Tiananmen Square: Storming the gates of heavenly peace

IN NOVEMBER 1987, the largest Kentucky Fried Chicken in the world was opened in Communist China. At three stories and 3,600 square feet, it is still the world record holder in regards to floor space. The line on opening day stretched over fifty yards, down the road to Tiananmen Square. From their windows, you can see the mausoleum that holds the preserved body of Chairman Mao. The fact that Colonel Sanders and the Great Helmsman share this space is a fitting representation of where China was at the end of the 1980s.

There was a seeming contradiction between where China came from and where it was headed. With a self-described socialist economy and a revolutionary history that successfully removed colonial powers, radicals around the world once looked to China for inspiration and leadership. Worsening relations in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the Soviet Union led first to greater independence and then open criticism of the USSR. This made China seem like an alternative “socialist” state to support.

However, in 1989, with images of tanks crushing a young people’s movement for change being broadcast far and wide, the contradictions developing in China had come to a head. Just shy of a big anniversary of the nationalist revolution, a poster on a traffic sign in Beijing read: “Forty years ago, the People’s Liberation Army entered Beijing, our fathers rushed into the streets to welcome it. Today, forty years on, the People’s Liberation Army is again entering Beijing, but the people are opposing it.”

What happened over the course of those spring weeks in 1989? What led the conflict to the point where so much blood was shed? Could such a thing ever happen again? These are the questions that this brief article will attempt to answer.

State capitalism with Chinese characteristics
In October 1949, speaking to tens of thousands in Tiananmen Square, Mao declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) first defeated the Japanese colonial army four years earlier, and then was victorious over the Nationalist Party in the civil war that followed—exiling them to Taiwan. The revolution was won by the CCP’s army, not led by the working class.1

After decades of colonialism and corruption, the Chinese economy was in complete shambles. The first task of the CCP was to centralize production under its leadership. This was not about workers taking control over factories in their own interest, but the new state attempting to overcome China’s underdevelopment.

The first five-year plan was launched in 1953. Modeled on Stalin’s industrialization of Russia through massive exploitation, China was many times below their economic starting point, and this venture failed. Mao’s solution was the 1958 “Great Leap Forward,” which can be summarized as an attempt to put mind over matter. The outrageous production goals in agriculture and steel were impossible to meet, and the chaos that followed this policy led to millions dying in the famine that ensued.

After these utter failures, Mao was gingerly removed from having any real power by the ruling bureaucracy. Different strategies for developing the economy through market forces were put forward. To regain his former power, Mao used his prestige to mobilize millions of students against a section of the bureaucracy by calling for a “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” in 1966. This event essentially shut down campuses for several years and actually began to spark some revolt among workers and peasants who were dissatisfied with the regime. Historian Simon Leys describes the Cultural Revolution this way:

The Cultural Revolution had nothing revolutionary about it except the name and nothing cultural about it except the initial tactical pretext. It was a power struggle waged at the top between a handful of men and behind the smokescreen of a fictitious mass movement. As things turned out, the disorder unleashed by this power struggle created a genuinely revolutionary mass current, which developed spontaneously at the grass roots in the form of army mutinies and workers’ strikes on a vast scale. These had not been prescribed in the program, and they were crushed pitilessly.2

By 1969, Mao and the bureaucracy successfully pulled back on the reins to get the country back on the track of development.

The intraparty political fights represented by the Cultural Revolution were only settled with Mao’s death in 1976. The victorious faction led by Deng Xiaoping pushed China to develop “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in a market direction.

As Deng argued in a 1984 speech to a Japanese delegation, “the fundamental task for the socialist stage is to develop the productive forces.… To do this, we have to invigorate the domestic economy and open to the outside world.”3

This program entailed a multi-pronged approach of bringing market forces into the countryside, where 80 percent of the population lived and worked, and developing industry in multiple coastal cities through foreign investment, new technology, and Western management techniques. It is clear that this approach has been successful at making China the rising power that it is today.

