Smashing idols

Smashing idolsAbraham_Idols

(llco.org)

The Old Testament states:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (1)

The critique of pagan idolatry is held to be so important that it is the first commandment received by Moses in the Old Testament of Judaism and Christianity. The god of the “peoples of the Book,” of Jews and Christians, is also the god of Muslims. He is a jealous god who does not like competition, be it in the form of other gods or science. Islam has its origins in earlier Middle Eastern monotheism. From its religious relatives, Islam inherits the rejection of pagan idolatry. The rejection of pagan idolatry was central to Islam from the beginning and continues to be central today. For example, today, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) has demolished graves and shrines in the name of opposing idolatry. Such actions also serve their political agenda of stroking up sectarian conflicts, especially between Sunni and Shia. It was even reported that some members of the Islamic State proclaimed that if they conquered Mecca, they would demolish the Kaaba in order to put an end to the “worship of stones,” although this report has not been verified. (2) Similarly, Islamic radicals distance themselves from secular nationalism, which they see as a way of elevating the nation as as a kind of idol. This is similar to how  some Christian sects refuse to salute the US flag. This line of thought is not new.

The Kaaba in Mecca traditionally housed many of the pagan-Arab religious idols prior to the rise of Islam. Prophet Muhammad made an enemy of many in Mecca when he sought to have the Kaaba dedicated only to the worship of Allah, not the various pagan gods whose images were housed within it. The Quraysh began fighting with the Islamic community over the issue. This resulted in Muhammad’s migration, hijra, to Medina in 622 AD. Years later, Muhammad returned after the Muslims had defeated their Meccan opponents around 630. When they returned to the Kaaba, they removed the pagan idols, although allowed the black stone to remain. This is reported in the Hadith literature:

“When Allah’s Apostle arrived in Mecca, he refused to enter the Ka’ba while there were idols in it. So he ordered that they be taken out. The pictures of the (Prophets) Ibrahim and Ishmael, holding arrows of divination in their hands, were carried out. The Prophet said, ‘May Allah ruin them (i.e. the nonbelievers) for they knew very well that they (i.e. Ibrahim and Ishmael) never drew lots by these (divination arrows).’ Then the Prophet entered the Ka’ba and said. ‘Allahu Akbar’ in all its directions and came out and not offer any prayer therein.” (3)

According to Islam, Muhammad’s confrontation with pagan idols is only the last in a chain of numerous previous prophets who had done the same. One of the more interesting criticisms of idolatry is found in the Koran’s story of Prophet Ibrahim addressing silent pagan idols:

“He sneaked into the temple of their gods and addressed them: ‘Why don’t you eat from these offerings before you? What is the matter with you that you don’t even speak?’ Then he fell upon them, smiting them with his right hand. The people came running to the scene. ‘Would you worship that which you have carved with your own hands…’”  (4)

Silence in the face of Ibrahim’s questions lead to his rejection of the pagan idols. However, what should be obvious is just as the pagan idols do not eat food, Allah doesn’t order pizza either. Nor does Allah really speak. Why should lack of consumption of food be proof enough for Ibrahim to doubt the pagan idols, but not Allah? A materialist criticism is begun in this example, but then, instead of following the argument to its reasonable conclusion that no gods exist, Ibrahim does not apply the same criticisms to his own beliefs. The failure to follow through on the materialist critique, to apply it consistently, is seen in the example of Prophet Hud also:

“‘O my people! Why do you worship stone statues that you have made yourselves? These idols cannot give you anything or take anything away from you. You are clever people, why are doing  something so foolish? Your Lord is only One, and He alone should be worshipped…” (5)

Idols are not only made from stone and earth, they also exist in the mind. The idols of stone and earth are far easier to topple that those in the mind. The most important building block of any idol are social relationships from which they originate and serve. Karl Marx stated that the secret of the holy family is the earthly family. God as creator, as father, of the universe is really a kind of social construct. It is a projection of human relationships onto the universe. Even though God’s origin is human, many fail to recognize God’s social origin. People are thus compelled by the very idol they themselves, as a society, have created. From the standpoint of truth, worshiping one idol, even if it exists only in the realm of ideas, is not fundamentally different from worshiping many idols of stone and mud. Like most religions, Islam subjects those gods that are not its own to a limited materialist critique. Islam begins a materialist analysis of pagan idols by tracing their origin to human agency, but fails to extend the materialist critique to its own idol, Allah. There is no reason to believe that the metaphysical and religious realms exist on their own. They are a product of our own activity, what Marx called “self alienation”:

“But that the secular basis detaches itself from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, in itself be both understood in its contradiction and revolutionized in practice. Thus, for instance, after the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be destroyed in theory and in practice.” (6)

Since the origin of the religious realm is our alienation from the processes of the minds and societies that create such a realm, overcoming the religious is a process of overcoming self alienation. Knowledge of society and self though science is the key to getting beyond the religious and other metaphysical outlooks. Marxists call tracing our conceptions of the world, including religious ideas and other ideologies, to their origins in class society “historical materialism.” By the time of Islam’s rise, Christianity had moved beyond its humble origins as a small sect of Judaism to become the official ideology of the Roman and post-Roman world. By the time of the rise of Islam in the 600s, Christianity had become the state religion of some of the Arab world’s most powerful neighbors. It was the state ideology in the what remained of the Western Roman world, but more importantly, of the Eastern Roman, the Byzantine, empire. The other major superpower near the Arab world was the Persian empire with its own religion, Zoroastrianism. Just as neighboring superpowers used their religions as an imperial glue, so too did the emerging Arab empire, what would become the Umayyad and other caliphates, have Islam. Islam, from its beginning, was very much tied to a very human political order. Just as the Vedic doctrines, karma, etc. of are used to justify the caste system of the Indian society, so too is the divine used to justify gender-caste system in Islam. Judaism, Christianity, even Buddhism, are similar in this respect. All religions arise from the contradictions of their society and serve a role in the power struggle. It is important to understand the process by which religious and other illusions arise. However, even though historical materialism is extremely important, science has developed other important tools that give insights into the origin of religion.

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Today, cognitive blindSpot768x1024
and neuro science are also providing important epistemological insights into how people learn, how and why they develop and hold onto mistaken ideas, etc. This is not just to make the obvious point that schizophrenics who hear voices are not altogether unlike some accounts of allegedly hearing the divine. Nor is this to repeat that Muhammad receiving the Koran was accompanied by symptoms of epilepsy. Even the Catholic Church goes out of its way to consult psychologists before it performs exorcisms, thus, despite themselves, pointing to the similarities between demon possession and mental illness. The epistemological implications of contemporary cognitive and neuro science are much deeper. For example, the great philosopher and proto-cognitive scientist Immanuel Kant believed that the mind structured our experience of the world, our phenomenological field. Our minds and brains organize information a certain way. Kant called space and time “forms of intuition.” According to Kant, “transcendental categories” like that of cause and effect also structure the way information is organized and processed by our minds. For Kant, the forms of intuition and transcendental categories structure our experience of the world and place limits on how we know and what we can know. For Kant, the experience of space, especially what we perceive as the external world beyond our mind, was structured according to the laws of Euclidean geometry. Thus, according to such a view, there is a “transcendental” (or biological) fetter on the ability to conceive that two parallel lines can intersect. Such an idea was held to be as contradictory as the notion that a square triangle could exist. Thus Kant understood space as Isaac Newton did. However, in 1919, Arthur Eddington’s famous photographs during a solar eclipse showed that even lines of light bend.  Physics has since recognized that space itself is curved by mass, which accounts for the gravitational effect. It may be difficult for us to wrap our heads around the idea because our brains seem to be hardwired to navigate the macroscopic world of ordinary, daily life. And, in our ordinary, daily life the world appears to us as macroscopic objects moving in a Euclidean field. However, the general rules that work well enough in ordinary circumstances break down in other circumstances. For example, they break down when examining subatomic particles. There are other examples of “mistakes” that we do not readily see. Even though we have blind spots in our vision, we do not see them without prompting. Another example: We may think we see color in our full visual field, but we really do not see color in our peripheral vision. This is why a person will not guess beyond the margin of error when trying to determine the color of random playing cards when displayed in her peripheral vision as she stares straight ahead. Another example: Our perception of temperature changes on our skin does not correspond to actual changes in a one-to-one way. Pain may work in a similar way, after a certain threshold is reached, additional infliction of violence may not be accompanied by additional experience of pain.

We know that the body is hardwired to fool itself in some contexts. Even though much of Sigmund Freud’s work is problematic, his conception of the power of the unconscious over our lives suggests this kind of conclusion. Others, most famously, Ludwig Wittgenstein, have shown that how we express claims, how human language itself, is prone to generating pseudo-problems and false conceptions about the world. Similar to Kant’s rejection of many traditional philosophic problems as a result of epistemologically overreaching, Wittgenstein showed how certain seemingly intractable philosophic questions were tied to the way language works. It is surely the case that the mistaken conceptions of the world, including religious ones, are a result of culture and power in human society, as Marx held. However, it is also surely the case that our neurology plays a role in why we make the mistakes we do. In Marx’s day, cognitive and neuro science had not advanced enough to provide much insight into the origin of religion. However, today we know much more about how the mind and brain work. Even so, even the best critique alone will not get society as a whole beyond idolatry, beyond the religious. As Marx wrote, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” (7) To to get beyond the realm of illusion, including the religious, once and for all, requires a reorganization of society led by the most advanced science, Leading Light Communism, in order to eliminate all the social inequalities that generate ignorance and illusion. Truth and practice are hammers that not only smash pagan gods, but all gods, including the god of Ibrahim and Muhammad. Lenin stated that there is nothing as radical as reality itself. Revolution is the doorway from the illusory to the real. Leading Light Communism is the way out of Plato’s cave, from the shadows to the light.

