Monday, January 31, 2022

Brief Source Guide for Cuban Economic Studies From (Mostly) Within Cuba



The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy has recently circulated a number of sources for those who engage in work on the economics of Cuba and the Caribbean.  The tilt toward the economic and away from the political is perhaps a sound on on their part.  Just as Marxist Leninist theory pivots economic change through politics; so does liberal democracy posit political change through economics.  Each lens provides a window on the grounding premises through which each rationalizes the world and understands the logic of projection into it for desired outcomes.  

The sources include the following:

1. Marino Alberto Murillo Jorge (19 February 1961; Cuban politician, economist and former military officer) Remarks on the  tarea "ordenamiento" (and more generally the postings on the YouTube channel of the Presidency of the Cuban state)

2. Journal articles in Economía y Desarrollo

(Fundada en 1970, es una revista académica semestral que publica en forma impresa la Facultad de Economía de la Universidad de La Habana. Dedicada a los problemas de la economía y el desarrollo tanto en Cuba como en países latinoamericanos y a escala global, la revista está abierta a la colaboración de autores cubanos, caribeños, latinoamericanos y de otras regiones. Está dirigida a profesores, investigadores y estudiantes universitarios de especialidades económicas, así como a especialistas que se desempeñan en instituciones económicas y en empresas); (YOUTUBE:

3. Journal articles in CONFIN Habana (La Revista Cubana de Contabilidad y Finanzas COFIN HABANA, de la Universidad de La Habana, tiene como objetivo promover y difundir la producción de resultados científicos sobre temas de actualidad de la Contabilidad, la Auditoría, las Finanzas, la Administración, los Sistemas de información y otros tópicos económicos, dirigidos tanto a la comunidad académica como a empresarios, funcionarios públicos y otros actores sociales.)

4. Articles in Ekotemas (Ekotemas es una publicación científica seriada de la Asociación Nacional de Economistas y Contadores de Cuba (ANEC) Tiene como objetivo divulgar los resultados científicos de los economistas y contadores cubanos y su impacto en el desarrollo del país además de la implementación de los lineamientos y mostrar las principales tendencias internacionales en las ciencias económicas.)

5.Articles in Estudios del Desarrollo Social: Cuba y América Latina (revista científica, de acceso abierto, revisada por pares a doble ciego, con una frecuencia cuatrimestral, que publica artículos originales e inéditos en español e inglés sobre el desarrollo social en general. Es editada por la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Programa Cuba, de la Universidad de La Habana).

6. Articles in Miradas a la Economia Cubana” (La economía cubana y la transformación paulatina de su modelo se ponen bajo la lupa de avezados investigadores que se dieron a la tarea de analizar, con ojo crítico, el proceso de actualización del modelo económico cubano). 

7. Postings by Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana (CEEC)  (lE Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana de la Universidad de la Habana fue fundado el 29 de mayo de 1989 con el propósito de “contribuir al estudio y desarrollo de la economía cubana, a través de la docencia, la investigación, la capacitación y la prestación de servicios de consultoría y otros, en los ámbitos de la economía y la gerencia, en Cuba y en el exterior.” (Fuente: sitio web del CEEC).

8. The work of the Círculo de estudios latinoamericvanos (Universidad autónoma de Madrid);  Informe economía Cubana 2021 (El informe de Economía de Cuba ofrece información sobre la coyuntura económica y perspectivas de evolución de la economía de Cuba, en un formato actualizado, compacto, directo y de fácil manejo).

9. And the official sources which are best approached with a sensitivity to their source Revista Cubana de finanzas y precios (La Revista aborda trabajos relacionados con la administración financiera gubernamental y empresarial; el presupuesto público, las políticas fiscal, financiera, tributaria, contable, de tesorería y crédito público, de patrimonio del Estado, de precios y de seguros. Se aceptarán trabajos en las áreas del análisis económico- financiero, la planificación, la gestión presupuestaria, de tesorería, así como otros temas vinculados con la gestión de las finanzas públicas y la preparación de los recursos humanos que intervienen en los procesos.).

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Brief Thoughts on Pui-Yin Lo, "China's Socialist Unitary State and its Capitalist Administrative Regions" (Russian Law Journal 9(2):92 (2021)


It is rare, at least within elite academic circles, and certainly rarer after the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law, to see a robust defense of  the current application of the 'One Country-Two Systems' principle in Hong Kong.  It is rarer still to see that defense grounded in principles of Marxist Leninist constitutionalism. Dominant academic discourse on both constitutionalism and its application to China's autonomous regions, tends to be grounded in a now well established orthodoxy built around the core principles of civil and political rights, and the individual autonomy including within markets, that served as the foundation for the flowering of the brilliant normative and institutional frameworks of global liberal democratic constitutionalism between 1945 and 2015. Nonetheless Marxist Leninist constitutionalism, as it has developed autonomously in China since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the bankruptcy of European Marxist-Leninism, now suggests another powerful framework for the discursive and normative constitution of states, and the structuring of power, rights, and duties within it. This emerging system has now come to the attention of the liberal democratic states. The incompatibility of Leninist core structures with those of liberal democracy has produced criticism and considerations of legitimacy more than of dialogue and rigorous study (even while remaining loyal to one's own home system and values). That is a pity; especially when these analytic tropes infect comparative study in both directions.

In this environment, then, it is most welcome to read through, in an article accessible to non-Chinese audiences,  Pui-Yin Lo, "China's Socialist Unitary State and its Capitalist Administrative Regions," Russian Law Journal 9(2):92-124 (2021).  Dr. Pui-yin Lo is a barrister in private practice in Hong Kong and a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Chinese Law of the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong. Here, the abstract:

The People’s Republic of China is, according to its Constitution, “a unitary multi-national state” based on the socialist system. The Constitution also allows the state to establish “special administrative regions” in light of “specific conditions.” This provision backs the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” that China applies to achieve territorial reunification, through allowing the relevant territories to continue with their capitalist system and way of life. This principle was operationalised in the cases of Hong Kong and Macau, resulting in the establishment of two Special Administrative Regions, each of which governed by a “Basic Law” prescribing the systems of the relevant region, when China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over them on 1 July 1997 and 20 December 1999 respectively. This article considers the two decades of constitutional and legal interactions between the Chinese “Central Authorities” and these sub-national Special Administrative Regions, so as to highlight the socialist mechanisms of central control that have been applied constitutionally, politically, economically and socially in Hong Kong and Macau to ensure that “One Country, Two Systems” with not be “distorted,” that national sovereignty, security and development interests are safeguarded, and that these regions will play a positive role in national economic development. It is clear from this study that the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” in the two regions has been “developmental,” with the law serving the interests of the “Centre” under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

The article is worth a careful read.  The Abstract, Introduction and Table of Contents followalongwith some brief reflections.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Liberal Democratic Engagement With Chinese Social Credit: Liav Orgad & Wessel Reijers, "How to Make the Perfect Citizen? Lessons from China's Social Credit System," Vanderbilt Journal Transnational Law 54(5) (2021)


pix credit here

All societies strive to make the perfect citizen.  It is just that the effort usually acquires specific cultural and national characteristics.  Its in the difference in those cultural and national characteristics that much of what passes for current discussion of the management of social behaviors occurs.  Those discussions, in turn, seek to naturalize the techniques and objectives of indigenous technologies of perfecting individuals. 