In order to further this economic development, the government also had to educate a homegrown army of technicians, engineers, and managers. This entailed expanding access to education. In ten years, the number of colleges and universities was increased significantly, going from 400 to 1,000—with a student body numbering over two million, 400,000 in Beijing alone.4

Besides opening up economic reforms, it was also important to relax the political control of the CCP to some extent. Greater latitude to think and debate freely is a necessary precondition to economic reform. Market reforms also depend on the freedom of middle- and lower-level functionaries to think on their own and take initiative. From the party’s point of view, this had to be a controlled opening, since the memory of the Cultural Revolution was only a generation past—and the danger of things getting out of hand was a serious concern.

Educational institutions in particular had to have this increased space for free development of thought, as it is difficult to encourage students to think out of the box and build their own confidence to lead China as an up and coming world power if every aspect of their life is completely managed. In order for the ruling class to establish credibility, there had to be space for the discussion of past mistakes. This also helped expand the social base of the ruling class and win popular consent for further economic restructuring.

Many students and intellectuals were aware of the reforms taking place in Russia under Mikhail Gorbachev. The idea of perestroika, which means restructuring, was implemented in 1985 because of a stagnating economy. Glasnost, meaning opening, began in 1988, and allowed for more political freedoms. Many Chinese realized that they were getting one but not the other.

Economic reforms, while certainly not carried out in the most systematic or effective manner, nevertheless did lead to 10 percent growth for almost every year of the 1980s. Throughout this period of growth, the ruling class fought internally about the direction of the country. With “modernizers” in one wing and “conservatives” in the other, they all agreed that China needed to develop. The debate was about the degree of economic control over society. Would it better to let the market rip and let the chips fall where they may? Or should each advance be carefully planned and executed?

Regarding political freedoms, there was general agreement that they should grant the minimal freedoms necessary to create incentives for growth—but by granting a taste of freedom, the party was also stimulating the appetite for more.

Trying to catch up with Western economies necessitated condensing centuries of development into decades. The first attempts at forcing growth after the revolution, such as the Great Leap Forward, failed miserably, with famine devastating the population. After Deng’s market reforms began in 1978, while the general trajectory was growth, there were still sharp ups and downs as the economy lurched forward.

It is important to note that the post–1949 drive for economic development was never toward the project of building a workers’ paradise. While China’s first efforts were modeled on Stalin’s five-year plans, and Deng later incorporated market forces into his restructuring, they both had the common denominator of competing within an international capitalist economy. This was the whip that drove the need to advance at whatever cost was necessary. Much like Stalin’s Russia, the socialist rhetoric was one of the many tools used to motivate workers to produce more.

In 1988, the country was deep in an economic crisis, with inflation spiraling out of control. Inflation resulted in panic buying and runs on the banks as faith in the currency eroded. This crisis was a setback for the reformers, and the pendulum swung back to a policy of state control over prices. The conservatives were in the saddle, and since it was clear that faith in market forces had become discredited, they felt the authority of the party had to be bolstered to stabilize society.

The stage was set for the struggles of 1989. Increased political freedom resulted in people feeling they could air their discontent. The ruling class, already divided, was unable to repair the economic crisis underway, which furthered its divisions. While workers suffered under increased prices and mass layoffs, officials and businessmen were seen to be living better than ever, increasing anger against corruption and nepotism.

“It is right to rebel”5 
Hu Yaobang, the former general secretary of the CCP died on April 15 at the age of seventy-three. He had been disgraced by the party two years prior for being soft on “bourgeois liberalism” and was held responsible for student demonstrations that took place in Shanghai in 1986. He was seen as a modernizer and identified as a political leader who was against corruption. His fate was sealed when, in the summer of 1986, he urged all veteran leaders to retire from office, including Deng.6 In the end, it was Hu who retired, not the veteran leaders, and he was replaced by Zhao Ziyang, his former ally.

