but the most profitable manufacturing industry. The only way private enterprise will rebuild manufacturing is with the aid of government hand-outs and incentives, such as the existing scheme whereby businesses are paid $63 per week to give young unemployed a job. Naturally, business does not reject such ‘creeping socialism’ which serves its interests. But the labor movement ought to ask itself whether such government hand-outs should be given with no strings attached. Should they not be used as a lever to gain democratic public say in the enterprises so assisted? Or could the money be b e tte r sp e n t e s t a b lis h in g new manufacturing industries, such as a solar heater industry, p u b licly ow ned and democratically controlled? What might be called the conscious and ideological right of the Labor Party has got in quick for its chop. In articles in The A u stralian and T h e S y d n ey M orn in g H erald, two leading members from the NSW Labor Party, Bob Carr and Joe Thompson, have pushed the so-called ‘moderate’ line. This is that the Labor Party nationally must adopt the policies o f the Wran, Dunstan and Lowe state governments and learn from the example o f the German Social-Democrats. According to Joe Thompson, NSW secretary and Federal president o f the Vehicle Builders’ Union: “ The State Labor administrators have bent over backwards to co-operate with AUSTRALIAN LEFT REVIEW No. 03 business and th ey’ve appealed to the country voter. But th ey’ve also been successful with, their programs o f reform .... But there has not been a rush to do everything in three years or to go further than the middle ground o f politics would allow." (The A u stra lia n , 7.2.78.) But a good example o f just how far ‘bending over backwards’ will get you (no, it’s not up your own .... ) was the deal announced by Wran for Ford to build a new car plant near Campbelltown. He billed it as a good example o f co-operation between his government and business and o f how the government was attracting business. A few weeks later Ford announced it was not going ahead with the plans. So the essential powerlessness o f government in the face o f self-interested private enterprise was again dem onstrated. Mr. T h o m p so n ’s own members suffered from the failure to expand Ford’s operations. It is ironic that the Labor right should now be suggesting that Mr. Whitlam went too far, too fast. When he succeeded Mr. Calwell in 1967 as leader, the same wing o f the party saw him as the person who could modernise the party, take away its rough and radical image and win the middle ground. To a large degree, Whitlam did many o f these things but in retrospect, it can be seen that he was more committed to reforms in areas like education, social welfare, urban renewal, and health care than many o f his colleagues. In any case, these reforms were hardly radical. Now it is Mr. Hayden who will play Whitlam to Whitlam’s Calwell! What is ignored by these commentators is that it was not the reforms themselves which people voted against in 1975 and 1977 but the inability o f Labor to solve the economic crisis. This inability was a liability on its own but it also assisted the media campaign w hich portrayed so cia l reform s and economic recovery as incompatible. Within the logic o f the system there was a certain truth in this. But had Labor been prepared to begin to tackle the basic causes o f the crisis instead o f succumbing to the logic o f the system, it could have retained support for itself and its reform program. This would have required tackling the power over economic decision making o f large local and multinational firms. O f course, it was precisely this that Labor was neither willing nor prepared to do so it bogged down in a con tra dictory m ire o f in d ecision and division. Labor did not have to ‘introduce socialism* but rather begin to put enough key economic levers in its own hands both to be in a position to tackle the problems and to prevent the sort o f economic undermining engaged in by private enterprise. Further, if Labor is going to give up significant reform programs and compete with the Liberals in economic management in capitalist terms, why should its own base vote for it at all? Another assumption o f the Labor right’s argument is that the middle ground can only be won by watering down Labor’s policies and proceeding more cautiously. Yet there are many issues where the middle ground supports policies more radical than those of Labor’s right. Uranium is a good example. Carr warns that the Australian Democrats will pick up the middle ground permanently unless Labor is careful. Yet one o f the bases o f Democrat support among the previously Liberal middle ground was its anti-uranium mining stance - precisely the policy which the Labor right o p p o se d for the ALP! O f course, it is not expected that any o f this will convince Labor’s right which long ago gave up any socialist perspective, if it ever had one, and who believe that talk o f socialism, even o f steps like nationalisation, is ‘fundamentalist’ and old hat. Time will tell whether their solutions achieve anything, even the much longed-for stable electoral majority. It is to be hoped, though, that the Labor left will develop a much more coherent ideology and policy than hitherto so as to more effectively combat the attempts to take the party even further to the right. Many Labor members and supporters do not want a rightward shift but they need a coherent policy and line to support. The left outside the Labor Party, including the Communist Party, cannot rely on the development o f a more coherent IAbor left which, in any case, is more likely the stronger the extra-ALP left and its mass influence become. Nor can the left ignore developments inside the Labor Party since the latter still has the overwhelming support of the working class which even through many disappointments looks to Labor for solutions to its problems. What, then, should be the perspectives and strategy o f the extra-ALP left in the post­ election situation? In the first place, while seeking to grapple with the political realities behind the election result, we should not lose sight of the fact that the contradictions of capitalism, both old and new, remain. Among others, they manifest themselves in these ways: * * * * * Inability to permanently solve economic problems and develop a stable economy based on social needs and free from unemployment and inflation. Inability, despite a huge absolute growth of production, to achieve any significant redistribution of wealth to level up the continuing glaring social inequalities. Inability to take full and rational advantage o f the ‘great leap forward’ of the productive forces in the postwar boom - in particular, failure to utilise a n yth in g like the fu ll liberatory potential of science and technology which are made the servants o f profit. Disregard for and inability to solve the worsening environmental crisis which, if anything, is more ignored these days with the economic troubles used as an excuse not to take the necessary actions. In ability to b a sica lly tackle the oppression of women and the whole crisis o f human relationships, problems which are also swept under the mat of the economic crisis. These and other contradictions and problems are not abolished by Fraser’s victory; rather they are likely to be sharpened by it. They can, and will, lead to renewed upsurges o f mass activity and struggle, though naturally no timetable can be put on this. These objective facts provide the basis for the left’s work. But, in turn, this work will only bring out the maximum p o litica l manifestation of the objective contradictions to the extent that it develops a strategy and method o f work based on a deep understanding o f existing political realities and the possibilities contained within them. In the first place, that means finding out where working people are at, what they feel and want, what they will support and what they won’t. In particular, can we identify what a re the barriers, in workers’ minds, social situation and experiences, to their shifting from reformism to socialism, or a program which would be a transition in the direction o f socialism? In the second place, the strategy and policies can only be developed in a long process o f dialogue and discussion with the working people. This means putting things in their language, being concrete and putting forward, in addition to long-term goals, transitional programs which are seen to be realistic and capable o f being fought for. To do this means being prepared to learn from practical experiences which should not only be guided by theory but also change and modify theory. A theory with such a relation to practice is truly a th e o ry o f p o litics (or a p oliticised theory) as opposed to an academicised, rarefied and doctrinised theory. The main task o f the left, therefore, is to get out into the community and the workforce so as to maintain and extend the difficult daily work o f convincing people, assisting them in thei_r struggles and in setting up or improving organisations which can counter the powers they are up against. If this is done two dangers in the present period will be avoided: * S u ccu m b in g to p e s s im is m a n d hopelessness, leading to a loss of will and activity ‘Standing on our digs’ in the belief that we are still right and don’t need to change anything as a result o f the election but continue as before until the workers are forced to see the truth by the objective circumstances. This could only lead to objective sterility and isolation * The aim o f the left should be, in practice, policy and publicity, to lower the obstacles to Australian workers opting for real solutions. Immediate and transitional programs can do this by assisting people to take the first steps, both in thought and action, down the path to socialism. The Communist Party’s proposal A N ew C ou rse fo r A u stra lia is a public discussion document of this type. A L R readers who have not yet seen it are invited to write to their nearest CPA office for a copy and to submit their comments, criticisms and suggestions to the CPA. B.A., 15.2.78. C O N TEM PO R A R Y FEMINISM and SOCIALIST M O V E M E N T S Barbara E hrenreich This paper is concerned with the potential insights which contemporary feminist m o v e m e n ts h a v e to o ffe r s o c ia lis t movements in two areas: ( 1 ) socialist theory about women’s liberation which I take to be a key concern o f socialists world-wide; and (2) socialist theory and practice more generally, apart from the question o f women as a social group. Finally, I would like to speculate on the practical possibilities o f a synthesis o f socialist and feminist politics. Though the issues I will raise have broad applicability to the industrialised countries, my thinking is naturally based most heavily on experience limited to the United States. Feminism and the socialist approach to women’s liberation The traditional socialist program for women’s liberation, passed down basically unchanged from the nineteenth century, is two-fold: First, women were to be granted full democratic rights, including the right to divorce and possession o f property; and, second, women were to be integrated into social production. Through the combination o f democratic rights and integration into production, it was thought that no obstacles to women’s full participation in political life would remain, and sexual equality would be achieved. Now, there is no question about the central importance o f these measures to women’s liberation: Feminist movements themselves have focused heavily on the legal rights o f women and on access to jobs and education. The feminist movement in the United States is currently investing major energy in a campaign for a constitutional amendment which would eliminate legal discrimination between women and men as workers and citizens. But a major insight of contemporary feminism, if I may state it first in purely negative fashion, is that a program of democratic rights plus integration into social production is not sufficient to establish full equality between the sexes. It is this insight w hich m ost strik in gly distin gu ish es contemporary feminism from historically prior waves of feminist activity and which distin gu ish es the fem in ist political perspective from the traditional socialist program for women’s liberation. There are several reasons for the late twentieth century feminist perception o f the inadequacy o f the traditional socialist program. The first reason is that, in 1970, as opposed to 1870 or even 1920, the program of democratic rights plus integration into social production had, in fact, largely been achieved for long enough to make some kind o f evaluation possible. The magnitude of this achievement cannot be underestimated: Socialism has universally brought civil equality for women, mass entry o f women into social production (hence the possibility o f individual economic independence from the family), supportive social services such as child care - not to mention the obvious improvements in material security which have accrued to both sexes. It is thus with considerable envy that feminists within capitalist societies have regarded their socialist sisters: Socialist women are not “second class citizens” in the eyes o f the law; they are encouraged in their education or v o ca tio n a l training; they are free to contribute to social production knowing that their children are well cared for. At the same time, however, the situation of women in socialist societies can hardly be described as one o f full sexual equality. TTiere are shortcomings in the progress of socialist women which, persisting as they do after many years (and in some cases, more than one generation), cannot easily be explained as mere vestiges o f capitalist or pre-capitalist society. To generalise, without reference to particular countries, there are three major kinds of evidence of the persistence o f sex inequality into socialist society: 1. Occupational segregation by sex. Of course, this exists in varying degrees in various countries - nowhere approaching the e x tre m e o c c u p a t io n a l s e g r e g a tio n characteristic of capitalist society. But the basic pattern of the sexual division o f labor has tended to persist, with women occupying rleatively low -paid position s a n d /o r performing stereotyped functions such as nursing, child care and personal services of various sorts, while men occupy, on the average, better-paid positions which are more likely to involve decision-making and to confer prestige. There is some evidence th a t w h en w om en h a v e e n te re d a characteristically male occupation, such as m edicine, the socia l prestige o f that occupation tends to decline. 2. Sexual objectification. This again is highly variable, with no socialist society app roach in g the decadent extrem es characteristic o f capitalism. One example of sexual objectification which has tended to persist is the differential adornment o f the sexes: The cultural requirement that women use clothes and cosmetics to create an appearance o f youthfulness, fragility and/or sexual availability is something so universal that it almost seems “ natural” . Yet in a feminist analysis, the emphasis on an objectified type o f “ beauty” for women is a clear cultural hallmark o f male domination, and a disturbing thing to note in socialist society. 