Manual From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung: A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics

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In the United States during the late s, parts of the emerging New Left rejected the Marxism espoused by the Soviet Union and instead adopted pro-Chinese communism. Into the s, Maoists in the United States, e. Maoist representative Jon Lux, formed a large part of the New Communist movement. Maoism has fallen out of favour within the Communist Party of China, beginning with Deng Xiaoping's reforms in Deng believed that Maoism showed the dangers of "ultra-leftism", manifested in the harm perpetrated by the various mass movements that characterized the Maoist era.

In Chinese communism, the term "left" can be taken as a euphemism for Maoist policies. Critic Graham Young says that Maoists see Joseph Stalin as the last true socialist leader of the Soviet Union, but allows that the Maoist assessments of Stalin vary between the extremely positive and the more ambivalent. Enver Hoxha critiqued Maoism from a Marxist—Leninist perspective, arguing that New Democracy halts class struggle, [52] the theory of the three worlds is "counter-revolutionary" [53] and questioned Mao's guerilla warfare methods.

Some say Mao departed from Leninism not only in his near-total lack of interest in the urban working class, but also in his concept of the nature and role of the party. For Lenin, the party was sacrosanct because it was the incarnation of the "proletarian consciousness" and there was no question about who were the teachers and who were the pupils.

On the other hand, for Mao this question would always be virtually impossible to answer. The implementation of Maoist thought in China was arguably responsible for as many as 70 million deaths during peacetime, [56] [57] with the Cultural Revolution , Anti-Rightist Campaign of — [58] and the Great Leap Forward. Some historians have argued that because of Mao's land reforms during the Great Leap Forward which resulted in famines , thirty million perished between and By the end of , the birth rate was nearly cut in half because of malnutrition.

Some Western scholars saw Maoism specifically engaged in a battle to dominate and subdue nature and was a catastrophe for the environment. Mao also believed strongly in the concept of a unified people. These notions were what prompted him to investigate the peasant uprisings in Hunan while the rest of China's communists were in the cities and focused on the orthodox Marxist proletariat.

Mao believed that intellectuals and party cadres had to become first students of the masses to become teachers of the masses later. This concept was vital to the strategy of the aforementioned "people's war". Mao's nationalist impulses also played a crucially important role in the adaption of Marxism to the Chinese model and in the formation of Maoism.

This belief, or the fervor with which Mao held it, separated Mao from the other Chinese communists and led Mao onto the path of what Leon Trotsky called "Messianic Revolutionary Nationalism", which was central to his personal philosophy. Mao-Spontex refers to a Maoist interpretation in western Europe which stresses the importance of the cultural revolution and overthrowing hierarchy.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Chinese Marxist—Leninist political theory. For the novel by Roopesh, see Maoist novel. Theoretical works. Related topics. Communist Party. Top-ranked secretary : Wang Huning. Chairman : Xi Jinping. Vice-Chairmen :. Office Chief: Ding Xuexiang. Director: Xi Jinping. Secretary-General: Wang Huning. Deputy Director: Li Keqiang. Office Chief: Liu He. United Front. Scientific Outlook on Development. Harmonious Socialist Society. Constitution Law.

Constitution Previous constitutions President list : Xi Jinping. Presidential spouse : Peng Liyuan. Vice-President : Wang Qishan. Secretary-General : Xiao Jie. National Defense Mobilization Commission. Chairman : Li Keqiang. Minister : Wei Fenghe. Judiciary Law enforcement. Secretary: Guo Shengkun. President : Zhou Qiang. Prosecutor General : Zhang Jun. Minister: Zhao Kezhi State Councilor. Minister: Chen Wenqing.

Minister: Fu Zhenghua. Director: Wang Huning. Deputy Director: Huang Kunming. Head: Huang Kunming. Deputy director: Li Keqiang. Director: Xu Lin. Hong Kong Macau. Cross-Strait relations. Foreign relations. Administrative divisions Hukou system Family planning Ethnic minorities Communism. Other countries Atlas. Further information: Ideology of the Communist Party of China.

Marxist—Leninist state Aggravation of class struggle under socialism Anti-imperialism Anti-revisionism Command economy Collectivization Commanding heights of the economy Cult of personality Democratic centralism Dialectical logic Dialectical materialism Foco Labour aristocracy Marxist—Leninist atheism National liberation One-party state Partiinost' People's democracy Popular front Proletarian internationalism Self-criticism Social fascism Socialist patriotism Soviet Yugoslav Socialist state Theory of the productive forces Third Period Vanguardism.

