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John Ross, from International Marxist Group and Ken Livingstone, to denouncing ‘arrogant’ democracy Hong Kong protesters.

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Image result for John Ross International marxist Group

John Ross, from Student Revolutionary to “China has the best human rights record in the world.”

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.”

Global Times 2014

More recently,

“the CPC is a Marxist Party and China is a socialist and not a capitalist country. Those ‘China experts’ who doubted that, thinking they knew better than the CPC, have just been proved to be wrong.”

What is a great pity is that parts of the Western left followed, and were influenced by, Western ‘China experts’ into falsely believing that the CPC had abandoned Marxism and China had become a capitalist and not a socialist country.”

Xi stresses importance of The Communist Manifesto

“, the US House of Representatives would be well advised to pass a resolution congratulating China for its unequalled contribution to human well-being in lifting over 600 million people out of poverty, establishing an enquiry to find out why US-supported economic policies in the rest of the world have made no such contribution to human rights, and publicly apologizing for the hundreds of thousands of people it has killed in its wars – including the thousands of ordinary US soldiers.”

John Ross. British scholar defends China’s human rights

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-06-12 17:11:20

 

Now he is telling Hong Kong residents not to get so uppity.

And making conspiratorial claims against pro-democracy protesters.

Global Times suggested in 2014 that Ross could be included amongst the “expatriate American and British ‘academics’ who make a living telling China what it wants to hear about itself. Not specialists on China, or speakers of Chinese, or indeed scholars at all, they easily find cushy university posts from which they write blogs and columns about the superiority of the Chinese system.”

John Ross, a former director of London’s Economic and Business Policy to ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone and current Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute, also at the Renmin University, is one of a number of foreign academics on the receiving end of attacks by some netizens for his open criticism of liberal “public intellectuals” that, Ross says, do not really “understand” democracy. On June 12, Ross published an op-ed in China saying that the US is clearly wrong over China’s human rights record.

“The attempt to reduce human rights to a Western-style political structure, as though having a parliamentary system were the most important question facing human beings, is ridiculous,” Ross wrote. He argues that the idea that China has “raised” 630 million people out of poverty – more than the population of the United States – is more important than having access to Facebook.

Ross says his chosen headline was “China has the best human rights record in the world.” The op-ed has been published three times in China so far, both in English and Chinese; none have used his original title.

“When I say ‘China has the best human rights record in the world’, it’s not meant to make China feel good… it was an objective statement,” Ross told the Global Times. “If somebody doesn’t agree with that, let’s have a discussion on who has a better human rights record, and why. And you will find out during the discussion that [the idea that any country has a better human rights record than China]is not true,” he concluded.

Our Man in Beijing: Or Is He Theirs?

Background on Ross,

Ross joined the Trotskyist International Marxist Group (IMG) in the late 1960s. He worked with Bob Pennington to form the IMG Opposition Group. Ross was a central figure in the leadership of the IMG in the early 1980s when it became known as Socialist Action, but he gradually lost the support of much of its membership.

Ken and the rise of Socialist Action

(Andrew Hosken, Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone, Arcadia Books, 10 April 2008.

Chapter 18: 1985-1994. Ken and the rise of Socialist Action, 1985-1994)

In their early years, members of Socialist Action churned out him hundreds of agendas, documents and other discussion papers which I have been able to obtain. They tell the remarkable story of how the group absorbed itself into the Labour Left and became a major force within it; as well the efforts it made to disappear from view as an organisation. Socialist Action made a concerted attempt to cultivate Ken Livingstone back in 1985 in the wake of the failed rate capping campaign. John Ross, the leader of the group, interviewed Livingstone for its relatively new paper, also called Socialist Action. Livingstone had already heard about Ross as the author of a small book called Thatcher and Friends which predicted the terminal decline of the Tory Party.[4] ‘I recognised this was someone with formidable intellect,’ says Livingstone. ‘After the rate capping fiasco, when most of the rest of the hard left were boycotting me, he turned up and did an interview and we started talking about economics and I realised this was somebody who could give me the grasp on economic policy which I didn’t have, So when I became an MP I retained him to actually do that’.[5]

John Ross’s influence grew from that moment; he became Livingstone’s most important advisor from 1985 onwards. After Livingstone, he is the most influential personality in the mayor’s office. The rates farce stripped Livingstone of most of his Left contacts and friends. Ross supplied Livingstone not only with the support and network he needed to continue but also the education necessary to tackle the Labour leadership on the vital battleground of economic policy. For 20 years, Ken Livingstone has really been a double act; John Ross and Socialist Action have been the silent partners.