Notes

1. New American Standard Bible. Exodus 20:4. http://biblehub.com/exodus/20-4.htm

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/01/isis-destroy-kaaba-mecca_n_5547635.html

3. Sahih Al-Bukhari.  Book 59, Hadith 584 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba

4. Quran Sura 37: 91-95 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/surah/english/37/MAL#sthash.UqLhDKdN.dpuf

5. http://jafariaschool.org/assets/notes/Class7_Tarikh.pdf

6. Marx, Karl. Theses On Feuerbach. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

7. ibid.

Most Americans support torture

Most Americans support tortureBlog_Torture

(llco.org)

In the United States, the Senate Intelligence Committee has released a scathing report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) use of torture. The 500 page report is a summary of a larger, still-classified 6,000 page study on the CIA’s interrogation methods and treatment of prisoners accused of terrorism. The use of black-site prisons has long been public knowledge. The use of waterboarding, which induces the body to think it is dying, is the most well-know method of torture. The report contained interesting new information not widely known. According to the report, 20 percent of the detainees were “wrongfully held.” One mentally challenged man was held just to get leverage over his family. In addition to that, the CIA forced prisoners into “a forward-facing position (Trendelenburg) with head lower than torso.” A “lunch tray” was prepared, “consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.” Children and families of the detainees were threatened with violence and sexual abuse. Ice baths were used. Prisoners were required to stand 66 hours on end. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was almost tortured immediately, without even bothering with much questioning. The CIA had planned to hold him indefinitely without charge or trial. Detainees were tortured simply for not referring to their interrogators as “sir” and for complaining about stomach aches. Bush’s Justice Department lied to Congress on occasion, including about the claim torture foiled the plans of Jose Padilla. In addition, the State Department and other agencies were not informed when the CIA made deals to open secret prisons abroad. (1) Numerous other outrages were documented in the report.

Although its effect has not filtered out to the US public fully yet, it is not a secret that the United States has long engaged in horrible behavior toward prisoners in the name of fighting terrorism. There have been numerous cases in the media where the CIA has been caught kidnapping people off the streets and shipping them off to secret prisons to be tortured. Sometimes, the people have been innocent or were detained based on mistaken identity. The practice of “rendition” has been in exposed numerous times in the media, yet has provoked little public outrage. Probably the most well-known torture scandal was that of Abu Ghraib, where numerous photographs emerged of US military personnel torturing Iraqi prisoners. There has also been numerous cases of police torture and violence inside the United States, and a general increase in the security state. Even with all this, most Americans, according to a 2009 poll, support the ongoing use of torture. A good majority, 71 percent, of Americans responded that torture can be justified in some cases. According to the poll, 49 percent said it can “often” or “sometimes” be justified and 22 percent responded that torture can be “rarely” justified. Only 25 percent of Americans said torture could “never” be justified. These numbers are telling in themselves. However, there is a certain stigma associated with answering that torture is justified. It is probable that the real support for torture is even higher among Americans. (2)

It is not surprising that more Americans do not oppose torture. When it comes down to it, many Americans perceive it in their interests to support the worst violence of the state. This is not uncommon in an imperial population. Human rights are not respected if there is a real perceived threat to the system. This just shows how an imperial population can easily compartmentalize its conception of itself. On the one hand, the population of the United States likes to claim that its armies protect democracy and human rights globally. On the other hand, they are very willing to toss that pretense when they need to, which is one reason that Americans are so drawn to rouge military, intelligence, and police officers in television and film.

The First World is an empire of hypocrisy. It must be obliterated. We reject their world, their future. Our future is one where all people will have true dignity and equality. They will wage their wars according to their rules. We will wage ours our way.

Notes

  1. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/cia-torture-report-abuses-rectal-feeding
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/09/lets-not-kid-ourselves-most-americans-are-fine-with-torture-even-when-you-call-it-torture/

Out of the shadows into the sun

Out of the shadows into the sunAL03

an interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire

(llco.org)

1. Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions. We admire your work very much. We admire all the Leading Lights. Leading Light Communist Organization is the only organization that is bringing forward new ideas to make revolution in the real world. It is exciting to finally meet you, Leading Light Commander. I know you have many names, but we’ll refer to you as “Prairie Fire.” Can you briefly discuss the problem as you see it? What is wrong with the world?

We live in a world of great poverty, great misery, great suffering, great cruelty. The scale of violence inflicted against humanity and the Earth is unprecedented. Global Empire, the Bourgeois World, the First World, is stealing our future and the future of the planet itself. Half the world lives and dies on less than 3 dollars a day. 800 million people do not have access to safe water. For hundreds of millions of people just getting by, just finding safe water, is a life and death, and daily, struggle. Every year, millions of lives are cut short due to structural poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of food or safe water, toxic environments. Endless wars, assassinations, drone strikes, bombings, death-squad terror. Suffering and cruelty are everywhere. Our people are destroyed. Our common home, the Earth, is destroyed. If we do not act, there will be nothing left, no future for our children and their children. We must fight back. Our children deserve better. We deserve better. But we should not strike out in blind rage. If we are to really win, we need more than just a revolutionary body, but also a mind. We must be guided by the Leading Light of truth, by revolutionary science. Without theory, practice is blind. Leading Light Communism is the only way forward.

2. It is hard to think about just how terrible it all is. It makes me want to cry sometimes. So few voices are speaking truth about just how bad it is. I don’t want to live in a nightmare. I want a good life. What is your goal? What kind of world do you want?

The last waves of revolution were defeated. We do not need to repeat the past. We do not go forward by cobbling together the fragments of the past. We must understand the past, learn from the past, but we must go beyond it. The next wave of revolution is made by boldly striking out, casting aside dogma, by putting the most advanced revolutionary science, all-powerful Leading Light Communism, in command. This means we must break every chain that holds us prisoner. Whether we are bound with one or a hundred chains, we are still chained to the wall. We must break the chains of class, racism, chauvinism, sexism, and every other chain. No one is free until everyone is free. Our war is on the old ways, the Old Power. We declare total war on the First World, on Empire.

We demand nothing less than a whole new world, a world without poverty, without suffering, without cruelty, without war, without hunger, without chauvinism, without rape. We demand a world of equality, a world of peace, a world of justice. Happiness. Joy. Serve the people. Imagine true freedom where we can be our best selves. Imagine a world where we were secure in the knowledge that our children will prosper, that the Earth would bloom again. Imagine all of humanity united in a common purpose, on a great adventure. Imagine if we could start over, to redesign society for the benefit of all, according to the best, revolutionary science. Instead of a society that promotes the worst in humanity, crass consumerism, pettiness, greed, cruelty. Imagine a society that cultivated the best in humanity: heroism, courage, bravery, sharing, caring, creativity. Imagine a society that promotes the best of the worker, the farmer, the builder, warrior, the nurturer, the scientist, the poet, the artist and musician, the philosopher. This is our future, our destiny, all-powerful Leading Light Communism.

3. That is a lot to take in. Lots of people know there is something wrong, but they don’t know how to change it. Who is on our side in this fight? Where will our forces come from? Who will make revolution? Some people will oppose us, right?

“Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?” The great revolutionary Mao Zedong, who led a mighty revolution that liberated a quarter of the world’s population in China, called this the “first question of revolution.” Unfortunately, Mao’s revolution, like the Bolshevik one before him, was defeated, but there still is so much to learn from those experiences. Even though China and Russia are capitalist now, let’s ask Mao’s question. If we are really to make revolution, we have to understand who has an interest in preserving the system, the status quo, and who does not. We also have to know which social forces, which classes, which groups, can be aligned, mobilized, against the system. Today, capitalism is a world system, Empire is global. We must apply class analysis not just to our own societies, not just to our communities or neighborhoods, but we must apply it on the global scale. To understand the part, we must understand the whole. To understand the local, we must understand the global. This is today’s reality.

In the nineteenth century, when Karl Marx looked at the world around him, European society was entering a new, dynamic era. The scientific and technological revolution was radically transforming life. Peasants were driven from their land, transformed into workers. The beginning of modern production. The factory system was born. Industrialism.  Marx saw a polarization happening in society.  On the one side were the capitalists, those who owned the means of production, the wealthy, the factory owners replacing the old feudal aristocracies. A new ruling class was replacing the old one. On the other side were those with nothing to lose but their chains. He called this new revolutionary class “the proletariat.” Now in his day, the proletariat, the revolutionary class, was made up of the industrial workers who owned nothing, people pushed off the land and transformed into workers who had only their labor to sell. All of society was changing. Capitalism was prone to crisis and instability. The old clan structures, the family, and traditional stabilizing institutions were breaking down. The old rural-based society and its traditions were dying. A new urban, cosmopolitan culture was rising. Marx believed that this struggle between the capitalists and workers, the haves and the have nots, would lead to real revolution, a fundamental reorganization of society according to egalitarian, communist, scientific principles.

