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By Au Loong-Yu with contributions from Bai Ruixue, Pierre Rousset and Bruno Jetin

Published by Merlin Press in association with Resistance Books and the IIRE.
RRP: £15.95, 326 pages,  ISBN. 978-0-85036-637-2
This book is a collection of essays which look at the inherent contradiction in the rise of China from a class perspective. It argues that China is a bureaucratic capitalist state which is a special kind of state capitalism. Only with bureaucratic capitalism does the merging of the bureaucracy and the state reach a point where the bureaucracy privatizes the state in its entirety and makes the latter a vehicle for underpinning the accumulation of bureaucratic capital.

Combining the coercive power of the state and the power of money, the bureaucracy enjoys all the advantages of state capitalism in promoting both neck-breaking industrialization and taking anti-cyclical measures in the midst of the current Great Recession. Its strength, however, is only the result of a special alignment of class relations conditioned by the 1949 revolution and its later development, combined with China’s particular characteristics and its backwardness. The combined results of all these factors keep the working class docile.

Paradoxically, the rise of capitalist China has also fundamentally changed the conditions which have led to the rise of the absolutist state. It has modernized China to the point that the working class now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the labour force and half of the Chinese population now lives in urban areas. It has led to new perspectives, raised self-esteem and created higher expectations among the new generation of the working class, as is shown in recent struggles.

Meanwhile the deep demoralization among the people since the defeat of the 1989 democratic movement is beginning to recede. On top of this, Chinese state capitalism is beginning to exhaust its strength as it increasingly relies on rapidly expanding public debt.  A new page for China may begin to turn.

What they say about the book

 Au Loong Yu provides the most thorough account of the extent and nature of the transformation of the Chinese state into authoritarian capitalism. This book is essential reading for all those who seek to understand and grasp the dynamics of Chinese-style capitalism and working class resistance to the despotic system. – Immanuel Ness, Brooklyn College; editor, International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, 1500 to the Present.

This collection of essays on China brings a rare and much needed perspective to the literature on the rising star of the global economy. Most are authored by Chinese Marxist critics of the regime. This “insider” Marxist perspective translates into a discussion of issues rarely covered in the existing literature,including a special focus on the workers movement. Very useful. – Gilbert Achcar, Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London

A collection of lucid and enlightening essays. Au Loong Yu leaves no doubt that China has become capitalist to the fullest extent – with the party bureaucracy as the new bourgeoisie. This leads to old and new contradictions, not to the end of history. – Bodo Zeuner, Professor in political science, Berlin

A fascinating analysis of contemporary struggles in China situated in a rich theoretical overview of Maoism and class relations, as well as the country’s position in the international system. A powerful and provocative challenge to many misconceptions on the Left that deserves to be widely read and debated.– Adam Hanieh, School of Oriental and African Studies; member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism.


PART 1 – Analysis

On the rise of China and its inherent contradictions: Au Loong Yu
China going global: Au Loong Yu
China – unavoidable rise or possible decline: Bruno Jetin
China – globalization and nationalist responses: Au Loong Yu

PART 2 – Resistance

Labour resistance in China – 1989-2009: Au Loong Yu and Bai Ruixue
From ‘master’ to ‘menial’ – state workers in China today:Au Loong Yu
Disposable labour under social apartheid: Au Loong Yu
The role of the All China Federation of Trade Unions – implications for workers today: Bai Ruixue
New signs of hope – resistance in China today: Au Loong Yu and Bai Ruixue 

PART 3 – Discussion

Maoism: contributions and limitations: Pierre Rousset
How socialist is the Chinese party-state? Au Loong Yu reviews Wang Hui’s The End of Revolution: China and the Limits of Modernity
Liu Xiaobo and the Chinese liberals:Au Loong Yu
Voluntary union or forced assimilation –  the CCP’s policy on Tibet: Au Loong Yu
Alter-Globo in Hong Kong – Interview with Au Loong Yu by New Left Review

How to get hold of a review copy of the book

For a complimentary review copy, email or with your name, address and the name of the publication which will print the review. 

