HU Jintao (1942- )
The “paramount leader” of capitalist China after Jiang Zemin, and from the years 2004-2012. During this period the Chinese capitalist economy expanded rapidly, and was only moderately affected in a negative way by the world financial/economic crisis of 2008-2009. This period of the first decade and a half of the new century also marks the emergence of capitalist China as a powerful new imperialist country. Hu was succeeded in 2012 by Xi Jinping.
HU Yaobang (1915-89)
A Chinese revisionist chieftain who was Chairman, then General Secretary, of the (still so-called) Communist Party of China from 1980 to 1987. He was of peasant origin, joined the CCP in 1933 and took part in the Long March. Early on, during the war against Japan (1937-45), he became closely associated with Deng Xiaoping and began serving as a political cadre. After Liberation in 1949 he became head of the Young Communist League, but was ousted during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. When Deng was rehabilitated so was Hu. When Deng was once again removed from office in the mid-1970s, so was Hu. But once the capitalist roaders achieved full power after Mao’s death Hu was rehabilitated (in 1977) and quickly made his way up in the top ranks of the new revisionist leadership of the Party and State. Although Deng Xiaping was still the real “Paramount Leader”, Hu was made the nominal head the CCP in 1980.
However, there was contradiction and tension within the top revisionist leadership, with some revisionists—like Hu—wanting to switch over more strongly and more rapidly to a more Western-style monopoly capitalist market economy, while others wanted to keep to more traditional state capitalist forms (as in the Soviet Union during its early revisionist period). Deng himself remained somewhat publicly ambiguous on the issue, though really wanting ever more market liberalization. But when serious student demonstrations broke out in 1987, the “conservative” revisionists favoring traditional state capitalism succeeding in forcing Hu Yaobang out as formal head of the CCP and nation. Hu was charged with “laxness” and “bourgeois political liberalization” which caused, or at least aggravated, the protests. However, Zhao Ziyang was then appointed General Secretary of the CCP and at Deng’s direction proceeded to pursue market “reforms” even more intently than Hu Yaobang did. Thus Deng sacrificed Hu in order to placate those favoring state capitalist tradition while still keeping to his market liberalization program.
The day after Hu Yaobang’s death in 1989, there was a small demonstration honoring him which called upon the Party and government to restore his “good name”. Then a week later, on the day before Hu’s funeral, the huge student demonstrations began in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Deng Xiaoping ordered the violent suppression of these demonstrations which resulted in the murders of a great many unarmed protesters. Both Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang were blamed for these protests and for allowing them to “get out of hand”. Since that time, the economic market “liberalization” of the Chinese economy has continued, while any political “liberalization” (in the direction of a bourgeois democracy) has been totally stopped.
“Hu was notable for his liberalism and the frank expression of his opinions, which sometimes agitated other senior Chinese leaders.... He was one of the first Chinese officials to abandon wearing a Mao suit in favor of Western business suits. When asked which of Mao Zedong’s theories were desirable for modern China, he replied ‘I think, none’.” —Wikipedia article on Hu Yaobang (accessed on Jan. 31, 2020).
See: HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
HUA GUOFENG [Old style: HUA KUO-FENG] (1921-2008)
The designated successor to Mao Zedong as the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, who was also the Premier of China and thus for several years the top leader of both the Party and government of China. He performed ineptly, arrested or alienated the more Maoist forces in the Party, and was outmaneuvered in the struggle for power by the more bourgeois reactionary forces led by Deng Xiaoping.
“Hua Guofeng” was his Party name (or nom de guerre); his real name was Su Zhu. He was born into a family of poor peasants and completed primary school, but probably received no further formal education. He joined the revolutionary ranks in 1935 when the Communist forces reached his area following the Long March. His early career was as a cadre in Hunan province and he was involved in directing land reform work there in the early to mid-1950s. Hua served as Party secretary in the province beginning in 1970.
During the Cultural Revolution Hua, with the support of Zhou Enlai, was named to the preparatory group for the establishment of the new Revolutionary Committee of Hunan. He was first elected as a member of the Central Committee of the CCP at the Ninth Party Congress in 1969. In 1973 he became a member of the Politburo, and was then appointed Deputy Premier and head of public security (1975-76). After Zhou Enlai’s death in January 1976, Hua Guofeng became Premier. In his last days Mao designated Hua to succeed him as Party Chairman. In addition to the Premiership and Party Chairman position, he also was soon designated as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, thus holding all the top formal positions of power in his hands.
