L-I: Chris Hani's legacy: Interview withANC'sThenjiweMtintso

TAHIR WOOD TWOOD at SPAMadfin.uwc.ac.za
Thu Aug 12 09:53:34 MDT 1999

>>> Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> 08/12 3:53 PM >>>

David Welch suggested the other day that such collaboration
was not
inconsistent with socialist revolution and pointed to the
5-star flag of
the Chinese CP (where's Henry Liu now that we need him).
What this fails to
take into account was that Mao had ZERO use for the Chinese
bourgeoisie. If
anything, that whole multi-class schema was a clever ruse.
If you read
Maurice Meisner's excellent history of Chinese economics and
politics since
Mao, you will discover that Mao was intent on making a
socialist revolution
from the very beginning. Mao was NOT a "stagist".


I have to say that the Mao you are painting for me here is
almost unrecognisable from the Mao that some of us have come
to know from our various Foreign Languages Press volumes! I
am at the disadvantage obviously of not having read
Meisner's book, but are you saying that all the texts on New
Democracy, National Democratic Revolution and Democratic
People's Dictatorship were an elaborate (to put it mildly!)
ruse to dupe the Chinese bourgeoisie? I see no other way of
interpreting the above paragraph. And why should this
bourgeoisie have found any solace at all in these
conceptualisations? Your use of the term "the Chinese
bourgeoisie" is misleadingly vague. Mao always distinguished
between the camp of the people and that of the enemies of
the people in his class analysis. The latter included the
compradors, bureaucrats and others. The camp of the people
could include the petty bourgeoisie and national
bourgeoisie, since in his analysis these classes were
oppressed by the ruling classes and because they could
potentially play a patriotic anti-imperialist role. This
comes up in so many of his texts that it is not worth
quoting chapter and verse here. Why not simply speak of the
dictatorship of the proletariat if this is what was on the
immediate agenda? Mao put forward an alternative concept
based on the class analysis of Chinese society. Does the
Meisner book explicitly set out to prove that Mao wasn't
intent on a national democratic phase? If so, what's his

I honestly think you are confusing two things: the immediate
establishment of socialism  on the one hand with the
hegemony and leadership of the socialists on the other. Mao
was firmly in favour of the latter, but not the former (for
China, that is). And if anything Mao's critique of Stalin
was on the issue of too rapid advances towards socialism and
the burdens that this placed on the peasantry during the
phase of 'primitive socialist accumulation'. If you read his
Critique of Soviet Economics this 'stagism' comes through in
quite some detail, as far as I recall. Another point: part
of the Chinese polemic against the Soviet Union after Stalin
was precisely on the supposed end of the era of colonialism.
Now if it is as the Chinese said, that this ignored the
question of neo-colonialism, what is the practical
implication of this critique? It can only have one
significance, namely that there was a specifically
anti-colonial struggle to be waged. If the struggle was
simply for socialism everywhere with no distinction between
neo-colonies and colonial (i.e. imperialist) powers this
critique would be quite meaningless. A class analysis that
simply talks about "the bourgeoisie" etc. misses all the
sublety of these debates and reduces all social formations
to one (Eurocentric) schema.

Furthermore on the question of stagism: this is quite
fundamental to marxism. No marxist could possibly confuse
socialism with communism, for example. Classes exist in the
one and not the other, a rather fundamental difference I
would say. And if Marx had lived in the age of imperialism,
how would he have looked at stages? Mao gives his own answer
to this question, and a very incisive answer.


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