Maoism

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Maoism
Traditional Chinese 毛澤東思想
Simplified Chinese 毛泽东思想
Literal meaning"Mao Zedong Thought"

Maoism, or Mao Zedong Thought (Chinese :毛泽东思想; pinyin :Máo Zédōng sīxiǎng), is the Chinese communist variety of Marxism–Leninism that Mao Zedong developed for realising a socialist revolution in the agricultural, pre-industrial society of the People's Republic of China. From the 1950s until the Chinese economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, Maoism was the political and military ideology of the Communist Party of China and of Maoist revolutionary movements throughout the world. The philosophic difference between Maoism and Marxism–Leninism is that the peasantry are the revolutionary vanguard in pre-industrial societies, rather than the productive forces. [1]

Simplified Chinese characters Standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

The theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a broad term for political theories and policies that are seen by their proponents as representing Marxism–Leninism adapted to Chinese circumstances and specific time periods. For instance, in this view Xi Jinping Thought is considered to represent Marxist–Leninist policies suited for China's present condition while Deng Xiaoping Theory was considered relevant for the period when it was formulated.

Contents

Origins

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
China
Strategic Issues of Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War (1938) Kang Ri You Ji Zhan Zheng De Zhan Lue Wen Ti 03538.jpg
Strategic Issues of Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War (1938)
Strategic Issues in the Chinese Revolutionary War (1947) Zhong Guo Ge Ming Zhan Zheng De Zhan Lue Wen Ti 03531.jpg
Strategic Issues in the Chinese Revolutionary War (1947)

Modern Chinese intellectual tradition

At the turn of the 20th century, the modern Chinese intellectual tradition is defined by two central concepts: (i) iconoclasm and (ii) nationalism. [2]

The current status of Chinese intellectuals reflects traditions established in the imperial period. For most of this period, government officials were selected from among the literati on the basis of the Confucian civil service examination system. Intellectuals were both participants in and critics of the government. As Confucian scholars, they were torn between their loyalty to the emperor and their obligation to "correct wrong thinking" when they perceived it.

Iconoclasm The destruction of religious images

Iconoclasm is the social belief in the importance of the destruction of icons and other images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be figuratively applied to any individual who challenges "cherished beliefs or venerated institutions on the grounds that they are erroneous or pernicious".

Nationalism is an ideology and movement characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics such as culture, language, religion, politics, and belief in a shared singular history—and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation's traditional culture, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism. Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism for example.

Iconoclastic revolution and anti-Confucianism

By the turn of the 20th century, a proportionately small yet socially significant cross-section of China's traditional elite (i.e. landlords and bureaucrats) found themselves increasingly skeptical of the efficacy and even the moral validity of Confucianism. [3] These skeptical iconoclasts formed a new segment of Chinese society, a modern intelligentsia whose arrival—or as historian of China Maurice Meisner would label it, their defection—heralded the beginning of the destruction of the gentry as a social class in China. [4]

Confucianism Chinese ethical and philosophical system

Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who considered himself a recodifier and retransmitter of the theology and values inherited from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In the Han dynasty, Confucian approaches edged out the "proto-Taoist" Huang–Lao as the official ideology, while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of Legalism.

Maurice Meisner Historian of modern China

Maurice Jerome Meisner was an historian of 20th century China and professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His study of the Chinese Revolution and the People's Republic was in conjunction with his strong interest in socialist ideology, Marxism, and Maoism in particular. He authored a number of books including Mao's China: A History of the People's Republic which became a standard academic text in that area.

Gentry people of high social class, in particular of the land-owning social class

Gentry are "well-born, genteel and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past. In the United Kingdom, the term gentry refers to the landed gentry, the majority of the land-owning social class who were typically armigerous, but did not have titles of nobility. Gentry, in its widest connotation, refers to people of good social position connected to landed estates, upper levels of the clergy, and "gentle" families of long descent who never obtained the official right to bear a coat of arms. The historical term gentry by itself, so Peter Coss argues, is a construct that historians have applied loosely to rather different societies. Any particular model may not fit a specific society, yet a single definition nevertheless remains desirable. Linguistically, the word gentry arose to identify the social stratum created by the very small number, by the standards of Continental Europe, of the Peerage of England, and of the parts of Britain, where nobility and titles are inherited by a single person, rather than the family, as usual in Europe.

The fall of the last imperial Chinese dynasty in 1911 marked the final failure of the Confucian moral order and it did much to make Confucianism synonymous with political and social conservatism in the minds of Chinese intellectuals. It was this association of conservatism and Confucianism which lent to the iconoclastic nature of Chinese intellectual thought during the first decades of the 20th century. [5]

Qing dynasty Former empire in Eastern Asia, last imperial regime of China

The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fifth largest empire in world history. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan in Manchuria. In the late sixteenth century, Nurhaci, originally a Ming Jianzhou Guard vassal, began organizing "Banners", military-social units that included Manchu, Han, and Mongol elements. Nurhaci formed the Manchu clans into a unified entity and officially proclaimed the Later Jin in 1616. By 1636, his son Hong Taiji began driving Ming forces out of the Liaodong Peninsula and declared a new dynasty, the Qing.

Social conservatism is the belief that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions. This can include moral issues. Social conservatism is generally skeptical of social change, and believes in maintaining the status quo concerning social issues such as family life, sexual relations, and patriotism.

