October 5, 1928; Mao Tse-Tung on pre-communist China

The opening cover with a picture of Mao a few pages in.


I have recently acquired a book (thanks family), the ‘Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse-Tung’. It was published by the Foreign Language Press in 1966 in Peking, China. The English version is presumably to reach a larger audience, evident by my possession of it. One of the opening pages affectionately states: “WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!” What’s also interesting is the complete absence of copyright on anything; this is due to the fact that, as far as I know anyway, the Communist Bloc did away with copyright altogether as it was seen as a bourgeois innovation.

Military writings and military history in general aren’t my forte but there is an interesting political section that gives us an insight into Mao Tse-Tung’s mind. He begins by giving the reader an interpretation of the political atmosphere in China. This includes condemnation of the ‘Kuomintang’ war lords such as Chiang Kai-shek, Feng Yu-hsiang, Chang Tso-lin and their imperialist machinations. He goes on to state that the political and economic emancipation of the proletariat would not be possible without the complete destruction of the machinery of the ‘comprador’ and ‘landlord’ establishment.

A re-occurring theme throughout is the ‘use and abuse of the proletariat’ for the benefit of the aristocratic classes. In the case of Chinese communism, a revolutionary situation developed over several decades. Mao states that the proletariat revolution of 1926-27 began with the best of intentions but a lack of effective leadership allowed the comprador and landlord classes to take control and initiate a counter-revolution. Despite this temporary failure we all know that the revolution of 1949 removed Chiang Kai-shek from power anyway.

The final political comments talk about how Red political power could survive in China. Mao states that it cannot exist in a country that practices imperialism or a colony under the direct control of an imperialist nation. China at this stage in its history was economically backward and suffering due to the wars within the ‘White’ regime that was in place. According to Mao this rare political and social atmosphere was the catalyst for Red power and eventual proletariat rebellion. For clarification when using the word ‘White’ I am referring to the aristocratic ‘white collar’ class as opposed to the race of people. Finally a strong Red army is needed to combat the standing armies that would typically be used to crush any uprisings in their advanced stages, the dissidents would be sufficient to combat the levies but not a professional army.  I find this interesting as the Chinese have used the Red Army to crush dissent in recent history, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 are a good example. Mao also stresses the importance of a nationwide revolutionary situation, this was an issue in Russia where the peasant city goers joined Leon Trotsky in uprisings in Petrograd and Moscow but the White landowners were alienated. Consequently they joined the effort to defeat the Communists on a military level and thus the “war of the pygmies” (Winston Churchill) had begun.

Thank you for reading; I may extend this topic further at a later date.

M Spake




Filed under Reason

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