Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

E.B., Chicago

Criticize errors, uphold Mao


First Published: A Letter to the editor in The Call, Vol. 10, No. 4, June 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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I would like to respond briefly to Jim Hamilton’s point about the failure of our trend, which he identifies with Maoism. The errors now under sharp criticism in our organization didn’t just occur because of a few individuals or only in the CPML. Viewing M-L as a dogma, an overreliance on the political line of China, overestimation of the consciousness of the masses, sectarianism–these are real problems of our trend.

But these are not the sum total of our trend. In opposition both to revisionism and to the petty bourgeois politics of the student movement, our trend took a strong stand on many essential questions of Marxism-Leninism.

In some of these areas, of course, we made serious mistakes. But our left errors in evaluating Kampuchea, for example, surely don’t mean that we were wrong to oppose the Soviet-Vietnamese invasion and to be able to explain that as more than an “aberration of socialism.”

As for Maoism–if only we’d really understood Mao’s teachings on the united front and the mass line. If only we had absorbed from Mao’s writings the need to make a concrete analysis of class forces in any given situation. Mao’s understanding of contradictions and relationships between tasks could have helped us avoid much of our sectarianism and stage-skipping, had we only grasped it. Mao deepened M-L in relation to China, it’s true, but not just for China.

History may show that Mao’s policies were responsible for the loss of many lives. It has already shown, however, that his leadership played a big part in China’s liberation, which rescued millions of lives, put an end to literal slavery, persecution and immeasurable misery. That is a tradition we should proudly uphold.