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Communist China

During the Sino-Japanese war of 1937, the Kuomintang immediately suffered major
military defeats and lost control of eastern China. It was only saved from total
hopelessness or defeat by Japan’s suicidal decision to attack the United States
and invasion of Southeastern Asia. But military rescue from Japan brought no
significant improvement in the Kuomintang’s domestic performance in the
political and economic fields, which if anything to get worse. Clearly the
pre-Communist history of Modern China has been essentially one of weakness,
humiliation, and failure. This is the atmosphere in which the CPC developed its
leadership and growth in. The result has been a strong determination on the part
of that leadership to eliminate foreign influence within China, to modernize
their country, and to eliminate Western influence from eastern Asia, which
included the Soviet Union. China was changing and even developing, but its
overwhelming marks were still poverty and weakness. During their rise to power
the Chinese Communists, like most politically conscious Chinese, were aware of
these conditions and anxious to eliminate them. Mao Tse-tung envisioned a mixed
economy under Communist control, such as had existed in the Soviet Union during
the period of the New Economic Policy. The stress was more upon social justice,
and public ownership of the “commanding heights” of the economy than
upon development. In 1945, Mao was talking more candidly about development,
still within the framework of a mixed economy under Communist control, and
stressing the need for more heavy industry; I believe because he had been
impressed by the role of heavy industry in determine the outcome of World War
II. In his selected works he said “that the necessary capital would come
mainly from the accumulated wealth of the Chinese people” but latter added
“that China would appreciate foreign aid and even private foreign
investment, under non exploitative conditions.” After Chiang Kai-shek broke
away from the CPC they found themselves in a condition that they were not
accustom to, they had no armed forces or territorial bases of its own. It had no
program of strategy other than the one that Stalin had compromised, who from the
Sixth World Congress of the Comintern in 1928 to the Seventh in 1935 insisted,
largely because the disaster he had suffered in China that Communist Parties
everywhere must promote world revolution in a time of depression. The CPC was
ridden with factionalism; the successful effort to replace this situation with
one of relative “bolshevization” or in layman’s term this means
imposed unity, which was ultimately made by Mao Tse-tung, and not by Stalin.

Parallel with the Comintern-dominated central apparatus of the CPC in Shanghai,
there arose a half dozen Communist-led base areas, each with a guerrilla army,
in Central and South China. These bases existed mainly by virtue of the efforts
of the local Communist leadership to satisfy the serious economic and social
grievances of the local civilians, often violently, through such means as
redistribution of land at the expense of landlords and the reduction of interest
rates at the expense of moneylenders. Of these base areas, or soviets, the most
important was the one led by Mao Tse-tung and centered in the southeastern city
of Kiangsi. Correspondingly, in return for such service Mao was elected chairman
of a Central Soviet Government, who supposedly controlled all the Communist base
areas in 1931. Before I tell about Mao Tse-tung, I will tell you about Maoism.

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By Maoism or “the thought of Mao Tse-tung” as the CPC would put it is
the entire evolving complex of patterns of official thought and behavior that
CPC has developed while under Mao’s leadership. It was very difficult to
unscramble Mao’s individual contribution while not confusing it with other
thinkers of this time period as many have done and are still doing to this date.

It is also difficult to separate the pre-1949 and the post-1949 aspects and the
domestic from the international aspects. The first basic and most important
characteristic that I believe is a deep and sincere nationalism that has been
merged with the strictly Communist elements. Then closely resembling nationalism
was his populism approach so full of strain that the CPC saw itself not merely
as the Vanguard of the common people, plus as the progressive side of the middle
class, but as representative of the people. This was important as it played the
opposite position of the “three big mountains” (imperialism,
feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism) and still yet accept the passively the
leadership CPC. Maoism still possessed two other points that are significant in
understanding this ideology, it recognizes the decisive importance in history of
conscious, voluntary activity and of subjective forces in more detail than the
sometimes compared Leninism which was opposed to deterministic, objective
forces. The last point it brings out is that Maoism stresses contradictions and
struggle, or what might be called the power of negative thinking, to the point
where it invents enemies of all types and comments on their size and calls them
“paper tiger” as he did in a speech in 1950.



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