Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


July & August 1919

This article and the following one were extracted from the manifesto written by comrade Mao for the first issue of his magazine, Hsiang-chiang p'inq-lun, in July 1919, and from his article 'The great union of the popular masses’, published in nos. 2-4 of the same periodical, July and august 1919.]


….. What is the greatest question in the world? The greatest question is that of getting food to eat. What is the greatest force? The greatest force is that of the union of the popular masses. What should we not fear? We should not fear heaven. We should not fear ghosts. We should not fear the dead. We should not fear the bureaucrats. We should not fear the militarists. We should not fear the capitalists....

The time has come! The great tide in the world is rolling ever more impetuously! .... He who conforms to it shall survive, he who resists it shall perish...

As a result of the world war and the bitterness of their lives, the popular masses in many countries have suddenly undertaken all sorts of action. In Russia, they have overthrown the aristocrats and driven out the rich... The army of the red flag swarms over the East and the West, sweeping away numerous enemies... The whole world has been shaken by it.... Within the area enclosed by the Great Wall and the China Sea, the May 4th Movement has arisen. Its banner has advanced southward, across the Yellow River to the Yangtze. From Canton to Hankow, many real-life dramas have been performed; from Lake Tungt'ing to the Min River the tide is rising. Heaven and earth are aroused, the traitors and the wicked are put to flight. Ha! We know it! We are awakened! The world is ours, the nation is ours, society is ours. If we do not speak, who will speak? If we do not act, who will act? If we do not rise up and fight, who will rise up and fight? . . . .

It is not that basically we have no strength; the source of our impotence lies in our lack of practice. For thousands of years the Chinese people of several hundred millions have all led a life of slaves. Only one person — the 'emperor'— was not a slave, or rather one could say that even he was the slave of 'heaven'. When the emperor was in control of everything, we were given no opportunity for practice.

We must act energetically to carry out the great union of the popular masses, which will not brook a moment's delay. . . our Chinese people possesses great intrinsic energy. The more profound the oppression, the greater its resistance; that which has accumulated for a long time will surely burst forth quickly. The great union of the Chinese people must be achieved Gentlemen! We must all exert ourselves, we must all advance with the utmost strength. Our golden age, our age of brightness and splendour lies ahead!


Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung