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06/10/2008 Entry: "75 Down Under! / China"

75 Down Under!

Today, June 10, 2008, John Zube, in my not totally uninformed opinion one of the greatest libertarian activists and thinkers ever, the coryphaeus of panarchism, is celebrating his 75th birthday, down under in Berrima near Sidney, New South Wales, Australia. It took me many years to find out that date, as he is so discrete about private matters of this kind he doesn't consider important. Saving the world is important, laying those intellectual bush fires that our self-declared rulers too often have been so clever in extinguishing, maybe less so lately, I do not know, I remain skeptical but hopeful. I wish him (and all of us, as the recipients of his great thinking and work!) all the best on this day, long life, sturdy health, further success with his ideas and continuing private happiness and satisfaction. His children and grand-children do greatly contribute to this. By the way, his eldest son, a medical doctor, is also born on June 10. Congratulations to him too! And my greetings to Brisbane, Bowral and Hobart, where his three sons live.

Please reread this: John the Hermit?

After my so many thousands of e-mail exchanges with John, his messages being mostly miles long and most of the time containing unique valuable essays, some of which have been published in the meantime, but I regret to admit, due to my own limits of time and all, far too few (it's always too late, but never too late!), to celebrate this day, I publish hereafter a very topical one received a couple of days ago:


Preliminary note: After Dr. Richard C. B. Johnsson had announced the following to the 7 persons forming the "inner circle" of our "panarchist gang":

John Zube answered with the following message:

Dear Richard,

Congratulations to the new job and to your move. I greatly regret that your opportunities to make and receive certain kinds of political statements will probably be greatly restricted for a while, on the new job.

On the other hand, for other and non-controversial topics the opportunities might increase.

E.g.: no regime lasts forever, the current government knows that from history and most regimes fear their overthrow.
You may then be the only man in China, among ca. 1.3 billion people, who already thinks in terms of exterritorial autonomy for volunteers and that is one form in which a communist government, overthrown as a territorial regime, could be continued, indefinitely, for all its remaining volunteers as soon as it has lost its territorial monopoly.
Even its opponents will probably not mind if it is merely continued for its volunteers.

If the rulers became aware of this option, then they might consider this idea and perhaps, even you as its exponent, as their life insurance option!
At one stage they might even become wise enough to introduce it themselves, once they know of it and have closely examined it, just to prevent an uprising against themselves.
Perhaps, at a critical point, you might get the chance to speak up for this alternative.
It might impress them even more if you frankly admit that you are not a communist but favor this liberty and right also for communists.
You would have many other groups on your side for this, who would also wish to have exterritorial independence for their volunteers.
In Russia, a least for a few years, there were about 30 % of the population still in favor of the old regime with all its social services and its military might. The new regime should have allowed them to practise their communism among themselves.

Revenge and punitive actions and indemnification claims should also be generally avoided. They played a great role after WW I and helped in the rise of the Hitler regime.
For: which government has not committed any territorial wrongs? Who is not guilty and who should thus throw the first stone?

Even the most democratic governments have imposed their laws and institutions upon dissenters and taxed all of the population.

Instead of seeking revenge and punishments for all past wrongs, people should simply make sure that certain wrongs do never again occur in the future and make the soonest and fullest use of all the liberties and rights they do already understand and like.

Communist institutions in form of nunneries and monasteries have long existed in the West for their volunteers and as penal institutions, in form of prisons, for convicts. Also in form of utopian colonies and intentional communities. Armies are also largely run on communist authoritarian principles. For hundreds of years we have had e.g. a state socialist institution like the P.O.

Ideally, the Western governments - and also public opinion in the Western World - should recognize all kinds of alternative governments in exile for China, but all of them only for volunteers. And, quite prominently among them, at least one communist or state socialist government for its remaining volunteers.
Naturally, one should demand that all Western governments also transform themselves in this way.

Even if these continued communist communities would largely only be made up of old guard members, gradually dying out. But according to the biogenetic law the individual goes, physically and mentally largely through the development of the species and thus young people again and again rediscover or pick up simple economic ideas as their ideal.
The economic system of Marxism is already largely rejected in the modern China, apart from e.g. its monetary and its taxation system.

The tolerant and voluntaristic panarchistic position is a much less confrontational position than the exclusive territorial power one. Which does not even work very well for democracy, e.g. in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If it were introduced in China it would, in its way, revolutionize the world, learning from China's example.

Laissez-faire for a continued communist regime for Chinese volunteers, should the present territorial one be overthrown!

