TWO LINES

Two Lines

The early sixties saw differences in the communist movement went beyond the boundaries of an internal dispute, and emergence of two main lines of demarcation, two opposite and ultimately irreconcilable lines confront each other. The struggle between two worldviews are very often materialized in the form of “power struggle” between the two leading characters, and as this happened it distorted the presentation and understanding of what was at stake.  That these positions were identified with the two most prominent and successful parties complicated the development and consequences of the struggle as these enveloped both party and state relations and the world communism in ideological and strategic questions. Framed as a ‘split in world communism’, the actual ideological contest to defend Marxism and the communist vision could be less of the focus than the easy trope of Khrushchev versus Mao.

The two principal meetings of the world’s Communist Parties seeking a resolution to the issues that had arisen were those held in Moscow in 1957 with the Declaration of representatives of 12 ruling parties of the socialist countries and the 1960 Statement of 81 Communist and Workers Parties. Though ostensibly to build the unity of the Communist Movement, they were dominated by the widening rift between the CPSU and the CPC, and at each both sides fought to have their views incorporated into the final documents. The documents of those meetings became reference points in the polemic that followed. A position reaffirmed in various statements, such as the joint statement released by the Chinese and New Zealand parties in Peking May 1963:

The Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of New Zealand reaffirm their loyalty to the Moscow Declaration of 1957 and the Moscow Statement of 1960 and hold that these two documents, unanimously agreed upon by the Communist Parties of various countries, are the common programme of the international communist movement. [i]

A few years previously, a leading ideologue in the CPSU leadership had told a plenum on 22-26 December 1959, when Suslov presented a detailed report on “the trip by a Soviet party-state delegation to the People’s Republic of China” in October 1959,

“… that the Soviet Union would try to restore “complete unity” by continuing “to express our candid opinions about the most important questions affecting our common interests when our views do not coincide.” Although the aim would be to bring China back into line with the USSR, Suslov argued that if these efforts failed, the CPSU Presidium would “stick by the positions that our party believes are correct.” [ii]

From studies of declassified materials from CPSU Central committee meetings it is clear that from late 1962 on, Soviet leaders no longer held out any hope that the acrimonious polemics would be resolved with the capitulation of the Albanian and Chinese parties to the Moscow line. Toward the end of 1962, a series of conferences of fraternal Parties in Eastern Europe and in Italy were used as forums from which to attack both the Albanian Party of Labour and the Communist Party of China.

The only genuine unity, both sides argued, was on their terms, each citing Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Still for all the fine words and sentiments, Khrushchev publicly attack the Albanian Party of Labour at the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. late in 1961.The Albanian party had been told: accept without question the revisionist line of the leaders of the CPSU.

An editorial in China’s Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) acknowledged that the earlier platform set forth in the Declaration and the Statement was far from fit for purpose as

“the formation of certain questions in the Declaration and the Statement is not altogether clear and there are weaknesses and errors…we made certain concessions at that time in order to reach agreement. On more than one occasion, we have expressed our readiness to accept any criticism of us on this point. Despite all this, the Declaration and the Statement set forth a series of revolutionary principles which all Marxist-Leninist parties should abide by.” [iii]

However, the concessions made included the formulation that the CPSU leadership were pursuing as the strategy for the International Communist movement and could reference and defend as their adherence to the platform agreed in the two documents. When accused of being “betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement” they simply quoted the relevant part of the document that supported them. When either side can selectively use the positions in their argument, the coherence and integrity of the compromised documents reduces its effectiveness in forging a united approach for the parties concerned.

Time and time again, the anti-revisionist argument employed the fact that the Declaration and the Statement pointed out that all communist parties must wage struggles against revisionism and dogmatism, and particularly against revisionism, which is the main danger in the international communist movement, for their opponents to turn around and identify them as the dogmatists to be targeted.

On the Declaration and Statement, the Albanian view was that the two documents contained a scientific Marxist-Leninist analysis of the deep revolutionary processes in the modern world. Collection of anti-revisionist articles repeated the sentiments that they constituted a sound basis on which the Communist and Workers’ parties should build their line of actions on the revolutionary conclusions of the Moscow Declaration in their struggle for peace, national liberation, democracy and progress to an exploitation-free classless society (e.g.  Oppose Modern Revisionism and Uphold Marxism-Leninism and the Unity of the International Communist Movement, Tirana 1964).

The anti-revisionists maintain that at the time revisionism is the main danger in the international communist movement: “In the last few years many events have further confirmed the conclusion of the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960 in this respect.” [iv]

Both sides continued to differentiation between parts of the Declaration and the Statement, with the defence of their revolutionary principles the foundation of the anti-revisionist position. The editorial argued that the CPSU leadership had “tore up these documents [the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960] on the very day they were signed.”

In contrast, the suggestion of an alternative platform was made in the 25 Points on the General Line of the International Communist Movement put forward in June 1963 that effectively jettison the platform that the CPSU leadership still used in defence of its new policies.

The Khrushchov revisionists stated the People’s Daily “are pressing forward with their anti-revolutionary line of ‘peaceful coexistence’, ‘peaceful competition’ and ‘peaceful transition’. They themselves do not want revolution and forbid others to make revolution.” The editorial concluded that betrayal of the revolutionary principles “can only lead to a split” [v]   

The escalation and hardening of the public polemics were clearly signalled on both sides with the words far from reflecting fraternal relations. Whereas there was an appeal to the agreement that relations “should follow the principles of independence, complete equality, mutual support and the attainment of unanimity thought through consultation” ,  the article charged that “Khrushchov revisionists practise big-power chauvinism, national egoism and splittism, waving their big baton everywhere, wilfully interfering in the affairs of fraternal parties and countries, trying hard to control them and carrying out disruptive and subversive activities against them, and splitting the international communist movement and the socialist camp.”

Referencing the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, the charge was that the Soviet leadership was “casting to the four winds all the basic theses of Marxism Leninism and all the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement.”  Furthermore, “they are enforcing the dictatorship of the privileged bourgeois stratum in the Soviet Union and have embarked on the road to capitalist restoration.”

The stark division in positions expressed were directed to a wider audience. Periodically there was issued calls to an end to the public polemics which “had an unfriendly character and are abusive of sister parties” however as British academic Julia Lovell, and others observers, noted,

“The Soviets’ riposte was robust. They printed 3.2 million copies, in thirty-five different languages distributed to eighty-five countries, of just one of several open letters to the CCP refuting the latter’s ‘slanderous attacks’. They poured energy and money into sponsoring local activists all over the world to write anti-Chinese copy, to show anti-China films, and give anti-Chinese lectures. As relations became deeply hostile in late 1962, the New York Times speculated that Khruschev now wished for a ‘Soviet-American Alliance Against China.’.” [vi]

The Chinese criticism of the new Soviet leadership following Khrushchev’s departure was observed and interpreted through ideological lenses, that they remain loyal to the general line of “the founder of their faith and the maestro who ‘creatively developed Marxism-Leninism’, simply because Khrushchov was too disreputable and too stupid to muddle on any longer, and because Khrushchov himself had become an obstacle to the carrying out of Khrushchov revisionism. The only way the Khrushchov revisionist clique could maintain its rule was to swop horses.”

“While proclaiming they are building ‘communism’ in the Soviet Union, they are speeding up the restoration of capitalism.”  [vii]

The distrust in the leaders of the CPSU was mirrored in attitudes towards US imperialism where the base line was that “the destiny of mankind and the hope of world peace cannot be left to the “wisdom” of U.S. imperialism or to the illusion of co-operation with U.S. imperialism.”

Reconciliation between the parties, ensuring the much-proclaimed unity of the international movement was no longer a feasible option, especially as a condition laid down by the anti-revisionists involved the prospects of the CPCU repudiating the revisionist general line laid down at the 20th and 22nd Congresses. Sham unity would no longer tolerated.

The lines of demarcation had been drawn by both sides.

Since the 81 Parties’ Meeting in 1960 there had been talk of the holding of an international meeting of the world parties – provided such a meeting was held with the object of reaching ideological unity and not with the object of forcing an organisational split.

The Communist Party of China’s representatives met in Moscow on July 15, 1963. But on the day preceding, the leaders of the C.P.S.U. published to the world its slanderous attackson the Chinese Party contained in the now notorious Open Letter. [viii]

Others testify to how the CPSU leadership asserted its paternal assumptions. The talks held by the New Zealand Party delegation in Moscow in 1963 were later described in terms that

 “Our frank and free presentation of views was, as comrades know, met with the same tirade of abuse and subjectivism which had been inflicted upon other Party delegations seeking a similar down-to-earth critical and self-critical study of problems on the basis of Marxist-Leninist science.”

The attitude of the C.P.S.U. leaders may be summed up: “There shall be no criticism of our line. You must submit to this line even though you consider it revisionist. This line is the line to which all world Parties must adhere without question. We shall see to it that any who do not do so are ostracised from the world movement.” Thus the line of “compulsory unity with revisionism” or open split emerged as the line of the C.P.S.U. leaders. [ix]

In March 1965 the CPSU managed to finally convene their “schismatic”, “fragmented meeting. The divisive meeting was quite small and most unseemly. It was a gloomy and forlorn affair” was the judgement of People’s Daily/Red Flag in their “A Comment on The March Moscow Meeting”  (March 23 1965). Of the 26 parties invited, 19 attended who were “were rent by contradictions and disunity” (and not only according to Chinese reporting). They described the divisive March Moscow meeting as “now hatching a big plot for a general attack on China and a general split in the international communist movement. The time had passed when the CPC could proclaim “Eternal, Unbreakable Sino-Soviet Friendship” [x]  

Giving it the description as a “consultative meeting” did not alter its intention as preparation for an international conference of the Communist and Workers Parties. Still, it failed to act as a drafting meeting.  The Albanian paper Zeri I Popullit called it “a major crime against the world communist movement” explaining that the “incorrigible revisionists and renegades from Marxism-Leninism” had sought to “bring about the final split in the communist movement in the organisational plane”. The Albanian commentary noted that for all the demagogic oaths about unity and solidarity, the meeting showed that the CPSU leadership could not even “define a common line for revisionism and to eliminate the division that exists within their ranks”. [xi]

The reaction of the Communist Party of New Zealand to the March meeting convened in Moscow by the leadership of the C.P.S.U. reflected the scepticism at what was seen as an attempt to foist this improper meeting upon the World Communist Movement, under cover of soft words and Marxist-Leninist phrases, further disunity in the world movement: “ It makes clear that the leaders of the C.P.S.U. (and their supporters in other places) persist in their revisionist ideas and are determined to impose them upon the world movement.” [xii]
The Chinese comment explained the initial approach of the party to the divergences with the CPSU:

“In the incipient stages of Khrushchov revisionism and in the course of its development, we invariably proceeded from the desire for unity and offered our advice and criticism, in the hope that Khrushchov might turn back. We indicated on many occasions that the points the fraternal Marxist-Leninist Parties had in common were basic while the differences among them were partial in character, and that they should seek common ground while reserving their differences.” [xiii]

What had developed under Khrushchov and subsequent was the policies the new leaders of the CPSU adopted towards fraternal countries and fraternal Parties remained the views expressed in the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU of JuIy 14, 1963, in Suslov’s anti-Chinese report at the February 1964 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU and in the resolution adopted on this report, and actions of unscrupulous interference in the internal affairs of the fraternal Parties and engage in disruptive and subversive activities against them. The inability to bring its anti-revisionist critics to heel was clear when only 19 of the 26 invited Parties attended march Moscow meeting. Significant absentees included five of the Parties from the socialist world, namely, Albania, China, Korea, Rumania and Vietnam. Indonesia (the largest Communist Party outside of the socialist world) and Japan also refused to attend. As the Chinese observed, “the number of those obeying Khrushchov’s baton was already decreasing.”

The pressures of the world Parties (including some like Italy and Britain, who attended) and the failure to get a representative gathering forced a change in the character of the meeting – from one which was to organise and prepare a meeting of world Parties in 1965 to a down-graded “consultative meeting.” This was a setback for the revisionist leaders of the C.P.S.U. The meeting itself demonstrated that it could not prepare and proceed to convene a conference of world Parties. But it is equally clear from the communique that the organisers have not given up their hopes of imposing their revisionist ideas on the world movement.  [xiv]

The observations of the New Zealand party were concerns shared by others who identified with the criticisms raised by the Albanian and Chinese parties and their supporters.

“What is the attitude of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. towards criticisms of its line and policy? Were they welcomed, studied, analysed, verified or, where necessary, corrected? Comrades know from the development of the ideological dispute that this was not the approach of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. On the contrary, it was an arrogant, conceited and commandist stand. Stand-over methods and economic and political pressures were exerted in an effort to enforce the Soviet leadership’s point of view. Under the cover of words like “proletarian internationalism,” its opposite, great-power chauvinism, was enforced. On the ideological front, the theoretical bankruptcy of the Soviet leaders became quickly exposed. Abuse of other parties and distortions of Lenin were used in an attempt to bolster an impossible case. Quotations from “Left-Wing Communism,” by Lenin, became favourite missiles to hurl at all who dared to criticise the policy of the Soviet leadership from a fundamental Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.” [xv]

These were a manifestation of the same struggle being waged on a national scale, the differentiation of forces within individual parties. The growth and consolidation of the new Marxist-Leninist groups proved largely marginal, with the Communist Party of New Zealand being an exception in the industrialised world aligning to the developing anti-revisionist camp. [xvi]  

The historical analogy within the anti-revisionist struggle against revisionism saw the CPSU leadership line as taking them right back to the struggle of Lenin and the Mensheviks in 1903, on the membership rule of the Party, on the role of the vanguard party and the issues of how imperialism in the early part of the century turned Labour leaders into “the Labour lieutenants of Capitalism in the ranks of the working class”.

Clearly for the anti-revisionists, the ascendancy of bourgeois ideology within the working-class movement or its political parties ends in their adaptation (capitulation) to capitalism and imperialism. It was not about personalities; the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism is a class struggle.

“The present polemic” wrote the Albanian leader, “is of a major character, dealing with the most fundamental theoretical and practical issues of communism. Having been started by the revisionists, it has become unavoidable and indispensable.” [xvii]

The point emphasised was that the ideological struggle – and its practical consequences – were in order to wage the struggle against imperialism and reaction successfully and further strengthen the unity of the international proletariat. There was the wider context expressed by the Chinese party led by Mao Zedong that

“the emergence and development of Khrushchov revisionism is by no means a matter of a few individuals or an accidental phenomenon. It has profound social and historical causes. So long as imperialists and reactionaries exist and so long as there are classes and class struggle in the world, Khrushchov revisionism will inevitably recur in one form or another and the struggle against it will not come to an end.” [xviii]

“to expose their true revisionist features”

“The Chinese Communist Party has on many occasions made clear its stand on the question of the public polemics, and we now once again announce it to the world: Since there are differences of principle between Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism and since the modern revisionists have maligned us so much and refused to acknowledge their mistakes, it goes without saying that we have the right to refute them publicly. In these circumstances, it wiII not do to call for an end to the public polemics, it will not do to stop for a single day, for a month, a year, a hundred years, a thousand years, or ten thousand years. If nine thousand years are not enough to complete the refutation, then we shall take ten thousand.”  [xix]

Participants in these struggles recognised that the struggle between these two opposing lines presented the prospect of a split as a fait accompli; the question was how the ideological division would be formulated in organisational developments. How would ‘true international solidarity’ be expressed? So far respecting norms and non-interference in the internal affairs of other parties had been violated with charges and counter-charges of factional activity thrown around when Marxist-Leninists had no avenue but to organise themselves in new groups to continue to defend revolutionary positions and challenge revisionism within their national parties. The position had shifted from the thesis of the 1960 Declaration that revisionism was “the main danger in the international communist movement”, it had become the main enemy in the international communist movement.

Enver Hoxha raised the opinion

“There can be no hope or illusion that the Khrushchevite revisionists will mend their ways and return to correct positions of principle.” [xx] He was candid in a private meeting, telling his Malayan guests: “We do not forget that the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union are enemies who have carried on and still carrying on utterly anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian activity against our Party and people”. [xxi] After all, the Soviet leadership not only opposed the Albanian party, it broke off diplomatic relations with Albania extending the dispute to the nation-state as it scrapped all economic, culture, military and other agreements in an attempt to isolate and break Albanian opposition.

So, what could involve raising the struggle against modern revisionism “to a higher level”? A visiting New Zealand delegation were told in October 1965 that, in the opinion of the Albanian party “not unity with the revisionists but the definitive split with them is on the agenda” [xxii] .

In a conversation with a delegation of the Communist Party of Malaya in January 1965, Enver Hoxha spoke of the serious difficulties in the international communist movement created by the revisionists. He judged that while they had been exposed by the anti-revisionist struggle, that while was no unity of opinion in the revisionist ranks, the CPSU leadership had not “yet lost their power and influence”. The counter-attack of the Marxist-Leninists, Hoxha said “must settle them completely…. Our Party of Labor is of the opinion that our Marxist-Leninist parties should not give any ground in the contradictions they have with the modern revisionists.” [xxiii]  

The circumstances had changed in the composition of the international communist movement since the Moscow meeting in 1960 with the emergence of a series of new Marxist-Leninist parties and groups waging “a stern principled struggle” outside, and within the ranks of the old parties. The bilateral meetings were valued by the Albanian leadership as “our Marxist-Leninist internationalist unity becomes stronger through co-operation between the parties” [xxiv] The assistance given by the Albanian party went beyond the level of propaganda support.  [xxv]

1965 had begun with raised expectations. An Editorial in Zeri i Popllitt proclaimed “In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph.”  The editorial said, “History has proved that, as the principal stronghold of capitalism and world imperialism, Europe and North America are also the cradles of opportunism and revisionism in the international workers’ movement.”