The official story is that the “Gang of Four”, Mao’s closest followers including his widow Jiang Qing, were planning a coup to overthrow Hua and his associates, but that Hua pre-empted this by arresting the “Gang of Four” and their top supporters. [It is still not completely clear what the precise actual situation was then, but the fact remains that Hua arrested and overthrew the “Gang of Four” in his own coup supported by the reactionary forces.]
Hua Guofeng then brought the Cultural Revolution to a complete end and began reversing some of its policies. It seems he was attempting to move the economy back toward the Soviet-style bureaucratic and commandist form of the late 1950s in China. However these backward steps were not enough for the more bourgeois forces in the Party, and especially for Deng Xiaoping who also hungered for yet another return to personal power. With the support of the large number of national bourgeois forces still within the CCP, Deng outmaneuvered the hapless Hua and forced him into early retirement. Hua was forced to resign as Premier in 1980 and was formally replaced as Party Chairman in September 1982.
Despite the major and prolonged campaigns within the CCP during the 1966-1976 period against capitalist roaders, they were still a very strong presence in the Party. This was because so many non-Marxist nationalists had joined the Party during the anti-imperialist struggles and the period of the New Democratic Revolution. Probably the only way a bourgeois restoration could have been avoided over the long run was to keep the Cultural Revolution going at one level or another on a more or less permanent basis. Hua did not understand that it was essential to do this.
From a historical standpoint Hua Guofeng must be viewed as a somewhat pathetic transitional figure whose own insufficient grasp of Marxism and insufficient revolutionary zeal ended up playing into the hands of Deng Xiaoping and the bourgeoisie.
HUGHES, Langston (1902-1967)
African-American poet, novelist and short-story writer, dramatist, and social activist, who was born in Joplin, Missouri and raised in Kansas and Ohio. Although he was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance beginning in the 1920s, his major influence was only belatedly recognized. His lyrical poetry reflected his deep knowledge of folk culture and colloquial speech, and of jazz and blues music. He was a pioneer in what came to be called “jazz poetry”. These things made him very popular with the masses although literary critics were slow to take him seriously—no doubt partly for reasons of both racism and class snobbery.
Hughes was attracted and sympathetic to communism though he never made a deep study of Marxist-Leninist theory or actually joined the Communist Party. But many of his lesser-known poems do celebrate revolution and socialism. In 1932-3 he travelled in the Soviet Union for about a year, and in 1936 he travelled to Spain in support of the Spanish Republic’s struggle against the fascist generals revolt led by Franco. However, by the end of the 1930s Hughes’ most radical years were over. And during the McCarthy Era, he unfortunately succumbed to the heavy pressures from the government to disassociate himself from the communist movement (although by then the U.S. Communist Party was no longer truly revolutionary or “communist” in any case).
Two of Langston Hughes’ autobiographical works are The Big Sea (1940), and I Wonder as I Wander (1956), neither of which is very progressive politically.
We’re buddies, see –
We can take everything:
Factories, arsenals, houses, ships,
Railroads, forests, fields, orchards,
Bus lines, telegraphs, radios,
(Jesus! Raise hell with radios!)
Steel mills, coal mines, oil wells, gas,
All the tools of production.
(Great day in the morning!)
And turn’em over to the people who work.
Rule and run’em for us people who work.
On that day when no one will be hungry, cold oppressed,
Anywhere in the world again.
That’s our job!
I been starvin’ too long
Let’s go, Revolution!”
—Langston Hughes, “Good Morning Revolution” (excerpts), 1932. [The full poem is available at: https://theworkersdreadnought.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/good-morning-revolution-langston-hughes-1932/ ]
“Hughes was accused of being a Communist by many on the political right, but he always denied it. When asked why he never joined the Communist Party, he wrote, ‘it was based on strict discipline and the acceptance of directives that I, as a writer, did not wish to accept.’ In 1953, he was called before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. He stated, ‘I never read the theoretical books of socialism or communism or the Democratic or Republican parties for that matter, and so my interest in whatever may be considered political has been non-theoretical, non-sectarian, and largely emotional and born out of my own need to find some way of thinking about this whole problem of myself.’ Following his testimony, Hughes distanced himself from Communism. He was rebuked by some on the Radical Left who had previously supported him. He moved away from overtly political poems and towards more lyric subjects. When selecting his poetry for his Selected Poems (1959) he excluded all his radical socialist verse from the 1930s.” —Wikipedia article on Langston Hughes (accessed on March 10, 2017).