By country. Leninism Bolshevism Trotskyism. See also. Main article: Amol uprising. Main article: Communist Party of the Philippines. See also: Maoist insurgency in Turkey. China portal Politics portal History portal Communism portal Socialism portal. The China Quarterly. Mao's China and After. New York: Free Press, Berkeley: University of California Press, James; Chang, Maria Hsia The other basic element in Mao's approach to revolution was his inordinate belief in the power of the human will to overcome material obstacles and his conception that the necessary energy to propel the revolution lay stored among the masses.

The potential energy of the peasantry was borne home to him with sudden force in , when he embarked on the investigation of the peasant movement in his home province that formed the basis of his famous report. The liberation Mao found at work in village after village, with peasants overthrowing their landlords, had an enormous impact on him.

Beginning with these two basic insights--the importance of the peasantry to revolution in China and the power of the human will--Mao went on to elaborate the strategy and tactics for the entire revolution. First, he recognized the importance of winning the support of the people, who were, as he put it in his widely quoted formulation, like the ocean in which the guerrillas must swim like fish. Talking with Andre Malraux in , Mao related: "You must realize that before us, among the masses, no one had addressed themselves to women or to the young.

Nor, of course, to the peasants. For the first time in their lives, every one of them felt involved. Similarly, to keep the allegiance of his guerrilla fighters, who received no pay and often inadequate food and weapons, Mao developed careful rules of behavior. The officers do not beat the men; officers and men receive equal treatment; soldiers are free to hold meetings and to speak out; trivial formalities have been done away with; and the accounts are open for all to inspect.

The soldiers handle the mess arrangements. All this gives great satisfaction to the soldiers. For military tactics Mao drew on his boyhood reading of China's classic swashbuckling novels such as "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms" and "The Water Margin," which described in vivid detail the exploits and strategems of ancient warriors and bandits. Not surprisingly Mao's military tactics--which were to be an important role in Vietnam--bore a close resemblance to those of Sun Tzu, the military writer of the fifth century B.

The basic problem was to find a way for a guerrilla force to overcome General Chiang's much larger and better equipped army. To this end Mao revised two principles--concentration of force so that he attacked only when he had a numerical advantage, and surprise. That is no longer a secret, and in general the enemy is now well acquainted with our method.

But he can neither prevent our victories nor avoid his own losses, because he does not know when and where we shall act. This we keep secret. The Red Army generally operates by surprise attacks. To these Mao was to add the concept of a base area where his guerrillas could rest and replenish their supplies, and from which, over time, they could expand. In the end, this strategy led to victory. The supreme moment came on Oct. Processions had filled the square in front of the scarlet brass-studded gate.

The air was chilly with the wind from the Gobi. Mao, wearing a drab cloth cap and a worn tunic and trousers, had Mr. Chou and Marshal Chu with him. Below them the immense throng shouted: "May Mao Tse-tung live 10, years! Suddenly there came a hush. Sliding up the immense white staff in the square was a small bundle that cracked open as it neared the top to reveal a flag 30 feet broad, blood red, with five yellow stars in the upper left quadrant.

Guns reared in salute. On cue the crowd broke out in the new national anthem, and Mao stepped to the microphone amid more cheers. A week before, speaking to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, he said: "Our nation will never again be an insulted nation.

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We have stood up. Let the domestic and foreign reactionaries tremble before us. His words came 28 years after he and 11 others founded the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai. Its membership then was It had. Mao Tse-tung was born in a tile-roofed house surrounded by rice fields and low hills in Shaoshan, a village in Hunan Province, in central China, on December 26, His father, Mao Jen-sheng, was a tall, sturdily built peasant, industrious and thrifty, despotic and high-handed.

Through hard work, saving and some small trading he raised himself from being a landless former soldier to what his son later described as the status of a "rich peasant," though in the China of those days that hardly meant being wealthy. Mao's mother, Wen Chi-mei, was a hardy woman who worked in the house and fields. A Buddhist, she exhibited a warm-hearted kindness toward her children much in contrast to her husband's patriarchal sterness. During famines, when her husband--he disapproved of charity--was not watching, she would give food to the poor who came begging.

The China into which Mao was born was a restive empire on the point of its final breakup, which came in Since the middle of the 19th century the ruling Ching Dynasty had been beset by rural uprisings, most notably the Taiping revolt in the 's, and by the encroachments of foreign powers that challenged China's traditional belief in its superiority.

The mandarins who governed on behalf of the emperor in Peking seemed helpless to stop either the internal decay or the foreign incursions. Corrupt, smug, the product of a rarified examination system based on the Confucian classics, they procrastinated. China had no industry, and its peasants, 85 percent of the population, were mired in poverty and ignorance, subject to the constant threat of starvation and extortionate demands by landlords.

