Monday, December 04, 2023

In Pictures: 制定实施中央八项规定 [Formulate and implement the eight central regulations]



The new trend of the times is around us
Doing things in one go

Formulate and implement eight central regulations
It is our party’s effort move to build trust in the new era. Over the past 11 years, we have persisted in upholding integrity and discipline.
Correcting the "four winds" with the spirit of driving home nails has stopped some unhealthy tendencies that had not been confronted for a long time and corrected some stubborn social ills that have not been eliminated for many years.
The eight central regulations are iron rules and strong leverage that are effective for the long term.
We must constantly work hard and tirelessly until we can ensure that [these regulations] truly become custom.


Friday, December 01, 2023

Parallel Barking Podcast: "Weaponizing Migrants--Russia Diverting Asylum Seekers to Finland"


 Episode description: In attempts to destabilize the West, Russia and its allies have been using migrants as pawns. After Russia invaded Ukraine and Finland joined NATO, it is clear that this "hybrid [type] warfare" combined with disinformation is becoming the norm. 

Although it has multiple uses, weaponized migration is often employed as an instrument of state-level coercion, undertaken to achieve a wide range of geopolitical and other foreign policy goals that have been frustrated by other means. States and nonstate actors have resorted to this tactic at least 81 times—and possibly many more—since the advent of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which granted those fleeing political persecution the right to seek asylum in states that are signatories to the agreement. Governments that weaponize migration to achieve foreign policy objectives are often, but not always, autocratic; their targets have disproportionately, but not exclusively, been advanced liberal democracies. (Kelly M Greenhill, "When migrants become weapons: The long history and worrying future of a coercive tactic," MIT Center for International Studies (March/April 2022))

While our focus is on the current use of the tactic by Russia in the context of its imperial adventurism; it ought to be considered as well as a tactic of equalizing power where smaller states seek concessions from larger and potentially opposing states (e.g., "Nicaragua is ‘weaponizing’ US-bound migrants as Haitians pour in on charter flights, observers say"AP (October 23, 2023), also here). While issues of state responsibility tend to be foregrounded usually those miss two significant points, (1) that exporting sates appear to be able to act with impunity and the receiving state appears to bear the greater responsibility to prevent-mitigate-or remedy (e.g. here; and here); and (2) little attention is paid to the micro-issues of human consequences (e.g., here).

Access podcast HERE.

For Additional background, see here for a classical perspective, and Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann & Anthony Paphiti, Mass Migration as a Hybrid Threat? - A Legal Perspective, Polish Pol. Sci. Y.B. 50 (2021) 119-145 , introduction below.

Pix Credit here


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Brief Reflections on Guidance for "Foreign Related Legal System Construction" [涉外法制建设 营造] in the New Era: 习近平在中共中央政治局第十次集体学习时强调 加强涉外法制建设营造有利法治条件和外部环境 [During the 10th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping emphasized strengthening the construction of foreign-related legal systems to create favorable legal conditions and (harmonious) external environment]


Pix credit here ("Revolutionary friendship (Friends from Asia, Africa and Latin America visit the Museum of the Chinese revolutionary army), 1964")

推进涉外法治工作,根本目的是用法治方式更好维护国家和人民利益,促进国际法治进步,推动构建人类命运共同体。必须坚定不移走中国特色社会主义法治道路。["The fundamental purpose of promoting foreign-related legal work is to use the rule of law to better safeguard the interests of the country and the people, promote the progress of the international rule of law, and promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind. We must unswervingly follow the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics."] (Xi Jinping, here)


The issue of engagement with foreign legal systems that intersect with Chinese national socialist legalities has become an important element of the construction of the New Era Communist International in the post global era. It forms an intimate part of the development of New Era Socialist Internationalism (here; compare 1960s approach e.g., here), and with it, Socialist human rights (here and here).  That engagement requires a legal basis--that approach is consonant with New Era notions of Socialist rule of law and its core principle of shutting power within a cage (or system) or regulation (e.g., here). Socialist Rule of Law applied to the field of (and engagement with) international, transnational, and foreign law (that is to such law embedded in and operating as law systems (制) identifiable as distinct from the Socialist Law system of China) also required a cage or system of regulation.  

That cage or system acquired part of its form with the coming into force (1 July 2023) of the revised Law on Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China [中华人民共和国对外关系法] (discussed briefly here). The most relevant provisions might be found in Articles 29-39 of the Revised Foreign Relations Law (The System of Foreign Relations).

Pix credit here
 These provisions are meant to sketch out the application of principles of Socialist Rule of Law from the national to the international sphere--and back again (article 29). The relationship between treaty and constitution is specified (Article 30) suggesting that treaty law is subject to both "the Constitution and other laws." Article 31 builds in a universal reservation to all of the Treaty law of China, as well as to the application of other international rules and laws within the Chinese domestic legal order: "The implementation and application of treaties and agreements shall not undermine the sovereignty of the State, national security and public interests." It is only within that reservation that China commits, in Article 32, to "strengthen the implementation and application of its laws and regulations in foreign-related fields in conformity with the fundamental principles of international law and fundamental norms governing international relations." Indeed, it is from that universal reservation that China grounds its right "to take, as called for, measures to counter or take restrictive measures against acts that endanger its sovereignty, national security and development interests in violation of international law or fundamental norms governing international relations." (Article 33). This provision will likely serve as a blanket authority for the exercise of discretionary and administrative counter measures to sanctions regimes and other measures taken by foreign states (and principally the United States and its allies). The only exception are UN mandated sanctions (again subject to the universal reservation) and only to the extent they have "binding force adopted by the United Nations Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations" (Article 35). Foreign relations on the basis of the one China principle is specified in Article 34. Article 37 focuses on the protection of foreign diplomatic personnel and property; Article 38 focuses on the right of China to protect the interests of its citizens and its property abroad. Foreigners and foreign organizations "shall abide by its laws, and shall not endanger China’s national security, undermine social and public interests or disrupt social and public order" (Ibid.). Again exchanges are emphasized, this time in the context of rule of law, law enforcement and the judicial field (article 39) and international cooperation in the judicial, criminal and corruption fields (ibid.).   

Nonetheless, the Foreign Relations Law might be understood as the start, rather than an ends, of the rationalization of foreign related legal systems within or as they might affect or intersect with Socialist Legality and rule of law principles within China and affecting Chinese activities abroad. 

