Video: ‘The East is Still Red’ launched in London

On Tuesday 6 June 2023, at Marx Memorial Library in London, we held a launch event for Carlos Martinez’s book The East is Still Red – Chinese socialism in the 21st century. Aside from Carlos, the meeting was addressed by Her Excellency Rocío Maneiro González (Venezuelan ambassador to the UK), Danny Haiphong, Roger McKenzie and Jenny Clegg, and was chaired by Iris Yau.

Carlos opened the session by discussing his purpose in writing the book. He stated that the two key motivations were: to oppose the propaganda war on China such that people’s consent isn’t manufactured for the West’s escalating campaign of containment and encirclement; and to contribute to building understanding of Chinese socialism. Describing China’s extraordinary achievements in the realms of poverty alleviation, green energy development, tackling Covid, and promoting a peaceful, multipolar world order, Carlos questioned why people on the left would want to ascribe such achievements to capitalism. In spite of the introduction of market elements to China’s economy, and its integration into global value chains, the working people led by the Communist Party maintain political power. This is the ‘secret’ of China’s incredible progress and the continuing improvement of people’s living standards.

Roger McKenzie, international editor of the Morning Star, discussed the racist ideology that forms a backdrop to the propaganda war on China and the West’s attempts to disrupt growing economic and political links between the countries of the Global South. Roger further talked about the inspiration the developing world is drawing from China – a country that has directed such massive resources towards improving people’s living standards, which is demonstrating in practice a clear alternative to ‘Washington Consensus’ neoliberalism.

Rocío Maneiro, who was Venezuela’s ambassador to China from 2004 until 2011, and who accompanied Hugo Chávez on his trips to China in that period, described living through a period in which the international balance of power shifted from West to East, principally due to the multipolar strategy promoted by China. Speaking as a representative of Venezuela – a country which continues to suffer due to the sanctions, destabilisation and coercion applied by the Western powers – Rocío stated that China’s international policy is based on equality, on win-win relations, on peaceful cooperation and a collective vision of a prosperous future for humanity. She concluded that, after reading The East is Still Red, “it is almost impossible to describe socialism as a failed political system.”

Danny Haiphong – a popular broadcaster, journalist and co-editor of Friends of Socialist China – focussed on the multipolar project which lies at the heart of China’s foreign policy. The US’s concern with China, Danny pointed out, is not simply about economic factors or the idea that China is becoming economically powerful; more fundamental is that China’s foreign policy – informed by its socialist political system – is offering the global majority a new and far more democratic model of international relations. The Belt and Road Initiative, the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and other bodies are changing the landscape of international cooperation; are bringing rapid development to the Global South and allowing them to assert their sovereignty and pursue their own development model. This shift constitutes an existential threat to the US-led imperialist world system.

Speaking by Zoom, Jenny Clegg – a longstanding China expert, academic and peace activist – discussed the relentless sinophobic propaganda that accompanies the escalating New Cold War. This propaganda cuts people off from understanding not only China’s internal dynamics but the multipolar project that it pursues. Multipolarity is already opening up space for sovereign development and cooperation in the Global South, and indeed is opening up new paths to socialism, but people in the West find themselves unable to understand and engage with these processes. As long as this is the case, the Western left will continue to struggle to develop its own role in the global struggle against imperialism and for socialism.

The speeches were followed by a lively discussion and Q&A session.

The video stream of the event, hosted by Danny Haiphong, is embedded below.

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