13. Thinking about the social-imperialist USSR and what it means for China’s status today.

Here is a little argument, sort of in the form of a syllogism, which should make Maoists who still doubt that China is now an imperialist country think a bit.

Most Maoists accept that the Soviet Union in its final decades was, as Mao himself labeled it, a social-imperialist country. That is, it was “socialist” in name, but imperialist in fact.

When the USSR/Russia dropped the socialist signboard did it cease to be an imperialist country? Of course not! True, Russia after the collapse of the USSR was not in nearly as strong a position to lord it over its former internal colonies and external satellites. It was not at that time in a position to invade Czechoslovakia and Hungary the way it had done before. But it owned large numbers of factories, mines and other facilities (including military bases) in the former states of the Soviet Union; it still exploited those countries; and it still threw its weight around when it could. (And the degree to which it has been able to do this has once again been growing in recent years.) The term now used by the Russian ruling class for its continuing imperialist sphere of special influence is “the near abroad”.

Now consider present-day capitalist China as compared to contemporary Russia. China has, if anything, more foreign investments and operations than Russia; a much larger volume of exported capital, which is increasing at a vastly faster pace than that of Russia; a military force which is comparable to that of Russia; and it is beginning to throw its weight around in the world to a degree that at least matches Russia.

So if Russia is an imperialist country, then clearly China is too.

Or in abbreviated syllogistic form:

  1. The Soviet Union (dominated by Russia) in its last decades was an imperialist country (though nominally “socialist”).
  2. Russia remained, and became a less disguised, imperialist country after it dropped the socialist signboard.
  3. China has all the same relevant characteristics, mostly to a greater degree, than imperialist Russia has.
  4. Therefore, China is an imperialist country too. QED.

[End of Part 2 (of 4)]