Monday, May 25, 2009

On Maoism

From my Facebook post on Advocates of Communism, discussion on China: Admittedly, I have studied China's incursion into "socialism" little, but I have been trying to learn more lately. The first thing that is notable is how un-Marxist Mao was. According to James Gregor in "Marxism, China and Development" Mao discouraged reading and as a result had read very little Marx. "In his candor, he admitted that at the time of joining the Communist party he had read only parts of the Communist Manifesto, a book by Karl Kautsky, and another by Thomas Kirkup on the history of socialism" (Gregor 2000). Gergor continues to say that he improved on the basis of EXTREMELY limited knowledge of Marx only slightly, having passed over the Thesis on Fuerbach by the late 30s (ibid.) Richard Pfeffer (1977) appears to argue the same (I can't access the entire article on J-Store from my comp) it is Vol. 3, No. 4, 379-386. In regards to Deng Xiapeng, he should be seen not solely as a deviation from Maoism but also from Marxism. The central problem with Deng Xiapeng was not that he abandoned Maoism, which was certainly replete with serious problems, serious violations of human rights and Marxist principles. The problem with Deng Xiapeng is that he sought to glorify capitalism and sided with the most reactionary forces of the time, leading China to go so far as invade Vietnam and call for the US to invade Cuba. I think we can and must learn from both the good and bad of all of the socialist experiences.

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