While the nation argues about football protests, its mainstream media outlets continue to try to rehabilitate the image of socialism.
The New York Times ran a piece on Monday “How Did Women Fare in China’s Communist Revolution?” Author Helen Gao, whom The Times tells us is a “social policy analyst at a research company and a contributing opinion writer” and whose profile says she has moved back to China and become a freelance writer, says things may not have been good for everyone under Mao, but they were good for women.
Author Helen Gao, whom The Times tells us is a “social policy analyst at a research company and a contributing opinion writer” and whose profile says she has moved back to China and become a freelance writer, says things may not have been good for everyone under Mao, but they were good for women.
Days earlier, Newsweek’s John Haltiwanger wrote that world leaders laughed at President Trump’s condemnation of socialism and the devastating effects it is having on Venezuela, saying it was “reminiscent of Jeb Bush’s ‘please clap’ moment.”
Gao based her piece on remembrances of her grandmother, a journalist who Gao recalls “scrawling down Chairman Mao’s latest pronouncement as they came through loudspeakers and talking with joyous peasants from the newly collectivized countryside.”
The grandmother had had an unhappy childhood – her father had taken a concubine after his wife failed to produce a male child, and her mother was an “unhappy housewife.”
“The Communists did many terrible things,” her grandmother told her. “But they made women’s lives much better.”
They “rescued peasant daughters from urban brothels and ushered cloistered wives into factories, liberating them from the oppression of Confucian patriarchy and imperialist threat.”
Gao does admit to weaknesses in the case she is making – women’s interests were, as always in a socialist system, “subordinate to collective goals.” And this liberation stopped “at the household doorstep,” where “Mao’s words and policies did little to alleviate women’s domestic burdens like housework and childcare.”
“And by inundating society with rhetoric blithely celebrating its achievements, the revolution deprived women of the private language with which they might understand and articulate their personal experiences.”
It has long been noted that one of the real problems with Mao’s socialism was that it deprived women of “private language.”
These jobs that so blessedly liberated women in Mao’s China were not C-ring positions, she admits. Women “rarely rose to positions of responsibility” and “routinely performed physically demanding jobs but earned less than men, since the lighter, most valued tasks involving large animals or machinery were usually reserved for men.”
So, in the Communist utopia that was China, it liberated its women, it “made their lives much better” by giving them demeaning jobs, refusing to promote them, paying them less than men in similar jobs and giving the “lighter tasks involving large animals and machinery” to men.
The truth is, all Mao did for the women of China was add a 10-hour workday in brutal conditions to their list of daily duties. His government did not deliver on promises for public childcare centers, and labor-saving household devices were non-existent.
“For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big,” Gao writes.
As for Newsweek, Haltiwanger first says the response to his speech was laughter, then admits it was more like uncomfortable silence. That should not be surprising, as many of those leaders embrace socialist principles.
Scialism remains unpopular, Haltiwanger said, but is gaining steam. He said only 35 percent of Americans view it positively, compared to 60 percent who view capitalism positively. Millennials are supportive of socialism and reject capitalism in increasing numbers.
He says this explains the support for socialist Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election and the support for his proposals for socialized medicine, free college and extensive regulation of banks. He unfurls the argument that other industrialized countries have implemented universal health care and that Norway, a left-leaning capitalist country with a large energy sector, has surpassed Denmark as the “happiest country in the world.”
The U.S., the most powerful statement for capitalism in the history of the world, “can’t even make the top 10 happiest countries,” Haltiwanger said. “It’s ranked at No.14.”