In an obvious reference to eighty-four-year-old Deng, posters appeared around Beijing declaring: “The wrong man has died… Those who should die still live… Those who should live have died.” Hu’s death became a rallying cry around which discontent with the status quo was focused.

The state attempted to get at the head of these unofficial memorials, and lead them in a different direction, but students were uninterested, and continued on their own path. The first march on April 17 to Tiananmen Square only numbered in the hundreds, but the chants were indicative of the mood: “Long live Hu Yaobang. Long live democracy. Long live freedom. Down with corruption. Down with bureaucracy.”7

A larger group began occupying the square early the next morning, and after much discussion, the demonstrators decided to sit in until an official came out that evening to receive their demands.

There were seven in all: clear the name of Hu Yaobang; repudiate past campaigns against “bourgeois liberalization” and “spiritual pollution” [unwelcome Western influences like long hair and sunglasses]; publish the income and assets of leaders and their relatives; allow free speech and a free press; increase funding for education; raise the salaries of teachers and other intellectuals; and abolish restrictions on street marches, including the effective ban on press reporting of such events.8

The individual behind the sit-in idea was Wang Dan, a history student from Beijing University, who in a couple months would be number one on the government’s most-wanted list of “counterrevolutionary ringleaders.” He had previously been an organizer of “Democracy Salons” where dozens of students would discuss politics on the university lawn.

As the protests continued, Hu Yaobang became less of a focus, and dissatisfaction with the status quo sharpened. While the movement never really crystallized around a specific blueprint for changing Chinese society, anger at the system was motivation enough. At its heart, the struggle was one for democratic rights. Compared to the single-party dictatorship of the CCP, bourgeois democracy would have been an improvement, in part because it generally permits more space to organize movements from below.

The leadership of the movement came from students and intellectuals, and a small minority in the ruling class was also sympathetic. The demands found resonance within greater society, however, especially with the quickly growing urban working class. Common people were suffering under the economic situation and it was clear that the ruling elite were to blame. Freedom of speech and association would also be a step forward for workers in China, where independent trade unions are banned.

As with any struggle, especially one that is multiclass in composition, there were a variety of political ideas within the movement. Among students and intellectuals, there was significant identification with Western culture and economic systems. When Deng said “to get rich is glorious,” it was not surprising that some would take those words seriously and want some idealized version of capitalist society—despite its brutal reality.

It is worth mentioning that China is an example of where free markets do not necessarily bring free societies. This idea that capitalism equals democracy is a bedrock of liberalism. Capitalism, however, has thrived under many political systems, from the most liberal democracy to the most brutal fascism. Many Chinese students and intellectuals equated freer markets with more democratic freedoms, because that was their image of the West. China’s rulers, however, had no desire to give up any power, and had found since 1978 that combining economic markets with political repression kept wages low and profits high.

Because of the temporary “classless” position of students—with the potential to be workers, bureaucrats, or businessmen—they saw sense in appealing to a section of the ruling class to give them some political power in exchange for their political support.

Some students wanted to keep their struggle pure, separate from the common person in the street. Others were aware that their struggle had struck a chord with a significant section of society, and this gave it a power it never would have had otherwise. Regardless of students’ awareness, it was the mass character of the struggle that provoked the bloody response in the end. Because millions became involved, there existed a potential to produce significant political and social changes in China. The rulers’ fear of this potential was evident throughout the struggle. In an attempt to minimize its significance, the CCP would again and again publicly refer to the “extremely small number of people” who had hijacked the movement to overthrow the leadership of the Communist Party.9 The movement’s mass growth was a threat to the ruling elite, and they had no choice but to smash it early if they wished to maintain their monopoly on power.

