Webinar: Black Liberation and People’s China – Rediscovering a history of transcontinental solidarity

Date Saturday 11 May
Time4pm Britain / 11am US Eastern / 8am US Pacific

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the historic visit to China by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, where, together with his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, the great scholar and revolutionary celebrated his 91st birthday on February 23rd, 1959.

This anniversary provides a fitting opportunity to reflect on a remarkable and enduring link between two peoples fighting for their liberation on opposite sides of the Pacific and under very different circumstances. This transcontinental solidarity between the Chinese revolution and the African-American freedom struggle neither begins nor ends with Dr. Du Bois. It embraces Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson; Robert F. and Mabel Williams; the Black Panther Party; Amiri Baraka; and many others, joined by Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Chinese American progressives and returned overseas Chinese like Tang Mingzhao.

Speakers

  • Professor Gerald Horne, John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, University of Houston; Author of numerous books, including W.E.B Du Bois: A Biography and Black and Red: W.E.B Du Bois and the Afro-American Response to the Cold War
  • Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, Associate Professor of African American Studies, Wayne State University; Author, including of Black Scare/Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States and W.E.B Du Bois: A Life in American History (co-authored with Gerald Horne)
  • Dr. Gao Yunxiang, Professor of History, Toronto Metropolitan University and author of Arise Africa! Roar China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century
  • Dr. Zifeng Liu, Post Doctoral Scholar, Africana Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, Author of Redrawing the Balance of Power: Black Left Feminists, China, and the Making of an Afro-Asian Political Imaginary, 1949-1976 (Ph.D thesis; book forthcoming)
  • Margaret Kimberley, Executive Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report; Author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents
  • Qiao Collective, a diaspora Chinese media collective challenging US aggression against China.

To explore these historic connections and their contemporary significance for the global anti-imperialist struggle and the fight against the new cold war, this webinar is being organised by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group.

China’s assistance to Cuba a part of global opposition to hegemony

The following article from Global Times reports on the arrival of the first batch of emergency food aid from the Chinese government to Cuba, which assistance “demonstrates China’s unwavering support for Cuba”.

The report notes that the main causes of Cuba’s food shortages are the US’s criminal blockade, along with the sharp rise in global food prices resulting from NATO’s ongoing proxy war in Ukraine.

The author reiterates China’s firm stance against the blockade, which “severely harms the Cuban ordinary people’s right to survival and development,” and which is imposed because the “Cuban Government and people have never succumbed to the unilateralism and hegemony of the US, and despite the enormous pressure and losses caused by the embargo, Cuba has remained actively committed to promoting global solidarity and international cooperation.”

China’s aid, meanwhile, “is not merely a diplomatic gesture but a substantial contribution to Cuba’s healthcare and food security amid its economic struggles”, and more generally, China’s support for Cuba is “an essential part of the global opposition to hegemony and the effort to establish a fairer, more rational and more inclusive international order.”

On April 3, local time, the first batch of emergency food aid from the Chinese government arrived at José Martí International Airport in Havana. Luo Zhaohui, the director of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, stated at the airport, “The Chinese government is proud of and empathetic toward every progress and every challenge our Cuban friends face. Today’s assistance is a symbol of the friendliness of the Chinese people.”

China’s timely assistance once again clearly demonstrates its unwavering support for Cuba in overcoming food shortages and maintaining social stability.

Due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and climate change, global food prices have sharply risen over the past two years, leading to severe food shortages in some countries and regions. In last year’s report, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres wrote, “Over 2.5 billion people are now facing severe hunger, with some on the brink of starvation. This is unacceptable.”

Cuba, reliant on food imports, has been doubly hit. Another blow comes from the long-standing sanctions imposed by the US, severely restricting Cuba’s foreign trade and regular access to external food supplies and corresponding agricultural equipment.

The embargo on Cuba is a remnant of the Cold War period and has garnered significant opposition. It has been widely criticized by the global community, as shown by yearly resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly urging its termination since 1992.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) cites staggering losses for Cuba, amounting to billions of dollars annually due to the embargo, which significantly hampers its agricultural productivity and poses a severe threat to food security. The US blockade severely harms the Cuban ordinary people’s right to survival and development.

China’s assistance to Cuba, including the delivery of significant amounts of medical equipment and food such as rice, highlights Beijing’s practical steps to support the Cuban people.

This aid is not merely a diplomatic gesture but a substantial contribution to Cuba’s healthcare and food security amid its economic struggles exacerbated by the embargo and support for the Cuban people’s fight against hegemony. In this context, China’s long-standing support for Cuba represents global public opinion against hegemonism.

The Cuban Government and people have never succumbed to the unilateralism and hegemony of the US, and despite the enormous pressure and losses caused by the embargo, Cuba has remained actively committed to promoting global solidarity and international cooperation. The latest news shows that the Cuban government has secured supply of key subsidized food rations by urgently coordinating resources from all sides, including foreign aid, etc. The Cuban government is also seeking to repair food shortages through efforts to revive the tourism industry, earn more foreign exchange and upgrade agricultural development.

The bilateral relations between China and Cuba strengthened under the “Belt and Road” initiative, have facilitated deepened economic and trade exchanges. This cooperation spans various sectors, bringing tangible benefits to the people of both nations and earning the appreciation of many Latin American countries, highlighting the potential of international solidarity in the face of unilateral sanctions.

As the political landscape in Latin America and the Caribbean undergoes a new round of profound adjustments, the narrative that views Latin America as the US “backyard” is outdated and undermines the sovereignty and autonomy of the countries within the region.

In recent years, Latin American countries like Brazil have been more actively supporting Cuba’s economic development and openly opposing the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US. This reflects the countries’ growing awareness of autonomous development within the region and promotes the growing consensus on achieving more equitable global governance and joint development.

The strengthening of Latin American countries’ awareness of autonomous development also makes Washington’s attempts to create rifts between China and Latin American countries and force these countries to choose sides increasingly difficult to advance.

China firmly supports the Cuban people’s just struggle to defend national sovereignty and oppose foreign interference and blockade. The wrongful practices of a few countries that arbitrarily impose unilateral sanctions cut off development aid, and freeze the legitimate assets of other countries must be corrected. China supports the termination of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.

China’s support and assistance to Cuba are an essential part of the global opposition to hegemony and the effort to establish a fairer, more rational and more inclusive international order.

Britain, China, and the struggle for peace

What follows is the text of a speech given by Kevan Nelson, International Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), at a public meeting in Leeds on 13 March 2024 on the theme of The Struggle for Peace: Understanding China’s Position in 21st Century Geopolitics. The meeting was organised by the Morning Star Readers and Supporters Group in Yorkshire, and was also addressed by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez.

Kevan starts with an overview of the British media’s portrayal of China – overwhelmingly negative and fearmongering – and goes on to explain the CPB’s position on China, which is based on a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the country’s history, politics and economy. He observes that “our Party has always been committed to the defence of countries building socialism”, and affirms the party’s firm opposition to the propaganda war and the escalating US-led New Cold War. Kevan explains that the CPB’s position is based on the pursuit of peace and cooperation, and that it wholeheartedly supports the efforts of campaigns and platforms such as Friends of Socialist China, the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and No Cold War.

While “income inequality remains a major concern” in China (one that is being actively addressed), Kevan argues that “the processes of capital accumulation are politically subordinated to state power aligned to socialist goals” and that “a mass communist party and the potential for popular mobilisation remains the basis of this state power”.

Kevan notes the importance of Chinese trade and investment to the British economy, and the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. However, “the New Cold War threatens to undermine all these mutual benefits – particularly tens of thousands of jobs in the affected sectors – something trade unionists should consider when facing externally orchestrated calls for a boycott of China.”

The speech concludes with a call for developing deeper people-to-people relations between Britain and China, and building friendship and solidarity around shared interests of peace, progress and socialism.

Thanks for the invitation to speak at this important meeting which is an antidote to the relentless barrage of anti-China propaganda we are being subjected to in this period of the New Cold War against China.

Anyone reading the British press – the magnificent Morning Star excepted – is left in little doubt: China is our enemy.

The FT reported that ‘Biden vows to fight if China invades Taiwan’ – the same paper three days later ran a headline ‘China poses greatest threat, warns Blinken’.

The Guardian informs us that ‘China offers cash and spiritual rewards to citizens for national security tip offs’ (the spiritual reward being a mere certificate, not a weekend in heaven!).

The Economist (by far the worst offender) warns that ‘Chinese money is pouring into Britain’s universities. Critics say it comes at the cost of free speech’.

