contradictions among the people

Chris Burford cburford at
Tue Jul 4 08:02:41 MDT 1995

Carrol wrote
    In his short message on anti-semitism C. Burford speaks of
"contradictions among the people." The phrase seems relevant, but we
can't keep it unless we wish to acknowledge some place in "our" history
to Mao, for he coined the term in his essay of that title. Any attempt to
"purify" our tradition backwards<<<

Indeed, as the rest of his post implies, why should we not acknowldege
some place in the history of marxism to Mao and the Chinese Communist
Party, and how can we avoid acknowledging the place of Stalin and
the CPSU?

More properly the named individuals really need to be
seen as set in the context of enormously complex historical processes,
over which they too had limited control.

Mao's essay, written in two versions at a turning point in the
history of China, seems to me in a dialectical way, to have
postive and negative features. The issues are extremely important and
fundamental, and I think he made a contribution by placing them on the
table, despite his subsequent serious mistakes.

I think it would be better if we are not squeamish about refering to
the positive aspects of the experience of the Chinese Communist party,
but if Carrol is right that the terminology is too loaded, all I
am saying is that we are dealing with conflict.

In order successfully to
deal with the conflict with capitalism, it may be valuable to pay
increased attention to how we constructively manage conflict among
"ourselves" and our allies. Put this way I assume such a proposition
is not controversial.

Chris Burford, London.

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