3. Low representation o f w om en in positions o f political leadership. This is undoubtedly the most striking and serious shortcoming, at least as seen from a distance. The levels o f socialist leadership which achieve international visibility are almost without exception occupied by men. Where is there a female head o f a socialist state, or a woman serving as first secretary o f the party? How many women can be counted on the politburos and legislative bodies of the existing socialist countries? What does the near-absence of female leadership at the national level suggest about women’s participation in political life at provincial and local levels? These areas of shortcomings in the achievement of sexual equality by no means outweigh the tremendous advances women have made in socialist society. Nor is there any real basis for believing that sexual inequality is a fixed, structural feature o f socialist society, as it has become in capitalist society. It may well be that a static critique omits significant progress which would be evident in a historical survey o f women’s status within socialist societies. (Or, to take a pessimistic point o f view, it may be that sexual inequality will tend to increase in the European socialist countries with the spread o f consumerism and consequent influence o f Western capitalist culture.) But the point is that the traditional socialist answ er to the “ w om an qu estion ” — democratic rights and integration into production — has not proved to be a sufficient condition for sexual equality: A necessary condition, no doubt, but not a sufficient one. For a feminist movement emerging in the 1970s, this observation was inescapable. A n o t h e r r e a s o n f o r f e m i n i s t dissatisfaction with the traditional socialist program rests not on the shortcomings of socialism, but rather on the “ successes” of capitalism. It is striking, almost incredible, that the birth place o f contem porary feminism was not a society such as Spain, still dominated by rigid patriarchal forms of family life and religion, but the United States, a society in which women were widely considered to have already been “ liberated” . Well before the advent o f the current feminist movement, women in the United States enjoyed a level o f democratic rights and workforce participation well beyond that o f women in the most “ advanced” European capitalist countries, not to mention the poorer capitalist countries, former colonies, etc. Divorce was legal and easily attainable; female suffrage had been achieved fifty years earlier. M oreover, wom en were entering the workforce in unprecedented numbers, particularly in response to the rising corporate demand for female clerical labor. In 1950, 33.9 per cent o f American women were employed; in 1960,37.8 per cent; in 1970, 43.4 per cent; and the proportion today is 48 per cent. In 1970, the United States surpassed Sweden, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands in terms of the proportion o f the labor force which is female. (Though o f course the labor force participation o f US women still lags behind that o f women in most industrialised socialist countries.) So, at the time o f the emergence o f a feminist movement in the United States, the socialist program o f “ integration into social p rod u ction ” had been achieved to a sig n ifica n t extent w ithin capitalism , although hardly on feminist terms. The great m ajority o f wom en w ho entered the workforce in the ’sixties and ’seventies entered relatively low-paid clerical and service jobs, and this is reflected in the fact that the median income for full-time working women in the United States is only 57 per cent o f the m edian in com e for men. Thousands of women have been drawn into struggles around w orkplace issues — discrimination in pay and promotions, lack o f child care, health and safety issues, etc. But in a situation where nearly half the adult women are already employed, most in relatively unsatisfactory jobs, a political program offering “ integration into social production ” would be irrelevant, if not ironic. It is these two factors — disillusionment with the political economic “ advances” of women within capitalism, combined with a certain disappointment about the progress of women within socialism — which led con tem porary fem inism to reject the traditional program o f democratic rights plus integration into production as an adequate basis for women’s liberation. Thus contemporary feminism, the feminism o f the 1970s, began with the realisation that the solutions to sexual inequality lay not only in the realm o f political economy, but in an area which had so far received little attention from political movements — the realm of “ private life” . The politics of private life The existence o f a sphere o f “ private life” , as distinct from the realm o f political economy, is a characteristic feature of industrial capitalist society, and perhaps industrial society in general. In a pre­ industrial “ natural” economy, the family was not only a biological unit but a productive unit. Work, play, birth, child care, food consumption, etc., were all activities occurring in the same physical space and involving the same group o f household members. With the advent of large-scale socialised production, the household was stripped of most o f its productive activities and left with the personal biological functions of eating, sexuality, child care, rest,’ etc. Patriarchal restrictions, combined with women’s traditional centrality in child raising, dictated that the home, rather than the socialised workplace, was woman’s “ proper” sphere o f activity. Private life ■became the major focus o f women’s work (usually even for women in the paid workforce); it was, furthermore, the major locus o f “ sex role reproduction” : the place where small children learn the forms of behavior deemed appropriate for their sex. Inevitably, then, feminist analysis would have to investigate the realm o f private life, and a feminist program would have to address the issues arising from it. With some significant exceptions, the terrain of private life has been largely omitted from the mainstream of marxist theory. Lenin, for example, saw the home as a sort of backwater, left behind by industrial progress but still capable of breeding conservatism even within modem socialist society (hence, in part, his insistence on w om en’ s full in tegration into socia l production). The most serious attempts in the West to analyse the relations o f private life have come from Freudian-oriented marxists and marxists associated with the “critical theory” school. If I may summarise their concerns rather sketchily, they have tended to focus on: ( 1 ) The “ ancient” aspects of family relations — the system o f patriarchal authority which survives from a pre­ industrial mode of production. Reich and others saw the patriarchal authoritarianism of the family as the psychological basis for authoritarian relations within the entire society, as between classes. (2) The most “ modern” aspect o f private life — its penetration by advertising, consumer goods, external “ expert” authorities, etc., to the poin t where the d istin ction between “ private” and “ political economic” realms of social existence begins to be a dubious one. Marcuse, for example, relates the corporate penetration of private life to the diminished political autonomy of the working class in advanced industrial countries. Thus, theneomarxist analyses o f the real of private life created by industrial capitalism emphasise the importance of the private realm from a political economic point of view: It is the locus o f the reproduction of the personality types (and, o f course, actual human beings) required by class society, and it is one of the latest frontiers for the expansion o f the capitalist market. However, as the American historian Eli Zaretsky has argued, it was not until the rebirth of a feminist movement in the last ten years that issues related to private life were projected out of the realm of theory and into the arena o f political struggle. Feminist analysis tended to differ from that o f the (male) neo-marxists in that it focused on private life not merely as an influence on, or appendage of, the political economy, but as a realm o f human experience having intrinsic importance if we are to comprehend the situation o f women and how to change it. Thus the feminist movement highlighted a series of issues which had been largely neglected by marxists, either because they seemed to be too trivial, divisive, or perhaps simply embarrassing to discuss. These include: — the biological subjugation of women within the family and within personal relationships generally: subjection to unwanted pregnancies, to physical abuse and coercive styles o f male sexuality (of which rape is only the extreme). — r e la tio n s o f d o m in a tio n an d submission between women and men. These relations are nurtured within the patriarchal family, but extend into public interactions between women and men, for example, in the workplace and even within political organisations. The expressions o f male domination may be overt, as in the common assumption that in a mixed gathering women will do the more “ menial” work of serving food and drinks. Or they may be subtle, taking the form o f disp arag in g rem arks and patronising attitudes, or the use o f modes o f discourse which tend to exclude women’s participation. — the social devaluation o f domestic labor. W ith the developm ent o f socialised production, women’s work in the home was by no means abolished. In fact there is evidence that over the last hundred years rising standards of cleanliness and rising expectations about the m other’ s role in early childhood socialisation have actually increased the housewife’s hours o f labor. Yet the only recognition o f women’s dom estic labor afforded in m ost capitalist countries is o f a purely sentim ental nature. There is no economic security for mothers who are deserted by their husbands; there are no pensions for women who have spent their lives as housekeepers and mothers. — the corporate penetration o f private life, which has depended primarily on th e m a n ip u la tio n o f w om en as consumers (often through advertising w h i«h p re s e n ts in s u lt in g a n d stereotyped images of women) and leads to dubious improvements in the quality o f w om en’ s lives. (To give a few examples: Certain feminine hygiene products introduced in the United States with considerable advertising have turned out to be hazardous to the user’s health; recent studies show that the introduction o f “ labor-saving” devices over the last 50 years has not led to a decrease in women’s domestic work; p r e p a r e d b a b y f o o d s c o n t a i n unhealthful quantities o f salt and sugar, etc.) To say that these issues related to private life have been opened up by the feminist movement is by no means to say that they have been resolved, or can easily be resolved, even within the realm o f theory and analysis.In fact, these issues raise serious questions o f relevance for both socialist and feminist movements. Take the issue o f women’s domestic labor: There can be no question about the social value o f domestic labor, despite the fact that it is unwaged and perform ed in the privatised setting o f the home. In certain capitalist countries (Italy, the United States, England) some feminists have argued that the women’s movement should focus on a dem and for econ om ic recogn ition o f domestic work, or “wages for housework” . Such a demand would recognise the strategic position o f women as workers and their productive role in society. On the other hand, it has been argued that state subsidisation o f women’s domestic labor would ( 1 ) reinforce the prevailing notion that this is a uniquely female form o f labor, and (2) add nothing to the material well-being o f the working class, since the wages for housework would undoubtedly be drawn from the general wage o f the class (e.g. by higher taxation). Within socialist society, there remain questions about the social valuation o f domestic labor and the best strategies for dealing with it. Too often, women’s “ integration into social production” has only meant that most women have two jobs — one in social production and one in the home. Should this situation be recognised with reduced hours for working women and perhaps formal payment for their domestic work? Or should the situation itself be changed, for example, by pressure to increase male participation in domestic work or by further socialisation o f this w ork? W hat solu tion s are most consistent with the needs o f children, and, if possible, with lon g-sta n d in g cultural traditions? U nderlyin g these questions about domestic labor is an even more fundamental issue: the question o f the family and its role as a basic social unit. Within the United States there has been considerable debate over whether left and feminist groups should concentrate on criticising the traditional family or defending it. The analysis which reveals the family as the key site in the reproduction of hierarchical relationships (between women and men, and between people in general) has led some to conclude that the abolition o f the family as we know it is essential to women’s liberation. In this view , an im portant task for radical movements is the creation o f alternative liv in g arrangem ents w hich w ill meet people’s needs for companionship, sexuality, e tc, in th e a b s e n c e o f t r a d it io n a l authoritarian relationships. Others argue that the family, for all its faults, is the only refuge for the human values o f affection, nurturance, etc., within capitalist society, and represents the only security most women know. Rather than building alternatives, which are unlikely to survive within capitalist society anyway, the movement should focus on improving women’s position within the existing family structure. (From either point of view, the persistence of the con v en tion al fa m ily structure w ithin socialist societies, and the failure o f these societies to encourage the development of alternative living arrangements, has been puzzling to American feminists.) However, if there is debate over the specific resolution o f these issues — both as issues which must be confronted within capitalism, as issues facing socialist societies, and, ultimately, as questions facing future communist societies — there does exist a feminist consensus on certain principles which can be summarised as follows: That in addition to reforms in the political econ om ic realm g iv in g wom en full democratic rights and the opportunity for participation in social production, women’s liberation depends upon 1. The establishm ent o f w om en’s reproductive freedom and physical integrity as inalienable rights. This means the right to contraceptive m easures and abortion regardless of national population policy, and the right to protection from sexual coercion (within or without marriage). 2. A social commitment to the eradication o f male domination in all its manifestations — authoritarian relations within the family, the sexual o b jectifica tion o f wom en, stereotyped images o f women in media and culture, and so on. 3. A reappraisal o f women’s domestic labor, aimed at (a) increased social valuation of women’s necessary and productive work w ithin the home, w hich should be recognised, for example, with economic security for housewives, (b) increased sharing of domestic labor between the sexes, and (c) the socialisation of functions which can be more effectively and satisfactorily performed outside the home. 4. Democratic control over the commodity ensemble produced for domestic and private con sum ption, with regard to quality, intrinsic use value and ideological content. Implications for socialist movements Insofar as women’s liberation, as an issue which transcends class, is one of the fundamental projects of socialism, then it goes without saying that the conclusions of con tem porary fem inism sh ou ld be o f intrinsic interest to all socialists. But I would like to turn now to some implications of contemporary feminist thought quite apart from the “ woman question” . First, by analogy, feminism offers important insights into relations of domination and submission which exist between other social groups, such as classes and ethnic groups. Second, by its insistence on a politics which embraces both the “ private" and the political-economic sphere, feminism points the way to a more comprehensive socialist politics for the industrial capitalist countries. To take first the insights which feminism may offer by analogy. As I have stressed, contemporary feminism insists that sex inequality exists not only at the level o f political-economic structures, but at the level o f personal interactions, within the family, within social life, and within political and working relationships. Thus the problem of inequality, or male domination, must be attacked not only in the sphere o f public life, but in the sphere of deeply rooted attitudes, expectations and patterns of behavior. The same can be said for relations between c la s s e s or s tr a ta : T h e s ig n if ic a n t interactions here do not only occur between actual members o f classes, on a daily basis, and in such a way as to reinforce the prevailing patterns of class domination. When such interactions carry over into progressive political organisations, the results can be crippling. The first exam ple o f this sort o f phenomenon in the US left occurred over the issue o f male-female relations within the radical movement of the ’sixties. Despite verbal commitment to egalitarianism and “ participatory democracy” there existed enorm ous barriers to w om en ’ s full participation in the movement. Meeting independently o f men, women were able to identify some of the barriers to their participation, ranging from such obvious things as a lack o f women in visible leadership positions to more subtle issues o f male “ style", a tendency to long-winded polemics, a competitive manner o f discourse, etc. The resulting efforts to eliminate male dominant tendencies within the movement were far from uniformly successful (in fact many women simply left the “ mixed” m ovem ent to work independently as women). But these efforts did lead to a widespread consciousness o f the problem of “ sexism” (as it came to be called, in analogy to racism), and to a great unleashing of women’s political energies and leadership capabilities. Today the US left faces a somewhat analagous problem in relation to class. Coming as it does out o f a largely student base, the left is disproportionately middle class in composition, by which I mean it contains a disproportionate representation o f people in professional and managerialtype occupations, as opposed to those in bluecollar and low er-level white collar occupations. Since the early ’seventies, the left has been preoccupied with the problem o f expanding beyond its present class base into a broader working class constituency. There are many obstacles to this effort, which belong more properly to a discussion o f US working-class history. But from our limited experience so far, it is becoming clear that some of the obstacles