Chinese iconoclasm was expressed most clearly and vociferously by Chen Duxiu during the New Culture Movement which occurred between 1915 and 1919. [5] Proposing the "total destruction of the traditions and values of the past", the New Culture Movement was spearheaded by the New Youth , a periodical which was published by Chen Duxiu and was profoundly influential on the young Mao Zedong, whose first published work appeared on the magazine's pages. [5]

Chen Duxiu 1st General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

Chen Duxiu was a Chinese revolutionary socialist, educator, philosopher and author, who co-founded the Chinese Communist Party in 1921, serving from 1921 to 1927 as its first General Secretary. Chen was a leading figure in the Xinhai Revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty and the May Fourth Movement for scientific and democratic developments in early Republic of China. Expelled from the Communist Party in 1929, he was for a time the leader of China's small Trotskyist movement.

New Culture Movement Revolt against Confucian values

The New Culture Movement of the mid-1910s to 1920s sprang from the disillusionment with traditional Chinese culture following the failure of the Chinese Republic – founded in 1912 – to address China's problems. Scholars such as Chen Duxiu, Cai Yuanpei, Li Dazhao, Lu Xun, Zhou Zuoren, He Dong, and Hu Shih, had classical educations but began to lead a revolt against Confucianism. They called for the creation of a new Chinese culture based on global and western standards, especially democracy and science. Younger followers took up their call for:

<i>New Youth</i> influential Chinese magazine in the 1910s and 1920s

La Jeunesse was a Chinese magazine in the 1910s and 1920s that played an important role in initiating the New Culture Movement and spreading the influence of the May Fourth Movement.

Nationalism and the appeal of Marxism

Along with iconoclasm, radical anti-imperialism dominated the Chinese intellectual tradition and slowly evolved into a fierce nationalist fervor which influenced Mao's philosophy immensely and was crucial in adapting Marxism to the Chinese model. [6] Vital to understanding Chinese nationalist sentiments of the time is the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed in 1919. The Treaty aroused a wave of bitter nationalist resentment in Chinese intellectuals as lands formerly ceded to Germany in Shandong were—without consultation with the Chinese—transferred to Japanese control rather than returned to Chinese sovereignty. [7]

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to the war. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

Shandong Province

Shandong is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, and is part of the East China region.

The negative reaction culminated in the 4 May Incident in 1919 during which a protest began with 3,000 students in Beijing displaying their anger at the announcement of the Versailles Treaty's concessions to Japan. The protest took a violent turn as protesters began attacking the homes and offices of ministers who were seen as cooperating with, or being in the direct pay of, the Japanese. [7] The 4 May Incident and Movement which followed "catalyzed the political awakening of a society which had long seemed inert and dormant". [7]

Yet another international event would have a large impact not only on Mao, but also on the Chinese intelligentsia, i.e. the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Although the revolution did elicit interest among Chinese intellectuals, socialist revolution in China was not considered a viable option until after the May 4 Incident. [8] Afterwards, "[t]o become a Marxist was one way for a Chinese intellectual to reject both the traditions of the Chinese past and Western domination of the Chinese present". [8]

Yan'an period between November 1935 and March 1947

During the period immediately following the Long March, Mao and the Communist Party of China (CPC) were headquartered in Yan'an, which is a prefecture-level city in Shaanxi province. During this period, Mao clearly established himself as a Marxist theoretician and he produced the bulk of the works which would later be canonized into the "thought of Mao Zedong". [9] The rudimentary philosophical base of Chinese Communist ideology is laid down in Mao's numerous dialectical treatises and it was conveyed to newly recruited party members. This period truly established ideological independence from Moscow for Mao and the CPC. [9]

Although the Yan'an period did answer some of the questions, both ideological and theoretical, which were raised by the Chinese Communist Revolution, it left many of the crucial questions unresolved; including how the Communist Party of China was supposed to launch a socialist revolution while completely separated from the urban sphere. [9]

Mao Zedong's intellectual Marxist development

Mao's Intellectual Marxist development can be divided into five major periods: (1) the initial Marxist period from 1920–1926; (2) the formative Maoist period from 1927–1935; (3) the mature Maoist period from 1935–1940; (4) the Civil-War period from 1940–1949; and (5) the post-1949 period following the revolutionary victory.