Surveying the history of opposition to such ideological current it described the Khrushchev group as “the main bulwark of revisionism of the most rabid type.” It declared

The revisionists are bent on paralysing the fighting will of the European working class, making it depart from the path of revolutionary struggle and become apathetic by spreading all kinds of pacifist and reformist illusions. The revisionists try to push their line of betrayal to turn some European Communist and Workers’ parties with glorious traditions from parties carrying out the social revolution into parties for social reform, from militant, organised and disciplined revolutionary vanguard of the working class into amorphous organisations, with no clear objectives and devoid of sound Party discipline, where all kinds of bourgeois careerists, careerists and opportunists can join or leave as they please.” [xxvi]

Having unleashed attacks upon the Chinese Communist party, the Albanian Party of Labour and “all the healthy forces of the revolutionary communists in their Parties and countries”,

“With their opportunists, traitorous and divisive line and manoeuvres, the European revisionists are entirely responsible for the grave situation created in the world communist movement, and in particular, for the great harm and damage done to the European workers’ and communist movement.”  [xxvii]

The article stated the need “uniting the revolutionary forces in Europe with the anti-imperialist struggle for liberation of the oppressed people of Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

Forecasting that a new revolutionary upsurge will take place in Europe, unchecked by the “temporary boom” of capitalism for “The main obstacle on the path of revolution in Europe today is Khrushchovian revisionism which strangles revolutionary enthusiasm, paralyses the fighting will and spirit of the working class …and keeps the Communist Parties of Europe far away from the revolutionary path.” Given these circumstances the Albanian paper states the perspective that:

The struggle of the revolutionary Marxists of Europe and North America, as a component part of the struggle of all the communists in the world, is of particular international significance today because this is carried out inside the citadel of modern revisionism, a citadel which must be demolished and smashed to smithereens.

With their organized legal and illegal forces, the Marxist-Leninists in Europe are carrying out work inside and outside their parties, to oppose the propaganda and organisation of the revisionists, forming and strengthening Marxist-Leninists groups and new Parties and carrying on inner-Party struggles to defend their principles trampled upon by revisionists, combat their tactics, reduce the sphere of their activities, expose their line and aims, isolate them from the masses of Communists and finally eliminate them. [xxviii] 

The article cites the example of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of the Soviet Union “awakening and waging an active and determined struggle “, but without providing evidence or examples beyond the generalities. An explanation for the lull in polemics following Khrushchev expulsion from power was that the Soviet leadership was in a transitory stage of determining new tactics so as to avoid struggles and blows from Marxist-Leninists.

It is precisely because of this difficult position and the contradictions with which they are confronted that the present Soviet leaders are trying to maintain “silence” or “lull”. In appearance, they try their best to present themselves as being more restrained than their chieftain, N. Khrushchov, creating a false impression that they can mend their ways while in reality they stubbornly pursue the original Khrushchovian line.

Such a period of “lull” and “silence” benefits the imperialists and revisionists but harms the communist movement and the cause of Marxism-Leninism and socialism, because in this period the revisionists endeavour to consolidate their positions with a view to launching a more violent attacks on Marxism-Leninism.” [xxix]

Having described revisionism as an ulcer on the healthy body of the revolutionary movement and communist movement in Europe and the rest of the world, the article concludes with a rallying call that “Now is the time for revolutionary Communists to combat treason, liquidate modern revisionism and re-establish the original Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist unity of all communists of the world”.

This ambiguous sentiment was read as a call for the internationalisation of the anti-revisionist forces in a recognisable movement structure. Speculation was on whether, and how, the complete break with revisionism would manifest itself amid the reconstruction of the communist movement that saw Marxist-Leninists organise independent of the revisionist parties.

In the fight against revisionism the cultivation of organised anti-revisionists had resulted in separate pre-party organisations for communist unity, against revisionism. The intensification of the anti-revisionist struggle led away from reconciliation or acceptance of the revisionist path set out by the 20th and 22nd Congresses of the CPSU. Stating that the parties of western Europe stood “in the service of the monopolistic bourgeoisie of their countries” and that that they were following an “opportunistic, traitorous, and splitting course of action” there was not much hope given of transforming those parties for revolutionary struggle.

Along with the public refutation of all the slanders and attacks made against the Party of Labor of Albania, the Communist Party of China and the other Marxists-Leninists, the Albanians called for the unequivocal rehabilitation of Stalin “for the revisionists concretized their attack on Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian dictatorship with their attack on J.V.Stalin.”  [xxx]  

By 1965 the fight to transform those Moscow aligned communist parties had given way to establishing alternative poles of attraction in reconceiving the revolutionary movement. Evidence of this ambition of a Comintern-lite arrangement peppered the events of the year. A more favourable attitude towards a new international was discernible in the Albanian position. The PLA was more assiduous about maintaining bi-lateral relations with the new groups with regular visits by their representatives, and name checks on Radio Tirana and in ATA reports.

Speculation was not unanticipated, raised by the obvious intentions in Moscow to resolve important problems by seeking to hold a planning conference for a global meeting of parties scheduled originally for autumn 1964. Such an action would cement not only the divisions between the parties but might not their opponents be motivated to organise what would be the first anti-revisionist organised council after all the CPC’s Proposal for a General Line issued in June 1963 signalled an alternative platform for world communism.

Supporters, or what opponents dubbed them, the “Peking faction” were seen in the Albanian capital as a general test for a future international founding congress of “the Peking line”. There was even mischievous western media speculation that the next occupiers to be house in the Soviet Embassy in Tirana was to become a centre for a new international headquarters of anti-revisionists/pro-Chinese communists. There was some Western speculation that the Tirana “summit” meeting of “Marxist-Leninists” should be seen as the embryo of a Marxist-Leninist International in opposition to the Moscow centred organisations. The list of these delegations, as reported by Radio Tirana, included the Belgian Marxist-Leninist CP delegation, headed by Jacques Grippa; representatives of the New Zealand CP and the Communist Party Australia Marxist-Leninist; leading members of Marxist-Leninist groups and editors of Marxist- Leninist publications from Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Britain, and representatives from Chile, Ghana and Guinea.

The significance of the gathering of these Marxist- Leninist representatives was that this was the first time that a state event of a ruling Communist Party has been attended by the leading members of the newly emerging anti-revisionist forces. Whether there would be a declaration that formalised the political divisions – the split with Moscow – so as to likely leave a lasting imprint on the international Communist movement was an expectation that increased prior to the 1966 Fifth Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania.  [xxxi]  

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The judgement of the Swiss based Marxist Leninist Nils Andersson was that

“An important demonstration of the reality of the Marxist-Leninist movement was the celebration of the 5th Congress of the PLA in November 1966, which was attended by the CP of China and 28 Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations from the five continents. There was great enthusiasm, for Albania it was one of the great moments in its history, it had defeated the revisionist and imperialist blockade; for new parties it was the first time they had been able to get together in such great numbers.” [xxxii]

The participation of representatives of the new Marxist-Leninist groups in the 5th Congress was seen as an important event in the international communist movement. The official authorised history of the PLA said that such internationalist solidarity manifested by such engagement:

“expressed the love, support and the great authority the PLA had won in the international arena by its resolute struggle for socialism and the preservation of the purity of Marxism-Leninism.” [xxxiii]

Mao’s Message of Greetings to the Fifth Congress of the Albanian Party of Labour was read out by Kang Sheng, head of the delegation of the Communist Party of China. He then addressed the internationalist audience invited to the 5th Congress of the PLA:

“At present, Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations are emerging in quick succession in all continents and they are growing and becoming increasingly consolidated every day. They are drawing a clear line of demarcation between themselves and the modern revisionist clique theoretically, ideologically, politically, organizationally and in their style of work. They are directing their efforts towards building themselves into Marxist-Leninist Parties of a new type. These new-type proletarian revolutionary parties represent the fundamental interests of the proletariat and revolutionary people in their respective countries; they represent the future and the hope of these countries, they represent the core of leadership in their revolutions. The birth and growth of the new type Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations is a great victory of Marxism-Leninism in its struggle against modern revisionism.” [xxxiv]

The 5th Congress ratchet up the unfilled expectation when Belgian party leader, Jacque Grippa, introduced a new element to the Congress with a message from the new established illegal Provisional Central Committee of the Communist Party of Poland (although Party leader Mija was at the Congress). For the first time a Marxist-Leninist party formed in opposition to a ruling revisionist party was given recognition and publicity by an estranged “fraternal” Albanian party at a time of a bitter struggle waged within the international communist movement between Marxist-Leninists and modern revisionists. The significance of a split from a ruling party and creation of an illegal oppositionist Marxist-Leninist party was not repeated elsewhere in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union. These organisations sent greetings to the fifth congress and their flattering messages among the 28 republished in a 212 paged publication from the <Naim Frasheri> Publishing House, purveyors of Albanian political propaganda. [xxxv]

In the major report to the Congress, Enver Hoxha gave encouragement to the speculation when to the assembled Marxist-Leninists he called for a not- too-clearly defined “separate unity” composed of these forces. He did this by declaring that the PLA believed that “the creation of links cooperation and coordination of activities in conformity with the new present- day conditions was an indispensable and urgent matter.”

Marking the Soviet October Revolution, a Zeri i Popullit editorial of November 7th, praised the role of the 5th Congress on the question of unity by quoting from Hoxha’s report: “All the Marxist Leninist parties and forces, as equals and independents, should form a bloc with the CCP and the CPR, a bloc of iron to break all our enemies.”

Did Hoxha feed the expectations of the newly emergent anti-revisionist movement when he declared to the 5th Congress audience that:

“The unity in the communist movement and the socialist camp will be re-established, but it will be established by the Marxist-Leninist without the treacherous revisionists and in resolute battle against them. (Prolonged applause)” [xxxvi] . The opinion of the Albanian Party was that “we must not reconcile and unite with the revisionists, but break away and separate from them.”

Perhaps hinting at the reformation of an alternative arrangement  with each party equal and independent rather than recapture of the Moscow dominated structures, especially when referring to revisionists as “the fifth column” and  a “trojan horse”, the Albanian leader said, “We think it is high time to draw a demarcation line with modern revisionism,  with all its group, and to wage a tit-for-tat struggle, so as to isolate them from the people and from the revolutionary Soviet communists.”  [xxxvii]

Hoxha’s report stated that the anti-revisionist struggle must be promoted to a new height.

“ ..thanks to the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist forces, to the reaction against the revisionist line and methods, a great process is taking place and deepening : that of the differentiation of the forces of Marxism-Leninism and revisionism, both in a national and in an international scale. Tens of new parties and Marxist-Leninist groups have been founded in different countries of the world, including some socialist countries. We wholeheartedly hail these Marxist-Leninist parties and groups and wish them ever greater successes in their just struggle for the lofty revolutionary ideals of the working class. (Prolonged tumultuous applause. Ovations) ….. for in the growth of these new revolutionary forces we see the only just way to the triumph of Marxism-Leninism and the destruction of revisionism. (Prolonged tumultuous applause. Ovations)”  [xxxviii]

The cultivation, and encouragement (some might say “talking-up”) of these newly emergent forces – “tens of new parties” – related to the background consideration to Enver Hoxha Congress report set out in his “Theses on the Unity of the International Marxist-Leninist Movement”, a diary entry for October 10 1966. Prior to the 5th Congress Hoxha consider the necessity of consultation among the anti-revisionist parties and groups on general meetings which the Albanian leadership advocated for strengthening the unity of the international communist movement. Included in the diary (published 1979) was a reference raising questions why the Chinese party was avoiding such a course of action (which some reviewers wondered if added after the fact to pre-date a political opinion subsequently formed).

“the joint meeting and the taking of joint decisions is important. The meeting will be informed of and study the forms of work and organisation and set tasks for each party…There is no one to oppose the idea in principle; the most they can do is leave it to melt away from lack of action. But it is they who will be wrong and not us.”  [xxxix]

There was a militant crescendo in the rhetoric “to spare no effort to support the just revolutionary struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties and forces, it [PLA] will tirelessly work for the consolidation and strengthening of the Marxist-Leninist movement and the anti-imperialist unity of the peoples of the world.”  [xl]

“Marxist-Leninist must strengthen their unity on a national and international scale and their resolute struggle against imperialism and revisionism. The time we are living is not to be spent on academic, endless and empty discussions, but in daring militant actions full of revolutionary selfless spirit and sacrifice….The ranks of the Marxist-Leninist parties and forces must be closely united and well-organised, prepared and tempered to fight on…. Establishment of links for co-operation and co-ordination of actions in conformity with the new actual conditions….. consolidate their co-operation and they must work out a common line and a common stand on the basic questions, especially in connection with the struggle against imperialism and modern revisionism.”  [xli]

Enver Hoxha in conversation with V.G.Wilcox thought

“The militant revolutionary spirit of the heroic times of the Comintern and the time of Lenin and Stalin should characterize world communism today.”  October 1965 [xlii]

He told the world in his Congress report, November 1st 1966

“in the forefront of present-day struggle against the US-led imperialism, against modern revisionism with the Soviet leaders at the top, stands strong and steadfast the Communist Party of China and the great People’s Republic of China, headed by the prominent Marxist-Leninist, Mao Tse-tung (Prolonged applause. Ovation)

Yet in his diary, he supposedly written a more hostile judgement as Hoxha confided of the need to urge the “Chinese comrades somewhat to activize themselves in the support of the new Marxist-Leninist parties [xliii]

We think, in particular, that the time has come for our Marxist-Leninist parties to develop the most appropriate and fruitful different working contacts.

‘’it is up to us, to both your big party and Our Party, in the first place, to take the first steps to concretize closer, more effective links with the whole world Marxist-Leninist movement, so that our Marxist-Leninist unity is further tempered and our joint activity against our common enemies is strengthened. [xliv]

The PLA reiterated the party’s readiness and ‘lofty internationalist duty’ to give all the aid in its power to these new Marxist-Leninist forces. A later interpretation concluded that from the 5th Congress the international communist movement “had set out on the road to revival on a Marxist-Leninist basis.” [xlv]

Divergence Paths

Again, there was speculation, prior to the PLA’s 6th party congress, when Enver Hoxha raised the expansion and consolidation of the Marxist-Leninist movement which was seen as having experienced some neglect due to the domestic preoccupation with the Cultural Revolution. Albania felt this having, from September 1967 to May 1969, no resident Chinese ambassador to its closest ally in Tirana. He told the Tirana party conference, in January 1969, that the international Marxist-Leninist movement had entered a more advantage stage of development. The new emerged Marxist-Leninist parties constituted an overt detachment from modern revisionism and from the old communist parties:

“This is the picture of a new revolutionary situation in the fold of the international working class which is splitting and at the same time being re-organised. In its fold there is being consolidated the conscious and revolutionary part of the proletariat to wage the struggle of the vanguard against socialists, the social democrats and modern revisionists who still have very strong positions, especially in the strata of workers aristocracy that deceives the bulk of workers.”

The assertion of these new Marxist-Leninists forces engaged in a vanguard role might have signalled the intention of an approaching consolidation on an international scale, particularly in light of the looming Moscow Meeting scheduled for that May. He emphasised the right of independent action for these parties within their national boundaries on domestic issues reaffirming the complete equality of parties, “big or small, old or young”.

In a divergence observation, the public pronouncements of the Albanian leader altered radically by the end of the Seventies. With political rewriting and self-justification, this later interpretation of events presented a more critical analysis of relations within worldwide anti-revisionist movement, although there was no mention of the unseen side dramas. Jacques Grippa, the leader of the Communist Party of Belgium (m-l), and European fixer among the pro-China groups, took the opportunity at the 5th Congress to tell the Albanian party his great dissatisfaction with certain Chinese policies. Grippa eventually sided with Liu Shao-chi. [xlvi]  

The authorised History (volume 2) stated the new Marxist-Leninist parties had:

“pinned their hopes especially on the support of the Party and PR of China as a “great Marxist-Leninist Party” and a “big socialist country”. In general, they were disillusioned when they did not find the immediate support that they hoped for. In reality, as been known later, at first Mao Tse-tung, and his associates, did not approve of the formation of the new parties and groups and had no faith in them.”

Indeed, Hoxha’s reaction to the news that no party delegation from China would be attending the 6th Congress scheduled for 1971, as convey in his diary was the belief that they had “no confidence in the new Marxist-Leninist parties and groups which are being created….does not want to be stuck with them…and this is in conformity with its vacillating revisionist line.”  [xlvii]  His comment was that, “For the international communist movement, of course, this opportunist revisionist line of the Communist party of China is not good, because it weakens and confuses it. But everything will be overcome.” [xlviii]

The Albanians charged later that the Chinese were “exploiting those organisations for their own narrow interests”, recognising anyone, and everyone, provided they proclaimed themselves “followers of ‘Mao Tsetung thought’”. [xlix]

In contrast to the alleged Chinese role in ‘disrupting and impeding’ the revival of the Marxist-Leninist movement worldwide, the History (1981) highlights the 7th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania in 1976 as when the parties entered a new phrase of sorting itself out and development on what is described as Albania’s echo of the sound proletarian basis. [l]

WHEN THE Albanians made speeches condemning Mao it was accomplished without a hint of self-criticism for the PLA’s years of conciliation to the “Chinese revisionists”. Hoxha had confided in his diary that China was a “great enigma” but that the PLA proceeded from the general idea that Mao was a Marxist-Leninist.

The PLA was apparently blameless. In the publications produced by the Albanian publishing houses, the PLA was a vociferous defender of China as a socialist country, the Communist Party of China as a great Marxist-Leninist party and Mao as a great Marxist-Leninist. So it was difficult to deduce any significant difference between them. Supporters and the Albanians find it difficult to manufacture reasons for Enver Hoxha and Party of Labour of Albania to keep silence on Mao’s as well as CPC’s alleged deviations and revisionism, until Mao was dead.

Indeed in 1971, Hoxha had said in his Report to the Sixth Congress:

“Great People’s China and Albania, the countries which consistently pursue the Marxist-Leninist line and are building socialism. The role of the People’s Republic of China this powerful bastion of the revolution and socialism, is especially great in the growth and strengthening of the revolutionary movement everywhere in the world. “

Furthermore, there was full agreement from Tirana on the correct line which the Communist Party of China advocated in putting forward “A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement” in 1963, which it gave political support. Even with the voluminous anti-revisionist propaganda commentaries and its own public role since 1960 criticising Khrushchev and the cosying up to US imperialism, Tirana did defer in the leadership of the struggle against Khrushchev to the CPC. The PLA accepted the hegemony of the CPC and Mao in the international anti-revisionist communist movement even though it thought that, from 1972, China had entered the dance with US imperialism with Nixon’s visit to Beijing that marked the collapse of America’s isolation and containment policies towards People’s China.

After the breach in the relationship, what was exposed was the disconnect between his public utterances and supposed entries into Hoxha’s private diary at the time, his increasing sceptical views on China and its relationship with Albania. The deterioration in the relationship between the two allies simmered for the rest of the decade until the rupture in 1977/78 offered stark ideological alignment that divided the anti-revisionist movement.