In the liberal democratic states there appears at first to be a dissonance between ideologies of personal autonomy and human dignity and this drive toward the perfection  of the individual. But that has always been easily solved from the pre-Modern period onward.  All it takes is the functional differentiation first between the secular and religious spheres (with the delegation of human perfection left to religious authorities), and then after the marginalization of religion as the superior moral force  in liberal democratic orders, by substituting the more general "secular" and "private" sphere (and with it the delegation of human perfection to the marketplace, for example, of ideas) for the purely religious.  In this way the public authority can continue to embrace the conceit of separation, even as it might choose to either be led or lead the private sector or nudge its markets toward whatever state of perfection suits those with an interest in the project. 

Chinese Marxist Leninist systems are far more direct, and less fussy about these distinctions made necessary by the socio-political foundations of liberal democratic markets driven systems.  For them it is an essential responsibility of the political vanguard to draw from the core normative theory of political-economic model a set of societal norms around which they can guide the masses toward perfection.   The Leninist vanguard is burdened with a duty bopth to perfect the state and its economic and the masses and their culture.  Aligned but are necessary factors in the move toward the establishment of the Communist society.  Eventually. 

These realities have amused legal scholars, sociologists and political scientists for a few generations.  Technology has now transformed both the scope and the potential for such projects of transformation.  And that has (finally) captured the public imagination (or rather it has captured the imaginations of those who select issues designated as important for wider discussion among national social forces). Whatever its sociology or politics, the issue of technology based, quantitative, data driven projects of perfection have now captured the imagination and have as well become important elements of governance in both Marxist Leninist and liberal democratic states. And liberal democratic interest in the quite different approach of Marxist Leninist states has grown as a consequence both because it appears incompatible with and perhaps threatening to the liberal democratic project.

It is in that context that Liav Orgad & Wessel Reijers recently published article "How to Make the Perfect Citizen? Lessons from China's Social Credit System," Vanderbilt Journal Transnational Law 54(5):1087-1121 (2021) is well worth reading. Orgad and Wessel argue (from their abstract):

“How to make the perfect citizen?” This has been one of the questions driving the construction of the Chinese Social Credit System: a technology-driven project that aims to assess, evaluate, and steer the behavior of Chinese citizens. After presenting social credit systems in China’s public and private sectors (Part II), the Article provides normative standards to distinguish the Chinese system from comparable systems in liberal democracies (Part III). It then discusses the concept of civic virtue, as implemented by the Social Credit System, claiming that it creates a new form of governance, “cybernetic citizenship,” which fundamentally changes the essence of citizenship and the political role of the state (Part IV). On the whole, the Article demonstrates how the Chinese Social Credit System redefines the institution of citizenship and warns against similar patterns that are mushrooming in liberal democracies.

For those who want to know about these emerging technologies of governance and their ambitions the article is a valuation contribution to the discussion. In the final analysis, though, it may be useful to keep in mind that a society reveals itself best by its indulgence and application of its technologies.That makes the article more interesting still.

The Introductiion follows:

Monday, January 24, 2022

Now Available: Essays on Contemporary China: Heartland, Periphery, and Silk Roads in Volume 16 Issue 1 "Emancipating the Mind: Bulletin of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics"



I am delighted to announce that the essays in Volume 16(1) of Emancipating the Mind: Bulletin of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics (Summer 2021) (ISSN 2689-0283 (Print); 2689-0291 (Online); ISBN 978-1-949943-06-1 (online digital); 978-1-949943-07-8 (paperback)) are now available.

This issue includes essays on Contemporary China--Heartland, Periphery, and Silk Roads. The discussion focuses on core issues around Chinese imaginaries--knowledge and knowledge production, ideology, self-knowledge and the construction of the Chinese heartland as the way in which discursive knowledge is manifested in concrete form. The twelve essays are organized from out of a core or hub (the Chinese heartland). These essays touch on the foundations of knowledge and the passing of the education of the young. That is then connected to the translation of education into social behaviors and social leadership (celebrity culture) and the curating of their collective self knowledge (official histories). A second set of essays then spiral outward along its spokes to the Chinese internal periphery (Hong Kong and Xinjiang) and its connection to foreign global imaginaries through economic activity. It ends with essays that consider the internationalization of the Chinese heartland imaginaries through its silk road (with a focus on African engagement). Here one encounters the projection outward of internal Chinese self-construction and as well the internationalization of the Chinese path as a model for the re-construction of economies and social-political orders to attain the Chinese Dream with local characteristics. A central theme of the essays is an examination of the way in which Chinese Marxist-Leninism constructs its own symbolic universe as an iterative self-construction of theory and experience that progress through time replicating responses that change as context changes. 

At the foundation of the analysis are Chinese imaginaries.

The word ‘imaginary’ as a noun is a jargon term that has been gaining currency in a number of social sciences. It grates on those who have not come across this usage before, as in ordinary language the word is mainly used as an adjective. People have, for example, ‘imaginary friends’, but they rarely have ‘imaginaries’ (Brigitte Nerlich, Imagining imaginaries, University of Nottingham Blog (23 April 2015) with a nice summary explanation of the evolution and expansion of the term within the social sciences)
Whatever its pedigree, the term is useful here. The term is connected to a number of other similar terms that seek to give meaning to the same set of practices or states of social being: for example, the German-English Weltanschauung) or perhaps “lifeworlds.” In their own ways each tries to center the way that knowledge is organized and rationalized through systems of interpreting, understanding and giving meaning to the world around us (Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection (Routledge, 1997) p. 21; Jean-Paul Sartre, The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination (Routledge, 2010 (original 1940), pp. 57-94). It can also be understood as shared perceptions of the meaning of reality backed by massive background consensus (Jürgen Habermas, Between Facts and Norms (William Rehg (trans) MIT Press, 1996); pp. 22, 322); or as biopolitics (the narratives through which social and political power may be normalized over the control and management of the bodies of the living and their relationship to physical and abstract objects and the technologies of control) (Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979 (Graham Burchell (trans) Picador 2004), pp. 75-101).   

All of the essays are available online. The entire volume may be purchased in paperback form from Amazon. LINK HERE.

The Table of Contents with links to the essays along with the Introduction by the issue editors (with abstract summaries of the essays) follow below.  I hope there is something of interest here for readers. Always welcome engagement and conversation.  The issue may also be accessed through the Emancipating the Mind Bulletin Website Volume 16(1).