Ross worked as a lecturer at Enfield Polytechnic and once he fought the Newham North East parliamentary seat as the candidate for the International Marxist Group, the forerunner to Socialist Action.[6] By the time Ross met Livingstone, he had emerged triumphant from an internecine struggle within the International Marxist Group, or IMG, one of Britain’s main Trotskyist parties. During 1982, the IMG split over strategy: how to bring about that elusive revolution. That split led to the creation of Socialist Action.

The IMG was built fundamentally out of the student movement of the late 1960s and helped organise some of the biggest protests against the Vietnam War in London.[7] During the 1970s its revolutionary strategy was focused on industry and the unions, which made sense during this period of economic instability and intense industrial unrest. Members, often highly educated, were encouraged to get blue collar jobs to play a role in encouraging the workers to turn towards revolution, ‘The Turn’.

An internal IMG note in 1982 reiterated, ‘…it is vital that we are rooted among the industrial workers, going through joint experiences with them and drawing common lessons. Any other perspective will only alienate us from the forces who will be key in building a revolutionary party and expose us to class pressures’.[8] Jobs were often advertised internally: ‘London Transport are taking on bus drivers at Stamford Hill; contact Wood Green Job Centre’; or ‘Jobs available in small chemical factory in Hounslow; we have a comrade who is a convenor.'[9]

But the IMG had always been hopelessly confused about its approach to the Labour Party: to enter or not to enter. ‘We hopped into the Labour Party around 1975,’ wrote member John Marston, in his exasperated letter of resignation December 1982, ‘and then out again in 1977 for the joys of regroupment and Socialist Unity. Any pretence of a strategic perspective, vanished.'[10]

  • (← p. 258)

In late 1982, the IMG split over whether or not to join the Benn crusade within the Labour Party, or the ‘Bennite Current’. Apaper presented to the IMG’s conference in December 1982 stated: ‘It is clear that, at the leadership level, fundamental differnces are emerging as to the nature of the party we are trying to build and how to build it. A gulf is developing between those who, basing themselves on the positions of the 1981 conference, wish to build an independent combat party rooted in the industrial working class, and those who are moving towards the idea of an ideological tendency operating in the Labour Party as left critics of the Benn current.'[11]

John Ross was at the forefront of the internal struggle to ditch the industrial strategy and get all IMG members to join the Labour Party en masse and then seek to control the Left bloc within it. Supporting Ross was another key figure in Livingstone’s political career, Redmond O’Neill. At the December 1982 conference, Ross carried the day and over the next few months IMG members joined the Labour Party. A minority who disagreed with the policy of ‘deep eritryism’ split away and formed its own party, the International Group which became a political irrelevance. Despite becoming Labour members, the Ross majority still remained organised as a separate political organization. They decided to rebrand themselves as the Socialist League, and to establish a newspaper called Socialist Action. Like Militant, the group became known by the name of their paper rather than as the Socialist League.

‘The.next steps towards a revolutionary party comprise a fight for a class struggle within the Bennite current,’ said one discussion paper at the time. ‘For this a new newspaper is necessary – one that is seen as the voice of revolutionary socialists within the Labour Party and which can thereby give political expressions to the mass struggles of workers and youth who in the next period will seek overall political answers within the Labour Party. ‘… Socialist Action will fight for leadership within the Bennite Current.'[12]

The Socialist League/Socialist Action met for the first time as a central committee at the Intensive English School in Star Street near Marble Arch for the start of a two-day conference on Saturday, 22 January 1983. The official launch of Socialist Action took place the following morning[13] and it first appeared on 16 March. The group’s old paper, Socialist Challenge, ceased to exist.

