Wandering Blind

I can’t read my blog right now, but that might end. It has been a common occurrence since I started this thing. Sometimes my proxy works, sometime it dont.

So here is a bit of an update on the “they tearin down my house” saga:

My neighbors and I had a powwow today and learned a lot about each other. They have lived in this village for 100 years. They were born here, they raised kids here, they love it here. They understand the desire of the urban folk for the life that they already have. They understand perfectly well the powers that put development in motion: personal greed and inter-agency corruption. They understand also that they are entiteled to some real money and a real chance at a new life.

But they also know that the city presents nothing to the first-timer. Many of them will struggle for work, the parents will be away — maybe half-way across the country in some factory — and the kids will be struggling to make it in the city schools.

What we are seeing is the culmination of a century-long tug-of-war between the people and the government for the land they live in. After the CCP won the wars against the Japanese and the Nationalists, they passed the land out amongst the farmers and workers that supported them, and thereby gained their loyalty. Ten years later, they took it back during the Great Leap Forward and made the land “state property” — whatever that means. They gave it back again after the Cultural Revolution to calm the seething masses who had torn about the country in Mao’s last years. And now .. now they are doing it again.

But this time is different. This time the farmers are moving to the city for good. To become the slaves of the machine that will bring China the glory we all talk about in all the media specials that grace magazines and papers around the world. This new development mirrors and warps that which we have experienced in the West.

In America it was white flight, now gentrification. Here it is the same. The rich head to the complexes in the suburbs, the poor head into the cities to work. Or migrate.


So this is what is going on, all over the world and with extreme prejudice in this country. If one fights against the state several things happen:

The state divides and conquers with bribes. The state terrorizes by shutting off utilities, sending in police and perhaps, if needed, the thugs. The state persuades with propaganda and appeals to patriotism and sacrifice for an improved future.

Maybe they are right. In America, we are now seeing the “final”stages of this circle of movement between the city and the country. Cities in America are now going green, as much as is possible. The people, my people, are demanding it. Perhaps the natural cycle in China will lead in the same direction. In fact, we can already see tinges of it here and there. Lip service, yet, but nevertheless …

Here, the people have no rights, no power, no voice. They are thrown off and are thankful for the crumbs they get. How is this any different from what Americans experienced throughout the early years of last century and Europeans up until after the War?

If there is no difference and we can see patterns emerge, what can we do, what have we learned, what can we change … ?

The questions would be then: what did we lose the first few times around?

Or should we just peer into China — our time-warped mirror — and do what we can in our own garden now, to atone for the things we did before.

Sascha Matuszak
Sascha Matuszak

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