Friday, January 21, 2022

"Territorial-Political Reorganization" and the Current "Conversation" Around the Ukraine; The Contemporary Discursive Power of the September, 1939 Secret Supplementary Protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact



Much of the world is following the developments along the Ukrainian border in a slow motion trajectory of absorption that began during the leadership of Barack Obama in the United States and Angela Merkel in Germany in 2014.  These are imperial conversations that belie almost 80 years of rhetoric abolition sovereign equality and the sanctity of territorial borders.  In this respect, at least, the Russians have been honest, if aggressive and brutal (a stance invited by the inability of their rivals to either correctly gauge or respond to probing provocation in a successful way). The difficulty for the liberal democratic camp has always been their assumption that everyone is speaking their language (of law, politics, norms,etc.) and that everyone has not merely embraced them but hat their world views are rationalized through their lens. The reality of the error of this view does not seem to have had much effect--perhaps in part because the performance of the great liberal democratic camp leadership has tended to be directed inward--into their states and among their group--rather than outward to the purported target of their actions. That may, in part, explain the otherwise odd trajectories of behaviors after the invasion and annexation of portions of Ukraine in the last decade. And empire worry about encirclement (see, e.g., here, here, and here).

But back to the imaginaries of imperium. 

The Russians have made clear to anyone who would listen that both territory and sovereign authority is a multi-level system of diminishing dependency. Around the hub of an imperial heartland there must exist various entities with varying degrees of dependence to the imperial center. These are meant to provide both a buffer for safety and a space within which imperial rivals may directly interact (by or through) in the movement of goods, capital, investment and the like before coming more directly in contact with the heartland. One speaks here, then, of the necessity of the construction of "spheres of influence" (the nice and simple term for the formation of these ecologies of dependencies). And one speaks to "territorial-political reorganization" rather than to annexation and the binary sovereign-non-sovereign. Empire does not think in terms of binaries except with equals. And one speaks to peers and acts against or rewards others. The logic has ancient echos in both Asian and European thought, but now applied through the prism of the premises and language of globalization.

Still, old discursive patterns retain some power, even if the conditions under which they produced effects have changed somewhat.  Perhaps to better grasp the mentality it may help to go back to a different generation and a different set of arrangements about spheres of influence between imperial heartlands. One speaks here of the September, 1939  Secret Supplementary Protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact, 1939. The Secret Supplementary Protocols are still discursively powerful.  They unveil the language of a view of the relations between great and lesser powers that appear to continue to have great authority. One seeks peaceful accommodation with peers; one arranges such accommodation through agreement requiring territorial-political reorganization of dependent spaces organized as states but subject to adjustment by imperial heartlands. One speaks of spheres of influence and of the recognition that while the globe is organized as states, many states must be understood as spaces through which imperial heartlands engage with each other. For Poland, the Baltic States, and Finland, the consequences were quite dramatic--some of which remain drawn on the maps of that region today.  For the Ukraine, one might think it was 1939 all over again, discursively at least.But we do not know what is going on behind closed doors. International law provides a useful means of memorializing not merely the core premises of this worldview but also the terms of accommodation at every stage of global historical development in the modern era. And indeed, it ought to be remembered that it was this very territorial-political reorganization that was then affirmed by and became part of the"eternal" map of Europe after 1945. . . .or at least until 2014. All of this might be useful to consider in evaluating both the risks and likely arc of development of the current situation along the current borders of Ukraine; and perhaps beyond.

In any case, and for its value as a vocabulary of empire the text (English translation) of the Secret Protocol follows.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Refinement of Theories of Post-Global Empire: Thoughts on Jiang Shigong, Trade and Human Rights (Part 2): Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire ( 强世功|贸易与人权 (下) ——世界帝国背景下的中美竞争 )


 Certainty since the start of the 21st century Jiang Shigong has proven to be one of the most innovative thinkers on China--and also one of China's most prescient thinkers and theorists. His theoretical work on Chinese constitutionalism but has also produced some controversy for the way in which it has sought to understand the development of Chinese constitutionalism on its own terms. Those terms, of course, are not compatible with the fundamental norms of liberal democratic constitutionalism, but then they were never meant to. Much of this development of Chinese constitutional theory was undertaken with a sensitivity to its comparative aspects, that is with a sense of tying Chinese constitutional developments to the broader global constitutional conversations.

Jiang Shigong has also been writing about sovereignty and constitutional ordering.  Perhaps his most influential work on that topic was focused on Hong Kong and the 'One Country-Two Systems' Principle. (discussed on my Book, Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems' at Chapter 2 (Access Free)). Jiang's work has been quite influential, if controversial, in China.  Much more controversial abroad, if only because he starts from a Chinese Marxist Leninist lens rather than from that of liberal democracy.  And yet in that effort he highlights both then normative differences between systems and the way that as an ontological project, Chinese constitutionalism fits well within the broad stream of that field as an authentic expression of a political vision, though one the normative baselines of which are fundamentally incompatible with those evolving in liberal democratic systems (and thus two epistemic communities within the field of constitutionalism). Within his epistemic community, Jiang is one of its leading forces certainty as a reflection of the arc of development of Chinese Marxist Leninist constitutionalism under the leadership of the current leadership core in in thre "New Era" historical stage of Chinese development (as they see it).

It is with that in mind that it may be useful to read Jiang's recent essay:  贸易与人权 (下) ——世界帝国背景下的中美竞争 (Trade and Human Rights (Part 2): Sino-US Competition in the Context of World Empire ). The essay was originally published in  "Cultural Landscape" 6:90-103 (2021) and was reproduced in 3 January 2022 on the 文化纵横website. The article suggests not merely the extent of the arc of separation between liberal democratic and Marxist Leninist constitutional ordering but the way those normative starting points are then projected outward as ways of understanding, rationalizing, and approaching engagement with the world beyond national borders. It continues to develop Jiang's quite useful theory of empire--at least half of it anyway, looking out at the construction of the America First post global imperial order without then reflecting on how it shapes the construction of the Belt and Road post-global, post-colonial normative and economic imperium in its own right. Yet half is more than enough to to get the sense of the whole in a constructive way.

The theme is one that Jiang has been writing about from a set pf related perspectives (see, e.g., 强世功: 贸易与人权的隐秘逻辑 (Jiang Shigong: The Hidden Logic of Trade and Human Rights) 8 January 2022; a subject of a later post). It speaks both to the normative autonomy of Chinese constitutionalism, and to the way that conflict over normative superiority has helped shape the global community, as well as attitudes of increasing detachment between these two epistemic communities. But that conflict suggests not merely threat but opportunity.  The best defense is offensive--projection out of Chinese values and Chinese constitutionalism through its Belt and Road network; the reshaping of discursive baselines within international organizations, and the discrediting or at least the challenge by Chinese Marxist Leninist constitutionalism of the dominance of liberal democratic structures, norms,and values as the only or best baseline for evolving world institutions and for promoting national development. 

One must concede, I think, that it is now foolish for liberal democratic elites to take for granted a dominance that some say they might have dissipated through their own conceptual and factional follies since the turn of this century, and certainly since the time of the global financial collapse of 2006-8. That may be forgiven, there is no growth without conflict.  And indeed, Jiang's contributions are part of a rich and sometimes contentious conversation within the Chinese academic and policy circles. But the neglect of political elites in the face of this now years long challenge might be less excusable, both in form and function--certainly from the perspective of those who wish to hold high the banner of liberal democracy as a baseline standard for the world order. Nonetheless, those discussions are strategic and political.  It is the normative argument that Jiang makes that ought to be studied for what it says about the state of knowledge and the lens through which an important element of the global constitutional community from outside the liberal democratic tradition now approaches issues of global ordering concern--including its normative basis. It also signals the scope of the challenge for those who still seek to move toward converge rather than to continue on what seems to be the current path of detachment and challenge.