Comment.

This is disgusting. Chinese people – and the Hong Kong pro-democracy  protesters –  are great. How the fuck can the leading figure of the IMG end up supporting that ruling class.

For the Fourth International, which Ross once supported, there is this,  very different position,

Sunday 11 August 2019, by Wilfred Chan

Hong Kong has justified its existence as an interface between Western neoliberal globalism and China’s statist authoritarian capitalism. China no longer needs the city to play that role; Hong Kongers desperately need an alternative.

A tiny border city of 7 million people cannot singlehandedly dismantle the hegemonies that ensnare it. But its struggle at this critical moment should be an urgent call for all leftists to help undo those structures—while rethinking the organization of societies beyond the capitalist model of nation-states. Then, perhaps, the people of Hong Kong would be able to join in building what Bernie Sanders has called the “international progressive front“—and, as he writes, “do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other.” From the death of this neoliberal city, an emancipatory new history could be born.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2019 at 11:05 am

John Ross: from the International Marxist Group to defending “politically socialist” Chinese regime.

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Image result for socialist action uk

Still Around as John Ross Sings Praises of Chinese “Xi’ism”.

John Ross was one of the main figures  in the leadership of the International Marxist Group in mid01970s, elss well known than say Tariq Ali, but considered the main figure.  By the early 1980s when it became known as Socialist Action, but he gradually lost the support of much of its membership. Ross was leader of one of three groups which emerged from the crisis of this group in the mid-1980s, the one which retained the name Socialist Action. They increasingly ceased to function as a normal left-wing group and became a group of advisers to Livingstone, or as critics said, a kind of high-level entryist group  who provided the inner core of  the Mayor’s team.

I write the above as a one-time member of the Opposing Faction to Ross in the 1970s IMG, Tendency A.

Reasons to distrust the groupuscule are many but  this sentence sums up their kind of politics, “Socialist Action also participated in Respect – The Unity Coalition after the 2007 split in that party. Several of its supporters became members of the party and one served as its national treasurer.” They are now said to have influence on Jeremy Corbyn.

The group still has a, kind of, site: Socialist Action.

We cannot dislike  them too much at present  since this is one of their recent policies:  There is no ‘People’s Brexit’

The development of Ross is, which ever way you look at it, curious.

A famously ‘Orthodox’ Trotskyist, who knew his Lenin better than Jesuits know their Thomas Aquinas he has been working in China as an academic economist,   Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China- paid for by the state –  for some time and sings the praises of the government’s ‘socialism’.

He has been posting material like the below, all over Facebook for the last few weeks.

How China’s Socialism Outperforms Capitalist Development Strategies. John Ross.

China has followed an economic development strategy, as analyzed below, that is radically different from the neo-liberal “Washington Consensus” advocated by the IMF. The latter is the dominant development strategy advocated by capitalist countries. This article therefore factually compares the results of what will be termed China’s “socialist development strategy” versus the Washington Consensus.

The reasons for making such a factual comparison are clear. The basis of any serious or scientific analysis is that if facts and theory do not coincide it is the theory that has to be abandoned, not the facts suppressed. This is equally expressed in the Chinese dictum “seek truth from facts.” Anti-scientific “dogmatism” consists of clinging to a theory even when the facts contradict it.

Despite this requirement for factual study, supporters of the Washington Consensus appear to dislike making systematic factual comparisons of the two development approaches. The reasons for this will become evident from the data below. This shows that China’s “socialist development strategy” far outperforms the Washington Consensus. The emphasis placed by China on development strategy and its socialist orientation has obvious implications for other countries.