  1. The initial Marxist period from 1920–1926: Marxist thinking employs imminent socioeconomic explanations and Mao's reasons were declarations of his enthusiasm. Mao did not believe that education alone would bring about the transition from capitalism to communism because of three main reasons. (1) Psychologically: the capitalists would not repent and turn towards communism on their own; (2) the rulers must be overthrown by the people; (3) "the proletarians are discontented, and a demand for communism has arisen and had already become a fact". [10] These reasons do not provide socioeconomic explanations, which usually form the core of Marxist ideology.
  2. The formative Maoist period from 1927–1935: in this period, Mao avoided all theoretical implications in his literature and employed a minimum of Marxist category thought. His writings in this period failed to elaborate what he meant by the "Marxist method of political and class analysis". [11] Prior to this period, Mao was concerned with the dichotomy between knowledge and action. He was more concerned with the dichotomy between revolutionary ideology and counter-revolutionary objective conditions. There was more correlation drawn between China and the Soviet model.
  3. The mature Maoist period from 1935–1940: intellectually, this was Mao's most fruitful time. The shift of orientation was apparent in his pamphlet Strategic Problems of China's Revolutionary War (December, 1936). "This pamphlet tried to provide a theoretical veneer for his concern with revolutionary practice". [12] Mao started to separate from the Soviet model since it was not automatically applicable to China. China's unique set of historical circumstances demanded a correspondingly unique application of Marxist theory, an application that would have to diverge from the Soviet approach.
  4. The Civil-War period from 1940–1949: unlike the Mature period, this period was intellectually barren. Mao focused more on revolutionary practice and paid less attention to Marxist theory. "He continued to emphasize theory as practice-oriented knowledge". [13] The biggest topic of theory he delved into was in connection with the Cheng Feng movement of 1942. It was here that Mao summarized the correlation between Marxist theory and Chinese practice; "The target is the Chinese revolution, the arrow is Marxism–Leninism. We Chinese communists seek this arrow for no other purpose than to hit the target of the Chinese revolution and the revolution of the east". [13] The only new emphasis was Mao's concern with two types of subjectivist deviation: (1) dogmatism, the excessive reliance upon abstract theory; (2) empiricism, excessive dependence on experience.
  5. The post-1949 period following the revolutionary victory: the victory of 1949 was to Mao a confirmation of theory and practice. "Optimism is the keynote to Mao's intellectual orientation in the post-1949 period". [14] Mao assertively revised theory to relate it to the new practice of socialist construction. These revisions are apparent in the 1951 version of On Contradiction. "In the 1930s, when Mao talked about contradiction, he meant the contradiction between subjective thought and objective reality. In Dialectal Materialism of 1940, he saw idealism and materialism as two possible correlations between subjective thought and objective reality. In the 1940s, he introduced no new elements into his understanding of the subject-object contradiction. In the 1951 version of On Contradiction, he saw contradiction as a universal principle underlying all processes of development, yet with each contradiction possessed of its own particularity". [15]

Differences between Maoism and Marxism

There two differences between Maoism and Marxism are how the proletariat are defined and what political and economic conditions would start a communist revolution:

  1. For Karl Marx, the proletariat were the urban working class, which was determined in the revolution by which the bourgeoisie overthrew feudalism. [16] For Mao Zedong, the proletariat were the millions of peasants, to whom he referred as the popular masses. Mao based his revolution upon the peasants, because they possessed two qualities: (i) they were poor, and (ii) they were a political blank slate; in Mao's words, the peasants were: “A clean sheet of paper has no blotches, and so the newest and most beautiful words can be written on it”. [17]
  2. For Marx, proletarian revolution was internally fueled, by the capitalist mode of production; that, as capitalism developed, "a tension arises between the productive forces and the mode of production". [18] The political tension, between the productive forces (the workers) and the owners of the means of production (capitalists), would be an inevitable incentive to proletarian revolution, which would result in a Communist society, as the main economic structure. Mao did not subscribe to Marx's proposal of inevitable cyclicality in the economic system. His goal was to unify the Chinese nation and so realize progressive change for China in the form of Communism, hence, revolution was needed as soon as possible. In The Great Union of the Popular Masses (1919), Mao said: "The decadence of the state, the sufferings of humanity, and the darkness of society have all reached an extreme". [19]

Components

New Democracy

The theory of the New Democracy was known to the Chinese revolutionaries from the late 1940s. This thesis held that for the majority of the people of the planet, the long road to socialism could only be opened by a "national, popular, democratic, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist revolution, run by the communists". [20]

People's war

Holding that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun", [21] Maoism emphasizes the "revolutionary struggle of the vast majority of people against the exploiting classes and their state structures", which Mao termed a "people's war". Mobilizing large parts of rural populations to revolt against established institutions by engaging in guerrilla warfare, Maoist Thought focuses on "surrounding the cities from the countryside".

Maoism views the industrial-rural divide as a major division exploited by capitalism, identifying capitalism as involving industrial urban developed First World societies ruling over rural developing Third World societies. [22] Maoism identifies peasant insurgencies in particular national contexts were part of a context of world revolution, in which Maoism views the global countryside would overwhelm the global cities. [23] Due to this imperialism by the capitalist urban First World towards the rural Third World, Maoism has endorsed national liberation movements in the Third World. [23]

Mass line

Contrary to the Leninist vanguard model employed by the Bolsheviks, the theory of the mass line holds that party must not be separate from the popular masses, either in policy or in revolutionary struggle. To conduct a successful revolution the needs and demands of the masses must be told to the party so that the party can interpret them with a Marxist view.

Cultural Revolution

The theory of the Cultural Revolution states that the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat does not wipe out bourgeois ideology—the class-struggle continues and even intensifies during socialism, therefore a constant struggle against these ideologies and their social roots must be conducted. Cultural Revolution is directed also against traditionalism.

