Mao was New societies in womb of old

Rahul Mahajan rahul at peaches.ph.utexas.edu
Thu May 23 22:29:56 MDT 1996


Gary:

>Mao was much too complex a character to be dismissed as Jorn  does.  Even a
>surface reading of his works would show this. To repeat: Mao is worth
>reading in a way that no "capitalist revolutionary" has ever been.  And
>Comrade Louis is correct; Mao did mobilise millions successfully and
>basically it is our eurocentrism that has prevented us  from going to his
>career and learning some lessons.

I've often thought that the list suffered from severe Eurocentrism, as
manifested by the casual dismissal of Mao. The absurdity of Jorn's
statement that Mao was a nationalist capitalist can easily be pointed out
by looking at the difference in the development of India and China after
independence. Any viewpoint that dismisses those differences as
inconsequential is analytically about as useful as Leonard Jeffries's ice
people/sun people theory.

If Mao had just conveniently died in 1949, or even in 1955, it would have
been hard for anyone to say much ill of him. However, to weigh the
totalitarian thought control, incredible regimentation, the who knows how
many millions killed because of idiotic, inflexible policies during a
period of bad harvest in the early 60's, and the violent excesses of the
Cultural Revolution of China versus the abject misery, hunger, and death
>from infectious disease of India is a task that is beyond me. I'm not sure
I can say which path was better, although I would no doubt be far, far
worse off had my parents been Chinese instead of Indian. I think it's fair
to compare these two countries, since they had similarly miserable starting
points at independence.

Rahul





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