All of that might have provided the impetus for the object of the 10th collective study session of the CPC Poliburo, held 27 November 2023, one in which Xi Jinping was reported to have emphasized the strengthening the construction of foreign-related legal systems (涉外法制) to create favorable legal conditions and external environment after an in depth explanation of the issue by Huang Huikang, Distinguished Professor of Wuhan University ["武汉大学特聘教授黄惠康同志就这个问题进行讲解"] (Reported by Xinhua News Service on 28 November 2023 under the tile " 习近平在中共中央政治局第十次集体学习时强调 加强涉外法制建设营造有利法治条件和外部环境 [During the 10th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping emphasized strengthening the construction of foreign-related legal systems to create favorable legal conditions and external environment.]). 

The text of the Xinhua reporting in the original Chinese and in a crude English translation follows below. It is worth careful study for the further development of theoretical and discursive frameworks within which the development of Socialist Rule of law principles will be applied first to identify, and then engage with,  foreign-related legal systems (涉外法制)within the aegis of overarching New Era theoretical theoretical principles. A few brief observations drawn from the reporting text:

1. The further development of embedded and socialist positive foreign-related legal systems requires a complex balancing, grounded in the contemporary principal contradiction, and consistent with both domestic and foreign policy goals and objectives under the shadow of that contradiction and the necessity of its overcoming.

要从更好统筹国内国际两个大局、更好统筹发展和安全的高度,深刻认识做好涉外法治工作的重要性和紧迫性,建设同高质量发展、高水平开放要求相适应的涉外法治体系和能力,为中国式现代化行稳致远营造有利法治条件和外部环境。[From the perspective of better coordinating the domestic and international situations, and better coordinating development and security, we must deeply understand the importance and urgency of doing a good job in foreign-related legal work, and build a foreign-related legal system that is consistent with the requirements of high-quality development and high-level opening up capable of creating favorable legal conditions and external environment for the steady and long-term progress of Chinese-style modernization.] (习近平在中共中央政治局第十次集体学习时强调 加强涉外法制建设营造有利法治条件和外部环境 , supra)
Thus the balancing--(1) between the domestic and international situations (and with it the continued advantageous development of the dual circulation policy) AND (2) between development and security (implicating the recent construction of Socialist state secrets and anti-espionage laws, as well as the complicated structures of fostering development within Chinese domestic and international policy through the management of its productive forces; see, e.g., here). All of this aligns nicely, at least theoretically, with the overall policy challenges of navigating between development and security (between friendly and unfriendly forces) in an overall context in which the development of productive forces in advancing socialist modernization remains at the center (where modernization has been broadened to include cultural, political, moral, and cultural factors).

2. The fundamental ordering template remains the same even within the matrix from out of which the foreign related legal system is to evolve; that is that Socialist Rule of Law must serve national interests first, but within a context in which such national service may also produce value for foreigners of some sort (the win-win cooperation strategy) but now within the framework of rules. What the cage or system of regulation brings is socialist rationalization of relations within a rules based order: consolidating fundamentals and stabilizing expectations. It serves as the socialist globalization road--one that o necessity will have characteristics distinctive from that of liberal democratic post-1945 globalization.  It is likely then that such development of this system will be undertaken with an eye to difference as well as to alignment with domestic normative structures.  The challenges are already emerging--for example with respect to the alignment of foreign law based compliance regimes with Chinese anti-espionage, state secretes and data domestication law systems.; and now more pointedly, with the rules systems for the development and deployment of generative AI systems. 

3. As in many other objectives of national policy, the object of regulation is not merely to provide a basis for the rules-based management of the exercise of administrative discretion but also to develop deep structures of coordination. What was emphasized within the overall framework was first objectives of linkages ("是一项涉及面广、联动性强的系统工程" [It is a systematic project with wide coverage and strong linkage]). The other core objective is coordination in two forms. One focuses on and coordination between domestic and international spheres and their regulatory manifestations ("必须统筹国内和国际"); the other focuses on coordination between development and security ("统筹发展和安全"). Again the emphasis is on risk based balancing among objectives within a system of differentiated legalities with regulable domestic and international impacts. Connected with these overall objectives is the construction, yet to be achieved, of deeper systematic legality. What is anticipated and likely to proceed from the Foreign Relations Law, touch on "efficient foreign-related legal enforcement system, improve the judicial efficiency of foreign-related law enforcement, promote the reform of foreign-related judicial trial systems and mechanisms, and improve the credibility of foreign-related justice"["要建设协同高效的涉外法治实施体系,提升涉外执法司法效能,推进涉外司法审判体制机制改革,提高涉外司法公信力。"] the character of which remains uncharted in specifics. Except with respect to (1) the development of foreign related legal services [" 要积极发展涉外法律服务"],and arbitration systems ["培育一批国际一流的仲裁机构、律师事务所"] though whether in opposition or as an alternative to ICSID and other lieral democratic infused systems remains unclear.

4. The legal structures of political objectives are also clearly delineated.  These center on the legal arrangements necessary to permit the projection of Chinese power to protect Chinese economic, political, and other interests undertaken through law-based inter-governmental and public-private relations globally through what is likely to be a re-imagined BRI system ("要深化执法司法国际合作,加强领事保护与协助,建强保护我国海外利益的法治安全链。"). That, in turn, is tempered by the further development of legal compliance systems, especially with local law (though there is no thing to suggest that local law cannot be made more flexible to accommodate Chinese interests in a "win-win" context (from the Chinese perspective certainly) ["要强化合规意识,引导我国公民、企业在“走出去”过程中自觉遵守当地法律法规和风俗习惯,运用法治和规则维护自身合法权益。"].   None of this is new and has been already in development with respect to the legal and political structures within which Chinese State Owned Enterprises have been engaging globally (see here).  

5. There is an element of integration as well.  This is directed toward the objective of bridging (but keeping separate) the domestic and the international/foreign within and outside China. This is connected with the re-imagining of the old "Reform and Opening Up" doctrines but now within the structures of New Era principles. 

 The rule of law is the best business environment. It is necessary to improve the open and transparent foreign-related legal system, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of foreign-invested enterprises, make good use of both domestic and international rules, and create a market-oriented, legal and international first-class business environment. ["法治是最好的营商环境,要完善公开透明的涉外法律体系,加强知识产权保护,维护外资企业合法权益,用好国内国际两类规则,营造市场化、法治化、国际化一流营商环境。"]
In one sense, this says nothing new--it is well known in liberal democratic states that a sound business environment thrives on certainty and predictability, even if the measures are less than ideal for business, society or politics in any stage of historical development. The challenge, which is the object of the study session, is to provide context in which they predictability and certainty can be extended to the foreign but consonant with the objectives of security, and vanguard led socialist modernization. More to the point, that certainty and predictability must bridge both its projection inward (the domestic market) and outward (China's protection of objectives based activity in spaces where it is the "foreign legal system). To that end old wine will be put in new bottles--to link but not join domestic and foreign--to preserve dual circulation as an all around concept and in the process elevate systems of security centering development with the foreign was a necessary element, but one that can be managed. 