The tendency for the “informal economy” (the part not very well monitored or taxed by the government) to considerably expand during recessions or depressions, and to decrease during recoveries or booms. [The name for this tendency was coined by the bourgeois economists Francesco Pappadà & Kenneth S. Rogoff, in their paper “Rethinking the Informal Economy and the Hugo Effect” (NBER working paper W31963, December 2023)]
See HUKOU SYSTEM below.
The system of household registration and residency permits in China which dates back to ancient times, but which has also been a prominent feature of the People’s Republic of China. A registration record officially identifies a person as a resident of some locality and includes other information including the person’s parents, spouse, and date of birth. In Chinese the formal name of this system is huji, and a hukou is the residency status of a person. But informally, hukou is also the name for the system, and that is what this registration system is called in English.
In 1958 the PRC officially promulgated the family registration system to establish some general social stability and to control the movement of people from rural to urban areas. During the socialist period the government was attempting to keep the migration from the countryside to the cities from occurring in a premature and disorderly fashion. In general, the movement to the cities was limited to the workers and families needed to fill the new jobs which were opening up in the rapidly expanding socialist industries there.
In recent decades, since the restoration of capitalism in China, the hukou system has been officially kept in place. But to accomodate both local and multinational capitalist corporations, and their need for cheap labor from the countryside, it has generally not been enforced. This has led to tens of millions of migrant workers living technically illegally in the cities, and having no rights to public housing, education, and other social benefits there. This has created a massive and growing social problem of gross discrimination against migrant workers. Since migrant workers are not allowed to enroll their children in urban schools, most of these children must remain with their grandparents or other relatives in the countryside, which means they are in effect forcibly separated from their parents. By 2005 there were as many as 130 million of these “home-staying children”, as they are called in China, with parents living away from them in distant cities.
In many respects, the lives of migrant workers in China are similar to that of illegal migrant workers in the U.S. and other “advanced” capitalist countries. They are needed and exploited by urban capitalists, but they are paid extremely low wages and are denied many rights and benefits that other people have. This discrimination against well over a hundred million migrant workers in China is one of several important factors leading to rapidly increasing social unrest. In recent years, although the central government loosened its control over the hukou system, it mostly just transferred this control and discrimination to the local governments. And although the movement of people to the cities became unofficially allowed, the super-exploitation and discrimination against them that awaited them there was as bad as ever. That part of the hukou system still continued unabated.
However, in December 2013 the Chinese government announced that it would be ending the hukou system, some aspects of it immediately, and some aspects gradually over time. This is being done for several reasons. The increased social unrest caused by mistreated migrant workers in the cities was seriously worrying the ruling class. And the government has somewhat changed direction by even more strongly promoting urbanization. It came to the conclusion that it would actually promote economic development to increase the speed of urbanization in China. This view may have some partial validity to it, though it also may well end up promoting the creation of massive slums in China if more and more of the millions of rural people being rapidly moved to the cities are unable to find jobs.
The ridiculous doctrine of contemporary bourgeois economists that capital is the source of all wealth, and that human capabilities and labor itself are just another form of “capital”. The characteristics and abilities of workers which allows them to be productive are thus termed “capital”. As the Wikipedia puts it (07/25/22): “Human capital is a concept used by social scientists to designate personal attributes considered useful in the production process. It encompasses employee knowledge, skills, know-how, good health, and education.”
Marx, as well as pre-Marxian classical bourgeois political economists such as David Ricardo, understood very well that human labor (acting on the products of the natural world around us) was the source of all wealth. However, this admission hugely grated on the sensibilities of bourgeois theorists, and so first they came up with the theory that labor was merely one of the three “factors of production”, the other two being capital and land. Later, during neoclassical reformulation of bourgeois economics in the last part of the 19th century, they dropped “land” from the equation (and began calling it just another kind of capital). But this was still not good enough for them! Even in their own economic theory there was still the painful recognition that workers had a fundamental role in the production of wealth, even if the capitalists and their capital were also supposedly required. So the final step in this nonsense, carried out in the 20th century, was to subsume human labor itself, and workers’ knowledge and abilities, into their absurd concept of “capital” as well. So, at this point, and according to the bourgeois theorists, the only thing required for capitalist production is supposedly capital, in one or another of its various forms!