At age 6 Mao was set to work in the rice fields by his father, but because he wanted the youngster to learn enough characters to keep the family's accounts, he also sent him to the village primary school. The curriculum was the Confucian Analects, learned by rote in the old style. Mao preferred Chinese novels, "especially stories of rebellions," he later recalled, which he used to read in school, "covering them up with a classic when the teacher walked past. At 13 Mao left the school, working long hours on the farm during the day and keeping the accounts at night. His father frequently beat Mao and his two younger brothers and gave them only the most meager food, never meat or eggs.

At this point there occurred an incident that Western writers have seized on as a seminal clue to Mao's later life. During a reception Mao's father began to berate him for being lazy and useless.

Infuriated, he fled to a nearby pond, threatening to jump in. Eventually the quarrel was resolved by compromise when Mao agreed to kowtow--on one knee only--in exchange for his father's promise to stop the beatings. Some scholars have also noted the possible influence on Mao of growing up in Hunan. A subtropical region, its many rivers and mountains made it a favorite haunt for bandits and secret societies.

Hunanese are also famed for their vigorous personalities and their political talents as well as their love of red pepper, and they have produced a disproportionate number of leaders in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although out of school, Mao retained his passion for reading in his spare time, and at 16, over his father's opposition, enrolled in a modern higher primary school nearby. It was at this school, in a busy market town, that Mao's real intellectual and political development began. In newspapers a cousin sent him he learned of the nationalistic late 19th-century reformers, and in a book, "Great Heroes of the World," he read about Washington and Napoleon from his earliest days Mao was fascinated by martial exploits.

Most of his fellow students were sons of landlords, expensively dressed and genteel in manner. Mao had only one decent suit and generally went about in an old, frayed coat and trousers. Moreover, because he had been forced to interrupt his education for several years, he was much older than the others and towered above them. As a result this tall, ragged, uncouth "new boy" met with a mixture of ridicule and hostility. The experience may also have left its mark in his attitude toward the landlord class. After a year wanderlust took Mao off to the provincial capital, Changsha, where he entered a junior high school.

The year was , the time of the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty, and he was caught up in the political turmoil that swept the country. He cut off his pigtail, a rebellious act, and it was then that he joined a local army unit. After several more months of drifting and scanning classified ads in the press for opportunities, he spent half a year in the provincial library, where he read translations of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations," Darwin's "On the Origin of the Species" and Rousseau's "Social Contract.

In Mao enrolled in the provincial normal school in Changsha, where he received his last five years of formal education. Although it was really only a high school, its standards were high, and Mao was particularly influenced by his ethics teacher, Prof. Yang Chang-chi, whose daughter he was later to marry.

Professor Yang, who had studied in Japan and Europe, advocated combining Western and Chinese ideas to prod China back to life. Through him Mao soon found himself in touch with the mainstream of intellectual life, which was then caught up in what was called the May 4th Movement, an explosive nationalistic effort to modernize Chinese culture.

It was at this time that Mao published his first writing, an article for the popular Peking Magazine Hsin Ching Nien, or New Youth, on the need for physical fitness to build military strength. He also began to display his genius for leadership, setting up a radical student group. Having graduated from the normal school in , Mao set off that fall for Peking. The timing was critical.

It was a period when intellectuals were turning from one Western "ism" to another in search of the latest and most potent elixir to revive their nation. In Mao's case, as he later wrote, he arrived just when "the salvos of the October Revolution" in Russia were bringing Marxism to China.

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Mao secured a menial job as a library assistant at Peking University under Li Ta-chao, who had published an influential article, "The Victory of Bolshevism," and who had just founded the first Marxist study society in China. Mao was still somewhat "confused, looking for a road," but he was becoming "more and more radical. Early the next spring he left Peking for Shanghai, where he saw off some friends on their way to study in France; he was reluctant to go because of his lack of ability in foreign languages.

Over the next two years he moved between Shanghai, Peking and Changsha, teaching part of the time and throwing himself into organizing radical student groups and editing two popular journals that were suppressed by the local warlord government.


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One article he published at the time, "The Great Union of the Popular Masses," which held that the vast majority of Chinese were progressive and constituted a mighty force for change, reflected what Mr. Schram has called Mao's populist tendency. In the biographer's opinion, "this idea can be regarded as the bridge which led him from the relatively conservative and traditionalist nationalism of to a genuinely Marxist viewpoint.