6. Nonetheless, the approach accords with the also linked development of Chinese internationalism. It is one based on a cage (system) of regulation, compliance with the legal requisites of which must be scrupulously observed. One points here to the development of the legalization of the policy of building a community with a shared future for mankind. To that end it is necessary to actively align the legalities of the international order with those of socialist rule of law. "Xi Jinping emphasized the need to firmly safeguard the international order based on international law, actively participate in the formulation of international rules, and promote the rule of law in international relations." [习近平强调,要坚定维护以国际法为基础的国际秩序,主动参与国际规则制定,推进国际关系法治化。]. The irony is that this is precisely the course set by liberal democratic vanguards guiding the international law project since the 1940s--juridification and legalization at the international level aligned with national constitutional frameworks--and changing them to reflect socialist sensibilities. 

7. The key to all of this, though, remains the greatest challenge--the transposition of rule of law discourse within this matrix of risk-reward structures into systems (and here liberal democratic governance is converging with Chinese Marxist-Leninist ones) with operational systems that are essentially driven by infinite iterations of exercises of administrative discretion.  The discourse of rule of law in Marxist-Leninist and in liberal democratic states continues to hold tight to the vision of law as a set of commands (or as the elaboration of the constituting structures for the execution of command and guidance). Yet law has increasingly been used to (1) set out sometimes broad and sometimes more targeted objectives, norms, or goals; and (2) constitute an administrative apparatus which is given authority (through systems of rules guiding the application of discretion) to direct productive forces (including natural persons) toward such gals, objectives, etc.  In states of administrative supervision, there is a disconnect between the idealization of law as means to construct a cage, and the nature of the cage (or system) articulated within structures of administrative supervision. Everyone must act within and comply with law.  But compliance itself may be beyond the reach of the cage--or better put--the cage of regulation constructs the administrative structures within which the directions that are provided by law may be converted into and applied to everyday life--not through law but through the decisions of supervisory personnel. This certainly has been the essence of the challenge in the New Era for Chinese rule of law socialist legality (as well as in its own variation for that of liberal democracy). It has now been transposed into the international arena as well in its socialist manifestations. For a more detailed discussion in the context of domestic law, see, The Imaginaries of Regulatory Spaces in an Age of Administrative Discretion: Social Credit ‘in’ or ‘as’ the Cage of Regulation of Socialist Legality.

8. That eaves for discussion the issue of legal systemicity (法制) in need of further exploration.  One begins to understand the concept of system (制) in a Leninist sense as object--a cluster of related instructions that are self-referencing in the sense that they over a self contained set of propositions from which questions can be answered by reference to the totality of the instruction system itself. Nonetheless, these objects become relevant in a Leninist sense when they can be utilized as another productive state asset.  That is, legal systemicity itself becomes an input in the operation of socialist modernization. At its highest level, it serves as a consumable, like labor or capital, the purpose of which is to enhance development (the key New Era normative foundation) which is in turn (the key Leninist focus) deployed toward the march along the "socialist path" that must lead to the establishment of a communist society--must lead there if the vanguard of progressive social forces organized as a communist party is to retain its legitimacy and authority. In that context, the development of foreign-related legal systems (涉外法制) serves as one element of a substantially growing and complex aggregation of legal objects, the coordination of which serves as the greater challenge for the managerial state. Liberal democracy also objectifies law, but uses it in a somewhat different sense (at least classically) to develop the space within which private actions may be aggregated toward welfare enhancing collective results (results the details of which are not necessarily driven by those who control the production and deployment f regulatory objects). That is changing now of course, as the evolution of the liberal democratic administrative apparatus shifts its role (in a compliance-delegation environment) from enforcer to manager of productive forces under the leadership of the state (exercised through norm directing objectives manifested as or in "law").


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Just Published: (Anne Wagner and Sarah Marusek (eds)) Research Handbook on Legal Semiotics (Edward Elgar, 2023)

I am delighted to pass along the announcement of the publication of (Anne Wagner and Sarah Marusek (eds)) Research Handbook on Legal Semiotics (Edward Elgar, 2023).

This comprehensive Research Handbook explores the wide variety of work conducted in legal semiotics to provide a broad understanding of how the law works through signs and symbols. Demonstrating that law is a strategical system of fluctuating signs, contributors critically analyse the ever-evolving conceptualisations of law and legal discourse.

Contributors include: José Manuel Aroso Linhares, Larry Catá Backer, Kristian Bankov, Martin Belov, Patrícia Branco, John Brigham, Angela Condello, Marcel Danesi, Clara Chapdelaine-Feliciati, Peter Goodrich, Dariusz J. Gwiazdowicz, Nathalie Hauksson-Tresch, Paolo Heritier, Parineet Kaur, Miklós Könczöl, Anita Lam, Magdalena Łągiewska, Sarah Marusek, Aleksandra Matulewska, Rostam J. Neuwirth, Ahmad Pakatchi, Frank S. Ravitch, Mario Ricca, Elisabeth Roy Trudel, Michael Salter, Julia J.A. Shaw, Anita Soboleva, Amy Swiffen, Robbie Sykes, Mark Thomas, Kieran Tranter, Farid Samir Benavides Vanegas, Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça, Anne Wagner, Bartosz Wojciechowski, Youping Xu, Wei Yu, Kamil Zeidler, Marek Zirk-Sadowski.