This is how Marx saw the world, almost two centuries ago. Our world is much different today. It’s not all about Europe, or even mostly about Europe. In fact, the last century of revolution has taught us that revolution will happen in the weakest links of the system, on the edges of global economic power. Lenin’s prediction that the storm center of world revolution moving eastward came to past. Mao spoke of the east wind prevailing over the west wind. Today, the entire world economy is a single entity. Understanding the question of friends and enemies, Mao’s first question requires a class analysis that is truly global. It is not just First World capitalists who are reactionary enemies, but most people in the First World. Ordinary people in the First World have far more to lose than their chains. They have wealth, privileges, houses, cars, electronics, security, leisure, opportunities, mobility. They have access to capital. They have social wealth, infrastructure, land, modern institutions. Ordinary people in the First World do not have a class interest in revolution.

People in the First World are far too comfortable to make revolution. Revolution means risking your possessions and way of life. Revolution means risking death, and the death of family and children. People in the First World, including workers, have far more to lose than their chains. Even the poorest people in the wealthy countries do not make revolution because they are too insignificant, numerically too small and dispersed. And there is enough opportunity and class mobility that they do not feel revolution is the smartest way forward for them. They never form the requisite class consciousness, the revolutionary way of thinking. No matter what we do and say, people in the First World are not a revolutionary social base. No matter how hard we try, they will not make revolution. Facts are stubborn things.

Wealthy people in the Third World who ally with the First World, who are part of Empire, also have a real stake in the system. They are part of the First World, its agents. They stab their homelands in the back. They steal the resources and wealth of the Third World for the First World. They too are our enemies.

Who are our friends then? Who are the real proletariat today? Mao said “serve the people.” But, who are our people? Marx wrote that capitalism would create greater and greater misery for the vast majority. People would be pushed and pushed ever down, until they only had one way out, to cast off their chains through revolution.  Revolution is the hope of the hopeless. Our real friends are the the vast majority, the ordinary, the working, the farming, the homeless, the small owners, the slum dwellers, the poor peoples in the Third World. These are the people who are being smashed down. These are the suffering masses who have nothing to lose but their chains. Our world is the Proletarian World, the Third World, and its allies. Imagine our people sweeping the whole system away, starting over. Today, this is the principal contradiction in our world: The global rich versus the global poor, the Bourgeois World versus the Proletarian World, the First World versus the Third World. This is what we must understand to really win.

4. Revolution is what we need, but does it have to be violent. Can’t we just vote? What do you think about elections?

There is the story of the man on a ship who has a purse full of gold. He accidentally drops his purse overboard. He dives in after it. He drowns. When his body floats back up. We ask: “Did he own the gold or did the gold own he?”

This is how the reactionary state works. We may pursue change by petitioning the government or by participating in elections. Reform. We may even think we are making progress. Perhaps we even get elected. Perhaps we get some power. But this is the question: “What kind of power are we acquiring?” We are not building revolutionary power, we are instead partaking of the Old Power, the old system, the old society. Even if it looks like we are gaining influence through reform, through parliament, through elections, we are really losing. We are being co-opted. Even though it may seem like we own the system, really, by giving us power and influence, the system is owning us. Like the gold that pulls the man into the water to drown him, the system pulls revolutionaries into reform in order to drown the revolution. Many people never learn. They will stupidly chase after the gold, drowning with a big-fat grin on their face. This is what Lenin pointed out.

Revolution is not a matter of simply taking over the old system and bending it to our will. Rather, revolution is about sweeping away the old society, the Old Power. It is about building a totally new society, a New Power. The revolutionary process is one where two sets of institutions and ideas battle it out. Revolution is a process of constructing a dual power, a New Power, against the Old Power. The old state, the old institutions, the old culture, the old ways of thinking, all are the Old Power. The New Power is made up of new institutions: new ways to resolve conflict, to govern communities, to educate, to build public opinion and shape culture, to defend the people, to coordinate the revolution, etc. The New Power is a whole network of institutions, a kind of revolutionary shadow state that exists beneath the surface, among the people. The New Power is the people’s army, the people’s fronts, the people’s courts, the people’s schools, the people’s media, the people’s culture, the vast body of revolution. And, leading it all is the Leading Light, the brain that controls the vast body of revolution, the party of a new type. And, when the time is right, the New Power fully emerges as the Old Power is knocked down, filling the vacuum. This is a key part of the revolutionary process.

Lenin taught that the old state is not some neutral ground where the bourgeoisie and proletariat can resolve their differences. Rather, the old state is fundamentally reactionary. It is a tool of reactionary class rule through and through. The idea that we can capture this tool and use it for our own ends is foolish. The old state cannot be a tool of revolution. We cannot reform our way to revolution. Revolution is a deep, fundamental reorganization of all of society, it means disempowering the reactionary classes. It means empowering the revolutionary classes. The reactionary classes will never give us power and turn over their state, their weapon. They will never commit class suicide. Revolution is simply incompatible with the old state, the Old Power. We must write off elections and reformism from the strategic standpoint. “Revolution” means real revolution, warts and all.

Does this mean that we cannot make limited use of the old state, reforms, elections? From a tactical standpoint, it is acceptable to use the tools of the Old Power against itself so long as we understand that elections and reform are very limited tactics, not roads to revolution. For example, in some cases, it is acceptable to participate in an election, not because we believe we can win, but in order to use the election campaign as a way to draw attention to ourselves, as a way to agitate. In some circumstances, it is acceptable to participate in elections as part of an effort to block the rise of feudal, fascistic, militaristic, fundamentalist religious, or dictatorial forces. In other words, if rightist, militarist, fascist forces might win an election, and if these forces promise to wipe out oppositional forces, to silence all dissent, then we should use every tool in the toolbox to oppose them. Because if these fascist forces win, it will make it very difficult to organize the masses for revolution, for Global People’s War. If this is the case, although participating in elections will not bring revolution, it can help prevent the rise of deadly forces. There might be other times when we insert ourselves into local reform campaigns or elections not because it is a path to revolution, but because it is a way to recruit or gain resources. There may be organizational or logistical reasons for tactical manipulation of reformist and electoral campaigns. Think of it this way: Strategically, reform is never a path to power. But, tactically, reform can be an option. “Strategically, never! Tactically, maybe!” We have to always remember that there is only one path to revolution: the Global People’s War, the New Power, the Leading Light.

5. That makes a lot of sense. So many groups end up selling out when they begin to work with the system. They always claim to still be fighting for revolution, but the reality is they give up slowly. You mentioned war. What are your feelings on violence and war?

The great Prussian military thinker Carl von Clausewitz famously said “war is politics by other means.” Our struggle is a class struggle, the poor against the wealthy. The politics of the poor are absolutely antagonistic to the politics of the wealthy. Our interests are absolutely opposed to each other. Thus there can be no real, lasting reconciliation between us and them. We will not allow them to continue to impose all the horrors of this system upon us. We say “no!” to poverty, to terror, to genocide, to cruelty, to suffering, to toxic and unhealthy environments, to starvation, to rape, to corruption, to the endless indignities we endure. And they will always respond with their own “no!” whenever we reach for power. They will always fight tooth-and-nail for the horrific status quo. They will never give up their power and wealth. War between the poor and the wealthy is the inevitable, normal state of capitalism.

There is a difference though. We agree with Mao when he said we make war to end war. We wage war to end injustice. We wage war to give everyone a prosperous, secure, happy life. We fight to save the Earth, our common home. We fight for our future, for the future of our children. They fight to continue the madness. They fight for a corrupt, stupid, cruel, unjust order. They fight for death. We fight for life. They fight for themselves. We fight for the people.

Is the military struggle our only weapon? Of course not. To emphasize only the military aspect of our revolution, our Global People’s War, is a big error. It is an error criticized by Mao during his own people’s war. It is an error sometimes associated with focoism and adventurism. Our struggle is complex. The military struggle of the People’s Army of the Leading Light must be integrated with deep political education. The military struggle must be integrated with other aspects of the New Power of the Leading Light: people’s committees, people’s courts, people’s schools, people’s culture, etc. This vast network of struggles, both military and nonmilitary, must be coordinated by the Leading Light to achieve victory, total revolution. This means that military struggle, violence, is only one aspect of revolution. The most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism, is an all-powerful, all-round, awesome strategy. Leading Light Communism is indeed a sword and shield, but much more. It is also the body and mind to wield them. It is only real path to really winning. And it is about winning. To paraphrase Lenin: “Without power, all is illusion.”

6. You mentioned the Earth. Past revolutions did not treat the environmental well. Leading Light Communism is something very new though. What about the environment?