The Daily Mail claimed that the ‘NHS is dangerously reliant on China with 1 in 6 medical items coming from Beijing’, and a final example from the Daily Mirror: ‘I survived a labour detention camp where prisoners had organs harvested’ – this from a Falun Gong sect member who defected to Britain 15 years ago and did not witness anything of the sort.

At a Friends of Socialist China webinar last year – co-sponsored by the Morning Star – about the propaganda warfare being waged against China by the US and its allies, Danny Haiphong dismissed this relentless propaganda as ‘an imperialist and racist set of fabrications wielded in the interests of US unipolar hegemony’. The examples of this are endless and explain why many in the West increasingly perceive China as a hostile power.

The Communist Party of Britain’s attitude to China

In terms of the Communist Party’s attitude to China, our Party has always been committed to the defence of countries building socialism.

That is no less the case with China today than with the Russian Revolution in its early years, the Chinese Revolution in 1949 and the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Looking back at Party statements, it is remarkable at how little has changed since the early days of China leaving the orbit of capitalism and imperialism.

In his report to the 21st National Congress of the Communist Party, November 1949 (75 years ago), Harry Pollitt said:

‘In the Far East, American imperialism is building up Japan… as well as maintaining puppet governments in South Korea and the Philippines, and Chiang Kai-shek in Formosa (today known as Taiwan). It has threatened New China with disruption and is fomenting counter-revolution wherever it can find agents in China. Under cover of warning the People’s Armies that any advance beyond the frontiers of China will be met by force, American imperialism is encouraging war preparations in Tibet, which is an old province of China. At the same time, the British Government has heavily reinforced Hong Kong, and may at any moment launch provocative action’.

Today the Uyghurs of Xinjiang may have replaced the Dalai Lama and Tibet as the main focus of destabilisation and propaganda, but the playbook of imperialism remains the same.

Continue reading Britain, China, and the struggle for peace

Booker Ngesa Omole: Amidst the rise of the Global South, we welcome China’s engagement with Africa

On Saturday 16 March, Friends of Socialist China hosted an event on Africa, China and the Rise of the Global South at the Marx Memorial Library in London (and online). The library was packed to capacity, and heard powerful contributions from Booker Ngesa Omole (National Vice-Chairperson and National Organising Secretary of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK)), Roger McKenzie (Foreign Editor, Morning Star), Fiona Sim (The Black Liberation Alliance), Cecil Gutzmore (veteran Pan-African community activist and historian), Alex Gordon (RMT President), and Radhika Desai (Convenor, International Manifesto Group). Unfortunately Frank Murray of Caribbean Labour Solidarity was unable to attend due to personal reasons. Roger McKenzie’s event report can be read in the Morning Star.

Booker’s wide-ranging and passionate keynote speech focused on China-Africa relations and China’s role in the world. Booker noted that his two visits to China in 2023 “filled me with a renewed sense of hope and convinced me of the superiority of the Chinese socio-economic and political system over the liberal Western model often imposed on African nations wholesale.”

On the economic relationship between China and Kenya – and Africa more generally – Booker observed that the character of this partnership is profoundly different to the exploitative relationships that African nations have historically had with Western powers. “This relationship has highlighted an alternative approach to engaging with development partners and international capital. Unlike the United States and Western nations, which have historically imposed detrimental policies on African nations through institutions like the IMF and World Bank—such as the infamous Structural Adjustment Plan—China has adopted a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. This shift has spared African nations from the suffering and hardships inflicted by such destructive policies.”

Booker went on to state that “the United States and the rest of the West have used exploitation and force to impose their will for far too long.” However, in an era of emerging multipolarity and a rising Global South, “the geopolitical environment has fundamentally changed, with the Global South emerging as a major actor in world affairs. And it is amidst this shift that China has emerged as a beacon of hope for the oppressed and exploited.” In relation to imperialism, “China stands as a counterforce, presenting an alternative path founded on mutual respect and cooperation… China’s policy of non-interference starkly opposes Western interventionism, whose legacies of looting and colonialism still haunt and define regions like Africa.”

Turning his attention to the propaganda war on China, Booker asserted: “The racist and cynical attacks on China are intolerable”, and that “labelling China as an imperial power is both ridiculous and reactionary.” He reminded the audience that Africans know only too well what imperialism looks like: “Having experienced direct and indirect imperialist interventions in Africa, we have witnessed the devastating consequences of imperialist wars and interventions.” This contrasts starkly with China’s engagement with the continent, which is based on mutual benefit, respect for sovereignty, and assisting African countries to develop their own economies and infrastructure. “Leveraging China’s resources and expertise, Africa can accelerate its development and address important issues such as infrastructural deficiencies, industrialization, and poverty.”

Booker concluded:

The voices of the Global South demand respect and sovereignty, challenging the hegemony of the West. Amidst the rise of the Global South, we welcome China’s engagement with Africa in this new era of collaboration.

This speech was first published on the website of the Communist Party of Kenya.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Comrades, it is an honour to stand before you today, representing the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) and the Pan African Socialist Alliance (PASA). I extend my deepest gratitude to the Friends of Socialist China (FSC), particularly Comrade Keith Bennett, for their steadfast support and for granting me this forum to address such a significant topic.

Gathered here in the Karl Marx Memorial Library, we are reminded of the enduring influence of Marx’s ideas, which continue to guide us in our struggle for a just and egalitarian society. It is the ideal place as we embark on a discussion that not only holds relevance but also holds the key to shaping the future of the Global South: “China and the Rise of the Global South.”

Comrades, today I represent the Communist Party of Kenya, a party that has undergone a split resulting in the formation of two factions: the majority faction, which I am part of, and a minority faction that has entered into a strategic alliance with the current kleptocratic regime and serves as a puppet of US interests in Nairobi. While this split can be seen as both fortunate and unfortunate, it underscores the complex dynamics within our party.

It is fortunate in the sense that a united Communist Party of Kenya based on opportunism would serve no purpose for the Kenyan working class. However, it is unfortunate because a united party would undoubtedly be stronger and more effective in advancing the interests of the working class. Yet, such is the nature of development—just as in the human body, where cells divide and multiply to maintain health, our party undergoes transformations to adapt to changing circumstances. I proudly represent the majority faction of the Communist Party of Kenya, which stands in staunch opposition to the comprador ruling class in Nairobi.

As for the Pan-African Socialist Alliance (PASA), it is a revolutionary movement that unites Pan-Africanist organizations in Kenya and beyond. Dedicated to achieving African liberation and unity on a global scale, PASA vehemently opposes imperialism in all its manifestations, including colonialism, settler-colonialism, Zionism, and neo-colonialism. Moreover, PASA advocates against social oppressions rooted in gender, class, or nationality.

Aligned with genuine Pan-African forces worldwide, PASA advocates for a unified socialist and non-capitalist path to development in Africa and the African diaspora. It stands in solidarity with oppressed peoples fighting against labour exploitation and land exploitation, striving for a future where all Africans can thrive free from oppression and exploitation.

In 2023, I had the privilege of visiting China twice, where I witnessed first-hand the remarkable achievements of Chinese Socialist Construction. These visits filled me with a renewed sense of hope and convinced me of the superiority of the Chinese socio-economic and political system over the liberal Western model often imposed on African nations wholesale. Contrary to Western rhetoric, I found a nation and its people in harmony with nature, dispelling the myth that Chinese socialist development wreaks ecological havoc.

Despite potential language barriers, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many young Chinese individuals in the streets of Beijing were proficient in English and engaged in lively debates. Unlike the institutionalized racism prevalent in the United States, China actively discourages and punishes racist behaviour—a stark contrast to the US, where racial privilege persists. It became evident to me that Western media propagates falsehoods far too often, obscuring the realities of Chinese society and governance.

Allow me to revisit my 2017 commentary on the Africa-China relationship. The partnership between China and Kenya, as well as Africa at large, has not only spurred remarkable infrastructural development but has also fostered a genuine cultural exchange between Chinese and African communities. It has provided Africans with first-hand insights into Chinese culture, dispelling the half-truths and misinformation perpetuated against China and its people, often propagated globally by western media outlets like CNN, BBC, Fox News et al.

Moreover, this relationship has highlighted an alternative approach to engaging with development partners and international capital. Unlike the United States and Western nations, which have historically imposed detrimental policies on African nations through institutions like the IMF and World Bank—such as the infamous Structural Adjustment Plan—China has adopted a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. This shift has spared African nations from the suffering and hardships inflicted by such destructive policies.

