Re: Labor unrest, Neo-Maoist?

From "brian turner" <>
Date Fri, 05 Nov 2004 05:23:46 +0000

I am also curious about Martin's questions.  To what degree is Neo-Maoism an 
influence over grass roots protests of workers and farmers (and if so, 
exactly what is the content of said ideology)?

Is there any connection between grass roots Neo-Maoist populism and elite 
"New Left" intellectuals or party officials?

>From: Martin Hart-Landsberg <>
>To: Jonathan Lassen <>,
>Subject: Re: labor unrest
>Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 12:43:52 -0800
>Thanks for your response Jonathan.  I wonder whether these responses are a 
>reflection of the building social costs from years of state marketization 
>policies?  And if so is there any reason to expect that there will not be 
>more of them.
>Also interesting is the question of how much publicity these strikes and 
>actions are getting in China.  Might they serve as a base for more elite 
>resistance to market policies, and if so with what alternative vision?
>--On Tuesday, November 02, 2004 12:51 AM -0500 Jonathan Lassen 
><> wrote:
>>Hi Martin,
>>I should preface my comments by saying that I'm half a world away
>>from all this, and most of my knowledge comes from trying to decipher
>>the meaning and veracity of flickering images on my screen, so take
>>anything with a grain of salt and please defer to people who know
>>Yes, it does seem that the labor actions are becoming more diverse.
>>You still see pensioners protesting (as in Bengbu), but now you also
>>have protests like that in Shandong against a sudden drop in wages
>>and working conditions after an ownership change (state->private),
>>the strike in Shanxi in protest of corruption and collusion, and the
>>strike Shenzhen against low wages and harsh working conditions. And
>>these are the ones we know about.
>>I think it's also important to also look at three other things going
>>on right now. First is the Lang Xianping debate. Lang's criticism of
>>SOE asset transfer touched off a storm, particularly on the internet,
>>and opinion has been almost unanimously in support of his crticisms.
>>This has gotten little play in English-language media. Neoliberal
>>economists within China have been silent, unable to muster a coherent
>>reply, and the charges created (I think) enough of a crisis of
>>legitimacy to warrant from SASAC a very very lame defense of the
>>Second, the unprecedented scale and ferocity of place-based actions
>>against perceived governmment injustice (Wanzhou and Hanyuan) seems
>>new to me. The sentiment isn't, but I think you can call it a crisis
>>when a county seat of 100,000 experiences a general strike (as in
>>Hanyuan) and the state has to cut off all communications with the
>>city and call in the paramilitary troops.
>>Third, the elite are seriously worried. This rough draft of a piece
>>by Li Changping gives some idea:
>>Btw, the strike in Shanxi is apparently finally over after 6 long
>>weeks. The police took over and arrested people, according to:
>>   Hart-Landsberg wrote:
>>>I wanted to ask about people's impressions concerning the growing
>>>labor  unrest in China.   Over the last two years it seemed to me
>>>that most of  the labor actions involved laid off or retired workers
>>>who were  demonstrating for pensions or health care or against the
>>>process that  led to their lay offs/retirements.  There was little
>>>actual strike  action resulting in production shutdowns.  But this
>>>year it seems to me  that there are growing numbers of actual
>>>strikes, especially in textiles  and electronics.  Is this an
>>>accurate impression and if so how  significant is this change?
>>>Thanks in advance,
>>>Marty Hart-Landsberg

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