There was never really an explanation why the Albanians themselves were so hopelessly confused by Mao and such “anti-Marxist” theory that they adopted large portions of it or, worse still, they recognized it all along but were willing to help promote this “revisionist” line on revolutionaries around the world.

The accelerated interest and concern for the anti-revisionist parties to assist its own foreign policy objectives partly sprang from its growing contradictions with China. This international support and sympathy crafted out of an image of purity and principled struggle, standing up to face China as it had faced down the Soviet leadership. Socialist Albania would not surrender to a revisionist malignancy but expressed its insistence of remaining faithful to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Personified in Enver Hoxha’s writings was a presentation essentially based on the promotion of the ideological orthodoxy of Marxism-Leninism.

The Albanian position presented a stark choice as it cleaved at an association that had developed over a decade and a half, challenging the young anti-revisionist organisations to choose between its analysis and that of the Chinese authorities.

That emergence of two main lines of demarcation within the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist movement, and the Maoist recalibration that was witnessed in the early 21st century could be seen as proof of dialectics in action as unity is sought to advance the struggles for a fairer and just society. 

See also

E N D   N O T E S


[i] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/new-zealand/joint-statement.pdf

[ii]  Mark Kramer, « Declassified materials from CPSU Central Committee plenums », Cahiers du monde russe [Online], 40/1-2 | 1999, Online since 15 January 2007: http:// journals.openedition.org/monderusse/14 ; DOI : 10.4000/monderusse.14

[iii]  The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965

[iv]  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/new-zealand/joint-statement.pdf

[v] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement. Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965 p8

[vi] Lovell (2019) Maoism a global history. London: Bodley Head p147

[vii] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement p5. Hoxha claimed “Khruschev’s downfall is a result of the struggle waged by the Marxist-Leninists.”  Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p5

[viii] Open Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to all Communists of the Soviet Union.  July 14, 1963 https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sino-soviet-split/cpsu/openletter.htm

[ix] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  the New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[x] Peking Review No. 49/50 December 13, 1960  https://www.marxists.org/subject/china/peking-review/1960/PR1960-49-50.pdf

[xi] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House pp78-109

[xii] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  the New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[xiii] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf p11

[xiv] It was not until June 1969, in the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, an International Meeting was held in Moscow with representatives of 75 parties.

[xv] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  The New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[xvi] An overview sketch of developments  compiled from the view of Tron Ogrim can be found at https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/06/research-note-tron-recalls/

[xvii] …. Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House P97.   The authorised history of the young party founded November 1941, born of war and revolution, proudly recalled:

The Party of Labor of Albania has fought with exceptional severity against modern revisionism, the offspring and agency of imperialism. The irreconcible principled struggle which it has waged from the start against the Yugoslavia revisionists has equipped it with a great revolutionary experience and acuteness to recognise and to fight better and with more determination against the Khruschevite revisionists as well as other revisionism, with Soviet revisionism at the centre, constitutes a major class enemy and the main danger to the international communist and workers’ movement.

Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p671

[xviii] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf

[xix] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf&nbsp; p23

The full arsenal of  arguments that exposed the revisionist course at that time is available in the republished work of the Communist Party of China to be found in Documents of the CPC – Great Debate Volumes 1 & 2 available from Foreign Languages Press. Or online at  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/index.htm

[xx] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p108

[xxi] Ditto p11

[xxii] Ditto p217

[xxiii] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p10

[xxiv] Ditto p31

[xxv] see :Taking the Lek https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/taking-the-lek/

[xxvi] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxvii] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxviii] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxix] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxx] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana : The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p208

[xxxi] Taken from the four part series, https://woodsmokeblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/tirana-builds-an-international1.pdf

[xxxii] Nils Andersson The Origins of the Marxist-Leninist Movement in Europe.  Unity & Struggle No. 28, September 2014

[xxxiii] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House pp606/607

[xxxiv] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninist Groups Greet the Fifth Congress of the Labor of Albania. Tirana 1966 p18

Remarks given added weight as during the Cultural Revolution period, Kang had Politburo oversight of the International Liaison Department of the CPC, responsible for contacts, communications and co-ordination with other communist organisations throughout the world. This changed in 1971 when the leadership position was held by Geng Biao /Keng Piao, formerly China’s ambassador to Albania, who remained in post throughout the 1970s.

[xxxv] Text can be downloaded from here https://archive.org/details/communistworkers00part 

[xxxvi] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House  p210

[xxxvii] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House  p215

[xxxviii] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p204/5

[xxxix] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p290/291

[xl] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p221

[xli] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p218/219

[xlii] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p215

[xliii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p303

[xliv] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p305

[xlv] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1981) History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters VII, VIII, IX) Tirana: The “8Nentori” Publishing House  p41.

The 2nd volume of the authorised History published in 1981 covers the period 1966-1980. The first chapter, labelled Chapter VII covering the 5th Congress was not a reproduction of the original Chapter VII that ended the first volume (printed 1971). It was re-written to reflect the new anti-China, anti-Mao analysis to be found in the two volumes of Enver Hoxha’s Reflections on China and other post-1976 Albanian publication.

[xlvi] Jacques Grippa against the Cultural Revolution by Ylber Marku & Counter-revolutionary plot in the People’s Republic of China by Jacques Grippa

[xlvii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 P596 Hoxha bitterly complained about the Chinese comrades and the 6th Congress, dismissing the greetings sent as “full of stereotyped phases, which the Chinese use constantly” in his entry for November 9th 1971 with its intemperate language and accusations of “opposition to our party over line.” p609

[xlviii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p598

[xlix] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies.(1981)  History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters    VII,VIII,IX) Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House  p39/40.

[l] See: Tirana builds an International. woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com

Read, read again Ajith

Ajith’s polemical demolition “Against Avakianism” is more than a good critique of erroneous positions and muddled theoretical constructions. In exploring what was fundamentally flawed in packaging a “new synthesis” in the cultist degeneration and revisionism promoted by the RCP,USA, Ajith raises a fruitful exposition of observations and speculations on many topics and questions that constantly face the international communist movement throughout its historic process.

Even in the briefest of treatments – like the section on socialist democracy [102-124] – there is a condensed focus on the lessons drawn and alternative approaches to take in addressing the challenges on the party and socialist state and their operations.

(A more complete presentation on the matter of the party can be found in, The Maoist Party an essay written by K. Murali, also known as Comrade Ajith, from his book Of Concepts and Methods.2020 Foreign Languages Press Collection “New Roads” #9)

Ajith’s critique provides a more inspiring springboard than the work he dissects. In his application of the many insights and observations offered in Mao Zedong’s writings, Ajith corrects Avakian’s distortions and reasserts the creative purposefulness of Maoism.

Amid the discussion around the ideological and theoretical aspects of truth and understanding Marxism as a science, what is clear is the centrality of both the intention and experience of the Cultural Revolution to contemporary MLM. In many of its practices it raised phenomenon and issues that shape an universalist understanding of principles and practices that contribute to human liberation.

Avakian’s claim to go beyond and exceed that experience lies like an image of a by-gone age, a half-ruined folly in the political landscape.

Whereas Ajith pushes forward, not necessarily with complete answers but the interesting questions.

The aim of clarifying the struggle within RIM around Avakian’s attempt to foster upon it his “new synthesis”.

The ambition and vision of RIM as a correct manifestation of internationalism was both attractive and deceptive and other groupings of political allegiance have similarly appeared. The journal “A World To Win” was a platform for organisations providing news and information, reinforcing that sense of internationalism and being part of something much much bigger than parochial concerns. It could raise awareness and organisational abilities, generating international solidarity, co-operation and co-ordination; all powerful elements in sustaining an organisational allegiance to RIM (and the idea of it).

[While Ajith quotes from the (not yet in the public domain) internal journal Struggle to clarify the process that led to RIM’s disintegration, and the subsequent drive to establish a unified international MLM body, important elements are outside the scope of this critique.

But then that is for a different format and publication encompassing a definitive account of the failings of RIM, a political summation, including the input of the PCP after the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo, and the weakening of the “embryo” by the internal struggles over Peru and Nepal, the absences of other major active parties, like in the Philippines etc

A separate website containing links to quoted articles in Against Avakianism has been made available by FLP:

https://foreignlanguages.press/colorful-classics/ against-avakianism/documents/

Ajith begins with setting the circumstances of the early 2012 Special Meeting of the parties and organisation of RIM convened by

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan

Maoist Communist Party of Italy

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari

An original invitee, the PBSP – Proletarian Party of Purda Bangla [Bangladesh] – was absence, later explaining this was due to political differences with the contents of the Special Meeting. were involved in the consultations during the drafting of the invitation, a delegation of the Red Faction of the Nepalese UCPN( M)  – struggling against the Prachanda/Bhattarai revisionist line – joined as observers .

[The resolutions adopted at the Special Meeting are available on the Maoist Road website]

The background to the need for the Special meeting had been laid out as

“… the present collapse of the RIM is the result of the paralysis of the Committee of the RIM (CoRIM) arising from positions, serious ideological political differences that emerged among some members of the CoRim.”

RIM – RIM Documents and Statements (bannedthought.net) –  had emerged in the 1980s as a Maoist grouping, a self-described “embryo” of a new international.  Organisationally, an administrative function was based in London, the CoRIM taking on communication and co-ordination duties, overseeing the publication of the multi-language journal, “A World To Win!”.

The pre-discussion to the Special Meeting had identified the disparaging effects, negatively infecting a line struggle that affected the operation of RIM specifically paralysing the work of the CoRIM. It identified the revisionism of Bob Avakian’s post-MLM new synthesis course and the once lauded Prachanda/Bhattari line that disarmed and disrupted the progress of the Nepalese revolutionary struggle.

Summarising Avakian’s positions and criticisms, Ajith’s “Engaging with the Chairman” defend Mao’s contributions against the view that Avakian’s ideas must be made the basis of the international communist movement. [ pages 12-28] Drawing lines of demarcation as asked, Ajith wrote of the “new synthesis”

“ It has liquidated its ideological moorings by declaring that MLM is outdated and must be replaced with Avakianism.” This was the crutch of the dispute. Furthermore Ajith argued that it was insufficient to simply reactive RIM minus RCP,USA and others that had fallen by the wayside. The original Declaration of RIM was no longer an adequate basis to continue as before, even with a new constituted CoRIM. This did not lessen the need for an international organisation to convey a united revolutionary message and facilitate the development of collective wisdom.

What discernible impact in the real world?

The RCP,USA has failed as a revolutionary project in its social practice. The RCP,USA was flattered by its association with an international grouping that belied its own domestic weakness on the margins of the American left. Its similarities with the Trotskyist cult, the WRP led by Healy, becoming more pronounced with the orchestrated cult of leadership personified in Avakian. A network of bookshops, publishing and newspapers as well as international reach, sustained appearance of organisational strength All these elements partially explain an emphasis on internet-based Leftist news sites as modern equivalents of Lenin’s Iskra approach as the propaganda produced seeks to inspire or produced the desired political effect of building the movement. Far from securing the glow of leadership, Avakian’s well-deserved obscurity reflects the value of the contributions of his RCP’s ruminations-and wranglings.

Ajith

Against Avakianism 

Foreign Languages Press 2017 “Colorful Classics” #9

Noting a new biography of Mao

Another biography of Mao Zedong appeared in the summer of 2020. This was an English translation of work undertaken by the historians of the Party Literature Research Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and covers Mao’s career in the period, 1893-1949.

The publicity blurb from publishers Cambridge University Press describe it as: “As an extended official account of Mao, and Mao’s thought, this work offers a unique source through which to view the Chinese Communist Party’s portrayal of the transformative events of the twentieth century and Mao’s pivotal role therein.”

This volume, the first of three, is the only biography of Mao written with full access to the Chinese Communist Party Archives to date

Originally published in 2011 in six volumes, the translation is edited by Sheng-chi Shu. It contains an introduction from the western academic Timothy Cheek. He notes,

This volume comprises the first of three volumes of the English translation of the official Chinese biography of Mao Zedong, Mao Zedong zhuan. The first part was published in 1996 by the CCP Central Committee’s Party Literature Research Office, covering the years from Mao’s birth in 1893 until the start of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949. Jin Chongji (金冲及) is credited as the key editor and main writer of this part.”

Cheek discusses the treatment of Mao and his “living legacy”, framed by what he calls Reform China as ‘the crystallization of collected wisdom in the CCP’, and the political constraints in the historiography involved.  Of course the incentive to read is

 “The authors have privileged access to Party archives not available to other scholars inside or outside China. It is loaded with information (usually with specific documentary citations) not available in current Western or non-official biographies of Mao.”

So far unread and not bought until its cost is reduced from the retail price £125  –  £112 on ebay!

Product details

  • Format Hardback | 1018 pages
  • Dimensions 160 x 266 x 49mm | 1,740g
  • Publication date 27 Aug 2020
  • Publisher Cambridge University Press
  • Publication City/Country Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Language English
  • Illustrations note 3 Maps; 21 Halftones, black and white
  • ISBN13 9781107092723

Just read……thoughts of Dr. Li

Reading a memoir such as this is revealing about what matters to the author as these thoughts of Li recalls his time when the served as personal physician to the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong.

Li claimed that as he served as Mao’s personal physician for the last 22 years of the chairman’s life, that during this time he became a close confidant, although there is a dispute about when he was his personal physician and what kind of access that gave him. His book The Private Life Of Chairman Mao was published in 1994, almost twenty years after Mao died. Its reception into the arsenal of ideological denegation of the Chinese revolutionary experience, typified by the headline impression from the New York Times review, ‘The Tyrant Mao, as Told by His Doctor”, was  characteristic of the tone and stance of the majority of press reviews given to the book.

The book was controversial, in part because of just how salacious it is. Dr Li describes an opulent elite lifestyle, diverse details of Mao’s personality, sexual proclivities, party politics and personal habits were included in an account, which according to him, Mao’s private life saw him spend his time  conspiring, reading and being sexually promiscuous .

Based on his recollection of journals he had kept, then he had burned during the Cultural Revolution, and a decade later Li began in 1977 to write intermittingly, reconstructed his notes from memory, producing more than 20 volumes of notes.  These new notebooks help him write his memoir. Dr Li, who lived in the USA from 1988, had his manuscript made into a book for Random House. Along with the Random House publication, a Chinese language edition was released by the Chinese Times Publishing Company of Taipei.

Hong Yung Lee ‘s critical reading of  Dr Li’s book expressed some of the concerns that comes with any critical reading of an account that claims to be privy to Mao at his most unguarded moments. [i]

Li Zhisui claimed he still remembers verbatim conversations with Mao almost 20 years later “(b)ecause Mao’s language was so colorful and vivid and deeply etched in my brain” and, “My survival and that of my family had always depended on Mao’s words; I could not forget them.” [ii]

Hong joins others doubtful of such recollection perfectly-recreated dialogue particularly as he relied on his seventy-something year-old memory for events that happened 20-30 years previously. It just defies belief: what conversations were you having in 1999?

“Li’s source materials, his diaries, were burned in 1966, yet he asks the reader to accept verbatim dialogues as well as minutely observed details of events he could not have personally witnessed.”  Hong Yung Lee advises, “Nor can Li qualify as an unbiased observer when it is obvious that he allowed few standards, political or ethical, to interfere with his role as Mao’s physician, confidante, and servant.”

The New York Times reviewer Richard Bernstein judged it presented few new revelations about the political or diplomatic history of Maoist China and observed there may never be absolute corroboration of the book’s intimate, candid account and its many anecdotes.

Evidently China specialists like Professor Andrew J. Nathan (author of the controversial  The Tiananmen Papers, and other works) and Anne Thurston, who is a very well-known China academic, had no issue with relying on Dr Li’s book obviously believes that the sources are good and questioned validity misplaced enquiries. Still reliance, particularly when it comes to quoting Mao, is problematic as suggested in a generally positive review when the American Foreign Affairs Magazine[iii], it cautions against using the personal details of the book to draw general lessons on the nation and revolution.

The readability of the story is said to owe much to the editing process overseen by Dr Thurston, yet this story-telling with unsourced quotes and a style and tone that seemed clouded and determined by a growing dislike of the subject in the book’s repetitive emphasis on Mao’s personal habits .The general tenor of an unflattering picture of the Chinese leader, as well as the infighting and internal politics of the CCP, are seen as strengthens in other reviews. Whereas critical engagement may see a diminishing compelling reading as the narrative progresses.

Although according to the Christian Science Monitor contributor and there is no hidden agenda here,

“As Mao Zedong’s personal physician, Dr. Li Zhisui had a uniquely privileged view of the chairman and his often cruel and barbarous government. Dr. Zhisui exposes Mao’s personal flaws and oddities, as well as the true dynamics of his Communist party, which was often divided.”

This reader’s impression is that one learns more about the author than the subject. Individual dairies are the recorded subjective perceptions that provide an angle on events that tells us more about the author then really alters the record of history. Memoirs can be useful in conjunction with other culminated evidence but that requires a far more rigorous approach than employed in the production of Li’s account. He had set out to “rewrite his life story” when he embarked upon and favourable western reviewers thought his book represents a reasonable effort to record his experiences. Given the nature of the book is memoir rather than history, it should be addressed as partial and contested. Clearly that required objectivity to allow some reliability in the account is lacking.

How trustworthy is the colour and details he provides when much of the commentary is not with Mao’s “private life” at all, but rather deals with the situation in China as a whole and its effect on Dr. Li. In offering a portray of life in the elite atmosphere of Group One and Mao’s household, Li ‘s insider view is partial and tempered by his actual role.

Dr Li needed to be reminded of the Hippocratic Oath. His ‘‘back office’ account filled with far from exemplary examples of his own behaviour.  The oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. In writing his book, he failed to apply the injunction that “I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.”

 Li made for a poor communist. His own account conforms to the evidence of policy differences evolving into two-line struggle within the Party and his responses reliably marks him out as ‘a capitalist roader’ that Mao had warned against, seeing socialism as a means to a limited end: making China rich and powerful (p377). Nor was Li an honest communist, by his own account disillusioned from 1960 onwards, he poses as a confidant of Mao, and amid the political struggles Li’s guiding light seems to have been: “I had to survive, and self-interest required me to remain silent.” (p405) [iv]

With excuse, excuse, justification, excuse, rationalization and half-hearted self-criticism. The overwhelming takeaway is a sense of Dr. Li’s timidity and conventionality:

“”I never said anything roughly or straightforwardly,” Dr. Li continued. ”In other words, if you worked for Mao, you had to disobey your own conscience. You can never say anything as you think it. You have, first of all, to think what Mao will say.”

