New book published "Chinese Imperialism and the New Cold War"

China Worker 16 September 2023

The following is the preface of the English version of the book. If you are interested in purchasing, please contact:

This book collects 16 articles published in China Labor Forum over the past 11 years, exploring the evolving conflict between Chinese and American imperialism. Now, the conflict has become a cold war. The confrontation between the two blocs of China and the United States will undoubtedly be a long-term struggle.

These articles are not in chronological order. They focus on China's capitalist foreign policy, military ambitions and its strategic conflict with the world's dominant United States. Foreign policy is a continuation of domestic policy, and this conflict reflects the profound economic and political crisis of the capitalist systems of China and the United States. This power struggle has brought the world into a new era of extreme uncertainty and danger. It has set back the process of capitalist globalization and triggered an arms buildup unprecedented in half a century.

It is better to be foresighted than to be surprised As this book shows, Marxists began to detect and analyze the new Cold War nearly a decade ago, while most mainstream bourgeois commentators have only recently begun to recognize this fact. This conflict is not a temporary historical anomaly, but the "new normal" of global capitalism. Market-driven neoliberal globalization is receding into the background, while the growing state-driven power struggle between the two blocs takes center stage. That's why it's called the Cold War - a strategic conflict between two camps.

As later chapters in this book explain, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 accelerated the course of a new Cold War. As the first war in the new Cold War era, the Ukrainian war is a severe test for socialists. Many on the left have fallen into the trap of lending some support to one of the imperialist camps waging a proxy war in Ukraine. This amounts to abandoning and politically disarming the labor movement, rather than providing a starting point around which the necessary independent and truly internationalist alternatives can be organized.

The author of this book and the China Labor Forum are members of the International Socialist Path (ISA). Our position is outlined in several articles and statements on Ukraine on the ISA International website (

The war in Ukraine will not be the last of this dangerous new era. Some commentators predict that a war between China and the United States over Taiwan could break out within the next decade, which would bring greater threats, including the possible use of nuclear weapons. Two chapters of this book deal with the Taiwan issue, which is a key "chess piece" in the new Cold War. The imperialism of China and the United States has not provided any solution to this problem, nor has it taken actions that are in the interests of the Taiwanese people. The peace and security, national and democratic rights of the people of Taiwan, as well as those of China and the world, cannot be solved within the framework of pathological capitalism and imperialism.

The articles in this volume trace a process of discussion and analysis through which we have gained a clearer understanding of the new Cold War. The conclusion of each chapter is the collective result of internal discussions within our organization: ISA China, Hong Kong and Taiwan branches and active exchanges with international comrades.

The ISA is unique among the revolutionary left in its understanding of the new Cold War and the central role this conflict plays in world processes. Similarly, our understanding of the restoration of capitalism in China is unique. After decades of capitalist development, China has developed into a powerful imperialism. The ISA has a key political advantage: among all Marxist and Trotskyist organizations in the world, we are the only one with organizations in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. With comrades on the ground, we can certainly see the complex process of China's political development more clearly. changed narrative

As long as the Chinese Communist Party (actually a dictatorship of capitalist oligarchs linked to the state apparatus) is prepared to provide its services to American and global capitalism by controlling the largest working class in the world in giant assembly shops to serve as slaves to foreign capitalism , the United States and other capitalist governments will warmly welcome China's development and integration into the world economy.

During this period, leaders of the United States and other Western countries rarely mentioned the repression in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, or even Taiwan as a "beacon of democracy." The argument from various governments at the time was that capitalist investment and trade in China was a democratizing force that would push the Chinese Communist dictatorship in the "right" direction. Today, it is ridiculous that the Cold War camp led by the United States insists that they were fooled: "China fooled us!" In fact, Western imperialism never believed their own "democratic" propaganda. This is nothing more than a hoax constructed to silence criticism from sections of the media, NGOs and human rights activists.

As Chinese capitalism moves up the value chain, increasingly taking away markets from capitalists in established imperialist countries, Western capitalism’s honeymoon with the CCP is over. As Marxists explain, as its economic power continued to grow, Chinese capitalism grew into an imperial state that expanded beyond its domestic market and needed to expand overseas and realize its interests. As explained in Chapter 10 of this book, the “Belt and Road Initiative” proposed by Xi Jinping in 2013 is a manifestation of “imperialism with Chinese characteristics”, but it actually took shape long before that. The current ISA organization was established in 2020 (previously known as the Committee for a Workers' International, with the English abbreviation CWI since 1974). Our analysis of the new Cold War and its centrality in world development was one of the most important political discussions and conclusions of our founding and allowed us to clarify the tasks of Marxists in the new period.

In 2019, before the minority faction around the old CWI leadership split from our ranks, these former comrades had been having trouble understanding this new reality. The New Cold War and its key role did not figure (and still do) in their analysis. They underestimate the impact of the Sino-US conflict on all international processes.

Although comrades in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been discussing this issue and producing relevant materials, before 2019 and the minority split, this issue received little attention or importance. This is another reason to republish some of this material today. It sheds light on the developments we were discussing in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at that time. In the course of these discussions, sharp disagreements sometimes emerged. This is inevitable. Trotsky quipped that he had no prescription for differences in his briefcase.

One example is when we discussed the Diaoyu Islands conflict in 2012 (see Chapter 2 of this book), we first proposed the concept of a new Cold War in the context of the conflict between Japan and China. That was before Xi Jinping came to power. At that time, anti-Japanese nationalist demonstrations took place in more than 100 cities in China, and Chinese Marxists were under considerable pressure from this wave of nationalism. political lessons

In China, where the Maoists are extremely disorganized, disorganized (as is natural in a totalitarian system), and politically polarized, they have in most cases expressed solidarity with the anti-Japanese protests, leading some of our comrades to wonder how to position themselves in relation to these protests The relationship feels confused. These hesitant attitudes reflect an unwillingness to resist nationalist pressures and to cater to the existing, rather low, broader "activist" consciousness. While denying this, these former comrades tend to critically support the Chinese government in the Diaoyu Islands conflict. Our article is a response to these questions, subject to legal and censorship constraints, and aims to illustrate the need for an independent working class and internationalist stance, an important responsibility of Marxist organizations.

This experience provided important lessons and preparation for later challenges, demonstrating the need for political independence and resolute opposition to all imperialist governments - even when there was mass pressure to tone down such opposition, and corresponding fears about Marxism would cut themselves off from the broader but still very confused "left".

In studying the South China Sea conflict that created a new crisis in 2016 (see Chapter 1 of this book), we correctly described the new Cold War as “more complex” than the one between US imperialism and the Stalinist Soviet Union. We also said that "today's hostile camps are not so stable; alliances are changing frequently and there are serious differences within the camps." This may have been true in 2016 (during the Obama presidency), but it is no longer true today. Things have changed. What was described then was a more "multipolar" landscape, with several imperialist powers competing against each other as more or less independent national entities. Seven years later, we find that this is no longer the case. Around the two poles of Chinese and American imperialism, a two-bloc situation has been formed and consolidated. This is something that most other left-wing organizations, including our former comrades in the so-called CWI, do not understand. As the examples above illustrate, some of the analysis in our selection of articles is inevitably outdated. We have chosen to present the actual process of discussion and analysis, which of course exposes weaknesses and gaps in our understanding that, hopefully, have been and will continue to be corrected and enriched by practical experience.


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