In the fall of Mao copied the example of his former boss in Peking, Mr. Li, who had just established a small Communist group there, and formed one in Changsha.


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The following July Mao and the 11 other delegates met in Shanghai to form the Chinese party. The first congress was forced by a police raid to flee from its original meeting place in a girls' school to a holiday boat on a nearby lake. Filled with a new sense of zeal, Mao returned to Hunan, where, in orthodox Marxist fashion, he set about organizing labor unions and strikes.

He had found his true vocation as a revolutionary. The embryonic party fell heavily under the influence of the Russians, who helped engineer an alliance between the Chinese Communists, and the much stronger Nationalists of Sun Yat-sen. Stalin's goals in this, as in all his later moves in China, did not necessarily coincide with those of the Chinese Communists, and herein lay the source of much of the later friction.

Stalin wanted first to secure a friendly buffer on his eastern flank, so had to avoid any upheaval that would invite Western intervention. Second, he sought control over the Chinese party. His policy of alliance worked well enough for the first few years, giving the Communists a chance to expand, but in it suddenly became a disaster when General Chiang, who had succeeded to leadership of the Nationalists in , turned on the Communists and carried out his massacre. Perhaps because of Mao's populism and his highly nationalistic feelings, he was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the alliance.

His patriotism was always near the surface. Criticism of his dual role had a fortuitous result, eventually making him uncomfortable enough so that in he returned to his native village for a rest and, in the process, encountered a wave of peasant unrest. From this time on Mao was to take a major interest in the peasantry--first lecturing at the Kuomintang's Peasant Movement training institute in Canton in , then in early making his renowned inspection of the Hunanese countryside, and finally in the fall of , after the Communists split with General Chiang, he led his small surviving band of supporters up into the Chingkang-shan Mountains to start the search for power all over again--on his terms.

The period from to , when Mao finally won command of the party, was filled with complex wrangling over leadership and policy. The principal figures in the party, who remained in the security of the international settlement in Shanghai, and Stalin kept looking for a "revolutionary upsurge," and in accordance with conventional Marxist dogma planned attacks on cities.

Mao, cut off in the countryside, was condemned for his peasant "deviation," though he was not often informed of the latest shifts in line or of his demotions until much later. Twice in and , he was directed to lead attacks on cities, both ending in catastrophic defeats. Mao was to recall, "Long ago the Chinese Communists had first-hand experience of some of Stalin's mistakes.

The Chingkangshan area where Mao gradually worked out his own strategy was a storybook setting; a range of precipitous mountains on the border between Kiangsi and Hunan, it was an almost impregnable vastness populated only by a few simple villages and groups of bandits. By allying with these bandits and drawing on the peasants, whom he rewarded by reducing rents, Mao built his band of 1, soldiers into , by A capital was declared at Juichin, in southern Kiangsi.

Mao's very success proved his undoing. In the party Central Committee moved up to Kiangsi from Shanghai and proceeded to strip him of his posts in the party and army, with Mr. Chou replacing him as chief commissar in One of Mao's few steadfast supporters at this time was Mr. Teng, whom he was to oust from high position in The loss of control was doubly grave because it coincided with the fifth of General Chiang's encirclement campaigns to wipe out the Communists.

The previous efforts had failed in the face of Mao's tactics, withdrawing when outnumbered and then launching surprise attacks in overwhelming force on isolated units. Now the other Communist leaders tried the Nationalists head on, but General Chiang had , men--a seven-to-one advantage--and on the advice of a Nazi general, Hans von Steeckt, slowly strangled the Communists with a ring of barbed wire and machine-gun emplacements.

The only answer was flight. On Oct. Neither their destination nor their purpose was clear. Some thought of finding a new base area; others, including Mao, spoke of going north to fight the Japanese, who had been expanding farther and farther into China since Of the 90, Communists who broke out, only 20, would eventually reach the new base area in Shensi, in the northwest, over a year and 6, miles later. For all its hardships, the Long March both saved and strengthened the Communists, giving them a legion of invincibility, a guerrilla ethic, a firm discipline and unity, and a new leader--Mao.

He was finally given command after several more blunders along the march, when the army stopped at the remote town of Tsunyi, in Kweichow Province, in January Tsunyi had been captured without firing a shot by using a ruse straight out of "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms," involving captured Kuomintang uniforms and banners. In Yenan, just below the Great Wall, the area where Chinese civilization originally developed over 3, years before, Mao proceeded to build a new party and state fully in his own image.

