Invent the Future

"We must dare to invent the future" - Thomas Sankara

Cumulative COVID-19 cases in China

The initial outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) took place in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in early January 2020. The epidemic was limited almost entirely to China until a month later, when it flared up in Iran, South Korea, Japan and Italy. By 11 March, it was clear that sustained community-level transmission of the virus was occurring in multiple regions of the world, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a pandemic. With the virus spreading throughout Europe and North America, there is now a serious possibility that COVID-19 will infect a large […]

Xi'an main square

Between 27 December and 7 January, I joined a China Silk Road Tour led by former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and organised by Chinese-American activist Lee Siu Hin. There were various strands of political ideology to be found among the 20 delegates, but we were united in our opposition to the growing US-led Cold War, which is directed primarily at China and which seeks to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world. We spent around three days each in Beijing, Xi’an (capital of Shaanxi province, and one of the oldest cities in China), Dunhuang (a small oasis city that served […]

This article was also published by Telesur English on 21 December, 2019. The UK parliamentary election of 12 December was a disaster for the working class and for oppressed communities; a defeat for the young, the elderly, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, women, LGBT+ people, migrants and Muslims; a defeat for a planet that needs rescuing from climate catastrophe; a defeat for a world crying out for an end to imperialist warmongering and aggression. Labour went into the election with a powerful manifesto – a set of commitments that would have made life significantly better for millions of people, a […]

We must strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. We will be more conscientious in promoting green, circular, and low-carbon development. We will never again seek economic growth at the cost of the environment. (Xi Jinping)1 The cost of development Few events in human history have resonated throughout the world as profoundly as the Chinese revolution. Standing in Tiananmen Square on 1 October 1949, pronouncing the birth of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong said “the Chinese people have stood up”. In standing up, in building a modern socialist society and throwing off the shackles of feudalism, […]

A slightly modified version of this article first appeared in the Morning Star on 25 June 2019. The first volume of Samir Amin’s memoirs, A Life Looking Forward: Memoirs of an Independent Marxist, was first published over a decade ago, in 2006. It dealt primarily with his early life and the experiences that contributed to his intellectual formation and the major ideas with which he is associated: the critique of Eurocentrism; the notion of the ‘long transition to socialism’; and his insistence on ‘delinking’ from the imperialist triad of the US, Europe and Japan. This second (and final) instalment, published […]

Most governments in the world enjoy precious little popular support. For example, when British prime minister Theresa May was forced to announce her resignation in May 2019, the masses didn’t rush out to the streets to declare their undying fealty; more like, the ground shook with the simultaneous muttering of the words “good riddance” from millions of homes and workplaces throughout the country.1 It may then have come as a surprise to some when, in early 2019, millions of ordinary Venezuelans – working people, peasants, students, barrio-dwellers – flocked to the streets to defend their elected government from an attempted […]

This article first appeared in the Morning Star on 15 April 2019. In the popular imagination, the German Democratic Republic is indelibly linked with ideas of authoritarianism, poverty, secret police, stuffy bureaucracy and a generalised absence of democracy. Victor Grossman is uniquely well placed to challenge this McCartheyite narrative. Born in New York in 1928, he joined the Communist Party while studying at Harvard in the late 1940s. He was drafted into the army and, while stationed in Austria, defected to the GDR. Marrying a German woman, studying and working, raising children and grandchildren, he lived in East Germany until […]

Marxism

Samir Amin: obituary

This article first appeared in issue 5 of Transform: A Journal of the Radical Left, November 2018. On 12 August 2018, the global revolutionary movement lost one of its most outstanding thinkers. Born in Cairo in 1931, Samir Amin studied in Paris and received his early political education as a member of the French Communist Party. Moving back to Egypt in 1957, he worked as an economic advisor to the Nasser government before moving to Mali (1960) and then Senegal (1963). In 1975, he co-founded the Third World Forum, a network of intellectuals in Africa, Asia and Latin America, working to formulate models of […]

The recent high-profile summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held in Beijing at the beginning of September, has inspired some familiar accusations in the North American and West European press: China is the new colonial power in Africa; China is attempting to dominate African land and resources; Africa is becoming entangled in a Beijing-devised debt trap; Chinese investment in Africa only benefits China; and so on. This article addresses these accusations and concludes that they are based on shaky foundations; that China is by no means an imperialist power; that increasing Africa-China relations are of significant benefit to […]

NB. This is extracted (and updated) from a much longer article – Will the People’s Republic of China go the way of the USSR? – published on 31 May 2018. So long as socialism does not collapse in China, it will always hold its ground in the world. (Deng Xiaoping)1 The first of October marks the China’s National Day, the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. With China’s rise and its increasing importance to the global economy, China is a ‘hot topic’ in the world of politics and economics. And, after four decades of market-oriented […]

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