 In either case, what Jiang has to say ought to be taken seriously and considered carefully.  The text of the essay (which includes a long introduction designed to underline the points that are meant to be emphasized and principally extracted from a reading of the article) along with a crude English translation follows.  I also include a few brief reflections on the text (with a passing reference to the introduction).

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Stuart Hargreaves: "Canaries or Colonials? Overseas Judges in Hong Kong" (European Chinese Law Research Hub)



The folks over at the European Chinese Law Research Hub (with thanks to Marianne von Blomberg, Editor ECLR Hub, Research Associate, Chair for Chinese Legal Culture, University of Cologne) have posted Stuart Hargreaves (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law of the Chinese University of Hong Kong)  quite interesting and thought provoking paper:  "Canaries or Colonials? Overseas Judges in Hong Kong.

Marianne von Bloomberg explains:

One of the peculiar features of Hong Kong's legal system is the highest courts' long-standing tradition to have overseas judges on the panel. The rapid PRC-ization of Hong Kong lead many to believe that this colonial relic will be ended. however, last summer Carrie Lam announced that moving forward, "the chief justice will continue to invite experienced overseas judges." Why, and what is the new role of overseas judges? Prof. Stuart Hargreaves argues that this is a strategic decision by the highest court as a political actor in its own right, in an effort to preserve its institutional role.

The issue  of foreign jurists sitting in Hong Kong courts is, as Professor Hargreaves notes, quite sensitive now.  And that sensitivity, as he also notes, is evidenced by the way in which the participation of foreign jurists have been evolving over the years  I suspect that will accelerate now, perhaps toward a Singapore model: a functionally differentiated "globalization" court with a requisite number of foreigners dealing with issues of interest to global trade; and as for the rest the gaze will shift from Europe to Beijing. Yet it may be more than that.  The performance of One Country Two Systems is to some extent also performed by Hong Kong's Courts.  An internationalist court suggests the sort of Two Systems over One Country that was meant to be decisively confronted and defeated with the enactment and now with the form of enforcement of the National Security Law.  It is unlikely that a practice that so evidences a very different view of autonomy will survive long in the New Hong Kong without substantial cabining.

I am cross posting the essay below. The original ECLRH post may be accessed HERE. And as a plug for the marvelous work at the European Chinese Law Research Hub: if you have observations, analyses or pieces of research that are not publishable as a paper but should get out there, or want to spread event information, calls for papers or job openings, or have a paper forthcoming- do not hesitate to contact Marianne von Bloomberg. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Journey From Off the Many Mountain Tops; Remembering Martin Luther King Through his Sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood (26 February 1965)



The United States marks the birthday of marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the third Monday of January each year. His legacy is tremendously important and his work unfinished.  Much of his legacy is most intimately preserved in his speeches, writing, and the audio of his many addresses. He was fortunate enough to live at a time when it was possible to capture images and audio for future generations. These texts, in turn, also acquire a life of their own--to be read and to be understood by each succeeding generation within the context of the historical period in which they live and in the face of the challenges presented to each in turn. That, perhaps, may be a profoundly useful way of projecting his thoughts from out of his time to the present; and over again.

It is in that spirit that it may be useful to re-read, with contemporary lenses, his Sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood (26 February 1965). It is in many ways as fresh today as on the day it was delivered. The central imagery of the sermon was powerfully evocative. It inverted the usual invitation to climb the mountain--the traditional imagery used to attain enlightenment, to travel closer to the Divine, or to overcome the limitations of the common and the darkness below to reach the light. In its place he invited his listeners to climb off the mountain. Mountains here are barriers, and isolating places; mountains are the physical manifestations of separation, of isolation, and of division. Mountains are the places where in ignorance of others on their mountaintops, those who cling there sacrifice their common humanity for the pleasures of a self serving corruption that ultimately elevates their isolation. Starting from the journey of the People of Israel from out of Egypt, from out of slavery, he offered the notion that "They had to realize that before they could get to the Promised Land, they had to face gigantic mountains and prodigious hilltops." His sermon was directed not to those who wanted to remain where they were, or to those who would push through the barriers to the land beyond, but rather to "those individuals that chose the line of least resistance, those individuals who didn’t want to go back to Egypt but who did not quite have the strength to move on to the Promised Land." To them he offered this: "Whenever God speaks, he says, "Go forward." Whenever God speaks, he says, "Move on from mountains of stagnant complacency and deadening pacifity." So this is the great challenge that always stands before men."

And in the process, he offered us a glimpse of the many mountains that keep people at a standstill between oppression and salvation, at least as those are to be realized on Earth. "Tonight, I would like to suggest some of the symbolic mountains that we have occupied long enough and that we must leave if we are to move on to the promised land of justice, peace, and brotherhood. Yea, the promised land of the kingdom of God." And it is in contemplation of those mountains that stand as barrier in journeys towards the promised land that Martin Luther King offered a topography and perhaps a map. What promised land? MLK noted that the promised land itself may be a mountain or the great fertile valleys that lie beyond them. "In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land. Some may have envisioned it with the wrong ideology, with the wrong philosophical presupposition. But men in every generation thought in terms of some promised land." 

 For his contemporaries, MLK identified the mountain barriers that encouraged standing still. These include the mountain of practical materialism; the mountain of racial injustice; the mountain of segregation; a mountain range of indifference (especially concerning poverty); the high peaked mountains of hatred and violence; and the mountain of war.  These can produce the mountain range of despair that in turn causes people to stand still.  But he suggests these mountains also have a utility.  "With this faith [in justice] we will be able to hue out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." These are thoughts that may we in our own time provide a means of navigating the contemporary mountains that serve today as barriers to move beyond the mountains of error and chisel from them totems of hope. That perhaps may be a fruitful starting point for contemplation.

The Sermon follows below with thanks to the American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank for posting it. Some may find it a useful way to honor Martin Luther King's the memory, legacy and his charge. It may be downloaded as a pdf file from the Speech Bank HERE.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Text of Xi Jinping Speech at a Ceremony Marking the Centenary of the Communist Party of China July 1, 2021 (Chinese and English)


Pix Credit HERE

For those who missed it, I post below the original Chinese and official English translations of Xi Jinping Speech at a Ceremony Marking the Centenary of the Communist Party of China July 1, 2021. The English translation can be downloaded from this site: HERE.  The Original Chinese was sourced at the Hong Kong 01 Co., Ltd website HERE.