“Neoliberalism not only protects the market from the regulatory state; more
radically, it expands market principles to realms thought to be partially social. Whereas [Karl]
Polanyi, for instance, warned about the tendency of a market society to relentless ‘commodify’
social relations, neoliberal theorists embrace this as a virtue, arguing that market measures can
be efficiently applied to value everything from human life to the environment.
“In the neoliberal view, labor is better understood as ‘human capital,’ a concept associated with [Milton] Friedman’s University of Chicago colleague Gary Becker. According to Becker, markets pay workers precisely what they deserve, even though in some cases wages are insufficient to sustain a decent life. Conversely, even rapacious billionaires merit their earnings, by definition, because markets are presumed perfectly efficient when protected from government interference.”
—Robert Kuttner, a liberal bourgeois economist, “Free Markets, Besieged Citizens”, The New York Review of Books, July 21, 2022, p 12.
HUMAN GENOME PROJECT
[Intro to be added...]
“As the results of the HGP [Human Genome Project] began to come in, Michael Dexter, the CEO of Wellcome [a private British Trust promoting biological research from a bourgeois perspective —Ed.], claimed that the completion of the project was more important than putting a man on the moon, on a par with inventing the wheel. In fact, the results were something of a theoretical embarrassment to genocentrism. Humans, supposedly the pinnacle of evolution, with the most complex of brains, turned out to possess only some 20,000 genes—about as many as a fruit fly. The molecular biologists who had confidently predicted that all human life could be read off from the linear string of DNA went rather quiet.” —Hilary & Steven Rose, Genes, Cells and Brains (2014), p. 280.
We human beings, as almost everyone knows, are not entirely rational animals. And for this reason we can be commonly tricked and fooled, subjugated, oppressed, and exploited, most especially by the ruling bourgeoisie in present-day capitalist society.
But, on the other hand, we humans are just rational enough that—with the help of the leadership of the most knowledgeable and enlightened among us, who form themselves into proletarian revolutionary parties—there is the quite rational expectation that we will eventually figure out what is in our own collective interests, and how to struggle to make revolution and put that into effect.
See also: ILLUSORY TRUTH EFFECT [Psychology]
See also: AGNOSTICISM, KNOWLEDGE, REFLECTION THEORY, THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
“For the most valuable result ... would be that it should make us extremely distrustful of our present knowledge, inasmuch as in all probability we are just about at the beginning of human history, and the generations which will put us right are likely to be far more numerous than those whose knowledge we—often enough with a considerable degree of contempt—have the opportunity to correct.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:80.
“But as for the sovereign validity of the knowledge obtained by each individual thought, we all know that there can be no talk of such a thing, and that all previous experience shows that without exception such knowledge always contains much more that is capable of being improved upon than that which cannot be improved upon, or is correct.” —Engels, ibid.
“Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmore, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes). Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness—voilà the epistemological roots of idealism. And clerical obscurantism (=philosophical idealism), of course, has epistemological roots, it is not groundless; it is a sterile flower undoubtedly, but a sterile flower that grows on the living tree of living, fertile, genuine, powerful, omnipotent, objective, absolute human knowledge.” —Lenin, “On the Question of Dialectics” (1915), LCW 38:363.
[Intro material to be added... ]
“Herr Proudhon does not know that all history is but the continuous transformation of human nature.” —Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (1847), chapter 2.3.
“The theory that human nature exists in the abstract has always been an ideological weapon for the exploiting classes. Particularly the representatives of declining classes on the verge of extinction cling stubbornly to the theory of human nature and regard it as a tool of public opinion for saving their classes from extinction and for their frantic restorationist activities.” —Chu Lan, who goes on to illustrate this in a discussion of how Confucius defended slave society in part by appeals to “human nature”. This is from an English condensation of his article “Deepen the Criticism of the Bourgeois Theory of Human Nature” which appeared in Chinese in the CCP theoretical magazine Red Flag, 1974, #4; this condensation appears under the title “A Discussion on Western Music” in China Reconstructs, July 1974, pp. 37-39, online at: https://www.bannedthought.net/China/Magazines/ChinaReconstructs/1974/CR1974-07.pdf
“‘How Children Outgrow Socialism’
“One of the main ruling-class arguments against socialism or communism is that ‘it goes against human nature’. We Marxists have always ridiculed that argument, since obviously in this society people differ tremendously in this regard, and sharing, cooperation, the desire for more equality, and even for outright socialism or communism definitely do not go against the ‘nature’ of some of us!
