Mao Zedong Thought

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Not to be confused with Maoism.
"Strengthen the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought"

Mao Zedong Thought[a] (Simplified Chinese: 毛泽东思想; Traditional Chinese:毛澤東思想; Pinyin: Máo Zédōng sīxiǎng) is a development of Marxism–Leninism adapted for the material conditions of China. MZT was originally developed by Mao Zedong and other members of the CPC during his time. Mao Zedong Thought is ultimately the sinicization of Marxism; the belief that the Party should adapt the basic principles of Marxism to the material conditions of China's reality. China's material Marxism is the system of socialism with a scientific world outlook. It is a practical and open philosophy, and has been sinicized and meticulously put into practice in China.

That the CPC's understanding of the real conditions must be based on China's specific circumstances, and it should always seek truth from facts. Only in this way can the basic principles of Marxism be applied to solve the problems and address the contradictions within Chinese society. The basic principles of Marxism and China's fine traditional culture should be integrated. Fine traditional culture corresponds to the inherent values that Marxism advocates, and is fertile ground for the sinicization of Marxism.

Mao Zedong Thought is a fine example of integrating Marxist principles with Chinese culture. For example, the term "seeking truth from facts" first appeared in the ancient book History of Han Dynasty, but Mao gave it an ideological meaning by using it in his Marxist theoretical discourse. Similarly, Xiaokang (moderately prosperous) first appeared in The Book of Songs, but Deng Xiaoping endowed it with the meaning of Chinese-type modernization, and thus made it a pivotal term in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the era of Reform and Opening Up.

Developmental Background[edit | edit source]

The changes in the world and China's political situation in the early and middle period of the 20th century are the background for the emergence and formation of Mao Zedong Thought:

1. The emergence and formation of Mao Zedong Thought is an objective need and historical product of the development of modern Chinese society and revolutionary movements.

2. The growth of new social productive forces and the development of the labor movement provided a material basis for the emergence and formation of Mao Zedong Thought.

3. The rise of the New Culture Movement and the introduction of Marxism–Leninism

4. The practice of revolution and construction led by the Communist Party of China is the practical basis for the formation of Mao Zedong Thought.

5. The personal factors of Mao Zedong and the Communists represented by Mao Zedong are the indispensable subjective conditions for the formation of Mao Zedong Thought.

Formation[edit | edit source]

Mao Zedong Thought is the product of the combination of the basic theory of Marxism–Leninism and the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. It is the first major theoretical achievement of the Sinicization of Marxism. The formation of the theoretical system of doctrine has laid a solid theoretical foundation.

Since its establishment, the Communist Party of China has been guided by Marxism–Leninism and started a brand-new Chinese revolution. The Chinese Communists, represented by Mao Zedong, based on the basic theory of Marxism–Leninism, made a theoretical summary of a series of original experiences in the practice of the Chinese revolution, and formed a scientific guiding ideology suitable for China's situation — Mao Zedong Thought.

For a long time, in the international communist movement and the Communist Party of China, there was a erroneous tendency to dogmatize Marxism and sanctify the resolutions of the Comintern and the experience of the Soviet Union. As a result, the Chinese revolution was almost in a desperate situation. Mao Zedong Thought was gradually formed and developed in the process of fighting against this erroneous tendency.

During the early stages of the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong, starting from China's history and social conditions, demonstrated the status and role of various classes in Chinese society in the revolution through investigation and research. The initial lack of success in the Chinese Civil War taught the Chinese Communists a profound lesson.[1]

During the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the Party led nearly a hundred armed uprisings, including the Nanchang Uprising, the Autumn Harvest Uprising, and the Guangzhou Uprising, and began an armed struggle against the Kuomintang reactionaries, establishing the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Base .

During this period, Mao Zedong was concerned with the reasons and conditions for the existence and development of China’s red regime and its role in the revolution, the line of agrarian revolution, the construction of a new type of people’s army and the strategic and tactical principles of the Red Army’s operations, and the conditions in the countryside and in the war environment. Issues such as the construction of the proletarian party were scientifically expounded, and a new revolutionary road was successfully opened up in which the countryside encircled the cities and the armed forces seized power. This marked the beginning of the formation of Mao Zedong Thought.

The Seventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in April 1945 established Mao Zedong's leadership in the entire party. From then until the period of the Anti-Japanese War, the party and Mao Zedong conducted in-depth theoretical research. Mao Zedong wrote a large number of important theoretical works, profoundly summarized and comprehensively and systematically expounded a series of major theoretical issues of the Chinese revolution, absorbed new experience in the War of Resistance Against Japan, and formed a relatively systematic philosophical thought, military thought, united front thought and party building thought.

In particular, Mao Zedong systematically and completely expounded the basic theory, basic line and basic program of the new democratic revolution, and brilliantly demonstrated the party's policies and strategies during the democratic revolution period, which are of great significance for guiding the Chinese revolution. This marks the maturity of Mao Zedong Thought. During the National War of Liberation and after the founding of New China, Mao Zedong Thought continued to develop.

Mao Zedong's important thoughts on socialist revolution and socialist construction are concentrated in "Report on the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China", "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship", "On the Ten Major Relationships", "On the Correct Handling the Problem of Contradictions Among the People", "Speech at the Enlarged Central Work Conference" and other major works have been reflected.

Mao Zedong is the main founder of Mao Zedong Thought. During the long and arduous struggle, Mao Zedong applied dialectical materialism and historical materialism to all the work of the Communist Party of China, forming a position, viewpoint and method with Chinese Communist characteristics. This is mainly about seeking truth from facts, the mass line and independence. It was by adhering to these positions, viewpoints and methods that he was able to creatively develop Marxism–Leninism and put forward systematic and complete scientific theories, strategic strategies and a series of lines, principles and policies about the Chinese revolution.

At the same time, Mao Zedong Thought is the crystallization of collective wisdom. Many outstanding leaders of the party, including Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Ren Bishi, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, etc., have made important contributions to its formation and development. The ingenuity of the Communists is a summary of the experience of the party and the people in the great revolutionary practice.  

In March 1941, Zhang Ruxin, a theoretical worker of the party, used the term "Comrade Mao Zedong's thought" for the first time in his article "On Bolshevik Educators". On July 5, 1943, Liu Shaoqi published an article using Comrade Mao Zedong 's two concepts of "ideology" and "comrade Mao Zedong's ideological system".

On July 5, 1943, Wang Jiaxiang first proposed the concept of Mao Zedong Thought in the article "The Communist Party of China and the Road to China's National Liberation" published in "Liberation Daily".[2] The Party Constitution of the Ninth National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1969 stated that Mao Zedong Thought is the guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China. Since then, Mao Zedong Thought has been prescribed as the guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China.[3]

In 1981, the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China passed the "Resolution Concerning Certain Issues Concerning the History of the Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China ", arguing that Mao Zedong Thought was the crystallization of the collective wisdom of the first generation of central leadership of the Communist Party of China .

Definition and Status[edit | edit source]

In 1981, at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the "Resolution Concerning Certain Historical Issues of the Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China" summarized the content of Mao Zedong Thought, and believed that Mao Zedong Thought enriched and developed Marxism with original theories in six aspects. The living soul of Mao Zedong Thought, contains standpoints, viewpoints, and methods that are represented with the six components and the three basic aspects.[4]

The six components:

  1. On the New Democracy
  2. On socialist revolution and socialist construction.
  3. On the construction of revolutionary armies and military strategy.
  4. On policy and strategy.
  5. On ideological work, political work and cultural work.
  6. On party building.

The three basic aspects:

  1. Seek truth from facts: To link theory with practice, emancipate the mind, and test the truth with objective praxis.
  2. The mass line: That is, everything is for the masses, everything depends on the masses, comes from the masses, and goes to the masses
  3. Independence: That is to put the policy on the basis of the reality of the country and the power of the people of the country, and find out the way forward that suits the material conditions of the country.

The 6 Components:[edit | edit source]

New Democracy[edit | edit source]

The New Democracy (Chinese: 新民主主义; Pinyin:Xīn mínzhǔ zhǔyì) is a revolutionary form of government developed by Mao Zedong, based on the alliance of 4 progressive classes (the proletariat as the ideological core, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie) in semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries. The goal of New Democracy is to advance to the dictatorship of the proletariat through the dictatorship of the 4 classes or the people's democratic dictatorship.[5]

Mao Zedong studied the characteristics of the Chinese revolution and the laws of the Chinese revolution, developed the Marxist–Leninist thought on the leadership of the proletariat in the democratic revolution, and created the leadership of the proletariat; the theory of the new democratic revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism based on the people's masses. Representative works in this area include: " Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society ", " Investigation Report on the Peasant Movement in Hunan ", "A Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire", "On New Democracy ", " On Coalition Government ", etc.