Contradiction

Mao drew from the writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in elaborating his theory. Philosophically, his most important reflections emerge on the concept of "contradiction" (maodun). In two major essays, On Contradiction and On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, he adopts the positivist-empiricist idea (shared by Engels) that contradiction is present in matter itself and thus also in the ideas of the brain. Matter always develops through a dialectical contradiction: "The interdependence of the contradictory aspects present in all things and the struggle between these aspects determine the life of things and push their development forward. There is nothing that does not contain contradiction; without contradiction nothing would exist". [24]

Furthermore, each contradiction (including class struggle, the contradiction holding between relations of production and the concrete development of forces of production) expresses itself in a series of other contradictions, some dominant, others not. "There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions". [25]

Thus, the principal contradiction should be tackled with priority when trying to make the basic contradiction "solidify". Mao elaborates further on this theme in the essay On Practice , "on the relation between knowledge and practice, between knowing and doing". Here, Practice connects "contradiction" with "class struggle" in the following way, claiming that inside a mode of production there are three realms where practice functions: economic production, scientific experimentation (which also takes place in economic production and should not be radically disconnected from the former) and finally class struggle. These may be considered the proper objects of economy, scientific knowledge and politics. [26]

These three spheres deal with matter in its various forms, socially mediated. As a result, they are the only realms where knowledge may arise (since truth and knowledge only make sense in relation to matter, according to Marxist epistemology). Mao emphasizeslike Marx in trying to confront the "bourgeois idealism" of his timethat knowledge must be based on empirical evidence.

Knowledge results from hypotheses verified in the contrast with a real object; this real object, despite being mediated by the subject's theoretical frame, retains its materiality and will offer resistance to those ideas that do not conform to its truth. Thus in each of these realms (economic, scientific and political practice), contradictions (principle and secondary) must be identified, explored and put to function to achieve the communist goal. This involves the need to know, "scientifically", how the masses produce (how they live, think and work), to obtain knowledge of how class struggle (the main contradiction that articulates a mode of production, in its various realms) expresses itself.

Mao held that contradictions were the most important feature of society and since society is dominated by a wide range of contradictions, this calls for a wide range of varying strategies. Revolution is necessary to fully resolve antagonistic contradictions such as those between labour and capital. Contradictions arising within the revolutionary movement call for ideological correction to prevent them from becoming antagonistic.

Maoism is described as being Marxism-Leninism adapted to Chinese conditions whereas its variant Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is considered universally applicable Mao Zedong in Red.svg
Maoism is described as being Marxism–Leninism adapted to Chinese conditions whereas its variant Marxism–Leninism–Maoism is considered universally applicable

Three Worlds Theory

Three Worlds Theory states that during the Cold War two imperialist states formed the "first world"—the United States and the Soviet Union. The second world consisted of the other imperialist states in their spheres of influence. The third world consisted of the non-imperialist countries. Both the first and the second world exploit the third world, but the first world is the most aggressive party. The workers in the first and second world are "bought up" by imperialism, preventing socialist revolution. On the other hand, the people of the third world have not even a short-sighted interest in the prevailing circumstances, hence revolution is most likely to appear in third world countries, which again will weaken imperialism opening up for revolutions in other countries too. [27]

Agrarian socialism

Maoism departs from conventional European-inspired Marxism in that its focus is on the agrarian countryside, rather than the industrial urban forces—this is known as agrarian socialism. Notably, Maoist parties in Peru, Nepal and the Philippines have adopted equal stresses on urban and rural areas, depending on the country's focus of economic activity. Maoism broke with the state capitalist [ dubious ] framework of the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev, dismissing it as revisionist, a pejorative term among communists referring to those who fight for capitalism in the name of socialism and who depart from historical and dialectical materialism.

Although Maoism is critical of urban industrial capitalist powers, it views urban industrialization as a prerequisite to expand economic development and socialist reorganization to the countryside, with the goal being the achievement of rural industrialization that would abolish the distinction between town and countryside. [28]

Maoism in China

In its post-revolutionary period, Mao Zedong Thought is defined in the CPC's Constitution as "Marxism–Leninism applied in a Chinese context", synthesized by Mao and China's "first-generation leaders". It asserts that class struggle continues even if the proletariat has already overthrown the bourgeoisie and there are capitalist restorationist elements within the Communist Party itself. Maoism provided the CPC's first comprehensive theoretical guideline with regards to how to continue socialist revolution, the creation of a socialist society, socialist military construction and highlights various contradictions in society to be addressed by what is termed "socialist construction". While it continues to be lauded to be the major force that defeated "imperialism and feudalism" and created a "New China" by the Communist Party of China, the ideology survives only in name on the Communist Party's Constitution as Deng Xiaoping abolished most Maoist practices in 1978, advancing a guiding ideology called "socialism with Chinese characteristics". [29]

Maoism after Mao

China

Mao Zedong Mao Zedong 1963 (cropped).jpg
Mao Zedong
Deng Xiaoping Deng Xiaoping and Jimmy Carter at the arrival ceremony for the Vice Premier of China. - NARA - 183157-restored(cropped).jpg
Deng Xiaoping

Shortly after Mao's death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping initiated socialist market reforms in 1978, thereby beginning the radical change in Mao's ideology in the People's Republic of China (PRC). [30] Although Mao Zedong Thought nominally remains the state ideology, Deng's admonition to "seek truth from facts" means that state policies are judged on their practical consequences and in many areas the role of ideology in determining policy has thus been considerably reduced. Deng also separated Mao from Maoism, making it clear that Mao was fallible and hence the truth of Maoism comes from observing social consequences rather than by using Mao's quotations as holy writ, as was done in Mao's lifetime. [31]

Contemporary Maoists in China criticize the social inequalities created by the revisionist Communist Party. Some Maoists say that Deng's Reform and Opening economic policies that introduced market principles spelled the end of Maoism in China, although Deng himself asserted that his reforms were upholding Mao Zedong Thought in accelerating the output of the country's productive forces.

