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China

Sting in the Tail: Winners . . . and Losers

Winners

"If only we could bottle the feeling - the desire to be rich." This was Seb Coe, Olympic athlete and prospective Tory candidate, speaking at the launch of National Motivation Week (The Guardian 15 May).

The aim of NMW is to encourage all of us "losers" to become "winners". Among the supporting winners present were football managers Steve Harrison (recently sacked by Watford), Alan Ball and Lennie Lawrence (whose teams have just been relegated), and Lou Macari (on bail accused of tax offences).

But suppose we all did what those behind NMW want us to do and became winners. Has it never occurred to these dimwits that capitalism can only function if the vast majority, the losers, are so poor that they must sell their ability to work for a wage or salary?

Book Review: 'The Communist International'

"The Communist International," by F. Borkenau. Faber & Faber. 12/6. 442 pages

A by no means insignificant reason for the lamentable condition of the international working-class movement is to be sought in the baneful influence of events in Russia. Hypnotised by its mythical Socialist character, bull-dozed by its offspring, the Communist International, thousands of militant workers have fallen victims to its spell. Fortunately, numbers of workers everywhere, under the hard blows of reality, are beginning to come to their senses. Anything that tends to hasten this process can only be welcomed, and therein lies the importance of this book. Written by a former official of the German Communist Party, it is a painstaking and scrupulous attempt to reveal the origins of Russian Bolshevism and its influence, through the Comintern, on the world Labour movement.

China is Capitalist - Official

Early last year pork rationing was reintroduced into most of the largest cities in China, after having been phased out a decade before. In Beijing and Shanghai, for instance, the monthly ration is one and a half kilograms of pork for each person. It is possible to buy pork in some shops without ration coupons but at a higher price, naturally. The reason for bringing back rationing is an unexpected shortage of pork: in 1984, 20 million fewer pigs were slaughtered than in 1979 And the reason for this shortage is the familiar one of profit and loss. Farmers in China simply make more money from growing grain or raising rabbits than from raising pigs, so pork production has declined in favour of more profitable occupations.

Contradicting Mao

On 10 October 1911, a revolt broke out in the central China city of Wuhan which led to the overthrow of the last imperial dynasty, the Manchus. The Republic of China was established on 1 January 1912, with Sun Yat-sen as provisional president. When Sun was forced to step down China fragmented into a number of regional units governed by rival warlords, but the party he created, the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang. remained the dominant political force.

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