Another notable aspect is the efficiency with which projects are executed. Previously, bureaucratic red tape and exorbitant costs often prolonged project timelines, sometimes spanning several years before ground activities commenced. However, with the influx of Chinese investment, we have witnessed a swift turnaround. Projects are now executed promptly, delivering high-quality results. This stands in stark contrast to the portrayal by Western media, which often dismisses products and projects from China and Russia as inferior before their arrival. These words remain true today even though the attitude of the ruling class in the global north towards the Chinese socialist experiment remains unchanged, more than five years later.

The challenges facing the Global South are vast, encompassing a myriad of socio-economic and political issues rooted in colonial and neo-colonial histories. From underdevelopment to disease, violence, and exploitation, these afflictions persist. Yet, amidst these struggles, it is essential to recognize the shared responsibility between the global North and South.

While geopolitical unrest and interventions ravage countless lives worldwide, there is a glimmer of hope. The vulnerability of imperialism is laid bare in places like Gaza, where Western hegemony faces daily erosion, and in conflicts like the NATO-led proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, which exposes fractures in imperialist stability. Recent events in the Congo underscore the diminishing influence of Western imperialism.

In the Sahel region, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, French imperialism falters on a daily basis. In the North, Libya stands in history and in the present as the perfect example of imperialist violence and failure. Southwards, Somalia’s position since the Black Hawk Down incident highlights the pitfalls of US interventions. The Sudanese people have remained strong in their continued resistance against imperialism since the war broke out in Sudan.

Eritrea, often likened to the “Cuba of Africa,” bears the brunt of punitive unilateral actions and economic sanctions imposed by the United States. Its perceived transgression? Embracing self-reliant economic strategies. This exemplifies the treatment meted out by the US towards African nations daring to diverge from the neoliberal norms dictated by the West. Such brazen arrogance of the US begs the question: How can such dominance prevail on a global scale? The inevitable outcome is not progress but rather a descent into chaos, perpetuating a cycle of disorder and instability similar to what has now become of Libya.

And every day, the escalating Cold War tensions with China further shake the foundations of the fragile imperialist economy. Overall, the emerging picture reveals that the decline of the US empire mirrors historical patterns, signalling the dawn of a new era where empires inevitably fall.

Continue reading Booker Ngesa Omole: Amidst the rise of the Global South, we welcome China’s engagement with Africa

Senior AKEL delegation visits China

A delegation of the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) of Cyprus, led by its General Secretary Stephanos Stephanou, recently visited China. AKEL is Cyprus’s communist party and plays a major part in the political life of the country. 

On February 27 Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee (IDCPC), met with Stephanou and his delegation. 

Liu said that AKEL is an important political party in Cyprus. The CPC and AKEL are both Marxist parties, and the two parties maintain close exchanges through various forms, injecting strong impetus into the development of China-Cyprus relations. The Chinese side is willing to work with the Cypriot side to strengthen mutual visits between the two parties at all levels, deepen exchanges of experience in state governance and administration, promote in-depth and solid practical cooperation between the two countries in various fields, and promote the steady and long-term development of China-Cyprus strategic partnership. 

Stephanou noted that AKEL and the CPC share similar ideals and beliefs and are close comrades and friends. AKEL is willing to learn from the CPC’s experience in building socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote the further development of relations between the two parties. AKEL supports the Cypriot government in developing relations with China in an all-round way, firmly adheres to the one-China principle, and appreciates China’s stance on the Cyprus question.

The following day the delegation met with Li Hongzhong, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Li said that the CPC attaches great importance to friendly relations with AKEL and is willing to strengthen exchanges between political parties and legislative bodies to push China-Cyprus strategic partnership to a higher level.

The following articles were originally published on the website of the IDCPC and by the Xinhua News Agency.

Liu Jianchao Meets with a Delegation of the AKEL of Cyprus

Beijing, February 27th—Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), met here today with a delegation of the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) of Cyprus led by Stephanos Stephanou, General Secretary of the AKEL.    

Liu said, the AKEL is an important political party in Cyprus. The CPC and the AKEL are both Marxist parties, and the two Parties maintain close exchanges through various forms, injecting strong impetus into the development of China-Cyprus relations. The Chinese side is willing to work with the Cypriot side to strengthen mutual visits between the two Parties at all levels, deepen exchanges of experience in state governance and administration, promote in-depth and solid practical cooperation between the two countries in various fields, and promote the steady and long-term development of China-Cyprus strategic partnership. The Chinese side appreciates Cyprus’ support and active participation in the three major global initiatives, and is willing to work with the Cypriot side to safeguard world peace and development, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.    

Stephanou noted, the AKEL and the CPC share similar ideals and beliefs and are close comrades and friends. The AKEL is willing to learn from the CPC’s experience in building socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote the further development of relations between the two Parties. The AKEL supports the Cypriot government in developing relations with China in an all-round way, firmly adheres to the one-China principle, and appreciates China’s impartial stance on the Cyprus problem. China has made world-renowned development achievements in recent years. It is believed that under the leadership of the CPC, China will achieve its second centenary goal as scheduled and make greater contributions to world peace and development. As a member of the European Union (EU), Cyprus is willing to actively advance the development of EU-China relations. 

Sun Haiyan, Vice-minister of the IDCPC, was present. 


Senior Chinese legislator meets delegation of Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People

BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) — Li Hongzhong, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, met with a delegation of the Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), led by its general secretary Stefanos Stefanou, in Beijing on Wednesday.

Li, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said that under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China and Cyprus have continuously deepened political mutual trust, and achieved fruitful results in various fields of practical cooperation.

The CPC attaches great importance to friendly relations with the AKEL, and is willing to strengthen exchanges between political parties and legislative bodies to push China-Cyprus strategic partnership to a higher level, Li said.

For his part, Stefanou said that the AKEL adheres to the one-China principle, supports key global initiatives proposed by China, and hopes to strengthen exchanges with the CPC to promote the development of Cyprus-China and EU-China relations. 

People gather to celebrate the life of communist activist Claudia Jones

Comrades from Friends of Socialist China participated in the third annual commemoration of the birth of Claudia Jones (21 February 1915) organised by the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) at her graveside, to the left of Karl Marx, in London’s Highgate Cemetery on Sunday February 25. 

Claudia was outstanding activist and leader of the US, British and international communist movements, who creatively enriched and developed Marxist-Leninist theory on questions of national, racial and gender oppression in particular. A staunch friend of China, she met with Chairman Mao Zedong on her 1964 visit to the People’s Republic, shortly before her tragically early death at the age of 49.

More than 50 people attended the ceremony including a delegation from the Chinese Embassy led by Minister Zhao Fei.

Dr. Claire Holder, who was the longest serving Director of the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival that was originally inspired by Claudia, read the text of her February 2, 1953 speech from the dock immediately before she was imprisoned under US anti-communist legislation on account of her struggle for peace and in particular against what she called the “bestial Korean war”, which was then still raging.  

In a speech that surely ranks among the greatest made by a communist revolutionary before a bourgeois court, Claudia noted that she was being sentenced for an appeal that, “urges American mothers, Negro women and white, to emulate the peace struggles of their anti-fascist sisters in Latin America, in the new European democracies, in the Soviet Union, in Asia and Africa to end the bestial Korean war, to stop ‘Operation Killer’, to bring our boys home, to reject the militarist threat to embroil us in a war with China, so that their children should not suffer the fate of the Korean babies murdered by napalm bombs of B-29s, or the fate of Hiroshima.

“Is all this not further proof that what we were also tried for was our opposition to racist ideas, so integral a part of the desperate drive by the men of Wall Street to war and fascism.”

This theme was echoed in speeches by CPB General Secretary Robert Griffiths, who referred to the immense destruction visited upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Korean people during the war of 1950-53, and by historian David Horsley of the CPB’s Anti-Racist and Anti-Fascist Committee, and the author of a pamphlet on Claudia’s life, who said that if she were still with us, Claudia would surely be at the head of every demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza. 

Other speakers were veteran Pan-Africanist activist and scholar Cecil Gutzmore and Fran Heathcote, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the largest trade union representing civil servants in the UK. The proceedings were chaired by CPB Chair Ruth Styles.

Floral tributes were paid by the Chinese Embassy, the CPB, the CPB London District Committee, the Young Communist League, PCS, the Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils and Friends of Socialist China. Among the attendees were Michael and Paul Crook, sons of the veteran communists and lifelong friends of China, Isabel and David Crook. Michael is also a member of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group.

The following report was originally published by the Morning Star.

More than 50 people gathered at London’s historic Highgate Cemetery on Sunday to celebrate the life of legendary communist activist Claudia Jones.

Jones, who is buried to the left of Karl Marx, died on Christmas Day 1964, having made a massive contribution to the movement for socialism in the United States and Britain.

Among the speakers was Fran Heathcote, the first female general secretary of the PCS union.

