by James Thompson

This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of Maoist tactics. However, perhaps some communists can benefit by reviewing some of Mao Tse-Tung’s writings which may have some relevance to the current conditions of struggle of the working class. As with Joseph Stalin, it is important to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Both Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung led great nations forward in the struggle for socialism and against fascism and imperialism. This should never be forgotten.

The first quotation is from Mao Tse-Tung’s work “On Contradiction”:

“Every difference in men’s concepts should be regarded as reflecting an objective contradiction. Objective contradictions are reflected in subjective thinking, and this process constitutes a contradictory movement of concepts, pushes forward the development of thought, and ceaselessly solves problems in man’s thinking.

Opposition and struggle between ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society. If there were no contradictions in the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party’s life would come to an end.” (p. 317)

The next quote is from his work “Be a True Revolutionary”:

“Whoever sides with the revolutionary people is a revolutionary. Whoever sides with imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism is a counterrevolutionary. Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in word only but not in deed is a revolutionary in word. Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a true revolutionary.” (p. 38-39)

“At home, we must unite all the nationalities, Democratic classes, Democratic parties, people’s organizations and patriotic Democrats and consolidate the great, prestigious Revolutionary United front already in existence. Whoever contributes to the consolidation of this Revolutionary United front is doing right, and we welcome him; whoever harms this consolidation is doing wrong, and we oppose him. To consolidate the Revolutionary United front, we must use the method of criticism and self-criticism…This is an excellent method, which impels every one of us to uphold truth and rectify error, and it is the only correct method for all revolutionary people to educate and remold themselves in a people’s state.” (p. 39-40)

Of course, the economic and political situation now is different from what it was at the time of these writings. However, the experience of this person in leading the struggle of working people against right wing oppression and terrorism may have some relevance in the current situation. It is always a challenge to find a way to apply learnings from the past to the present. However difficult it may be, the struggle may help advance the cause of working people.