An all-night gathering started on April 19. It became a mass meeting, chaired by twenty-one-year-old Uerkesh Daolet, an education student at Beijing Normal University, a member of the Uighur minority, which is a predominantly Muslim group based in Western China. Later on, Wuer Kaixi (the Mandarin version of Daolet’s name, by which he became known in the press) would have the honor of being second on the list of the CCP’s twenty-one most wanted.10 Early the next morning, hundreds of police cleared the square by beating anyone who didn’t exit the area quickly enough for them. While no one was seriously injured, the police action galvanized the students into organizing themselves and reaching out to other campuses.

The official state funeral was to take place Saturday morning, April 22, in the Great Hall of the People, which faces Tiananmen Square. Late Friday night, tens of thousands of students from universities and colleges across the city began pouring into the streets. The march grew to 100,000 and stretched over two miles. Nothing like it had been seen since the Cultural Revolution. Every Beijing institution was represented, including students from other cities. 

Unperturbed by the presence of police and soldiers, the students refused to clear the square. As the octogenarians who ran the country were walked, wheeled, and carried into the service, chants of “long live democracy, down with autocracy,” could be heard echoing across the square. From the party’s perspective, this insolence could not go unanswered.

Early the following week, the People’s Daily editorial carried Deng’s line characterizing the demonstrations as “planned conspiracy and turmoil, [whose] essence is once and for all to negate the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system.”11 To bolster this message, disembodied voices on campus loudspeakers across the city threatened that students and their families would “face the consequences” if they continued to protest.

The threats and condemnations had the opposite of their desired effect. Instead of being intimidated, students were enraged. Meeting Wednesday night, the Provisional Beijing Students’ Union called for a mass march Thursday April 27. Despite the fears of the student leaders that their call would go unheeded, thousands gathered on campuses across Beijing, broke through police lines, and came together in a procession of 150,000 that traveled twenty-five miles. The government’s ultimatum had been met with open defiance.

Zhao Ziyang returned from Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 30. He was scheduled to give a speech to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement of 1919—a nationalist movement, led by students in protest of the Versailles Treaty agreement that gave Japan sovereignty over Shandong province. This event was long claimed by the Communist Party as one of the precursors to its inception in 1921. The student movement felt they had a stronger case for the copyright to it, and staged their own anniversary celebration.

While the hardliners in the CCP wanted to quash the movement through fear, Zhao sought a different approach. In his speech, he implicitly negated Deng’s editorial assertion and stated that there was “no great turmoil.” He wanted to placate the students, his reasoning being that there was nothing lost by retracting the accusation.

Zhao’s speech was met with fury from the party bosses. Many of the old guard disagreed with his method, seeing conciliation as weakness. Publicly contradicting Deng’s editorial line was a serious infraction of the rules. Much like savvy politicians around the world, Zhao had his finger in the air, and it was not out of the question that Deng’s further mishandling of this could lead to his downfall. This was a critical move for Zhao’s future.

While divisions previously existed in the ruling class, they were now clear for all to see. The debate was over how to deal with the protesters, and it fell along lines similar to the division over how to move forward with China’s economic development. There also existed divisions in the movement itself. Among students, there were a variety of opinions as to the direction and speed that reforms in China should take. Divisions also existed between the students and others, including workers, who became part of the struggle—a point to which we will return below.

In any case, some students saw Zhao’s approach as a positive development, as they simply wanted recognition of the legitimacy of their movement. With demonstrations getting smaller, a hunger strike was called to revitalize the struggle, which had been waning in strength after Zhao’s intervention. Its start was scheduled to coincide with a historical visit.

Gorbachev was due to arrive in Beijing on May 15, the first visit from a Russian head of state since the Sino-Soviet split became open in 1961. For some students, they welcomed his visit, as he represented the sort of reform that they felt China needed. The government saw his visit as representing the closure of a rift that began 30 years before, and the potential for deepened economic relations was important. Deng saw resuming relations with the Russians as a capstone to his long political career. Regardless of interest, the international media would be covering this, which gave the student protesters an opportunity to have the world lens focused upon their cause.

