Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Mao Tse-Tung 1893-1976

First Published: The Organizer, Vol. 2, No. 5, October-November 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Mao Tse-Tung, leader of revolutionary China for more than half a century, is dead.

It is impossible to describe in a few words Mao Tse-Tung’s extraordinary role in modern history: few individuals in the seven or eight thousand years of all recorded human history can equal it.

As a young student from educated parents in the China of the early 1900s, Mao, like many of his generation, ardently supported the aspirations of the Chinese people for an independent, modern, democratic Republic of China, free from the twin burdens of feudalism and foreign colonial exploitation. But Mao came into contact with the theory of Marxism, and grasped with all his might recognizing the tool that, in the hands of the Chinese people, would lead the way to their true liberation.

His career from that point on was phenomenal: one of the handful of Marxist students and intellectuals in China in the early 1900’s, a young working-class organizer and founder of the Communist Party of China in 1921, a Party leader in the early Chinese revolutionary periods of the mid-twenties, the military leader of the anti-Japanese resistance of the thirties and forties, the internationally recognized leader of the Chinese workers and peasants in the final victory of the socialist revolution in the revolutionary civil war of the late 40’s the leader of the Chinese workers’ and peasants’ state and the Chinese Communist Party in their mighty efforts to construct socialism in the largest country of the world, and finally, the leader of the current within the international communist movement that broke with modern revisionism and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in order to uphold the revolutionary heritage and truth of Marxist science and stand fast on the path from socialism to communism.

Theoretician, military scientist, poet, philosopher, general, organizer, party leader, statesman: throughout, it is Mao Tse-Tung the Marxist that stands out, for it was his firm grasp of Marxism that provided the foundation for all his immense contributions to China and the peoples of the world.

For us today, eulogizing his death, the most fitting tribute we can pay is to learn from Mao Tse-Tungs’s life...to learn from Mao Tse-Tung the Marxist. Mao understood that Marxism is above all a living science, that its power and strength as a science reside precisely in its ability to grow and develop with society. Mao rose to leadership within the Chinese Communist Party in the struggle against mechanical and dogmatic “Marxists” that insisted that socialist revolution would come to China exactly in the manner that it had to Russia. Throughout his lifetime he reinforced that leadership in similar struggles against “Marxisms” that were unable or unwilling to recognize that the test of Marxism is its ability to transform society. His lifetime of leadership culminated in the critique of revisionism centered in the CPSU, a sham “Marxism” that abandons the revolutionary transformation of society, capitulates to the inevitable difficulties on the road to revolutionary progress, and seeks to accommodate itself to capitalism, both internationally and domestically.

Much has been made in the past in the U. S. press and mass-media of the so-called “cult of personality” around Mao Tse-Tung; we have been indoctrinated in a thousand ways to believe that Mao was a “power-mad” dictator. Much of this mythology has been undermined in the recent period as the basic facts about Chinese society become more known to the U.S. public; it will entirely disappear in the near future as the revolutionary movement in the U.S. grows.

History, the final arbiter of all human endeavor, will judge Mao Tse-Tung as one of the greatest leaders and teachers humankind has yet produced.