This is a set of remarks that will be come far more interesting and valuable  as time goes by.  It serves as a baseline for understanding the way Chinese Marxist Leninism in the New Era is situated at  the end of its initial period of formation and development.  Here Chinese Leninism it is offered deeply embedded in the history of both the Chinese vanguard and that of the nation.  Yet but is also deeply reflected in and molded by the principal contradiction that serves as its starting (identification of the movement to a new historical era and its principal contradiction) and end (overcoming the New Era's principal contradiction to usher in the stage of Chinese historical development) points. It is thus important to keep in mind that this important speech sits perhaps nearing the mid point of the journey from the close of the Era of Reform and Opening Up (that ended effectively with the start of the leadership of Xi Jinping), and its own end (consider my earlier analysis of its discursive manifestations HERE). Thus the speech will be as important a marker of Chinese Leninist theory that points to the transition to the Era that will start after the fulfillment of the period of national rejuvenation in the long march to the establishment of a Communist society in China. And, indeed, the close connection between New Era ideological development of Leninism in China is closely tied to the deployment of "national rejuvenation" as the core strategy to overcome the principal contradiction of the current stage of Chinese historical development.  To read the remarks as a precise statement of that connection, and of its character provides substantial insight into the way that Chinese Leninism in the New Era is translated into operative policies designed  to move beyond national rejuvenation toward the next challenge and the next stage of Chinese historical development.

 That, anyway, appears to be both the theoretical development and its exposition currently as gleaned form these important remarks. One does not know how long the present era will last.  Reforms and Opening Up  extended roughly a generation.  The era of the great class struggle and the formative period of democratic dictatorship with both its great triumphs and profound error also extended about a generation.  That may be the marker.  But  only time will tell. What the time period, it is clear from the speech that the greatest triumph of the historical project of the vanguard is to be able to chronicle the rise of the next era of development for China and the triumph and end of the Chinese New Era. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Text of the Vaccine Mandate Case, Nat'l Federation of Independent Business, et al., v. Dept. of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 95 U. S. ____ (2022)

Pix Credit HERE

The legal and academic community spent the better part of 4 years under the Trump administration refining the jurisprudence of administrative law and regulation. The object was ideological and political. It was mostly deployed to ensure that the President, then much despised, would be unable, except at great cost and with a care that the Trump Administration appeared incapable of undertaking, to extend the power of executive agencies or direct executive authority, to bypass Congress or the limits (otherwise) of power vested in the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. They were quite successful in many respects.

That success has now come to haunt them.

The Supreme Court on Thursday halted enforcement of one of President Joe Biden's signature efforts to combat COVID-19, ruling that his administration doesn't have the authority to impose sweeping vaccine-or-testing requirements for employers that would have covered tens of millions of Americans.The unsigned opinion, which came days after the justices heard arguments in the emergency appeal, marked the second time the nation's highest court had unwound a key pandemic policy of the Biden administration, once again concluding that federal officials had exceeded the power given to them by Congress. (Supreme Court blocks COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate for workplaces but lets medical rule stand)

The opinion--delivered per curiam--the concurrence, and the dissent are straightforward. None break new ground, though neither concurrence or dissent can resist the politically directed bon mots that are sprinkled in those writings. But they do, each, in their own way deepen the pattern intensified in Trump era jurisprudence that continues to domesticate politics within the sensibilities and cultures of administrative decision making and intensifying judicial review (e.g., "Prior to the emergence of COVID–19, the Secretary had used this power just nine times before (and never to issue a rule as broad as this one). Of those nine emergency rules, six were challenged in court, and only one of those was upheld in full." Per Curiam slip op. at 3). And principal among those newly enhanced cultural tropes with jurisprudential teeth, is the enlargement of abuse of discretion theory, and a narrow reading of delegation. "The question, then, is whether the Act plainly authorizes the Secretary’s mandate. It does not. The Act empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures." (Slip op. at 6). The more dramatic version of the question, which, as is typical of this era of jurisprudence, also expressed the answer, was delivered in concurrence by Justices Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito (Concurrence at 1). At the core of these principles is an important new one, though one that waits for greater elaboration elsewhere--the need for reasoned decision making subject to broad review by the courts (e.g., Dept of Commerce v, NY, No. 18–966. Argued April 23, 2019—Decided June 27, 2019. The signalling is clear in the concurrence:ç

Why does the major questions doctrine matter? It ensures that the national government’s power to make the laws that govern us remains where Article I of the Constitution says it belongs—with the people’s elected representatives. If administrative agencies seek to regulate the daily lives and liberties of millions of Americans, the doctrine says, they must at least be able to trace that power to a clear grant of authority from Congress (Gorsuch, Thomas, Alito concurrence at slip op. p. 4).

Deployed against that are good old fashioned (though unfashionable between 2016 and 2020) notions of broad readings of administrative delegation and deference to administrative agency discretionary policy choices even if their rationale might be paper thin. Where the majority speaks to the organizaiton of power under the federal system, the dissent speaks to the need for decisive action in the face of an emergency when the niceties of  such structuring can be bent (an ironic expansion of laying at the joints of constitutional necessesities). 

Every day, COVID–19 poses grave dangers to the citizens of this country—and particularly, to its workers. The dis- ease has by now killed almost 1 million Americans and hospitalized almost 4 million. It spreads by person-to-person contact in confined indoor spaces, so causes harm in nearly all workplace environments. And in those environments, more than any others, individuals have little control, and therefore little capacity to mitigate risk. (Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagen dissenting, slip op. p. 1).)

This is an ancient argument in an even more ancient battle among justices. It echoes the cry of Chief Justice Vinson in dissent in the Steel Seizure Case ("Those who suggest that this is a case involving extraordinary powers should be mindful that these are extraordinary times. A world not yet recovered from the devastation of World War II has been forced to face the threat of another and more terrifying global conflict."). And they failed to use Trump era cases against the decision, but not for lack of trying (e.g. Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, 582 U. S. ___, ___ (2017) (per curiam) (slip op., at 10; cited in dissenting opinion slip op. at p. 11). But these are continuing fights that will play out again. For now the case provides more fodder for the furious politics of jurispridence playing out around the court.

The text of the case follows. Included are the per curiam opinion, the concurrence of JJ Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito, and the dissenting opinion of JJ Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. It may also be accessed and downloaded HERE.

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law Special Issue "The Limits of Law" (J.M. Aroso Linhares, Ana Margarida Gaudêncio and Inês Godinho (eds))


Pix Credit: Here ("Un fait divers bruxellois nous conduit au cœur de notre sujet. Réalisée en une nuit, le 22 janvier 2017, une fresque murale de qualité est apparue sur un mur de la commune de Molenbeek–la commune bruxelloise sulfureuse tenue pour base arrière des terroristes islamistes impliqués dans les sanglants attentats des mois précédents à Paris et de Bruxelles.")