Our home, the Earth, is being destroyed. The forests, the lungs of the planet, are being burned. Whole areas, mountain tops, turned to ugly scars. Dead zones in the oceans threaten the entire food chain, including humanity. A continent-sized lake of toxic plastic exists in the Pacific ocean, destroying animal and plant life. Global warming is raising the temperature across the planet, causing water to rise, causing drought and famine, causing natural disasters. Whole countries, like Bangladesh, are threatened with ruin. Imagine the refugee crisis, imagine the death toll, imagine the toll on public health, imagine the harm inflicted on the ecosystem, if Bangladesh were flooded by rising water. Whole island chains may soon disappear. Many people do not realize just how bad the situation is. They dismiss the scientific consensus. Or they simply refuse to acknowledge any problems that do not affect them. Or they only look at their daily lives, not how their actions may affect their children, future generations. Many people do not realize that we are in the middle of another mass extinction. Just as the dinosaurs were wiped out, animal and plant life is going through another mass extinction. It is so bad that if humanity does not wake up, there will be no future left for anyone.

And for what? All of this destruction so the First World can consume more. Capitalism says “buy, buy, buy!” “Consume, consume, consume!” “Waste, waste, waste!” Capitalism is a beast that consumes natural resources and shits out its ugly consumer culture. Not only does it endlessly consume the physical world, but it also consumes beauty itself, replacing it with vulgarity. Capitalism is irrational from the standpoint of human need. It is organized to serve profit, not people nor the Earth. Capitalism cares nothing about the future, nothing about future generations. It is the Third World masses that pay, are starved, so the First World can grow fat. Humanity is walking a razor’s edge. Leading Light Communism, by contrast, calls us to live according to our best selves: help each other, share with each other, sacrifice, be honorable, create, seek truth, and protect nature. Leading Light is about a sustainable, balanced approach to development and nature. We must be guardians of the Earth, of the seas, forests, skies, plants, animals that sustain us all. Serving the people also means serving the Earth.

7. You spoke of the importance of science. There are a lot of attacks on science today. What about religion? Do you oppose religion?

Religion plays many roles in society. It is part of the way those in power and other reactionaries justify their attacks on the masses. All kinds of cruelties are inflicted against the masses by the wealthy and powerful in the name of religion. Yet we must also remember Karl Marx’s famous words from A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

The masses turn to religion because of oppression. They turn to religion as an escape, for comfort. Since this world is so filled with horrors, they seek solace in the thought of an afterlife where things are better. Since justice escapes them in this world, they hope for divine justice, a day of judgement or karma. One of the pleasures of Christian heaven, at least as it is portrayed in literature, is that those in heaven get to watch the suffering of those in hell, those who harmed them in this life. Thus heaven has a sadistic, petty component. Truth can be hard to handle, so people seek comfort in shadows and illusion. People have always looked to myth. Myths, religion, is also part of cultural and community identity. We must approach this issue in a humble, understanding way. We do not want to trample on identity, culture, tradition as imperialists often do.

Marx famously wrote that the secret of the holy family is the earthly family. In other words, our religious conceptions, our God or gods, are really just mental, cultural constructs. We project social relations that we encounter in our daily life, the father of the patriarchal family, onto the universe. God is a kind of father figure to his children, humanity, his creation. After we project this onto the universe, we then begin to order our lives according to our own creation, but we fail to recognize this projection as our own. It comes to have a kind of cultural life, a kind of perceived objectivity, beyond ourselves. In a sense, religion is a collection of illusions, but also more than mere illusions. Because man is a social animal, as Aristotle famously wrote, because of the collectivity of human life, because of culture, these illusions become a force in the world and in history. But ultimately, religion is false. To continue to be motivated by it, to continue to explain the world by reference to it, is deeply incompatible with science. And since our goal is to liberate humanity and the Earth through empowering the masses with revolutionary science, religion is, in the final analysis, an obstacle to this goal.

The revolution, at the level of leadership, has to be organized according to the most advanced science. And, as Leading Light Communists, our goal is to empower the masses to lead themselves, to give the people the tools they need to understand their world and change it. This means we have to continuously strive to elevate people, to advance them, to educate them, to always try to bring more people into the leadership, to the Leading Light.

What will society look like as we transition to Leading Light Communism? Revolutionary society will be officially secular, but tolerant of the diverse beliefs of many faiths so long as they do not hurt anyone directly. The contradiction between revolutionary-scientific leadership and the religious masses should be treated as non-antagonistic. Those who are religious and try to help the masses should be treated as friends of the revolution. Tolerance and gentle education should be the order of the day. It is more important to expose those who use God as a way to oppress people than to expose God himself. However, there are some instances when the threat from reactionaries, capitalists, feudalists, fascists with religious ideology is so great that we must suppress them and their fascist beliefs. Those who pervert the best in religion, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., in order to oppress and exploit the masses should be seen as enemies. To those religious friends of the people, we extend the open hand. To those religious enemies of the people, we raise a clenched fist.

We must all remember that not every individual is at the same place on the learning curve. People have different experiences. We must always be humble. We must always use the mass line. Revolution, leading prisoners out of Plato’s cave, out of the world of shadow and illusion, takes time. It is a protracted struggle. It is part of our long march

8. Your message is so important. The future really does hang in the balance. It is frightening, the place we find ourselves as a species. It does lift my spirits to know there are real leadership out there. But are you hopeful about the future?

Revolutionaries are optimists. A great storm is gathering. Crisis after crisis. Poverty. Endless wars. Ecological catastrophe.  People have been asleep a long time, since the last wave of revolution was defeated. The people have one eye open. They are beginning to awaken once more. We must open both their eyes with science, with hope, with vision, with a real alternative, one that is based on the truth of past revolutions, but integrates the most advanced science of today, all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism. We lead the poor people, the exploited workers, the ordinary farmers, the landless, the slum dwellers and homeless, the small owners, all who truly suffer the worst of this world. They are us. We are them. United in suffering, united in hope, united by our future, shared destiny, the Leading Light.

Those in power will fight us. To the arrogant, we say: “all that you are, all that you represent, all that you honor will be swept away by our mighty storm. From great chaos, the world can be reborn. There is great potential in those who have seen the reality of this system, who have looked it in the eye, who have endured the worst and survived. And we have endured. We have survived. What does not kill us, makes us stronger. For there is a power in the people that you will never understand, but you will come to know it. We promise you, we will bring it to you, one way or another. You are facing a people, a spirit, you have never seen before.”

Armed with the best, most advanced revolutionary science, all-powerful, awesome Leading Light Communism, we are guiding our friends, the masses, our people into tomorrow. We declare total war on the Old Power, all the poverty, suffering, cruelty, and pain. A New Power of the Leading Light, of peace, prosperity, happiness, justice, heroism, creativity, sharing is rising like the dawn pierces the night. We carry the future on our finger tips. Our future is our own. We will never stop fighting until we win. Fight, fight, fight, until total victory, total liberation, until Leading Light Communism, until we know once and for all that our children have a future, that the Earth will bloom again. This is our great destiny, and we are its walking martyrs. As the Vietnamese poet and revolutionary Ho Chi Minh wrote:

“Everything changes, the wheel
of the law turns without pause.
After the rain, good weather.”

The storm will get much worse before it gets better. It will get much darker before the dawn. But it will not last forever. It will get better. This is the time of heroes. Our sun is rising. Our day is coming.

“All the birds sing at once.
Men and animals rise up reborn.
What could be more natural?
After sorrow comes joy.”

Brief statement on the attacks on Charlie Hebdo by Islamists

Brief statement on the attacks on Charlie Hebdo by Islamistsparis-charlie-attack-013-0844b064623bdd20e55ab585c1909b015540df12-s800-c15

(llco.org)

Recently, several Islamist gunmen attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The style of the Charlie Hebdo magazine is an irrevent one that attacks religion in general, but also is seen as bigoted for its targeting of Muslims and migrants. Twelve people were killed and 11 wounded. Three of the dead were police. According to reports, some of the gunmen had connections to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. One woman suspected of being involved in the planning of the first attack is thought to have fled to Islamic State territory in Syria. Yemen’s top al Qaeda leader Sheikh Nasr al-Ansi has claimed responsibility for the first attack. In what was probably a copycat incident that followed, a Jewish market was held hostage by at least one gunman who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). This second attack killed four people. All or most of the attackers appear to have been killed. Information is still coming in. In a video, the Yemeni leader did mention various crimes of the West, but the emphasis was on defending the honor of Muhammad. The choice of target would confirm that the main motivation was defending the religion, not Western crimes against the Third World. Sheikh Nasr al-Ansi stated, “We claim responsibility for this operation as revenge for the Messenger of Allah.” (1) At the height of the attack, one of the attackers is heard yelling something to the effect of “God is great! We will avenge the Prophet!” The attack seems to mainly be in retaliation for comics that depicted Muhammad in embarrassing ways. The second incident, the one on the Jewish market, appears to an unorganized attack by a lone man, a so-called “lone wolf.” In a video he made prior to his death, he does discuss, albeit briefly, attacks on the Middle East, especially bombings against the Islamic State, as the reason for his action.