This was a critical period, for the ideas he worked out in Yenan he would turn back to nostalgically in the late 's and 60's, when he launched the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Among them were the sending of party cadres down to the countryside for ideological remolding and the stress on self-reliance, mutual aid teams on farms and popularized education. His mood at this time was perhaps best suggested by his poem "Snow," written in February shortly after his arrival in the northwest.

A ringing affirmation of his links with China's glorious past and his love for the land, it reads:. The most decisive stroke by Mao at this time was his genius in making the Communists the incarnation of Chinese resistance to the Japanese. The Japanese invasion, which began in in Manchuria and culminated in full-scale war in , had provoked an enormous wave of popular resentment. In the face of this, General Chiang continued to insist that his army would fight the Communists first and deal with the Japanese later.

This strategy backfired in December , when pro- Nationalist troops under Chang Hsueh-liang, the young warlord whom the Japanese had driven from Manchuria, kidnapped General Chiang at Sian, near the Communists' base area. He was released only after agreeing to a second united front with the Communists to fight the Japanese. Although frictions were obvious from the start, the agreement gave Mao a badly needed breathing spell and the chance to expand Communist areas across the whole of North China under the guise of fighting the Japanese. For this the Communists were well prepared by their guerrilla training.

By the end of the war in , Communist troops, renamed the Eighth Route Army, had increased to a formidable force of a million men covering an area inhabited by million people. By an accident of history the Japanese invasion was to prove "perhaps the most important single factor in Mao's rise to power," Mr. Schram concluded in his biography. Using this time of relative stability to read and write broadly, Mao systematized his thought.

But it is also true that with guns at our disposal we can really build up the party organization. In , to discipline the thousands of new officials the party was enrolling and to insure their fidelity to his thought, Mao launched the first rectification campaign. It was the beginning of thought reform, and it was also the start of the cult of Mao.

He lent the cult a hand by ordering the study of his works. In the Cultural Revolution he would promote an article praising his thought that he had helped compose. The rectification campaign had another purpose--to end what Mao saw as overreliance on Soviet guidance: "There is no such thing as abstract Marxism, but only concrete Marxism. What we call concrete Marxism is Marxism that has taken on a national form. Consequently the Sinification of Marxism--that is to say, making certain that in all of its manifestations it is imbued with Chinese peculiarities--becomes a problem that must be understood and solved by the whole party.

For a brief time in Mao and Americans had a short-lived courtship. American diplomats and journalists who were allowed into Yenan at this time, when Washington hoped to bring the Communists and Nationalists together against the Japanese, were invariably impressed by Mao and his army's accomplishments. Mao, for his part, looked to the possibility of winning some of the United States aid that was flowing to General Chang for use against Tokyo.

But General Chiang's intransigence blocked all efforts in this direction. When the war ended in , Washington endeavored to play a dual role. On the one hand it helped General Chiang by continuing aid to him and airlifting thousands of his troops to occupy Japanese positions in Manchuria ahead of the advancing Communists.

On the other hand it sponsored negotiations for a coalition government. At the urging of the Americans Mao flew to Chungking-- his first airplane flight--where he held 43 days of ultimately futile talks with General Chiang. In November President Harry S. Truman dispatched Gen. George C.

Marshall to China as his special envoy; he would continue trying to arrange a cease-fire and coalition government until January , but full-scale civil war had broken out early in General Chiang was vastly overconfident. He had American backing, apparent neutrality on the part of Stalin, who was not eager to see Mao win, and a four-to-one numerical advantage. But his army was racked by corruption, punishing inflation and an incompetent officer corps in which promotion was based entirely on loyalty. The general war-weariness and hostility of the populace to the Nationalists also played a role.

From Marx to Mao Tse-tung: A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics

By the middle of the Nationalists' advantage had been reduced to two to one, and by mid- the two sides were almost even. Nationalist generals began surrendering in packs, and within a year it was all over. Over the next five years much of China's development followed the orthodox Soviet model. Mao had proclaimed in that henceforth China would "lean to one side" in cooperation with the Soviet Union, and so it seemed. The first five-year plan placed emphasis on heavy industry, centralized planning, technical expertise and a large defense buildup in the Soviet pattern.

Several technical schools required courses in ballroom dancing, as the Russians had done since Peter the Great.

Mao Zedong

Part of this may have been the result of what Mao later maintained was his decision in to retreat to a "second line" and leave "day to-day work" to others. He did this, he said, "out of concern for state security and in view of the lessons of Stalin in the Soviet Union. Whatever the case, China was disrupted in by the Korean War. Although its exact origins are still obscure and controversial, the weight of evidence seems to indicate that it was basically a Soviet initiative and that Mao was not consulted.

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