In addition, the party constitution has been rewritten to give the socialist ideas of Deng prominence over those of Mao. One consequence of this is that groups outside China which describe themselves as Maoist generally regard China as having repudiated Maoism and restoring capitalism and there is a wide perception both inside and outside China that China has abandoned Maoism. However, while it is now permissible to question particular actions of Mao and talk about excesses taken in the name of Maoism, there is a prohibition in China on either publicly questioning the validity of Maoism or on questioning whether the current actions of the CPC are "Maoist".

Although Mao Zedong Thought is still listed as one of the Four Cardinal Principles of the People's Republic of China, its historical role has been re-assessed. The Communist Party now says that Maoism was necessary to break China free from its feudal past, but it also says that the actions of Mao are seen to have led to excesses during the Cultural Revolution. [32]

The official view is that China has now reached an economic and political stage, known as the primary stage of socialism, in which China faces new and different problems completely unforeseen by Mao and as such the solutions that Mao advocated are no longer relevant to China's current conditions. The official proclamation of the new CPC stance came in June 1981, when the Sixth Plenum of the Eleventh National Party Congress Central Committee took place. The 35,000-word Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China reads:

Chief responsibility for the grave 'Left' error of the 'cultural revolution,' an error comprehensive in magnitude and protracted in duration, does indeed lie with Comrade Mao Zedong... [and] far from making a correct analysis of many problems, he confused right and wrong and the people with the enemy... herein lies his tragedy. [33]

Scholars outside China see this re-working of the definition of Maoism as providing an ideological justification for what they see as the restoration of the essentials of capitalism in China by Deng and his successors, who sought to "eradicate all ideological and physiological obstacles to economic reform". [34] In 1978, this led to the Sino-Albanian split when Albanian leader Enver Hoxha denounced Deng as a revisionist and formed Hoxhaism as an anti-revisionist form of Marxism.

Mao himself is officially regarded by the CPC as a "great revolutionary leader" for his role in fighting against the Japanese fascist invasion during the Second World War and creating the People's Republic of China, but Maoism as implemented between 1959 and 1976 is regarded by today's CPC as an economic and political disaster. In Deng's day, support of radical Maoism was regarded as a form of "left deviationism" and being based on a cult of personality, although these "errors" are officially attributed to the Gang of Four rather than being attributed to Mao himself. [35] Thousands of Maoists were arrested in the Hua Guofeng period after 1976. The prominent Maoists Zhang Chunqiao and Jiang Qing were sentenced to death with a two-year-reprieve while some others were sentenced to life imprisonment or imprisonment for 15 years.

Internationally

Maoist leader Prachanda speaking at a rally in Pokhara, Nepal Prachanda.jpg
Maoist leader Prachanda speaking at a rally in Pokhara, Nepal

After the death of Mao in 1976 and the resulting power-struggles in China that followed, the international Maoist movement was divided into three camps. One group, composed of various ideologically nonaligned groups, gave weak support to the new Chinese leadership under Deng Xiaoping. Another camp denounced the new leadership as traitors to the cause of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The third camp sided with the Albanians in denouncing the Three Worlds Theory of the CPC (see the Sino-Albanian split).

Although initially praising the Soviet Union prior to, during and shortly after the Cuban Revolution, Che Guevara later came out in support of Maoism and advocated the adoption of the ideology throughout Latin America.[ citation needed ] The pro-Albanian camp would start to function as an international group as well [36] (led by Enver Hoxha and the APL) and was also able to amalgamate many of the communist groups in Latin America, including the Communist Party of Brazil and the Marxist–Leninist Communist Party in Ecuador. Later, Latin American Communists such as Peru's Shining Path also embraced the tenets of Maoism.

The new Chinese leadership showed little interest in the various foreign groups supporting Mao's China. Many of the foreign parties that were fraternal parties aligned with the Chinese government before 1975 either disbanded, abandoned the new Chinese government entirely, or even renounced Marxism–Leninism and developed into non-communist, social democratic parties. What is today called the international Maoist movement evolved out of the second camp—the parties that opposed Deng and said they upheld the true legacy of Mao.

Maoism's international influence

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in February 2013 UCPN (Maoist) 7th General Convention Nepal.jpg
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in February 2013

From 1962 onwards, the challenge to the Soviet hegemony in the world communist movement made by the CPC resulted in various divisions in communist parties around the world. At an early stage,[ citation needed ] the Albanian Party of Labour sided with the CPC. So did many of the mainstream (non-splinter group) Communist parties in South-East Asia, like the Burmese Communist Party, Communist Party of Thailand and Communist Party of Indonesia. Some Asian parties, like the Workers Party of Vietnam and the Workers Party of Korea attempted to take a middle-ground position.

