Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Linked by Flesh-and-Blood to the People

Millions Mourn Mao Tsetung

First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 21, September 27, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“The cause that our great leader Chairman Mao devoted his whole life to is linked by flesh-and-blood ties with the masses of the people.”

With these words, Hua Kuo-feng, China’s Premier, began the eulogy for the beloved communist leader and teacher Mao Tsetung as more than a million people assembled in Peking’s Tien An Men Square on Sept 18.

The mass meeting followed a period of nationwide mourning and ended with tens of thousands of workers and peasants sobbing and crying as the music to “The East is Red” echoed throughout the capital. All week long, thousands lined up daily at the Great Hall of the People to view Chairman Mao’s body, which lay in a glass casket draped with a red flag.

Premier Hua Kuo-feng’s eulogy called Mao Tsetung “the greatest Marxist of the contemporary era.” He called on the people to carry out the directions of Chairman Mao, especially: “Never forget class struggle.”

Hua Kuo-feng said of Chairman Mao, “He pointed out that socialist society covers a considerably long historical period and that throughout this historical period, there are classes, class contradictions and class struggle...”

Hua concluded: “We must unite with all genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in the world and wage a common struggle for the abolition of the system of exploitation of man by man and the realization of communism on earth, for the liberation of all mankind! Chairman Mao Tsetung will live forever in our hearts! Long live invincible Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought!”

Around the world, leaders of countries, revolutionary movements, political parties and Marxist-Leninist organizations, issued statements on the death of Mao Tsetung. Venezuela declared a three-day period of national mourning, during which time all flags were flown at half-mast. Newspapers in Albania, Vietnam and Korea carried many major articles mourning the loss of Mao Tsetung. In Paris, more than 10,000 people participated in a mass assembly to honor Chairman Mao, which was organized by French Marxist-Leninists.

Memorial meetings held throughout the U.S. brought together thousands of workers, students, peoples of the different nationalities and from all walks of life to pay tribute to Mao Tsetung. In many cities, meetings were held jointly by Marxist-Leninist groups along with friends of China. The U.S.-China Friendship Association held local meetings in many cities. Several of the meetings were heavily attended by overseas Chinese.

The meetings were solemn testimonials to the great contributions of Mao Tsetung to the international working-class movement and to the revolutionary struggle here in the U.S.

In New York, over 2.600 people attended the East Coast Memorial Meeting for Chairman Mao Tsetung on Sept. 19, including more than 1.000 overseas Chinese. The program included speeches from Prof. Yang Chenning, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, who gave a tribute to Chairman Mao; Prof. Wang Hao, a logician at Rockefeller Univ.; Susan Warren, an author, whose speech was titled “The Great Unity of the Peoples of the World”; Chen Chien, who spoke on the ardent love and respect for Chairman Mao in the overseas Chinese community; Pan Chai-niu, whose speech was entitled “Taiwan Compatriots Will Advance Along the Path Charted by Chairman Mao”; and Zambia’s UN representative Zanbu.

Zanbu said: “Through Chairman Mao’s leadership, China achieved her liberation and won cooperation of the vast majority of the oppressed peoples of the world, especially the third world .. .Chairman Mao was a supporter not only of Zambia, but also of oppressed brothers in southern Africa.” Zanbu went on to describe China’s aid in building the Tan-Zam railway.

Messages of solidarity were received from Dr. Benjamin Spock, author Han Suyin, journalist Harrison Salisbury, folksinger Pete Seeger, actress Shirley MacLaine, writer Arthur Miller, the Bilalian News and many others.

Also in New York, a smaller crowd of communists and anti-imperialists met on Sept. 18 to hear speeches on Mao Tsetung’s contributions to the revolutionary movement around the world and in the U.S. The crowd, which included workers, foreign students and people of different nationalities, heard Ramon Morales from the OL sum up Chairman Mao’s contributions. Cultural presentations were accompanied by speeches by the Communist Youth Organization (CYO) and the United Workers Committee.


In Chicago, more than 150 people heard memorial speeches by OL Chairman Michael Klonsky and Oliver Cornell, representing the Communist Propaganda League (one of the groups in the Organizing Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party). Solidarity messages were also delivered by Tom Pace of the CYO and David Howell, a leader of the National Fight Back Organization, as well as by a representative of the Workers Congress. A solidarity statement from the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP) was also read. A new film on Chairman Mao’s life, produced by October Films, was shown, and poems and solidarity messages by prisoners were read.