More than once, the author states,

I had tried to escape from Mao’s circle so many times, and always Mao had pulled me back. Now I was trapped, with no hope of leaving. 

However the reality was that staff turn-over over the twenty two years of his service saw others go on to other prestigious posts elsewhere. The reader realises that “so many” escape attempts were really just him asking a superior to transfer him to another post.

His account contains a portrayal of intimacy and engagement that attempts to build the story of someone who, as they say, was inside the room. The narrative of events in Chinese politics offered in the book by and large confirms what has already been known. The author tells his story as if he was an “eyewitness” to many important political events as his personal memories are interwoven with public knowledge.

Frederick Teiwes, an American academic wrote that despite Li’s extensive claims regarding the politics behind the Cultural Revolution, he was actually “on the fringe” of the events taking place in the Chinese government. He went on to criticise the book as being overtly and polemically “anti-Mao”, being “uncritical” in its outlook and being “dependent on the official sources” to create a picture of the revolution. He characterised Li’s book as offering nothing new but “recycling widely available information and interpretations”. [v]

His court history with rival secretaries and officials vying for influence is reminiscent of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius & Claudius the God, an entertainment using a historical backstory. The unfortunate back-cover endorsements are of Li as “Mao’s Boswell”[vi] from The Irish Times, and “as the Tacitus of Modern China”[vii] in the judgement of the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, aka Lord Dacre, who initially authenticated the faked volumes of The Hitler Dairies for the Sunday Times.[viii]

There is no scholarly foundation or structure for Li’s account. He writes without acknowledgement to source when apparently using official published documents in his account. Dr. Li’s credibility is damaged by the way he narrates certain events, when he is relaying second hand conversation where he was not present. Unsourced use of innumerable quotations, some of which are from Chinese official documents means the distinction is blurred between his own experiences and what became known later or modified in the editorial process, but serves to enhance his political acumen. The notes provided by China scholar, Anne F. Thurston, supplement, rather than substantiate assertions made in the text. There is no bibliography of material that may have been consulted in the reconstruction of the memoirs of the physician.

The narrative provides Li’s political analysis with accompanying insight to personal motivation and Olympian character judgements on those around him. Schizophrenia crops up as a diagnosis for people he does not like among the many rocky relationships he reports upon. Yet how reliable  can Li’s personal assessments of how Mao handled the personalities and disputes of the party members that surrounded him and Li relationships with those he easily describes as the hypochondriac Jiang Qing,  and the physically (and possibly mentally) unstable Lin Biao?

If Mao repeatedly tells you to read an article and pay attention to important national issues it is hardly an endorsement of your political acumen and far from being an endorsement of being a trusted confident, especially when Li states more than once that, “Mao never really trusted me again.” After Mao discovered he was being secretly recorded in his household, and was hence wary of the loyalty of his personal staff according to Li. However that staff were not replaced enmasse. Would Mao really repeatedly ask his doctor to take on the responsibilities of political secretary? I don’t know, but why would he trust Li’s political nonce? There are incidents recalled by Li that suggests his own unwitting agency in China’s national politics such as the recommendation of a Peking Opera to Mao that inadvertently sparks the involvement of Jiang Qing in cultural politics (p402). The narrative is peppered with such self-aggrandisements

A view from his literary collaborator is that, 

“Dr Li was not an easy subject. In my experience, older Chinese men rarely are. Their sense of status gets in the way, and the quality of self-reflection somehow shuts off. He was not a storyteller. He was discursive, rambling, self-pitying, often refusing, whether deliberately or stubbornly, to understand the thrust of my questions. He was not greatly concerned with accuracy, insisting that this was his book, based on his memories. Leave it to the historians to correct, he said. He was contemptuous of American China scholars, whom he claimed never to have read. They do not understand China, he said. Nor, he alleged, did most Chinese. The monopoly on truth was Li’s. “ (Thurston) Hong Yung Lee observed, ”His accounts are conspicuous for their absence of meaningful self-criticism. Sure he occasionally says he should have done something differently, but he doesn’t ever seem sincere.  “

Li Zhisui’s memoirs are an act of revenge. He despises the others in Mao’s personal staff, code named Group One, ‘uneducated peasants’ who had served Mao so well, and he is determined to expose their guilt. Yet Li served Mao no less well and was often guilty of the same offences of which he accused them, the gifts, the specially arranged shopping sprees in the midst of a nationwide depression, the elaborate banquets in the midst of famine commented Dr.Thurston. While attributing motive and positions to people, there is no discussion of the clash of ideals, the policy differences and the disagreements over national priorities that are often assumed to have shaped the contours of Chinese politics. Instead there is the lazy meme of the Imperial Court, Mao reduced to the figure of emperor surrounded by nothing more than selfish personal ambitions and lust for political power. Li’s place of boundless decadence, licentiousness, selfishness, relentless toadying and cutthroat political intrigue is familiar in classical and imperial literature. Subsumed in that general picture are the good deeds done without fanfare, that other accounts may highlight: aspects of Mao’s private life that includes use of his own wealth to build a swimming pool, financial gifts to other people’, refusal of family privileges,  a sceptical reception of official reports, embarking upon study and fact-finding tours, all these pepper the text.

Others who worked with Mao and numerous academics have contradicted these mostly negative depictions of Mao. Many consider Mao was a more complicated persona and the book as lacking context, picking and choosing quotes, disregarding contrary evidence, and being otherwise incessantly biased towards depicting Mao in a bad light.

Mao-and-Zhang-Yufeng

Those who for the most part wanted to believe the worst about Mao’s private life, may uncritically accept this depiction of Mao although numerous people who also worked in proximity to Mao have written challenging Li’s story stating that the book was anything from an exaggeration to simply being false, rebuttals in which they believe that much of it was fabricated by Li himself and by his English language translators.

The original manuscript was written by Li, translated from his native Chinese into English by Professor Tai Hung-chao, and then edited by China scholar Dr Anne F. Thurston. She was well suited [ix]to the collaboration and wrote of her engagement with the project focusing, not uncritically, on Li as “a retainer in Mao’s court”. [x]

The disputes and criticism of the publication process, the alterations to the Chinese version of the book, are covered by Q.M. DeBorja and Xu L. Dong rebuttal to Random House’s 1994 biography of Chairman Mao. On the matter of translating, one instance, in the English edition, Li is recorded as saying “During our talk in Chengdu…” whereas in the Chinese edition, the literal translation is “Mao stated in his speech at the Chengdu meeting…” obviously these statements actually have different meanings.

Publication of his account provoked indignation in Chinese language responses that did not circulate as widely in the English speaking world. It did not produce the academic attention of the 2005 biography Mao: The Unknown Story written by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday [xi]. There was Manufacturing History – Sex, Lies and Random House’s Memoirs of Mao’s Physician by Q.M. DeBorja and Xu L. Dong [xii]. This shreds Li’s account, challenged on many of the allusions and details he produces. It raises criticism of the discrepancies between the different languages editions produced (with some episodes excluded from the Chinese language edition published in Taiwan excused on the grounds of cultural and political sensitivities).

Also challenging Li’s account, a Chinese language book published in Hong Kong, Lishi de Zhenshi: Mao Zedong Shenbian Gongzuo Renyuan de Zhengyan (The Truth of History: Testimony of the personnel who had worked with Mao Zedong), were people who had known Mao personally: his personal secretary Lin Ke, his personal doctor from 1953 to 1957, Xu Tao and his chief nurse from 1953 to 1974, Wu Xujun. As set out in detail on Wikepedia, they argued that Li did not only not know Mao very well, but that he presented an inaccurate picture of him in his book. Several people have questioned the authenticity of the book. A statement protesting that many of the claims made in Li’s book were false was issued soon after its publication, signed by 150 people who had personally known or worked with Mao. They were not as easily believed as Dr. Li.

Overall, repetitive in salacious detail, it becomes something of a slog to finish Li’s tale. Now read once, returned to the bookshelves to remain untouched.


[i] The Los Angeles Times (February 19, 1995

[ii] The Private Life of Chairman Mao. Arrow Books 1986 p.xvii

[iii] Published By: Council on Foreign Relations. Vol. 73, No. 6 (Nov. – Dec., 1994), pp. 150-154

[iv] Even his literary collaborator Anne F. Thurston entitled an article on the subject “The Politics of Survival: Li Zhisui and the Inner Court “. The China Journal, No. 35 (Jan., 1996), pp. 97-105

[v] The Tragedy of Lin Biao: Riding the Tiger during the Cultural Revolution 1966-1971 (1996) 179-180 cited on Wikepedia.

[vi] Referencing  James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson

[vii] Referencing the classical study Histories by the barrister-historian Tacitus, writing some thirty years after the events he describes.

[viii] He had second thoughts before publication, the concerns of eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, aka Lord Dacre, about the diaries’ authenticity were over-ridden by newspaper owner Rupert Murdoch with the immortal words: “Fuck Dacre. Publish”. Trevor-Roper did not keep quiet about his doubts. “I regret that the normal method of historical verification has been sacrificed to the perhaps necessary requirements of a journalistic scoop,” he said. When the forgery was exposed, proprietor Rupert Murdoch is supposed to have shrugged, “We’re in the entertainment business”.  The Sunday Times retained 20,000 of the 60,000 new readers it acquired when it published its “scoop”.

See https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/diary-of-the-hitler-diary-hoax

[ix] Focused on political reform in China, Dr Thurston was the author of “a study of the Cultural Revolution based on interviews with people who had been its victims. The book that resulted—Enemies of the People: The Ordeal of China’s Intellectuals during the Great Cultural Revolution—is still my favorite.”

Other works include

  • A Chinese Odyssey: The Life and Times of a Chinese Dissident (1991)
  • Don’t Force Us to Lie: The Struggle of Chinese Journalists in the Reform Era
  • China Bound, Revised: A Guide to Academic Life and Work in the PRC
  • Enemies of the People: The Ordeal of the Intellectuals in China’s Great Cultural Revolution, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987
  • with Gyalo Thondup, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong: The Untold Story of My Struggle for Tibet (2015)

I often describe myself as the China counterpart to the narrator in Iris Murdoch’s novel, The Philosopher’s Pupil, who says “my role in life is listening to people’s stories.” My role in life is to listen to Chinese people tell their stories—and then to relate those stories here in the West in a way that makes sense to both us and the storytellers themselves.

  • From her 2005 CV while Associate Professor on the China Studies Program, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

[x] The Politics of Survival: Li Zhisui and the Inner Court, The China Journal Volume 35 Jan.1996

[xi]  Was Mao Really a Monster: The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday’s “Mao: The Unknown Story” (London: Routledge 2010) 

[xii] Published by China Study group in New York in 1996 and available  from https://archive.org/details/manufacturing-history-xulin-dong

Just Read………….. The China Triangle

Herbert Feis (1953) The China Triangle: the American effort in China from Pearl Harbour to the Marshal Mission. Princeton University Press.


Two things are immediately clear when reading The China Triangle: why Herbert Feis was described as “a court historian”, and that release of official records often adds to the texture but not the substance of journalistic first drafts of history.

Feis has the establishment background to be scholarly and accurate in demolishing the claim that the American Government was responsible for the collapse of the Chinese Nationalists and the triumph of the communists led by Mao Zedong.

A Harvard academic economist, staff member of the Council on Foreign Relations, State Department economic advisor, Feis’ contribution to the “who lost China” debacle, that convulsed Washington’s political circles in the early 1950s, points the finger in the direction of Chang Kai-shek.

The China Triangle explores and substantially supports US policies arguing that America’s policy priorities lay in winning the war, supporting Chang Kai-shek, preserving the independence and unity of China.

After the great retreat to Taiwan by the Nationalist forces and the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, Senator McCarthy amplified the charges raised by Patrick Hurley, frustrated ambassador to China, defender of Chang Kai-shek ; in 1950, McCarthy brandished a sheath of papers and declared that he had in his hand “a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”

The China Triangle obliquely addresses the charges by reviewing, and justifying, state policy. Feis has no disagreement with the administration’s objective of a world beneficently organised by the United States but the unsubstantial accusations, the slanders and lies of McCarthyism offends the sensibilities and insults the intelligent analysis of state officials.

McCarthy’s shrieking denunciations and anti-communist fear-mongering created a climate of fear and suspicion across the USA.  The Foreign Service reports on the rival forces battling the occupying Japanese — Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists and Mao Zedong’s Communists — that observed the corruption and weakness of the former, came under particular scrutiny: ”Selfish and corrupt, incapable and obstructive,” were a few of the words used to describe the Chiang Government in a 1944 memo to General Stilwell. In July 1944, John Service[i] managed to get to Mao’s headquarters in Yanan. He wrote that he felt he had ”come into a different country,” one marked by hard work, cooperation and ”the absence of banditry.”

Recording his first impressions, he wrote: ”There is an absence of show and formality, both in speech and action. Relations of the officials and people toward us, and of the Chinese themselves, are open, direct and friendly. Mao Zedong and other leaders are universally spoken of with respect (amounting in the case of Mao to a kind of veneration).”

This was in sharp contrast to the ”crisis” of the Chiang Government he described in a crucial memo to General Stilwell that Oct. 11. ”Recent defeats have exposed its military ineffectiveness and will hasten the approaching economic disaster.”

It was not solely the Yenan Observer Mission – often referred to as the Dixie Mission because it was in rebel territory – reporting on a dictatorial suppression of dissent in Nationalist-controlled areas, the corrupt political and military elite that made the Republic of China Government vulnerable. The Chinese Communist Party for its part, experienced success in its early efforts at land reform and was lauded by peasants for its unflagging efforts to fight against the Japanese invaders. Eventually Service drafted a letter, signed by the rest of the diplomatic staff in the Nationalist capital, Chongqing, urging that the United States provide aid to the Communists in order to reduce casualties in an expected Allied invasion from the sea. General Hurley charged betrayal and got him recalled, this time for good. Telling it as it was saw loyal US officials like John Service accused of being communist sympathisers. Service, John Vincent, John Davies, Oliver Edmund Clubb were all forced out of the Foreign Service. All were eventually vindicated: cleared by a State Department loyalty board — by his count Service would eventually pass nine such inquiries. [ii] Critical reports from American military leaders – General Albert C. Wedemeyer, who assumed command over US forces in China following the dismissal of the equally critical General Joseph Stilwell in October 1944- concluded that China was lost:

“Notwithstanding all the corruption and incompetence that one notes in China, it is a certainty that the bulk of the people are not disposed to a Communist political and economic structure. Some have become affiliated with Communism in indignant protest against oppressive police measures, corrupt practices and maladministration of National Government officials. Some have lost all hope for China under existing leadership and turn to the Communists in despair. Some accept a new leadership by mere inertia.”[iii]

 

CAST AWAY ILLUSIONS, PREPARE FOR STRUGGLE

Mao Zedong had a different take on things describing The White Paper as a counter-revolutionary document which openly demonstrates U.S. imperialist intervention in China:

“China is in the midst of a great revolution. All China is seething with enthusiasm. The conditions are favourable for winning over and uniting with all those who do not have a bitter and deep-seated hatred for the cause of the people’s revolution, even though they have mistaken ideas. Progressives should use the White Paper to persuade all these persons.”

The Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung contains five commentaries written by Mao Tse-tung for the Hsinhua News Agency on the U.S. State Department’s White Paper and Dean Acheson’s Letter of Transmittal. The White Paper supplied the material in ‘Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle’ (August 14, 1949) , “Farewell, Leighton Stuart!”, “Why It Is Necessary to Discuss the White Paper”, “‘Friendship’ or Aggression?” and “The Bankruptcy of the Idealist Conception of History” to exposed the imperialist nature of United States policy towards China, criticized the illusions about U.S. imperialism harboured by some of the bourgeois intellectuals in China and gave a theoretical explanation of the reasons for the rise of the Chinese revolution and for its victory. The press campaign sought to discredit the United States for everything it had done in China since the Treaty of Wanghia in 1844, and especially for its recent actions. In a fair summary, Mao wrote,

“Acheson’s White Paper admits that the U.S. imperialists are at a complete loss as to what to do about the present situation in China. The Kuomintang is so impotent that no amount of help can save it from inevitable doom; the U.S. imperialists are losing grip over things and feel helpless.”

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-4/mswv4_66.htm

In the narrative of the American effort in China from Pearl Harbour to the Marshal Mission, Feis writing mainly from the official record substantially follows the 1,054-page ‘white paper’ titled United States relations with China, with special reference to the period 1944-49. Published in early August 1949, it outlined the situation in China, detailed American involvement and assistance to the Chinese and suggested reasons for the failure of the Chinese Nationalist government was that it was so corrupt, inefficient, and unpopular that no amount of U.S. aid could save it. Nevertheless, the communist victory in China brought forth a wave of criticism from Republicans who charged that the Truman administration lost China through gross mishandling of the situation,

Dean Acheson (1893-1971) introduction to the White Paper stated otherwise:

“… This is a frank record of an extremely complicated and most unhappy period in the life of a great country to which the United States has long been attached by ties of closest friendship…

By the beginning of the 20th century, the combined force of overpopulation and new ideas set in motion that chain of events which can be called the Chinese Revolution. It is one of the most imposing revolutions in recorded history and its outcome and consequences are yet to be foreseen…

Representatives of our government, military and civilian, who were sent to assist the Chinese on prosecuting [World War II] soon discovered that the long struggle had seriously weakened the Chinese government, not only militarily and economically but also politically and in morale… It was evident to us that only a rejuvenated and progressive Chinese government which could recapture the enthusiastic loyalty of the people could and would wage and effective war against Japan…

When peace came, the United States was confronted with three possible alternatives in China: it could have pulled out lock, stock and barrel; it could have intervened militarily on a major scale to assist the Nationalists to destroy the Communists; [or] it could, while assisting the Nationalists to assert their authority over as much as China as possible, endeavour to avoid a civil war by working for a compromise between the two sides…

The second objective, of assisting the Nationalist government, we pursued vigorously from 1945 to 1949. The National government was the recognised government of a friendly power. Our friendship, and our right under international law alike, called for our aid to the government instead of to the Communists, who were seeking to subvert and overthrow it…

The reasons for the failure of the Chinese National government… do not stem from any inadequacy of American aid… The fact was that the decay which our observers had detected… early in the war had fatally sapped the powers of resistance of the Guomindang. Its leaders had proved incapable of meeting the crisis confronting them, its troops had lost the will to fight, and its government had lost popular support.