The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia is said to have been a replica of the Maoist regime. According to the BBC, the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) in Cambodia, better known as the Khmer Rouge, identified strongly with Maoism and it is generally labeled a Maoist movement today. [37] [38] However, Maoists and Marxists generally contend that the CPK strongly deviated from Marxist doctrine and the few references to Maoist China in CPK propaganda were critical of the Chinese. [39]

Various efforts have sought to regroup the international communist movement under Maoism since the time of Mao's death in 1976. In the West and Third World, a plethora of parties and organizations were formed that upheld links to the CPC. Often they took names such as Communist Party (Marxist–Leninist) or Revolutionary Communist Party to distinguish themselves from the traditional pro-Soviet communist parties. The pro-CPC movements were in many cases based among the wave of student radicalism that engulfed the world in the 1960s and 1970s.

Only one Western classic communist party sided with the CPC, the Communist Party of New Zealand. Under the leadership of the CPC and Mao Zedong, a parallel international communist movement emerged to rival that of the Soviets, although it was never as formalized and homogeneous as the pro-Soviet tendency.

Another effort at regrouping the international communist movement is the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO). Three notable parties that participate in the ICMLPO are the Marxist–Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and Marxist–Leninist Communist Organization – Proletarian Way. The ICMLPO seeks to unity around Marxism-Leninism, not Maoism. However, some of the parties and organizations within the ICMLPO identify as Mao Zedong Thought or Maoist.

Afghanistan

The Progressive Youth Organization was a Maoist organization in Afghanistan. It was founded in 1965 with Akram Yari as its first leader, advocating the overthrow of the then-current order by means of people's war.

Bangladesh

The Purba Banglar Sarbahara Party is a Maoist party in Bangladesh. It was founded in 1968 with Siraj Sikder as its first leader. The party played a role in the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Belgium

The Sino-Soviet split had an important influence on communism in Belgium. The pro-Soviet Communist Party of Belgium experienced a split of a Maoist wing under Jacques Grippa. The latter was a lower-ranking CPB member before the split, but Grippa rose in prominence as he formed a worthy internal Maoist opponent to the CPB leadership. His followers where sometimes referred to as Grippisten or Grippistes. When it became clear that the differences between the pro-Moscow leadership and the pro-Beijing wing were too great, Grippa and his entourage decided to split from the CPB and formed the Communist Party of Belgium – Marxist–Leninist (PCBML). The PCBML had some influence, mostly in the heavily industrialized Borinage region of Wallonia, but never managed to gather more support than the CPB. The latter held most of its leadership and base within the pro-Soviet camp. However, the PCBML was the first European Maoist party that was officially recognized as a sister-party of the CPC by Beijing.[ citation needed ]

Although the PCBML never really gained a foothold in Flanders, there was a reasonably successful Maoist movement in this region. Out of the student unions that formed in the wake of the May 1968 protests, Alle Macht Aan De Arbeiders (AMADA) or All Power To The Workers, was formed as a vanguard party-under-construction. This Maoist group originated mostly out of students from the universities of Leuven and Ghent, but did manage to gain some influence among the striking miners during the shut-downs of the Belgian stonecoal mines in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This group became the Workers' Party of Belgium (WPB) in 1979 and still exists today, although its power base has shifted somewhat from Flanders towards Wallonia. The WPB stayed loyal to the teachings of Mao for a long time, but after a general congress held in 2008 the party formally broke with its Maoist/Stalinist past. [40]

Ecuador

The Communist Party of Ecuador – Red Sun, also known as Puka Inti, is a small Maoist guerrilla organization in Ecuador.

India

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) is the leading Maoist organisation in India. Two major political groupings owing allegiance to Mao's ideas, namely the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) People's War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), merged on 21 September 2004 to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The CPI (Maoist) is designated as a terrorist organisation in India under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. [41] [42] [43] [44]

Iran

The Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran) was an Iran Maoist organization. The UIC (S) was formed in 1976 after the alliance of a number of Maoist groups carrying out military actions within Iran. In 1982, the UIC (S) mobilized forces in forests around Amol and launched an insurgency against the Islamist Government. The uprising was eventually a failure and many UIC (S) leaders were shot.

Palestine

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Maoist political and military organization. The DFLP's original political orientation was based on the view that Palestinian national goals could be achieved only through revolution of the masses and people's war.

Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines is the largest communist party in the Philippines, active since December 26, 1968 (Mao's birthday). It was formed as a result of the First Great Rectification Movement and a split between the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930 which the founders saw as revisionist. The CPP was formed on Maoist lines in stark contrast with the old PKP which put primary focus to the parliamentary struggle. The CPP was founded by Jose Maria Sison and other cadres from the old party. [45]

The CPP also has an armed wing which it exercises absolute control over, namely the New People's Army. It currently wages a guerrilla war against the government of the Republic of the Philippines in the countryside and is still currently active. Both the CPP and the NPA are part of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, a consolidation of Maoist sectoral organizations such as Kabataang Makabayan as part of the united front strategy. The NDFP also represents the people's democratic government in peace talks. [46]

Portugal

The flag of FP-25 Flag of Forcas Populares 25 de Abril.svg
The flag of FP-25

Maoist movements in Portugal were very active during the 1970s, especially during the Carnation Revolution that led to the fall of the fascist government the Estado Novo in 1974.

The largest Maoist movement in Portugal was the Portuguese Workers' Communist Party. The party was among the most active resistance movements before the Portuguese democratic revolution of 1974, especially among students of Lisbon. After the revolution, the MRPP achieved fame for its large and highly artistic mural paintings.