As we’ve noted, Russia was undergoing its own reforms of state capitalism12 with perestroika and glasnost. Gorbachev not only had an opportunity to see how the people in China were reacting to reforms, but to learn how his recently restored friends were handling the situation.

Shielded from the mass protest taking place in the square, Gorbachev met with the leaders. Li Peng, the hardliner prime minister, showed his softer side when he told the Soviet leader, “People in socialist countries should also enjoy freedom, democracy, and sufficient human rights.”13 Li Peng’s use of the world “sufficient” is well chosen to imply that the rights of humans should be kept to a bare minimum.

In a country where mass starvation was within living memory, the hunger strike was a success at raising the level of sympathy for the students’ cause. As in all societies, the youth are seen as the future, and when the students put their own lives on the line, it struck a chord with people across the country in a way that previous actions had not. On the fourth day of the strike, when 600 were taken to the hospital, hundreds of thousands poured into the square to show their solidarity.

The following day, the students staged their biggest demonstration yet. At their encouragement, more than a million people took to the streets. They did so again on Thursday, the day that Gorbachev left for Shanghai. Sympathy demonstrations broke out in at least 24 cities across the country. Along Changan [Avenue], hotel bell-boys in pink dinner jackets turned out alongside Mao-suited cadres from the foreign ministry. The national volleyball team was there and so was a Christian seminary, marching under the banner: “The Lord Loves You. Long Live Democracy.” Shaven-headed Buddhist monks paraded in yellow robes. Schoolchildren thrust tiny fists into the air, led by their teachers in chants of “long live democracy, down with corruption.” Workers arrived from Beijing Brewery, the Capital Iron and Steel Works and the Beijing Jeep Corporation. “Get up and stand up for your rights,” chanted a group of teenagers, carrying a black and white banner bearing the image of Bob Marley.… Of all the slogans, placards and flags on view in and around Tiananmen Square, the most worrying for the leadership was surely the long red banner carried by short-haired men in uniforms. “The People’s Liberation Army,” it announced in gold letters.”14

This was the apex of the struggle. It was clear that the bureaucracy had to act if the status quo was going to be maintained. Right before martial law was declared, Zhao made a last ditch effort to rally his compatriots, but it was in vain.

The army began its invasion of Beijing early Saturday morning on May 20—and the citizens of Beijing rose up to protect the students.

The people’s army had been outmaneuvered by the people. Without orders to open fire, troops sat disconsolately on the back of canvas-covered trucks, cradling their AK-47 rifles. Around them swarmed not only students in headbands but workers, old women, middle-aged cadres, all of them chanting “go home” and “the people’s army should love the people.”15

This outpouring of support materialized because ordinary people supported the students against the government. While they did not fully share all the political positions of the students, they were fed up for their own reasons, and when the government ordered the invasion, they knew whose side they were on.

The movement’s growth highlights the role of the working class in the struggle. The Beijing Autonomous Union was founded only weeks before the crackdown by workers who wanted to do something about inflation and corruption and saw their official state-run union as passive at best, obstructionist at worst. Wang Hui, a student leader among the last to leave the square as the tanks rolled in, explains: “The ones who made the big sacrifice in 1989 were not the students or the intellectuals, but the workers and other citizens.” He adds, “The government’s big worry was social unrest, and the autonomous trade union was their top target.”16 One of the union’s posters summarized their position well:

We have calculated carefully, based on Marx’s Capital, the rate of exploitation of workers. We discovered that the “servants of the people” swallow all the surplus value produced by the people’s blood and sweat.… There are only two classes: the rulers and the ruled.… The political campaigns of the past forty years amount to a political method for suppressing the people.… History’s final accounting has yet to be completed.”17

Tension between the student movement and the workers existed from the start of the struggle. This was partly due to workers feeling alienated from the political process in general and snobbery and elitism from some students. There was a dominant argument within the student movement about keeping the movement “pure,” which meant free from involvement by common people. The lack of trust by intellectuals for workers’ and mass struggle did have a perceived historical context because intellectuals were on the receiving end of much of the vitriol during the Cultural Revolution—and many placed the blame for this at the feet of the working class.