“Since sharing, cooperation, equality, etc., do not go against the ‘nature’ of some of us, the fact that they do (in this society) go against the ‘nature’ of others cannot possibly be a result of any inherent biological or psychological imperative in all human beings. In other words, human differences in this regard are quite obviously mostly cultural and ideological; that is, they are (mostly at least) due to the way that people are brought up and educated.
“Nevertheless, the bourgeois ideologists stick to their guns, and never stop talking about how ‘human nature’ precludes sharing, equality, socialism and communism. They don’t let little things like facts and logic get in the way of their opinions!
“The new issue of Science magazine published by the National Academy of Sciences—a bourgeois establishment institution in science if ever there was one!—has an interesting article in this regard. The report below, from its online science information site, is entitled ‘How Children Outgrow Socialism’. Oddly enough, the bourgeoisie is too stupid to realize that the study reported on here actually proves the opposite of what they think it does!
“What their own study shows, and what they admit here, is that younger children are much more likely to share, cooperate and favor equality among themselves than older children. Now obviously that means that if anything is innate in people it is the tendencies toward sharing, cooperation and equality, rather than the selfishness that the bourgeoisie always claims is innate!
“And the study also further demonstrates (what has been pretty obvious all along), that culture and education can transform and overpower what is innate in us (whatever that is) to a considerable degree.
“What this study really shows is that those fine human cooperative and sharing characteristics which most children still have to some degree even as late as the age of 10 or so are gradually beaten out of them later on. In other words, as kids become more and more acculturated in this society, they become less and less cooperative and sharing, and more and more selfish individualists. It seems to me that this is a very strong damnation of the nature of this society, of its form of economy and culture, and its educational system!
“I love it when the ruling class promotes yet another ‘proof’ of the ‘necessity’ of selfishness and of huge and ever-growing inequalities in society, which actually proves the precise opposite of that!”
—Scott Harrison, from a letter sent to friends, May 30, 2010, together with the report “How Children Outgrow Socialism” by Dan Ferber, (May 27, 2010), on the “Science NOW” news site, both of which are still available at: https://www.massline.org/Politics/ScottH/OutgrowingSocialism-100530.pdf
The rights of individuals within society, which of course depend upon the particular society. As one would expect, however, bourgeois thinkers attempt to portray the rights which obtain for the bourgeoisie under the capitalist system—including the right to exploit other people—as the set of human rights which should hold always and everywhere.
1. [Broad sense:] The view that values human beings above all else, which seeks to maximize human freedom and the achievement of human potentialities, and which finds the locus of ideology in human beings themselves. “Of all things in the world, people are the most precious.” (Mao, SW4:454) In this broad sense, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the most consistent form of humanism.
2. [Narrow, bourgeois sense:] A petty-bourgeois perversion of the above, which attempts to accomodate itself to private property and bourgeois values, decries the use of violence (even if it is in the interests of the people), and opposes revolution.
[As most commonly used in the contemporary world:] A euphemism used by an imperialist power such as the United States for its invasions or other forms of intervention in another country which is too weak to prevent this from happening. I.e., just another “pretty” term for capitalist-imperialism.
“Applauding [Britain’s Prime Minister] Blair’s moral gunboats and
Gladstonian convictions of superiority, Niall Ferguson, professor of politics at
Oxford, said, ‘Imperialism may be a dirty word, but when Tony Blair is essentially
calling for the imposition of Western values—democracy and so on—it is really the
language of liberal imperialism... imposing your views and practices on others.’
“Ferguson’s honesty is provocative to the ‘liberal realists’ who dominate the study of international relations in Britain and teach that the new imperialists are the world’s crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. With honourable exceptions, these scholars of ‘geopolitics’ have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves great power. Laying out whole societies for autopsy, they identify ‘failed states’ and ‘rogue states’, inviting ‘humanitarian intervention’—a term used by imperial Japan to describe its bloody invasion of Manchuria. (Mussolini also used it to justify seizing Ethiopia, as did Hitler when the Nazis drove into the Sudetenland.)” —John Pilger, Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (2007), p. 7.