The term “Washington Consensus” was first coined in 1989 by U.S.-based economist John Williamson – although the actual practical policies were commenced in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The Washington Consensus is a classic form of neo-liberalism. It advocates in terms of economic policy privatization and minimization of the state’s economic role. Its social policy may be described as “trickle down” – a belief that if there is economic growth all layers of society will automatically benefit as the benefits “trickle down” from the richest to poorest. Legally the Washington Consensus states that the overriding goal is the strongest guarantee of private property. Politically, although claiming to be neutral, this combination of policies evidently favours capitalist and conservative political parties.

China’s “socialist development strategy,” which commenced with its 1978 economic reforms, is radically different in its entire framework, and directly counter-posed on key policy issues. China used, in Xi Jinping’s phraseology on economic policy, both the “visible” and the “invisible hand” – not simply the private sector but also the state. Indeed, in China itself, as the Communiqué of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC stated: “We must unswervingly consolidate and develop the public economy, persist in the dominant position of public ownership, give full play to the leading role of the state-owned sector.”

..

In social policy China, in line with its socialist approach:

  • undertakes conscious programs deliberately aimed at eradicating poverty – these are to be completed in the 13th Five-Year Plan by 2020 by lifting the remaining 70 million people out of poverty;
  • deliberately promotes development through urbanization as a way of moving the population into higher productivity economic sectors;
  • deliberately seeks to narrow the income gap between rural and urban areas;
  • does not rely exclusively on “the market” but deliberately uses state infrastructure spending to raise the economic level of its less developed inland provinces;
  • legally guarantees private property but a key economic role is assigned to the state sector;
  • is politically socialist

China’s Upcoming Communist Party Congress Will Formalise ‘Xi’ism’

John Ross. August the 30th.

Xi Jinping is therefore the first Chinese leader facing a simultaneous combination of China’s transition to a high-income economy with low Western growth. This combination, therefore, produces China’s new policy configuration – ‘Xi’ism’.

Xi Jinping’s organisational position was already consolidated by his official designation as the ‘core’ of China’s leadership. But the previous most powerful leaders of China, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, are also officially designated in terms of their analysis of the periods of their leadership in terms of ‘Mao Zedong thought’ and ‘Deng Xiaoping theory’. It is therefore likely that China’s Communist Party Congress will also ideologically and in policy terms formalize Xi Jinping’s position in terms of what amounts to Xi’ism.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 8, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Socialist Action, Labour, and the Anti-imperialism of Fools.

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John Ross Weibo

Socialist Action ‘Guru’ John Ross.

In discussion about the Labour Party the name ‘Socialist Action’ often comes up.

We will not comment on the truth or otherwise of the details in this report,

Jeremy Corbyn acts as peacemaker between rival Labour factions after Neale Coleman quits

Labour insiders claim a pro-Livingstone group is battling for power with a camp led by John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor and Mr Corbyn’s closest political ally.

The  Livingstone faction, dubbed “the Kennites”,  includes Simon Fletcher, a former Ed Miliband aide who ran Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign and is now his chief of staff, the job he did for Mr Livingstone at City Hall. The “Kennites” are said to be less ideological and more pragmatic than the McDonnell group. They favour a conciliatory approach towards the Shadow Cabinet members and backbench MPs who have differences with Mr Corbyn.

The more hardline McDonnell camp includes Seumas Milne, a columnist on leave from The Guardian newspaper, who Mr Corbyn persuaded to become his director of communications after a shambolic start to his leadership. He is credited with injecting more discipline into the operation. But critics claim he is a divisive “control freak” who wants to be in charge of policy as well as communications and to supplant Mr Fletcher.

Mr Milne takes a less tolerant view of dissenting MPs than the “Kennites” and is said to have pressed Mr Corbyn to sack more Shadow Cabinet critics in this month’s messy reshuffle than he eventually did.  Shadow ministers angrily accused him of briefing journalists during a Shadow Cabinet meeting that Labour MPs would be whipped to vote against UK air strikes against Isis in Syria last December. When they saw the briefing on their smartphones, a rebellion forced Mr Corbyn to concede a free vote.