Some colleagues have provided much appreciated endorsement:

‘This volume is an interdisciplinary tour de force. Scholars from around the world insightfully explore diverse signs and symbols of law. For those seeking to understand law in the evolving fullness of lived experience (including its cognitive, affective, social, cultural, and political dimensions) here is the place to begin.’ -- Richard K. Sherwin, New York Law School, US

‘This book provides new legal semiotics on the one hand, and fields of a deepened and revisited understanding of rules in law and legal thought formation on the other. It distances itself from traditional ideas, inviting the reader to wander in new dimensions of space, images and perspectives which were hitherto unknown in legal research.’ -- Jan M. Broekman, KU Leuven, Belgium

‘Law has not only a language but also a semiotics, a system of signs, texts and meanings that seek to bring order to the relationships among human beings. Never before this volume has an attempt been made to provide an all-encompassing tool for the study of such a system. Anyone working within the perimeter of linguistic, semiotic, and social studies of law will find this volume a distinctly useful starting point and reference.’ -- Massimo Leone, University of Turin, Italy

The Table of Contents (with links to some of the open access materials), along with the text (also open access) of Anne Wagner and Sarah Marusek's brilliant "Introduction: law as a strategical system of fluctuating signs" follows below.  Contributor bios may be accessed here. The submission draft of my own contribution, "Legal Semiotics, Globalization and Governance," may be accessed here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Reflections on Brainstorming Roundtable Hosted by Surya Deva, UN Special Rapporteur for Development (29 Nov 2023): "business models for inclusive sustainable development"


Pix Credit here

 April showers bring may flowers, but what do brainstorm sessions bring? Organizations in the UK have the answer: offended reactions. Cities in both England and Ireland have banned the word “brainstorming” from use at various government agencies, asking their employees instead to use the term “thought showers.” (UK Bans The Word “Brainstorming,” Considered Offensive to Some Epileptics)

Surya Deva; pix credit here
 It was to my great delight that I received an invitation from from the UN Geneva Secretariat, on behalf of the UN Special Rapporteur fr Development (Surya Deva) to participate in "roundtable discussion on business models for inclusive sustainable development, which was held on 28 November 2023 from 09:00 am to 10:30 am at the Palais des Nations in Geneva in Room XXIII." The session is quite important for a variety of reasons: (1) building consensus among those who might influence everything from core normative principles to the application of those principles to regulatory systems at the local-state-international levels; (2) developing solidarity among stakeholders and identifying the breadth of the stakeholder community; (3) considering the scope of the interlinking between this project and a host of related initiatives around the broad theme of human rights (including development), sustainability, and climate change; (3) nudging consensus in a specific direction, the clues to which might be discerned from the questions that are to be the focus of the discussion. 

To that end, the in-person only brainstorming roundtable is to focus on a number of questions, some core sample of which include the following:  

1. Is a course correction required about the role and purpose of business in society? If so, how should this look like?
2. What changes are needed to the legal architecture concerning corporations such as corporate laws and international investment agreements?
3. How could people have an institutionalised say in corporate decisions making processes?
4. Are certain business models or business practices inherently problematic for being incompatible with the goal of realising all human rights or ignoring planetary boundaries?
5. Are there any good practice examples of business models that place people and the planet central to how business is run?

Pix credit here

The questions suggest the core of the inquiry, though additional questions may be welcomed in consultation with the secretariat before the start of the session. 

What is that core? The key terms define the trajectories of discussion: (1) course correction for business purpose; (2) changes in legal architecture for corporate law and investment treaties; (3) changing architecture of institutionalized say in corporate decision making; (4) identifying a range of organizational and practice taboos around the concept of forbidden private practices in business activity around principles of human rights/sustainability incompatibility and inherent problematics; and the (5)  modelling the ideal organization and operation of economic activity within institutions that aggregate productive forces. All of this makes perfect sense within the rationalized environment in which the discussion is to take place--

(a) one identifies a problem, business purpose, the core premise adherence to which is a necessary predicate for the discussion that follows; 

(b) one identifies the key current institutional forms, in this case law (broadly understood), that may be utilized toward the realization of the core premise (change business purpose); 

(c) one then identifies institutional transformations that might ensure the longevity of deployments of law toward definitively changing the permissible scope of business purpose, in this case de-centering investors (shareholders) to be replaced by stakeholders (the scope of the definition of which is a key subject of discussion); 

(d) in the manner of dialectical intersubjectivity, one then advances and refines the normative baselines as a consequence of the effects of realizing the objectives , in this case further advancing the normative development of human rights and sustainability principles in the forms of refinements of law and administrative supervision;

(e) and finally, in the course of this interactive process (premise/objective to implementation tool to institutional transformation to further development of normative premise--the fundamental process of normative intersubjectivity in human rights and sustainability) a disciplinary process grounded in iterative mimesis, in this case the development of toolkits and examples that serve both to guide actors toward compliance with new mandatory behaviors and to provide a basis for developing systems of accountability. 

The questions, then, are not focused on the core fundamental issues--should business purpose focus on development/innovation/production through private law rather than public policy (e-g-. Brief Thoughts on Martin Lipton: "ESG, Stakeholder Governance, and the Duty of the Corporation" (Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance); to what extent is the premise of administrative supervision either a wise one (as norm or as applied) or one that complements the ideology of liberal democracy (e.g.,New From Shift: "Aligning the EU Due Diligence Directive with the International Standards: Key Issues in the Negotiations");  should private markets (and private production decision making) be abandoned in favor of a greater role for public authorities to guide macro-markets decision making (e.g., 对各类市场主体一视同仁 ["Treat All Market Players Equally"]: Developing the Formal Legal Framework for Markets-Based Activities in China) or perhaps better put, should privatized bottom up authority for economic production be abandoned or narrowed in favor of public institutional central planning (on the basis either of behavior norms, eg human rights/sustainability) or some other set of objectives, eg the development of social forces tp move toward the establishment of a communist society;Hold High the Banner of Anti-Globocolonization: "Que las ventajas de la globalización funcionen para las grandes mayorías de todos los países" ["May the advantages of globalization work for the vast majority of all countries"] Remarks by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, 1st Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (17 November 2023)

 Given the unsettled nature of many of the underlying core premises of economic production, the state, and globalization, within a changing framework of behavior norm expectations, the governmentalization of private actors and the privatization of states, one can expect, and perhaps anticipate, the broad range of plausible responses but all as a  function of the guiding premises on which they are based. But that is not the object of the consultation or the questions generated around it. And thus some key core issues appear to emerge:

(1) should private markets, and with it, the core presumption of private gain with positive public collateral aggregate effects, be abandoned? More to the point, perhaps, should markets be understood as a complement to state authority--that is, as merely another means by which public policy may be translated into state directed action; or might markets continue to provide their own direction? 