HUMANITY — Ideological Transformation Of
Social revolution is a process of changing both the socioeconomic structure of society and also the attitudes and perspectives of the people in the original society. These two changes interpenetrate: society can’t be changed and reconstructed unless the people change; and just as certainly, all the people can’t be changed, and thoroughly so, unless society is also thoroughly changed. In other words, genuine social revolution is a matter of more or less simultaneously changing society and the people in it. Each of these changes depends, to a considerable degree, upon the other. And each of these changes will have to be part of a step-by-step, drawn out process. Nobody, no matter how brilliant, jumps all the way from bourgeois ideology to a “complete” and totally consistent socialist/communist world view in one fell swoop!
The prospects and possibilities for socioeconomic change become conscious in the minds of individual people at different times, and to different initial degrees. In general those with a more advanced revolutionary consciousness will have to help educate the others, and help organize and lead them. However, it frequently happens that one individual’s consciousness and activity will be superior to that of another in one or more respects, while the second person’s consciousness and activity may still be superior to that of the first in other reguards, sometimes even if just on one important point about how to deal with an immediate class struggle. For this reason, even those more generally advanced ideologically can, and seriously need to, still learn many things from those who are in some respects not as advanced or sophisticated as they are. This is why the mass line method of leadership is so useful and important. While the leaders of the mass struggle may only have an occasional thing to learn from any single poorly educated worker, there are lots and lots of those workers in this society. And when considered together their brilliance often greatly exceeds even the most well-read Marxist-Leninist-Maoist leader.
While it is true that in general the more advanced part of the masses has to come forward and educate and lead the rest, there are many dangers and pitfalls here. Marx, in the third of his marvelously profound “Theses on Feuerbach”, put it this way:
“The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing
and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing
forgets that circumstances are changed precisely by men and that the educator must himself be
educated. Hence this doctrine necessarily arrives at dividing society into two parts, of which
one towers above society (in [the utopian socialist] Robert Owen, for example).
“The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can only be conceived and rationally understood as revolutionizing practice.”
What this means is that in class society it is only
class struggle, past, present and future, along with as much of the widespread but dispersed wisdom
among the masses as can be gathered, which can first educate the leadership core of the masses (and
especially the party), and allow that leadership core to then educate the masses in general about all
the lessons that have actually been derived from their mass practice. Or put another way, existing
and new MLM theory which is summed up from mass struggle and the the ideas and experiences of the
masses must then be returned to the masses in a more concentrated form. This is what revolutionizing
practice actually is; practice that makes us all more truly revolutionary. —S.H. [Oct. 13, 2023]
See also: “NEW MAN”, The
HUMANITY — Extinction Of
“It should be commonly recognized that no stake whatever, no cause,
no principle, no consideration of honor or obligation or prestige or maintaining
leadership in current alliances—still less, no concern for remaining in office, or
maintaining a particular power structure, or sustaining jobs, profits, votes—can
justify maintaining any risk whatever of causing the near extinction of human
and other animal life on this planet.
“Omnicide [killing everyone]—threatened, prepared, or carried out—is flatly illegitimate, unacceptable, as an instrument of national policy; indeed, it cannot be regarded as anything less than criminal, immoral, evil. In the light of recent scientific findings, of which the publics of the world and even their leaders are still almost entirely unaware, that risk is implicit in the nuclear planning, posture, readiness, and threats of the two superpowers. That is intolerable. It must be changed, and that change can’t come too soon.” —Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (2017), p. 347.
[It is quite the commentary on the prevailing ideology in capitalist-imperialist society that something like this even needs to be said! And it is not just the warmongers in the Pentagon that seem to have no care about the future of humanity, whether it lives or dies. The same can be said about the media, politicians of all stripes, liberals as well as conservatives, and so-called “educated” people in general. The capitalist-imperialist system will likely be the death of us all unless the masses can be aroused to the danger and horror that stares them in the face. How is it that, given this deep and desperate situation there is not even any noticiable anti-nuclear weapons movement in countries like the United States?! Yes, it is because of mass ignorance of the true dangers of nuclear war; but that ignorance is itself also due in part to the desire of the public not even to investigate, to learn, to think about, or to know the overwhelming danger that exists, and to blindly trust the “good intensions” of those who control the current society. If the people do not wake up soon, they may very well all die at the hands of the world’s imperialist maniacs. —S.H.]