She highlighted the continued attacks and superexploitation of low-paid women and black members who work in outsourced industries.

Leading pan-African activist Cecil Gutzmore highlighted the continued racism faced by the black community in Britain.

Historian David Horsley said that he was convinced that “comrade Claudia would have been at the forefront of today’s fight for migrants and refugees.”

Dr Clare Holder, a past director of the Notting Hill Carnival, read out the statement Jones made to the US court before her deportation to Britain. She said it was as “powerful as others made by others such as Castro and Mandela.”

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths recalled how the Smith Act in the US “was used against trade unionists, socialists as well as communists.”

Peace delegates report back from China

Although the Biden administration has made some small gestures towards improving US-China relations, the US continues to escalate its campaign of encirclement and containment. The US has ramped up its military aid to Taiwan; it is attempting to strengthen the AUKUS nuclear alliance; it is doing everything it can to prevent China’s emergence as a major computing power; it is imposing sanctions and tariffs on China; and it is relentlessly spreading lurid anti-China slander.

Recognising the terrible dangers posed by the New Cold War (and its potential degeneration into a hot war), a number of peace activists from the US have recently taken part in delegations to China, in order to build understanding and solidarity, and to see China’s reality with their own eyes.

On Sunday 18 February 2024, we heard back from these peace delegates and discussed ways to continue building people-to-people links between the West and China, and to develop a powerful movement for peace and cooperation.

Embedded below are the videos from the event.

Full event stream

Lee Siu Hin: building US-China relations at the grassroots

Charles Xu (Qiao Collective): reflections on a trip to China

Sara Flounders: Organize collectively to demand hands off China and show solidarity with Palestine

Danny Haiphong: telling the truth about China and being an ambassador for peace

Dee Knight: If we want to make peace, more of us should visit China

Bahman Azad: debunk lies about China in order to advance the cause of peace

CPUSA: By developing people-to-people relations, we can all build a bedrock for peace

Message of greetings on the 55th anniversary of the founding of the DFLP

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a Marxist-Leninist party which forms part of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and which plays a full part in the resistance of the Palestinian people against Zionism and imperialism, marked its 55th anniversary on February 22.

In this regard, the Foreign Affairs Department of the DFLP wrote to fraternal and friendly parties and organisations as follows:

On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the founding and launch of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) on February 22, 1969, and in light of the Israeli genocidal crimes committed against the Palestinian people that have continued for more than 75 years, the DFLP continues its struggle and resistance in order to end the Israeli occupation of its lands and establish the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the return of refugees to their homes, and self-determination of the Palestinian people.

DFLP has sacrificed a large number of martyrs in the face of the Israeli occupation and its crimes against the Palestinian people, including members of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau, and it is still defending its Marxist-Leninist ideas in order to implement its political program.

Based on the extent of the real suffering and tragedy that the Palestinian people are experiencing in the Gaza Strip, DFLP will suspend its celebrations on the 55th anniversary of its launch, and activities will be limited to support the resistance and struggle of the Palestinian people.

In response, Friends of Socialist China sent the following message to the DFLP:

Please accept our warmest fraternal greetings on the 55th anniversary of the founding of your party. We greet you with particularly intense and heartfelt feelings of solidarity at this time, in particular, when the heroic Palestinian people are facing the sternest of tests and the most arduous of trials in the face of the rabid genocidal onslaught of the Israeli Zionists and their masters and backers among the imperialist powers led by the United States.

Our hearts are broken as we witness the unspeakable cruelty visited upon the Palestinian people, women, and children, the old, the sick and the young, in flagrant violation of the tenets of international law, international humanitarian law in particular, as well as the most basic principles of humanitarianism and human conscience.

This is not a time for celebration. It is a time for resistance. The fighters of the DFLP are standing in their place, defending their people and struggling for liberation, and we salute them.

We know that throughout the last 55 years the comrades of the DFLP have never wavered in their anti-imperialist and socialist struggle. Comrade Mao Zedong observed that the party, the people’s army and the united front were the three magic weapons with which the Chinese people were able to defeat their enemies and win their liberation. The DFLP has also embodied this idea, building its ranks as a Marxist-Leninist party, persisting in armed struggle, and standing for a principled unity among all national Palestinian political forces and institutions.

Faithful to proletarian internationalism, your party has also maintained unity and solidarity with the socialist countries, as well as with revolutionary states, national liberation movements, and communist, workers and left-wing political parties and organisations worldwide. We appreciate the hand of friendship that you have extended to Friends of Socialist China even at this most difficult moment.

The Irish revolutionary martyr Bobby Sands once wrote: “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” We stand with you until the trauma etched on the faces of the children of Gaza, the West Bank and the whole of historic Palestine is replaced with smiles and laughter. Until all the children of Palestine can live a happy life and realise their dreams in a free and independent country.

Until then we join with you in saying:

Victory to the Palestinian Resistance!
Revolution until victory!

Once again, dear comrades, please accept our warmest and most comradely greetings.

China affirms Palestinian people’s right to wage armed struggle for liberation

The government of China has made an extremely important statement affirming the right of the Palestinian people to engage in armed struggle for liberation.

Speaking on February 22, on the second day of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s hearings on ‘The Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jersusalem’, held at the Hague, Holland, Ma Xinmin, Legal Adviser to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, referring to the results of the ‘Six Day War’ in June 1967, that 57 years have passed since Israel began its occupation and that the unlawful nature of the occupation as well as the sovereignty over the occupied territory remain unchanged. The Palestinians must not be denied justice, he added. “Justice has been long delayed, but it must not be denied.”

In the section of his speech released as a short clip by Al Jazeera, Ma said that the “Palestinian people’s use of force to resist foreign oppression and complete the establishment of an independent state is an inalienable right. This recognition is also [having previously referred to a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly] reflected in international conventions. For example, the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism of 1998 affirms, ‘the right of peoples to combat foreign occupation and aggression by whatever means, including armed struggle, in order to liberate their territories and secure their right to self-determination and independence.’ Armed struggle in this context is distinguished from acts of terrorism.”

Telesur reported that: “Besides mentioning the United Nations General Assembly’s resolutions related to the Palestinian case, the Chinese ambassador indicated that the armed struggle is usually one of the means to which nations resort when seeking to achieve their self-determination.”

“The 1973 UNGA Resolution 3070 reaffirms the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle,” he stressed.

The Palestine Chronicle described the Chinese statement as the strongest made in the day’s proceedings.

It quoted Ma as saying that: “The struggle waged by peoples for their liberation, right to self-determination, including armed struggle against colonialism, occupation, aggression, domination against foreign forces should not be considered terror acts.” 

In a separate article, The Palestine Chronicle reports that, “Ma also noted that the conflict stems ‘from Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and Israel’s longstanding oppression of the Palestinian people.’

Therefore, according to the Chinese representative, “‘the Palestinian peoples’ fight against Israeli oppression and their struggle for completing the establishment of an independent state under occupied territory are essentially just actions.’”

Tazara: Why China built a railway that many thought would fail

This short film made by CGTN documents the history, present situation and prospects of the Tazara Railway which links Zambia and Tanzania. 

By far China’s largest foreign aid project at the time, it was built during the first half of the 1970s, when China was itself still a poor country and after the United States, Britain, Japan and even the Soviet Union had all refused to build it. It enabled landlocked Zambia to get its copper to port whilst avoiding countries then still under colonial and white racist rule.

The 1,800 km railway took five years to build, with 50,000 Chinese workers taking part in the project. 65 of them gave their lives. 

In recent years, the railway has encountered problems, with freight traffic, not least due to the availability of other options since the liberation of all countries in southern Africa. Nevertheless, it still plays an important role in the lives of local people and communities. A joint statement adopted by China and Zambia in September last year, during the state visit of the Zambian president, saw China pledge support to the railway’s upgrading and renovation.

Isabel Crook: an appreciation

We are very pleased to publish this touching and informative tribute to the outstanding communist and lifelong friend of China, Isabel Crook (1915-2023), written by her close friend of many decades, Dr. Jenny Clegg.

Jenny, a retired academic, peace activist and member of our advisory group, provides rich insights in the course of summing up Isabel’s lifelong commitment to the Chinese revolution, her unique and path breaking approach to anthropology, her deep empathy for China’s rural poor, and her enduring yet careful optimism regarding the future of socialist China.

We previously reported on Isabel’s death, including here. Among many other obituaries were those published by British newspapers, The TimesFinancial Times, Guardian, and Economist; the New York Times and Canada’s Globe and Mail

“A rare bridge between the West and China”; “a committed communist”; “a peoples’ diplomat”; “a pioneering anthropologist” – so read the obituaries for Isabel Crook (1915-2023). Indeed, she was all of these in one.

