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For some reason, this song came back to me recently. It is ‘Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner’ by Warren Zevon. As I pointed out some time ago, I like the line, ‘The deal was done in Denmark, on a dark and stormy day’.


But as a friend in China pointed out recently, the relevant line now is: ‘Now it’s ten years later, but he still keeps up the fight’. What should be added here is China, since I think it is great that the communist party is the government of China. As a recent application to the Tiananmen management committee’s propaganda department put it (for filming in relation to Chinese Marxism), I am a friend of China and especially the CPC. Which is a long way of saying that I simply claim this song as my own.


More reports on the People’s Daily and Xinhua News on the China-Russia joint naval exercises in the South China Sea.


And a series of articles in the People’s Daily analyse the USA as a ‘source of turmoil in the world’. It is keen both to make a mess and to brainwash the elites in some non-Western countries. To a large degree, this is ‘a reflection of a twisted mentality of an empire moving downhill’.

Strange how I need to read Chinese newspapers to find out details about the major joint naval exercises between China and Russia in the South China Sea. As I have pointed out before, their increasing closeness is perhaps the major geopolitical development in recent years.

How about this for an image (from Xinhua News):


This week has seen one of the more nasty and ugly developments in Australian politics, and that is saying something. In a classic case of dog-whistle politics, a senator was accused of accepting donations from a Chinese businessman, which implied that his positive comments on China had been ‘bought’. ‘Manchurian candidate’ is the term bandied about, with both racist and anti-communist undertones. Then of course the university China research centres that offer a more positive view of China have been accused of similar tendencies. So what is going on here? Fear of geopolitical shifts? Somewhat. Lack of adequate political representation of the diversity in Australia? Again, true enough. But deeper down is the stoking of an old theme in Australian politics: the fear of the ‘yellow peril’, which was and is also a fear of communism (the weird thing about this is that most immigrants these days come from Asia). Add to this that the one who has been accused is an Australian of Iranian background and another layer is added. By comparison, the regular reporting on internal political matters, from within a political party, to the CIA is not regarded as a threat.

For what it is worth, when I am asked why I like coming to China (where I am now), I respond: I like the food, the culture, the history, the people, the chaotic excitement of the rapid changes everywhere around me, but above all the fact that the communist party is the government.

A comrade at the University of Newcastle, Roger Markwick, has written a great piece on the ‘new cold war.’ A specialist in Soviet and Russian history, he tracks the way NATO’s blatant provocations and aggressive stances are aimed at threatening Russia and how Russia’s responses should be seen in that light. In other words, invade Russia at your own risk. NATO – ‘a lethal instrument of the world’s most powerful military machine, harnessed to a predatory, highly developed capitalist system that brooks no challenges to its hegemony’ – risks following in the steps of Napoleon and Hitler. It did not end well for them.

I would add to Roger’s analysis the growing alliance and cooperation between Russia and China, which embodies the bulk of the Eurasian landmass, huge resources, economic power and military sophistication.

As my research has moved into the complexities of socialism in power, first in the Soviet Union and now in China, I have been struck by what might be called structural anti-communism in many Russian/Slavic Studies and China Studies programs. This is not a comment on individuals who often do excellent work, but on the structural formations of such places. My thoughts on this were initially triggered by Immanuel Wallsterstein’s observation that the disciplines of anthropology and ‘Orientalism’ arose as a way for Atlantic centres of power to understand and control large parts of the world over which they felt the entitlement to domination. However, after the Russian and Chinese revolutions, along with the huge anti-colonial movement supported (ideologically and materially) by socialist states, the game changed somewhat. Now government resources were channelled into Russian and Chinese studies. The reason was the need to understand the new ‘enemies’ who dared to challenge to world order. With this background, such programs and centres usually became structurally anti-communist, if not anti-Russian and anti-Chinese. Of course, it helped that fugitives from the Russian and Chinese revolutions (in the latter case from Hong Kong and Taiwan) often gained positions in such centres. But the key is in the structures of such places. Today we once again find that such centres have a new lease of life. Putin has become the number one enemy of the ‘West’ (often likened to Stalin, although Putin is anything but a communist). And China’s inexorable rise in economic and political power – led by the Communist Party – has led to a new batch of studies focusing on ‘authoritarianism’, ‘freedom of the press’, and the clampdown on ‘dissent’.

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