lie at the level of day-today individual interactions, such as those uncovered by feminists in the case of malefemale relationships in the movement. These include: stereotyped expectations o f roles (e.g, that people from m iddle class backgrounds will do the theoretical and analytical work), subtle attitudes of elitism and condescension on the part of middle class people, the persistent use of terms and modes of discourse which are familiar to educated people but uncomfortable to less educated people, etc. The results of failing to address these problems can be passivity among working class members, resentment, and sometimes even disillusionment with left politics. To generalise a little: The task of building a socialist movement within a hetereogeneous society such as the United States requires building co-operative efforts and common organisational forms spanning women and men, middle and working class people, and people of diverse ethnic backgrounds. In this project, the feminist insight that inter-group antagomisms and systems of domination are expressed not only in political-economic structures, but at the level o f individual interactions, is a lesson which political movements can ignore only at their own risk. The emerging feminist movement of the late sixties demanded that political ideals be m a tch e d w ith h ig h s ta n d a r d s o f interpersonal conduct and mutual respect. Without a continuing commitment to the feminist principle that “ the personal (the ways we behave and treat others on an individual basis) is political" there is little hope of building a socialist movement which w ill sp an the d iv e r g e n t and often antagonistic social groupings which comprise the broad class o f working people within a country such as the United States. The other m ajor con tribu tion that contemporary feminism has to offer to socialist movements lies simply in its affirmation o f the realm of private life as a significant arena for political attention, analysis and struggle. Socialist politics has conventionally focused on class relations as they are expressed in the "public” realm of socialised production and state functions, with secondary attention to culture and other elements of the “ superstructure” . The political consciousness o f the working class was assumed to be shaped overwhelmingly in the experience of production and through interactions with a repressive state apparatus. The nature of private life was assumed to be determined by the workers’ needs for biological self-reproduction and less importantly by custom s and attitudes re m a in in g fro m p r e -c a p ita list so cia l form ations. W ith these assum ptions, the nature of private life could be safely ignored in favor o f concentration on the visible and dram atic class struggles over political and economic issues. But two developm ents in advanced ca p ita list society suggest that these assumptions are no longer completely adequate, and that a politics based on them will fail to address monopoly capitalism as a total system . First is the capitalist penetration (in response to the continuing problem of economic stagnation) of private life as a market. This process, beginning in the United States in the 1920s and going into full swing in the post-war period, affects, directly or indirectly, all strata o f society. It has required an enormous ideological cam paign (carried out by in dividu al corporations in the form of advertising) to “ sell” a way of life based on individual consumption, and it requires ever more refined efforts (marketing techniques, etc.) to predict and regulate consumption. To the extent that this corporate penetration of private life has been successful, the very distinction between “private” and “ public” (or political economic) realms o f existence ceases to be a meaningful one. The internal expansion of the capitalist market within the industrialised countries, leaves fewer and fewer “ backwaters” of social existence, and capitalism presents itself at last as a unitary system, embracing what were formerly the most intimate personal aspects of life. A second and related development which challenges the tradition al socia list assumptions about the proper sphere for political endeavor is the process which the American scholar Harry Braverman has called the “ degradation of labor” : the removal of productive skills from the working class and their concentration in a stratum o f tech n ical and m anagerial workers. This process, necessitated within capitalism by the class struggle in the early 20th century and often emulated within socialism as an “ efficiency” measure, has the effect of reducing work to a mindless, repetitive series o f routines. Rather than being a source o f collective strength, social production becom es an experience o f dehum anisation. Thus w orking class aspirations tend to shift to private life as a possible arena for the expression o f the creativity and autonomy which is so thoroughly repressed at the workplace. This shift, this psychological privatisation originating at the point o f production, only rein forces the dom inant drift o f' late cap italist culture tow ards the social atomisation characteristic of a consumptioncentred economy. The left in the United States, where these trends are most advanced, has yet to formulate a political approach which fully comprehends these trends and the resulting social and cultural conditions. But it is clear that a truly relevant politics can no longer confine itself to the sphere of the political economy as it haB been understood, but must extend its analysis and activities into the sphere o f “ private life” . Is it in fact so thoroughly colonised by corporate priorities and commoditised relationships, or is it a potential breeding ground for resistance? What autonomous forms of popular culture are emerging and what is their relationship to commoditised mass culture? What forms o f political activity can break through the social atomisation of working class life? To dismiss such questions - to abandon the terrain of “private life” as irrelevant or apolitical is, in fact, to cede it to the capitalists. If feminism in the industrialised capitalist countries has done nothing else, it should at least have alerted left movements to the necessity of a socialist politics capable o f addressing the totality o f hum an experience w ithin the culture o f late capitalism. T he p ro sp e cts fo r a socia lis t-fe m in ist syn th esis In the coming years we may expect the emergence and continued growth of feminist m ovem ents w ithin the industrialised capitalist countries, for several reasons: ( 1 ) Over the long run, industrialisation and the spread of market relations inevitably u n d erm in e t r a d it io n a l p a t r ia r c h a l relationships, which (in the West, at any rate) had their material basis in an agrarian economy. The gradual erosion o f patriarchal authority within the family increases women^s possibilities o f org a n isin g independently; (2) Recent advances in the technology o f contraception are offering wom en a degree o f b io lo g ica l self­ determination undreamed o f by previous generations. Even where this technology is not easily available because of restrictive state policies or high prices, women are becoming aware of the material possibility of controlling their own reproductivity. This awareness was an important factor in the growth o f the US women’s movement; (3) The increasing cultural integration o f the world, with the growth of the mass electronic media, etc., makes it impossible to contain feminist ideas within the boundaries o f a few countries. Interest in feminism — or, at the very least, a new consciousness of women as women — is spreading on a world scale. The feminist movements which emerge will continue to challenge the traditional socialist formula for women’s liberation and to insist on a new kind o f politics embracing both the “ public” and the “ private” , the economic and the cultural. The question is: w ill the contem porary and em erging feminist movements find common ground with existing socialist movements — or will they become a dissident stream detached from the struggle for socialism? I have argued that a socialist-feminist synthesis would greatly enrich socialist politics (and, of course, feminist politics). What are the prospects for such a synthesis? I will end with some brief speculative comments on this question. The United States presents, at least at this time, an exceptional situation and one that is historically unprecedented. Namely, a situation in which the feminist movement, despite its organisational disarray and internal disunity, is far larger and more broadly based than anything that could be called a socia list “ m ovem ent” . Left organisations may denounce feminism as “ petty bourgeois” or they may court it as an essential extension o f the “ new left” , but their impact is relatively minor. The direction which American feminism chooses — whether socialist or accommodating to c a p it a lis m — d e p e n d s la r g e ly on developments within the feminist movement itself and its reaction to the political opposition it faces. On the discouraging side, the growth o f an anti-feminist “movement” , opposed to abortion and equal rights for women and unabashedly linked to the far r ig h t, h a s p u sh ed m a jo r fe m in is t o r g a n i s a t i o n s l ik e t h e N a t i o n a l Organisation for Women (NOW) towards a more ‘moderate’ political position. In the face of the rightwing attack, N OW has been eager to d is s o c ia t e i t s e l f fro m s o c ia lis t organisations and from more sweeping dem ands for socia l justice. On the encouraging side, how ever, fem inism continues to expand — as a state o f mind if not an organised movement — among working class women, creating a militancy w hich spills over and interacts with militancy on class issues. Particularly striking at this time is the growth o f a black feminist movement, highly conscious of the “ double jeopardy” o f black women within racist society. A ny rebirth o f mass radicalism in the United States will be heavily shaped by, and perhaps in part generated by, the contemporary feminist movement. Within the other industrialised capitalist countries, a more historically “ normal” situation prevails at the present time. Socialist movements are strongly and deeply rooted in the working class. It is feminism which is relatively weak — a newcomer on the political scene. Here the possibility o f a synthesis o f socialist and feminist politics depends most heavily on the reaction o f the existing left to the demands and issues raised by the emerging feminist movements. The crucial question is not whether existing left org an isation s will w elcom e fem inist m ovem ents as they would any other ■progressive force, but how they will respond to those concerns o f feminism which go beyond traditional socialist views on women’s liberation. The response may be to dismiss these concerns as trivial, divisive, or even “ ultra-leftist” . Or the response may be to seek to incorporate feminist insights into the historical body of socialist thought and practice. As I have tried to argue here, what is at stake in these alternatives is much more than the left’s relation to a particular constituency (women), but its ability to form ulate a m eaningful program for women’s liberation within socialism, and its ability to comprehend the emerging contours of late capitalist culture. Speech given at the International Forum '77 Socialism in the World ■ held at Cavtat, Yugoslavia, September 26-30, 1977. Reprinted from S ocia list T h ou g h t and P ra ctice, a Yugoslav monthly. 10 Oct., 1977. T h e State an d A u s tra lia n Socialism E ric Aarons Many discussions on theoretical questions are as tedious as the TV repeats over the holiday season. Let us hope we can make the discussions on the state now proceeding something more than a re-run o f classical situations and past controversies. The issue has arisen again in connection with “ eurocommunism” , the dropping of “ the dictatorship o f the proletariat” by the French Communist Party, the possibility o f a left govern m en t resulting from the impending French elections and the political crisis in Italy. M any articles and pam phlets have app eared* an d at le a s t tw o b o o k s : E u rocom m u n ism and th e S tate by the Communist Party o f Spain’s secretary, S a n t i a g o C a r r i l l o , a n d O n t h e D icta torsh ip o f th e P r o le ta r ia t by E tie n n e B a lib a r , a m em b er o f th e Communist Party of France. Unfortunately, only the latter is available in Australia at the time o f writing. In Australia the controversy is linked with the search for a way forward in the current uncongenial political climate, publication o f the Communist Party o f Australia’s proposal A N e w C o u r s e f o r A u s t r a lia and discussion on the CPA’s general program to be adopted at its 26th Congress next year. To avoid a sterile debate on the state we have to locate it in our context. Socialism being so far from an immediate prospect here, the debate could appear a little ridiculous. And it would be if it diverted attention from the actu al task which is the building o f the social and political forces needed to bring revolutionary change and make the destination o f the state a real, practical question. but, properly posed, there is a relation, because the future and the present are connected. One o f the fundamental problems of political strategy in fact is to grasp the connections, so that the immediate struggles lead in the desired direction, not some other. We have not widely used the term, but "'the democratic road to socialism” describes fairly well the line the CPA has been following over the last decade or so. My aim in this article is to discuss the meaning o f this in relation to the current controversies. The following points seem to me especially important. 1. A view o f the nature of the problem o f revolution in a modern capitalist society, compared with that in (say) tsarist Russia. Of course, the nature o f the problem cannot be completely divorced from the concrete setting. The Russian revolution took place during a devastating world war, and no doubt if Western Europe (or Australia) were perish the thought - similarly involved today, policies and strategies would have to be very different. Leaving this aside, however, the despotic tsarist state was appropriate to feudalism, as was the prevailing ideology. Yet Russia was well along the capitalist path even in agriculture which, while very backward, was increasingly concerned with the production o f commodities - goods for exchange as distinct from those produced for direct consumption. The feudal ideology had decomposed. It was no longer hegemonic and was ineffective in holding the masses of people* within the system. The repressive power o f the state was therefore the prime obstacle to revolution and could be toppled by quick assault. (A new ideology appropriate to a socialist system was held by only a comparative few advanced workers and some intellectuals and this fact greatly influenced the course of later developments. But that is beyond our scope here.) The Italian marxist Antonio Gramsci tackled the different problem in more industrially developed countries: ‘ ‘In Russia the State was everything, ciuil society was primordial and gelatinous; in the West, there was a proper relation between State and civil society, and when the State trembled a sturdy structure o f civil society was at once revealed, The State was only an outer ditch, behind which there stood a p o w e r fu l s y s t e m o f f o r t r e s s e s and earthworks .... ” (P rison N o te b o o k s). It followed that revolutionaries needed to direct their energies in the first place to the “ fortresses and earthworks” . Not as a substitute or an excuse for not tackling the state but as essential preparation for it p r e p a r a tio n w ith o u t w h ic h ta lk o f overturning or “ smashing” the state became mere rhetoric covering practical impotence. It should also be remembered that Gramsci wrote in the aftermath o f the first world war, and at a time when industrial development, state involvement in civil society and the power and sophistication o f the mass media were far less than they are today. In this light we would have to say that the tasks posed by Gramsci have increased. But there are offsetting factors, now highlighted by the continuing economic crisis o f the capitalist world and the great range o f contradictions manifested in the many social movements and the intensity and breadth of class struggles. There have also been changes in the state. The greater involvement o f the state in civil society is not a change in cla ss nature. Even we in A ustralia w ho have not experienced directly wars and revolutions in our country know this from November 11, 1975, for example. The changes are that the state is much more involved than previously in education, s o c ia l w e lfa r e , h o u s in g , tr a n s p o r t, communications and various forms of intervention in the economy. A n d d e s p i t e i d e o l o g i c a l l y a n d economically motivated efforts to cut back and hand some of it over to private enterprise where a profit can be made from it, state intervention remains massive. The very functioning of modern