“The life of dialectics is the continuous movement toward opposites.
Mankind will also finally meet its doom. When the theologians talk about doomsday,
they are pessimistic and terrify people. We say the end of mankind is something which
will produce something more advanced than mankind. Mankind is still in its infancy.”
—Mao, “Talk on Questions of Philosphy”, Aug. 18, 1964; in Chairman Mao Talks to
the People: Talks and Letters: 1956-1971, ed. by Stuart Schram, (NY: Pantheon,
1974), p. 228.
[Mao is surely correct in saying that humanity will not last forever. Any entity which arises in the universe will eventually come to some end in one way or another. There are now two rather obvious ways in which human beings might come to an end by gradually, and gently!, replacing ourselves with something superior. The first is through genetics and greatly speeded up evolution which we are now becoming capable of controlling and guiding ourselves. However, although such a means might even go so far as to create a new species qualitatively superior to us, it seems to me that it would still very likely be a recognizable continuation of Homo sapiens, at least for the foreseeable future.
[The other even more plausible way in which humanity might replace itself with something better is through great advances in artificial intelligence (which in fact seem to be already underway at the present time). This method offers the possibility of a much more radical break away from current Homo sapiens, though there are probably social reasons why human-like androids will be part of the process, at least in the beginning. It is also possible that for a while the two methods, genetic enhancement and AI, might be combined in complementary ways, though eventually AI will almost inevitably become the dominant method, and eventually the single remaining method.
[Mao was correct to take an optimistic stance on the question of the eventual extinction of humanity, and to suggest that humanity might gradually replace itself with something superior. However, these days we cannot deny the growing and extremely serious threat to our continued existence from the capitalist-imperialist social system itself, which now—more clearly than ever—might wipe out humanity before we have an opportunity to gradually replace ourselves with something better. The most serious and obvious way that this could occur is through global thermonuclear war, but there are other possibilities as well. As Mao said, we totally dismiss the absurd claims of theologians about any gods calling an end to human life on Earth. But, unfortunately, we cannot so easily dismiss the threat that capitalism itself might kill us all. Indeed, the recognition of this real possibility is now one of the major reasons for renewed urgency in making socialist revolution. —S.H.]
HUME, David (1711-1776)
Scottish subjective idealist philosopher and historian. He was an extreme empiricist and philosophical agnostic. He was one of the originators of utilitarianism, but he also held (inconsistently) that moral beliefs cannot be rationally justified and are based on mere custom.
In economics Hume put forward a quantitative theory of money and favored free trade. He was a friend and adviser to Adam Smith.
See also below, and: OUGHT-FROM-IS, and Philosophical doggerel about Hume.
The supposed mystery that a small class of rulers can (most of the time!) manage to control and govern the vastly more numerous masses who they exploit and oppress. Here is the euphemistic way that Hume himself originally put it (of course without any reference to social classes or exploitation!):
“Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.” —David Hume, The First Principles of Government (1742).
While certainly regretable, Hume’s “Paradox” should not be too surprising to Marxists
who understand that one of the basic principles of historical
materialism is that the dominant ideas of any age are those of the ruling class. While
the rule of “the few” over “the many” can unfortunately last for a long time, in historical
terms the rule of the exploiters and oppressors is still precarious. All it takes is one
grand moment of revolution to topple the bastards!
See also: COOPERATION—Evolution Of: Negative Aspects Of
HUNDRED FLOWERS MOVEMENT
A public campaign launched by Mao in May 1957 which was intended to promote the frank and open discussion and criticism of the Communist Party of China and the new revolutionary government by the broad masses, including intellectuals. The famous slogan that Mao raised was “Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend!” But it was also firmly stated by Mao that this would have to occur within the framework of upholding the revolution, the new socialist system, and the continued leadership of the CCP. However, many reactionary elements popped out of the woodwork and seized the opportunity to attack socialism and the revolution. This in turn led to the necessity of cracking down on these class enemies in a new anti-rightist campaign. But even after that, the true principles of the Hundred Flowers Movement were still upheld by Mao. (This is a point seldom understood by bourgeois critics of Maoist China who always equate “democracy” with opposition to socialism and communism.)
“HUNDRED YEAR MARATHON”
An overal plan or goal which has been developed by the pro-capitalist nationalist ruling class in the People’s Republic of China to develop both China’s economic power and its resultant military and political power to the point where by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the PRC, China will have overtaken the United States and all other countries and will have become the most powerful and dominant nation in the world. This is the long-term, and obviously imperialist, goal of the current Chinese regime.