Team Corbyn have insisted there was “no row” between Mr Milne and Mr Coleman and dismissed as “complete rubbish” speculation that Mr Fletcher could walk out because of a rift with Mr Milne. One insider said: “Seumas is the conduit and gets all the flak. It’s not a clash, more growing into office pains. Everyone is learning as they go along, from Jeremy downwards. The stakes are high and everything gets magnified.”

The article continues,

Some Labour Kreminologists claim the current dispute can be traced back to a bitter split on the hard left in the 1980s when Mr Livingstone fell out with Mr McDonnell, his deputy as leader of the Greater London Council (GLC).  Mr McDonnell accused Mr Livingstone of selling out after he refused to defy the Thatcher Government by not balancing the GLC’s books. Mr McDonnell chairs the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), which he founded in 2004 to reach out to left-wingers outside Labour. LRC figures attacked Mr Livingstone’s Socialist Action group as “plastic socialists”. The rival factions have even been compared to Russia’s hardline Bolsheviks and more moderate Mensheviks, who split in 1903.

This is something in this.

Simon Fletcher was indeed a member of Socialist Action. as were other key members of the GLC team – in the 1980s and later when Livingstone returned as London mayor (200 – 2008). Redmond O’Neil, Jude Woodward,  and John Ross (who was his “Economics Adviser”) are the best known of the ‘org’. But it is rather more than ‘Livingstone’s group’.

Socialist Action learnt its trade in the 1980s, backing the Labour Campaign group,

This unusually close agreement between a parliamentary faction and an extra-parliamentary organisation resembles the alliance between horse and rider.

The MPs assure us that Socialist Action is cured of its youthful radicalism, and will cheerfully prostrate itself by selling the MPs’ abysmally boring Campaign Group News.

John Sullivan  As Soon As This Pub Closes

It is said that this prostration developed wider during Livingstone’s time as London Mayor. But being errand girls and boys is part of a broader strategy.

Socialist Action, as John Sullivan’s handbook on how to organise on the British left,  is at no pains to note,  is a descendant of the International Marxist Group.

But those of us on the left who were in the International Marxist Group in the 1970s – and others who took part in the split in the 1980s which gave birth to Socialist Action – have more fundamental reasons to be hostile to the ‘elite groupuscule’.

The leader of the IMG John Ross (also known as Alan Jones – note to journalists) and  founding figure of Socialist Action took an anti-European stand during the 1975 referendum. Even those in our opposing tendency who also supported a No vote accused him of nationalism. Those of us who were pro-Europe (we advocated abstention at the time, which was a serious error) could frankly feel this  in our bones.

To be blunt us lot – called at the time Tendency A – hated his guts.

By extension, that means anybody associated with them, right to the present day. And it’s true to say that some of the people in the Labour Representation Committee  come from those opposed to the ‘Rossites’ from way way back. But many do not- age is the most obvious reason – and yet they hold equally forthright views about the organisation.

Why?

Well there are plenty of reasons and they are less and less to do with the past and a lot more to do with what Socialist Action stands for today.

These are a few:

A central part of their present ideology is the ‘anti-imperialism of fools‘.

This is their analysis of the “current phase of imperialism” (What is the current phase of imperialism? May 2014).

Michael Burke begins by observing that after the collapse of the USSR the US has tried to impose its power – from the Gulf War, to the attempted “hijacking” of the Arab Spring. But this was now at a  standstill. The US faces an impasse. Why?

…the economic rise of China has warranted a strategic ‘pivot’ towards Asia in an attempt to curb the rise of the only economy that could rival US supremacy in the foreseeable future. Given this absolute priority and the reduced circumstances of the US economy, it has been necessary to suspend new large-scale direct military interventions elsewhere.

This curb on US power has had immediate and beneficial consequences for humanity. Syria could not be bombed and neither could Iran. In these, Russian opposition to US plans was a key political obstacle, especially as the US wanted to deploy multilateral and multinational forces to do its bidding and needed the imprimatur of the UN Security Council. The US response to this blockage has been to increase pressure on Russia, most dramatically with its ouster of the elected Ukrainian government in a coup and its attempt to breach the country’s agreed neutrality by bringing it into NATO.