capitalist society, which it is the state’s business to maintain, requires it. The pre-occupation of various arms o f government with the “restructuring” of Australian capitalism to fit in with the requirements o f a world economy dominated by a few multinational empires only emphasises this. C onsequences flow in g from developments include: these • The state has large num bers o f employees. Most o f these, while having such p rivileges as a certain security in em ploym ent, have rou g h ly the same standard o f living as people “ outside” , and feel similar economic pressures. They are parts of bureaucratic structures run from the top down, with themselves on the bottom. To varying degrees they have to be closely in touch with ordinary people and their concerns. Thus, many functionaries o f the state can take up similar economic struggles to the people they “rule” . They can become “ infected” by similar concerns such as ideas of women’s liberation, opposition to uranium development, anti-authoritarianism, etc. • The claimed “ impartiality” o f the state, which is a vital ideological prop for the institution and the society it helps maintain, has to be given at least some lip-service. This creates some avenues for ideas and actions which don’t prop up the existing order. The Fraser government is going to great lengths to close up these avenues, but in doing so meets resistance and builds up pressures which will find vent later. Looking more concretely at it, we could take the education system. This is an arm of the state which has the function o f providing the “ m ix” of tractable industrial cannonfodder, intellectuals, etc. required by the system. The study courses, the ideology conveyed and the form o f organisation in C H I N A AFTER M A O P E T E R N O L A N The months preceding and following the death o f Mao Tse-tung in September o f last year witnessed a series o f political events that, even by China’s standards, were quite exceptional. Is it possible at this relatively early stage to come to some preliminary understanding o f their significance in respect to the course of China’s political economy in the foreseeable future? It is to that task that this article is addressed. Let me begin by refreshing readers’ memories o f some o f the major events o f the past year and a half. 1976, that ‘most extraordinary year in the history o f our Party’ (Hua Kuo-feng) began disastrously with the death in January of Premier Chou En-lai; it was on his experienced shoulders that many people both inside and outside China thought rested the chances of a peaceful transition to the ‘post-Mao epoch’. Hua Kuo-feng, a relative newcomer to the senior ranks of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), who had only gained his place in the Politburo in 1973, was appointed Acting Premier, apparently on Mao’s recommendation. In April came the violent riots in Tien An Men Square in Peking, closely followed by the dismissal of Teng Hsiao-ping from all his official positions including Vice-Chairman o f the Central Committee o f the CCP, Vice-Premier, and Chief o f the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army. Teng, the man who had said that it didn’t matter whether a cat was black or white as long as it could catch mice, was again attacked as he had been during the Cultural Revolution for allegedly trying to ‘restore capitalism’ in China. The immediate beneficiary o f Teng’s dismissal was Hua Kuo-feng, who was appointed Premier and first Vice-Chairman o f the CCP (a newly-created position). A short period of relative calm was ended in early July by the death of veteran leader Chu Teh, and shattered at the end o f the month by the terrible earthquake in T an gsh an . On September 9 Mao died. Few outside observers had not predicted that a power struggle o f some kind would occur after his death. It was clear that the dismissal of Teng was but the tip o f the iceberg, and that a widespread struggle had been taking place throughout the country during the period leading up to Mao’s death. However, virtually no one was prepared for the swiftness or the drama with which the issue was ‘resolved’ by the arrest on October of the ‘radical’ group in the Politburo: Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hung-wen, collectively dubbed the ‘Gang o f Four’. The purge o f the ‘radical’ elements at the top o f the Party made it immediately obvious that China’s political economy had sharply changed course, and a succession of speeches and articles published since then have simply confirmed that impression: instead of policy being the outcome o f a ‘struggle between two lines’ held together in a dynamic tension by Chairman Mao, his death has permitted one ‘line’ to overwhelm the other. The formal conclusion o f this process has occurred in recent months. The 3rd plenary session of the 10th Central Committee met in July o f this year and officially confirmed the appointment of Hua Kuo-feng as Chairman o f the Central Committee of the CCP and Chairman of the M ilitary C om m ission o f the Central Committee of the CCP. It also announced the full restoration o f Teng Hsiao-ping to all his posts. Further, it decided to take the drastic step o f expelling the Gang o f Four from the CCP ‘once and for all’ . A national Party Congress was rapidly organised and met on August 12-18: it was the 11th Congress in the Party’s history but only the 4th since liberation. The congress ‘fully approved’ the measures taken to smash the Gang, and ‘unanimously adopted’ a resolution to support the new Party line as summarised in Hua’s political report to the congress. It elected a new Central Committee and Politburo, and it con clu ded with the optimistic hope that it would usher in a period o f ‘stability and unity and great order across the land’, POLITICS Is it likely that such a period o f stability and unity will occur? A central question here concerns the strength o f support for the Gang inside the CCP and the strategy they are likely to adopt. A factor of major importance in assessing the strength of inner-Party support for the Gang is the rapid increase in the size o f the CCP since the Cultural Revolution. It has roughly doubled its total membership since the early 1960s to its present size of 35 million. Nearly one-half o f these members have joined since the Cultural Revolution, and over 7 million since the 10th Party Congress in 1973. ( 1 ) There is little doubt that a significant proportion o f these new members have been selected because o f their sympathy with the aims of the Gang. Yeh Chien-ying, Party Vice-Chairman and Defence Minister, in his sp e e ch in t r o d u c in g th e new P a r ty Constitution, admitted that there is a ‘serious problem o f impurity in ideology, organisation and style o f work among Party members as a result of the rather extensive confusion created by the “ Gang o f Four” who in recent years vitiated the P arty’ s organisational principle and set their own standards for Party membership .... There are definitely quite a few such Party members’. (2) How does the top leadership propose to deal with this situation? In the short run the immediate task has been to reconstitute leading bodies o f the Party at all levels and remove the Gang’s supporters. Under these new leading bodies the Party will naturally have altered its policy over the kind o f people it recruits. In addition, there has been instituted a much stricter system o f control over new recruits, all o f them now being obliged to go through a one-year minimum probationary period. (3) An extensive ‘rectification’ is under way inside the party ‘to expose and criticise the Gang’. Those who can be educated and won over will be treated leniently with the objective o f ‘isolating to the maximum the “ Gang of Four” and the handful o f their sworn supporters’: on these the Party will ‘concentrate its blows’. A powerful attempt is being made to tighten up inner-Party control in the wake of the struggles of the recent past, the most obvious m anifestation o f w hich is the new ‘commissions for inspecting discipline’. The evidence so far available indicates that the leadership has been successful in preventing an open split within the Party despite the hard struggles that have gone on over the past year. This seems to suggest that the ‘hard core’ supporters of the gang do constitute a m inority, albeit a m ost significant one, who can be isolated from the majority. Furthermore, those who still support the G a n g ’ s position m ay be unwilling to push their disagreement to the point where they severely disrupt economic and social life for a considerable period. In addition, the Gang’s supporters no longer have control o f the mass media, and under such circumstances it is far harder for them to orchestrate any campaign o f action, if they did desire to mount one. W hat o f the lo n g -r u n ? H ua h as acknowledged the importance of the task of combating the ideological impact o f the Gang: ‘not only must we settle accounts with the gang in the sphere of political and organisational line, we must also conduct criticism on the th eoretical plane o f philosophy, political economy, and scientific socialism, so as to eradicate their pernicious influence from every sphere’. ( 4 ) The long-run impact of the Gang is difficult to assess. Their great strength lay in the commanding positions they occupied in the mass media which enabled their ideas to have a wide circulation. What is important to know is the degree to which their ideas have influenced, and in the future may influence, serious radical forces within China. The predominant view held by observers in the West at the moment seems to be that the Gang do indeed deserve the epithets being heaped upon them by Chinese leaders. Are they indeed to be dismissed as opportunistic ‘anarchists’ whose ‘metaphysical idealism’ is currently being exposed in its true light to the Chinese people, or do their views represent a deeper and more thorough-going critique o f the transitional period in post­ revolutionary poor countries? A great deal o f literature, mostly in Chinese, has been produced by the Gang and it is most important that a serious analysis of their work is undertaken. Before that is done any judgm ents m ust n ecessa rily be tentative. However, some points can be made. Firstly, we should not take the undoubted personal unpleasantness, ambition and hypocrisy o f Chiang Ching, Mao’s wife, as characteristic o f the whole movement. The briefest comparison o f the writings o f Chiang Ching with those of Chang Chua-chiao, for example, indicates the much greater sophistication o f the latter. Moreover, we should remember that the G an g ’ s supporters really were very n u m e ro u s, a n d a g a in , th e b r ie fe s t acquaintance with their main theoretical journal Study and C riticism indicates that a m o n g t h e i r n u m b e r w e r e m a n y sophisticated and intelligent writers who were making a serious analysis o f the emerging problems of China’s political economy: beneath the frothy surface of political debate lies some hard thinking, and perhaps the long-run impact o f the Gang may be greater than some imagine. PARTY, STATE AND SOCIETY A central question o f concern in critical th in k in g a b o u t p o s t -r e v o lu t io n a r y transformation in poor countries has been the role to be played by the communist party. There does not appear to be a great deal o f difference between the Gang and the current Chinese leaders regarding the necessity for the Party to maintain a strong leadership role at all levels o f organised social life. The main areas o f dispute between the Gang and their opponents have centred around the kind o f people who should be admitted to the Party and the policies that the party should pursue rather than the necessity to have a strong ‘vanguard’ party. Is there any evidence that the Gang and their opponents were in substantial disagreement about the relationship o f the masses to the state apparatus? It is worth recalling here that for a short period o f time during the Cultural Revolution, radical forms o f popular participation in state administration, which did involve a real diminution of Party control, and which used the paris Commune as their model, were w idely discussed, and were briefly implemented in some parts of China in 1967. (5) However, instead o f rule by direct representatives of the mass o f workers, compromise institutions - ‘revolutionary committees’ - were quickly introduced. On these, popular representatives shared power with Party and Army members, and were soon condemned as ‘bourgeois reformism’ by the ultra-Left in China. (6) Since then the ‘revolutionary committees’ at levels above the production unit have been removed even further from the Paris Commune ideal of directly elected representatives subject to mass supervision and recall. (7) The issue of p o p u l a r p a r t i c i p a t i o n in s t a t e administration has certainly not been absent from the writings of the Gang and their supporters, but in translated sources it has not appeared as a prominent theme. If substantial divergences o f view between the G ang and their oppon en ts on these issues have existed they have not been easily observable from outside China. What of the policies likely to be pursued in other areas? Their general character is clearly indicated in Hua’s report to the 11th Party Congress in which he announced that the smashing o f the Gang marked ‘the triumphant conclusion o f our first great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’. Instead of disruptive activities o f the Cultural Revolution type, Hua emphasised that the period ahead will be one o f stability and order in which the main stress will be placed on transforming China into ‘a great, powerful and modem socialist country in the last quarter of the 20th century’. In 1966 at the beginning o f the Cultural Revolution, Mao said: ‘Great disorder across the land leads to great order. And so once again every seven or eight years’ . Today's Chinese leaders approvingly quote the first sentence and conveniently omit the second. What does all this mean in more concrete terms?. Probably the central issue in poor post-revolutionary states is the relationship between econom ic grow th and class inequality. The over-riding concern o f Mao’s thought, particularly since the First Five Year Plan period, (8) has been with the method by which these objectives could be pursued simultaneously without one being unduly sacrificed in the long term to the other - neither pure ‘economism’ nor pure class struggle. To people familiar with Russian debates in the 1920s, M ao’s ideas are not so original as some have claimed, but Mao, o f course, has attempted to pursue his objectives from a position of real power and with a mass of supporters. To either side of Mao in the Party there were groups whose estimates o f the relative importance of these goals differed from his. It is quite clear that it is the con servative group that has triumphed, that is to say, the group which attaches more weight to modernisation than to class struggle, more weight to developing the productive forces than to attacking inequality in production relations and in the superstructure. This can be seen from Hua Kuo-feng’s report to the 11th Party Congress which attacks the Gang for ‘dishing up an absurd theory about “the new changes in class relations in the socialist period” ’. He says that ‘it is necessary to carry on the revolution in the realm o f the relations of production and to consolidate and develop socialist public ownership and other aspects of the socialist relations of production, so that they will correspond better with the expanding productive forces’. (My italics). Hua claims that ‘the productive forces are the most revolutionary factor’. The contrast with the Gang and their supporters is clear. For them ‘The historical task of the dictatorship o f the proletariat is the “ abolition o f all classes” ‘it must not only transform the forms o f ownership but also transform all unequal relations as regards people’s position and mutual relations in the course of production as well as all unequal relations with respect to distribution .... in addition there are the relations in the political, ideological and cultural fields’. (9) They have been ridiculed by the conservatives for holding this view: they (the Gang) ‘even alleged that socialist revolution and class struggle were the ultimate goal of communists .... ’ but ‘to communists, socialist revolution and class struggle are means and not objectives’ . ( 10 ) Current articles from China in fact come close to suggesting that th e objective of socialism is economic growth: ‘the triumph o f socialism over capitalism .... means in the last analysis, abolishing the capitalist system o f exploitation and all other exploiting systems so as to create labor productivity much higher than that under capitalism and turn out far more social products than those under capitalism to satisfy the needs of society’. (11) CLASS INEQUALITY We can conjecture then that China in the coming years will be characterised by the emergence of greater social inequality than has been permitted since the Cultural Revolution. This is not, o f course, at all incompatible with the reduction of controls over ‘freedom’ in culture, education, and scientific research. Rather than