The Communists, on the other hand, through a ruthless discipline and fanatical zeal, attempted to sell themselves as guardians and liberators of the people. The Nationalist armies did not have to be defeated, they disintegrated. History has proved again and again that a regime without faith in itself and an army without morale cannot survive the test of battle…

The unfortunate but inescapable fact is that the ominous result of the civil war in China was beyond the control of the government of the United States. Nothing that this country did or could have done, within the reasonable limits of its capabilities, could have changed that result; nothing that was left undone by this country has contributed to it. It was the product of internal Chinese forces, forces which this country tried to influence but could not…”

https://archive.org/details/VanSlykeLymanTheChinaWhitePaper1949

That perspective has never been accepted by the China Lobby. Although the basic premise should be that China wasn’t America’s to lose in the first place, when the Chiang Government disintegrated, the search for culprits intensified. This historic episode – “Who Lost China?” is one repeatedly returned to in academia, less so in mainstream publishing occasional sellers like Sterling Seagrave’s The Soong Dynasty.

Talks_between_Mao_and-Chiangdownload

This bibliography taken from an FromTheDixieMissionToTheMarshallMission-1943-1946  on the events:

Bibliography

 

Annexes to United States Relations with China, with Special Reference to the Period 1944-1949. Published by the Department of State, with a “Letter from Secretary of State Acheson to President Truman Transmitting the Record,” 30 July 1949 (“The China White Paper”).

Barrett, Colonel David, Dixie Mission: The United States Army Observer Group in Yenan, 1944. The Center for Chinese Studies: University of California at Berkeley, 1970.

Buhite, Russell, Patrick Hurley and American Foreign Policy. Cornell University Press, 1973.

Carter, Carolle, Mission to Yenan: American Liaison with the Chinese Communists, 1944-1947. The University Press of Kentucky, 1997.

Ching-kuo, Chiang, My Father. Taipei, 1956.

Claudin, Fernando, The Communist Movement: From Comintern to Cominform, Volume II , New York, 1975.

Davies, John, China Hand: An Autobiography. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

Davies, John, “Memoranda by Foreign Service Officers in China, 1943-1945,” in The China White Paper.

Dedijer, Vladimer, Tito Speaks, 1953.

Feis, Herbert, The China Tangle: The American Effort in China from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Mission. Princeton University Press, 1965.

Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1944 and 1945.

Garver, John, Chinese-Soviet Relations 1937-1945: The Diplomacy of Chinese Nationalism. Oxford University Press, 1988.

Gauss, Clarence, “The Ambassador in China to Secretary Hull,” 31 August 1944 in The China White Paper.

Harding, Harry and Ming, Yuan editors, Sino-American Relations, 1945-1955, SR Books, 1989.

Hurley, Patrick to Chou Enlai, 11 December 1944, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) 1944, 6.

Jian, Chen, Mao’s China and the Cold War. The University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Joiner, Lynne, Honorable Survivor: Mao’s China, McCarthy’s America, and the Persecution of John S. Service. Naval Institute Press, 2009.

Jun, Niu, From Yen’an Marching toward the World: The Origin of the CCP’s Foreign Policies, 1935-1949. Fujian People’s Press, 1992. Passages translated in English by Chen Jian in Mao’s China.

Kai-shek, Chiang, China’s Destiny, 1943, published in English in 1947. New York, Roy Publishers.

Kai-shek, Chiang, “Statement to the Fifth Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang,” 13 September 1943 in The China White Paper.

Koen, Ross, The China Lobby in American Politics. Harper & Row, 1974.

Levine, Steven, Anvil of Victory: The Communist Revolution in Manchuria, 1945-1948, Columbia University Press, 1987.

Marshall, George, Marshall’s Mission to China, Volumes I and II, December 1945-January 1947, including “Appended Documents.” University Publications of America, 1976.

People’s Political Council, “Report by the Representative of the National Government and the Report by the Representative of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party,” 15 September 1944 in The China White Paper.

Pepper, Suzanne, “The KMT-CCP Conflict, 1945-1949” in The Nationalist Era in China, 1927-1949. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Pepper, Suzanne, Civil War in China: The Political Struggle, 1945-1949. University of California Press, 1978.

Peterkin, Colonel W. J., Inside China: 1943-1945, An Eyewitness Account of America’s Mission to Yenan. Gateway Press, 1992.

Reardon-Anderson, James, Yenan and the Great Powers: The Origins of Chinese Communist Foreign Policy, 1944-1946. Columbia University Press, 1980.

Schaller, Michael, The U.S. Crusade in China, 1938-1945. Columbia University Press, 1979.

Service, John, “Memoranda by Foreign Service Officers in China, 1943-1945,” in The China White Paper.

Service, John, Lost Chance in China: The World War II Despatches of John S. Service, edited by Joseph Esherick, Random House, 1974.

Sheng, Michael, Battling Western Imperialism: Mao, Stalin and the United States. Princeton University Press, 1997.

Snow, Edgar, Red Star Over China. Grove Press, 1961.

Stilwell, Joseph, The Stilwell Papers: General Joseph W. Stilwell’s Iconoclastic Account of America’s Adventures in China. Edited by Theodore White. Shocken Books, 1948.

Taylor, Jay, The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press, 2009.

Truman, Harry, Harry S. Truman: Years of Trial and Hope, 1946-1952. Doubleday & Co., 1956.

Tse-tung, Mao, “On Coalition Government,” 24 April 1945, Selected Works, Volume III. Foreign Languages Press, 1975.

Tse-tung, Mao, “On the Chungking Negotiations,” 17 October 1945, Selected Works, Volume IV. Foreign Languages Press, 1969.

Tse-tung, Mao, “Build Stable Base Areas in the Northeast,” 28 December 1945, Selected Works, Volume IV.

Tse-tung, Mao, “Smash Chiang-shek’s Offensive by a War of Self-Defense, 20 July 1946, Selected Works, Volume IV.

Tse-tung, Mao, “The Truth About U.S. ‘Mediation’ and the Future of the Civil War in China,” 29 September 1946, Selected Works, Volume IV.

Tse-tung Mao, “A Three Months Summary,” 1 October 1946, Selected Works, Volume IV.

Tse-tung Mao, “Greet the New High Tide of the Chinese Revolution,” 1 February 1947, Selected Works, Volume IV.

Tse-tung, Mao, “Speech at the Tenth Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee,” 24 September 1962,

in Chairman Mao Talks to the People, Talks and Letters: 1956-1971, edited by Stuart Schram. Pantheon Books, 1974.

Tsou, Tang, America’s Failure in China, 1941-1950, Volumes 1 and 2. University of Chicago Press, 1963.

Tuchman, Barbara, Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945. Grove Press, 1970.

Tuchman, Barbara, “If Mao Had Come to Washington: An Essay in Alternatives,” Foreign Affairs, October 1972.

Wallace, Henry, “The Vice-President’s Discussion with President Chiang,” 23 June 1944 in The China White Paper.

Westad, Odd Arne, Cold War and Revolution: Soviet-American Rivalry and the Origins of the Chinese Civil War, 1944-1946. Columbia University Press, 1993.

Yu, Maochun, OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War. Naval Institute Press, 1996.

Yu, Maochun, The Dragon’s Tail: Allied Operations and the Fate of China, 1937-1947. Naval Institute Press, 2006.

Zhang Shuguang and Jian, Chen, Chinese Communist Foreign Policy and the Cold War in Asia: New Documentary Evidence, 1944-1950. Imprint Publications, 1996.


 

ENDNOTES

[i] https://adst.org/2013/12/john-s-service-the-man-who-lost-china/

[ii] In the Sixties Service enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley, received a master’s degree and became library curator of its Center for Chinese Studies. He published several books on China, including a volume of his wartime dispatches, ”Last Chance in China”.

Esherick, Joseph W., ed. (1974) Lost Chance in China: The World War II Despatches of John S. Service New York: Random House, 409 pp.

[iii] ‘Report on China-Korea’, 1947, Appendix VI in Albert C. Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports!, New York: Holt, 1958, p.464.

Chinese Nationalist soldiers

Reading More About Mao

Research Note:  bibliographic information on essays and articles that look at various aspects of Mao Zedong Thought with links where available. Of course, each item will have its own sources and selected further readings to build the library of material dedicated to explore Mao and his legacy.

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Mao Zedong Thought Lives:

Volume 1 ~ Essays in Commemoration of Mao’s Centennial.

Jose Maria Sison & Stefan Engels (eds) 1995 Utrecht: Center for Social Studies, & Essen: Verlag Neuer Weg.

Contents | Mao Zedong Thought Lives

Stefan Engels | Mao Zedong’s Teachings on the Mode of Thinking

Alice G. Guillermo | Mao Zedong’s Revolutionary Aesthetics and ‘its influence on the Philippine Struggle

Armando Liwanag | Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as Guide to the Philippine Revolution

Otto Vargas | Reflections on a Conversation with Comrade Mao Zedong

William Hinton | Mao’s Socialist line in Chinese Agriculture

William Hinton | Can Dragons Swap pearls with the Dragon god of the Seas?

D.Y.Hsu & P.Y.Ching | Labor reform – Mao vs, Liu-Deng

D.Y.Hsu & P.Y.Ching | Mass Movement: Mao’s Socialist Strategy for Change

Joshua S.S. Muldavin | From Mao to Deng: The Development of Underdevelopment in China

Carol Andreas | Women in the 20th Century China: The Maoist Legacy

Dieter Klauth & Klaus Arnecke | The 100th Birthday of Mao Zedong Marks the Triumph of his Ideas over Modern Revisionism

Carlos Echague | Mao Zedong and Social imperialism   (Different translation verison)

Raymond Lotta | Mao Zedong’s Last Great Battle,1973-76: The High road of Revolution

Wim F. Wertheim | Lasting Significance of the Mao-Model for Third World Countries

Giovanni Scuderi | Mao : A Great leader of the International proletariat and of Oppressed Nations and People

General Declaration on Mao Zedong Thought

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Jose Maria Sison (1996) REMARKS AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE GERMAN EDITION OF MAO ZEDONG THOUGHT LIVES

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Reading Mao

https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/reading-mao-zedong/

Appreciating Mao

https://emaoism.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/50-index-to-50-posts/

https://emaoism.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/100-index-to-posts-50-100/

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Critical Perspectives on Mao Zedong’s Thought

Arif Dirlik, Paul Healy,  Nick Knight (Editors) 1997 Humanities Press, New Jersey

Contents | Critical Perspectives on Mao Zedong’s Thought

Paul Healy & Nick Knight | Mao Zedong’s Thought and Critical Scholarship

Roxann Prazniak | Mao and the Woman Question in the Age of Green Politics: Some Critical Reflections

Arif Dirlik | Modernism and Antimodernism in Mao Zedong’s Marxism

Nick Knight | The laws of Dialectical Materialism in Mao Zedong’s Thought: The Question of “Orthodoxy”

Paul Healy | A Paragon of Marxist Orthodoxy: Mao Zedong on the Social Formation and Social Change

Richard Levy | Mao, Marx, Political Economy and the Chinese Revolution: Good Questions, Poor Answers

Maurice Meisner | Stalinism in the History of the Chinese Communist party

Richard Johnson | A Compendium of the Infinite: Exercise of Political Purposes in the Philosophy of Mao Zedong

Liu Kang | The Legacy of Mao and Althusser: Problematics of Dialectics, Alternative Modernity and Cultural Revolution

Orin Starn | Maoism in the Andes: The Communist party of Peru-Shining path and the Refusal of History

Sanjay Seth | Indian Maoism: The Significance of the Naxalbari

William J. Dulker | Seeds of the Dragon: The Influence of the Maoist Model in Vietnam

J. Victor Koschmann | Mao Zedong and the Postwar Japanese Left

Emerita Dionisio Distor | Maoism and the Development of the Communist Party of Philippines

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Quotations from Chairman Mao TseTung

Mao’s Little Red Book: A Global History

Alexander C. Cook 2014 Cambridge University Press

Contents | Mao’s Little Red Book

Alexander C. Cook | The Spiritual Atom Bomb and Its Spiritual Fall Out

Daniel Leese | A Single Spark: Origins and spread of the Little Red Book

Andrew J. Jones | Quotation Songs: portable media and the Maoist pop songs

Guobin Yang | Mao quotations in factional battles and their afterlives: episodes from Chongqinq

Lanjun Xu | Translation and internationalism

Priyal Lal | Maoism in Tanzania: material connections and shared imaginaries

Sreemati Chakrabarti | Empty Symbol: the Little Red Book in India

David Scott Palmer | The Influence of Maoism in Peru

Elizabeth McGuire | The book that bombed: Mao’s Little Red Thing in the Soviet Union

Elidor Mehili | Mao and the Albanians

Dominique Kirchner Reill | Parisan legacies and anti-imperialist ambitions: the Little Red Book in Italy and Yugoslav

Quinn Slobodian | Badge books and brand books: the Mao Bible in East and West Germany

Julian Bourg | Principally Contradictions: the flourishing of French Maoism

Bill V. Mullen | By the Book: Quotations from Chairman Mao and the making of Afro-American radicalism, 1966-1975

Ban Wang | In the beginning is the word: popular democracy and Mao’s Little Red Book

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+ Global Maoism

https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/58-g-l-o-b-a-l-m-a-o-i-s-m/

https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/45-guilty-to-the-charge-of-promoting-revolution/

https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/10/reading-about-the-naxalites/

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Robeson Taj Frazier The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination

2015   Duke University Press

Quinn Slobodian The Maoist Enemy: China’s Challenge in 1960s East Germany   Journal of Contemporary History 51(3) · July 2015

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A Critical Introduction to Mao

edited by Timothy Cheek (2010) Cambridge University Press

Contents | A Critical Introduction to Mao

Timothy Cheek | Mao, Revolution and Memory

Joseph W. Esherick | Making Revolution in 20th Century China

Brantly Womack | From Urban radical to rural Revolutionary: Mao from 1920s to 1937

Hans J. van de Ven | War, Cosmopolitanism and Authority: Mao from 1937 to 1956

Michael Schoenhals | Consuming Fragments of Mao Zedong: The Chairman’s Final two Decades at the Helm

Frederick C. Teiwes | Mao and his Followers

Hung-Yop IP | Mao, Mao Zedung Thought and intellectuals

Delia Devin | Gendered Mao : Mao, Maoism and Women

Daniel Lesse | Mao the Man and Mao the Icon

Geremie R. Barme | For Truly Great Men, Look to This Age Alone: Was Mao Zedong the New Emperor?

Xiao Yanzhong | Recent Mao Zedong Scholarship in China

Alexander C. Cook | Third World Maoism

Charles W. Hayford | Mao’s Journeys to the West: Meanings made of Mao

Hang Yihua & Roderick Macfarquhar | Two Perspectives on Mao Zedong

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The Emergence of Maoism: Mao Tse-tung, Chen Po-ta and the search for Chinese theory 1935-1945

Raymond F. Wylie 1980 Stanford University Press

Continuing the Revolution: The Political thought of Mao

John Bryan Starr 1979 Princeton University Press

Cult & Canon: The Origins and Development of State Maoism

Helmut Martin 1982 M E Sharpe, New York

Mao’s China and the Sino-Soviet Split, Ideological Dilemmas

Mingjiang li 2012 Routledge

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Mao TseTung’s Immortal Contributions

Bob Avakian 1979 RCP Publications, Chicago.

The Loss in China and the Revolutionary legacy of Mao TtseTung

Bob Avakian 1978 RCP Publications, Chicago

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Rethinking Mao: Explorations in Mao Zedong’s Thought 

Nick Knight 2007 Lexington Books

Mao Tse-Tung In The Scales of History

Dick Wilson (ed) 1977 Cambridge University Press

The critique of Ultra-Leftism in China 1958-1981

William A. Joseph 1984 Stanford University Press

Was Mao Really a Monster? : The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday’s “Mao: The Unknown Story”

Gregor Benton (Ed) 2009 Routledge

34. On Reading JMP

Before 1988 Maoism did not exist” is JMP’s opening for his Continuity and Rupture. The bookseller in Waterstone described it as ‘niche reading’ when he failed to locate any copies. But then Foyles underlined its reputation (damm it!) by having two copies of its shelves. Indeed, JMP’s exploration of ‘philosophy in the maoist terrain’ is unfortunately a minority interest, and this post reflects one engagement with a text that implies a challenge to the existing approach to an understanding of what one had been schooled in as Mao Zedong Thought.Paris

The object is not a sematic shift, but emphasis on the significance of the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist politics that arose in opposition to a politics that had reached its limits. JMP may be over generous in his description of the RCLB being “temporarily able to pull the masses into its orbit” as it launch one of the first significant critique in Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement; it certainly did not feel that churning out the duplicated pages of its first edition in the 2nd floor stock room of New Era Books – its improved revised 2nd edition arguing to a newer generation, with a tighter universalist relevance.

There were, of course, references to ‘maoist’ and ‘maoism’ prior to the 1980s – these were “conceptually incoherent” associated with a vague understanding of the Chinese Revolution – a Marxism practiced by the Chinese Revolution led by Mao Zedong. Portrayed (initially by supporters and opponents alike?) as Stalinism with Chinese characteristic and limited (geographically and) historically to the first half of the 20th Century.

Inside China, Maoism was never a term promoted or sanctioned; at best, the continuity with western Marxism was expressed in the formula of Marxism-Leninism-Mao (TseTung) Zedong Thought. The idea of universalist relevance saw a vogue for the term in the 1960s/70s but many who employed it – self-identification with it – “erupted only to spectacularly disintegrate or slowly degenerate” –   20th Century International Maoism proved to be a term (or aspiration) more than a constructed movement of like-minded activists and organisations.

JMP argues that it was at the end of the 1980s – and outside of China – when Maoism began to merge as Maoism proper. The provocative birthdate is suggested as the ideological moment of rupture is given as 1993. The statements of the Peruvian revolutionaries signposted the acknowledgement and recognition as a “third stage” of revolutionary science.