The attacks have been followed by a large “I am Charlie” campaign where many people are expressing their solidarity with the slain cartoonists. Reactionary world leaders attended a rally against terrorism that included: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The US Obama administration made statements of solidarity. The rally in France was reportedly attended by two million. It is described as the largest since the liberation of Paris in World War 2. The issue is being framed as one of free speech versus Islamist barbarism. The attacks have caused a backlash of liberal and traditionalist outrage against Muslims and migrants. The “I am Charlie” campaign is fueling some of the most reactionary tendencies in Europe.

Of course attacks on free speech should be condemned. The murder of people over depictions of religious figures is wrong. However, there should be no mistake the “I am Charlie” campaign is not really about freedom of speech. The French state has continually restricted free speech, both left and right. Recently, rallies in support of Palestine were banned. There is the famous 1983 case of pseudo-historian Robert Faurisson who was convicted in France for denying the holocaust on Iranian television.  Since the Charlie marches, France has opened 54 cases against people for supposedly expressing support for terrorism, including one comedian who merely mocked the Charlie events on facebook. (2) France has a long history of placing restrictions on all kinds of speech that upsets its social-democratic, imperialist consensus. Noam Chomsky, the famous linguist and anti-imperialist, has been highly critical of France’s record on free speech. Two years ago, Chomsky criticized Charlie Hebdo’s portrayals of Muslims as racist. Chomsky pointed out that had such portrayals been of Jews, they would not be tolerated. Chomsky said, “Freedom of speech in France is complete fakery and fraud.” (3) All should be skeptical over France’s crocodile tears. The liberal imperialists and traditionalist anti-migrant forces will use the banner of freedom of speech to silence their opponents, especially anti-imperialist opponents. Those who are making the most noise about “Charlie” and “freedom” are some of the biggest hypocrites around. All of the reactionary world leaders who marched have far more blood on their hands than the attackers.

Empire will gain, one way or another, from the attacks. The motivations of the attackers appear to be very reactionary, in-line with the barbarism of right-wing radical Islamist groups, which, ironically, have been supported by imperialism in various underhanded ways. The radical Islamist trends are very much manipulated by the intelligence agencies of the Gulf Arab states, which are themselves a part of the First World. For decades, these radical Islamist forces have received military aid from the imperialists, including France, Israel, and the United States. The West, including France, has blood on its hands for its role in bringing these forces to power in many places, but especially in Syria and Libya. These forces are proxies and semi-proxies of these First World states that inflict horrors on their Third World neighbors. There is a kind of blowback when Empire supports these kinds of forces because Islamist forces are highly-ideologically motivated despite being empowered by the Empire. The recent attack on Charlie Hebdo is blowback. The violence Empire itself inflicts on the Third World pouring over into its own borders. It is a case of, as Malcolm X said, “the chickens coming home to roost.” These attacks will surely be manipulated by Empire to serve its own ends, be it by giving the Islamists more or less leash.

Both Hezbollah and Hamas, which are genuine resistance movements, much different than al Qaeda and the Islamic State, issued statements anticipating the imperialist backlash. Hassan Nasrallah of the Lebanon’s Hezbollah made a good point when he stated that “extremists are more offensive to Islam than cartoons.” He went on to say:

“The behavior of the takfiri groups that claim to follow Islam have distorted Islam, the Koran and the Muslim nation more than Islam’s enemies … who insulted the prophet in films… or drew cartoons of the prophet…” (4)

Hamas also condemned the “justification for killing innocents.” They condemned opportunist attempts by Israel to compare the attacks on the cartoonists to their resistance against Zionist occupation. (5)

The issue is not about Islamist barbarism versus Western freedoms. Rather, it is two very reactionary  forces trying to manipulate public opinion. In the end, Third World people and migrants end up paying the price. All over the world the imperialists are committing mass murder on a daily basis, often, but not always, working hand-in-hand with radical Islamists, who are often Empire’s proxies or semi-proxies. On the same day that reactionary world leaders marched for the 12 killed in France, thousands were killed by the Islamist Boko Haram in Baga, Nigeria. Millions die from imperialist wars every year. Millions die from imperialist policies. Yet there is no marching against that.  First World lives are considered to be worth more than Third World lives. This reflects the sad state of the world. Neither Empire nor Islam is the answer. Real, true, all-powerful Leading Light Communism is the way forward.

Kharijites attack Islam to steal our past and future

Kharijites attack Islam to steal our past and futureSXC-953432_13476061-No-Restr-EARTH

(llco.org)

In the 7th century, the Islamic world was descending into chaos. A struggle for power followed. Uthman ibn Affan, the third of the companion caliphs, had just been assassinated by rebels in 656 AD. There was a struggle over succession. Who would lead the Muslim community? On one side was Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of the companions for Sunni Muslims, also the first imam of the Shia. On the other side was Muawiyah of the Umayyads, which had also been Uthman’s clan. In 657 AD, during the First Islamic Civil War, during the battle of Siffin, Ali ibn Abi Talib sought compromise with his opponents. He sought peace over war. Enraged by this, a small faction of his own soldiers betrayed him. They abandoned their leader, one of the most dear of all the companions and part of Muhammad’s household. So did Muhammad love Ali that the Prophet’s daughter became Ali’s wife. Ali was betrayed. One of the first people to accept Muhammad’s message, a man who had never worshiped the pagan idols, was left to fight alone, to die. They betrayed their leader when Ali needed them most. The traitors came to be known as “Kharijites.” They perverted religion with an extremism that saw all other Muslims, Sunni and Shia, as suspect, “kafir,” infidel, apostates. And, according to their extremism, infidels and apostates deserve death. Their extreme perversion of the Koran rejected the moderating influences of the Koran itself. Instead, the whole of religion was interpreted through the their twisted lenses.

The Kharijites return today in a new form. In Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, in Arabia. In our land, Bangladesh, they have many names: “Islamic State,”  “Jamaat-e-Islami,” and so on. They try to play the “moderate” as the “Bangladeshi Nationalist Party.” Whatever they call themselves, whoever their leaders are, it does not matter. What matters is the politics behind the masks. This is why the great revolutionary Leading Light Lin Biao said we must always understand “politics in command.” We must always understand the real politics behind the masks. Islamic State, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Bangladeshi Nationalist Party are just different masks for the same backward, feudal barbarism. The modern Kharijites claim to represent Islam, but they are the greatest betrayers of religion. Just as in the past, they bring chaos to the Third World. They help Empire control the Third World and the Muslim peoples.

Recently, the Islamic State bombed the library in Mosul, Iraq. the burned thousands of ancient manuscripts. Similarly, they destroy ancient monuments, tombs, architecture. Much of the cultural heritage of the people is erased overnight. The Middle East, one of the cradles of civilization, is being destroyed. There is an old saying: “What is worse than ignorance? Ignorance with a gun.” It is physical and  cultural genocide against Muslim and other peoples. It is a war on knowledge itself. Look at how Jamaat-e-Islami and the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party attack journalists, bloggers, women. Or look at the hypocrisy. The extremists in our land wave the flag of democracy, yet they attack the masses, impose theocracy and barbarism, and crush all knowledge and dissent.They call for elections, but the terrorize the people. Similarly, they wave the flag of Islam to attack Islam. Let’s  look to the Koran itself. The Koran teaches us to embrace a scientific attitude, not blind faith and obedience:

“Do not uphold what you have no knowledge of. For the hearing, eyesight, and mind, all these are held responsible for that.” [Koran 17:36]

Intelligence and reason, according to the Koran, are gifts from God.  We are called to study historical precedents in order to carry out our moral duty. How can we embrace the lessons of the past, when books are burned? How can we embrace reason when intellectuals are shot, their bodies left on the side of the road? The Koran specifically rejects this war on reason and intellect:

“We have committed to hell many Jinns and humans. They have hearts, yet they do not comprehend; they have eyes yet they do not see; they have ears yet they do not hear. They are like cattle; no, they are even more astray. These are the heedless ones.” [Koran 7:179]

“The worst creatures with God are the deaf and dumb who do not reason.” [Koran 8:22]

“It is not for a person to acknowledge except by God’s leave. He casts the affliction upon those who do not reason.” [Koran 10:100]

“In their stories is a lesson for the people of intelligence. It is not a hadith that was invented, but an authentication of what is already present, a detailing of all things, and a guidance and mercy to a people who acknowledge” [Koran 12:111]

Too many times have men tried to make themselves into God. The Koran itself says:

“Many nations have come before you. So roam the earth and see what the consequence of the liars was.” [Koran 3:137]

Is the Islamic State so different than the Razakar militia? The spectacle of death created by the Islamic State is something our people have sadly witnessed before. The Razakar militia, backed by the Pakistani Army and the Western imperialists, tried to exterminate the intellectual traditions of our people by executing students, teachers, writers, artists, intellectuals, and so on. The modern Kharijites want to restrict education for everyone, and deny education for women altogether. They want to lock women away like animals. They want to eliminate the best and brightest minds of our people because it is easier to control an ignorant people. Yesterday, it was  the Razakar militia. Today it is Jamaat-e-Islami. Today it is the Islamic State. Today it is the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party.