investigate the changes that have occurred and are likely to occur in every sphere o f class relations, I shall simply select two o f the most important areas and analyse some of the alterations that have occurred there: firstly, urban enterprises, and secondly, the countryside. One can encapsulate the difference between the thinking o f the two groups - the Gang and the present Chinese leaders regarding these issues in respect to their approach to the important question of ‘bourgeois rights’ . Following Marx’s famous discussion in his C ritiqu e o f the G oth a P rog ra m m e, all parties in the Chinese leadership have accepted that, given the general state o f social consciousness and the con dition s o f m aterial scarcity , it is necessary in the transitional period between capitalism and full communism to permit the operation o f ‘ bourgeois right’ - notably ‘equal pay for equal work’, but also such rights as equality o f edu cation al opportunity. Following Marx, the Gang and their supporters have stressed that society, even in the transitional phase, is structured in such a way as to permit different strata to benefit unequally from this ‘equal’ right: in Marx’s famous example the right to equal pay for equal work turns into a right o f inequality, because people have an unequal capacity to work - some are stronger and more skilled than others • and because people have unequal needs for income - especially due to differences in family sizes. The difference between the Gang and their opponents lies in the strong attempts that the Gang wanted to make to restrict the effects on inequality of the operation o f bourgeois right, (12) as opposed to their opponents, the current leaders, who regarded the operation o f such rights as essential to economic progress, and attem pts to restrict their im pact as ‘idealistic’ and ‘metaphysical’ . I shall now look in more detail at the changes in policy since Mao in respect to urban enterprises. As far as control within enterprises is concerned, the em phasis in Chinese publications since last October has been on the need to maintain ‘strict labor discipline’ and to enforce tightly ‘rational rules and regu lation s’ . Instead o f em ph asising collective responsibility, it is likely that there will be a return to a system of personal responsibility for production tasks, and that ultim ate resp on sibility w ithin each enterprise will rest with a single individual. This seems to be the thrust of Vice-Premier Yu Chiu-li’s recent statement: ‘Enterprises should strengthen centralised Party leadership and institute the system of division of labor and responsibility under the leadership o f the Party com m ittee. R espon sibility for the d aily work in production, construction, and management in an enterprise rests with the chairman of the revolutionary committee. We should oppose the phenomenon o f no one accepting the responsibility and struggle against anarchism’. (13) This appears to signal the return to a system o f stricter work norms decided from above and less participation by w o rk e rs in d e c is io n s a f fe c t in g th e organisation of the work process. That classs struggle w ithin enterprises w ill be downplayed is clear: ‘We must thoroughly criticise the “ gang of four’s” .... attempt to cover up and replace the prin cipal contradiction - between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between socialism and capitalism - with the so-called contradiction between higher and lower ranks, between the new and veteran cadres and between one section of the people and another’. (14) Concrete struggles over stratification are being replaced by metaphysical ones. The status and authority o f managerial and technical staff are being restored in a firm manner after eleven years during which, in varying degrees, that status and authority has been questioned. Are there likely to be any major changes in modes of remuneration and in degrees o f income inequality within urban enterprises? The Gang and their supporters have never denied the need for pay incentives at the present stage of China’s development, but they have con sisten tly pushed for a reduction of the degree of inequality below that which was permitted during the First Five Year Plan (1953-57) and which re­ emerged in the early 1960s, as well as arguing for the removal o f the most incentive-oriented forms o f remuneration such as individual bonuses and piece rates. Their views have had a substantial impact. Carl Riskin in his report to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee summarised the situation in the 1970s in the following way: ’In sum it would seem that the scope o f the operation of material incentive devices as differential bonuses, piece rate mechanisms, an d m a te r ia l a w a rd s to e m u la tio n campaigners, have been ruled out since the Cultural Revolution. Significant wage and salary differences continue to exist. But they are gradually being narrowed, and their incentive effect on worker performance seems quite constrained even at present’. ( 15 ) The signs all indicate that the trends from now on will be back towards greater inequalities, though specific details have not yet been spelled out. Hua Kuo-feng in his report to the 11th Party Congress accused the Gang of ‘absurdly taking higher rank and higher wages as the economic criteria .... for defining a “ capitalist-roader” and o f ‘deliberately confounding the differences in distribution between the leading cadres o f the party, the government and the army on the one hand, and the broad masses on the other, with class exploitation’. If ‘differences in distribution’ are considered to have nothing to do with class, by the present leaders of China, then it is unlikely that the widening o f those differences would cause them difficulties on ideological grounds. I shall now turn to the question o f likely trends in the countryside. A major concern of the Gang and their supporters was with the problem posed by the peasantry in the transitional period. One cannot su fficien tly em phasise how important an issue this is in China - a country that is certain to be numerically dominated by the peasantry for a long time to come. It is worth noting in passing just how inadequate has been the perspective o f the ultra-leftist groups in the West on this issue, content to pillory Mao for his concern with the peasant question and quite confusingly dismissing him as either a 'peasant populist’ concerned to turn China into a land o f utopian rural communes, or as a ‘degenerate Stalinist’ concerned only to extract as much surplus value as possible from the peasantry. In a realistic assessment of the nature of p e a s a n t c o n s c io u s n e s s a n d o f the importance o f agricultural production in the Chinese economy, the CCPhas had to permit the peasants to retain private plots o f land, and private ownership of most of China’s pigs and much of its poultry; in the relations between town and countryside, commodity exchange still exists, albeit under state control, and in the countryside rural free markets are still quite widespread, though their share of total retail sales is small. In the countryside, as in the towns, it is accepted that the m ajor criterion o f incom e distribution is 'w ork' (depending on strength, skill and time worked), not ‘need’ . Moreover, instead o f state ownership com bined with a w age system , most agricultural means o f production are owned, and most agricultural income generated and distributed, at the level o f the production team, which is the smallest subdivision within the people’s commune, comprising an average o f only 30-40 households. Left unhindered, and especially with increasing supplies o f modem agricultural inputs becoming available, the potentialities for material differentiation to develop within this system are great, while the effects on peasant con sciou sn ess w ould also be regressive, in the sense of focusing attention on production within the household and the small collective unit, and how to gain the maximum economic advantages for those units. The problem s these posed for the transition from capitalism to communism were ones that greatly exercised the Gang and their supporters, as they did Mao himself. As in the urban sector, the Gang were concerned with ways o f trying to restrict the emergence o f inequalities resulting from the operation o f ‘bourgeois right’ , though they had to acknowledge that such ‘rights’ were essential to economic growth at the present stage. Combatting these tendencies requires action on two fronts: firstly, education in ‘socialist values’ such as trying to gradually reduce the area sown to private plots, to divert private production from sale on the free market to sale to the state, to persuade collectives to raise the proportion o f income distributed according to ‘need’ relative to ‘work’, and so on; secondly, action on the material front, by, for example, trying to divert a portion o f supplies o f modem inputs to poor areas and by arranging for the transfer o f skilled state technicians to those areas. All o f this, of course, really does require leadership from a strong communist party. The present group in power in China has tried to cloud the issue by accusing the Gang in many cases o f supporting policies the exact opposite of those they in fact did advocate. However, through that fog of verbiage it is possible to perceive that the present group in power are indeed less concerned than the Gang about restricting the emergence of inequality in the countryside and more concerned with material advances. A good example o f the contrasting approaches o f the Gang and the current leaders is the argument that raged at the top level o f the Party throughout 1976 over Hua Kuo-feng’s important speech on agriculture in October 1975. (16) The main emphasis in his speech was on ways in which to speed up the mechanisation o f Chinese agriculture ‘so as to ensure that the great task o f m e c h a n i s i n g a g r i c u l t u r e w i l l be accomplished in the main by 1980’. The Gang apparently ‘slandered the report as a “ revision of Marxism-Leninism” and as “ advocating the theory of productive forces ”J (i.e. placing the pursuit o f economic growth above class struggle). The objections o f the Gang do appear valid. Not only is its main emphasis on modernisation rather than on problems o f inequality, but his discussion o f p r o d u c t io n r e la tio n s a s s u m e s th a t agriculture will move along in a socialist direction as a natural consequence o f m o d e r n is a t io n . M e c h a n is a t io n o f agriculture, says Hua, will lead to an expansion of income generation at levels above the production team , thereby permitting ‘a step-by-step transition to the system o f ow nership that takes the production brigade or even the commune as the basic accounting unit’. The Gang argued that Hua was over-optimistic about the likely speed o f expansion of mechanisation in agriculture, and that if the Party simply sits around and waits for production relations to be revolutionised by mechanisation, it will leave the way open for the emergence o f greater differentiation and permit the c o n g e a l i n g o f ‘ p e t t y p r o d u c t i o n consciousness’. Thus, Chang Chun-chiao had earlier in 1975 pointed out that even in the most advanced communes on the outskirts o f Shanghai, the production teams still owned over one-half o f the total fixed assets in the communes. ‘Therefore, even if we take econom ic con d ition s in the communes alone, it will require a fairly long time to effect the transition from the team as the basic accounting unit to the brigade and then to the commune, Moreover, even when the commune becomes the basic accounting unit, the ownership will still be collective’. (17) The argument is in outward appearance an exceedingly complex one, though beneath the surface some clear differences o f principle can be observed. As for the future, it seems most unlikely that the present leaders will permit agriculture to regress to the degree tfiat was tolerated in the early 1960s, when the collective economy disintegrated in many places and differentiation proceeded apace. Rather, it seems likely thaT they will persist in modernising through the present structure, but show less concern than the G ang about reducing the resulting inequalities and attempting to educate the peasant consciousness out o f the patterns produced by these structures. The argument that modernisation will inevitably produce socialist consciousness is patently false, and the Gang’s arguments about the need to com bat em erging differen tiation are currently being given little concrete attention. ECONOMIC GROWTH ‘We must race against time, quicken our pace, greatly speed up the tempo of our industrial development, boost the national economy and build our socialist state o f the proletarian dictatorsh ip into a more powerful country ....; we will surely realise the grand goal put forward by Chairman Mao o f surpassing the United States economically in several decades’. (18) The Chinese media has been full o f clarion calls o f this kind in recent months, leaving the masses in no doubts as to the main priorities o f the leadership. Is it likely that China will advance as they hope, and will there be any fundamental alterations of economic policy in order to facilitate this? Many observers in the West feel that the purge o f the Gang, due to the resulting changes in international economic policy, and because o f the reduced emphasis domestically on class struggle, will result in a significant increase in China’s growth rate. In the short-run this will certainly be true. 1976 was the worst year that the Chinese economy has experienced since the Cultural Revolution, and this was in no small measure due to widespread factional fighting and to resulting uncertainties. The victory o f the conservative group at the top will much reduce such disturbances and a c c o r d in g ly im p r o v e th e e c o n o m ic performance. More important, however, are the medium and long-term prospects. It is important to note here that the Gang was far from being in overall control o f policy formulation: they have been balanced by more conservative figures, most notably Chou En-lai and recently Teng Hsiao-ping, since they rose to power during the Cultural Revolution. Moreover, their policies are by no means as lacking in a pragmatic concern for economic growth as is currently being suggested. Further, ‘growth’ and ‘equality’ are by no means as irreconcilable as is sometimes argues. Since the height o f the Cultural Revolution in 1966-68, when the extremes o f radicalism did produce an adverse short-run impact on China’s economic growth, China’s growth record has in fact been most successful. In agriculture, faced with enormous difficulties, such as a static arable area and yields that were already high, output has been growing at just under 2 per cent per annum. (19) Industrial production since 1970 has been growing at just over 8 per cent per annum. (20) Most importantly, these figures have to be set against a rate of population growth that is probably already below 2 per cent and that has begun to fall significantly in the 1970s, (21) due to China’s successful p r o d u c t io n a n d p o p u la r is a t io n o f contraceptives, and to a successfulcampaign to persuade young people to delay the age at which they marry. China may well succeed in pushing up the per capita growth rate o f national product, and over the long-run the absence o f ‘Cultural Revolutions’ should enable a steadier rate to be maintained, but it seem s u n lik e ly th a t C h in a ’ s g o o d performance since the Cultural Revolution in terms o f aggregate growth rates will be dramatically improved upon. I shall now turn to look at some o f the major areas of interest as far as growth is concerned. A t the centre of the growth process stands investment ■ the necessary (though n ot sufficient) condition par excellence. There seems to be little likelihood that the new leadership will be able to raise the rate o f investment, since it already stands at a high level. (22) In fact, it seems more likely that the opposite will occur, since there are strong hints that there will be a significant rise in real living standards. This would be especially important as far as the urban workers are concerned, since their real wages have increased very little since the late 1950s. Moreover, it is easier to increase living standards in the towns than the countryside due to the much smaller number of workers involved. To do this, however, would reverse the trend of the past decade or so, of narrow ing urban-rural real incom e d i f f e r e n t i a l s . C e r t a i n i m p o r t a n t contradictions for the new regime are thus emerging. Already there are clear signs that its appeal is principally an ‘economistic’ one o f being able to provide higher living standards, which is most important in a country as poor as China still is. If the increase in real income is a significant one applying to all sectors, then a big dent will be made in funds available for investment, and it would require a large compensating increase in output resulting from the positive effect on motivation if the leeway was to be made up. On the other hand, increasing urban incomes more than those in the countryside could threaten the regime’s