Its basic points:

First, correctly understand the various classes in Chinese society, especially the bourgeoisie. He pointed out that China's bourgeoisie consists of two parts: the big bourgeoisie attached to imperialism and the national bourgeoisie, which has both revolutionary demands and vacillation. The united front led by the proletariat must enlist the participation of the national bourgeoisie and, under special conditions, a part of the big bourgeoisie, in order to isolate the main enemy to the greatest extent possible.

The second is to correctly understand the main forms of the Chinese revolution. He pointed out that since there is no bourgeois democracy in China and the reactionary ruling class uses armed force to implement a dictatorial and terrorist rule over the people, the revolution can only take the long-term armed struggle as the main form. China's armed struggle is a revolutionary war led by the proletariat with peasantry as the main body. Through the establishment of rural base areas, long-term revolutionary struggles are carried out to develop and strengthen the revolutionary forces.

Mao Zedong pointed out: "The united front and armed struggle are the two basic weapons to defeat the enemy." In addition to the party's own construction, it has become the three main magic weapons of the Chinese revolution. This is how the Communist Party of China has become the leadership core of the whole nation and created a road that encircles the cities with the countryside. This is the basis for finally seizing the road to national victory. The theory of new democratic revolution is the main sign of the maturity of Mao Zedong Thought.

On the socialist revolution and socialist construction[edit | edit source]

Based on the economic and political conditions for the transition to socialism created by the victory of the New Democratic Revolution, Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China adopted the policy of simultaneous socialist industrialization and socialist transformation, and implemented a specific policy of gradually transforming the private ownership of the means of production. It solved the difficult task of establishing a socialist system in China, a large country with nearly 1/4 of the world's population and backward economy and culture.

The combination of democracy among the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries put forward by Mao Zedong is the theory of the people's democratic dictatorship, which enriches the Marxist–Leninist theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. After the establishment of the socialist system, Mao Zedong put forward a series of correct ideas and policies with strategic significance, including:

Regarding the contradictions that still exist in socialist society, the basic contradiction is still the contradiction between production relations and productive forces, the contradiction between the superstructure and the economic base, and we must strictly distinguish and correctly handle the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy and the contradictions among the people;

Among the people, we must practice "unity-criticism-unity" in politics, "long-term coexistence and mutual supervision" in the relationship between the party and the democratic parties, "let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend" in scientific and cultural work, and "let a hundred schools of thought contend" in economic work.

Overall planning and appropriate arrangement and a series of correct policies; about not using foreign experience in machinery, but proceeding from the fact that China is a large agricultural country, using agriculture as the basis, correctly handling the relationship between heavy industry, agriculture, and light industry.

The idea of ​​emphasizing agriculture and light industry and embarking on a path of Chinese industrialization that suits China's national conditions; the strategic thinking of mobilizing all positive factors, turning negative factors into positive factors, and uniting the people of all ethnic groups in the country to build a powerful socialist country; and so on. These correct ideas, guidelines and propositions have important guiding significance for the exploration of the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics later.

On the construction of revolutionary armies and military strategy.[edit | edit source]

Third, on the construction of the revolutionary army and military strategy. Mao Zedong systematically solved the problem of how to build a revolutionary army with peasants as the main components into a new type of army that is proletarian in nature, has strict discipline, and maintains close ties with the masses of the people. He stipulated that serving the people wholeheartedly is the sole purpose of the people's army, stipulated the principle that the party commands the guns and not the guns command the party, formulated the three major disciplines and eight points of attention, emphasized the implementation of the three major democracies of politics, economy and military, and the implementation of officers and soldiers. Consistency, the unity of the army and the people, and the principles of disintegrating the enemy, put forward and summarized a set of policies and methods for military political work.

In his military writings such as " Strategic Issues in China's Revolutionary War ", " Strategic Issues in the Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War ", " On Protracted War ", and "War and Strategic Issues", Mao Zedong summed up the experience of China's long-term revolutionary war and systematically proposed the construction of the people's army.