To commit genocide on our culture and mind is to steal our past. The Kharijites steal not only our future, but the future of our children. They are cowards who are afraid to debate their ideas honestly, openly. The modern Kharijites know the masses will not be fooled or intimidated by them unless they use terror. So they chop off heads. They crucify people. Both the Islamic State and Jamaat-e-Islami burn people alive, both in cages and busses, to create a spectacle of death. And, they are so arrogant as to ignore the teaching that only God is allowed to punish with fire. In their arrogance, they try to make themselves into God. They have disdain for morality, for serving the people. The Koran teaches God has given life. Who are they to steal this gift from God? Who are they to kill innocent workers, farmers, poor people, women, intellectuals, youth, small owners?

The Koran states that God gave humanity reason, to ability to know:

“The Gracious. Has taught the Koran. He created the human being. Taught him how to distinguish.” [Koran 55:1-4]

The Koran instructs us to increase our knowledge:

“Then High above all is God, the King, the Truth. Do not be hasty with the Koran before its inspiration is completed to you, and say, “My Lord, increase my knowledge.” [Koran 20:114]

The scientific order of existence is itself a sign of the divine:

“Surely, in the creation of heavens and earth, the succession of night and day, and the ships that sail in the sea for the benefit of people, and what God has sent down of water from the sky therewith He brings the earth back to life after it had died, and He sends forth from it every creature, and the movement of the winds and the clouds that have been designated between the earth and the sky are signs for a people that reason.” [Koran 2:164]

It is again a time of chaos for our people. Empire is playing a sick game. With one hand, Empire attacks the masses with liberalism. With the other hand, it attacks the masses with extremist lies. When Empire wins, we lose. Just as the cowards betrayed Ali, they betray the Koran. They betray the masses then and they betray the masses now. The best in the Koran demands that we stand with the masses. The best in religion demands we treat each other with dignity and respect. Those who truly have religion fight for, not against, education. They fight for science, not medieval barbarism. They cherish life. They elevate and serve the people. When we pray toward Mecca, we ask God to hear us. In praying to God, we face each other. We are a global circle, all facing Mecca. This is to call on God, but also to respect each other and unite.  The best in the Koran demands we better ourselves, that we educate ourselves, that we use our brains that God has given us. Like Socrates, it teaches that we must study and know the world. Like the great philosopher and scientist, the Koran demands us to think critically. To know oneself and the world is to know God’s creation. Knowledge brings us closer to God. It is a key link between the created and the creator. There is no better way to honor and obey the Koran than to embrace truth, the most advanced revolutionary science, Leading Light Communism.

Look at the barbaric, medieval world they offer. Look at the deeply liberating world we offer. Do you want your children enslaved by men who act as God? Or do you want real freedom and truth? Ask yourself: Who is acting in accordance with God, the merciful, the just? It is time to destroy Empire, the system that enslaves and beats us down. It is time to do away with capitalism, the dictatorship of the dollar, a system that corrupts  the children of Adam and turns them into beasts against one another. There is a way out of the madness. We must fight for Leading Light Communism. One World. One people. We must cease with the destruction of our planet, our beautiful planet, our common home before we can no longer breathe the air or drink the water or cultivate our food. We must revive the spirit of the true revolutionary movement and correct past mistakes. Do not allow the extremists, the fanatics, modern Kharijites, the perverters of Islam to define your vision, your destiny. They are but the playthings of Empire. God willing, this is our time, this is the time of destiny, and we are the people of destiny.  God willing, this is the time when the seeds of Leading Light Communism will bear the sweetest fruit so that we may live in a society of true peace, prosperity, freedom. A society where people can exist as equals regardless of differences. Imagine a world where we can be our best selves. A society where everyone can think and express themselves freely, without fear. A world where comrades, brothers and sisters may greet each other “Assalamu Alykum,” “Peace be upon you,” with full knowledge that the greeting will be a reality.

Extremist barbarism kills bloggers

Extremist barbarism kills bloggershackedblogger

(llco.org)

An Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death on February 26, 2015. He ran the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site, which championed secular, humanist values. He had received many death threats before he was killed. He was hacked to death for speaking his mind. Those who murdered him are trying to justify their crime with Islam in an attempt to destroy the religion. The Koran itself demands that we use our reason. What right does any man have to steal the gift of life from another for simply following God’s command? The Koran itself states:

“We have committed to hell many Jinns and humans. They have hearts, yet they do not comprehend; they have eyes yet they do not see; they have ears yet they do not hear. They are like cattle; no, they are even more astray. These are the heedless ones.” [Koran 7:179]

“The worst creatures with God are the deaf and dumb who do not reason.” [Koran 8:22]

“It is not for a person to acknowledge except by God’s leave. He casts the affliction upon those who do not reason.” [Koran 10:100]

One of the worst sins in Islam is to attribute the qualities of God to men. Yet this is exactly what these Extremists do. They have no respect for God. Why is all-powerful God threatened by a busload of innocent people going to work? Islam says that only God can punish with fire, yet these extremists murder using all methods available, including firebombing buses of innocents? Why is all-powerful God threatened by a blogger? Who are they to say all-powerful God is so weak? God does not need their help. They are small men playing God. The Koran says that Allah should judge, not man. They have rejected the God of the Koran, the God of mercy and justice. This is the arrogance of fascism. This is the arrogance of feudal barbarism.

Nobody has been arrested for this crime yet. It was not long ago that the government arrested the atheist bloggers themselves for speaking up. These barbaric attacks are not only attacks on civilization and humanity, they are an attack on God. And, it is possible that these crime will go unpunished. Nobody is willing to stand up and say “enough is enough!” We do not want medieval barbarism. We do not want fascism. We do not want beheadings. We do not want crucifixions. We do not want humans burned alive. We do not want women treated like animals. We do not want poor people exploited and crushed. We do not want poor people to remain in ignorance. Is this the future we want for our children?

Embracing the best in Islam means following God’s instruction to use reason, logic, science. Everyone deserves a decent life. Everyone should know their children will have a happy future. There is no reason we have to live this way. There is a way out of the madness. Those who are truly respect God, creation, justice, peace, mercy, reason need to turn their backs on barbarism and fascism. Justice is real, our duty to justice is real. Those who are really Muslims, who truly honor the God of justice, peace, mercy, reason, follow Leading Light Communism.

Interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire on gender, sex, life

Interview with Leading Light Commander Prairie Fire on gender, sex, lifewomen-229x300

(llco.org)

  1. So many people claiming to be Marxist are really just liberal. You are one of the only voices, maybe the only voice, really challenging bourgeois, liberal feminism from the left. Let me ask you: What is probably the biggest, single misunderstanding about gender among activists today?

Probably the biggest misconception is that patriarchy is the same for women in the First and Third World. It is a huge misconception that women experience patriarchy the same way, that they are similarly oppressed in both the First and Third World. Furthermore, it is a big misconception that women in both the First and Third World have an interest in eliminating gender oppression globally. In fact, women in the First World benefit from the gender oppression of women in the Third World. Like First World men, First World women benefit from the patriarchal control of Third World women’s bodies. It is this control that squeezes more and more work out of Third World women, for example. This value create by the Third World ends up in the pockets of the First World. The entire First World way of life, all the privileges, the social-democratic benefits, are a result, in part, of the gender oppression of Third World women. First Worldist feminists promote the lie that all women experience patriarchy the same way, that they all are one big sisterhood united against gender oppression. This is one of the many lies First Worldists use to oppress the Third World. Remember how Chinese revolutionaries warned us of those who “wave the red flag to oppose the red flag.” First Worldist feminism and gender activism are yet other ways revisionism enters the revolutionary movement. Just as Lenin wrote about the “split in the working class,” so too is there as split among women. First World women, on the whole, are enemies of revolution. Similarly, most Third World women can be counted as friends. We must reject all manifestations of reaction, including liberalism and traditionalism. We must reject all First Worldism. We must embrace proletarianism, real, proletarian feminism.

  1. Mao Zedong stated that the first thing we have to do as revolutionaries is separate friends and enemies. You say First World women are enemies just as First World peoples as a whole are. But you say Third World women are mostly friends of the revolution. What kinds of oppression do they face?

Our sisters in the Third World face the worst of the imperial system. They suffer all the horrors that Empire inflicts on Third World men, and then some. They suffer subsistence and sub-subsistence incomes. They suffer grueling, unsafe work for pennies a day, usually earning substantially less than their male counterparts. They suffer gender apartheid. Sometimes they have to give sexual favors to their employers and other men with power. They have to toil away in the domestic sphere, often suffering abuse when they do not fulfill what is expected of them. They have to take care of children, even as they are working. They live under constant threat of abuse and rape, sometimes from their own husbands. Young women are sold off into marriage, often against their will. Girls can have their clitorouses removed so that men can better control them. They must endure the tyrannies of their husband’s in-laws. They are valued less by society. If the family must consume less, the females sacrifice first. They are often the last to receive health care. Sometimes female babies are discarded to die. Sometimes girls are sold into sex slavery by their own families. In some places, females not only suffer under imperialist capitalism, but they suffer under semi-feudalism. It is sometimes prohibited by law for girls to receive an education. It might be prohibited for females to go outside without covering their whole bodies, or it might be prohibited for them to go outside without a male relative. They can face an entire system of gender apartheid. In much of the world, females are not equal under the law. They have little rights in cases of divorce. They are not allowed to own significant property. In some places, beating women is seen as acceptable, normal behavior. The world is truly a nightmare for many women. They truly have nothing to lose but their chains. These women need revolution. They need a radical reorganization of the social order to end oppression, to serve their interests, to save their children. Revolution is about future. It is about creating a just society, caring, loving, happy families. It is about a future where we are secure in the knowledge our children will be safe and prosper. Leading Light Communism is their sword to pick up and slay the beast of patriarchy, feudalism, capitalism, Empire.