Isabel’s 107 years, almost all spent in China, were to span two world wars, two great revolutions, a socialist transition under a Cold War, all through the twists and turns of Mao’s mass campaigns to Deng’s reform and opening up, with China now led by Xi Jinping stepping onto the world stage.

No mere observer, Isabel’s participation in the New China along with husband David saw them personally suffer under the excesses of the Cultural Revolution.  Isabel was kept in confinement for three years by Red Guards, in a room on the top floor of a campus building separated from her boys, still only teenagers, and with husband David in prison. Freed from detention in 1972, both were cleared of all charges in 1973 and, along with other foreign experts, received an apology from Premier Zhou Enlai.

Her commitment was again put to the test with the suppression of the Tiananmen protests in 1989 – the Crooks had called on the government not to use force. Yet despite all this Isabel was to remain optimistic as to China’s future under CPC leadership.

To properly appreciate Isabel’s special contribution to understanding China, and the reasons why she never succumbed to disillusionment, requires both a consideration of her life experiences as well as her anthropological work on rural China.

In particular, through many months spent in the rural areas, living among the people gathering materials on village life, Isabel was to develop a particular empathy for Chinese country folk. Her two separate studies of villages undergoing reform, under first a Nationalist, then a Communist-led government, provided deep insight from a comparison between the failure of one and the success of the other.

Early influences: the Rural Reconstruction Movement

Isabel was born in China, the daughter of Canadian missionary educators.  Leaving for Canada to study, she was to graduate from the University of Toronto with a bachelors and then a masters degree[1] [2] , returning to China in 1939 aged 24 to do anthropological field research in the western province of Sichuan among the Yi, a slave owning society. 

From this remote ‘opium country’, she moved nearer to the wartime capital of Chongqing in 1941 to take part in a year-long ‘action research’ project sponsored by the National Christian Council.  Hired by rural reformer, THSun, Isabel was to carry out a survey of a small market town of 1,500 households.  With the overwhelming majority of its families living in desperate poverty, Prosperity township was decidedly ill-named.

Joining a small team including two experts on cooperatives, Isabel was introduced to the progressive ideas of the rural reconstruction movement.  Founded in 1926 by the influential James Yen, whose work in mass literacy, begun amongst the Chinese labourers in France during World War I, was to gain international acclaim, the movement had a strong following among China’s Christian community and the left wing of the nationalist KMT.

Continue reading Isabel Crook: an appreciation

Canada’s Chinese community rallies for Palestine

The Chinese community in Canada, particularly the youth, are taking an active part in the global movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli genocidal onslaught, not least around the traditional celebration of the Lunar New Year.

The latest supplement to the TML Monthly, dated February 14, 2024, published online by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CPCML) reports that the weekly solidarity march in Montreal, on February 11, was addressed by a young woman from the city’s Chinese community, who said: “We are humbled to speak as part of the pan-Asian contingent, composed of 15 grassroots collectives of the diaspora of Montreal, formed in solidarity with Palestine.”

She added: “The youth of the Asian community are celebrating the transition to the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. As is the tradition, we send our greetings to our ancestors, by uniting in solidarity for the liberation of Palestine. It is a New Year, but the demands are the same.”

The speaker also made a powerful comparison between the historic racist oppression of the Chinese community in Canada and the Palestinian people’s forced displacement by Israel.

TML’s full report on the Montreal protest reads as follows:

“The weekly Montreal march in support of Gaza and the people of Palestine began with hundreds of people assembling downtown on February 11, for the 19th consecutive week, to listen to speeches from organizers and supporters.

“The first to address the crowd was a representative of the Palestinian Youth Movement who said, among other things, ‘The people in Gaza are facing an impossible situation. If you don’t die from U.S.-funded bombs, you die from the rubble. If you survive the rubble, you die because there is no other place to go. If you survive your injuries, you die of mass starvation and hunger.”

“‘It has become clear to everyone that the missiles funded by the U.S. and sold by Canada are not just trying to kill the Palestinians. These missiles are trying to destroy the very idea of the Palestinian homeland. These bombs are trying to eliminate the very concept of liberation. Israel and its bloody allies are committing this genocide to send a message to the world […] that if any colonized person threatens their power, their domination, and their hegemony, they will get killed. But what did the world say in response to this? What do we say in response to this?”

“‘We say that if you were a criminal, and you commit genocide in broad daylight, we will make sure that there isn’t a single moment of peace if there isn’t a single moment of justice. They have tried for over 75 years to destroy Palestine and they have failed, and they will continue to fail. Because nothing — no displacement, no bombs, no weapons, no missiles — can ever destroy a movement for liberation and justice. What do we want? Justice!’”

Continue reading Canada’s Chinese community rallies for Palestine

US peace activists call for dialogue and understanding with China

The following article in China Daily reports on a recent delegation to China by the US Peace Council, at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD). Among the delegates were Bahman Azad (president of the US Peace Council), Ajamu Baraka of Black Alliance for Peace, Immanuel Ness (chair of the New York Peace Council), and Roger Harris of the US Peace Council executive committee.

The purpose of the trip was to encourage dialogue between the US and China, to promote peace and mutually beneficial relations, and to oppose an escalating New Cold War. Bahman Azad commented: “It is our hope that with the information obtained from this visit and closer cooperation with CPAPD, we will be able to help clear the fog of misunderstanding that is being created about China in our country”.

The delegates all commented on the profound difference between the US and China in terms of their approach to international relations. Ajamu Baraka contrasted China’s commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind with the “crisis-oriented zero-sum diplomacy” of the West. Ajamu points out in a report on the delegation for Black Agenda Report that “we have witnessed concretely the results of the Chinese approach with the historic agreement brokered by the Chinese between Saudi Arabia and Iran that effectively ended the Obama war in Yemen.” Ajamu explores these issues further in an interview on Margaret Flowers’ Clearing the FOG podcast.

In the Black Agenda Report article, Ajamu also talks about the Global Security Initiative (GSI), linking it to the long-term multipolar project – “the transition from Western colonial/capitalist domination of the last five hundred years to new power configurations and social systems that have not yet taken a permanent form but, nevertheless, are in dialectical emergence.” Roger Harris supports this point in an article about the delegation written for Counterpunch: “in this contentious geopolitical climate, China and by extension the Global South pose a countervailing space from US imperial hegemony.”

We will hear from Bahman and Ajamu – alongside Sara Flounders, Danny Haiphong, Dee Knight, Lee Siu Hin, Qiao Collective, Radhika Desai, and representatives of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament and Communist Party USA International Department – on Sunday 18 February at a webinar organised by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group, entitled Peace delegates report back from China: Building solidarity and opposing the New Cold War.

At a time when China-United States relations are increasingly defined by narratives of rivalry, a recent visit by US peace activists to China offered a refreshing counterpoint.

Seeking to build bridges of understanding between the two nations, a delegation from the US Peace Council visited China last month at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament.

They shared their firsthand experience in China at a recent webinar to demonstrate that cooperation, not competition, is the path to a peaceful future.

“What we witnessed was a modernizing China focused on promoting peaceful development of all nations and respect for international law by all states,” said Bahman Azad, the organization’s president.

This commitment to peaceful development stands in stark contrast to the “China threat” narrative often peddled by the US media and government officials. That narrative “presents China’s economic development and its growing diplomatic role in the global affairs as a ‘threat’ to the United States”, said Azad.

“It is our hope that with the information obtained from this visit and closer cooperation with CPAPD, we will be able to help clear the fog of misunderstanding that is being created about China in our country,” he said.

For Immanuel Ness, chair of the New York Peace Council and a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, China’s commitment to equity and noninterference resonates deeply.

“The idea of creating equity, not just equity within a country, but equity among countries came across to me as being extremely important,” he said. “Peaceful development means noninterference in the internal affairs of countries of the Global South, and the world as a whole. That was one of the important aspects of creating a sense of peace.”

He said China’s efforts to develop global partnerships and build political trust are key to creating a more peaceful world. “That level of trust is based on openness and inclusiveness, and on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, something that has been abrogated by the West,” he added.

Roger Harris, a member of the US Peace Council’s Executive Committee and a member of the delegation, highlighted the fundamental divergence in core values between the two nations.

While the US national security doctrine emphasizes “full spectrum dominance”, he said he was impressed by China’s principles of “independence, common prosperity, and peaceful development”.

“The Chinese recognize and celebrate the fact that there’s a very high level of integration between China and the US, particularly in economics. They also see that these intertwined relationships are positive and that they result in the mutual benefits of both countries,” said Harris.