Intensely active during 1974 and 1975, during that time the party had members that later came to be very important in national politics. For example, a future Prime Minister of Portugal, José Manuel Durão Barroso was active within Maoist movements in Portugal and identified as a Maoist. In the 1980s, the Forças Populares 25 de Abril was another far-left Maoist armed organization operating in Portugal between 1980 and 1987 with the goal of creating socialism in post-Carnation Revolution Portugal.

Spain

The Communist Party of Spain (Reconstituted) was a Spanish clandestine Maoist party. The armed wing of the party was First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups.

Turkey

The Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist (TKP/ML) is a Maoist organization in Turkey currently waging a people's war against the Turkish government. It was founded in 1972 with İbrahim Kaypakkaya as its first leader. The armed wing of the party is named the Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army in Turkey (TIKKO).

United States

In the United States during the late 1960s, parts of the emerging New Left rejected the Marxism espoused by the Soviet Union and instead adopted pro-Chinese communism.

The Black Panther Party, especially under the leadership of Huey Newton, was influenced by Mao Zedong's ideas. Into the 1970s, Maoists in the United States, e.g. Maoist representative Jon Lux, formed a large part of the New Communist movement.

The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA is also a Maoist movement.

Criticism and implementation

Despite falling out of favor within the Communist Party of China by 1978, Mao is still revered, with Deng's famous "70% right, 30% wrong" line ForbiddenCity MaoZedongPortrait (pixinn.net).jpg
Despite falling out of favor within the Communist Party of China by 1978, Mao is still revered, with Deng's famous "70% right, 30% wrong" line

Maoism has fallen out of favour within the Communist Party of China, beginning with Deng Xiaoping's reforms in 1978. 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. However, Deng stated that the revolutionary side of Maoism should be considered separate from the governance side, leading to his famous epithet that Mao was "70% right, 30% wrong". [47] Chinese scholars generally agree that Deng's interpretation of Maoism preserves the legitimacy of Communist rule in China, but at the same time criticizes Mao's brand of economic and political governance.

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. [48] Some political philosophers, such as Martin Cohen, have seen in Maoism an attempt to combine Confucianism and socialism—what one such called "a third way between communism and capitalism". [49]

Enver Hoxha critiqued Maoism from a Marxist–Leninist perspective, arguing that New Democracy halts class struggle, the theory of the three worlds is "counter-revolutionary" and questioned Mao's guerilla warfare methods.[ citation needed ]

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. [50]

The implementation of Maoist thought in China was arguably responsible for as many as 70 million deaths during peacetime, [51] [52] with the Cultural Revolution, Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957–1958 [53] 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 1958 and 1961. By the end of 1961, the birth rate was nearly cut in half because of malnutrition. [54] Active campaigns, including party purges and "reeducation" resulted in imprisonment and/or the execution of those deemed contrary to the implementation of Maoist ideals. [55] The incidents of destruction of cultural heritage, religion and art remain controversial. Some Western scholars saw Maoism specifically engaged in a battle to dominate and subdue nature and was a catastrophe for the environment. [56]

Populism

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. [57] Many of the pillars of Maoism such as the distrust of intellectuals and the abhorrence of occupational specialty are typical populist ideas. [6] The concept of "people's war" which is so central to Maoist thought is directly populist in its origins. 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". [6]

Nationalism

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. [58] Mao truly believed that China was to play a crucial preliminary role in the socialist revolution internationally. 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.[ citation needed ] German post–World War II Strasserist Michael Kühnen, himself a former Maoist, once praised Maoism as being a Chinese form of national socialism. [59]

Mao-Spontex

Mao-Spontex refers to a Maoist interpretation in western Europe which stresses the importance of the cultural revolution and overthrowing hierarchy. [60]

See also

Related Research Articles

In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), of the parties of the Communist International after Bolshevisation and it is the ideology of Stalinist political parties. The purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the revolutionary transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution, which is led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy through democratic centralism.

Sino-Soviet split Cold War schism between communist states

The Sino-Soviet split (1956–1966) was the breaking of political relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretations and practical applications of Marxism–Leninism during the Cold War (1945–1991). In the late 1950s and the early 1960s, Sino-Soviet debates about the interpretation of Orthodox Marxism became specific disputes about the Soviet Union's policies of national de-Stalinization and international peaceful coexistence with the Western world. Against that political background, the international relations of the PRC featured official belligerence towards the West, and an initial, public rejection of the Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence between the Eastern bloc and the Western bloc, which Mao Zedong said was Marxist revisionism by the Russian communists.

Marxist–Leninist Party of Germany communist party in Germany

The Marxist–Leninist Party of Germany is an anti-revisionist Marxist–Leninist political party in Germany. It was founded in 1982 by members of the Communist Workers Union of Germany.

Marxism Economic and sociopolitical worldview based on the works of Karl Marx

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda Path

Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Prachanda Path refers to the ideological line of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), also known as the UCPN(M). It is considered a development of Marxism–Leninism–Maoism (MLM) and named after the leader of the UCPN(M), Pushpa Kamal Dahal, commonly known as Prachanda. Prachanda Path was proclaimed in 2001. The ideology was partially inspired by the example of the Communist Party of Peru, which refers to its ideological line as "Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Gonzalo Thought".