(2) if private markets-driven economic activity is to be retained in some form, to what extent should the capital aggregating institution of economic activity be reformed to fair more robust direction by groups of actors other than investors--or put differently, should economic enterprises be subject to a democratic constitutional law of market actors?;

(3) if a larger regulatory space is to be created for public oversight of economic activity--including the scope, shape, and forms of economic production as well as favored or disfavored production, then what are to be its forms--classical mechanics of central planning; broad administrative supervision of every aspect of production but with private implementation mechanics; narrow administrative supervision focused on norms (human rights/sustainability) or norms and production ("just transitions" broadly understood);

(4) what may be the consequences of advancing broad theories of administrative supervision with respect to the laws of state owned enterprises; compensation for constructive nationalization; power to block foreign control; and the like;

(5) to what extent ought states to be stripped of a power to develop and apply macro-norms (development, climate change, just transitions, the extent of non-taboo markets); or where some national discretion is to be permitted, what would be the limits of national interpretive power;

(6) what is the role of transnational norm institutions, particularly religion and cultural institutions, to opt out of these systems at the national or international levels;More generally, to what extent are national conditions  to be a factor in the interpretation and application of the normative baseline premises of state supervision constituted, at their highest level of generality, within the sphere of international law/norm making?

(7) what role if any for risk taking and innovation--traditionally economic capital aggregation was grounded on a distinctive core premise, to encourage risk taking to enhance innovation through competition and private financial rewards; to the extent this premise is now to be discredited in favor of a more comprehensive application of prevent-mitigate-remedy risk adverse principles, how would innovation be (a) directed and (b) encouraged; and by whom?
Pix © Larry Catá Backer; Max Ernst, Celebes (1921)
The answers in Brussels, Washington, Beijing, and Geneva, even among their transnational elites, will likely tend to vary widely. Nonetheless, these are not the questions that are the focus of the roundtable; nor should they be, given the organizing premises of the meeting. Instead, and quite correctly given the nature of the meeting, it is focused on the means by which  a not-for-discussion set of core premises/goals can be most effectively fleshed out, and thus fleshed out, implemented, and from implementation, further refined. That is useful, to be sure. Nonetheless, it is important, given the context of the larger debates being undertaken around the questions and its guiding ethos, that a certain measure of normative transparency/agendas etc. be cultivated. 

Within those premises, central to the guidance provided by the form of the questions, answers become fairly straightforward, with lots of space to quibble around details. 

(1) Assuming that "capitalism" is to be discredited as a human rights compatible system of economic organization, and that markets must be viewed as suspicious in the absence of public guidance, then it follows that a "course correction" is both necessary and inevitable. Even if markets are reduced to a complementary instrument of public policy articulated or manifested through the process of the utilization of productive forces in economic activity, that course correction would have to follow the political line of public organization. It ought to be democratic (as that term might be understood in liberal democratic, Marxist-Leninist, or develping states); it ought to focus on the use of economic production to serve the political collective; and it ought to be guided in that respect by a political apparatus established for that purpose.  In effect, the idea of corporate purpose must be abandoned in its entirety in favor of a principle of productive responsibility to the political community.

(2) Assuming a "course correction" the legal consequences would be fairly easy to sketch out: (a) elimination of legal personality for economic aggregations; (b) elimination of the principle of asset partitioning (institutional autonomy or veil piercing) in favor of collective responsibility grounded in production chains; (c) institution of a legal principal of agency; that economic enterprises must be understood as an agent of the state; (d) reconsideration of the doctrine of sovereign immunity either to eliminate it entirely in the field of economic activity, or to extend sovereign immunity to all economic actors; (e) broadening the power of the state trough its functionaries to intervene in institutional production which are not directly undertaken by the state; (f) instituting systems of approvals and review of economic activity by public officials at the local, state, or national level. 

(3) At its limit, the process of democratizing corporate governance would  shift the power to appoint members of the board of directors ot the state through its designated administrative apparatus; at its limit the question suggests that the current classification that distinguishes between sate owned enterprises and private enterprises ought to be abandoned in favor of a principle that all economic actors operating in institutional forms are state owned or state directed enterprises. That would require substantial changes in the classical legal architecture of economic regulation. 

(4) here the old rules apply but under a new normative regime: states have always had the power to suppress certain forms of business organizations (for example private corporations in Europe in the pre-Modern period); states have always had the authority to suppress markets for certain goods (e.g., opium) or activities (e.g., prostitution). It would be an easy matter--CONCEPTUALLY AT LEAST--to transpose those old practices into the new normative orthodoxies of human rights/sustainability. That is not the problem: the issue is one of interpretation of those norms; application of those norms to specific behaviors and behavior expectations, and disciplinary regimes (what and by whom). It is here that the inherent contradictions of human rights and sustainability--and the inevitable ranking of such rights and objectives will re-produce a politics of operation now shifted from the market to markets in public policy. 

(5) practice examples, including mandatory practices, are growing. ESG sensibilities and toolkits provide a god example of practice oriented guidance models that can drive the transformations implied in the earlier questions; so can emerging human rights due diligence schemes mandated at the state level. Of course, the best model--given the core parameters around which the questions are built, would be the idealized state owned or state controlled enterprise

 The background text of the roundtable follows below.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Hold High the Banner of Anti-Globocolonization: "Que las ventajas de la globalización funcionen para las grandes mayorías de todos los países" ["May the advantages of globalization work for the vast majority of all countries"] Remarks by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, 1st Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (17 November 2023)


Pix Credit Granma

 The leadership of the Cuban Communist Party continues to cultivate the vision for globalization developed through the end of the first decade of the 21st Century by Fidel Castro Ruz (e.g., here).  That vision incorporated and transposed much of the ideological foundations of the abandoned New International Economic Order into the frameworks of globalization.  It was suspicious of markets, of bottom up unsupervised economic activity, and of trade arrangements that did not put development at the center of inter-governmental management, and that the behaviors of developed states (especially the old imperial powers) were necessary exploitative according to the "logic" of post 1945 globalization. It sought to project a Leninist version of administrative supervision into the core of globalization norms--that trade, and economic activity must be understood as

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 In a recent set of remarks delivered 17 November 2023,  Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, 1st Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba sought to provide an updated exposition of this approach.  The remarks, entitled "Que las ventajas de la globalización funcionen para las grandes mayorías de todos los países" ["May the advantages of globalization work for the vast majority of all countries"] follows below and may be accessed HERE ((Shorthand Versions - Presidency of the Republic).  They follow below in the original Spanish and a crude English translation.

The Remarks are worth considering if only because it represents, in a general way, much of the thinking that is gaining increasing traction not just among developing states, but also among a certain sector of academic and policy elites in liberal democratic developed states.  What in liberal democracy has become the fashionable skepticism of "capitalism" and the anarchic and unruly states of markets, is not difficult to transpose into the discursive tropes of state supervision necessary to ensure that all economic activity serve some sort of public ends (development, human rights, sustainability and the like) and that it must be understood as a necessary complement to politics which is the central responsibility of the state apparatus.  The catchphrase that one is likely to see more of among those who have embraced this view among liberal democratic elites, and the cultural-political vanguards of Marxist-Leninist and developing states, is "globo-colonization."