Many students felt they had a friend in the government in Zhao Ziyang, and that Deng’s overall project of modernizing China was a step in the right direction. Most workers were less enthusiastic about Deng’s reforms because they were the gears upon which China’s progress turned. The workers who took part in the struggle wanted to have independent organizations to defend their class interests. These differing interests were at the base of the strain in relations.

The class that leads a struggle for democracy will color the direction the struggle takes. In the February Revolution of 1917, the Russian working class led the struggle to take down the autocratic tsar and install bourgeois democracy—an experience that helped them in the October Revolution to overthrow bourgeois democracy and replace it with working-class democracy. In China, the students and intellectuals were unable to overthrow the government themselves, and the working class was unorganized, so their leadership was out of the question. Li Minqi—who was part of the struggles of 1989 as a student activist, and spent two years in prison for his work—summarizes the situation well.

Under Deng, however, the rulers of the country needed to free themselves from the inhibitions of their Marxist past and equip themselves with modern bourgeois ideology. This objective necessity was especially urgent in the field of economics. So a subtle, though still fragile, symbiosis started to develop between rulers and intellectuals. Both wanted to see capitalist development. But the intellectuals were unhappy with their political position, and wanted greater power, so they began to demand more liberty and democracy. But although they needed a certain level of democratic movement to win political concessions from the government, they never sought an active mobilization of the working class. This was their limit, and the movement they led suffered from it. The intellectuals were not ready to take resolute measures to win the democratic struggle, and the workers—lacking a political force or vision of their own—were not in a position to push them to a more consistent strategy.”18

On May 30, the “Goddess of Democracy” a thirty-foot plaster version of the Statue of Liberty, was erected in Tiananmen Square. The number of students in the square was diminishing rapidly, and the arrival of the statue did little to bring in more support.

The government played its final cards, and, under the pretense of recovering stolen guns and explosives, the army drove in hard on June 4 with live ammunition and tanks. The resistance, while heroic in its attempts to stop the advancing army, was ultimately futile. It is difficult to say how many died, as this particular victor wanted to downplay the bloodshed in its version of history.

Needless to say, the brunt of violence was borne by the common citizens of the city, who had only buses, barricades, and their bodies to place between armed soldiers and the city center. “Twenty years after Chinese troops dispersed pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square with murderous gunfire, some 50 protesters still languish in jail. Most of the prisoners were workers at the time. None of them was a student,” reports the Christian Science Monitor.19 Few cameras may have operated in those neighborhoods during the early morning hours, but from the government’s viewpoint, the message was delivered loud and clear to their intended recipients.

The troops carried out their orders without much deviation, and to gain obedience, were certainly not told the truth of what was happening. Officers feared that soldiers would see that their orders conflicted with their class interests. But to go against the officers, and the threat of death for mutiny, required a level of struggle that simply did not exist at the time.

Much ink condemning the Chinese government was spilled after the fact, and the video of the lone individual stopping the advance of a line of tanks was played and replayed in the West. But once the blood and broken bodies had been swept from the streets, the countries from which the deserving condemnations emanated were all too eager to start business as usual. “By early July, most Japanese companies based in Beijing had reopened their offices; so had half of the British companies.… By August, the loans were once again flowing, and most of the sanctions had been quietly dropped.”20 The link between low wages and a government willing to shoot people down in the street may be publicly noted or ignored, but the link—and the attraction of low wage rates—both remain. It certainly is not the first or last time business has been done despite a lack of “freedom, democracy, and sufficient human rights.”

