Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Guelph Maoists – A Critical Examination


First Published: Alive Magazine No. 169, October 3, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The following piece is a satirical essay delivered at a meeting in Guelph on September 9, 1980 to poke fun at some of the misconceived impressions which people have about revolutionaries and which revolutionaries have about themselves. The essay is presented in the style of a “factual” report given by a special investigator (rumoured to be from the police).

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As those of you who have attended these gatherings before well know, I have been doing an in-depth first hand investigation into many aspects of the lives of local yokel revolutionaries. Up until now I’ve described these people as “revolutionaries”. I’m not sure what the word “revolutionaries” evokes in your mind – whether the image you associate with “revolutionary” really conjures up the true weirdness of these political wackoes. To be more accurate, I should call them “Maoist revolutionaries” or simply “Maoists”. I think that single word, Maoists, gives you an image of these people’s sheer madness.

It’s that time of the year again for the Maoists – time to commemorate the death of their god, Mao Zedong. Four years ago the senile, crippled mass murderer of millions went, as these Maoists are fond of saying, to take account with Marx. For Maoists around the world, September 9, 1976 was a time of momentary and hypocritical homage to their god before the vicious in-fighting started. In every corner of the globe the Maoist “church” quickly came apart at the seams. Most confusing was the abrupt turn about by some sects such as the notorious “Marxist-Leninist partyers” – upholders of Maoist politics one year, vigorous opponents of “reactionary” Mao Zedong Thought the next. Fervent Maoists turned into fervent anti-Maoists, I guess proving the Marxist gobbledygook law of things turning into their opposites.

In Guelph, this meant the number of groups out and out calling themselves “Maoist” was cut in half – from two to one. And, you guessed it, I happen to be speaking to you tonight at a meeting sponsored by Guelph’s one and only fanatical Maoist sect.

Before we go any further, I should let you in on the first lesson in dealing with Maoists: Don’t call them “Maoists”. That’s a no no. Call them “Upholders of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought” and you are in for smooth sailing. But use the word “Maoists” and you’re in trouble. For some reason, adding “i-s-t-s” to the end of Mao’s name is a cardinal sin with these wackoes, even though it most accurately describes what they are all about. Just try calling them “Maoists” sometime. You’ll get responses like, “Maoists! There’s no such thing as Maoists” or, even better yet, “Maoists? Maoists? I don’t even think I’ve ever heard that word before. What does it mean?”

How do you recognize a Maoist then? And what sets a Maoist group apart from other religious and political sects?

First off, watch out for little Mao buttons, like this one. (Shows a Mao button.) In the past, local Maoists used to wear them openly, on the front of their peaked caps or on the lapel of their Mao suits. Nowadays, however, such devotion is not quite so “in”. Still, the diehard Maoists will always keep the Mao buttons in their pockets. When you talk to them they fondle the buttons, shifting them from hand to hand. If you’re quick, you can pick out this nervous habit.

In the course of my investigation here in Guelph I’ve gone into a number of Maoist homes. Throughout each home, on every table and shelf, are little red books of Mao quotations. Favourite quotes from Mao are typed up and posted on the walls. Then there’s the pictures of Mao – in the bedrooms, kitchen, in the living room above the TV, even in the bathroom. Young Maoist toddlers wander from room to room, endlessly repeating, “Where’s Mao? Where’s Mao?” They don’t shut up until they are shown a picture of the god. When these young children are shown pictures of any Chinese people, in fact, they mindlessly say, “There’s Mao” as they point to each Chinese face. This is the degree that Mao is deified in the Maoist homes.

Get into a discussion with a Maoist and you’re bound to see the mechanical, strident way they worship every word of Mao Zedong. Every time I get into a discussion with one of these wackoes, they squint their eyes at me and hiss “Imperialism and all reactionaries are paper tigers”. That’s a quote from Mao. Or another bastardized quote they love throwing in your face is, “The political line decides everything.” Because they believe Mao was infallible, and because they believe they are living in Mao’s shadow, no one else can possibly challenge anything they say. Their attitude is, “We are Maoists. Only we understand reality.”

Maybe some of you here doubt what I have to say. Maybe some of you are thinking, “Oh come on. The Maoists can’t be that bad.” Well, I ask you to seriously analyze your immediate surroundings – this meeting.