New Democracy, or the New Democratic Revolution, is a concept based on Mao Zedong's "Bloc of Four Social Classes" theory in post-revolutionary China which argued originally that democracy in China would take a decisively distinct path to that in any other country. He also said every third world country would have its own unique path to Democracy, given that particular country's own social and materialist conditions. Mao labeled representative democracy in the Western nations as "Old Democracy," characterizing parliamentarianism as just an instrument to promote the dictatorship of the bourgeoise/land owning class through manufacturing consent. He also found his concept of New Democracy in contrast with the Soviet-style Dictatorship of the Proletariat which he assumed would be the dominant political structure of a post-capitalist world. Mao spoke about how he wanted to create a New China, a country freed from the feudal and semi-feudal aspects of its old culture as well as Japanese Imperialism. Thus he wanted to create a new culture through Cultural Revolution, a new Economy free from the land owners, and in order to protect these new institutions, a New Democracy of the four revolutionary classes; Peasants, Proletariat, Intelligentsia, and Petit Bourgeoise. He said in the Third World, only these four classes can lead a thorough enough United Front against the Imperialists, as the National Bourgeoise of China must take Counter-revolutionary measures to protect its own feudal practices of slavery through land rent, violently shutting down any anti-imperialist revolutionary movement that threatened the interests of the land owners.

Deng Xiaoping Theory, also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The theory does not claim to reject Marxism–Leninism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Italian Marxist–Leninist Party

The Italian Marxist–Leninist Party is a communist party in Italy. Founded in Florence in 1977, the leading core of the PMLI began their political activity as they joined the Communist Party of Italy (Marxist–Leninist) in 1967. The group broke away from the PCd'I(ml) in 1969 and formed the Italian Bolshevik Communist Organization Marxist–Leninist. In 1977, the OCBIml was transformed into the PMLI. The current General Secretary is Giovanni Scuderi.

This article details the history of the Communist Party of China.

Revisionism (Marxism) various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises; often used as a derogatory term by more “orthodox” Marxists

Within the Marxist movement, the word revisionism is used to refer to various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises.

The ideology of the Communist Party of China has undergone dramatic changes throughout the years, especially during Deng Xiaoping's leadership. While foreign commentators have accused the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of lacking a coherent ideology, the CCP still identify as communists.

Anti-revisionism is a position within Marxism–Leninism which emerged in the 1950s in opposition to the reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Where Khrushchev pursued an interpretation of Leninism that differed from his predecessor Joseph Stalin, the anti-revisionists within the international communist movement remained dedicated to Stalin's ideological legacy and criticized the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and his successors as state capitalist and social imperialist due largely to its hopes of achieving peace with the United States. The term Stalinism is also used to describe these positions, but it is often not used by its supporters who opine that Stalin simply synthesized and practiced Leninism. Because different political trends trace the historical roots of revisionism to different eras and leaders, there is significant disagreement today as to what constitutes anti-revisionism. As a result, modern groups which describe themselves as anti-revisionist fall into several categories. Some uphold the works of Stalin and Mao Zedong and some the works of Stalin while rejecting Mao and universally tend to oppose Trotskyism. Others reject both Stalin and Mao, tracing their ideological roots back to Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. In addition, other groups uphold various less-well-known historical leaders such as Enver Hoxha.

Marxism–Leninism–Maoism is a political philosophy that builds upon Marxism–Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought which was first formalised in 1988 by the Communist Party of Peru.

The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was an international Communist organization founded in France in March 1984 by 17 various Maoist organisations around the world. It sought to "struggle for the formation of a Communist International of a new type, based on Marxism–Leninism–Maoism". The RIM appears to be defunct as are many of the founding organisations and many changed their names over the years, or have dropped active armed struggle.

Chinese Marxist Philosophy is the philosophy of dialectical materialism that was introduced into China in the early 1900s and continues in the Chinese academia to the current day.

Maoist National Theory Maoist view on ethnicity and class

The Theory of National Struggle, or Ethnic Struggle, is one of Mao Zedong's political theories on the application of Marxism in China. This theory is also Mao Zedong's remedy to the "National Question" in Marxist theory. As a subset of the general philosophy of Mao Zedong Thought (Maoism), the theory of national struggle addresses the question of how classical Marxist-Leninist ideas of political economy should intersect with China's particular need for constructing a multi-ethnic national sovereignty without abandoning the universality of Marxism-Leninism. The gist of Mao's theory is that Chinese communists should treat the question of national and ethnic liberation in China as a subset of the larger socialist project of class conflict. In strategic terms, this means that the key to constructing a multiethnic Chinese nation-state is to mobilize and transform "backward" ethnic minorities into modern subjects of proletariat class consciousness under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

<i>Continuity and Rupture</i> 2016 book by J. Moufawad-Paul

Continuity and Rupture: Philosophy in the Maoist Terrain is a 2016 book written by faculty member of York University, J. Moufawad-Paul, Phd. The book provides a philosophical analysis of the theoretical foundation of the Marxist school of thought developed by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, Maoism. J. Moufawad-Paul establishes his thesis that the political ideology of Maoism, despite being formulated in the 1960s, only achieved full theoretical maturity in 1988 in Peru.

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Further reading