I am happy to let you know that the first issue of 2022 of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique volume 35(1) (2022) is now available online. It is a Special Issue "The Limits of Law", guest edited by J.M. Aroso Linhares and Ana Margarida Gaudêncio and Inês Godinho. The editors had this to say in the foreword to the issue ("The Limits of Law: Foreword
J. M. Aroso Linhares1 · Ana Margarida Gaudêncio1 · Inês Godinho © Springer Nature B.V. 2021:

The title of this Special Issue (The Limits of Law) comes directly from the 20th
International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law (IRSL 2019) which took place at
the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra between the 23rd and the 25th May
2019, jointly organized by UCILeR (Instituto Jurídico da Faculdade de Direito da
Universidade de Coimbra—University of Coimbra Institute for Legal Research) and
ATFD (Associação Portuguesa de Teoria do Direito, Filosofia do Direito e Filosofia
Social, the Portuguese section of IVR) .
This was indeed a memorable scientific meeting, with an exceptionally large
number of participants and what follows is just a first ensemble of representative
essays, proposed as extended or reviewed versions of working papers presented in
Coimbra. Bearing in mind the dimension of the 20th Roundtable (with more than
fifty paper presentations) and its remarkable plurality (with interlocutors from more
than twenty countries)─see Book of Abstracts ( os/
2019/abstracts.pdf)─, the contribution represented here is only a short selection, and
in this sense always a frustrating one. This frustration will, however, be partially
mitigated, thanks to the forthcoming publication of a monographic volume, entitled
Exploring the Boundaries of Law, which is expected to consist entirely of another
sequence of those papers. ("The Limits of Law: Foreword J. M. Aroso Linhares · Ana Margarida Gaudêncio · Inês Godinho © Springer Nature B.V. 2021 IJSL 35(1):2-1).

The table of contents with links follows.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Socialize the People to the New Era Official History and the Project of National Rejuvenation Under the Leadership of the Vanguard!: 深入领会新时代的历史性成就和历史性变革 [Deeply understand the historic achievements and historic changes of the new era]


  经过艰苦奋斗,中国人民用自己的双手在中华大地上实现了全面建成小康社会的目标,打赢了脱贫攻坚战,历史性地解决了绝对贫困问题。图为第四届中国图片大赛簕杜鹃特别奖获奖作品《大庆3100张脱贫户笑脸绽放幸福画卷》,该图片是大庆市摄影家协会用拼图方式完成的,主图主人公是脱贫户王玉兰。Pix credit : (深入领会新时代的历史性成就和历史性变革).

There is no point going to the trouble of developing of official history if one is not prepared to use it to help shape the masses. The nation can be better brought to overcome the contradictions of the current historical era and to change itself and its way of understanding the world under the leadership of the vanguard with an official history. "The more comprehensive the understanding of the historical process, the more profound the grasp of historical laws, the richer the party's historical wisdom, and the more active the grasp of the future."  (深入领会新时代的历史性成就和历史性变革 来源:《求是》2022/01 作者:曲青山 2022-01-01 16:00:48 ).

China now has its official history for the new era (discussed at "Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century" [中共中央关于党的百年奋斗重大成就和历史经验的决议(全文)] Text and Thoughts). In an address to the Democratic Life Meeting on Party History Learning and Education held by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee from December 27 to 28, 2021, Xi Jinping elaborated on the value and use of the Central Committee Resolution on the Historic Achievements of the Party. His remarks were summarized in an essay that appeared in Qiushi, the theoretical organ of the Chinese Communist Party1 January 2022 under the authorship of "Qu Qingshan." That essay, 深入领会新时代的历史性成就和历史性变革来源:《求是》2022/01 作者:曲青山 2022-01-01 16:00:48[Deeply understand the historic achievements and historic changes of the new era; Source: "Seeking Truth" [Qiushi] 2022/01 Author: Qu Qingshan 2022-01-01 16:00:48], is worth reading.

That essay follows below in the original Chinese as well as in a crude English translation.  Most of it speaks for itself and is quite straightforward. A very few points may be worth underlining.

1. Both the Central Committee History Resolution and this  "Deeply Understand" essay are essential elements in the construction of New Era developments of Chinese Marxist-Leninism. It is a memory, justification, and the application of the insights of the normative project of Chinese Leninism in its long term work of moving society toward the establishment of Communist society in China.  At the same time, the Resolution and its official interpretation (plus this application guide) also continue to help shape and evolve New Era theory. But more importantly, it suggests the dynamic nature of Chinese Marxist Leninism that ensures that it is flexible enough to respond to the current situation both by the evolution of policy and the theoretical basis for the deployment of policy. Systems that are capable of dynamic evolution--through mechanics of textual interpretation, through a magisterium, or through processes of periodic reform appear to retain a closer connection with the masses whose behavior is its subject and object.

2. The "Deeply Understand" essay, like many that will be written around it (and the "Resolution"), is focused on two audiences and thus speaks at two tonal levels. The first and simplest "tone" is the effort to popularize the sometimes more complex and subtle weaving of more than a  century of theoretical-political development in ways that may be more easily conveyed to, taught, and absorbed by the masses. There will be more of this  as more targeted instructional materials are prepared for various target audiences (students, rural populations, workers, etc.). The more nuanced tone is directed toward Party cadres, especially at the lower and middle levels. That too, will produce additional teaching materials that will also be targeted to the different levels of the Party. Without the mechanics of communal meaning making, without the policing of a common lens through which the world can be seen and understood, the integrity of the masses and the leadership of its core may be weakened. This is as important in liberal democratic theaters of authority as it is in Marxist Leninist ones, though the performance of power and the lenses are quite different and irreconcilable. States whose elites are unable to maintain a close connection between theory way of seeing the world and those of the masses may find their authority questioned  and their relevance threatened. Yet the maintenance of a common language is hard work, made harder by the need for internal translation and external projection.

3. There is a third audience that appears on the sidelines.  That audience includes foreign friends (for whom these materials are meant to make the curation of history more accessible and better understood as part of the Chinese Marxist-Leninist project). But it also includes foreign competitors and opponents, for whom these materials are meant to develop a justification for and a legitimization of the the Chinese Marxist Leninist project in history, and, through history, to its authority in contemporary times.This projection is a critical element of the development of Chinese ideological internationalism (as it has been for the similar project of liberal democratic internationalism).  Its focus on the developing state camp is also crucial.  It is clear that except for sympathetically intellectual elites in the liberal democratic camp, such projections are important principally to ensure the preservation f a space for legitimacy and the challenge to the liberal democratic camp's claims to universalism. That is a cultural-political project and an old one. But so is the effort to project  Chinese Leninism in forms that may be both interesting to and compatible with the needs and outlooks of developing states.  The Belt & Road Initiative provides the space where such a project may be undertaken.  These performances of theory and their memorialization may serve as the means of translating these notions  beyond Chinese territorial borders. Consequently it may be more important to gauge how these expressions are received in developing states than their reception in Washington, D.C., New York, Paris, or Berlin.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

“各族人民亲如一家" ("People of All Ethnic Groups are Like One Family): Creating a Multi-Ethnic State With Chinese Characteristics


Pix Credit HERE


Pix Credit HERE
The great issue that faced nations emerging from the last great age of territorial empire was that of absorbing minority populations within a large territorial state with no claims to the imperial characteristics that marked global discourse through the beginning of the Second World War. The Americans had their "melting pot" (a cultural or political or comprehensive integration of migrants into the political culture of the Republic; in its extreme form assimilation that required the subordination of home state culture and normative orientations to that of the new home states conceived by its elites)) though that is now considered taboo in some quarters in the inter-elite warfare that rages in the contemporary United States. They now speak in terms of the metaphor of the salad bowl which is deployed against the older discursive imagery of pots meting the differentiated into an undifferentiated new whole.  Nonetheless, both speak to the fundamental necessity of some sort of integration of successive waves of settlers (however they arrived willingly or unwillingly) into the singular political corpus of a Republic of now amalgamated identities. The salad bowl notion, though, also posits the sometimes immutable (and sometimes mutable) characteristics of difference and toward the edges of its logic suggests either an active (positive) preservation of the old ways in their new environment or the manifestation of emerging self-reflexive identities; and in this way aligned sometimes with emerging identity political-culture discourses. 