Ajamu Baraka, another member of the delegation and chair of the coordinating committee of the Black Alliance for Peace, further emphasized the difference in the two nations’ diplomatic approaches.

He contrasted China’s commitment to building a “community with a shared future for mankind” with the “crisis-oriented zero-sum diplomacy”, what he called “characteristic of diplomacy emanating from the West”.

China is also committed to pursuing peaceful development based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation and steering the reform of the global governance system under the principle of fairness and justice, said Baraka.

This fundamental divergence in core values underscores the importance of open dialogue and understanding in bridging the divide, he added.

During the visit to China, the delegation members and their Chinese counterparts held “informative, constructive, and productive” discussions, said Azad from the US Peace Council.

At the heart of the agreements reached between the two sides lie people-to-people exchanges. Recognizing the power of direct interaction, both sides pledged to facilitate youth travel and cultural exchanges, allowing citizens to experience each other’s realities firsthand.

Joint webinars and seminars are planned, tackling complex topics like the intricacies of US-China relations and broader issues of global peace. By encouraging open dialogue and knowledge sharing, these initiatives aim to dispel the fog of misinformation and mistrust that clouds bilateral relations, said Azad.

Lenin, China, Palestine, and the global struggle against imperialism

Below is the text and video of a short speech given by Carlos Martinez on behalf of Friends of Socialist China at the International Assembly Against Imperialism in Solidarity with Palestinian Resistance, held at the Malcolm X & Dr Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center in New York City on January 21, 2024.

The event was organised by Workers World Party, and the date was chosen to honour the centennial of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, who died that day in 1924.

Carlos asks “what ties together these seemingly disparate themes of Palestine, China and Leninism”, suggesting that the answer lies in the global struggle against imperialism. He explains the effect of Lenin’s analysis of imperialism in expanding the scope and applicability of Marxism to cover the entire world; how this informed Soviet support for socialist and national liberation projects in the Global South; and how People’s China carried forward this tradition. “China has been and remains a bulwark against imperialism, standing in solidarity with the Global South.”

The speech discusses China’s long history of solidarity with Palestine, and its current positive diplomatic role in opposition to the genocide in Gaza, and concludes:

“The brave Palestinian people, with the solidarity and support of freedom-loving people around the world, will surely win their liberation.”

Dear comrades and friends,

It’s a great honour for Friends of Socialist China to be invited to contribute to this International Assembly Against Imperialism, in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the death of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

What ties together these seemingly disparate themes of Palestine, China and Leninism?

The answer lies in the struggle against imperialism.

The original slogan of the communist movement, ‘Workers of the world unite’ – the rallying cry and final phrase from the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels in 1848 – was put forward at a time when the nascent communist movement was geographically limited to Europe and North America, and focused almost exclusively on the industrial working class.

Lenin’s study of global political economy, and particularly of the dynamics of monopoly capitalism and the emergence of modern imperialism, led him to an acute understanding of the expanded – global – applicability of Marxist thought. He understood that, as a result of imperialist domination, the capitalist class of the metropolis had become an enemy not just to the working class in the advanced capitalist countries but to the broad masses of the oppressed in all countries.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks thus proposed the development of a worldwide united front of the working class and all peoples oppressed by imperialism. Such a united front would be capable – indeed still is capable – of taking the fight to the oppressors, of defeating imperialism, of establishing national independence and sovereignty for the peoples of the Global South, and thereby opening the possibility for a global advance to socialism.

Hence at the second congress of the Comintern in 1920, ‘Workers of the world unite’ was updated to ‘Workers and oppressed peoples of all countries, unite’.

In his letter titled Better Fewer, But Better, the last document he wrote, Lenin observed that “in the last analysis, the outcome of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China etc account for the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe. And during the past few years it is this majority that has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the world struggle will be. In this sense, the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured.”

The Chinese communists of course played a crucial role in developing this ideology and applying it in practice. The overthrow of imperialist domination and the construction of socialism in China, Korea and Vietnam represented a profound shift of the revolutionary centre of gravity in the world towards the East and the South.

The Chinese benefited enormously from the solidarity of the Soviet peoples.

Mao Zedong stated in 1949, just two months before the proclamation of the People’s Republic, that “it was through the Russians that the Chinese found Marxism. The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped progressives in China, as throughout the world, to adopt the proletarian world outlook as the instrument for studying a nation’s destiny and considering anew their own problems.”

In turn, China has been and remains a bulwark against imperialism, standing in solidarity with the Global South.

China’s history of support for the Palestinian national struggle in particular goes back to the 1950s. As Xi Jinping has put it, no matter how the international and regional situation changes, China always firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore the legitimate rights and interests of their nation, and always stands with the Palestinian people.

China sent its first aid to the Palestinian people in 1960, and when the PLO was founded in 1964, China became the first non-Arab country to recognise it. The first Palestinian fighters were sent for military training in China in 1965. It was also one of the first countries to recognise the State of Palestine – on 20 November 1988. Indeed Yasser Arafat – Chairman of the PLO from 1969 to 2004 – stated in 1970 that “China is the biggest influence in supporting our revolution and strengthening its perseverance.”

Premier Zhou Enlai wrote in 1967; “Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance; wherever there is aggression, there is struggle against aggression. I believe that having taken up arms, the revolutionary Arab people of Palestine and the entire Arab people will not lay down their arms and, like the heroic Vietnamese people, will fight on unflinchingly, resolutely and stubbornly until final victory.”

Today, China is among the loudest voices calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and insistently calling for the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and with the right of return.

The heroic Palestinian resistance has put the issue of Palestine back at the centre of global politics. Meanwhile the shift towards a multipolar world and away from US hegemony is creating favourable conditions for finding a lasting and just solution.

Even as we witness the horrors of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, we remember the words of the great Paul Robeson, that the people’s will for freedom is stronger than atom bombs. The brave Palestinian people, with the solidarity and support of freedom-loving people around the world, will surely win their liberation.

Webinar: Building solidarity and opposing the New Cold War – Peace delegates report back from China

Date Sunday 18 February
Time4pm Britain / 11am US Eastern / 8am US Pacific

Although the Biden administration has made some small gestures towards improving US-China relations, the US continues to escalate its campaign of encirclement and containment. The US has ramped up its military aid to Taiwan; it is attempting to strengthen the AUKUS nuclear alliance; it is doing everything it can to prevent China’s emergence as a major computing power; it is imposing sanctions and tariffs on China; and it is relentlessly spreading lurid anti-China slander.

Recognising the terrible dangers posed by the New Cold War (and its potential degeneration into a hot war), a number of peace activists from the US have recently taken part in delegations to China, in order to build understanding and solidarity, and to see China’s reality with their own eyes.

We will hear back from these peace delegates and discuss ways to continue building people-to-people links between the West and China, and to develop a powerful movement for peace and cooperation.

Speakers

  • Ajamu Baraka (Coordinating Committee Chairperson, Black Alliance for Peace)
  • Bahman Azad (President, US Peace Council)
  • Sara Flounders (Co-director, the International Action Center)
  • Danny Haiphong (Youtuber; Author, ‘American Exceptionalism and American Innocence’)
  • Dee Knight (DSA International Committee’s Anti-War Subcommittee)
  • Lee Siu Hin (Founder, China-US Activist Solidarity Project)
  • Charles Xu (Writer and researcher, Qiao Collective)
  • Radhika Desai (Convenor, International Manifesto Group)
  • Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament
  • Communist Party USA International Department

Organisers

This webinar is jointly organised by Friends of Socialist China and the International Manifesto Group.

China, Algeria pledge to continue mutual support, cooperation

China and Algeria have vowed to continue extending firm support to each other on issues related to their core interests and to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields.

The two sides made the pledge during a visit by Liu Guozhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and vice premier of the State Council, who met separately with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Prime Minister Nadir Larbaoui on January 16 in the capital Algiers.

During the meetings, Liu spoke positively of Algeria’s development achievements, adding that China and Algeria are “sincere friends and natural partners in the pursuit of common development and national rejuvenation.”

The Chinese vice premier noted that an important consensus was reached last July by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Tebboune, who paid a successful state visit to China.

As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Algeria comprehensive strategic partnership, Liu said that China is willing to take it as an opportunity to work with Algeria to continue firmly supporting each other on issues related to their core interests and promoting mutual exchanges and cooperation under the framework of high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road.

He further noted that China is also committed to continuing its close coordination and cooperation with Algeria in international and regional affairs. 

Tebboune and Larbaoui said that strengthening cooperation with China is a strategic choice for Algeria, vowing to actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, attract more Chinese companies to Algeria to invest, and jointly promote development.