"Tendremos que concluir que la tiranía del mercado al servicio de las economías más poderosas del planeta no solo no ha resuelto ninguno de nuestros problemas, sino que nos ha llevado a caer en lo que mi querido amigo Frei Betto llama  la globocolonización." ["We will have to conclude that the tyranny of the market at the service of the most powerful economies on the planet has not only not solved any of our problems, but has led us to fall into what my dear friend Frei Betto calls globo- colonization."] ( "Que las ventajas de la globalización", supra).
The concepts flow straight out of a series of quite interesting remarks developed into something like a theory of globalization by Fidel Castro from the 1980s on (see, Fidel Castro Ruz, Capitalism in Crisis: Globalization and World Politics Today (NY: Ocean Press, 2000); my perspective e.g., here, and here). It is the principle of the tyranny of the market that drives policy toward managerial supervision by a vanguard suitable to the political ideology  of contextually relevant actors.  It has become naturalized within the vanguards of developing states, at least those who lean leftward (traditionally--and I use that term ironically here) in developing states (in opposition to the stewards of administrative supervision functionaries who tend to drift to the (again ironically) right. One will see more of this in the coming years in a variety of areas as globalization is "reworked", for example in the forms of taxation policy (e.g.,   "Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations" A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1 (15 November 2023). It also  provides much of the foundation for the current state of the policy discussion around  liberal democratic anti-capitalism--from the governance of artificial intelligence to the reworking of business purpose from a focus on investors to an alignment with political policy overseen by a public administrative apparatus created for that purpose and operationalized through systems of downward delegation of responsibilities and upward duty to comply. Chinese Marxist-Leninism in the New era provides the normative model, though not the contextually relevant modalities of implementation. The alignment, though, of systems, is hard to miss.  And at the apex of these efforts are the cultivation of belief.

The remarks, as has become customary since the time of the leadership of Fidel Castro, are written in that intensely  unique style in which ideological points are driven by the proffering of tidal waves of facts that serve to sweep away, in the manner of qualitative discourse, any objections of those who either misinterpret or fail to grasp the potency in the belief of the correlation of facts as aligned ideologically with causation. That discursive style has proven to be both, in certain ways impenetrable, but at the same time highly effective. Its effectiveness comes not from the quality of facts or analysis, but from the tidal waves of data correlated into causation made possible by the ideological premises for which the data was initially sought. The stye harks back to a simpler time when the telling and retelling of miracles served the same purpose. Political and ideological communities no longer  have saints, but they have data and ideologies  eager to consume them for the belief communities desperate for "signs" that well signified, confirm belief--and make it all that much easier to move populations whose sentiments drive the machinery of democratic society.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Parallel Barking Podcast: "Bing AI Thinks Women are X-Rated"

 Episode description:While humans have been busy judging AI, it seems that the one thing that humans appear to have taught AI is to be judgy about humans.  And it does so by  throwing our social neuroses back in our faces.  Not bias in the political sense, but socio-cultural predilections,. For once, it is not a human but non-carbon based intelligence that can call humans on their clever little games of saying what they don't mean; and doing what they have not said. To get a sense of this movement, try typing both "photo realistic image man" and "photo realistic image of woman" into Bing AI and you'll get a picture of a person with biologically make characteristics dressed in some sort of currently fashionable style.--for woman...not so much. Instead you will get an error message  saying that the content you requested is inappropriate/explicit . Is the AI engine naughty or has it been able to realize inductively a judgment about what humans really think (iteratively speaking) when the image--photorealistic woman comes to mind? Larger issues loom just beneath that question. . . . 

 Access podcast HERE.

For background, an article appearing in Futurism, and below.

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Thursday, November 23, 2023

Now Available Online: Seqüência - Estudos Jurídicos e Políticos (Aberto) (vol. 44 n. 94 (2023))


A Seqüência Estudos Jurídicos e Políticos, Revista Qualis A1 na área do Direito e editada desde 1980 pelo Programa de Pós-Graduação Stricto Sensu em Direito da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (PPGD/UFSC), tem como objetivo central a divulgação acadêmica de temáticas que ofereçam uma abordagem marcadamente a partir do viés da teoria crítica do Direito e/ou das diferentes dimensões do constitucionalismo contemporâneo, com a análise crítica dos seus reflexos nas linhas de pesquisa das seguintes áreas de concentração do Programa: Direito, Estado e Sociedade; Direito Internacional e Sustentabilidade; Teoria e História do Direito.

 La Revista Seqüência - Estudios Jurídicos y Políticos, Revista Qualis A1 en el área de Derecho y editada desde 1980 por el Programa de Postgrado en Derecho Stricto Sensu de la Universidad Federal de Santa Catarina (PPGD / UFSC), tiene como principal objetivo la difusión académica de temas que ofrezcan un abordaje marcadamente desde el sesgo de la teoría crítica del Derecho y / o las diferentes dimensiones del constitucionalismo contemporáneo, con un análisis crítico de sus reflexiones sobre las líneas de investigación en las siguientes áreas de concentración de la Programa: Derecho, Estado y Sociedad; Derecho Internacional y Sostenibilidad; Teoría e Historia del Derecho.

Links to articles in its Volume 44 n. 94 follow (mostly in Portuguese; several in English).


"Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations" A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1 (15 November 2023)


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 One of the great fundamental contradictions of globalization has been its insistence on two conditions: the first is the elimination of borders to effectuate principles of free movement of goods, investment, capital (and to some extent people). The most important manifestation of the operationalization of these principles has been the global production chain (an ordered sequence of economic activity the object of which is the production of goods or services to end users). The second has been the protection of sovereign rights to exploit that portion of production that occurs within the territory or control of state sovereigns.

The results has been quite profound in both respects.  Global production chains have become a significant basis for the generation of economic activity and the development of productive forces.  At the same time, that generation of economic activity, now spread more broadly around the world--or at least within the sometimes quite narrow corridors of production chains--has also generated larger pools of income and wealth that may be utilized by states within the borders of which such chains are established, especially through taxation.

