[Marxism] Blaming Mao & Bad History

sobuadhaigh at hushmail.com sobuadhaigh at hushmail.com
Sat Oct 10 16:53:07 MDT 2009

Daniel wrote:
>Well, from THE book, the definitive book on the subject.
>I am referring of course to Jung Chang's biography of
>Mao ("Mao : The unknown story"),

Thank you for replying to my question as
to your source for your alternate version of
Chinese revolutionary history and for you
rather interesting outline of the career of
Mao Zedong. I specifically asked if you had
read anything besides polemical literature as
the basis of your argument and it appears
the answer is no.

"Mao: The Unknown Story"was written to
prove a point the authors already believed.
This is usually a recipe for bad history and
this book is no exception. Be honest now Daniel,
is there any one "definitive" book on a subject so
vast, complicated, and contradictory?
Have you settled other other historical
questions so economically by finding just
one source? Might it just be that you had
already arrived at your conclusions concerning
Chinese history first and then read
"The Unknown Story?"

The heart of Chang and Halliday's argument
is that Mao was a cynical operative of Stalin
who had no real attachment to anything
other than the promotion of his career.
OK then, may I suggest you start by looking
at the whole question of Soviet Chinese
relations and particularly the relationship
between the Communist party of the Soviet
Union and the Chinese Communist Party. Before
you are allowed to cite any "secret documents"
delve into the best analysis of all the public
material via the Soviet press and government
publications by Charles McClane in "Soviet
Policy and the Chinese Communists, 1931-1946"
(Columbia). Once you have done that now read
the Stalin/Molotov correspondence concerning
China as well as the recently released transcript
of the meeting between Mao and Stalin
in 1949. Do that and I trust you will find
that McLane's conclusions in 1958
were right on the money and Halliday
writing in 2006 was, not for the first time,
full of shit.

As to Chang's fantasy that Mao was
jumping between the Guomindang and
the CCP and her ridiculous attempt
to prove his innate ruthlessness by citing
an essay written as a schoolboy, it is
hard to know where to begin. Perhaps
"The Foundations of Mao Zedong's Political
Thought: 1917-1935" by Brantly Womack
(Univ. of Hawaii) is as good a place as any.
Womack  surveys all the earliest writing
(including school essays)by Mao and does
a really good job of outlining his earliest
political work in Changsha.

Was Mao a member of the GMD? The
answer is yes because every member of
the CCP joined the nationalists in the
United Front period. Did he only join
the communists because his career
as a nationalist apparatchik was blocked?
If so he picked a hell of a time to make a
career move after the 1927 assault by Jiang
that left the communists either dead, in
hiding, or, in Mao's case, sheltering in a
cave with bandits trying to escape
annihilation. The cynical, and safest
tactic at the time would have been to
dump the Communist Party and stay with
the QMD - not the other way around.

What do you say Daniel? Why not take the
"Maoist" challenge. Before making sweeping
pronouncements why not do a little
investigation first. This involves reading
more than one book and coming to your own
conclusions instead of just parroting
the thesis of a right wing polemic.

Lal Salaam

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