During the visit, Liu also held a meeting with representatives of the Chinese medical teams on an aid mission in Algeria.

This latter meeting carries particular significance as Algeria was the very first country to which China dispatched its overseas medical aid teams, with last year marking the 60th anniversary. The first team was dispatched on April 6, 1963, shortly after Algeria had won its national independence from French colonialism at the cost of some one million martyrs and the fledgling nation was in desperate need of assistance in the medical and other fields. Chinese medical teams have remained in Algeria on a constant and uninterrupted basis since then, while China’s medical assistance has expanded to embrace 76 countries, retaining a focus on Africa.

An event to mark the 60th anniversary was held in Beijing in late December 2023.

On December 29, Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with the delegates and Liu Guozhong delivered a speech. He said that the CPC Central Committee attaches great importance to international medical aid and that General Secretary Xi has fully affirmed the achievements that have been made in this regard.

Six decades on, medical workers on foreign aid missions have benefited local people with their proficient medical skills and lofty medical ethics, presenting a better China through their practical actions and winning high praise from the governments of recipient countries and their people, Liu added.

He encouraged them to open up new fronts in international medical aid, and make even greater contributions toward building a global community of health for all.

The following articles were originally published by the Xinhua News Agency.

China, Algeria pledge to continue mutual support, cooperation

ALGIERS, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) — China and Algeria on Tuesday vowed to continue firm support to each other on issues related to their core interests and enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields.

The two sides made the pledge during the visit of Liu Guozhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice premier of the State Council, who met Tuesday separately with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Prime Minister Nadir Larbaoui in the Algerian capital of Algiers.

During the meetings, Liu spoke positively of Algeria’s development achievements, adding that China and Algeria are “sincere friends and natural partners in the pursuit of common development and national rejuvenation.”

The Chinese vice premier noted that an important consensus was reached last July by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Tebboune, who paid a successful state visit to China.

As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Algeria comprehensive strategic partnership, Liu said that China is willing to take it as an opportunity to work with Algeria to continue firmly supporting each other on issues related to their core interests and promoting mutual exchanges and cooperation under the framework of high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road.

He noted that China is also committed to continuing its close coordination and cooperation with Algeria in international and regional affairs and making active efforts to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Tebboune and Larbaoui said that strengthening cooperation with China is a strategic choice for Algeria, vowing to actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, attract more Chinese companies to Algeria to invest, and jointly promote development.

The Algeria-China relations are unbreakable, as the two sides have a broad consensus on major international and regional issues, said the Algerian leaders, who voiced Algeria’s willingness to work with China to uphold international fairness and justice and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

During the visit, Liu also held a meeting with representatives of the Chinese medical teams on an aid mission in Algeria. 


Xi meets representatives to event marking 60th anniversary of China dispatching int’l medical aid teams

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met with representatives to an event marking 60th anniversary of China dispatching its first international medical aid team.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, congratulated them and extended regards to all those who are or were on foreign medical aid missions.

Cai Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, was present at the meeting.

At around 11:30 a.m., Xi and others arrived at the East Hall of the Great Hall of the People amid a warm round of applause. Xi and others waved to the representatives and had a cordial exchange with them before taking a group photo together.

Liu Guozhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and vice premier, delivered a speech. He said that the CPC Central Committee attaches great importance to international medical aid, and General Secretary Xi fully affirmed the achievements that have been made in this regard.

Six decades on, medical workers on foreign medical aid missions have benefited local people with their proficient medical skills and lofty medical ethics, presenting a better China through their practical actions and winning high praise from the governments of recipient countries and their people, Liu said.

Liu encouraged them to open up new fronts in international medical aid, and make even greater contributions toward building a global community of health for all.

A total of 30 outstanding international medical aid groups and 60 outstanding individuals were commended at the meeting.

South Sudan: China supports displaced persons

China is extending humanitarian support to the impoverished nation of South Sudan as it copes with an influx of refugees and returnees resulting from the bitter civil conflict currently raging in its northern neighbour.

On December 28, 2023, the South Sudanese government reported that trucks carrying humanitarian aid donated by China to support refugees and returnees displaced from Sudan had started to arrive in the capital, Juba. Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Albino Akol Atak said: “This has been a generous donation by the government of China to the people of South Sudan.”

He added that the donation by China will be used to shelter the returnees and refugees at the transit sites and the final destinations and noted that there will be further support from the Chinese government for the displaced persons, totalling 1.4 million US dollars, which will be delivered before the end of January.

Akol expressed gratitude for the generous contribution, saying that it affirmed the true friendship between South Sudan and China.

South Sudan and China have enjoyed friendly relations since the former won its independence in July 2011. This relationship is underpinned by the close ties between the two ruling parties, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The below article was originally published by Telesur.

On Thursday, the government of South Sudan said that trucks carrying humanitarian aid donated by China to support refugees and returnees displaced from Sudan have started to arrive in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Albino Akol Atak said six trucks carrying a total of 26,145 pieces of plastic sheets arrived in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to support the returnees and refugees.

“This has been a generous donation by the government of China to the people of South Sudan and is a result of our engagement with the international community and donors for them to help the government and to support the efforts of the government in its responses to the influx of refugees and returnees that have come as a result of the conflict in Sudan,” Akol told reporters in Juba.

He said more than 460,000 people have already been displaced to South Sudan as a result of the Sudanese conflict and are in dire need of shelter, food, and medicines in the transit centers and their final destination.

Akol said the donation by China will be used to shelter the returnees and refugees at the transit sites and the final destinations.

He noted that there will be another support from the Chinese government for the displaced persons totaling 1.4 million U.S. dollars, which will be delivered before the end of January 2024.

Akol expressed gratitude for the generous contribution of the government of China, affirming the true friendship between South Sudan and China.

International Publishers, the Chinese Revolution, and world socialism

International Publishers, the Marxist book publishing company based in New York City, celebrated its centenary with a day-long syposium on 26 October 2023, held at NYU Libraries. Among those addressing the event were Gerald Horne, the revolutionary feminist scholar Elisabeth Armstrong, West African history specialist Dennis Laumann, and International Publishers vice-president Tony Pecinovsky. A summary of the event was published in People’s World.

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez attended via Zoom, giving a presentation on the subject of “International Publishers, the Chinese Revolution, and world socialism”, in which he gave an overview of the role played by International Publishers and associated communist publishing houses in raising awareness of the Chinese Revolution in its early phases.

The presentation also touches on the Sino-Soviet split and its impact on relations between the Western left and China. Carlos posits that we are in an ongoing important process of overcoming the Sino-Soviet split, and that “International Publishers has a key role to play in this process… Its recent publication of China’s Economic Dialectic by Cheng Enfu – one of China’s foremost Marxist scholars – is an exciting step forward, particularly as there are so few good books available in the English language about modern Chinese Marxism.”

The speech also briefly discusses the issue of the social character of the People’s Republic of China, and the importance of opposing the US-led New Cold War.

The full text of the presentation is reproduced below.

Dear friends,

Many thanks for inviting me to participate in today’s event. It’s an honour to be with you.

The progressive movement in the United States, and other parts of the Western world, has a long history of solidarity with the Chinese Revolution and the project of building socialism in China, and of telling people the truth about China.

International Publishers – and the CPUSA – blazed a trail in this regard. In the case of International Publishers, support for Red China goes back almost to the very beginning of its history, for example printing in 1937 the first North American edition of Mao Zedong’s famous essay On Practice.

Other publishing houses with which IP worked closely – New Century Publishers and Workers Library Publishers – also printed a number of titles in solidarity with China during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, including China’s Fight for National Liberation and Hell Over Shanghai.

In 1945, William Z Foster wrote the foreword to the volume Fight for a New China, based on Mao’s report to the Seventh National Congress of the CPC.

A number of theoretical works were also published in English for the first time, including Liu Shaoqi’s On Inner-Party Struggle and Mao Zedong’s On New Democracy.

A great many prominent communists and anti-imperialists in the US threw their weight behind China’s liberation.

The great African-American activist, linguist and performer Paul Robeson became widely known in China for his powerful rendition in Chinese of the March of the Volunteers, the song that was to become, and remains, the national anthem of the People’s Republic. Robeson first recorded the song in 1941, with a chorus made up of Chinese workers in New York. The proceeds from the gramophone record went to support China’s war effort against Japanese invasion.

The sociologist Dr WEB DuBois, one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century, who joined the CPUSA in 1961 – at the tender age of 93 – forged a profound friendship with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders.