[Readings: Collected Works of Communist Party of Peru: Towards Maoism, and On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; 1993 Statement Revolutionary Internationalist Movement.]

The Communist Party of Peru (Spanish: Partido Comunista del Perú), commonly referred to as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), produced a theoretical statement that is drawing a line, a boundary, signalling a perception between the previous usages of Maoism and a concept of Maoism that is supposedly new: a theoretical tendency guiding revolution in Peru.

In this account, the onus is on JMP to establish that prior to this “watershed”, those who spoke either of Mao Zedong Thought , or Maoism did not conceptually regard it in terms that had saw it as a higher stage of Marxism. The initial reaction is that it was precisely during the Cultural Revolution that Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong though was promoted, advertised and regarded in that manner.

Having identified key moments in the chrysalis process of the conceptualisation of Maoism as the third and highest stage of Marxism-Leninism, it would need further exploration, certainly as part of a summation, as how far the ideological recasting and categorization of Maoism is an innovation of the theoretical line of the Communist Party of Peru led by former professor of philosophy, Abimael Guzmán, also known by the nom de guerre Chairman Gonzalo.

The conceptualisation of Maoism as the third and highest stage of Marxism-Leninism was evident in the positions of some anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists, and there was the self-identity as a distinct Maoist trend even without, what JMP considers, the theoretical coherence.

“Maoism” was not only identified with the Chinese Revolution but was seen as having a relevance, indeed a model for particular Third World struggles – it was in the “peripheries” that it had its strength. First World adherents and supporters would draw on aspects of their understanding of the struggle in China – key link, criticism-struggle-unity, one divides into two etc. – few adopted “People’s War” perspective – that engagement on a theoretical level was to emerge in the 21st century Maoism.

[Readings: Peking Review]

Clearly Maoism existed as a term prior to 1988, aspects of it were seen as universalist perspective – that engagement on a theoretical level was to emerge in the 21st century Maoism.

Clearly Maoism existed as a term prior to 1988, aspects of it were seen as universalist but JMP contends it did not constitute a “philosophical gaze”.

JMP: “I am interested in examining the general boundaries that have already been established by the most recent conceptual rupture of revolutionary science that labels itself Maoist.”

[Reading: Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan, A Response to the RCP,USA’s May 1st 2012 letter.]

The point made is that Maoism is not simply an addition to Marxism-Leninism. Its relationship is both as building upon, and critiquing that results in a development of the science achieved through a theoretical rupture that redraws the paradigm for revolutionary advance in the new century.

Hence,

Maoism, as a theoretical terrain, is in continuity with the radical kernel of Marxism by the very fact of its theoretical rupture.”

Diversion to one – not untypical – article illustrates the point JMP is arguing.

“The great thought of Mao Tse-Tung is developed Marxism-Leninism; it is Marxism-Leninism at its highest level. It has solved a series of important problems facing the international communist movement, problems which earlier Marxist-Leninists either never encountered or having encountered left unsolved, or were unable to solve in their time. In particular, Mao Tse=Tung Thought has solved the question of continuing to make revolution and preventing the restoration of capitalism under the dictatorship of the proletariat. It has ushered in a completely new era in the development of Marxism-Leninism – the era of Mao Tsetung’s thought.”

This article reflects the excessive personal praise of the time describing Mao as “the very red sun that shines most brightly in our hearts” and places him as “the authority of the world proletarian struggle in the present era.”

Furthermore, whilst still written within the boundary of ideological continuity, it says of the individual who was Mao Zedong that:

“He has inherited, defended and developed Marxism-Leninism with genius, creatively and comprehensively and has brought it to a higher and completely new stage….. and has scale new peaks in the history of the development of Marxism.”

Again it is the personal, note the apostrophe;

“Mao Tse-Tung’s thought is precisely the theoretical basis which guides the thinking of our great, glorious and correct party … it is a universal truth that holds true for the whole world.”

Lin Piao is most associated with promoting the notion that “Mao Tse-tung’s thought is Marxism-Leninism of the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse.”

Such sentiments and formulations were to be found throughout the heights of the Cultural revolution in China, and echoed internationally by anti-revisionists of (what was termed in America as) the new communist movement.

It was a standard view from China, and accepted outside of it by revolutionary practitioners, that

“The struggle of the world’s revolutionary people in the present era also proves that only when tasks are done in accordance with Mao Tse-tung’s thought can victory be won. For China to be prosperous and world’s people liberated, we must rely on the great, invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung.”

It was for a relatively brief period that this judgement was proclaimed in Chinese publications and towards the international communist movement. The ‘red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought’ was most prevalent during the ultra-left excess of the Cultural Revolution. While the thought of Mao as the “theoretical authority of the communist movement in the present era” was disseminated, indeed regarded as “our most fundamental and important support” given to the revolutions of the peoples of all countries, the guidance it provided was attributed to the Chairman alone:

“Mao Tse-tung’s thought is one and identical with Marxism-Leninism; it is Marxism-Leninism at a higher level of development. In our era, the study of Mao Tse-tung’s thought is the best way to study Marxism-Leninism.”

It is personal as Lin Piao called upon people to “learn and master Mao Tse-tung’s thought truly without fail, study Chairman Mao’s writings, follow his teachings, act according to his instructions and be his good fighters.”

Sentiments repeated by Hua Guofeng seeking to consolidated his position after Mao’s death in 1976. Sentiments that appealed to a personal loyalty rather than a theoretical canon.

The description of the “great thought of Mao Tse-tung” as a spiritual atom bomb reflected the context of the time. It was a call to unleash the political consciousness to transform society, and underpin those who proclaimed support for Mao.

That propaganda onslaught, ritualised and formulaic, ultimately failed to develop creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung’s thought because it was an instrument in the political task of “establishing absolutely authority of the great supreme commander.”

The benefit to closest-comrade-in-arms, Lin Biao, was to inherit that militarist compliance to hierarchical commands. The dissemination of the red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought all over China and the world may have introduced the revolutionary experience of China to those outside the country, it may have inspired revolutionary aspirations, and it may have illuminate the danger of revisionist degeneration and initiated new revolutionary upsurges – however at that time it was building through the personality cult of Mao something to overcome in the appraisal of late Mao’s theoretical contributions on classes and class struggle during the period of building socialism.

Hsinhua correspondents would frequently report on Mao Tse-tung’s thought as the “beacon light of the world revolution”. The experiences of the Chinese Revolution as recorded in Mao’s writings provided the grounding theory for the revolutionary wars in progress; indispensable textbooks for revolutionaries, the works of Mao were earnestly studied with priority given to study the thought of Mao Tse-tung’s. It is this background and context which JMP (in his prologue) refers to the underdeveloped nature and understanding of ‘Maoism’ prior to 1988.

In 1976 the memorial messages sent on the passing of Chairman Mao by foreign ML parties commonly described him as “the greatest Marxist of the contemporary era.” He was praised as the “great continuer of the cause of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin”.

  • V.G.Wilcox. Peking Review September 30th 1976

The tributes noted “of special significance has been his contribution to the theory of continuing class struggle under socialism in order to bar the door to a revival of capitalism in new forms.” – the struggle against revisionism “to preserve the purity of Marxism-Leninism theory” was equally emphasis. That attribution reflects the understanding that of world historic importance was that he guided the work of building socialism in China by “brilliantly integrating the principles of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution.” The Burmese party said of Mao that he “inherited Marxism-Leninism, defended its purity and developed it with Mao Tsetung Thought.” (The lack of apostrophe signifying an upgrade in theoretical status?) (Peking Review September 30th 1976)

Nils Holmberg, veteran communist and translator of the Swedish editions of the Selected Works of Mao TseTung, said that Chairman Mao had made very important contributions in developing Marxism-Leninism. Pal Stegian told a memorial meeting in Norway that Mao’s work “are an eternal contribution to the theory of communism.” (Peking Review 44 October 29th 1976).

The red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought had been raised by the international movement, yet still seen in terms of expressing the revolutionary line of Chairman Mao. That was the Maoist paradigm in 1976.

19_19_website-red-book-12

Elsewhere “Maoism” was a term that had been used by political opponent like Trotskyists and particularly in attacks from Russian publishing houses on Mao and China’s policies such as Y. Semyonov’s The Bitter Fruit of Maoism – Cultural Revolution and Peking’s Policy in International Affairs (September 1975). But as a term, Maoism was not used, or encouraged within China, and uncommon within the international communist movement during Mao’s lifetime.

When Canadian anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist republished the 1952 “Reader’s Guide to the Marxist Classics” they included an additional section dedicated to Mao Zedong.This volume was originally produced in 1952 for the Communist Party of Great Britain.

A new section was added to the 1980 Canadian edition on Mao Zedong Thought and a subject guide to the works of Mao Zedong.

“Today it has become clear that Mao Zedong has made significant contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory and to the practice of socialist revolution and construction… It is recognition of the importance of Mao Zedong’s contributions that the revolutionary theory of the proletariat is today called Marxism-Leninism-=Mao Zedong Thought.”

 

Likewise with the Study Handbook produced by the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist), consisted of excerpts from the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong.

“Its aim is to bring Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to all workers who are conscious of the historical mission of their class. This science is the result of 130 years of analysis of the workers’ movement. It sums up the principle lessons and thus serves as a guide for workers in all countries in their struggle for revolution.”

It explained that

“Marxism-Leninism-Mao TseTung Thought has always developed through the struggle against revisionism, which is the attempt made by the bourgeoisie’s agents to pervert communist theory, to deform the basic principles of Marxism and have the workers’ movement follow passively behind the capitalist class.”

Of the Five Heads:5heads

“The principles they formulated are universally applicable to the concrete conditions of the revolution in every country… on the basis of their contributions communist theory is called Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung thought.”

In the transitional period that saw Maoism adopted as the preferred term there were the argument over whether to use Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism – particularly engaging were the contending views expressed by Indian communists. However even when adopted, the concept of Maoism was described in the following terms by CPI (ML) (People’s War),

“Marxism, Leninism and Maoism are thus not separate ideologies, but merely represent the constant growth and advancement of an integral ideology. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the universally applicable and scientific ideology of the proletariat.”

  • History of Marxism Leninism Maoism (2002) New Delhi : New Vistas Publication : 4

The basic premise remains that Mao Zedong Thought is an extension and development of Marxism-Leninism to the present era. This formulation was kept in the publication, Basic Course in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism republished by the Norwegian Tjen Folket in 2011, and again online in 2014 by the progressive anti-imperialist collective, Massalijn.

In the realm of internet Maoism there were declarations of “the fourth and latest stage of revolutionary science, Maoism ThirdWorldism” that emerged in the blogosphere around 2008. Associated with Monkey Smashes Heaven/ Prairie Fire (again drawing on the rich and variety maoist iconography) it initially build upon Lin Biao’s analogical strategy of the ‘countryside’ surrounding the cities underpinned by a theory12122950_1663091003932724_6146809722157539183_n of Labour aristocracy applied to the entire Global North. This view metamorphosed into the positions of the Leading Light Communist Organisation that, after advancing the argument that “to be a real Maoist today requires going beyond Mao”, came to renounce Maoism. JMP has come nowhere near spinning out of orbit like these individuals. Instead he has argued a case for a Maoism that is not rooted in a kind of seamless succession but a science that responds to the contradictions within life processes and seeks to address them. Reading Continuity and Rupture will not provide you with exam answer solutions but in its intellectual challenge, it can point you in the right direction.

 

33. Enver Praises Mao (1973)

albaniaCR68When we were friends……….

 Mao TseTung’s Birthday Celebrated in Albania

Enver Hoxha’s birthday salutations on the occasion of Mao’s 80th birthday in 1973, made references to … a great theoretician and strategist of the revolution…courageously defended the triumphant doctrine of Marxism-Leninism…. you furthered developed and creatively enriched Marxist-Leninist science in the field of philosophy, the development of the proletarian party, the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary struggle and the struggle against imperialism, and the problems of the construction of the socialist society. Your precepts on continuing the revolution under the conditions of the dictatorship , so as to carry socialist construction to final victory and bar the way to the danger of the restoration of capitalism whatever form it takes it comes from, constitute a valuable contribution, of great international value, to the theory and practice of scientific socialism. Your works are a real revolutionary education for all Marxist-Leninist and working people.”

“The Albanian communists’ and people see in you the glorious leader of the heroic Communist Party of China and of the fraternal Chinese people, the most beloved and respected friend of the Albanian people, the great Marxist-Leninist, and the tested. and unbowed fighter against imperialism, modern revisionism and Soviet social imperialism as well as against reactionaries of all shades”

hoxhachinesestudents

“You, comrade Mao Tse-tung, initiated and personally led the great proletarian cultural revolution, the triumph of which was a great victory, both nationally and internationally for Marxism-Leninism and the cause of socialism and communism. and a source of inspiration to the entire world revolutionary movement”

WHAT WAS HE SAYING IN HIS POLITICAL DIARY in 1973????

An example: In our opinion, the position which China has taken, the course which it is following in its foreign policy is neither right nor revolutionary. It is allowing moments very favourable to the revolution to go by, moments of a grave major crisis for American imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. The peoples and the Marxist-Leninists will not forgive China for these very dangerous, very negative and harmful stands.

June 30, 1973

The People Will Not Forgive China For These Dangerous Stands. Reflections on China, Vol II 1973 — 1977 :Extracts from the Political Diary. Tirana 1979 pp53-65

Click to access Enver-Hoxha-Reflections-on-China-Vol-2.pdf

At the V.I Lenin Party School Party leaders and leading ideological workers of the regime came together for a seminar that illustrated the ceremonial expectations of any public display , strong on sentiments and the absence of critical inspection.

The head of the Party School, Fiqret Shehu, in her opening address, spoke of comrade Mao Tse-tung’s image as a great revolutionary leader and outstanding Marxist-Leninist theoretician, as a great strategist of the revolution and the closest and most beloved friend of our people.

Comrade Mehmet Shehu’s opening speech reflected the general respect and rhetorical high esteem Mao was held in Albania:

Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s work will shine through the centuries, it will always be a great source of inspiration to the proletariat and people of the whole world, a banner for the world-wide triumph of socialism and communism.”

AlbaniaApril68

Comrade Shehu , like any such speech had the mandatory reference to “the great, everlasting and unbreakable friendship between the Albanian people and the Chinese people, between our two parties and our two countries, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.”

After Mao’s death in September 1976 there was to be a deterioration in that “the steel-like proletarian friendship between the Albanian people and the Chinese people, between the Party of Labour of Albania and the Communist Party of China, between the People’s Republic of Albania and the People’s Republic of China.” China’s aid to Albania was to be unilaterally terminated by China a year after the first ideological attacks against China were published in 1977 in the official newspaper of the Party of Labour of Albania , Zeri I Popullit ‘s editorial, Theory and Practice of the Revolution .Supporters of the Albanian regime condemned the “outrageous great-power chauvinist act of the government of the People’s Republic of China in cutting off aid to the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania” and they often took the opportunity to also outlines rejection of the “theory of the three worlds”. Albanian criticism of China was especially virulent in August 1977, when President Tito visited Peking, Albania later expressed support for Vietnam in its border conflict with Cambodia, which China supported, and the Albanians sided with Vietnam in its brief border war with China.

But the seminar was held in different circumstance, so comrade Hyshi Kapo’s extensive speech contained a laudatory exploration that proclaimed,

The whole glorious history of China over these last 50 years, all the victories of world historic importance which have made the Chinese people a ‘free people, master of their own destiny, and China an impregnable fortress of socialism, are linked with the name, and with the revolutionary ideas and activity of the architect of new socialist China, Chairman Mao Tse-tung.”

The following reports were delivered at the session: Mao Tse-tung, outstanding theoretician and great revolutionary leader by Professor Sotir Manushi, and , Mao Tse-tung on contradictions and the importance of knowing and solving then correctly in revolutionary activity by Dr. Servet Pelllumbi.

Similar sessions were organised at the State university of Tirana and the higher institutions of the country. The 8 Nëntori Publishing House [November 8] prepared and put on sale the new book “On philosophy, art and culture. This volume includes selected pieces from comrade Mao Tse-tung’s works.

The main political speeches were published as an English language supplement to the journal, Albania Today.

AlbaniaToday-1973-06-Sup | Albania Today No.6 1973 Supplement

The 80th Anniversary of Mao TseTung’s Birthday Celebrated in Albania

Mabel & Robert F. Williams: Monroe to Beijing.*

One of the earliest and most important black militant leaders in the modern United States, Robert F. Williams, the civil rights activist and militant revolutionary nationalist moved to China with his wife Mabel at the invitation of Mao Zedong in 1966 at the early stages of the developing Cultural Revolution. The Williams lived in China for three years.mabel-robert

In China, Robert and Mabel visited communes and factories and spoke about the civil rights struggle in the United States. Williams was named international chairman of the Revolutionary Action Movement and elected president-in-exile of the “Republic of New Africa.” In this role, he traveled throughout the developing world building solidarity with the struggles in the USA. During the Vietnam War, the activist-in-exile met with Ho Chi Minh and made radio broadcasts to African-American soldiers against racial oppression in the United States.

Finally in 1969, the Nixon administration, desperate for knowledge of what was going inside China, offered Williams and his wife amnesty in exchange for information. The Williams agreed and returned home that year.

The journey from Monroe to Beijing, via Havana.

Robert Franklin Williams (1925–1996), the grandson of a former slave, was born in 1925 in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. He was trained as a machinist in the National Youth Administration, and later attended West Virginia State College and Johnson C. Smith University.

In the 1940s, he moved to Detroit to work in the auto factories and it was there he met and married his wife, Mabel. Born in Monroe, NC in 1931, Mabel married Robert in 1947. Mabel Robinson Williams, (1931-2014), along with husband Robert F. Williams (1925 – 1996) led a campaign for self-defence that shaped the 1960s. Robert Franklin Williams work in partnership with Mabel having a profound influence on civil rights activists, sharpening the militancy and resistance to racial oppression.  Mabel Williams, who in her writings acknowledged the double oppression faced by black women, was sometimes asked how she felt about working in the shadow of her husband. She discussed her reaction to that question during a speaking engagement that was recorded and posted to Freedom Archives.

“The power structure used that, I think, to split up our movement,” she said. “I feel fine. I’m fighting for my rights just like he’s fighting for his. We’re fighting together for the rights of our people.”