stab ility through in curring peasant opposition. In respect to investment allocations, three major features have been outstanding since the Cultural Revolution and it is important to inquire if these will change. Firstly, there is the continued emphasis of heavy industry over light industry: producer goods output is estimated to have grown at 15 per cent per annum between 1967 and 1974, relative to 8 per cent for industrial consumer goods. (23) Given the above surmises about increases in comsumption levels, it is likely that some re­ orientation o f the respective growth rates of the two sectors will follow. A second issue here is that of scale. One o f the distinctive features of Maoist economics has been that of ‘walking on two legs’ - enlarging the small and the large-scale industrial sectors simultaneously. However, while the smallscale sector is extremely important in the production o f certain item s (n otably agricultural inputs) it is still dwarfed by the large-scale sector in its contribution to total industrial output. (24) There is no indication that the new leaders intend to alter the balance evolved in the 1970s. A third important area concerning allocation of investment is that of the stress given within the heavy industrial Bector to different branches. Since the early 1960s the Chinese have strongly emphasised the growth of those branches producing for agriculture: chemical fertiliser production, for example, rose at 17 per cent per annum between 1967 and 1974. (25) Again, there is no indication that this balance will be altered. A most important issue is that o f technical progress, which greatly influences the effectiven ess o f new investm ent and con sequ en tly plays a central role in economic growth. Two of the vital areas here are those o f indigenous scientific and technical advance, and the role o f foreign trade. Some areas o f Chinese research, such as nuclear weaponry, have gone through the period since the C ultural R evolution untouched. However, the attempts o f the Gang to restrict the impact o f the operation of ‘bourgeois right’ in the education and research field s seem to h ave had a detrimental effect on the rate o f scientific advance in a wide range o f areas. The Gang has attempted to integrate scientific and technical personnel into ordinary production work so as to prevent the emergence o f an isolated laboratory - and university-bound group. Such integration has had positive pay-offs for production in transferring theoretical knowledge into practical use and in guiding research into useful channels, but it seems to have been difficult to steer a m iddle course w ithout a n ta g on isin g scientific workers: ‘They (the Gang) alBo equated intellectuals with the bourgeoisie, saying that “ intellectuals with technical knowledge are the most dangerous” . This seriously dampened the enthusiasm of scientists and technicians’. (26) Moreover, the Gang are said to have reduced the resources devoted to scientific research they ‘arbitrarily dissolved a number o f scientific research institutes, slashed important scientific research items and barred many scientists from doing research work’. (27) The Chinese admit that their‘work in science and technology falls far short o f the needs o f industrial and agricultural production and national defence’, (28) and the net effect o f the policies adopted in this field since the Cultural Revolution has probably been to reduce the rate o f technical progress substantially below the maximum obtainable. There is little doubt that more resources will be devoted to these areas, that the prestige and probably also the relative income o f scientific workers will increase, that less o f their time will be spent at physical labor, and that technological progress will be assisted by a generally more efficiency-oriented educational system. Much-of the attention o f the media in the West over the year preceding Mao’s death focused on the struggle over international eocnomic relations, and in particular over the degree to which China should permit h e r s e lf to b e c o m e in t e r n a t io n a lly ‘dependent’. ‘Dependence’ can be viewed from a variety o f angles. There seems no doubt that the Gang were strongly opposed to financial ‘dependence’ in the shape of substantial debt obligations, such as began to accumulate in the mid-1970s to finance China’s extensive program o f complete plant imports. It is likely that the new regime will be m ore prepared to extend C h in a ’ s indebtedness to obtain the imports they want. ( 29 ) Another aspect o f ‘dependence’ is the technological one. It is quite clear that the current leaders are keener to import foreign technology than the Gang were, and not simply because they are prepared to pursue a less con serv a tive p olicy on international payments. It does seem as though the G an g m ade an incorrect judgment about this issue, by tending to view technological independence as the ability to make m ost tech n olog ica l in n ova tion s domestically as opposed to viewing it as the ability to independently select, adapt, and dissem inate new tech n o lo g y in use elsewhere. In this context, it is worth bearing in mind that ‘in the 1950s, a period when American technological leadership was at its peak, more than half the new knowledge that affected economic growth in the United States was o f foreign origin. If this was the case in the leading country, then the likelihood for genuine technological self­ reliance and independence .... in follower countries such as China must seem remote indeed’. ( 30 ) The Gang did not deny entirely the need for foreign technology, but they may have underestimated its importance, and overestim ated the degree to w hich technological independence is possible. A paradox o f their position is that to the degree that their policies adversely affected the pace o f China’s scientific advance, they hindered h er a b ilit y to d e v e lo p a b a s is fo r in d ep en d en tly selecting, adapting and disseminating foreign technology, and p ro d u cin g d o m e stica lly useful economic products based on that technology. CONCLUSION A t the most general level then, it seems likely that the ‘new’ regime in China will be characterised by the following features: continued tight Party control o f organised s o c i a l l i f e , p r o b a b l y w it h s o m e strengthening o f inner-Party control; a continuance o f a relatively small degree o f influence by the mass o f the population over the State apparatus above the level o f the immediate production unit; a move towards greater inequality in income and control within productive enterprises; greater freedom in the production of, and greater inequality in access to, cultural products; some immediate increase in real living standards, probably more in the town than in the countryside; some increae in, and greater long-run stability of, the rate o f per capita economic growth; a more extensive purchase o f foreign technology, and an increase in international indebtedness. The character .of China’s social relations seems likely to return to something closer to the First Five Year Plan period, though it is unlikely that t here will be a ‘retreat’ o f the kind that characterised the early 1960s, when China was in such dire economic straits. Where does that leave us in our estimate o f China? I think it is most important to keep a sense o f perspective about what is happening. Despite the fact that China’s political economy will be of a more ‘economistic’ kind, it will still be radically different in its fundamentals from the developing capitalist regimes o f Asia: there is no sign that econ om ic plan n in g w ill be any less comprehensive - the signs are that, if anything, the degree of central control will be tighter. That planning mechanism should permit China to attain a reasonably rapid rate o f growth and to insulate herself more than the capitalist regimes from fluctuations on world markets. There is no evidence that the Chinese will abandon their commitment to full employment - a commitment that in China has been made a reality by the operation o f a predominantly state and collective ownership system in relation to the means o f production, in stark contrast to the abysmal failure o f capitalism in this direction elsewhere in Asia. There is no sign that China will cease to guarantee a basic minimum living standard to all its people, as opposed to the appalling poverty that still exists for the lowest strata in the capitalist As ian countries. Despite the likely widening of income inequalities, it is probable that the differentials in China will still be smaller than throughout capitalist Asia. In short, the Chinese path to industrialisation will continue to be superior to the capitalist path in its fundamental respects. There are, then, strict parameters within which most o f the leading party members in China since Liberation have operated: a commitment to tight Party control and strong inner-Party discipline, conservatism about the need for a ‘professional’ state apparatus, com m itm ent to a plan n ed economy guaranteeing full employment and basic minimum living standards to all its people, and so on. However, I think that the struggles o f the past two years show quite clearly that behind the froth o f political debate and personality struggle, there have been important areas o f disagreement indeed, two opposing ‘lines’ on the political economy of development. (31) There is a strong school o f thought among Western leftists th at is n ot on ly relu cta n t to acknowledge the positive advantages for reasonably humane industrialisation o f the Chinese approach, but which also is inclined to interpret the great swings in policy that NOTES 1. Yeh Chien-ying, Report on the R evision o f the Constitution, Peking Review (PR), No. 36, 2.9.77, p. 36. 2. ibid. 3. Constitution o f the Com m unist Party o f C hina, PR No. 36, 2.9.77, article 4. 4. Hua Kuo-feng, P olitical Report to the 1 1th N ational C ongress o f the Com m unist Party o f China, PR No. 35, 26.8.77, p. 14. 5. ‘For a short time, the cities were in a state of “ armed mass dictatorship”. The power in m ost o f the in d u strie s, com m erce, communications, and urban administration, was taken away from Chang Po-shen,into the hands of the revolutionary people. Never before had the revolutionary people appeared on the stage of history in the role of masters of world history as they did in August (of 1967)’, W hither China? Sheng Wu-lien in The Revolution is Dead, Long Live the Revolution. Compiled and edited by The 70’s. Hong Kong, 1976, p. 188. Other useful sources on these experiences are the following: (i) V i c t o r N e e , R e v o l u t i o n a n d B u re a u cra cy : S h a n g h a i in the Cultural Revolution in Victor Nee and J a m e s P e c k ( e d s ) , C h i n a ’ s Uninterrupted R evolution, New York, 1973; and have occurred since Liberation simply as the response o f a cynical leadership to problems o f allegedly lagging economic growth rates. (32) To view post-Liberation history in this light is, I think, to force it through the mangle o f vulgar materialism. It leads to a serious distortion of the significance o f Mao’s thinking, and is misleading in respect, for example, to the nature o f the Sino-Soviet split, and to the nature o f the struggle within C hina betw een the G an g and their opponents. The importance o f the Gang, in fact, lies precisely in the clarity with which they h igh -ligh ted the dan gers o f the ‘economistic’ perspective by which all Chinese leaders are alleged by many Western ultra-leftists to be unavoidably dominated. Even if one were to draw the most p e s s im is t ic c o n c lu s io n s a b o u t th e possibilities for building socialism in a poor country, from events o f the past year, it would be a quite myopic view that failed to perceive the disputes in terms o f many fundamental areas o f policy around which this struggle has centred. (ii) John Starr, T h e P a r is C om m u n e T h r o u g h C h i n e s e E y e s , C h in a Quarterly, No. 49, January-March 1972. 6. As early as January 1968 the Sheng-Wu-Iien declared: ‘the revolution of dismissing officials is only bourgeois reformism which, in a zig-zag manner, changes the new bureaucratic bourgeois rule prior to the Cultural Revolution into another type of bourgeois rule by b o u r g e o i s b u r e a u c r a t s a n d a fe w representatives from several attendant mass organisations. The Revolutionary Committee is a product of bourgeois reformism.’ ibid. pp. 192-3. 7. See The Constitution o f the People’s Republic o f C hina, Peking, 1975. Here it is made quite clear that the revolutionary c o m m i t t e e s h a d s i m p l y b e c o m e administrative bodies elected by the local people’s congress and subject to recall by that congress. Moreover, both the power of recall and the election results were subject to approval by the organ of state at the next higher level, (see article 22). 8. It is particularly interesting to note inth is context the way in which the heritage of Mao’s writings is being dealt with by the current Chinese leaders. The only volume of Mao’s post-revolutionary writings that has so far been published for mass distribution within China"is that from the period 1949 to 1957, a period when China’s main concern was understandably with rapid economic 1. ■ . . . <!•>*£“ M§ * * » Vafi 1 1;^ .; 1 V l l . $ f C M , C O TIt x r t r r ; Fri& G H O M A G E »..... . de& R^vemUk^cations - • } ' ' I ? * * tawKte* *t **s la Stturrte £ * t ir tft« c fy S « r v i e 6 t>-(k w 11 f-v-t. O g f i i t fg 'HH FRANCE GOES The present political situation in France could hardly be described as simple. A few months ago, however, it looked fairly cut and dried - at least up to a certain point. The Union of the Left looked certain to win the elections in March 1978. The left had just won the local elections throughout France with two-thirds ofthe municipalities electing communist or socialist mayors. Paris itself, despite the fact that its working class base 77ii's a rticle w as w ritten b y an A u stralian leftist u>ho has b een liv in g in P aris fo r s e v e r a l yea rs. had been eroded by the pressure of hign rents and “ development” projects, just failed to have a communist by 2,700 votes. Then there was May 24, the day o f the national strike. The demonstration in Paris was over 16 kilometres long - the atmosphere was festive; the smell of victory was in the air for the first time since May ’68. Victor^in the elections seemed certain and so the discussion centred on the possible scenarios after the elections. One scenario was that the implementation o f the Common T O T H E The heart o f the debate quickly centred on the following major issues: * T h e n a tio n a lisa tio n s — Program would “ get the country out o f the crisis” and then provide the bridge towards the construction o f “socialism in the colors of France” . This was the official position o f the Com m unist Party and included the acceptance o f the possibility that the right could possibly return to power in future elections. A second, more utopian, scenario was that the victory o f the left in the elections would mark a “ point o f no return” where the Common Program would be just a starting point and that a socialist-com m u n ist government would have to rely increasingly upon a popular mass movement to combat the attacks and economic sabotage of n ation al and in tern ation al capitalist interests. The Common Program would be inadequate to satisfy the demands and rising hopes o f the masses of people who voted for it and France would quickly fall into a revolutionary situation. Then there was the “ eurocommunist” perspective. A rupture with capitalism in France w ould coin cid e with sim ilar movements in Italy and, hopefully, Spain, Portugal and even possibly Belgium, leading to the establishment of a southern European bloc, differing radically in its democratic form from all previous communist societies. Such a bloc would be economically, socially and politically viable, would alter all existing alliances in the third world and would set a model for workers in other capitalist countries where the political struggle was less developed. One way or the other, the future, although uncertain, was full o f hope. One certainly had the feeling o f at least being on the winning side. Shortly after the May national strike the situation started to look a little more complicated. The Common Program o f the three left parties (the Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the Left Radicals) which had been signed in 1972, a period o f relative prosperity, had to be renegotiated to bring it up to date. In addition, the Communist Party was demanding that many of the vague proposals should be made more concrete “ for a good actualisation of the program, concretely defined, so that workers know exactly what they are fighting for and won’t be deceived after the elections” . * T h e m inim um w a g e * * The socialists and particularly the left radicals opted for a conservative reading o f t h e C o m m o n P r o g r a m . Nationalisations would be kept to a minimum with only the mother holding company nationalised and not the affiliates. The companies would be run by delegates appointed by the left government. T h e c o m m u n is ts c o u n te r p o s e d a d d it io n a l n a t io n a lis a t