A dialogue between Andrew Murray and Ken Hammond
Organised jointly with the Morning Star and Friends of Socialist China.
The Communist Party of China has established a goal of “building a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by 2049 - the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic. This sounds like an exciting project, and yet Chinese socialism is a poorly understood subject in the West, including among much of the left. Meanwhile, China is being subjected to an intense propaganda war, which in many ways resembles the treatment of the Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries during the Cold War.
This dialogue will explore the history and contemporary reality of the Chinese socialist project, including an analysis of trends in Chinese Marxism, the Reform and Opening Up process, China’s trajectory under the Xi Jinping leadership, the escalating US-led New Cold War, and more.
Andrew Murray is vice-president and founding chair of Stop the War Coalition, a longstanding trade unionist, peace campaigner, and one of the leading thinkers of the British left. He has written a number of books, including most recently ‘Is Socialism Possible in Britain?’, reflecting on his time serving as a political advisor to Jeremy Corbyn. Andrew has maintained an active interest in China for several decades, and has been vocal in his opposition to the New Cold War.
Ken Hammond is a professor of East Asian and Global History at New Mexico State University. He was a student organiser at Kent State University at the time of the shocking incident of 4 May 1970, when the Ohio Army National Guard shot and killed four students peacefully protesting the invasion of Cambodia when Nixon escalated the Vietnam War, and was indicted as one of the ‘Kent 25’. Ken lived and worked in Beijing between 1982 and 1987 managing activities for American educational delegations.
Ken earned his PhD in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 1994, and has worked in support of friendly US-China relations for many decades. He is a founder of the US-based movement Pivot to Peace, set up in 2020 in response to the escalating anti-China rhetoric emanating from US politicians and media. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Chinese History, published by Cambridge University Press, and the author of several books, including From Yao to Mao: 5,000 Years of Chinese History. Over the years he has taught at universities in Beijing, Shanghai and Shijiazhuang.