Volume 9 of Selected Works of Mao Zedong

In 2021  Foreign Languages Press published a  2nd Edition of the Volume IX of Mao Zedong’s Selected Works. https://foreignlanguages.press/works-of-maoism/

It is the last volume of the original volumes VI to IX published by  from Kranti Publications and Sramikavarga Prachuranalu from 1990 to 1994. It covers the time period of 1963 to 1968, with a few texts from 1969 to 1971.

 The Indian editors observed that in the context of the development of countries in eastern Europe and Socialist Russia, and even in China, adopting the capitalist road, the study of Mao’s writings assume greater significance. On the other hand, the class struggles in the third world, including the Philippines and Peru reinforce the relevance of Mao’s thought for the revolutions in the oppressed countries. In India, since the days of Naxalbari, Mao’s thought has been, and it continues to be, the guiding star. (1994 draft on From Marx to Mao website).

Volume 9 contains a selection of material from a critical time in China: the Socialist Education Movement and the first years of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR).

The practices and lessons learned from the Cultural Revolution, trying to arm the people with questions, insight and understanding in order to continue the struggle for socialism, are the cornerstone of the development of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought to Maoism.

 The texts from the Socialist Education Movement, the last Party-led mass movement, are essential to understanding why Mao saw it necessary to launch the Cultural Revolution. The sharp line struggle that emerged from it brought into clear focus that there was the emergence of a new bureaucratic capitalist class in the Party under socialism, and that this line struggle could not be combated by mass movements led by the Party alone when the target was capitalist-roaders inside the Party.

The Great Debate, Sino-Soviet Split, the Polemic – call it what you want to emphasis – was a very valuable episode in the defence and rejuvenation of Marxist thought. It challenged the growing revisionism, shinning a searchlight on the dangers within the international communist movement and launched a resistance ibn a rallying call to oppose and reject the attempts to divert the freedom struggle into the accommodation and absorption of the concerns of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

What remains the most insightful starting point to understand the contours of that anti-revisionist approach remains the 1965 collection produced by FLP Peking, “The Polemic on the General line of the International Communist Movement” and associated publications. The modern MLM publishing house  FLP announced it was gonna release the documents of the CPC, The Great Debate Volume 1 in mid-October 2021, that brings that back in print alongside internet access.

That struggle looms over as the backdrop to the domestic dramas unleashed in the Socialist Education Movement and the early years of the Cultural Revolution covered in this selection of the conversations, texts and interjections by Mao Zedong.

During the Cultural Revolution a nationwide programme devoted to studying the works of Chairman Mao were launched. When it was in high tide, Mao himself observed:

“The Selected Works of Mao, how much of it is mine! It is a work of blood. The struggle in the soviets was very acute. Because of the errors of the Wang Ming line, we had to embark on the 25,000 li Long March. These things in Selected Works of Mao were taught to us by the masses and paid for with blood sacrifices. “         

source: Volume 9 p66 – Foreign Languages Press, Paris 2021

The GPCR was the manifestation of Mao’s realization that the only way to win the struggle for socialism was the elevated consciousness of the masses and their ability to rectify the Party: to target the real enemies of the dictatorship of the proletariat within the highest levels of party leadership.

It’s only called class struggle when you resist

The question of why the capitalist-roaders in China were victorious in the end has many answers in the fierce struggles during all of the mass movements, from the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957-1959) to the Socialist Education Movement, culminating in the GPCR.

Mao spoke in August 1964 of what was at stake:

“Mao Zedong [Talking about the first criterion for successors]: Are you going to study Marxism-Leninism, or revisionism?

Yuanxin: Naturally, I’m studying Marxism-Leninism.

Mao Zedong: Don’t be too sure, who knows what you’re studying? Do you know what Marxism-Leninism is?

Yuanxin: Marxism-Leninism means that you must carry on the class struggle, that you must carry out revolution.

Mao Zedong: The basic idea of Marxism-Leninism is that you must carry out revolution. But what is revolution? Revolution is the proletariat overthrowing the capitalists, the peasants overthrowing the landlords, and then afterwards setting up a workers’ and peasants’ political power, and moreover continuing to consolidate it. At present, the task of the revolution has not yet been completed; it has not yet been finally determined who in the end will overthrow whom. In the Soviet Union, is not Khrushchev in power, is not the bourgeoisie in power? We too, have cases in which political power is in the grip of the bourgeoisie; there are production brigades, factories, and xian committees, as well as district and provincial committees, in which they have their people, there are deputy heads of public security departments who are their men. Who is leading the Ministry of Culture? The cinema and the theater are entirely in their service, and not in the service of the majority of the people. Who do you say is exercising leadership? To study Marxism-Leninism is to study the class struggle. The class struggle is everywhere; it is in your Institute, a counter-revolutionary has appeared in your Institute, are you aware of this or not? He wrote a reactionary diary filling a dozen or so notebooks, every day he cursed us, shouldn’t he be considered a counter-revolutionary element? Are you people not completely insensitive to class struggle? Isn’t it right there beside you? If there were no counter-revolution, then why would we still need revolution?”

Source: Volume 9 p140 – Foreign Languages Press, Paris 2021

The scholarship to compile the first edition of Volume mined the existing sources, the improvements in the second edition included the replacement of some texts with the official translation published in Beijing Review and correction to chronological dating and order of publication (see “Some Technical Points Volume 9 piii – Foreign Languages Press, Paris 2021).

Drawing on state published official sources including Hongqi (Red Flag), the unofficial Wansui editions and a variety of familiar western publications (like the JPRS collection, drawing on the work of Stuart Schram, Jerome Chen’s Mao’s Papers, Edgar Snow’s 1965 interview, memoir of Andre Malraux), Volume 9 has made available, at an affordable price, texts consigned to disparate second hand markets. It could provide a revelation to a new generation studying Mao. His words, expression of concern, advice and reasoning conjure up a vastly different impression than that of the stereotypical bad leader tope beloved of western coverage. Such revolutionary scholarship restores Mao to his place as a leading revolutionary of the last century, and relevant to this.

The collation of Mao’s texts in Volume 9 provides a source of study material for activists, and provides a commentary on the issues of a struggle mistakenly portrayed as little more than a chaotic miscalculation amongst a political elite. Its chronological arrangement illustrates the unfolding concerns raised through the Socialist education Movement and the rapid mass criticism from below unleashed during the Cultural Revolution.

The upcoming Volume 10 promised by FLP will complete the entire period of the Cultural Revolution and represent a new departure with its publication.