  1. You have called for women to pick up the sword of Leading Light Communism to overthrow their oppressor. Can women be good fighters?

Women are one of our greatest, our strongest, our sharpest weapons. There is a special strength in those who have tasted the worst this system has to offer, as so many women have. Those who have endured the worst, been abused, smashed down, survived the worst, have a special spirit. To stand against them is like fighting the hurricane. They have a strength that cannot be conquered. Fighting without women in our ranks is like fighting with one arm tied behind our backs. This is one of the greatest advantages of our movement over others. Reactionaries, religious extremists, traditionalists relegate women to a subordinate position, a gender apartheid. “No!” Because we are led by genuine, revolutionary science, all-powerful, Leading Light Communism, we do not harbor any chauvinism, no hate. We have only love. We say with the Chinese revolutionaries: “Women hold up half the sky!” Women can fight alongside men. Women can lead alongside men. Women can be as strong as men, even stronger. It is their future too. They not only have the right, but the moral obligation to fight. We all fight for our children, our shared future, destiny. The Leading Light. Global People’s War. They are us. We are them.

  1. You have taught that traditionalism is one form that revisionism can take, but so is liberalism. Some First Worldists take up the politics of the left wing of bourgeois feminism. They see all men as the enemy. They even claim that it is necessary to get rid of genders, and men or manhood, to reach communism?

Probably one of the most famous revolutionary slogans is “women hold up half the sky!” It was a slogan from Maoist China. Recently, First Worldist revisionists made the strange argument that the Maoist slogan “women hold up half the sky” somehow meant or implied the Chinese Maoists were against gender and manhood itself. This is somewhat mind boggling that someone would put forward such a goofy interpretation. According to such a strange interpretation, one wonders who exactly upheld the sky’s other half?

The saying itself, in its very wording, suggests that women are half, not more, not less, of a whole. Their responsibilities and duties are half of a greater whole. It is an inspiring slogan, a call for replacing old oppressions with new, liberating unity. When the liberal revisionist misrepresents the slogan, he is allowing his own ideological biases to distort its meaning, which should be obvious to most. The revisionist is also allowing her own narrowness and pettiness of spirit to taint a beautiful, poetic expression of the revolutionary hope and reality that oppressed men and women have far more in common, and far more to gain, by working together. The Chinese Maoists were genuine revolutionaries leading a vast country of men and women. First Worldist revisionists who answer to no social base are well-known for embracing all kinds strange politics. It is like the children’s story of Chicken Little. An acorn falls on his head so he thinks the sky is falling. They run around waving their arms: “all sex is rape,” “all men are evil!,” and so on. It is self-absorbed, petty, ego-driven crackpotism that has nothing to do with real revolution. It is totally disconnected from ordinary people. Those who raise such irresponsible politics only serve the bourgeoisie, but they are mostly ignored even in the First World.

It is important to eliminate gender oppression. This is not the same thing as eliminating genders. Overthrowing patriarchy is not the same thing as eliminating men and manhood. One would be hard pressed to find such a concept of eliminating gender itself in the revolutionary tradition, in the works of Marx, Lenin, Mao, or other Leading Lights. On the contrary, revolutionaries of the past have seen the denial of manhood as an injustice inflicted on poorer men by the reactionary system. This complaint is often heard even by poorer communities.

The history of the Chinese Communist Party’s outlook on gender is complex. It evolved in all kinds of ways. However, I would like to see evidence that their concept of women’s liberation was tied in any meaningful way to “fighting manhood” in some kind of specific, stronger sense, as some crackpots claim. In fact, the Communist Party could also facilitate marriages between men and women for large segments of the population. Men in rural China often were very poor and lacked the status to acquire a bride in the traditional way, arranged marriages, bride prices, etc. In a 1931, Mao reportedly said the inability of poor men to be married was a big injustice. Similarly, women sometimes fled their homes to avoid being sold to husbands or they fled the tyranny of in-laws, specifically the step mothers. In the Party, men and women sought to escape the patriarchy that hurt them both. The communists were a safe haven from feudal tyranny. But you have a case here where poor, rural men were being denied the possibility of having a family, status, which meant a lot in Chinese society. Similarly women had their reasons for entering these circles. My point is that Mao himself expressed that denial of manhood was an abuse inflicted on poor men. One only need to look at old Maoist propaganda to see portrayals of strong, proud, brave, healthy men and women. There was no concept of eliminating gender and manhood coming from the Maoists or Bolsheviks.

There is a view out there among some First World Maoists and anarchists that men and manhood are inherently bad. This is not the revolutionary view. It is one extreme view that emerges from the liberal paradigm that the individuals must be in competition with each other. One manifestation of this extreme view that advancing women means oppressing or eliminating men or separating from them. This kind of unhealthy outlook is reflected, albeit in less extreme ways, in the romance culture in the First World. People describe themselves as “players” in a “game” of winners and losers. Their ultra-left strand of liberalism is a kind of reverse of the gender apartheid of traditionalism. Both extremist views are very wrong, anti-people. Rather than trying to make people, males, females lose so they can benefit in their relationships, shouldn’t we try to see gender in a way to make everyone win? The view that men and manhood are necessarily bad is an extreme view within the broad liberal camp. Such a view is crackpot, but has a small following in the First World activist community. It is the outlook of Chicken Little who leaps to all kinds of wild conclusions when he misinterprets a thump on his head. Such extreme views only serve the patriarchy by discrediting those of us who really do fight against gender oppression, which is very real. Most women want to be women. Most men want to be men. Most women don’t see anything wrong with men being men. Most men don’t see anything wrong with women being women. Motherhood and fatherhood are healthy things. However, we should not limit anyone to any single gender role. People should have freedom within the context of advancing the community to Leading Light Communism. We should promote healthy ways of living that allow us to thrive, create, be strong. We need to promote virtue. We need to promote the spirit of the nurturer, the worker, the farmer, the musician, the artist, the warrior, the scientist, the poet, the philosopher. We need to promote images of attractive, healthy, vigorous, virtuous, strong women and men.  We need to promote images of women that are powerful, but are not whores and bitches. We need to promote images of men that are not weaklings, but also not pimps, douchebags, assholes. We need to promote images of loving revolutionaries who take care of their family and community.

Revolution is not about getting rid of the family. Revolution is about getting rid of oppression. It is about getting rid of those who use the family to oppress. Revolution is not about getting rid of genders. It is about getting rid of those who use gender to oppress. Real revolution is about saving the family, integrating it back into the community, and into the shared destiny of achieving real freedom. It is the proletarian outlook that rejects the pink flag of the liberal Empire, but also rejects the black flag of traditionalism, fascism, feudalism. The revolutionary outlook was pioneered, but not completed, by the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union and by the Maoists in China. It it the outlook of Proletarianism, or proletarian feminism. It is the red flag of the Leading Light.

  1. Is sex biological?

The revisionists make the strange argument that sex is not biological. They point to the few anomalous, ambiguous cases in order to conclude male and female do not really exist. This silliness is popular in the First World, even among Marxist-Leninists, Maoists, and other revisionists. Sex, whether one is male or female, is biological. Sexual dimorphism, male and female, exists across nature in most complex species. Not only do males and females have different bodies and different sexual organs, they have differences in their endocrine systems and in their brains. This does not mean women are better than men or vice versa. It simply means that biological differences exist. It is also foolish not to recognize that these differences manifest themselves psychologically and in sexual culture. Gender is not identical to sex, but there is a biological dimension to it.

  1. Can you explain more about gender? Is gender biological?

It depends on what we mean by “gender.” If we are talking about “gender” as a position in a system of oppression, then it is not biological. The difference between First and Third World women should make that clear. First and Third World women share the same biology, but have different roles in the system of gender oppression. First World women and Third World women have different positions in regard to the global patriarchy. First World women tend to benefit from it. Third World women suffer. First World women are granted more and more life options. Third World women have their life options restricted. And there is a causal relation here between the extension of social-democratic privilege in the First World and the narrowing of life options in the Third World, a narrowing that sometimes occurs through the most brutal forms of feudal patriarchy. Thus First World women are oppressors. Third World women are, on the whole, oppressed in the global patriarchy. They share very different gender interests. Because of their First World privileges, First World women are not as limited by their role in reproduction as they once were. First World women share some, but not all, of the same culture and identity of First World men. And First World men have also become more and more like First World women. This is a big part of the liberal culture of Empire. So some aspects of gender are definitely very social in origin.