First, how many of you have the perception that this meeting is modelled after a church service? 1 certainly have this perception, and, there’s good reason for this – it is a church service. The formalism and pious devotion at the root of this meeting are exactly the same as what you’ll find in a church service at any local “house of god”. Take this sacrificial banner at the front of the meeting room. Sure, I know if you ask the Maoists they’ll say, “Oh, we just put the banner up to note milestones in the historical progression of the science of revolution.” Nice words, eh? But don’t you think there’s a better way of marking the progress of history than deifying five individuals? And anyways, take a close look at the banner. If it was a historical banner it should go Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and then Mao. But look who’s got centre stage, all out of historical sequence – Mao. Friends, I rest my case, this is a Maoist devotional banner.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Before this meeting I engaged in a little peeping Tom detective work. You won’t believe what I discovered. The fanatic who gives the speeches at these meetings came down the stairs and prostrated himself in front of Mao’s picture. The he came over to this lectern, grabbed a handful of rice, threw it over his shoulder and performed a weird fire ritual in front of Mao just like this. (Lights camphor in a tray and moves tray in a circle.)

Things you never knew about these Maoists, eh?

But, let’s face it, there’s more to these Maoists than superstition. You’re probably asking, “What’s the substance of the Maoist outlook? Why do they do what they do? What keeps the sect together?”

Friends, let me enlighten you. Coercive authoritarianism is the basis for relations between Maoists. Sure, you and I both know that Mao said, “Cure the sickness, to save the patient” and advocated using persuasion. Well, these Maoists view yelling, screaming, making mocking cuts and even, believe it or not, strangulation, as techniques of persuasion. Anything short of murder is called “persuasion”.

Therefore, I caution you all before you get into any disagreements with these wackoes. After this meeting there is going to be a circle discussion and, I warn you, look out. Don’t criticize the speech or bring up any disagreements. These Maoists will turn their “persuasion” techniques towards you, and, let me tell you from personal experience, you’ll be lucky to escape with your life.

How do the Maoists respond to new ideas or different ideas? In my experience their vocabulary of response is limited to three words, “What an asshole!” Mao promoted the phrase, “Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words” but these Maoists know the way Mao really operated – say one thing and stab people in the back while they’ve got their guard down.

This indicates the essential method of work of the Maoists – conspiratorial. Do you think you can ever get a straight “personal” opinion out of one of these wackoes? Never! It’s always the close mouthed “Maoist” position. They want to draw you out all the way before they give you any indication of their own views. They’re always trying to build manipulative, one sided relationships where they’ve always got the upper hand. Secretive, conspiratorial dirty dealing is their watchword.

The effect of this style is to always limit their efforts to a small circle of manipulated, mindless morons. I know, they argue the small circle has “great unity of thinking and purpose” but, we can’t forget the basis of that unity – coercion. Quite simply, it’s impossible for the group to grow because it’s impossible for the authoritarian leadership to manipulate any more than a small number of people. The Maoists’ entire orientation determines their weakness and lack of influence. After all, look at how few people they managed to drag out to this meeting. Furthermore, I imagine most of you are like me – here against your better judgment.

There’s more to the Maoist group. It’s sexist. Just look at the way the Maoist men carry themselves. Obviously, they’re big male chauvinists. The Maoist women are repressed and relegated to making suppers, cleaning house, looking after kids and doing office work. Mao said, “Women hold up half the sky” but as far as these Maoist men are concerned, it’s the “domestic” half. Men still make all the decisions.

And, of course, the Maoist attitude towards women, and the group’s secrecy, raise the worrisome question of sect behaviour. Who knows what goes on in the Maoist group – who sleeps with whom, what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe, just maybe, these Maoists are weirder than anything we’ve ever read about in the National Enquirer. Maybe they’re really strangoes. I don’t know, mind you. But it’s something to ponder on, and it’s a damn good reason to be cautious of these wackoes.

And this all leads to the question, “Why do they do what they do? What is their motivation” Well, in reading some material from Britain, I learned the motivations of the Maoists. They believe that Hua Guofeng, China’s current Chairman, is the new god. It’s their view that Hua is going to lead the Chinese people in conquering the whole world, using the latest in technologically advanced space warfare. The Maoists are just biding their time and not doing too much, waiting for the yellow Maoist hordes to swarm over the world, backed up by Hua’s space guns. It almost seems too farfetched to be true, eh? Not so. And did these British Maoists call themselves “Maoists”? Of course not. They are the “Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.”

As you can probably guess, the Guelp Maoists – shocked by this open and honest statement of all Maoists’ secret conspiratorial aims – say this British group was formed by the police as a mockery of followers of Mao Zedong Thought to discredit them in the eyes of ordinary people, people like you and me. Well, let me tell you, it’s not just police training that makes me view Maoists as totally discredited.

In conclusion, I urge you all to place the Maoists at the top of your list of wacko, dangerous religious and political sects.