Maoism marches on: the revolutionary idea that still shapes the world

The Guardian - Mar 16, 11:59 GMT

The west has assumed that Maoism, like Soviet communism, has been left in the dust: no European rebels these days carry a Little Red Book

The west has assumed that Maoism, like Soviet communism, has been left in the dust: no European rebels these days carry a Little Red Book. But the ideology is resurgent in China and remains hugely influential elsewhere

In the first week of January 2016, a vast golden statue of Mao, rising up out of frozen brown fields, was unveiled in the middle of the Henan countryside in central China. More than 36 metres high, it cost £312,000 and was paid for by local people and businessmen. Tourists gathered to take selfies, but a few days later, the monument was demolished, apparently for violating planning regulations. Several locals wept as it came down, among them probably descendants of the multitudes – one analyst puts the figure at 7.8 million – who died in Henan during the famine in the 1960s caused by Mao’s policies.

The golden colossus of Henan evokes the strange, looming presence of Mao in contemporary China. The People’s Republic (PRC) today is still held together by the legacies of Maoism. Although the Chinese Communist party (CCP) has long abandoned the utopian turmoil of the Cultural Revolution in favour of an authoritarian capitalism that prizes prosperity and stability, Mao has left a heavy mark on politics and society. His portrait – six by four and a half metres – hangs in Tiananmen Square, the heartland of Chinese political power, and in the middle of the square, his waxen, embalmed body lies in state. “Mao’s invisible hand” (as one recent book puts it) remains omnipresent in China’s polity: in the deep politicisation of its judiciary; the supremacy of the one-party state; the intolerance of dissident voices. And in 2012, the CCP under Xi Jinping began – for the first time since Mao’s death in 1976 – to publicly renormalise aspects of Maoist political culture: the personality cult; catchphrases such as the “mass line” (supposedly encouraging criticism of officials from the grassroots) and “rectification” (disciplining of wayward party members). At the end of February 2018, Xi and his Central Committee abolished the 1982 constitutional restriction that limited the president to only two consecutive terms; like Mao, he could be ruler for life.

Continue reading...
Read Full Story
uDailyNews.com ©2018
Edition : us | Sitemap