Socialist Resistance, PO Box 62732, London, SW2 9GQ, Tel. 020 7346 8889. 

Merlin Press Ltd., 6 Crane Street Chambers, Crane Street, Pontypool NP4 6ND, Wales, 
Tel. 01495 764100


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Capitalism in Crisis

Capitalism in Crisis



The International Institute for Research and Education:

Seminar: Towards A Marxist Analysis of the Global Crisis

On 2-4 October, the IIRE held its first international Economy Seminar on the Global Crisis. Thirty-six participants, economists and non-specialists, from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America attended the three-day event which was open to activists from different tendencies of the radical left.

The objectives of the seminar were to analyse the nature, characteristics and consequences of the current global economic crisis, from perspectives relevant to social activists, and to fortify the global network of Marxist economists. All talks will be available at the IIRE podcast, which we expect to launch with the next newsletter. For now it is possible to download all the talks in one file (original languages, more than 500MB).

Three main questions guided the various sessions of the weekend. First, what is the nature or cause of the crisis? Second, what are the social, economic and political consequences? Finally, what are the links between the current economic crisis and the global ecological and food crises? A solid look at Keynesianism, Ernest Mandel’s contribution on long waves and economic cycles and a (self-) critical take on discourse and propaganda were activities that peppered the debates.

The seminar kicked off with a well-attended public meeting on the crisis with guest speakers Chris Harman of the SWP in Britain and IIRE fellows Michel Husson of the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies and Claudio Katz of the University of Buenos Aires.

François Chesnais (France) opened the seminar itself with an introduction on the role that the so-called financialisation of the economy had in the global crisis. He stated that the crisis cannot be labelled either financial or financialised. Rather, the current crisis has its roots deep in the process of capital accumulation, which, revealing its contradictions, should lead us to look at the dynamics of productivity, the rate of profit and its distribution. The discussion that followed generated a debate between over-accumulation versus under-consumption as explanations for understanding the crisis.

Ozlem Onaran (Turkey), Claudio Katz (Argentina) and Bruno Jetin (France) presented reports on the conditions of the European, Latin American and Asian economies. The debates paved the way for a deeper understanding on how the crisis is perceived and dealt with in the different regions. Participants concluded that an essential characteristic of the crisis is the lack of de-linking tendencies among countries and continents; on the contrary, the efforts to save capitalism have been concerted and almost unanimous.

Michel Husson (France) and Klaus Engert (Germany) analysed the crisis in the framework of the theory of long waves. According to this theory, elaborated by IIRE founder Ernest Mandel, it is possible to use important endogenous factors, i.e. related to the logic of capital and its internal contradictions, to explain the general fall in accumulation that began during the 1970s and has not yet concluded. This discussion left open the possibility of a new ascending wave of economic growth and capitalist accumulation dependent on such exogenous factors as a radical change of the relationship of forces between the classes. One of the conclusions, therefore, was that another wave of attacks on the working class is most likely on its way.

Eric Toussaint (Belgium) emphasised that there is no automatic link between the fact that the crisis is being paid for by workers and the popular masses, and an increase of social struggles. Political, ideological and organisational factors will also play a role in the development of the struggles.

Esther Vivas (Spain) and Daniel Tanuro (Belgium) brought in a fundamental analytical dimension with their introductions: the economic crisis cannot be observed in isolation from the global ecological and food crises. Vivas presented the causes and structure of the food crisis: the current model of agricultural and livestock production is in a large measure responsible for climate change. Tanuro demonstrated how the official, ruling class responses to climate change are insufficient, unreal, irrational and even put us in more danger. He argued that eco-socialists should push for and end to unnecessary production, the retraining of workers in affected sectors and the development of a new agricultural model instigated by radical anti-capitalist measures.

Overall, the analyses revealed that the crisis is systemic, that those who are paying for it are the popular and working classes, and that now, more then ever, it is necessary to build an emancipatory, global anti-capitalist and eco-socialist project.

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