The Political Thought of Mao Tse-Tung

The Political Thought of Mao Tse-Tung

The Political Thought of Mao Tse-Tung

The Political Thought of Mao Tse-Tung

Excerpt

Although the first chapter of this anthology is the shortest this does not imply that it is the least important. In the Introduction I have attempted to indicate the limitations imposed on Mao Tsetung's nationalism by his being a Marxist-Leninist who thinks not only in national but also in class terms. But I also emphasized how deeply this nationalist impulse is rooted in his personality. If, from the standpoint of rational analysis, classes have a certain priority in his thinking, on the level of sentiment and instinctive reactions, it is probably his attachment to the nation that predominates, or has predominated until recently.

This nationalist reflex will be documented throughout this whole volume, whether it be with reference to the anti-Japanese war, to cultural policies, or to relations with Moscow and with the other underdeveloped countries. This chapter focuses on the admiration of Mao Tse-tung for his country and its inhabitants, and more particularly for the "People of the Hans" (Han Tsu), who constitute the overwhelming majority of Chinese.

Whereas certain other ideas of Mao Tse-tung's have undergone considerable changes with the passing of the years, the theme treated in this chapter reveals an astonishing continuity of thought. Text I A, written in 1919, and Text I D, a speech delivered on the eve of the founding of the Chinese People's Republic, span a period of more than thirty years. And yet their essential ideas are almost identical: The Chinese people, a great people, is suffering under manifold oppression; only revolution can put an end to this oppression and sweep away internal and external reactionary forces, after which the people of the Hans will once more manifest all its genius.

At the same time, Text I A shows Mao closer to a Westernizing attitude, blaming much of China's misfortunes on the backwardness of her own social system, than he has ever been before or since. It also reflects something of the fervor and exuberance that characterize the May 4th period as a whole, and of which Mao had more than his share. It is worth pointing out that, although a certain degree of skepticism is in order about the way in which Communist historians . . .

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