Following a tour of duty in the segregated Marine Corps, Williams returned to Monroe in 1955. In the same year he was elected president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Williams would remain committed to the struggle for civil rights the rest of their lives. They were leaders of the Monroe, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP during the 1950s until early 1961, very much involved in the struggle for Civil Rights and self-determination in Union County, North Carolina during the 1950s and early 1960s when they were targeted by local authorities and the FBI.

Williams gained national notoriety for forming rifle clubs that met racist violence with armed self-defense. The civil rights organizers became advocates of armed self-defense against racist violence perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan and law-enforcement personnel in the city. The Williams organized a militant local chapter of the NAACP and an armed self-defense unit called the Black Guard in Monroe, hometown of segregationist U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, whose father served as police chief.

As president of the Union County NAACP, Williams not only revitalized the organization, but also began a non-violent campaign to integrate the county’s public facilities. He gained national attention for the notorious “Kissing Case,” defending two  young black boys (ages seven and nine) who were jailed for letting a white girl kiss them on the cheek. Although eventually pardoned the state refused to apologize for its harsh treatment of the boys. The attempts to integrate the public facilities, such as the swimming pool, were largely unsuccessful and often were met by violent resistance.

While organizing with the NAACP, Rob Williams also helped found the Union County Council on Human Relations, bringing the races together to work for black freedom. Mabel Williams served as secretary for the group, which eventually fell apart due to white supremacist backlash.

In 1959, after a jury in Monroe acquitted a white man for the attempted rape of a black woman, Rob Williams stood on the courthouse steps and declared the right of black people to defend themselves. As he said later at a press conference:

“I made a statement that if the law, if the United States Constitution cannot be enforced in this social jungle called Dixie, it is time that Negroes must defend themselves even if it is necessary to resort to violence.

That there is no law here, there is no need to take the white attackers to the courts because they will go free and that the federal government is not coming to the aid of people who are oppressed, and it is time for Negro men to stand up and be men and if it is necessary for us to die we must be willing to die. If it is necessary for us to kill we must be willing to kill.” (Sturgis April 25, 2014)

Repudiating the NAACP policy of passive non-resistance, Williams advocate a stronger means of self-defence. He urged that Afro-Americans arm themselves and meet white supremacists violence with violence. Williams’ stand on this question eventually forced a minor split in the NAACP because many black leaders had become increasingly impatient with passive non-resistance. Williams was temporarily suspended from the NAACP, but many in Union County heeded his advice and did arm themselves. The Black Guard mobilized hundreds of African Americans to defend their community against the racist violence of the Ku Klux Klan and the police.

His stance sparked a debate between himself and King on the efficacy of non-violence.

Following King’s refusal to join the Freedom Rides, Williams wrote in his newsletter The Crusader that many freedom riders were angered by King’s refusal to join the campaign because they, too, had suspended sentences:

“It is pathetic that some of the students are under suspended sentences and some are three and four time losers for freedom, yet they are participating. Maybe, in King’s estimation, they are just students and only stand to lose their lives or careers while he stands to lose a fortune in struggle and blood money” (The Crusader 2, no. 31 [5 June 1961]).

Williams also criticized King for wanting to “ride the great wave of publicity but not the buses” and purported that if King is the “undisputed leader as the white folks claim he is,” he needs to ride the buses or “quit the scene” (The Crusader, 5 June 1961).

Though SNCC representatives pleaded with King to join them on the Freedom Rides, he declined, citing his probation for a May 1960 traffic violation. In this telegram, Williams, who had clashed with King in 1959 over the role of self-defense in the movement, calls King a “phony” for refusing to participate and challenges him to “lead the way by example.”

Telegram from Robert F Williams to Martin Luther King

REV MARTIN LUTHER KING
208 AUBURN AVE NE ATLA

THE CAUSE OF HUMAN DECENCY AND BLACK LIBERATION DEMANDS THAT YOU PHYSICALLY RIDE THE BUSES WITH OUR GALLANT FREEDOM RIDERS. NO SINCERE LEADER ASKS HIS FOLLOWERS TO MAKE SACRIFICES THAT HE HIMSELF WILL NOT ENDURE. YOU ARE A PHONY. GANDHI WAS ALWAYS IN THE FOREFRONT SUFFERING WITH HIS PEOPLE. IF YOU ARE THE LEADER OF THIS NON VIOLENT MOVEMENT LEAD WITH WAY BY EXAMPLE. YOU ARE BETRAYING OUR CAUSE BY ATTEMPTING TO APPEASE OUR ENEMIES RIDE THE BUSES AS THE STUDENTS HAVE ASK YOU TO. IF YOU LACK THE COURAGE, REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE VANGUARD. I PERSONALLY CHALLENGE YOU TO RIDE FOR FREEDOM. NOW IS THE TIME FOR TRUE LEADERS TO TAKE TO THE FIELD OF BATTLE

ROBERT F WILLIAMS
PRESIDENT UNION COUNTY BRANCH NAACP.

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Robert and Mabel Williams pictured in Cuban exile.

Needless to say, a militant civil rights leader urging African-Americans to form armed militias throughout Dixie did not sit very well with local politicians or law enforcement. When the Freedom Riders brought their nonviolent campaign to integrate interstate bus travel to Monroe in August1961, they were met by Klan violence and turned to Williams’ Black Guard for protection. On August 26th violence exploded. Williams and others fought back with guns. During the height of the violence, a car containing a white couple inadvertently wandered into the black neighbourhood. Williams sheltered a white couple from an angry African-American mob only to be accused later by local and state authorities of kidnapping them .Rather than risking arrest Williams fled to New York City. With interstate flight from a warrant – a federal crime – the FBI became officially involved. Williams went to Canada and then onto Cuba, with Mabel and their two sons, where Premier Fidel Castro offered him political asylum.

Cuban Exile

The exiled activists made pirate shortwave radio broadcasts to the southern United States as Radio Free Dixie, broadcasting news, music and commentary throughout the eastern United States. They also collaborated on the book “Negroes With Guns”, an important influence on Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton.

The Williams continued to publish The Crusader, an underground newsletter they had launched in Monroe and for which Mabel Williams drew editorial cartoons. Frazier observed that in the self-produced newsletter:crusader0365

“They highlighted the racial injustice experienced by blacks in the South, emphasizing the increasing waves of racialism that were emerging from Southern blacks, and connected these struggles to international movements against imperialism, colonialism and racial oppression.” (Manning :92)

The Crusader was widely read by an emerging generation of revolutionaries who would lead the urban rebellions and form organizations such as the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Africa.

From his Cuban base, Robert Williams reached out to the international community of national liberation activists and progressive expatriates and reached a worldwide leftist audience to seek support for the black liberation struggle in the United States.

Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina and editor of the Crusader newsletter, stated in a speech on October 10, 1963, that “The same savages who rain death and destruction on the innocent women and children of Cuba, the same savages who rain death and destruction on the helpless women and children of south Viet Nam, the same savages who supply the implements of death and destruction to South Africa and Portugal, are the same who blow off the heads of little black girls in the homes and churches of Birmingham, Free World U.S.A. U.S. racism is a cancerous sore that threatens the well-being of humanity. It can only be removed and a cure effected by a surgical operation performed by the great masses of world.” ( Azikiwe  2016)

Chairman Mao Zedong, after receiving a letter from Robert Williams in 1962, responded by issuing his “Statement Supporting the Afro-American in Their Just struggle Against Racial Discrimination by US Imperialism” just days before the August 1963 March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

Mass rallies were held in China communicating their solidarity with their black brothers, and the Williams were invited to China’s 14th anniversary National day celebrations in Beijing.

Back in Havana there were deteriorating personal relations with the Cuban authorities because, Frazier explains, of the Williams criticism of anti-black racism in Cuba and their political sympathy of black nationalism; this position saw some Cuban officials refer to them as “black racists”.  (Manning :24)

NEW ADDRESS:

Robert F. Williams, 9 Tai Chi Chang, Peking, China.

In 1965, the Williams family moved to The People’s Republic of China at the invitation of Mao Zedong. They were treated like unofficial cultural diplomats and guests of the state.

In Beijing, The Crusader printing increased from 15,000 copies in Havana to 30,000 in Beijing. The Crusader’s original masthead of a sword-wielding Crusader, printed and distributed from Cuba, was replaced in the October 1966 edition, after Williams left Cuba for China, by a machine gun & flaming torch.

Their radio show was broadcast periodically to African countries, and China’s short wave radio output aimed at black Americans was increased. A documentary of their extended tour of China in 1964 was made, Robert Williams in China. There was attendance at seminars like that held to honour William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois (1868-1963) a leading African-American sociologist, writer and veteran civil rights activist.

web-dubois-shirley-graham-mao

DuBois on his third visit to China was greeted by Mao Tse-tung in early 1959.

dubois-seminar                                                              Above: Celebrating the 100th birthday of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois in Peking. Left to right: Shirley Graham DuBois, editor of Freedomways; R.D. Senanayake, Secretary General of Afro-Asian Writers’ Bureau; Chen Yi, Foreign Minister of People’s China; and Robert F. Williams.

At a 91st birthday commemoration in China DuBois made a speech at a state-sponsored banquet which was broadcast through the national media. DuBois was quoted as saying that “Come to China, Africa, and look around. You know America and France and Britain to your sorrow. Now know the Soviet Union and its allied nations, but particularly know China. China is flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood. China is colored, and knows to what the colored skin in this modern world subjects its owner. In my own country for nearly a century I have been nothing but a nigger.” (“Du Bois, 91, Lauds China,” New York Times, March 5, 1959)

On China’s National Day celebration on Oct 1, 1966, Robert huey_chouWilliams, another civil rights leader and a revolutionary, was invited to speak at Tiananmen Rostrum, with Mao standing at his side. In 1971, then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai met in Beijing with Huey Newton, leader of the Black Panther Party.

“This is the era of Mao Zedong, the era of world revolution and the Afro-American’s struggle for liberation is a part of an invincible world-wide movement. Chairman Mao was the first world leader to elevate our people’s struggle to the fold of the world revolution,” Williams said in 1967, as quoted in the article Black Like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution. In the article, the authors described how Mao’s theory inspired African-American leaders in the 1960s and ’70s, resulting in the many Maoist organizations.

robert-f-williams-with-mao-zedong

Chairman Mao Zedong signs U.S. civil rights leader Robert F. Williams’ copy of the ‘Little Red Book’ at the National Day celebrations, October 1, 1966.

In a speech given at a demonstration in Peking on Aug. 8, 1966, Robert Williams asked, and answered,

“What is the meaning of this cry BLACK POWER in a land dominated by the unmerciful power of white intruders who murdered and all but exterminated the rightful owners, the American Indians? Black Power means that black men want to have some control over their own lives, to have a respected voice in public affairs that affect them. We resent being a colonial people, treated as third class citizens in our native land. We resent being forbidden to speak for ourselves, even in black belts where we constitute as much as 85 percent of the population. We resent being deformed by a white man’s mould in a degenerate white supremacy society that derides and belittles our African heritage and make us ashamed of our ethnic characteristics. Black Power is the vehicle by which we hope to reach a stage wherein we can be proud black people without the necessity of an apology for our non-Anglo-Saxon features. The dominant society in racist America is reactionary, imperialist, racist, and decadent and we wish to disassociate ourselves from it. Black Power is a dissident force challenging the racist white power structure that is so heinously exterminating the people of Vietnam and threatening the world with nuclear destruction.” (Peking Review, Volume 9, #33, Aug. 12, 1966, pp. 24-27)

While in exile Robert Williams became the international chairman in exile of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) was the first independent Black revolutionary Marxist organization of the 1960s. Organized in 1962 by Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford), a close associate of Malcolm X and Queen Mother Audley Moore, RAM was a national semi-clandestine organization which articulated a revolutionary program for African Americans that fused Black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism.

Although it was not a large organization, RAM influenced a wide range of groups, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and the Black Workers Congress. RAM dissolved in 1969. As Max Elbaum notes, “RAM’s significance had not resided in its organizational strength, but in its popularization of revolutionary nationalist, Marxist and Maoist ideas during a critical period of the Black freedom movement.” (Revolution in the Air :65)

Williams also served as a president-in-exile for the Black separatist organisation Republic of New Africa (RNA) that advocated the creation of an independent African-American-majority country situated in the south-eastern United States, in the heart of black-majority population. A position similar to that argued in the 1930s Comintern and the Black Belt nation position that found favour among some organisations in polemics on the Afro-American National Question and Racism   in the Maoist-inclined New Communist Movement in the 1970s.

demo

Mao’s “Statement in Support of the Afro-American Struggle Against Violence” was both a condemnation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder and racial oppression in the US, and an insistence that:

“The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives’ in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.”  This position was at odds with a Black separatist perspective as the Chairman’s orthodox perspective was that “The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.”

Robert Williams travelled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in May 1968. Here he met with representatives from southern African liberation movements that had established logistic bases in the country.  In a visit to North Vietnam, where he met Ho Chi Minh and broadcast anti-war propaganda to black soldiers in South Vietnam.

He authored a pamphlet titled Listen, Brother! (1968), which deemed the war in Vietnam “a Honky trick worked up against the other oppressed colored people”. Filled with scenes of total devastation of “colored humanity” where bodies burned with napalm, Listen, Brother! urged African American soldiers to realize that participation in the war made them part of a “big mob of savage klansmen who maim and kill in the name of Christian democracy”. Critiquing the dominant cold war ideology of a bipolar power struggle as well as a perceived crisis in representative democracy, Williams hoped to turn cold war violence back against itself. He saw the war in Vietnam as a model for minority revolution in the US, where “black saboteurs” and “guerrilla enclaves” were a second front in the war for a lasting world black revolution. While he was criticized for advocating unpredictable revolutionary violence, Williams was also profoundly affected by the Cultural Revolution in China and turned increasingly to art and culture as a means to sustain the coming revolution. In Chinese propaganda, Williams found a model in which he could imagine the African American man and woman of his future nation, the Republic of New Africa.

Listen, Brother! pdf

 

Back to the USA

Mabel Williams and sons John and Bobby, returned to the United States in August 1969 and settled in Lake County Michigan.

Robert Williams followed soon after and was arrested on the outstanding kidnapping charge at Detroit Metropolitan Airport:

“Wearing a blue Chinese suit similar to that worn by Mao, Robert walked down the tarmac, clenched fist raised high in the Black Power salute. He was immediately taken into custody by the FBI and released on a personal recognizance bond of ten thousand dollars.” (Manning : 97)

In 1975 efforts to extradite him to North Carolina to stand trial on the1961 bogus kidnapping charges was resisted and despite a large campaign to stop Williams’ extradition, Governor William Milliken of Michigan extradited him. Following his acquittal, Williams returned to Baldwin.

In 1970-71 Rob Williams had taken a research position at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Chinese Studies. Drawing from his extensive stay in China, Williams was questioned by Allen Whiting who in turn advised Henry Kissinger shortly before Kissinger’s first trip to China in the opening of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

For the next twenty years, Robert F. Williams wrote books and articles about his experiences and continued his work as a civil rights activist. He spoke at the Chicago memorial meeting for Mao Zedong  in 1976, “Chairman Mao was our brother” .In the 1980s and 1990s, Williams remained active in community affairs in Baldwin and took up the cause of Clyde Cleveland, a prisoner on death row in North Carolina. When he died in 1996, hundreds of people attended services in Detroit and New York. Civil rights leader Rosa Parks delivered his eulogy, hailing “his courage and for his commitment to freedom.”  An Obituary in The New York Times said:

Mr. Williams was a ”revolutionary black nationalist” but was never a Communist, even though he sympathized with some of Communism’s goals, said his son John.

During their time in Lake County they had engaged in community activism and Mabel continued to work tirelessly until her death on April 19, 2014. She was 82.

mabel-and-robert-f_-williams-greeted-by-mao-tse-tungIn an obituary distributed at Mabel Williams’ memorial, it described, in part, their partnership and goals: The funeral service for Mrs. Williams was held  April 25 2014.

 “Mabel and Robert worked tirelessly together as one, in their contribution to the struggle to uplift black people and marginalized humanity. It is impossible to speak of Rob Williams accomplishments and exploits in the civil and human rights struggle without simultaneously discussing the significant role this warrior woman played by his side, at his back, out in front, and behind closed doors as she followed Rob all around the world advocating and sounding the alarm for our people.” Azikiwe (April 29, 2014)

 * * *

* Heavily indebted in use of the following sources

Abayomi Azikiwe , Mabel and Robert Williams: A Legacy of Revolutionary Struggle and Community Service. The Pan-African News Wire April 29, 2014.

Abayomi Azikiwe  China and the Struggle of Oppressed Nations for Self-Determination, National Liberation and Socialism

Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination: An Interview With Robeson Taj Frazier http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/159255

http://www.4thmedia.org/2016/10/china-and-the-struggle-of-oppressed-nations-for-self-determination-national-liberation-and-socialism/

Elbaum, Max (2006) Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che

Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Robert Williams Speaks in Chicago. Chairman Mao Was Our Brother Says Black Liberation Fighter. https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/cpml-williams.htm

Speech by U.S. Negro Leader Robert Williams, at a rally on August 8, 1966 https://www.marxists.org/subject/china/peking-review/1966/PR1966-33p.htm

Frazier, Robeson Taj, “Black Crusaders: the transnational circuit of Robert and Mabel Williams” in Marble, Manning & Hinton, Elizabeth Kai (2011) The New Black History. Revisiting the second reconstruction. London: Palgrave Macmillan pp91-98

Kelly, R. & Esch, B.  “Black like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution” Souls Fall 1999

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ccbh/souls/vol1no4/vol1num4art1.pdf

Robert F Williams: Self Respect Self Defense and Self Determination; An Audio Documentary as told by Mabel Williams. Audio CD and 84 page booklet. Produced by Freedom Archives. Distributed by AK Press.

Sturgis, Sue (2014) Remembering Southern Black freedom fighter Mabel Williams 2014

Tyson, Timothy B. (2001) Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power.  University of North Carolina Press

Williams, Robert Franklin

The Crusader

Negroes With Guns. (1962)

Listen, Brother! (1968)

 

 

 

 

 

 

First speech by Robert F. Williams in China’s Great Hall of the People in 1968 on the third anniversary of Mao Zedong’s speech against racial discrimination in the United States and in support of African Americans in their civil rights struggles. Topics include black power; history of African Americans; President Lyndon B. Johnson; Robert F. Kennedy; and Vietnam.