But what may be uniformly good at a very great level of generalization may be less uniformly good at a more granular level.  In the case of the rise of global production, what has appeared in more and more acute form has been what can appear to be an uneven distribution of the benefits of both production and of the distribution of (taxable) benefits available to states that have opened their borders to such production.  The complaint is old (see my discussion here as advanced in theoretical form by the Cuban state) and touches not just on taxation but on the economic benefits of value added activity. In both cases, developing states or states at the bottom or start of production activity tends to view themselves as contributing substantial labor as a function of the value added of participation--at least as compared to the value per productive unit harvested by developing states at the top or completion phases of end user production. 

That argument has recently gotten traction among a larger group of states. (see, e.g., here; here; and here). And, in its latest authoritative rendering, appeared in the form of a draft General Assembly Resolution: Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1 (15 November 2023) approved by the UN Second Committee at its 78th Session:

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By that text, titled “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” (document A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1), the Assembly would stress that efforts in international tax cooperation should be universal in approach and scope and fully consider the different needs and capacities of all States, in particular developing countries and countries in special situations. The Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 48 against, with 9 abstentions (Armenia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates). (Press Release: Second Committee Approves Nine Draft Resolutions, Including Texts on International Tax Cooperation, External Debt, Global Climate, Poverty Eradication GA/EF/3597(

Its principal object is to "establish a Member State-led, open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee for the purpose of drafting terms of reference for a United Nations framework convention on international tax cooperation" Ibid., ¶ 3). But its greater purpose is to cabin that working group by the nearly four pages of Preambular material that forms the normative and political basis of the mandate.

On 22 November 2023, the "resolution A/C.2/78/L.18/Rev.1, tabled by the African Group under the title: “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations”, was voted today at the UN Headquarters in New York, marking a historic moment for Africa and the world." (UN General Assembly Member States have voted with a majority of 125 in favor of adopting a Convention on International Tax Cooperation).

As reported by a media organ of the African Union:

The resolution which was tabled was passed with a 125 vote in favor of the Tax Convention, with 48 votes against, and 9 Abstentions. This unprecedented step represents a significant advancement, showcasing the AG’s collective dedication to global tax reform and paving the way for a more equitable and effective global tax system. For developing nations, this resolution represents a beacon of hope. It will facilitate the access of much needed financial resources, crucial for responding to the current debt crises and facilitate the pursuit of achieving sustainable development. It is also in line with African aspirations as outlined in the AU Agenda 2063, reinforcing the commitment by Member States, to strengthening tax systems and fostering tax equity." (Ibid.).

 The debates around the text of the resolution were not pacific and suggest the conflicts that will have t be resolved should this project move forward. 

The Resolution is worth a careful read.  It will be influential. It follows below. And it may be accessed here (in multiple languages). Also below the text of the Press Release with more detail around the debates.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Choosing Sides, Socialist Internationalism, and the Ideological Signification of China's Jewish Problem in the International Arena: "Wang Yi Holds Talks with the Delegation of Arab-Islamic Foreign Ministers"


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The perennial question for those who aspire to leadership of the new Communist International centers on the ways in which it may establish and maintain its position at the center of the International as its vanguard state-party. To that end, carefully choosing sides and sacrificing opportunities in the short term for greater aspirational goals, may be necessary.  It is always in the interests of the vanguard to sacrifice the less significant in the furtherance of loftier and more beneficial goals. The Communist Internationalist must translate its aspirations into the language of those who have to be brought on board gradually, or at least made dependent  pending the start of necessary and inevitable transitions to appropriate socialist dialectics--especially religious communities now organized as states. The operational mode was embedded in the "New Democracy" model that for a short time necessarily established the basis of the internal approach to Communist vanguardism within China. well established by Mao Zedong before 1949:

Third, it is likewise impossible for the Chinese people to institute a socialist state system at the present stage when it is still their task to fight foreign and feudal oppression and the necessary social and economic conditions for a socialist state are still lacking.  What then do we propose? We propose the establishment, after the thorough defeat of the Japanese aggressors, of a state system which we call New Democracy, namely, a united-front democratic alliance based on the overwhelming majority of the people, under the leadership of the working class. . . 

We Communists do not conceal our political views. Definitely and beyond all doubt, our future or maximum programme is to carry China forward to socialism and communism. Both the name of our Party and our Marxist world outlook unequivocally point to this supreme ideal of the future, a future of incomparable brightness and splendour. On joining the Party, every Communist has two clearly-defined objectives at heart, the new-democratic revolution now and socialism and communism in the future, and for these he will fight despite the animosity of the enemies of communism and their vulgar and ignorant calumny, abuse and ridicule, which we must firmly combat. As for the well-meaning sceptics, we should explain things to them with goodwill and patience and not attack them. All this is very clear, definite and unequivocal. . .
Some people are suspicious and think that once in power, the Communist Party will follow Russia's example and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat and a one-party system. Our answer is that a new-democratic state based on an alliance of the democratic classes is different in principle from a socialist state under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Beyond all doubt, our system of New Democracy will be built under the leadership of the proletariat and of the Communist Party, but throughout the stage of New Democracy China cannot possibly have a one-class dictatorship and one-party government and therefore should not attempt it. We have no reason for refusing to co-operate with all political parties, social groups and individuals, provided their attitude to the Communist Party is cooperative and not hostile. (Mao Zedong, On Coalition Government (24 April 1945) (emphasis added))

This applies with equal force to the international situation, one in which the Communist International must inevitably displace the foreign imperial and feudal orders on which it was (to their mind) founded in 1945 as the necessary and peak achievement of feudal, imperial development now carried to its climax in and through the U.S. and its dependencies.  The Americans have become the pre-1949 Kuomintang in this era of globalization. The target is necessarily externalized and reified as forms of behaviors and sectors of international actors that can be excised in order to solidify a united front around the vanguard leadership of the center (the core of leadership of the Communist International) now centered in China and legitimated by its track record of success. 