Socialism involves the idea that the people who produce the wealth in society can and should run it collectively and for their own interest. Genuine socialism is won only when workers fight and win it for themselves. It cannot be handed down from above. While mass workers’ struggle existed and produced the Chinese Communist Party in 1921, the CCP that led the 1949 revolution had little to do with workers, as evidenced by the revolution itself and everything that followed. Some on the left make excuses for the slaughter by the CCP on the bizarre basis that the Chinese government is somehow a defender of the working class.21 This kind of doublethink has to be rejected if a set of politics for true working-class liberation in China or anywhere else is going to be put forward.

Anyone who believes in justice will look forward to the day when the Chinese working class, now among the largest in the world, will lead the struggle not only for its own emancipation, but also for the freedom of every other oppressed group in China.

Twenty years on from the Tiananmen protest, the Chinese government has overseen the creation of incredible wealth. This has, to some extent, raised the standard of living for most Chinese workers—the very ones who have created every bit of that wealth. With a world economic system in crisis, the relative social peace bought by rising standards of living may soon be coming to an end. Amid the ruin that such an economic crisis would cause in China, the possibility of workers fighting back and taking control over all they have constructed comes closer to reality.

  1. For a brief overview, see Ahmed Shawki, “China: From Mao to Deng,” International Socialist Review 1, Summer 1997.
  2. Simon Leys, The Chairman’s New Clothes: Mao and the Cultural Revolution (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1977), 13. 
  3. Deng Xiaoping, “Building a socialism with a specifically Chinese character,” 1984, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/dengxp/vol3/text/c1220.html.
  4. Charlie Hore, The Road to Tiananmen Square (London: Bookmarks, 1991), 97.
  5. One of Mao’s slogans during the Cultural Revolution.
  6. Michael Fathers and Andrew Higgins, Tiananmen: The Rape of Peking (New York: Doubleday, 1989), 7.
  7. Ibid., 16.
  8. Ibid., 21.
  9. Ibid., 85.
  10. Ibid., 21.
  11. “Editorial,” People’s Daily, April 25, 1989, http://www.standoffattiananmen.com/2009/04/document-of-1989-peoples-daily.html.
  12. For more on this, see Tony Cliff, “50 years of the International Socialist Tradition,”International Socialist Review 1, Summer 1997.
  13. Fathers and Higgins, 64.
  14. Ibid., 67.
  15. Ibid., 78.
  16. Quoted in Peter Ford, “Tiananmen Square: Workers Bore Brunt of Repression,”Christian Science Monitor, June 4, 2009.
  17. Quoted in Andrew G. Walder and Gong Xioxia, “Workers in the Tiananmen Protests: The Politics of the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation,” Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, No. 29, January 1993.
  18. Wang Dan, Li Minqi, and Wang Chaohua, “A Dialogue on the Future of China,” in Wang Chaohua, ed. One China, Many Paths (New York: Verso, 2003), 318.
  19. Ford, “Tiananmen Square: Workers Bore Brunt of Repression.”
  20. Hore, The Road to Tiananmen Square, 137.
  21. See, for example, Yenica Cotes, “Tiananmen Square and the Threat of Counterrevolution,” June 4, 2009, Party for Socialism and Liberation, http://www.pslweb.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=12203.


Issue #76

March 2011

Revolt in the Middle East: Another world is possible

Issue contents

Top story



Critical Thinking


  • The crimes of occupation

    Jim Ramey reviews Aftermath: Following the Blood of America's Wars in the Muslim World by Nir Rosen
  • Gaza’s nightmare shows the truth about Israel

    Hadas Thier reviews Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israeli/Palestine Conflict by Moustafa Bayoumi and Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé
  • The planet and the profit system

    Chris Williams reviews The Ecological Rift: Capitalism's War on the Earth by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York
  • Ways of resistance in Latin America

    Jason Farbman reviews Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America by Ben Dangl and Bolivia's Radical Tradition: Permanent Revolution in the Andes by S. Sándor John