He put forward the idea of ​​using the people's army as the backbone, relying on the broad masses of the people, establishing rural base areas, and carrying out the people's war. He formulated a series of strategies and tactics for the people's war for the revolutionary army, and summed up the famous ten military principles in the War of Liberation.

These are Mao Zedong's most outstanding contributions to the military theory of Marxism–Leninism. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, he put forward the important guiding ideology of strengthening national defense, building modern revolutionary armed forces (including navy, air force and other technical arms) and developing modern national defense technology (including nuclear weapons for self-defense).

On Policies and Strategies[edit | edit source]

Mao Zedong brilliantly demonstrated the extreme importance of policy and strategy in the revolutionary struggle, pointing out that policy and strategy are the life of the party and the starting point and destination of all practical actions of the revolutionary party; formulate party policy that combines principle and flexibility. In terms of fighting against the enemy and united front work, he put forward many important policy and strategic ideas. These policy and strategic thoughts of Mao Zedong are reflected in many of his works, especially in "Current Tactics in the Anti-Japanese United Front", "On Policy", "About Several Important Issues in Current Party Policies", "Imperial Doctrine and All Reactionaries Are Real Tigers" and other works.

On Ideological, Political work and Cultural work.[edit | edit source]

According to Mao Zedong, "a certain culture (culture as an ideology) is a reflection of the politics and economy of a certain society, and it also exerts great influence on and acts on the politics and economy of a certain society; while the economy is the foundation, and politics is the concentrated expression of the economy."

This basic point of view has put forward many important ideas of long-term significance.

For example:

With regard to ideological and political work being the lifeline of economic work and all other work, the policy of unifying politics and economy, unifying politics and technology, and being both red and expert should be implemented;

The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contending, weeding out the old and bringing forth the new, making the past serve the present, and making foreign things serve China;

Regarding the important role of intellectuals in revolution and construction, intellectuals should integrate with workers and peasants, and establish a proletarian world outlook by studying Marxism–Leninism, studying society, and working practice thought, and so on.

Mao Zedong's many famous works on ideology, politics and culture, such as " Speech at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art ", " Commemorating Bethune ", " Serving the People ", and " The Foolish Old Man Moves Mountains ", etc are still of great significance today.

On Party Building[edit | edit source]

In a country where the proletariat is small in number but strong in fighting power, and where peasants and other petty bourgeoisie make up the majority of the population, it is an extremely difficult task to build a proletarian party with broad masses and Marxism. Mao Zedong's theory of party building successfully solved this problem.

Mao Zedong paid special attention to building the party ideologically. He proposed that party members should join the party not only organizationally but also ideologically. He often paid attention to reforming and overcoming various non-proletarian ideas with proletarian ideas. He pointed out that the combination of theory and practice, the style of being closely connected with the masses of the people, and the style of self-criticism are the distinctive signs that the Communist Party of China is different from any other political party. In response to the "Left" mistakes of "cruel struggle and merciless attack" that existed in the inner-party struggles in history, he put forward the correct policy of "learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones, curing diseases and saving patients", and also created a Marxist–Leninist practice of criticism and self-criticism in the whole party. The rectification form of ideological education.

On the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, in view of our party becoming the party leading the national political power, Mao Zedong repeatedly proposed that comrades must continue to maintain a style of modesty and prudence, guard against arrogance and impetuosity, and work hard, guard against the erosion of bourgeois ideology, and oppose divorce from the masses. These important thoughts have enriched the theory of Marxist party building and pointed out the correct direction for the construction of the Communist Party of China.

The living soul of Mao Zedong Thought is the stance, viewpoint and method throughout the above theories. There are three basic aspects, namely, seeking truth from facts, the mass line, and independence. Mao Zedong applied dialectical materialism and historical materialism to all the work of the proletarian party. During the long and arduous struggle of the Chinese revolution, he formed these positions, viewpoints and methods with Chinese Communist characteristics, which enriched and developed Marxism–Leninism. They are not only manifested in all of Mao Zedong's scientific works, but also in the revolutionary activities of the Chinese Communists.  

