More ado about port security

The revolutionary promise (or not) of Sino-Indian worker solidarity

Published September 29, 2006 6:12PM (EDT)

"It must be borne in mind first of all that the imperialist world, particularly the U.S., would like nothing better than to see the two principal Asiatic powers, the two powers which hold the greatest revolutionary promise for mankind in the east, locked in military combat, shedding the blood of thousands, absorbing the resources and energies of millions of people, which should be used to construct a revolutionary way of life."

The strangest fragments of history surface, like random flotsam after a flood, when Googling without the proper safety precautions. I was looking for a little historical background on the border war between China and India in 1962, when I stumbled on the above analysis from the Workers World Party, written at some point during the 1960s.

The easy segue from this time capsule would be to some kind of self-congratulatory neocon snark about how China and India (the abovementioned Asiatic powers) now hold far more promise for the world triumph of capitalism than for socialism. But my curiosity about historic clashes between China and India was sparked by real current events involving Communist, not capitalist, solidarity.

Earlier this month, the Indian federal goverment cancelled the bid of two Chinese companies to work on a port construction deal in Kerala, the most recent in a series of decisions that has limited Chinese involvement in Indian infrastrural projects. (Thanks to The Acorn for the tip). The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is a coalition member of India's ruling government, (and not to be confused with the Communist Party of India (Maoist) which is currently conducting a "people's war" in northern India) is upset at the federal decision. There's even rumblings that the move was made to placate U.S. neoimperialists who are plotting a new Cold War against China. Why are U.S. companies (and even Arab companies -- yes, Dubai Ports World!) allowed to participate in major Indian infrastructure projects, but not Chinese?

The ban on Chinese involvement ostensibly dates back to rules put in place in 1962, when China manhandled India in a brief territorial dispute. But it's been almost twenty years since any significant hostilities between China and India, and there has recently been plenty of rhetoric about how a glorious Asian alliance between China's hardware skills and India's software skills could dominate the global economy, wresting control of the future from the decaying West. China has also been quick to point out that there are no similar restrictions on Indian investment in China. Finally, there's the small irony that Kerala's state government is currently run by Communists. When an Indian Communist governed state isn't allowed to let Chinese Communists be involved in a construction project because of "security" concerns, one has to ask, hey, where's the international Marxist-Leninist love?

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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China Globalization How The World Works India