The European spoke to being united in diversity. They thought well enough of it to make it the motto of its European Union. In both cases, these large multi-ethnic governance units sought to develop a singular demos from aggregations of peoples as concerned about what made them different form their neighbors as in what did not. In the United States that consisted of efforts to align multiple ways of settlers that overwhelmed an original native population that eventually was also urged to join in. In Europe, it was meant to cement the realities of European diversity that was meant to be cemented  after the great bout of ethnic cleansing and population movements before 1950 that served the goals of eliminating Prussia from the map and honoring the Soviet's treaty with the Third Reich in 1939, among other reasons. After the 1950s it increasingly included the need for the digestion of new waves of settlers from the dar al Islam, Africa, Asia, and Latin America who now sought to call Europe home, and to ensure they felt comfortable in their new residence.  

In both vases, migration, settlement, and the duties and responsibilities, much less the expectations of migrants and those  who make room for them in migrant target states remains highly controversial and politically explosive. Its cultural signification remains in deep flux, and its legal treatment as a matter of international and domestic law remains fluid. 

And now China.  

In August 2021, Qiushi, the theoretical organ of the Chinese Communist Party, reported on the thinking of Xi Jinping abd the Chinese leadership core, on the issues of ethnicity and ethnicity policy within China. 求是网评论员:紧紧抓住铸牢中华民族共同体意识这条主线 来源:求是网 作者:求是网评论员 2021-08-29 15:19:34 ( commentator: firmly grasp the main line of casting a sense of community of the Chinese nation; Source: Author: commentator 2021-08-29 15:19:34).

Xi Jinping rejected both the American notions of meting pot or salad bowl, as well as the European one of united in diversity for a more intimate imagery--the imagery of the family.  But not a Western family, but a family that understands the demands of filial duty and one, as well, that is lead and guided by its core--generously its parents.  Certainly the temptation to read Confucian elements into this construct of diversity and the discursive basis for dealing with ethnic minorities is overwhelmingly tempting.  And its echos are likely unavoidable.  Bit the concept is essentially a Leninist one--with Chinese characteristics.  It replicated the fundamental organization trope of Chinese Leninism--one grounded in the fundamental normative power of democratic centralism ("This unity of democracy and centralism, of freedom and discipline, constitutes our democratic centralism. Under this system, the people enjoy extensive democracy and freedom, but at the same time they have to keep within the bounds of socialist discipline." Mao Zedong, " On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People" (February 27, 1957)).  And yet, like the thinking in the United States before the close of the last century, the object involves"consolidating the consciousness of the Chinese nation as a community." Cinsider the five point elements of the ethnic policy:

First, we must comprehensively promote the construction of a shared spiritual home for the Chinese nation. . . .  (一要全面推进中华民族共有精神家园建设。)

Second, we must promote the common movement of all ethnic groups towards socialist modernization. . .  (二要推动各民族共同走向社会主义现代化。)

The third is to promote exchanges and integration of various ethnic groups. . . . (三要促进各民族交往交流交融。)

Fourth, we must improve the modernization level of the governance system and governance capacity for ethnic affairs. . . (四要提升民族事务治理体系和治理能力现代化水平。)

Fifth, we must resolutely prevent major risks and hidden dangers in the ethnic field. . . (五要坚决防范民族领域重大风险隐患。)

This is not melting pot, but neither is it unity through diversity. It certainly is not a salad bowl. Is embodies the notion that ethnicity, like all difference, must serve  the common aspirations of the nation under the guidance of a vanguard, but not exist either autonomously or independent of the collective of which it is a part. Difference within may be recognized, different outside cannot. And that likely makes the thrust potentially incompatible with the thrust of cultural movement respecting settler migration in liberal democratic states.  Whatever one thinks of the policy from one's home perspective, it is clear that the policy aligns strongly with currents of new era ideology and the evolution of Chinese Leninist principles after 2015. It also points to a further divergence between the sensibilities of the liberal democratic camp and those of Marxist Leninist states, even holding for cultural, contextual and historical difference.  It is that gap that is worth studying for their effect and for the way they may affect discussion of the issues at a global level. The essay appears in full below in the original Chinese and in a crude English translation. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Victory Requires its Own History: Chinese State Council White Paper: "Hong Kong: Democratic Progress Under the Framework of One Country, Two Systems." “一国两制”下香港的民主发展》白皮书


Pic Credit HERE

Victory requires its own narrative. And that narrative must in turn express a fidelity to the core values of the victor.  History must be understood as the expression of that narrative and those values in time. Progressive history presumes that values and ideology move from a stage of birth and challenge to one of victory.

Hong Kong now has its history.  That history was conceived in the great transition from ancient empire to contemporary vanguard leadership as it was performed in China's colonial peripheries. It was born in the streets and nurtured in the victory of what for the central authorities were the inevitable movements of peoples and social forces under the guidance of the vanguard  and through the actions of its patriotic front.  It now comes into its own--reimagining its past, and building a shared official vision of its present that will sharpen the lens through which the future may be seen clearly and approached correctly. 

To that end the Chinese State Council has issued its White Paper: "Hong Kong: Democratic Progress Under the Framework of One Country, Two Systems." It may be downloaded HERE. And the text follows below in the offial English and Chinese as distributed by China Daily 20 December 2021 (《“一国两制”下香港的民主发展》白皮书(双语全文)[White Paper on "Democratic Development of Hong Kong under "One Country, Two Systems" (full text in bilingual)]).  

The table of contents nicely frames both the history and its discursive trajectories, ones which were developed by the central authorities during the early stages of the 2019-2020 Hong Kong protests, but with origins going back almost to the time of the handover. First democracy came to Hong Kong only late in the colonial period and then only as a means of roadblocking the exercise of sovereign authority by the Chinese central authorities.  Second that real democracy commenced in a meaningful way only after the ceding of Hong Kong back to China and in a hybrid but vigorous form. Third, this new democratic form was developed under the leadership of the central authorities and with the guidance of its vanguard. Fourth, this stable development toward autonomous prosperity was derailed by unpatriotic forces  misguided by the black hand of foreign interference (connecting the bad faith of the democratic reforms at the time of the handover to the agitation after 2014). Fifth, that once order was restored and the patriotic forces of Hong Kong  restored, democracy under the guidance of the central authorities was put back on track.  And lastly, Hong Kong democracy will continue to develop under conditions of this "new era."  Note here that democracy is itself quite precisely understood in Chinese terms (see HERE). It is socialist democracy with Hong Kong characteristics that is the basis for the structuring of autonomy, and with it a rejection of liberal democratic  democratic frameworks.