Key Concepts[edit | edit source]

The Mass Line[edit | edit source]

The Mass Line (Simplified Chinese: 群众路线; Pinyin: qúnzhòng lùxiàn) is the political, organizational and leadership method developed by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Chinese revolution. The essential element of the mass line is consulting the masses, interpreting their suggestions within the framework of Marxism–Leninism, and then enforcing the resulting policies. It is a basic part of Mao Zedong Thought, one of the guiding ideologies of the Communist Party of China, and is declared by the Communist Party of China to be one of the three basic aspects of the "living soul" of Mao Zedong Thought. Summarized by Mao Zedong as "all for the masses, everything depends on the masses" and "from the masses, to the masses"[6]

People's War[edit | edit source]

People's War (Simplified Chinese:人民战争; Traditional Chinese: 人民戰爭; Pinyin: rénmín zhànzhēng), officially called the Protracted People's War, is a military strategy developed by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China as an alternative to the conventional struggle brought by the Bolsheviks.

Holding that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun", Mao Zedong thought emphasises the "revolutionary struggle of the vast majority of people against the exploiting classes and their state structures", which Mao termed a "people's war". Mobilizing large parts of rural populations to revolt against established institutions by engaging in guerrilla warfare, Mao Zedong Thought focuses on "surrounding the cities from the countryside".[7]

The Sinicization of Marxism[edit | edit source]

The Sinicization of Marxism (Chinese: 中国化马克思主义; Pinyin: Zhōngguó huà mǎkèsī zhǔyì) was formally put forward by Ai Siqi in April 1938 and firmly put forward in 1941. The sinicization of Marxism is simply applying dialectical materialism to China’s reality, develop the world outlook of dialectics and historical materialism on China’s own territory according to China’s own material conditions, so that it can become a way to create a new China.

In the process of Sinicization of Marxism, Mao Zedong’s philosophical thought and the philosophical thought of socialism with Chinese characteristics came into being. These two achievements play an important role in guiding China’s progress.[8]

People's Democratic Dictatorship[edit | edit source]

People's democratic dictatorship (simplified Chinese: 人民民主专政; traditional Chinese: 人民民主專政; pinyin: Rénmín Mínzhǔ Zhuānzhèng) is a phrase incorporated into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. The concept of people's democratic dictatorship is rooted in the "new" type of democracy promoted by Mao Zedong in Yan'an during the Chinese Civil War.

At its founding the PRC took the form of a people's democratic dictatorship. In the Chinese political framework, revolutionary consciousness and revolutionary activity distinguish "the people" from counter-revolutionaries. Within the PRC, the democracy includes united revolutionary classes and supportive political parties operating under the leadership of the CPC. It could include workers, peasants, intellectuals, petty bourgeoisie, and even national bourgeoisie who supported the revolutionary project.

Seek Truth from Facts[edit | edit source]

Seek Truth from Facts (simplified Chinese: 实事求是; traditional Chinese: 實事求是; pinyin: Shí shì qiú shì) is a slogan first used by Mao but was coined in the Book of Han. It describes a studious and educational attitude towards reality. By looking to the material conditions to see the reality of how things are, only then can one be a good communist. Mao Zedong first quoted "seeking truth from facts" at the Sixth Plenary Session in 1938:

"Communist Party members should be a model of seeking truth from facts and a model of foresight. Because only by seeking truth from facts can we complete the definite tasks; only with foresight can we not lose the direction of progress." [9]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Early revolutionary base areas and their main founders - Toutiao
  2. "One Daily Idiom: The Spiritual Genealogy of Chinese Communists" insists on the organic unity of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts . - Toutiao
  3. Constitution of the Communist Party of China (1969) . Wikisource . People's Daily.
  4. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China . Resolutions on Several Historical Issues of the Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China -
  5. Mao Zedong (1993). The New Democratic Revolution: 'Tasks of the Chinese Revolution' (Turkish: Yeni Demokratik Devrim) (p. 48). The Umut Publishing.
  6. "Resolution on Several Historical Issues Concerning the Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China"
  7. On Protracted Warfare - Mao Zedong
  8. On the Characteristics and Laws of the Sinicization of Marxism - Xiao Ping, Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai, China. Published by David Publishing
  9. The Position of the Communist Party of China in the National War" (October 1938) "Selected Works of Mao Zedong", Volume II, page 510

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Chinese: 毛泽东思想