Another Chicago meeting sponsored by the U.S.-China Friendship Assoc. drew 250 people, who heard a speech by Paul Lin, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, who lived for 15 years in China and was a personal acquaintance of Chairman Mao’s.

In Boston, more than 200 people, mainly workers, heard Steve Carlson, a leader of the recent wildcat strike at St. Regis Paper Company and a representative of the OL, sum up the many contributions of Chairman Mao to the international working-class movement. He characterized Chairman Mao’s outlook as one of “revolutionary optimism” and called for increased efforts in building “a single unified Marxist-Leninist party in the U.S.” The meeting was jointly sponsored by the Boston Unity Collective, October League, CYO and Boston Workers United to Fight Back. A message of solidarity was delivered from the U.S.-China Friendship Assoc. The meeting was well attended by high school and college students as well as by Haitian and other foreign-born students and workers.


The film on Chairman Mao’s life and a slide show were enthusiastically received at the Boston gathering, as were poems by Langston Hughes and Rewi Ali, whose newly-written poem on Chairman Mao was read. Many workers, some former members of the Communist Party and revolutionary activists spoke about the lessons of Chairman Mao’s life.

In Los Angeles, a meeting of 200 people was jointly sponsored by a number of Marxist-Leninist organizations, including the August 29th Movement, East Wind, Fan Di, I Wor Kuen, League for Marxist-Leninist Unity, and the October League. The meeting was held in the Chinese community. A significant number of overseas Chinese, as well as workers of different nationalities, attended.


In Atlanta, a standing-room-only crowd packed the Martin Luther King Center to commemorate the death of Mao Tsetung. The program was organized by a coalition of several groups including the October League, the CYO, Atlanta Workers Committee to Fight Back and the Revolutionary Workers Congress. Statements were made by Betty Bryant from the OL, Ken Chastain of the CYO, Ron Carter from the AWCFB and representatives of the Ethiopian Students Union, Iranian students, African Liberation Support Committee and several workers from Owens-Illinois and other plants.

A San Francisco meeting sponsored by the OL heard Odis Hyde, a veteran communist, sum up Mao Tserung’s contributions. Hyde urged the crowd: “Carry out his humble peasant’s mission. I don’t think he wants any tears. He would want you and the people everywhere to move towards his goal which is the liberation of humanity, so that no child will walk hungry, oppression will no longer exist and imperialism will be put in the dustbin of history.”

The Bay Area audience, which included workers from General Motors and other plants, also heard Mae Rush read Langston Hughes poems and speak on Mao Tsetung’s meaning to the Afro-American people. Joe Meyers, a veteran worker, spoke on behalf of the Fight-Don’t Starve Committee about Chairman Mao’s spirit of carrying the struggle through to the end and the need to overthrow the present reactionary system of capitalism.

In Washington, D.C., a meeting of 110 people on Sept 17, organized by the October League, heard Jane Walsh of the OL sum up Chairman Mao’s contributions to the struggle against revisionism and social-imperialism as well as to the worldwide movement against imperialism. An Iranian comrade read a poem about Chairman Mao in Persian, and a solidarity message was given by the Ethiopian Student Union of North America.


On the following day, more than 250 people, including many Chinese-Americans, met and heard Roy Johnson from the U.S.-China Friendship Assoc. talk about Mao Tsetung’s contributions to the Afro-American people’s struggle. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the U.S.-China Friendship Assoc. and the Committee of Overseas Chinese.

In Seattle, people gathered in a Chinese-American community only two days after learning of Chairman Mao’s death. The program was held bilingually in Chinese and English. The eulogy was delivered by October League member Loy Lock, a veteran Chinese-American worker who has participated in anti-imperialist struggles for over forty years in both China and the U.S. A solidarity speech was given by the Seattle Communist Workers group.

In Detroit, a gathering of 75 people, including a number of auto workers and Ford strikers, participated in the memorial meeting. An October League speech on Chairman Mao’s life was followed by solidarity speeches from a Latin American worker and a black South African worker visiting the U.S., who both spoke on Mao Tsetung’s contributions to the international struggle.

Mass memorial meetings were also held in New Orleans, Louisville, Milwaukee, Baltimore and other cities.