Indeed, I found it useful to read its text against  Chapter 2 of my book, Hing Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems' (Little Sir Press, 2021). That Chapter, entitled "The Clash of Empires? Playing With Fire in the Shadow of the Umbrella Movement " was written early in the period of unrest that started in June 2019 and considered some critical writing of Jiang Shigong on Hong Kong.  The Chapter may be accessed HERE. The video recording of my thoughts in writing Chapter 2 (with Matthew McQuilla) may be accessed HERE.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

习近平 "加强党史军史和光荣传统教育 确保官兵永远听党话、跟党走" [Xi Jinping, "Strengthen the education of party history, military history and glorious traditions to ensure that officers and soldiers always listen to the party and follow the party"]


 2019年10月1日,庆祝中华人民共和国成立70周年大会在北京天安门广场隆重举行。这是中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平检阅受阅部队。 新华社记者 李涛/摄 [On October 1, 2019, the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China was held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. This is Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the State and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspecting the troops under review. Xinhua News Agency reporter Li Tao / photo]

The recent eruption in Kazakhstan serves to remind one of the centrality of the rationalization of the authority of the civilian and military /police establishments within a state apparatus not merely in keeping order but in preserving the institutionalized expression of its political system incarnated in the bureaucracies of its government. The same is true in the context of the outward use of the military/police establishment, for example in the much threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine that has been "scheduled" for the Spring of 2022. The use of a military/police power within the autonomous regions of China and potentially in its efforts to secure territory in some future time also suggest the importance of understanding the discursive and theoretical model, the principles, that help shape the relationship between the political and military establishments if only to understand better their interactions, their own vanguards and where and how the core of their leadership may be identified.

The relationship between the military and the political apparatus in Marxist Leninist states poses similar challenges to those faced in liberal democratic states.  These revolve around two main issues.  The first is normative: the socialization of the military apparatus and especially it middle and lower ranks into the core normative principles and values of the the societal and political order. Related ot that is the task of inculcating a sense of the responsibility of the military within that order.  That then touches on the second great challenge, one that is institutional. This second challenge focuses on the naturalization of a very specific order or hierarchy of authority, especially as between the military and the political institutions of society. In liberal democratic states that produces a rich narrative of the supremacy of civilian leadership of the military and of the military as the force tool of the political order.  In Leninist states, the narrative produced is of the leadership of the political vanguard over the military, and of the supremacy of the vanguard over and within the institution of the military. It is true enough that the relationship is the subject of treatment in the most sacred of the political writings on which the state is organized.  But those writings tend to be a doorway rather than the destination when it comes to the actual expression of its principles in the political and bureaucratic institutionalization of the relations between two establishments, the nature and powers of which are quite distinct though interwoven.

In both cases there is a wide variation in the way that these principles are applied to the construction of an institutionalized bureaucratic governance establishment. Much of it is a function of the history and national context in which it is developed.  But in all cases, those contextual factors are molded to and by the fundamental narrative of the ordering of the state, and of the military/police power within it. In Cuba, for example, the historical reality that produced a Communist vanguard from out of the military establishment that has seized power shaped in quite distinctive ways the construction of a Leninist power architecture between military and political bureaucracies (Cuba's Praetorian Marxism is discussed in my book, Cuba's Caribbean Marxism, Chapter 3 (2018)).  In China the vanguard and its military establishment were joined together almost from the first, and that produced a very different development and a very different expression of the character and form of the challenges of military/police power within a Leninist political construct.

It is to that sort of challenge that Qiushi (Seeking Truth) the theoretical organ of the Chinese Communist Party, choose to push a collection of remarks by Xi Jinping that touched on those issues in the summer of 2021: 习近平 "加强党史军史和光荣传统教育 确保官兵永远听党话、跟党走" [Xi Jinping, "Strengthen the education of party history, military history and glorious traditions to ensure that officers and soldiers always listen to the party and follow the party"] Qiushi  [Seeking Truth] July 31 2021 . The opening excerpt is telling and expresses in Leninist terms the almost universal principle for adherents of the view that only civilian control of the military/police power is legitimate in the construction of a political order, that the military--its individuals and its institutional self-consciousness must be socialized to serve a superior authority--or better put, to serve the superior values of the political-economic model of the state overseen by a civilian apparatus.:

One: It is necessary to always put ideological and political construction in the first place in all aspects of the military construction, strengthen theoretical arming, strengthen the education of military spirit, continue to deeply cultivate the core values ​​of contemporary revolutionary soldiers, organize officers and soldiers to earnestly study the history of the party and the military, so that the absolute leadership of the party over the army will be It is deeply rooted in the thinking of officers and soldiers to ensure that the entire army resolutely obeys the command of the Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission at all times and under any circumstances. (Speech at the enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission on November 16, 2012)

The starting point is both well understood and interesting for having to be repeated.  During the medieval period in Europe, for example, the constant repetition of ordinances sometimes suggested the challenges of getting anyone or sufficient numbers to adhere to its command.  Other times it served as part of a ritualized expression of the obvious, made necessary because while institutions live "forever" the individuals who serve it and give it life do not. The result is the need for constant training as people come and go.  But its essence is unmistakable.  First is the overarching authority of the principles of rationalized norms on which the state is grounded.  Second, a fidelity to a very specific apparatus as the authoritative and legitimate guardian of that normative complex, and third, the need to inculcate appropriate learning, to socialize the military/police power in this construction to ensure a continued and high degree of fidelity to its structuring. This is little different from the way it is undertaken in liberal democratic states, except that the actors and norms are quite different. The point, though, is important--one does not speak here of a naked and arbitrary power bereft of either a guiding ideology or a grounding in legitimating principles. That makes the discourse that follows both more powerful and important to understand, especially for those who manage the civilian and military establishments of competing forces. 

The excerpts end where they start: a strong military is one whose members are tightly ideologically controlled--or better, managed. It is the role fo the civilians to ensure that necessary socialization.  But not just socialization, but the inculcation of the fundamental vales of Leninism that then opens the individuals from the lowest ranks up top the principles of Marxism developed by the Leninist leadership organs and expressed as its Basic Line. One does not just create a loyal military but a Marxist one as well. (Paragraph 19 below). But then that is precisely what liberal democratic military establishments ought to be considering as well. Yet the modalities of that inculcation present substantially different challenges--one that it is not clear that is especially important to senior military bureaucrats or their civilian supervisors at the current time.

The article follows with a crude English translation.  Students of military institutonalism and of civil-military relations may find this of interest.  Those seeking to understand both the normative construction of Leninist governance and its internal contradictions may also find items of use from these collection of remarks.  Students of discourse might find the curation of these remarks, and their ordering within the article of great interest as well.