re-mao thought?

hariette spierings hariette at
Fri Apr 12 03:40:53 MDT 1996

>re-mao thought?
>Is armed struggle always effective in achieving collective objectives?
>Although this is very difficult to substantiate, a slew of precedents
>can be summoned - Lenin & Mao, Ho Chi Minh & Castro, etc.
>At the same time, in the war between labour and capital, unarmed
>struggle has been common. The ability of the masses to refuse, to say
>no, has always been our most powerful weapon. More powerful, some
>might say, than  atom bombs - a weapon over which we will never
>have democratic control.
>I would like to ask both Maoists & Maoans about what I  - perhaps
>mistakenly - perceive to be contradictory about Mao's thought/praxis
>in regard to armed struggle, armies & arms.
>Mao said & other have repeated that power comes from the barrel of a gun.
>Yet in the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima,
>he remarked (to Anna Louise Strong) that the atom bomb was a paper
>tiger. It was the people, he explained, who decide the outcome of a war,
>not the weapons.
>Why then, after  falling out from under the Soviet nuclear "umbrella," did
>China embark on a nuclear arms program, under what I assume must have been
>Mao's guidance?
>michael luftmensch

People's War is a concept that includes both armed struggle as well as many
forms of unarmed struggle - not everything in a war is achieved by weapons,
most principal is the role of people.  It is people who wield the weapons
and the principal arming is the "arming" of the mind, since once armed with
a liberating ideology, the mind will arm the hand with whatever weapon is
necessary for the task of liberation, be it the weapon of criticism or the
criticism by means of weapons.

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun is a truth of class
society.  He who holds the gun, holds political power.  That is a
self-evident tautology, and no amount of passive resistance will suffice
against an armed enemy determined to impose its will.  At most, compromises
in order not to have to use the weapons would be entered by oppressors in
order to get the masses to resume their yoke under lighter conditions, but
yoke nevertheless, a yoke that in no way entails ultimate political power
being surrendered - only excersised in a "different way" which can be sold
to the masses in order to win their acquiensce in continuing to be ruled.
Even the "weight of the masses" as political power (counter-balancing)
already entails a form of arming (since organising of the masses is already
a form of "arming").  So it is armed struggle - understood as the test of
force - of all kinds - which alone can determine who would rule and guide
society, proletariat or bourgeoisie.

Atomic weapons can not decide the political issues by themselves, and war is
the continuation of politics by means of violence.  People wield weapons,
and people can defeat all types of weapons.  That does not mean that having
one's own atomic bomb will not serve to protect the masses from slaughter
>from those who would not hesitate to use it if they thought that their
political aims could be achieved by such means, just like having one's own
armed forces does prevent the enemy from riding roughshod over people.

Mr. Luftschmench can not help being an idealist in demanding from the
proletariat to adhere to a superior code of ethics that in fact will disarm
it in the face of the oppressors while considering the opressors own
arsenals as the most natural thing in the world.  But then, Mr. Lufstchmench
is not a Marxist.

Adolfo Olaechea

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