Friday, November 16, 2007

Fallen Soldiers Friday: Mao Tse Tung

Every Friday I will post a biography of an honored hero in the revolutionary struggle. Some will be well-known freedom fighters like Sojourner Truth or James Baldwin, others, so not well known. Because not all believed in the same strategy to achieve liberation, we will see a conflict of ideas. Something that we can draw upon to construct our views today.


Mao Tse Tung (1893 – 1976)

The son of a peasant farmer, Mao Tse-tung was born in the village of Shao Shan, Hunan province in China. At age 27, Mao attended the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai, in July 1921. Two years later he was elected to the Central Committee of the party at the Third Congress.

From 1931 to 1934, Mao helped established the Chinese Soviet Republic in SE China, and was elected as the chairman.

Starting in October 1934, "The Long March" began – a retreat from the SE to NW China. In 1937, Japan opened a full war of aggression against China, which gave the Chinese Communist Party cause to unite with the nationalist forces of the Kuomintang. After defeating the Japanese, in an ensuing civil war the Communists defeated the Kuomintang, and established the People’s Republic of China, in October 1949.

Mao served as Chairman of the Chinese People’s Republic until after the failure of the Great Leap Forward, in 1959. Still chariman of the Communist Party, in May 1966 Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution with a directive denouncing "people like Khrushchev nestling beside us." In August 1966, Mao wrote a big poster entitled "Bombard the Headquarters."

Served as Party chairman until his death in 1976.

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung

We should be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness, and serve the Chinese people heart and soul....

"China's Two Possible Destinies" (April 23, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III p. 253.

All our cadres, whatever their rank, are servants of the people, and whatever we do is to serve the people. How then can we be reluctant to discard any of our bad traits?

"The Tasks for 1945" (December 15, 1944).

Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people's interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means.

"The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan" (August 13, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 16.

In order to build a great socialist society it is of the utmost importance to arouse the broad masses of women to join in productive activity. Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work in production. Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole.

Introductory note to "Women Have Gone to the Labour Front" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. I.


other brotha said...

Peace, This is Kazembe Balagun from NYC. I wanted to say I love your blog and like to get in contact with you. Hit me back!

Dave Marlow said...

I have never been comfortable with calling Mao a hero, least of all one who should be honored. Though his crimes have been exaggerated (I one time had someone claim that 100 billion people were killed by Mao in China..), he remains one of the 20th-centuries worst butchers.

The religious were greatly persecuted under Mao's rule and much dissension and freedom of expression was suppressed. Many executions took place without anything even resembling due process and whether his intent was malicious or not, his mismanagement of the Great Leap Forward cost millions of people their lives. If the left will blame President Bush for the Katrina travesty, Mao equally should be blamed for his inability to address the needs of the Chinese populations during a time of famine, flooding, and natural disaster.

blackstone said...

I'm not a Maoist or even a big fan of Mao Tse Tung thought. In fact i am very critical, as most Maoists will attest to, of Mao and MLM. I really don't know too much about the alleged crimes he committed, maybe you will be willing to comment more on that. The GLF was a failure and i don't think anyone accept hardline Maoists would deny that. I believe even the CCP official stance was that it was a failure and mistake also.

Like i always say for fallen soldiers fridays, alot of people that i post as a fallen soldier have conflicting ideologies with other fallen soldiers, with me and the readers. You may dislike Trotsky, Lenin, Mao, Eldridge Cleaver, etc, but you can't deny that they brought something new to the movement, whether positive or negative, that we can learn from.

My stance right now is i don't think Mao was a monster. I think he was wrong on a lot of things, but i don't think he was an evil person. Just think he went about the wrong way doing shit.

and other brotha, imma get at you!

BA77 said...

The only thing people like Mao, Stalin, and Lenin have thought me is that state power cannot be entrusted in the hands of people. I thank them for pushing me to the ideology of anarchism...that's about it, though.

I've never understood why some anarchists admire communists, regardless of the brand of Marxism.

Royce Christian said...

Mao was a murderer, fair enough that he wanted to make things 'fairer' for the Chinese people, but like all statists he wound up killing all those he initially wanted to protect. I agree with ba77, Mao and his fellow statists (Hitler, Stalin are two other extreme examples) are the ones that I can credit with turning me to Anarchism.

blackstone said...

royce and ba77, i agree. I credit authoritarians like Lenin, Mao, Stalin and Company for being a libertarian and adopting anarchist principles and aims! We want self-management not dictatorships!

LeftyHenry said...


to call Mao a butcher is absurd. The GLF built people's communes throughout China where people lived together, worked together, and shared everything collectively. Through the system, health clinics, childcare clinics, schools and collective farming emerged. The result was that the life expectancy of chinese people doubled from 30 years to over 60, infant mortality plummeted to the extent that Shanghai had a lower rate than NYC at the peak of the GPCR, literacy soared from about 15% to over 80% by Mao's death. In short, Socialism in China saved lives. The fact that China experience the worst 3 years of weather in its history has nothing to do with Mao, it has to do with nature. You're simply repeating bourgeois anti-socialist propaganda meant to show the failures of collectivized agriculture and the success of the privatized psuedo-slave plantations of capitalism. Well, the truth is that under capitalism, there were famines every single year throughout China, time and time again record books would report crop failure. If Mao was such a butcher, then explain why it was in fact, under Mao that China once and for all ended its famines!.

There are of course reasons to criticisize Mao Dave, but your critiscisms are critiscisms from the right-wing bourgeoisie rather than from a revolutionary socialist perspective.

It was Mao himself who said "bombard the headquarters" as Blackstone noted, so I don't think this means freedom of expression was suppressed. primary sources during the Cultural Revolution and the Socialist Education program before it tell of entire cities being covered in Big Character posters by students and workers speaking out. The most militant of students didn't give up though once they ran out of walls, they built temporary ones of of plaster instead! Of course there were excesses as there always are in mass movements but with freedom there is always a small cost


I'm glad you posted this. This Fallen Soldier Friday thing you have is really interesting. Will definately continue to follow