In the late 1930s, the CPUSA joined with the Communist Party of Canada to send Dr Norman Bethune to the frontline in China, where he was instrumental in setting up the system of “barefoot doctors”, training ordinary peasants to provide primary medical care. He died a martyr in 1939 while stationed with the Eighth Route Army in Shanxi Province, and became the embodiment of revolutionary internationalism for the people of China and beyond. In his eulogy, Mao wrote: “Every communist must learn the true communist spirit from Comrade Bethune.”

Continue reading International Publishers, the Chinese Revolution, and world socialism

Benjamin Zephaniah – lifelong champion of the oppressed

The celebrated British poet, novelist and campaigner Benjamin Zephaniah passed away on 7 December 2023. Zephaniah was a friend of China and owned a flat in Beijing, spending several months a year there, writing and training in martial arts. His famous novels Refugee Boy, Gangsta Rap and Teacher’s Dead were written in China.

His funeral is being held today, 28 December 2023. We publish below a brief obituary by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez.

One of Britain’s most important and impactful cultural workers breathed his last breath on 7 December 2023, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks previously.

Benjamin Zephaniah was widely known as a poet, author and actor, but also as a tireless and courageous campaigner for justice. He never hesitated to speak his mind; he never put his career before his principles. He was quite unique in his ability to cut through ruling class cultural hegemony – a function of his prodigious talent and his strong roots in the British working class, in particular among oppressed communities.

As a black man from a working class Jamaican background, Zephaniah faced racism all his life, and anti-racism was one of his main areas of focus as an activist. For decades, he stood shoulder to shoulder with oppressed peoples demanding equality – indeed he was among those marching in Southall on 23 April 1979 to defend the local population against the National Front, on which occasion the Metropolitan Police, acting in defence of and in cahoots with the fascists, killed Blair Peach.

Zephaniah well understood that the fundamental purpose of racism is to divide working people. He wrote a few years ago:

“I have always thought that poor white people and poor black people should unite and confront the people who oversee all of our miseries… The biggest fear of all of the mainstream politicians is that we all reach a point where we understand how much we have in common and, instead of turning on ourselves, we turn on them. In poetry and prose I have said that unity is strength, and that we should get to a point where we are not talking about black rights or white rights, Asian rights or rights for migrant workers; we are just talking about our rights.”

He elaborated on this point in his 2018 autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, where he talked about the racism he would sometimes face doing miners’ strike solidarity work in the mid-1980s. In response to some miners in Nottinghamshire shouting derogatory remarks while he was performing, another miner jumped on stage and “delivered a diatribe against racism and urged working-class people to stick together, pointing out that I was the person who in the previous week had sent them a donation of £1,500 (a lot of money in those days) from an African-Caribbean association, and they, the miners, were happy to take the money and feed their kids.”

Reflecting on how miners’ attitudes towards black workers shifted over the course of the strike, Zephaniah noted: “The miners realised they couldn’t win the fight on their own; they needed the solidarity of their wives, black poets, Chinese chefs and Bengali factory workers… Those who were involved in that strike will never forget the picket line battles, the workers’ solidarity, the lessons learned through struggle and the dark forces of police and state that were unleashed upon those workers.”

Although his talent won him a level of acceptance within the mainstream, Zephaniah was not afraid to express revolutionary and anti-imperialist views. Interviewed by the Guardian in the aftermath of the 2017 Grenfell disaster, he stated bluntly: “I go on Question Time and I talk to politicians and get involved, but actually I’d like to just burn the lot of them. The system stinks.”

Elsewhere he discusses the hypocrisy of the bourgeois narrative in relation to democracy and freedom of speech: “Some of us think that, because we have so many TV stations, we have freedom. We don’t. We have the illusion of freedom.”

In 2018, with the US escalating its propaganda war against the People’s Republic of China, Zephaniah talked about his experiences in that country, where he had spent several extended periods writing and training in martial arts.

“Back in the year 2000 I did a tour of clubs and schools in Hong Kong. When the performances were over I was asked if I wanted to go for a day trip into what people called mainland China. How I hate that term. I won’t go on about how the British stole Hong Kong (along with lots of other stuff) and then did a ninety-nine-year deal that was completely unfair to the Chinese. Or how hypocritical the British were in criticising ‘undemocratic’ China while at the same time denying citizens of Chinese origin the right to vote in the British bit of China.”

He continued: “I quickly realised I loved the place. This was the time when everyone started talking about China’s rapid growth, and I saw it happening right in front of me. I’ve never seen a country growing so quickly… I met people who by Western standards were middle class, but one generation ago their families were slum dwellers… After that first independent visit, I would return to China many times. I found it a great place to be creative.”

Interestingly, the following year another prominent British wordsmith of African-Caribbean origin, Akala, wrote in his book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire:

Over the past few decades, China has pulled at least 500 million people out of poverty (the Communist propagandists at the World Bank actually put the figure at around 800 million), industrialised at a pace faster than any nation before and today stands at the leading edge of many green technologies, and it has managed to do all of this without invading and colonising half the planet. For these and many other reasons – despite obvious and undeniable injustices in China – you would think China would be universally admired by those who claim to believe industrial capitalism to be the holy grail of human achievement. Yet reading about China in the press, I can’t help but feel a tinge of the old ‘yellow peril’ sentiment still lurking beneath the narratives.

Given the extraordinary pressure on anyone in the public eye to conform to the anti-China consensus, it’s impressive and hugely helpful when a courageous few speak the truth like this.

Benjamin Zephaniah was a longstanding friend of socialist Cuba and patron of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, saying: “I am a proud friend of Cuba. We do what we do to support a small nation that is fighting to defend its sovereignty. We do what we do to gain justice for the Miami Five, to help with hurricane relief, and to support Cuban medical teams wherever they go in the world.”

His vision was truly global. He stood with the oppressed in every continent. He was a stalwart of the struggle against apartheid in both South Africa and Palestine. At a 2019 meeting of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which he was a patron, he recalled: “When I was young, there were two things that I really wanted to see: a free South Africa and a free Palestine.”

Visiting the Occupied Territories for the first time in 1988, he wrote: “I have come to the conclusion that Zionism is apartheid.” And three decades later, he was one of very few public figures to loudly defend then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn against absurd charges of antisemitism, saying on Question Time – to rapturous applause from the studio audience – that Corbyn was “the only mainstream politician who’s been arrested for anti-racism… He’s the kind of person that shouldn’t actually be in politics, because politics is so dirty.”

Zephaniah placed a special emphasis on opposing British colonialism and imperialism, and raised his voice in support of Irish freedom (including performing at Troops Out Movement events) and for the return of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. Famously, in 2003 he turned down the offer of an OBE:

“‘Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word ‘empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised… Benjamin Zephaniah OBE – no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.’

Benjamin Zephaniah will be sadly missed, but he leaves a body of work and a legacy of campaigning that will continue to inspire new generations in their struggles for a better world.

Global Times interview with Carlos Martinez

What follows below is the full text of a written interview of Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, conducted by the Global Times.

The interview deals with a wide range of issues, including the New Cold War on China, the nature of Chinese socialism, the Belt and Road Initiative, capitalist versus socialist democracy, and anti-China propaganda in the Western media.

An abridged version was published in the Global Times on 31 August 2023.

Could you please briefly introduce yourself to us? When did you start to study China? And what made you start to be interested in the country?

I’m an author and campaigner from London, Britain, with a longstanding interest in the socialist countries and global anti-imperialism. My first book, released in 2019, was about the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was involved in setting up the No Cold War campaign in 2020, and the Friends of Socialist China platform in 2021.

There were two main motivations for me to start studying China. The first comes from being a Marxist and wanting to understand how socialism is constructed in the real world. The second comes from being anti-imperialist and anti-war, and wanting to understand China’s role in the development of a peaceful and multipolar world.

The more I study China, the more I realise how poorly it’s understood in the West. In recent years, the anti-China propaganda in the media has been increasingly intense, corresponding to the rise of the US-led New Cold War. Many people have this absurd idea of China as some sort of authoritarian dystopia that’s intent on taking over the world. Many people believe the media’s disgraceful slanders about the suppression of human rights in Xinjiang, and so on.

China is misunderstood even on the left: lots of people believe that, because China uses market mechanisms, or because there are some very rich people in China, that it can’t be socialist any more. But then how do we explain China’s achievements? China has raised living standards beyond recognition; it’s become the world leader in renewable energy; it’s gone from being a poor and backward country to being a science and technology powerhouse; it’s leading the global shift to multipolarity; its life expectancy now exceeds that of the US. All this is historic and unprecedented progress, on a scale which has never been achieved by any capitalist country. Why on earth would the left want to attribute these successes to capitalism rather than socialism?

Continue reading Global Times interview with Carlos Martinez