Many Chinese probably still remember with disgust, at least from their history books, the old "unequal" treaties that foreign governments imposed upon China, granting foreigners exterritorial status in China but not, for Chinese, exterritorial status in foreign countries. This was rightly perceived as quite wrong by Chinese nationalists - and also by cosmopolitans.
Panarchism would take up the justice of equal treaties, which were then denied to the Chinese people. Chinese volunteers should have been recognized as having the right and liberty to live under their own laws and institutions, in foreign countries, if they preferred that.

Moreover, the panarchist approach would mean that a voluntary and exterritorially autonomous communist government would no longer be confined to China but could, exterritorially, "expand" all over the world - to the extent that it finds volunteers, not only among the millions of overseas Chinese. ( Ca. 20 to 30 million at least, I believe. ) This would also open up immigration options for Chinese all over the world, sponsored at least by self-governing Chinese communities there.
Borders and attitudes against free migration would more and more disappear. Also racist notions.

Compare that with the attitude of fanatic and territorialist anti-communists, who were prepared to bomb the whole population of China - just to get rid of its territorial communist regime.

With this in mind, no one, who stands for panarchist tolerance, although he himself may be a convinced anti-communist, like myself, for instance, will be considered as a primary or fundamental enemy of the Chinese government ( without territorial powers and privileges ) but, possibly, even as some kind of ally in its future struggle for survival, as an exterritorial autonomous community of volunteers, under its own personal laws.

It is largely forgotten that China once, about 8 centuries ago, provided asylum to Jewish refugees, persecuted in other countries. As tradition-bound and scholarly people they were welcomed and allowed their religious practices and communal self-government. But gradually they intermarried and biologically dissappeared and the last of their independent practices and institutions disappeared with their last few members, finally all with Chinese faces in ancient Jewish costumes, who died out, I believe in the 1920's. The Chinese government had granted this independence to foreign people generously, it was not imposed upon it by a foreign power.

By the way: Among the numerous "discoverers" of the Americas, after the Asiatic people who settled there and became the Red Indians, were also Chinese, ca. 800 B.C. For a while afterwards there existed some trade between America and China.

The great advantage of voluntary government and exterritorial autonomy is that a regime like the present territorial Chinese one would get rid of all its internal opposition, all its trouble-makers, without having to exterminate them. They would leave that government of their own free will, to do their own things for or to themselves. Then the existing government could continue with a full mandate, based upon unanimous consent of all the volunteers who preferred to stay with it.
What politician has so far even merely dreamed of such a complete, a unanimous backing? Amost a sinecure. No struggle with opposition parties. No election campaigns. No election defeats. Only losses of members whom one can no longer satisfy. And who could be blamed for such losses?
O.K. they would have less millions of subjects - but among 1300 million people enough would stay on their side to make them a large government and as such it could be continued - as long as it could satisfy these volunteers. If it could do that, it could even gain new members.

Ideas know no borders. Theoretically, they could be spread, electronically, within a day all over the world. Has anyone a better program for the future China, as one no longer exclusively under communist rule?

I am sure that the general staff of the Chinese Red Army has its contingency plans and so has the Central committee of the Communist Party of Red China.
But would either of them have explored this survival option for themselves?

The other aspect, that I am interested in, is that monetary freedom experiments in China go back for many centuries. Without a central territorial government suppressing them, they could come to blossom and spread and lead rapidly to full employment, easy sales and fast economic development without inflation.
It could release the creative energies of Chinese much more thoroughly than any territorial government could. Under it economic growth in China could be still much faster than it is now.

The notion that China is over-populated - which has led to the one-child policy - which undoubtedly has not made the government very popular, is also quite false. There are many nations with much higher populations per square km and a much higher average standard of living.
That is also something that has held China back.

Russian communists never subscribed to Malthusianism. One result was a great population growth - and also an enormous Russian Red Army.

Under full monetary and financial freedom there would be no over-heating of the economy, no inflation, no unemployment. And that could be demonstrated theoretically and also and best by the first successful experiments of this type among volunteers.

One thing that you could promote in China, in talks with officials, without running into political opposition, is the republication of the ancient Chinese encyclopedia of ca. 1200, already then sized like Encyclopedia Britannica. Also its translation at least into English. I assume that even its information on herbal medicine alone might already justify this effort, quite apart from the historical details it contains.
At least one copy of it was left in the East Berlin University in my time. The Chinese copies may all be destroyed. Thousands of hobbyists could work on the scanning job from microfilm copies or duplicated photocopies. ( I did much of my microfilming from photocopies. )

There are also so many other treasures of Chinese literature never before translated and all too long out or print. Electronically they could and should all be published quite cheaply, and translated at least into English, as an important part of world culture. I doubt that the present regime would oppose the republication of whatever is still preserved of its ancient literature - somewhere in the world. It would boost national pride more than being able to provide the world with cheap gadgets produced in China.

