Lin Biao/Cultural Revolution

Chris Burford cburford at
Thu Sep 14 07:55:15 MDT 1995

Thank you  for your post attached below.

I do not have any knowledge of the groups you mention.

I assume that the contradiction with Lin Biao was one that in Mao's
theory was a contradiction among the people, that turned antagonistic.
It is not clear to me how much he was planning a military coup himself
and how much he became alarmed at the preventative measures Mao was
putting in place against a military coup, and decided he was himself
in danger.

I understand that conflict arose over a proposal that Mao should
become Head of State, which he saw as an attempt to promote himself
into an honorific position. But behind this there were presumably
differences about what had happened in the Cultural Revolution.

Do you accept as probably authentic the statement attributed to
Mao that the Cultural Revolution was 70% good and 30% bad?
I am sorry that I cannot afford the time to access your archive. In
any case on an important theoretical question like this affecting
1/5 of the world's population, I would appreciate your own view here
about what was positive about it and what was negative. I would say
this is not just a serious academic question but a serious
theoretical question of marxism. I look forward to your reply.

Chris B, London.

MIM replies: There was an organization in California called the
Committee for a Proletarian Party. They used to hold that the split
with Lin Biao was the central downfall of the Cultural Revolution.
We distributed their literature as reference material.

There is no doubt that the split with Lin Biao did cause
massive damage to the Cultural Revolution. We now distribute
another book on this same question that touches on the
strategy issues of the Cultural Revolution. (Anyone who wants
MIM lit. might try writing to mim at for info.)

We wish we could speak with the living members of Mao's
central leadership to see if they would have handled any of this differently
a second time. There is a good case for saying no.

Military coups are a constant danger in any society with a military which
is going to be any society until we reach the upper stages
of communism with no state.

Last we heard there was no group upholding the Cultural Revolution
in England, correct? A number went defunct and another group
claiming Mao upholds Hua Guofeng, but not the Gang of Four.
What do you think of the Stalin Society? Have you heard of it?

Pat for MIM

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