io n s o f companies such as Citroen, and steel, due to the crisis now present in these industries. The nationalisations should be total and not “just the brass plate on the door” , but all affiliated companies. The control o f the companies would be a form o f workers’ control. The basic wage in the 1972 common program was to be set at 1,000 francs ($200) a month - a ridiculous figure in 1977 with over 100 per cent inflation since then. The CPF proposed 2,400 francs while the socialists proposed 2,200 francs “ negotiable with the unions after the elections". T h e w a g e sca le The Communist Party proposed a maximum ratio o f salaries allowable in the country to be 5 to 1. The socialists and left radicals were against such a scheme, but would probably accept a ratio of 10 to 1. N a tion a l d efen ce Major differences on defence policy, particularly as regards NATO. The situation was a little complicated also by a major about-face of the CP in going for a nuclear arms policy {a shock which is still reverberating in the ranks of the party). The Communist Party attacked the socialists, the previous “ champions of workers’ control” for their watered-down “ participation” scheme. The socialists retorted that the “ workers’ control” o f the communists was only “ union control” under the bureaucracy o f the CGT union. The negotiations dragged on with certain concessions being made on both sides. The question of the nationalisations, however, became more and more hotly debated with the two sides taking up intransigent positions. Negotiations recommenced shortly after with the three parties very close to a com prom ise. The socia lists proposed nationalising 270 o f the affiliates against the 700-odd o f the communists. The other questions were considered to be either resolved or “negotiable” . The negotiations broke up at that point with neither side willing to concede another inch. In the months that have followed the situation has gone from bad to worse. To the Communist Party, the Socialist Party has made a “ turn to the right" and wants to “ manage the capitalist crisis” andinstitutea plan of austerity after the style o f the social democratic parties in Britain and Germany. To the socialists, the Communist Party has returned to its old stalinist politics, doesn’t want to take power and can’t tolerate the notion of a strong socialist party. A fe e lin g o f d e s p a ir , g lo o m and hopelessness swept in to replace the heady heights of the municipal elections and the great May national strike. II After the municipal elections o f March ’77, with 70 per cent of the large cities in France electing socialist or communist mayors, one o f the left dailies ran a headline F ra n ce is P i n k !” C apitalist France had voted massively for the Union of the Left with many cities that before had never even had a socialist mayor electing communists. In many towns and cities, people were dancing in the streets. It was even reported in one town that the village priest joined in with the crowd to sing the Internationale! A study o f the voting figures showed two very important and interesting phenomena. The first was that the Union o f the Left had worked as it had never done before. In the French two-round v otin g system , a candidate wins if he/Bhe gets over 50 per cent in the first round. If no one gets an absolute majority the vote is decided by a “ first past the post” system in a second round which follows one week later. The electoral alliance o f the Union o f the Left is an agreement by which the left candidate who gets the most votes in the first round stands alone against the right in the second round. The problem in the past has been that although the well disciplined communist voters would vote for a socialist in the second round it was much more difficult to get socialists to vote communist. The important point of the municipal elections is that the socialists did vote communist in the second round. As l’ H um anite, the CPF daily put it: “ The elections marked the end o f anti­ communism in France” , The second point was the incredibly high vote for the environmentalists and the extreme left in the first round. In many o f the large cities they each received about 10 per cent of the vote. Practically all these votes then went to the Union o f the Left in the second round. The environmental movement was previously very weak in France. It’s startling electoral success marked its birth as a new and important political force in French politics - a point which didn’t escape the French bourgeoisie. A few months later the ecologists organised the huge antinuclear demonstration at Malville where they had their first death as a result o f a police offensive grenade - a deliberate attempt by the government to brand the environment movement as “ terrorist” , hoping to tarnish its wide electoral appeal. The extreme left vote was a much more complex phenomenon, indicating a certain dissatisfaction o f traditional working class voters with the ambiguities of the Union of the Left (17 per cent o f one working class quarter in Orleans voted for the extreme left candidate) rather than a rapport with the philosophy of the extreme left coalition made up o f three of the largest extreme left parties. Paradoxically, after receiving its greatest electoral support ever, the extreme left then went into a state of crisis with the daily R ou g e almost going bankrupt for want of support and having to launch itself into a long process o f self-criticism. Many people were leaving the extreme left parties and, in general, questioning the elitist attitudes of the movement and its leadership, its continual interventions “ from outside” , the idea of the “ professional Leninist-type revolutionary” and the blind militancy demanded o f its members. In addition, the extreme left was finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish themselves from the Communist Party. Semi-crisis in the extreme left was followed by a real crisis in the Union o f the Left. The starting point can be traced to the TV debate between Mitterand, the Socialist Party leader and Prime Minister Barre. Just before the debate, the Communist Party had released its version o f the Common Program complete with costs and figures, which went rather further than the socialist version. In front o f one o f the largest TV audiences in French history, Mitterand flatly stated that the program and figures were unacceptable to the Socialist Party. People watched dumbfounded as he then engaged in a friendly dialogue with h is apparent colleagu e and supposed arch enem y, Raymond Barre. From that day onwards the debate over the concrete development o f the Common Program continued, the Socialist Party and Mitterand strategically being forced into, or willingly taking, a conservative position. The debate was carried out at the top level of the party hierarchies with absolutely no participation o f rank and file members. It was a mass media event with the passive audience, the French people, watching hopelessly as the “ stars” , Mitterand, Marchais and Fabre, tore up the last remaining shreds o f the Union o f the Left. It was now the turn o f the traditional left to engage in a process o f criticism and recrimination. To the Communist Party, the socialists had taken a “turn to the right” but it was having considerable difficulty convincing its members of this. The debate over the “ actualisation of the common program" in 1977 was not that much different from the heated debates that preceded the signing of the program five years earlier. Every communist knows that the socialists can’t be trusted but that is nothing new - they knew that when they signed the Common Program in 1972. To many people, both inside and outside the party, the major disagreement seemed to be the nationalisation o f 270 company affiliates as proposed by the Socialist Party against the 700 o f the Communist Party. It seemed that the difference was hardly going to affect things one way or the other and was hardly worth threatening the prospects of the left in general and the aspirations o f the millions of people who supported it. Another point brought up in the debate that was now raging in full force in the press, the cafes and party cellules, was the political turn o f the Communist Party. At the 22nd C ongress two years ago, the party abandoned the notion - or at least the wording - o f “ the dictatorship o f the proletariat” and in so doing also effectively accepted that the Communist Party was not the only legitimate party o f the left. The present position o f the CP is an apparent about-face with the party now claiming to be the o n ly party o f the left with the Socialist Party being hopelessly reformist and social democrat. Such a rapid and fundamental c h a n g e h a s c a u s e d c o n s i d e r a b l e apprehension among traditional supporters of the party. Another point o f concern to Communist Party supporters is the leadership’s attack on the Socialist Party as a homogeneous unit when, in fact, it is a coalition o f many co n flictin g tendencies in clu d in g, for example, the CERES. The CERES is a sort of “ socialist left” in the SP and represents 25 per cent of the membership. On many issues it is to the left o f the CP and, due to its considerable intellectual prowess, has played an important role in the theoretical evolution o f the Communist Party on such matters as workers’ control, etc. By ignoring the diversity o f the Socialist Party, the CP l e a d e r s h i p m a y be u n w i t t i n g l y strengthening the hand o f Mitterand at the expense o f the more left forces in the party. The debate and the political evolution continues and is not as destructive as it might first appear. Ill Paris has always been regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its wide avenues, its famous cafes and that bewildering array o f whites and greys reflected from its majestic buildings. Its image in places like Australia is o f “ gay Paree” , accompanied by Paris fashions, visions of the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, and the Follies Bergere. But behind this facade is another Paris - a Paris which is dying. It is being choked to death by a tight 40 kilometre circular “ freeway” which spreads out in a wide band of misery for the people who live anywhere near it. C utting through parks and previously tranquil residential areas, it is already saturated with a continuously snarling, rumbling, multi-lane traffic jam. The automobile has invaded Paris to such a degree that the benefits of owning a car are at best dubious. The environmental impact has been disastrous. The noise and pollution are often unbearable. The automobile is only part o f the destruction o f Paris; a destruction that is proceeding at such a rate that one can see it taking place every day. I live near the Place des Fetes, an old, previously working class area, where rents were cheap and life, although hard, was relatively gay with over 50 inexpensive bistros in a small radius. Now it is all gone. The developers have moved in, razing it to the ground. The elderly who have spent all their lives in the quarter, have been forced out into the suburbs together with those workers who couldn’t afford the new rents. The Place des Fetes is now dominated by massive high rise apartment and office buildings. Life for a French worker is becoming increasingly difficult in Paris, as elsewhere in France, with cramped living conditions, increasingly longer distances to travel to work, spiralling prices and the ever-present threat of unemployment. For the hundreds o f thousands of foreign workers, the situation is even more intolerable. It would be simplistic to say that the present wide discontent is just due to economic causes. It goes deeper than that. Many contributing factors have led to the developm ent o f a deep-rooted socia l movement towards the left. The uprising o f May ’68 marked its beginning, even though it terminated in an electoral return for the right - albeit with many social and economic gains to the French working class. In the wake o f the traumatic events of ’68 the concept o f the Union o f the Left w;as conceived by the CP, gained acceptance by the newly-formed Socialist Party, with the Common Program being signed in 1972. The third party in the union, the Left Radicals, joined a few months later. The two big unions, the CGT and the CFDT, tacitly approved the program. At that time the economic outlook was entirely different from that o f today. The prospect w as still one o f con tin uin g expansion despite some o f the looming economic problems. The task o f the Union o f the Left was to break the stranglehold of the multinationals and monopolies on the economy, bring about a major improvement in social and economic conditions for the less favored and start the construction o f socialism based on a new form o f democracy the worker-controlled socialism o f the Socialist Party and the CFDT or the more paternalist idea of the Communist Party and the CGT at that time - that o f democratic management. The theoretical doctrine of the Communist Party which justified their political position was based upon an economic analysis o f “ State Monopoly Capitalism” . According to this “ SMC” theory, the chronic problem of periodic crises o f overproduction in a capitalist regime had been solved by monopoly capitalist interests using the state apparatus to overcom e the inherent contradictions o f the system. The crisis of overproduction of the capitalist system, according to Marx, leads to an economic depression where capital is destroyed or devalorised. After this process has reached a certain level, the con d ition s becom e favorable for the beginning of a new wave of expansion, going on to a boom and o f course another crisis. According to the SMC theory of the Communist Party, the capitalist state, dictated to by monopoly interests, had d e v e l o p e d m e a n s o f c o n t i n u a l l y devalorising capital by, for example, the state becoming a consumer (building up the public sector, armaments, etc.), offering cheap credit facilities to the monopolies, and so on. In each case the surplus capital arising from overproduction for the available market, can be continuously “ destroyed” or The political conclusion of this analysis is that the objective enemy is the monopolies and that one must organise the great mass of the French people against two or three per cent o f the population (the big bourgeoisie and the monopolies). The object was that the left was to take over the state apparatus and turn it from being a reflection o f monopoly capitalist interests to being a reflection of the interests o f the working class and its allies. From 1972 to 1977, the economic situation had changed drastically. It is here that some left writers place the fundamental cause for the break-up o f the Union o f the Left, the changed economic scenario posing severe problems for the Communist Party at three levels. At the practical level, the Communist Party feared the unknown consequences of being involved in a minority position in a Socialist-Communist government during a period of economic crisis. This fear becomes clearer at the theoretical level due to the Communist Party’s lack o f any deep understanding o f the overall world capitalist crisis. Its state monopoly capitalist theory served more as a justification o f the previous political strategy than a theory which fitted with reality. The third level is that of the conception of socialism. The Communist Party lacks a clear viable model o f what it means by socialism. The old model of the Soviet Union, after the 1968 events in France and, more importantly, in Czechoslovakia, is no longer credible for the industrialised societies and p ra ctica lly n obody really doubts the existence o f the Gulag reality. These events and their influence, particularly on the new wave o f young communist militants, have necessitated an evolution in the conceptions o f the party. This evolution, although positive and necessary, has not been one towards greater clarity but has unleashed certain contradictions and confusions in the ranks o f the party. The model o f socialism varies from the old Soviet model with the rider that it must be more democratic, to rather vague notions of what will happen after the implementation o f the defunct Common Program. The necessity to change and adopt a more democratic image has come into conflict with the centralised structure of the party. The evolution has taken place, however, at the cellular level where discussion is the most open it has ever been. The party is hence more democratic than it has ever been, but the contradiction is that it is at the same time more centralised and dictatorial than ever to counteract the first tendency. The new party line is now obtained by w atch in g M archais on television. What then follows is a free and open discussion on the wisdom o f the party adopting the new line! The theoretical and conceptual crisis in the French Communist Party becomes more clear when one notes that it refused to participate in the December Colloquium on Eurocommunism in Lugano, while Italian and Spanish parties sent top members from their central committees. To participate in such a debate, the French CP would have run the risk o f contradicting many of their present official explanations in France. If the economic crisis has plunged the left into disarray, it has also had its effect on framing the basic social reality against which all o f the political and electoral aspects must be seen in proper perspective. Despite the break-up o f the Union o f the Left, the government has not progressed one pointIA recent poll has shown that the “ intention to vote” for the left would give PC 21 per cent, PSU - two per cent, PS and Left Radicals - 27 per cent, environmentalists three per cen t.... a total of 53 per cent against 47 per cent for the right. This is almost exactly the same as in June ’77 just before the crisis in the left broke out! The relative rapport between the PC and the PS, if anything, shows a slight gain for the PC. What then is taking place in France is the evolution o f a deep, broadly based movement towards the left that goes beyond even the political parties. If the break-up of the Union o f the Left has brought dism ay and disillusion to France, it certainly has not changed the underlying social reality. D espite all the con tra d iction s and confusion, it is the French Communist Party that has the monopoly on the slogan o f the hour .... “ the French people want change .... they want a re a l change” . FILM REVIEW FILM REVIEW A n n ie H all, with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton (Hoyts Entertainment Centre, S y d n e y ; V illa g e C in e m a , T o o r a k , Melbourne). Far and away the Best Thing, of course, is how true to life the picture of their relationship is ■for haven’t we all “found” someone at some time, felt wonderful, revived, alive - and then felt the fabric fray, tear, and finally, bewilderingly, fall apart in our hands. How could we fail to respond, then, to the film’s loving treatment of our own joys and resentment? How well we recognise ourselves in Annie Hall’s use of child-like fantasies, ratifying our own attempts to make the world behave as you would like it to, if only for a moment: Alvie, standing in a movie queue, annoyed beyond endurance by the aforementioned academic’s pseudo-isms about Marshall McLuhan, fetches the great man from behind a convenient billboard and blissfully hears McLuhan tell the prattler that he hasn’t a clue what he, McLuhan is on about. Given all this, A nnie H all seems a paragon of sensitivity and insight, giving us both an accurate picture of our own crazy, contradictory, and selfdefeating emotions and a means of coming to terms with them, through a cautious, resilient zaniness. For Allen, this zaniness is grounded in the knowledge that the world is both doomed and absurd: We see the young Alvie refusing to do his homework; his science textbook has revealed that the universe is constantly expanding, thus constantly in danger of exploding, thus “what’s the point of doing homework?” It is also grounded in the recognition of an existential necessity that keeps human beings active in this absurd and antipathetic world. Allen, through Alvie, is pretty murky about the nature of the need which keeps us drearily plugging along despite a plethora of setbacks (in the film, the protagonist is an emotional two-time loser). But two jokes provide an insight: 1st Man: What a misfortune. It’s Terrible. It’s crazy. My brother thinks he’s a chicken. 2nd Man: How awful! Why don’t you take him to a doctor? 1st Man (anguished): How can I? We need the eggs! 2nd Woman: Absolutely revolting! And not only that, but the portions are so small! There you have it, folks; driven by necessity (the ubiquitous “eggs”), we mustsurvive, somehow, the impossible struggle. Yet even while we writhe, pointlessly, in the toils, we feel how little time we have, how imminent is death.... and we resolve not to go gently into that good night, no matter what a relief it would be logically to have an end to our painful and hopeless contortions. Now all of this is so much hooey, the product both o r A llen ’s carefully unpretentious pretentiousness and o f a broad-spectrum positivism which sees social reality as static, Firstly, the film celebrates emotionalism, and in this sense is generally part of contemporary cinema’s interest in m ass producing the extraordinary - no emotion/psychic state is too bizarre to be explored on the silver screen. The particular emotionalism portrayed here is that deriving from an awareness of self- self seen notin any historical or relational sense, but as the locus of “feelings” , the most important being the sense of personal well-being derived from a recognition and articulation of one’s individual needs and demands. A n nie H all lauds the characters’ “ knowledge” of themselves, a knowledge inherently flawed because it deals with h ow they are what they are rather than w hy they are what they are. Thus, for them, it is important to gain access to their personal idiosyncrasies in demands and needs; once these are fully and frankly out in the open, with and without the assistance of therapists - one can then see how the sets of demands in any relationship (for sexual-egointellectual-political satisfaction) mesh. If they do, fine; if they don’t, well, too bad, on to the next relationship in the (probably vain) hope that we’ll be luckier next time. In A nnie H all there is virtually no notion of people mediating their demands. The “honest” thing for Annie and Alvie to do once they’ve discovered their incompatibilities, is regretfully draw a line under their relationship. In our recognition of their pain, their bewilderment, their reluctance to part, we run a serious risk of overlooking the significance of their “defeat” of the abandonment of a relationship that doesn’t quite “make it” . Such disposability illustrates a major capitulation to instrumental rationality of late capitalism, where people - like commodities are viewed as collections of characteristics, and personal relationships as merely the mutual reinforcement of emotional demand curves. Secondly, human needs - the “eggs” in the joke are reified. Today’s needs - potent sexual responsiveness, instant emotional gratification, etc. - are seen as trans-historical and it becomes impossible to ask w hether today’s needs were yesterday’s needs, w hy private, emotional security might achieve paramountcy under, say, corporate capitalism as opposed to entrepreneurial capitalism, etc. There is a sleight of hand at work in Annie H all. Despite its scenes of love and pain, it really reinforces our everyday notions of the transitoriness and atomisation o f human relationships. The best we can do, it seems to say, is to grin and bear it - other people are pretty impossible, but because we need them (in a hazy, ill-defined way) for our existence, we must pursue the limited, fleeting and fortuitous “happiness” they offer us, and move on when the happiness is dissipated. The film’s emotionality, then, is defined within concepts of self and the present. W i t h i n A n n i e H a l l ’ s t e r m s , t h e future/posterity doesn’texist; it is remarkable that none of Alvie’s self-analyses ever involve the question of children. It is clear that he sees us trapped in a continuous present, on a treadmill, and it is only the here and now that matters. Yet such abandonment of “ im possible” relationships is incapable of bringing relief or respite. Locked in a continuous present which lacks any political, public dimension, one responds by seeking emotional intimacy. But intimacy makes one vulnerable, dependent. To counteract this, Annie and Alvie - like many of uscontract their “intimacy” in specified terms, indicating a degree of manipulation, insensitivity and closure which almost negates any possibility for the intimacy which we initially sought. The stratagems adopted in the narcissistic society maintain and advance the very processes and institutions which give rise to the anxiety in the first place. Annie H all is very much a '70s film, framed in the context of widespread political despair and disillusionment. It throws us back into ourselves, it “explains” away our indulgences, cruelties and obsessions, excusing them on grounds of The Human Condition - a kind of permanent cultural insanity. Yet it is easy to believe this film, in its honestly portrayed emotions, in the accuracy of the behaviors and attitudes displayed. But it is wrong, wrong, wrong. Our experiences are historically specified. Of course we need other people, but the w a y we need other people will vary. We are not locked into a treadmill, where impossible demands are constantly made upon inadequate people. The logic of capital argues for static concepts, for a loyalty to personal survival based on satisfaction of individual needs, individually constructed, rather than loyalty to a process which affirms the social construction of needs and the possibilities both of a rational posterity and an end to domination. Don’t be fooled by A nnie H all’s stiff-upper-lip, take it with a smile, realism. It is a counsel of despair, of capitulation. The social reality it presents - of inexorable fragmentation and atomisation - is only accurate to the extent that we do not struggle against those institutions and understandings which fragment and atomise. In the case of A n nie H all, for instance, we must strive for definitions of emotion, commitment, understanding, love, and tolerance which transcend the film’s commonsense notions of these terms as operationalised under capitalism. - Kathe Boehringer. BOOK REVIEW L o v e o f W ork er B ees, by Alexandra Kollontai, translated by Cathy Porter. Afterword by Sheila Rowbotham. Virago Press. Reviewed by Mavis Robertson. Those w ho already admire Alexandra Kollontai will have their admiration reinforced if they read L o v e o f W o r k e r B e e s , a collection o f three stories one is really a novel - translated by Cathy Porter. Others, too, will profit from this fascinating work. In V asilisa M alygina a close personal relationship grow s, falters, dies. Its fate is played out against a background o f revolution in Russia, later giving way to the adjustm ent o f the NEP period. Vasilisa keeps her revolutionary idealism while her husband, Vladim ir, more and more assumes the values o f a NEP m anager. The b a ck g ro u n d is in d ic a tiv e o f the a u th o r ’ s judgm ents o f the period - she was closely identified with what was then known as the Workers’ Opposition •but her purpose is to show that the undoubted joy s w hich derive from sexual passion are not sufficient to m aintain personal happiness if love and work are in conflict, or if the social priorities o f one’s partner differ marKealy from one’s own. The story does not avoid the hurts and the jealousy that result from a break-down in a close relationship. Indeed, a vital aspect in this and in the other two stories is the ch a n gin g attitudes o f wom en to each other. A t first, Vasilisa hates her husband’s new love, Nina, but, in time, this is replaced by a com passionate understanding so that finally she can say “ We’re not enemies, you and I. We never intended to cause each other so much pain” . Similarly, in Three Generations mothers and daughters with vastly differing moral codes misunderstand each other and hurt each other yet support each other absolutely when needed. And in Sisters a com m on bond is established between a rejected wife and her husband's mistress. If the ending to V asilisa M alygina is ideologically optimistic, it nevertheless leaves V asilisa with tough days ahead. In the other two stories the problem s remain la r g e ly u n resolved . A ll th u s r e fle ct v iew s expressed elsewhere by Kollontai. She recognised that women can only partially solve their problem s in work, politics, personal relationships while striving to end the sexual division o f labor. She sees this as a very long project, not easily resolved and, meantime, women will continue to fa ce u n s a tis fa c to r y c h o ic e s ba sed bn the m o ra litie s , v a lu es, p reju d ices and fa lse expectations which derive from both class and sexual divisions. Perhaps the most important point about these stories is that their author, a totally involved revolutionary leader, saw the need to help create a literature w hich promoted new values for women. She wrote consciously in a form to suit the audience she wanted to reach - the working women o f revolutionary Russia. If som e find her style unsophisticated - with a “ W om en’s W eekly” flavor - although the content is entirely different - her aim deserves praise and emulation. It is possible, too, to read these stories as h i s t o r i c a l d o c u m e n t s w h i c h g i v e o n e in terp reta tion o f the N E P p e rio d , o f the inspirations and the corruptions o f that time. And this reviewer hopes that those men (and wom en) w ho still predict that much o f w hat concerns w o m e n w i l l b e s o l v e d i n e v i t a b l y b y r e v o lu tio n /s o c ia lis m w ill read th em , an d especially ponder the m eaning o f the developm ent (or, more properly, the regression) o f Vladim ir, the husband in V asilisa M alygina. Alexandra K ollontai’s works have received considerable attention in recent years. Socialistfeminists have helped revive interest in the writings o f this com m unist-fem inist who was the only wom an in the leadership o f the Bolshevik Party in October 1917. It is known that she experienced a political and personal life w hich was seldom sm ooth and untroubled. She ended a not unhappy m arriage for a political life, including im prisonm ent and exile. She worked with and wrote about w orking women. In time, she becam e the first Bolshevik Minister o f Social Welfare and later the w orld’s first wom an am bassador. She polem icised on m orality and the w orking class and on the role o f the fam ily. She was a key figure in the developm ent o f the Soviet U nion’s first m arriage law. Her involvem ent in the W orkers' Opposition laid the basis for later clashes with Stalin. These very stories, so popular in 1923, were ridiculed a few years la ter. A n d she w as vulnerable in other directions, h avin g had several well publicised love affairs and som e not so well known. K ollontai has been criticised for her self­ censorship in what passes for her autobiography (A n A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f a S e x u a l l y Emancipated Woman). It is suggested that this w as her com prom ise with Stalin. The evidence is not conclusive. What m ay not be known is that she prepared her definitive autobiography in the late 1940s in which she believed all her previous writings and actions would be seen in perspective. Unfortunately for her, and us, the m anuscript has never been published. Even so, and even with self-censorship, Kollontai wrote in her published autobiography of the “ etern a l d efen siv e w ar a g a in s t the encroachm ent o f men on our individuality, a struggle revolving around the problem : work or marriage and love” . These stories am plify that theme against a background o f great change in society, fam ily and work. If there are no tidy solutions to the problems they raise there are valuable insights. (10.0 .77) of People's Daily, Red Flag, and the whole' . (PR, 13.9 .77, Nos . 37 - 38 .) 9. M a r x , E n g e l s a n d L e n i n o n t he D ictatorship o f the Proletariat (1) and (2) PR , Nos. 40 - 41 , 3 . 10.75 and 10.10.75 . 10. Hsiang Chen , A n Attem pt to Restore Opposing R estoration , PR No. 34 , 19 .8.77. 11. ibid. 12. For an extensive treatment of this issue see Questions and A n sw ers (1) - (12), PR Nos . 40- 51 , 1975 . 13. Yu Chiu-li, M obilise the W hole Party and throughout the country . PR No . 22 , 27 .5.77. 14. People's Daily (Editorial) 19 . 4 .77: Grasp the N ational Econom y , translated in PR No. 18 , 29.4. 77 . . 15. Carl Riskin , W o r k e r s ' I n c e n tiv e s in Washington DC , 1975 , p. 222 . 16. Hua Kuo-feng Let the W h o l e P a r ty (15.10 .75) Peking , 1975 . 17 . Chang Chun-chiao On E xercising A ll­ Bourgeoisie , Peking, 1975 , p. 12 . 18 . Li Hsien -nien Opening Speech on the Industry , PR No, 18 , 29 .4.77. 19. D w i g h t H P e r k i n s , C o n s t r a i n t s US Congress . 1975 , op.cit. p. 352 . 20. Robert Michael Field, Civilian Industrial China 1 9 4 9 -1 9 7 4 . ibid., p. 150 . 21. Perkins , 1975 , op.cit,, p. 352 . 22. One estimate puts China's rate of Gross percentage of Gross Domestic Product) in 1970 at between 23 and 32 per cent , depending on P erspective , Stanford 1975 , p. 134 . 23. Field, op.cit., p. 150 . 24. One estimate puts the share of small-scale in China as less than 6 per cent in 1972. Econom ic Planning , Current Scene , Vol. 14 , No. 4 , April 1876 , p. 5 .) 25. Field, op.cit., p. 165 . 26. Chung Ko , Scientific Research Speeds Up, PR No. 30 , 22 .7.77, p. 7 . 27. ibid. 28. Chien Hsueh-sen We must catch up w ith w ithin this century , PR No. 30.22.7 .77, p. 9 . 29 . Such indebtedness can of course be viewed as consumption levels. 30 . Shannon R Brown , Foreign Technology Communism , July-August 1977 , Vol. 26 , p. 30 . 31 . For an extended and lucid treatment of this Cambridge, 1973 . 32. See most notably the various articles of Nigel periodically surfaced since the 1920s? It is a 100, Nov . 1976- Jan . 1977 ) but which is so to mention it in the introduction to their 100th 1st Woman (in a restaurant): My God, the food


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Brian Aarons. Australian Left Review No.63 March 1978, Australian Left Review, 2014,