The second speech by Williams pays tribute to Mao Zedong and China and addresses the topic of the revolution against race discrimination.

http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/ref/collection/eastland/id/166

Reading Mao Zedong

a-woman-guerilla_reading1

In the tumultuous social struggles of twentieth century China, Mao Zedong strides the battlegrounds through defeat and victories. When you read the writings of Mao Zedong, you are confronted with his revolutionary theories on politics, history and economics, his tactical choices for securing the development of the party and revolutionary movement, and his strategic vision of a new social and economic order for China. Today, access to the writings, in many different language editions, by Mao Zedong is facilitated by internet access. Listed are links provided from https://emaoism.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/100-index-to-posts-50-100/

Mao Zedong, previously transliterated as Mao Tsetung, was a Communist revolutionary, leading guerrilla warfare strategist, and political philosopher. Chairman Mao was active in the Chinese Revolution, leading the anti-imperialist struggle against Japanese occupation and in the following civil war. He was part architect and founding father of the People’s Republic of China from its establishment in 1949, and the building of socialism, initiating the Cultural Revolution in the mid-1960s, providing guidance and direction until his death in 1976.selected works

Reading Mao can be complicated by his status as “the Great Helmsman”, one-time charismatic font of all wisdom and having “Mao Zedong Thought” designation as “the crystallization of the collective wisdom” of the Communist Party of China (On the Question of Party History 1981).  

Take one volume that serves as part of the body of what represents “Mao Zedong Thought” – Maoism is a term not used by the Chinese, but rather reflects the view of those outside China, that sees Mao’s theoretical and practical contribution as both universal in significance and application and should be recognised as a third stage in the development of communist thought.

Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse Tung appeared in its Chinese edition in 1964 before the launch of the Cultural Revolution.

In June 1964 two versions of Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse-Tung were published: edition A, intended for cadre party study and a smaller edition B, an abridged edition meant for the general public. Most of the texts were drawn from the existing four-volume Selected Works. Selected Readings did include Mao’s 1957 speech “On Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People”, some material from the Socialist education campaign and ended with “Where Do Correct ideas Come From” of May 1963. Edition A was the basis for an official English translation in 1967; although in 1971 another English-edition was referred to as the ‘first edition’ (incorporated the new established correct spelling for the name ‘Mao Tsetung’).

“Most of the pieces published in Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse-tung have been changed considerably since they were originally written or spoken. However, it is extremely important for us to know their present form, the form in which they are helping to shape China today. Although the selection was completed before the beginning of the new movement, the writings contained in it are those most studied in the Cultural Revolution. It includes “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People” and several other important pieces produced since 1948 which have not been in any previous Chinese collection….. The “Readings,” although abbreviated, convey some idea of the intelligence and breadth of probably the greatest man in the Twentieth Century.”

Martin Bernal , author of the Black Athena trilogy, The New York Review of Books January 16, 1969.

When reading the writings of Mao Zedong the obvious reality is that all official texts are selected texts, chosen with a purpose outside of historical record (or accuracy), so there is a difference between the original Mao speech or writings and their later published version. The revision in the editing was openly acknowledged in the publication of Selected Works, the extent of the rewriting was not. The political function of Mao’s writings underpinning the People’s Republic of China, propagating particular policies, campaigns and study focus meant that the published word (with its official stamp of approval) acted as “the ideological coinage of the State”. (Martin, 1982)

Political editing provided conformity to Mao’s writings as the stylistic refinements, not least omitting Mao’s lively, earthy and colourful expression in speech, meant the published text took on a more official tone and character. These are translated texts without the idiom of the original language however there was an also evident political consideration: the linguistic pruning of the term “comrade” and who and when it was applied was a symbolic device as persons who were in political disfavour were cast in more negative terms. Larger issues were at stake: dependent on the current state of relations with the Soviet Union, the singularities of the Chinese revolutionary experience were down play in the interest of Sino-Soviet friendship, or a greater emphasis in the direction of the Soviet role. For instance, in Volume Five, texts dealing with Mao’s visit to the Soviet Union, as well as his 1953 obituary for Stalin were not included. In earlier volumes, references to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Stalin were added partly to reinforce a political correctness in communist relations.

Selected Works obviously means omissions as well as inclusion. The delay and dispute in the publication of Volume Five, when a first draft had been available since late 1967, was because it was the focus of factional struggle as what interpretation would prevail over its content legitimizing the politics of that contentious period in modern Chinese history; would the judgements of the Cultural Revolution remain? What adjustments would have to be accommodated? Like elsewhere (in any politicians’ memoirs), political editing, not guided by historical and academic criteria, shapes the editorial process. So with Volume Five, earlier versions, with their radical commentaries, annotations and their text selection, compiled by Chen Boda and later under Yao Wenyuan, were rejected. The published Volume Five, even with an almost total lack of commentaries and footnote interpretation, still served to endorse the (then contemporary) ‘Four Modernizations’ economic focus. However it was withdrawn from circulation, regarded as tainted by Chairman Hua Guofeng’s ideological stress on Mao’s notion of “Continuing the revolution….” Interestingly a key text in Volume Five was a speech given by Mao in April 1956, “On Ten Great Relationships” in which criticism of the Soviet model had been retained unlike in earlier published versions.

Yet, while many of Mao Zedong’s important writings were from a period and conditions that no longer apply, they are the source of constant study, revisited and on reading lists the world over. Mao’s theoretical contribution to a theoretical synthesis of China’s unique experience in protracted revolutionary struggle with the tenants of Marxism-Leninism illustrated that complicated problems facing those making revolution cannot be solved by reciting the general principles of Marxism-Leninism or by copying foreign (or even China’s) experience in every detail. Mao’s admirers aboard failed too often to hear that lesson. The judgement in “On the Question of Party History” (1981) was still to read Mao:

“This is not only because one cannot cut the past off from the present and failure to understand the past will hamper our understanding of present day problems, but also because many of our basic theories, principles and scientific approaches set forth in these works are of universal significance and provides us with invaluable guidance now and will continue to do so in the future. Therefore , we must continue to uphold Mao Zedong Thought, study it in earnest and apply its stand, viewpoint and method in studying the new situation and solving the new problems arising in the course of practice.”

  1. Mao Tse-tung Library – From Marx to Mao

Published in foreign language version by Foreign Languages Press, Peking, the Selected Works of Mao Zedong were compiled and translated by the official Beijing committee. As noted previously, these are the heavily edited, authoritative word of Mao and the doctrine of the Communist Party of China.

Between 1951 and 1953, the first three volumes of Selected Works, covering Mao’s participation and leadership of the Chinese Communist movement up to 1945 and the defeat of Japanese imperialism, were published. All selections from volumes I, II and III of the Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung are English translations based on the second Chinese edition of these volumes.

Volume Four was published in 1960 concluding with the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The publication of Volume Five, which covered the mass campaigns of the 1950s and beginning of the anti-revisionist struggle, appeared in April 1977 after Mao’s death. It is worth noting that volume V was published after the death of Mao, and subsequently the English-language edition was removed from circulation.

Selections from volumes IV and V are translations from the first Chinese edition.

http://www.marx2mao.com/Mao/Index.html

Selected Military Writings of Mao Tsetung

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/military-writings/index.htm

cddf18a911ed4ea46aa02db4860d7e04Quotation from Chairman Mao TseTung 

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse–Tung more popularly known as “The Little Red Book” appeared in the Cultural Revolution period having first been produced for the People’s Liberation Army educational programme in the early 1960s. The iconic collection of quotes, devoid of their original historical and political context, reduced the complexities and richness of Mao Tsetung thought to a Chinese classical format of quotable wisdom.

 https://cpindiaml.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/redbook.pdf

Or in HTML format to individual sections at https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/index.htm

 Mao Zedong on Diplomacy 

Besides Volume V of Selected Works, an English-language collection of Mao’s writing on diplomacy was produced by Foreign Language Press in 1998. This was a translation of the 1994 Chinese language edition compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Party Literature Research Centre.  Running to 498 pages, the speeches, talks and articles are drawn from 1938-1974. A selection was made available online. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-11/06/content_7019033.htm

Other Internet Archives

Welcome to the Mao Tse-tung (Zedong) Internet Library ~ Established May 1, 1997

http://www.marx2mao.com/

Marxists Internet Archive

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/index.htm

Contains the official Selected Works of Mao Tsetung: Volume I – V and the Wansi-inspired volumes published in India by Kranti Publications, Hyderabad.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung: Volume VI – IX

The Reference Writers section provides full text access to wide-ranging writers and thinkers including selections from Chinese political leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Lin Biao, Peng Zhen and Deng Xiaoping. It includes the documents compiled, edited and published in 1978 under the title “Collected Works of Mao TseTung (1917-1949) by the US governments’ Joint Publication Research Service (JPRS).

In contrast to the dearth of translated material, the publication of Chinese language editions of Mao’s writings has gone on unabated. The Party Literature Research Centre of the Central Committee published the multi-volume ‘Mao Zedong Works’. The first volume appeared in 1993 on the Centenary of Mao’s birth, and Xinhua News Agency announced publication of the 8th volume in July 1999. The multi-volume work contains over 800 pieces not previously published in the Chinese edition of “Selected Works of Mao Zedong”, although only key items from 1966 onwards are included because the Cultural Revolution “launched by Chairman Mao, was a mistake of overall importance”.[1]

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US Government publishes Mao Zedong

A translation of ‘Wansui’ material was provided by the American government in Miscellany of Mao Tse-Tung Thought (1949-1968) Arlington, Virginia: Joint Publications Research Service, 20 February 1974. It was translated from a Chinese language collection brought out by Red Guards under the title Mao Tse-tung ssu-hsiang wan-sui [‘Long Live the Thought of Mao TseTung’]. There were two editions of materials, entitled Mao Tse-tung ssu-hsiang wan-sui the first in 1967 and then republished in an enlarged form in 1969. For an analysis of the differences between the two Wansui editions and a study of the writings themselves, see Richard Levy, “New Light on Mao,” The China Quarterly 61 (1975). It contained mostly unofficial transcripts of Mao’s speeches and interviews from 1960 onwards that are not represented in the official ‘Selected Works’.

In 1978, a collection of Mao’s pre-1949 writings was produced by the JPRS under the title, Collected Works of Mao Tsetung (1917-1949). These documents were compiled, edited and published by the U.S. Government’s Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) in 1978. According to JPRS, these documents are “selected speeches, articles, essays, reports, letters, interviews, declarations, decrees, telegrams, poems, (and) inscriptions of Mao Tse-tung covering a multitude of subjects.” In introductory notes, JPRS notes that “All articles signed by Mao Tse-tung, whether individually or jointly with others, are included.” Further, “all unsigned articles which have been verified as his work are also available.” Finally, JPRS indicates that “all works which have already appeared in the (Foreign Language Press) edition of Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung or Selected Readings of Mao Tse-tung’s Works are not included.”

http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/classics/mao/cwcia/index.html

Other Writings

Chairman mao is the greatest liberator of the world's revolutionary peopelThe main contemporary source for new English language material has been repackaged in Western scholarship rather than disseminated in English by Chinese publishers.  Since John Bryan Starr and Nancy Anne Dyer compiled a bibliography and index, entitled Post-Liberation works of Mao Zedong (1976)[2], two volumes of post-liberation writings by Mao have appeared translated from Chinese sources, under the title, The Writings of Mao Zedong: 1949-1976 edited by Michael Y.M.Kau and John K Leung[3]  covering the years 1949-1957.

An earlier published volume from Oxford University Press in 1970 was a more compact introduction that drew upon 1940s editions of Mao’s Selected Works as well as Wansui material was the Mao Papers: anthology and bibliography edited by Jerome Ch’en.

Some of Mao’s earlier work has also appeared with a study of Mao’s philosophical concerns in an English language version in Nick Knight (ed) (1990) Mao Zedong on Dialectical Materialism: Writings on Philosophy [4]  and Mao Zedong, Report from Xunwu (1930) [5].  Re-published in China in 1982, Mao’s 1930 investigative report of the rural county of Xunwu in southern China reflects detailed empirical social research undertaken by Mao, and a study from the 1940s was produced by Andrew Watson (1980) Mao Zedong and the political economy of the border region[6]

Mao’s speeches during the early period of the Great Leap Forward have been translated in Roderick MacFarquhar, Timothy Cheek, Eugene Wu (eds) The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao: from the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward (1989)[7].

A collection of Mao’s critical reading comments on Soviet political economy textbooks was translated by Moss Roberts, annotated by Richard Levy and with an Introduction by James Peck and published as A Critique of Soviet Economics (1977)[8]. Drawn from unauthorized material that circulated in China during the Cultural Revolution, Mao’s talk on Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR was probably given at the Chengchou Conference in November 1958, while his written critique was done in 1959. http://www.marx2mao.com/Mao/CSE58.html

Prominent among English-language treatment of Mao’s career is the work of Professor Stuart Schram. He has consistently explored Mao writings through his studies presenting the development of Mao’s political thinking in relation to the situation in China and the changing conditions in the course of the struggles in which Mao was engaged. Mao Zedong Thought, not as an immutable truth, has been presented to an English reading audience in Stuart Schram’s various publications.

UK publishers Penguin published The Political Thought of Mao Tse-Tung, first published in 1963 by Frederick A.Praeger, in paperback in an enlarged revised edition in 1969. A political biography, Mao Tse-Tung, was published by Penguin in 1966, and is still in print.  Mao Tse-tung Unrehearsed: talks and letters, 1956-1971 (Penguin 1974) drew upon material unofficially compiled and collected in the Wansi collections made available through Red Guard sources during the Cultural Revolution.

 Professor Schram initially led a project to publish the collected works of Mao Zedong. Under the series title, Mao’s Road To Power, Revolutionary writings 1912-1949 (New York: M.E.Sharpe) (so far seven volumes published). The analyses of Schram which stressed Mao’s early immersion in Chinese classical literature, drawing upon Mao’s numerous allusions to these in his talks and writings, developed the notion that Mao’s political philosophy, steeped in Chinese tradition, and his political practice, not least leading a successful peasant-based revolution, was substantially different from orthodox Marxism as sanctioned in the Soviet Union.

In Mao studies a group of radical academics (Richard Pfeffer, Andrew Walder and Mark Selden) engaged in scholarly dispute with the non-Marxist Sinologists Stuart Schram and Benjamin Schwartz in the journal of Modern China 1976/1977 to challenge this evaluation as being based on a rigid understanding of what constituted Maoist canon.

Paul Healy and Nick Knight offer an alternative, Marxist-orientated perspective in studying Mao’s career compared to the atheoretical textual attention of Professor Schram in the volume edited with Arif Dirlik (1997) Critical perspectives on Mao Zedong’s Thought[9]

The radical argument drew upon Mao’s clearly self-professed allegiance to Marxism, drawing upon the anti-authoritarianism of the Cultural Revolution period as well as the earlier Yenan writings of Mao that resonated with the Marx of  ‘German Ideology’ and the (then) newly emerging body of writings by the early Marx, in particular ‘Grundrisse’. Maoist-inclined intellectuals e.g. David Fernbach and Martin Nicolas provided many of the translations of these works. Mao’s criticism of ’Soviet revisionism’ and articulation of a generative class thesis under socialist state structures drew support from those attracted to an alternative vision from that provided by a Soviet Union that seemed little different from its Cold War adversaries.

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SOME INTREPREATIVE SOURCES

  • Cheek, Timothy (2010) A Critical Introduction to Mao. Cambridge University Press
  • Cook, Alexander C. (2014) Mao’s Little Red Book: A Global History Cambridge University Press
  • Communist Party of India (Maoist), Marxism-Leninism-Maoism~ Basic Course

http://massalijn.nl/theory/marxism-leninism-maoism-basic-course/

  • Dirlik, Arif; Healy, Paul; Knight, Nick (1997) Critical Perspectives on Mao Zedong’s Thought. New Jersey: Humanities Press
  • Hua Guofeng (1977) Continue the Revolution Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to the End –A study of Volume V of the “Selected Works of Mao Tsetung”. Peking Review19, May 10th 1977

http://www.massline.org/PekingReview/PR1977/PR1977-19.pdf

  • Knight, Nick (2007) Rethinking Mao: explorations in Mao Zedong’s Thought. Lexington Books
  • On the Question of Party History – Adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 27, 1981. Beijing Review, No. 27 July 6, 1981

http://www.massline.org/PekingReview/PR1981/PR1981-27-QuestionsOfPartyHistory.pdf

  • Martin, Helmut (1982) Cult & Canon: the origins and development of State Maoism. New York: M.E.Sharpe
  • Prakash, Shashi (2008) Why Maoism? Lucknow:Rahul Foundation

https://rsmtoronto.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/whymaoism.pdf

  • Sison, Jose Maria & Engel, Stefan (1995) Mao Zedong Thought Lives Volume 1: Essays in Commemoration of Mao’s Centennial. Essen: Neuer Weg Verlag & Centre for Social Studies (Utrecht)
  • Visions of Fire1 Winter 2013 : Maoism

http://www.kersplebedeb.com/thecontinuingappealofmaoism.pdf

[1] “All volumes of ‘Mao Zedong Works’ published.” Xinhua News Agency July 1st 1999.

[2]   Berkeley. Center for Chinese Studies, University of California

[3]    Vol 1 September 1949-December 1955 (1986) New York: M.E.Sharpe :   Vol 2  January 1956    December 1957  (1992) New York: M.E.Sharpe

[4] Nick Knight (ed) (1990) Mao Zedong on Dialectical Materialism: Writings on Philosophy 1937. New York: M.E.Sharpe.

[5] Translated, and with an introduction and notes by Roger R. Thompson (1990) Stanford, Calif: Standard University Press

[6] Andrew Watson (1980) Mao Zedong and the political economy of the border region: a translation of Mao’s economic and financial problems, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[7] Roderick MacFarquhar, Timothy Cheek, Eugene Wu (eds) The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao: from the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward (1989)[7] Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

[8] A Critique of Soviet Economics (1977) London: Monthly Review Press.

[9] Dirlik (1997) New Jersey: Humanities Press. See: ‘Mao Zedong’s Thought and Critical Scholarship’ pp3-20