The roots of this goal go back to the period of the 19th and early 20th century when China was humiliated, invaded and exploited by Western and Japanese imperialism. The hope at that point was to eventually regain China’s former glory. With the success of the Chinese Revolution and the establishment of the PRC on October 1, 1949, Mao and his Marxist followers sought to reconstruct China for both the benefit of the Chinese people and for the even greater purpose of completing the world proletarian revolution for the benefit of all humanity. But even during the Mao era there was a secondary undercurrent, especially by the then mostly hidden capitalist-roaders who had a much less internationalist perspective and who were far more concerned merely to build China into a powerful country once again. After Mao’s death, the head of this pack of bourgeois nationalists, Deng Xiaoping, led in transforming the whole purpose of the Chinese revolution into just making China rich and powerful. The world proletarian revolutionary goal was dropped completely.
In capitalist-imperialist China today the ruling national bourgeoisie centered within the (still so-called) Communist Party of China is consciously engaged in this “Hundred Year Marathon”. However, their top leaders are mostly smart enough to downplay this sort of open talk about their long term goal of domination, and individuals such as the current Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, generally speak in vaguer terms about the “Chinese Dream”, and so forth. But there are many less discreet individuals within the Party, within the military, and within Chinese society generally, who call themselves ying pai (or “hawks” or “eagles”) who are much more open about their right-wing nationalist ambitions for China. It is they who are leading this ideological charge within this “Hundred Year Marathon”.
In the U.S. it is the reactionaries and the military who so far are raising the greatest alarm about all this (though the entire U.S. ruling class is becoming more and more worried). One recent volume is even called The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower (2015), by Michael Pillsbury. He is a former CIA analyst and top advisor on Chinese affairs to the U.S. Defense Department. The alarms raised by people like Pillsbury will of course lead to greater contention and an intensified arms race between the U.S. and China. However, it is a plain fact that China is a rapidly rising imperialist power, and the top existing (though economically declining) imperialist power, the U.S., is willing to do anything it deems “necessary” to stay on top—including an eventual war with China. At least proxy wars of this sort, if not full-scale total inter-imperialist war, are virtually inevitable in coming decades.
See also: “HIDE YOUR AMBITIONS AND BUILD YOUR CAPABILITY”
HUNGARY — 1919 Proletarian Revolution
Communists managed to lead a revolution and briefly seize power in Hungary in the aftermath of World War I and the October Revolution in Russia. Proletarian power was proclaimed on March 21, 1919. A Soviet-style government was set up at a session of the Budapest Soviet of Workers’ Deputies in the form of a Revolutionary Government Council made up of People’s Commissars—including both Communists and Social-Democrats. The leader of the Hungarian Communists, and the revolutionary regime, was Bela Kun.
The Hungarian Soviet Republic only managed to survive until August 1919, when it succumbed in an unequal struggle against the superior forces of foreign interventionists and counter-revolutionaries at home, who were supported by traitorous Social-Democrats.
See also: WORLD HUNGER
“In the United states, nearly one in eight households doesn’t have enough to eat.” —New York Times, March 19, 2021, from the article “Full Minds, Empty Stomachs”.
“One in five Black and Hispanic adults in households with children said they did not have enough to eat in the previous week, compared with 6.4 percent of white Americans.” —New York Times, “Of Interest: Noteworthy facts from today’s paper”, June 15, 2021.
HUSSERL, Edmund (1859-1938)
German idealist philosopher and founder of the philosophical school known as Phenomenology. His ideas are based on previous idealist philosophers, and especially Plato, Leibniz and Franz Brentano. Overall, Husserl should be considered to be a subjective idealist in that he believed that the object of cognition does not exist outside the consciousness of the subject.
Husserl abandoned his early attempts to turn philosophy into a strictly defined science, and instead took up a position highly critical of science and scientific thinking in philosophy. Husserl’s views were quite influential in bourgeois thought, and became the foundation of German existentialism, especially that of Heidegger.
HUXLEY, Thomas Henry (1825-95)
English naturalist and close associate and defender of Charles Darwin, and popularizer of evolutionary theory. He was nicknamed “Darwin’s bulldog”. Also a prominent agnostic (a term which he coined), with regard to the question of God’s existence.
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