This curb on US power, however limited or temporary, should be welcomed by all socialists, by all democrats and simply by all those who desire peace. Instead, we have the strange spectacle that some on the left have raised the charge that Russia is imperialist, or that China is, or countries such as Brazil, or India or South Africa are ‘sub-imperialist’!

This is not a coincidence. In the US State Department’s frustration it has produced every type of calumny against Putin, including that he is an imperialist[i] and akin to Hitler. Self-styled socialists who simply echo these charges are not highly amenable to logical argument. But it is vital for socialists to understand the nature of imperialism and its current manifestation[ii].

Rather than echo the frustrations of the US State Department, socialists and communists welcome the current impotence of the US, for however long it lasts and however limited it is. In 1997 a triumphalist US imperialism set out its bold plan to brook no global or regional opposition and to be able to fight two major wars simultaneously[xii]. In 2013 the US and its allies were unable to begin bombing Syria.

Imperialism is the enemy of all humanity and its set-backs or defeats are a cause for celebration as they represent an advance for all humankind and the struggle for socialism.

So China and Putin have thwarted the US….. that is ‘anti-imperialism‘ for the modern day.

This is a recent screed by this genius of the world revolution, (Socialist Action John Ross. 29th of November)

How to really defeat ISIS

The effective measures that would really defeat ISIS are very simple – the fact Cameron doesn’t propose them shows he is lying about trying to destroy ISIS.

1. Turkey should be told it must close within 24 hours the main supply route across its border to ISIS at Jarablus and at other border crossings. If it does not a UN Security Council Resolution will be adopted imposing financial sanctions on Turkey, as with Iran and North Korea, and the UN Security Council will authorise coalition bombing for 5km inside the Syrian border with Turkey to cut supply routes to ISIS from Turkey.

2. Saudi Arabia should be told it must cease all transfers of money to ISIS. If proof is found of any further such transfers a UN Security Council Resolution will be adopted imposing financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia as with Iran and North Korea.

If these measures are adopted they would, unlike Cameron’s bombing, lead to the crushing of ISIS. A resolution of the House of Commons should be adopted to embody this.

If Cameron refuses to adopt this policy it shows he is not in fact trying to defeat ISIS. Therefore no support can be given to his proposed bombing.

No supplies no funds, ISIS will just disappear off the face of the earth.

No more slavery, no more torture, no more genocide.

Why didn’t World Imperialism think of it before?

Cretins…..

It’s also worth noting that Ross still loves his country,

Britain is also one of the world’s great historical nations. I love my country deeply, and the enormous contributions it has made to world culture and science, and in which struggles such as the Suffragettes or to create our health service are a source of great pride. There are regrettably some things in my country’s history, as with every great state, which I am not proud of. Some of these I mentioned and were crimes done by Britain to China.

He loves China too,

Note for Jeremy Corbyn – How China made the world’s largest contribution to human rights

By John Ross. October the 20th. 

Sections of the British media present a supposed choice that Britain has to choose between either pursuing purely economic interests or criticising China over ‘human rights’. This posing of the issue is totally false – China should be supported precisely because of its contribution to human rights. China has done more to improve the overall situation not only of its own people but of humanity than any other country in the world – as the facts show.

Who doesn’t love Ross.

Well, us lot still loathe him and his mates.

But it’s more important to say this. A group that rejoices in Putin’s ‘anti-imperialist’ foreign policy – not to mention anybody who foils the  power of ‘imperialism’ and any set-back for the US (without specifying why this is in itself good) – is part of the “political confusionism” our French comrades talk about. A group that celebrates the Chinese regime, on the basis of some kind of ‘economist’ reductionist view of human rights,  has no place on the democratic socialist left. And why on earth does Ross feel the need to talk about his deep love for his “country”?

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See also this virulently  hostile account of the groupuscule. The strange history of Socialist Action Martin Thomas.