Chinese Praxis The Political Thought of Mao Zedong




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Chinese Praxis

  • The Political Thought of Mao Zedong


Chinese Marxism

  • Strangeness of socialism with Chinese Characteristics

  • Consistent with Marxism-Leninism

  • Mao Zedong thought spurred hope of communists despairing of Western complacency and worried those in the West hoping for peace



The Life of Mao Zedong

  • Born December 26, 1893 – Eldest Child in a peasant family

  • Participated in Chinese revolution overthrowing the Manchus 1911

  • May 4th Movement protesting transfer of German held Chinese territory to Japanese 1919

  • Joined Communist party 1921

  • Report on the Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan 1927

  • Long March 1934-35 – Epic Journey traveling 6000 miles to establish new communist base in Yanan. Of 100,000 participants only 20,000 survived

  • War with Japan 1937-1945 – United Front established with Kuomintang to defeat Japanese

  • The People’s Republic of China proclaimed 1949



Imperialism and Mao’s Rural Strategy

  • From urban proletariat emphasis to peasant emphasis inspired by Kuomintang purges of the urban base party

  • The party should lead the peasants

  • Poor peasants play leadership role in the revolution

  • Base should be placed in inaccessible countryside

  • Guerilla warfare as means of waging war



China’s Path to Socialism

  • Time needed to move toward socialism

  • Any group is it thinks correctly can belong to the people – proletariat, peasantry, petite bourgeoisie, and national bourgeoisie – People’s democratic Dictatorship

  • Developing heavy industry and developing class consciousness with emphasis on the red side of red/expert problem – criticized Soviet Union for losing the emphasis on ideology in favor of industrialization



Mao on Contradiction

  • Breakthroughs in the theory of dialectical materialism – everything contains contradictions

  • Antagonistic contradictions – Class struggle only can be resolved through victory

  • Nonantagonistic contradictions – peaceful methods of criticism preferable for resolving conflict

  • Relationships vary according to historical circumstance and may require violence to resolve antagonistic contradictions

  • Marxism will pass away and something higher will come to replace it



The PRC and the USSR

  • Soviet and PRC split and ideological conflict

  • De-Stalinization – Mao affirmed Stalin’s value though acknowledging some of his errors such as the cult of the hero

  • China needed to use heavy handed methods associated with Stalin to bring order – Mao embraced cult of the hero for this purpose



Revisionists and “Paper Tigers”

  • Chinese refused to accept peaceful coexistence with capitalism

  • Militancy more words than practice – potentially useful as a means of uniting Chinese people

  • Chinese accused Soviet leadership of becoming an elite divorced from their own people – Soviet State was counter-revolutionary and prevented the Chinese people from realizing their revolutionary destiny



Mao Zedong as Symbol

  • Mao as teacher

  • Dislike of formal education

  • Wisdom of the uneducated masses

  • Cultural Revolution 1966-1969 instituted to breakdown growing class stratification

  • Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong – presents an argument for perpetual struggle



China after Mao

  • Death of Mao 1976

  • Trial of the Gang of Four

  • The rehabilitation of Deng Xiaoping and the emphasizing of the expert part of the red/expert problem

  • De-Maoification or de-sacralization – Yanan heritage

  • Pragmatic Mao used as stamp of approval on reform movement in China



The Rise of Deng Xiaoping

  • Veteran of the Long March

  • Sympathetic to expert/bureaucratic side of expert/red spectrum

  • Opposed “whatever faction”

  • Deng used Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong thought to advance his reform ideas

  • Four modernizations and new open door policy – Market socialism

  • Adherence to four cardinal principles – keeping to the socialist road, upholding the people’s democratic dictatorship, following the leadership of the communist party, and applying Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong thought as defining and limiting factor for reforms – NEP programs utilizing incentives and decentralization to achieve economic goals



The Rise of Deng Xiaoping - Continued

  • Tremendous economic growth

  • Inflation

  • Corruption

  • Rising expectations

  • Opposed political liberalization – Tiananmen Square 1989



The Fall of Deng Xiaoping

  • The Hundred Flower Campaign, the Great Leap Forward (1957-1958), the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969), Democracy Wall Campaign (1979-1980), and the pro-democracy movement 1989

  • Deng’s appointed successors are removed from power but Deng played role in appointing Jiang Zemin, a supporter of the Tiananmen crackdown



Concluding Thoughts

  • Balancing authoritarian politics and market liberalization

  • Controlling corruption

  • Relations with the West

  • Mao Zedong Thought

  • Deng Xiaoping Thought



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