Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Michael Lee

Saluting the 90th anniversary of Mao’s birth

First Published: Unity, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 25-February 7, 1984.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: 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.

Ninety years ago in a small village in southeast rural China, an infant was born to a peasant family. Growing up amidst poverty and rebellion, this youngster became a revolutionary and a communist. Like so many others of his countrymen, he understood that only the overthrow of the rule of imperialism and feudalism could deliver his country from its bleak existence.

Mao Zedong eventually became the leader of the Chinese Revolution and the greatest hero of the Chinese people. He was an outstanding leader among a generation of extraordinary individuals.

These communists became notable because they helped express the deepest sentiments of the Chinese masses for liberation. They were both the products of their society as well as its transformers.

Throughout his entire life, Mao stressed the need to understand the concrete conditions of society as a prerequisite for changing society. He adopted Marxism as a guide to action. He adamantly opposed any form of dogmatism, formalism and abstract thinking. Mao adopted those aspects of Marxism and the revolutionary experiences of other people that were useful for the Chinese Revolution; he discarded or modified those which were not helpful. And most important, he further developed the theory of Marxism-Leninism to solve the problems of the Chinese Revolution. Through this process, he enriched the entire body of the heritage of the revolutionary proletariat.

Although developed on the particularities of the Chinese Revolution, the writings of Mao Zedong nevertheless contain invaluable lessons for the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. They contain insights that will help us grapple with the particularities of the U.S. revolution.

His essays such as On Practice, Rectify the Party’s Style of Work, Talks at the Yenan Forum on Art and Literature, Combat Liberalism, and many others merit close study and thought. We can learn from Mao’s method of solving problems, building the communist party, developing strategy and tactics, and upholding proletarian internationalism.

Comrade Mao Zedong passed away seven years ago, and during this time many have tried to deny the importance of his writings. Promoters of Soviet imperialism, cynical and disillusioned radicals, and propagandists for the bourgeoisie all have tried to belittle Mao’s legacy. But any sincere individual wanting revolutionary change in the U.S. cannot read Mao’s writings today without being struck by the clarity of his thought, the wisdom of his approach to solving problems, the understanding of revolutionary processes, and his unshakable determination combined with a broad sweep and practicality of thought.

December 26 was the 90th anniversary of Mao’s birth and is an occasion to reaffirm the importance of studying his writings.