[Marxism] Mao: Journey To The Chewy Caramel Center Of The Mind

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Sat Mar 13 18:21:59 MST 2004

Rounding out this week's assessments of the *effective* "Big Three", it is
my opinion that history's greatest loss (30 million deaths during the
Great Leap Forward famine) should be the occasion for some
*self-reflection* with respect to the thought of Mao Zedong, perhaps the
most "Americanist" of Third-International communists.  Is Mao
well-remembered by today's China?  I wouldn't know, but perhaps this
seemingly "critical" remark is more-or-less revelatory concerning the
principles of Mao's political practice: to my mind Zhou Enlai's famous
comment concerning the end of the French Revolution, "it is too soon to
tell", does not betray what may be the most skeptical appreciation of that
event ever on the part of the Chinese Communists.  Although the French
Revolution is hailed as a triumph of reason over caprice and cruelty, the
"principles" upon which the Republic operates -- *pensee republicaine* --
are perhaps poorly understood by those of us who live where such
"vehicles" are lessening and all-too-well understood by Asians chafing
under the weight of thousands of "culture-years".  I am speaking of a
China where the rock-ribbed normativity of cultural works intended to
occlude the reality of life in an autocracy was drilled in by the all-but
unavailablity of Taoist works, and although such items may not "in fact"
have been "imperial pillow books" I have here still raised a rhetorical
figure which needs only time to become a structure: the metric system is
no joke, and the cultural weight imposed by the unavailability of parallax
or "crosscut" *apercus* is perhaps a rationale Americans of various
stripes can work their way towards in terms of the French taste for
anti-psychiatry.By contrast, Ho Chi Minh's taste in Chinese is legendary
and seriously speaking we might consider ourselves to need very good
reasons indeed to study Mao's political practice, reportedly involving
Army *medicos*, bisexuality, and the odd post-prophylaxis 555.

Do we have very good reasons in the Long March and other victories over
great odds?  Perhaps not, but if the actual *realia* (that is to say,
Asian culture sans Orientalism) are taken as a guide to the analysis of
state power in the 20th century and beyond what we end up getting is a
structural reason for Mao's pedagogy of the oppressed to beat the band:
namely, that the French Republic is actually something like "Germania"
candy-coated (rather than "pill-pepped") at every level: the amount of
French state power a citizen of France should have access to is
theoretically nil, and it is incumbent upon the Frenchman to attempt to
discharge their *Macht* at every step -- unlike the personal aficionados
of candy-coating, who are free to go as far as they can go with the
"pulse" of what is already an extraordinarily weak state power.  But as an
"obsolete Americanist" of sorts, I can say this: then I examine Canada's
commonwealthiness, I fear for every land on earth, and I might as well
think of the original Chinese Communists as "anticipatory" critics of
First-World-miracles-one-and-all (i.e. "left communists" of a slightly
brutal and fatalistic streak).  But what does such talk do?  Roughly,
provide a temporary structure from within which another person can
"resonate" with me -- and if such categorial absolution for the
consequences of one's acts seems incredibly irresponsible, I think that
the genuine Maoist article (including the Cultural Revolution) ought to be
properly considered as an inversion of the Mai' 68 dictum.  What is not
good about this?  Well, it seems to be much to the point in the scenario
here limned that the Goddess is not alive and magic is not afoot (China's
passion for US culture being very much driven by a newfound freedom to
disrespect "flowers of evil"), but if successful what eventuates is the
cutting-out of works from days: the complete sublation of *poeisis* in
*praxis*, of the individual in the throng.

Now, perhaps Mao's was truly the most *nihilistic* of all political
visions, but if "we" were asked to mete out justice casuistically I think
"we" would really have to ask ourselves where a plurality of the justice
would have to be meted-out, and exactly how adequate the linguistic
resources of even Stalin's fabulous interlingua would be to the task of
accounting for realities "dead" and "gone" -- that is to say, it is no
accident that the energies of serious Maoists are often channeled into
visual art bespeaking hallucinatory pain, no accident that the Sendero
Luminoso is not often invited to play with other less "baited" Latin
American socialists.  In fact, it seems to me that the experience of Mao's
China, persisting through the Gang of Four and followed by the
very-much-tamed Deng Xiaoping is reason enough for socialists to consider
their much-evidenced lack of knowledge concerning antiquity: that Mao's
"syphilitic rantings" permit both of a formalization and widespread
admiration indicates that
science sets itself tasks it cannot solve and thusly is in a serious
tension with any kind of utopian vision such as is really necessary for
goal-directed behavior of any kind; and "fault stars, not selves" is a
"formula" we have been encouraged not to employ before, but not by
"Lao-tzu" and perhaps also not the "world external".

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