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Within this dialectical framework of contradiction, one must divide the world into forces of opposition, and those of coalition (even if in the long term coalitions are to be subsumed within the leadership structures of the vanguard). China appears to have chosen to treat Jewish Israel as a running dog of its American nemesis (in the context of the battle for international normative supremacy). That choice exposes the complex consequences of the semiosis of naming (明名 (Míng míng) (Guiguzi: China’s First Treatise on Rhetoric (Hui Wu (trans); Carbndale: SIU Press, 2016), p. 59-60) that has been set in motion. Again, in the context  of the Jewish-Muslim ethno-religious wars (with the Christian communities as a sort of involved relative on the sidelines) centered on the territories of ancient Canaan-Israel-Palestine-etc. (the choice dependent on one's historical tastes and semiotic predilections), it is altogether too easy to re-invest the Jewish people with the characteristics of foreign-fascist-feudal oppressors in the style of Mao Zedong's brilliant characterizations that served as the discursive predicate for the (short lived) New Democracy and the longer lived United Front strategies.  That conflates a number of ancient discursive trajectories, some (ironically) borrowed from the fascists (20th century Germany) and others borrowed and repurposed from the historical determinism of certain intellectuals among Christians and Muslims desperate to ground their religious legitimacy on the constitution of the legitimacy of those whose covenant came prior in time, which then turned into an institutionalized system of apartheid that to some extent continues into contemporary space. It (ironically, and perhaps unintentionally) produces of semiosis of the dialectics of Marxism's origins in the European mythos of the "wandering Jew" whose permanent state of displacement is meant to serve as a necessary semiotics of the progress toward perfection in the return of the divine to earth or in the attainment of human perfection when religion itself would be overcome in the establishment of a communist society. And there one moves to the Jewish Marx, who acquires semiotic authority precisely because of his personification of the "wandering" type--the signification of humanity in diaspora without a place to which to return and thus compelled to overcome the contradictions of current circumstances and in that dialectical process to reach toward perfection--the perfect overcoming of himself (but not in the way that Nietzsche conceived it). he was the skeptical Jew who could find refuge  only amongst others.  And it was only in that state that it was possible for Marxism to be born as a theory of transcendence (see, e.g., famously here; of the person of Marx in the body of a Jew, of the the transcendence of ideology over religion and local custom), and in this way Marx's thought was able to wander into China and received as something other than a theory bound up in a foreign place and time. In Marxism, the trope of the "international Jew" has morphed into one built around the international Marx (and his progeny now embodied in the leadership core of the Chinese vanguard), forced to wander until (or to wander building the pathways leading toward) the perfection of is theory is realized by the Communists,

That sort of semiosis of ideology, and especially the trope of the rootless diasporic community tied only to themselves beyond the state, is quite useful in certain quarters (whether intentionally or in effect), but its subliminal repercussions continue to produce the most fascinating absurdities, even in Asia. See for example the 1917 pamphlet produced by Vajiravudh (Rama VI, King of Siam), "The Jews of the Orient," Siam Observer Press (January 1, 1917) (aimed at Chinese overseas communities).

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These two discursive tropes--the Jew as the post modern objectification of the foreign-fascist-feudal oppressors, on the one hand, and the Jew as compulsory wanderer, the predicate exemplar of a semiotics of progressive dialectical overcoming toward perfection--now appear to be usefully conflated as a Chinese Marxist "solution" to the Jewish problem in MENA. It provides the normative framework within which it is possible to identify with whom one ought to build a coalition in the style of what would become a united front structure, and against whom that coalition building ought to be targeted. That was the choice.  Every vanguard intend on reaching its goals must, in the short term, carefully construct both the foreign-fascist-feudal oppressors other, and at the same time, and with equal care, also constitute the coalition of the willing where the conditions for constructing socialist internationalism are not yet entirely possible. That was the key insight of Mao Zedong's "On Coalition Government" applied to the necessary international objectives of the vanguard. And to that end and in aid of that choice the semiotics of compulsion, along with its ancient tropes, made the choice seem positively natural under current historical conditions.

Pix credit here (Soviet 1920s 3rd International)
The rest follows. It is onto this set of converging discursive and pragmatic templates that certain sectors of high level functionaries in China have bet on a specific stance: sacrifice the Jews to increase the probability of attainment of some sort of vanguard leadership in MENA even if not under the banner of the Communist International but rather of the New Era Socialist Internationalism and its Belt & Road institutions, as they morph into whatever suits the times. Indeed, one of the most interesting aspect of the development of the united front (coalition governance) impulses from the 1940s has been both the ways in which it has blossomed in the seamless enmeshing of theoretical objectives and practical expression through the outbound strategies most evident in New Era projects. At the same time, its internal development has proceeded in parallel producing in its current manifestation the evolution of people's whole process democracy.  But just as people's whole process democracy requires oppositional elements (for whom the people's democratic dictatorship principles are deployed); so Communist internationalism requires its foreign-fascist-feudal oppressors. Generally, that is the role assigned to the United States in the New Era. That also accords with the underlying ideologies of the liberal democratic hard left and right both of whom also see in classical liberalism a rotten system the norms and structures of which must be swept away (especially in the current discursive rhetoric and semiotics of anti-"capitalism").  In the MENA, the Jews, it seems, will serve this role nicely in ways that accord with ancient tropes and modernizes them within the rhetoric of Zionism and settler colonialism. Muslim MENA states are necessary elements of united front work--the bourgeois and landed peasants of another era, useful today on the path to tomorrow.  All good--from the perspective of a vanguard committed ultimately to the use of these elements to further the (inevitable) march towards the establishment of a communist society. In the context  of coalition with religious groups (including eventually Islam), the underlying premises of Marx is never far from consciousness (again, see here).

One encounters the performance of these stances and the weaving of these tropes  in the recent meeting of Wang Yi with the delegation of Arab-Islamic Foreign Ministers, to which of course, the demon foreign-fascist-feudal Zionists (Jews) were not invited, though they were certainly the objec(ive) for the occasion. Underlying the fairly banal outer casing of this meeting--and its even more banal analysis by those who are content to look only to the surface of things--are quite interesting calculations and dialectics of discursive tropes that in ancient and modern form continue to shape, quite unconsciously at times, what appears to be a rational calculus that is itself not much more than the semiotic calculus of compulsion. 

The English language summary of that meeting follows: "Wang Yi Holds Talks with the Delegation of Arab-Islamic Foreign Ministers." In imagery, the picture above says it all. In substance the issue becomes much more subtle. The summary, thus, is less interesting as politics, and even less interesting for its diplomacy, which is well worn and unremarkable.  What is fascinating, though, is the way that the discursive threads and calculations around the New Era construction of Chinese Socialist Internationalism, and with its, the New Era Communist International, appears to shape the recent in a style closely aligned to the strategies of coalition building that brought the Communist vanguard to power in 1949 China. There is a price, of course, but the hope appears to be that it may not come due for quite sometime. 

Against this the liberal democracies appear both clueless and helpless, and the Israeli's more so--perhaps in part because of the years long cultivation of ideological fellow travelers in the West (one of the great innovations of Soviet strategic engagement that continues to pay dividends). But you be the judge of that. The lessons for Ukraine are painfully obvious.