re-mao thought on war

Michael Luftmensch MLuftmensch at
Tue Apr 16 19:00:38 MDT 1996

re-mao thought on war

Hello Chris, - Thanks for the information about the context of Mao
Zedong's  remarks to Anna Louise Strong on the atom bomb. Reading
what you wrote about the essence of people's war raised a few questions
in my mind about its limits.


1. To what extent is it a pre-industrial form of warfare? I ask this
question not simply because the Chinese revolution was based in the
countryside, but also because of the fact that the Red Army
*encircled* the cities.

(Many commentators I have read interpret the tensions between
Mao and Liu Shaoqi in terms of rural vs. urban organizations.)

2. Much of the character of people's war seems to derive from
national struggle, particularly against foreign occupation. Both
the concept and reality of *the people* seem to be a response to
such a situation. You made no mention of this, and I wonder if you
consider it to be of  major or minor importance.

3. You mentioned that Mao's ideas about the dual nature of atomic
weapons are set out in the Polemic on
the General Line of the International Communist Movement.

I am curious to read about this - where could I find it? - as the
idea that atomic weapons - or more accurately, their deployment -
have something of a dual nature was widespread in the nuclear
disarmament campaign of the eighties. I'm referring to the notion
that the short-term deterrent effect is achieved at the expense of
long-term cumulative change, so that the actions intended to prevent
disaster result in both the proliferation of weapons and greater instability.

4. You wrote:

"Where a maoist or maoan strategy differs from some social
democratic or "revisionist" strategies, is that it declares it will
not be intimidated by the possibility, indeed the probability, that
at some stage the enemy will put the bayonet on the negotiating table."

>From what I understand, the "bayonet" in question at the time of the
Sino-Soviet rift was the proliferation of nuclear weapons, specifically,
Soviet moves to reach an accord with the US on "peaceful co-existence."

Mao's response to the contradiction between Soviet socialist
internationalism & Chinese national sovereignty was to opt for
the latter, explaining it in terms of self-reliance. China went on
to allocate enormous resources to building a bomb - at a time of
severe famine - and to pursue an unsavory foreign policy which
appeared to be based exclusively on self-interest (albeit, of a
quarter of the world's selves).

Did the pursuit of national self-interest promote the transition
away from socialism?



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