I spoke once with the head of the Institute of Oriental Studies in West Berlin's Free University, about the translation of the Chinese ancient encyclopedia. His reply was: There are so many Chinese writings - that university departments like mine will get around to all of them only in about 200 to 300 years!
But not only university scholars can produce translations. Laymen can do so too, although probably not as well. But many laymen can also mutually correct each other and thus, perhaps, produce between them many good enough translations fast. ( I liked the regime's practice, for a while, to allow "barefoot doctors" to provide whatever medical aid they could. )

I wish that the overseas Chinese, especially their students at universities, would have tackled this job as a part-time job to make money by bringing these ancient treasures to light, in translations, published only on microfilm or in on-demand printing or electronically, on disks, selling duplicates of them. Perhaps many could have financed part of their study years in this way. Maybe they still could.

As head of a financial company you would also have opportunities to talk about value preserving clauses and free choice of value standards for them - as a means to attract more foreign investments. That, again, would not present you as a political enemy, except in the eyes of the Central Bank of China.
Stable value reckoning, in silver and copper ( the tael unit ) has a very long tradition in China. It really should not have adopted all the Western wrongs and mistakes in this sphere. Dr. Walter Zander wrote once in its favor. He also pointed out an electricity plant in Shanghai as an issuer of its own currency, with which its bills could be paid.

As far as they are nationalists and opposed to foreign ownership, you could always point out to them the option that the employees of foreign owned companies could come to buy out these companies on terms, within a few years, profitable to both sides.
Maybe that option should already be included in foreign investment contracts.
Enterprises with sensible and businesslike self-management will be much more productive than those held back by the employer-employee relationship, which started off all the class warfare ideologies. Hyacinthe Dubreuil called that relationship an "organized antagonism".

The topics you can freely discuss in China may be limited but there are at least some that are interesting enough.

A Chinese told me once about one customary practice that made Chinese businessmen in Australia largely independent of banks. They had their regular meetings in which each stated how much, if any, he had to offer the group in investment capital. The total was summed up and then a bidding began. The one who made the best offer for this capital got it. They all closely knew each other and trusted each other. No payment of interest and fees to outside banks for them! Possibly also no taxes upon the money they earned in this way. Just common sense self-help.
Chinese businessmen have often been very inventive in this way. The clearing houses were copied by the West from Chinese examples.

Even when it comes to simple technology like wheelbarrows. For a long time, in the West, they had only one wheel and this out-front, while the typical Chinese wheel-barrow had two wheels - for greater stability - and also placed in the middle of the load space, so that the user would not have to lift up as much in weight but would merely have to push the mass.
By the way, my second son works in Australia for a Japanese company, the biggest in Asia, the second biggest in the world, for heavy equipment (KOMATSU), as a national parts supply manager, his best ever job.
Alas, in North Sydney, with much travel time spent in his car.
And his daughter Amanda and her recent fiancé Ryan, recently visited Japan, then China and are now probably in Vietnam. They will come back some time in November.

One short hint I got from Ulrich von Beckerath: In China's war with Japan it was helped by Australian experts on cooperative production, who set up some successful cooperatives producing ammunition in China. This experience may not be altogether forgotten as yet.

Perhaps the best forms of productive coops would also not be a taboo topic there.
Especially the libertarian socialist form of "open coops" proposed by P. Buchez, Theodor Hertzka and further developed by Ulrich von Beckerath. ( An open coop accepts new workers and investors as far as technically possible, but rewards each only according to their work and investment input. That form of organization would do away with natural monopolies. Each who is interested in them could profit from them as worker or investor. Monopoly earnings and profits would thus be reduced to market levels. )

Your children [CB: like John's, also three boys!] might still be young enough to become fluent in Chinese. This might be a great asset for them for their future.

There were reports that children, growing up in foreign embassy areas and playing with children of other nationalities there, easily picked up several languages.

Was it Karl Hess or Murray Rothbard, who said, many years ago, that the Chinese move towards more liberty while the West moves towards less!

PIOT, John.

CB: This is quite something different from what you can read about China in "Der Spiegel" or other mainstream media...

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