But, if we are discussing the psychological component of “gender,” there is a biological component. There are aspects of gender that are still biological, that cannot be overcome by culture and society. There are biological differences that exist between men and women that manifest themselves in mating, emotional life, etc. There are some differences in sexual and reproductive behavior. People speak of the “maternal instinct” in women, for example. There are differences in body chemistry, sexual psychology, emotions, behaviors. Humans are animals. Like animals, humans have innate instincts and behaviors. Acknowledging difference does not mean any gender is better or worse than another. The slogan “women hold up half the sky” implies that poor men and poor women should work together in a complementary way, not in competition. If we are to build a revolutionary society that is genuinely scientific, we must construct a society that works with, not against, our natures. We, men and women, need to work together.

  1. Is manhood bad?

Many of those same characteristics often associated with manhood are ones we need in order to fight, to really make revolution. These characteristics are not exclusive to men, but they have been attacked by liberal Empire as part of an effort to undermine our communities and fighting capacity. It is Empire, the society of Friedrich Nietzsche’s last man, without ambition, intensity, destiny. Strength, valor, honor, loyalty are all lacking and mocked in Empire. The drive to excellence is lacking. Leadership and genius are mocked. In Plato’s tripartite division of the soul, the soul is pictured as a chariot that moves due to the efforts of two horses and a driver. There is the pull of the crass desires, the stomach. The soul is also pulled by what the Greeks called “thymos,” spiritness, excellence, the pull of the athlete and warrior. There is also reason, intellect. Liberal Empire is driven by stomach, by petty consumerism. The other parts of the soul are suppressed by contemporary culture. Liberal Empire is a world where both the best and worst lack conviction, neither has “passionate intensity,” unless it is intense consumerist conviction. Traditionalism tends to elevate thymos far more than liberalism, but it combines heart with the crass appetites of the stomach. In this sense, it still shares much with liberalism. Both liberalism and traditionalism denigrate reason, the intellect, the spirit of the scientist and philosopher. Real revolution, Leading Light Communism, by contrast, elevates the heart alongside reason. This is why say Leading Lights are warrior geniuses who serve the people.

There is a design to it all, to Empire and its liberalism. “Men without chests” will not make revolution. Chicken Littles will not. The system is one of mediocrity, that denigrates those people and those qualities that we need to make revolution. In this way, the system has beaten the revolutionary movement before the fight starts. It buys off the population in the First World, so there is no proletariat. And it turns the First World population into cowards, whiners, dunces, Chicken Littles, “men without chests.” Even if they wanted to make revolution, they could not. The attack on “manhood” by some liberals is, in part, an attack on the ability of poor people, including women, to organize themselves in a way to really take power.

A long time ago, Karl Marx talked about how capitalism had destroyed the traditional family. Capitalism has invaded every part of our lives, included the most intimate, the family. The culture of liberalism spreads across the Third World, destroying communities and families. This has a terrible effect on oppressed peoples. The values of self-serving, liberal capitalism replace community and family. Without revolutionary institutions and culture, without New Power, social bonds whither, people no longer care for each other. Community and family wither. We must transform, revolutionize community and family through New Power and Global People’s War, not destroy them, not serve broken communities and families up to Empire.

  1. Is it true that the CIA has financed and promoted First Worldist, liberal feminism?

In the past, the Soviets channeled aid to secular nationalists and anti-imperialists. As a way to combat that, the Western imperialists, including the Zionists, channeled aid to traditionalists, Islamist extremists, as a way to counter and undermine secular organizations and regimes. It is well-known how the CIA has promoted traditionalism when it has found it useful. The West promoted the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan. Even Hamas, at one point, was aided as a way to undermine Palestine’s secular resistance at the time. In Indonesia, the Western imperialists aided in the suppression of the Communist Party and the overthrow of Sukarno’s nationalist regime. In his place, they installed Islamist generals led by Suharto. The streets of Jakarta ran red with the blood of all the victims of the coup. The West has promoted traditionalism by aiding the Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive, where they do not have equal rights in society. Saudi Arabia, where some of the worst gender apartheid exists, exports some of the most vicious traditionalism across the Muslim world with the help of the West. The West has worked with Pakistan at times to promote brutal traditionalism. In Libya, the West overthrew the Gaddafi regime, which was far more secular and nationalist than what exists now. Extremist Islamic militias are now running wild imposing their brutal concept of traditionalist sharia. In Syria, the Western imperialists have used traditionalists to tear the society apart. Going back even further, from World War 1 to World War 2, many in the West promoted traditionalism in Europe as a way to attack Bolshevik, communist revolution. They promoted forms of Christian traditionalism as a way to suppress leftist revolutionaries. Even recently, traditionalism has been promoted in Eastern Europe when the West has found it useful. Bosnia and Kosovo are examples. Even today, the West aids liberalism in the Ukraine with one hand and traditionalist, fascist trends with the other. And, the Russians also promote their own traditionalist and liberal forces in various conflicts. There is also the case of Bangladesh where the West promotes both sides of the conflict. They promote both the current regime of the Awami League, which is a bit more liberal. And they, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, promote the barbarism of the extremist Islamic traditionalists. Muslims are being burned alive by random attacks on civilians by the extremists there. This is in an effort to weaken the society to make it easier for the imperialists to control. The point is that the West has a long record of supporting the worst, fascistic, traditionalist, brutal organizations and regimes when it serves them. They are perfectly willing to support gender apartheid if it suits them. However, this is just one part of the equation.

Liberalism has also been a weapon against the Third World. Imperialists have historically used the pretext of modernization, liberal progress, to justify their domination over and attacks against the colonial world. The imperialists have claimed that their domination of the colonial world was part of a great civilizing mission to remove backward traditions. Liberalism was often part of this package. Afghanistan is one of the most interesting cases. The United States supported the most brutal extremist traditionalists against the Soviet-supported reformist regime in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, once the United States came into conflict with the Taleban after the events of September 11, 2001, the imperialists decided that Afghanistan was in need of modernization and liberalization. First Worldist feminists lined up to cheerlead the imperialist invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Similarly, First Worldist gender activists agitate for imperialist attacks on Iran because they think they are aiding gay rights. Even First Worldist revisionists and Maoist groups, which are in the pockets of the state, held rallies in the United States against Iran’s 12 treatment of women and gays. The liberal and left liberal establishment is playing its role in Empire. They see imperialism as a vehicle for modernization, to advance liberal civilization. Here it is also important to mention the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs and aid organizations are very much tied to this imperialist control. They are used to infiltrate communities. They become a form of liberal power, pushing imperialist social and cultural policies, in the communities of the Third World. They are part of population management and social engineering by Empire. The network of these organizations and agencies overlaps very much with imperial intelligence. And there is more.

There is the famous case where one of the leading liberal feminists was exposed. Red Stockings, a Marxist-influenced feminist group, exposed some of the connections between liberal, bourgeois, First Worldist feminism and the CIA. They exposed Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine’s CIA connections in the 1970s. It is no secret that Steinem worked for the CIA spying on student radical groups, including Marxists. Steinum and Ms. magazine disseminated a particular kind of feminism that was both First Worldist and liberal. It was a pseudoradicalism very much in-line with the CIA’s vision of a proper imperial civilization, a culture of liberal imperialism. Steinum herself expresses that she was happy that she never felt that the her CIA handlers were speaking down to her. She felt they were very respectful toward her and her politics. She was one of the boys, so to speak. And, her handlers were part of the girls. The CIA’s involvement in First Worldist, liberal feminism is a matter of historical fact. Furthermore, it is well known that the CIA also financed some types of art that were seen to promote liberal values, seen to undermine socialist, heroic values in the Eastern bloc. It is entirely predictable that the CIA would intervene in the culture, intervene in left-wing social and cultural movements in foreign countries, but also in the United States itself. The CIA, the broad network of intelligence agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy shapers have a vested interest in creating the most stable, lasting Empire possible. This includes shaping every aspect of imperial life, which included attitudes about sexuality and gender. This is not the era of Lenin’s imperialist rivalry. The United States is in conflict with Europe. The CIA is not so narrow in its outlook. It looks beyond mere US national interests, to the shaping of global civilization itself. They are looking beyond nation, so too must we. We too must develop a 13 whole new approach, a kind of total war that is multi-generational, that looks beyond today’s political entities to civilization itself.

  1. You say that much of First Worldist feminism is really just liberalism. Can you elaborate?

There are really unfortunately only two main sides to the debate, at least as most people see it. There is liberalism, the culture of Empire, the rainbow or pink flag. Then there is traditionalism, the black flag. Many people see the main fight in the world as one between a globalist Empire that pushes a sexual and gender culture that is liberal versus a reactionary, anti-gay, anti-feminist, nationalist, racial, communal traditionalism. Our view is that both liberalism and traditionalism are two sides of the imperial coin. It’s like the saying goes, “liberalism is the face of the ruling class when they are not afraid, fascism when they are afraid.” Today, liberalism is the main face of Empire, but there is a traditionalist trend bubbling up from below in some places, especially in Europe. Traditionalism is making a comeback in much of the Muslim world also. This has led to terrible results, especially for women. We reject both.

One of the problems is that few people know the vision of real communism, the Leading Light. When revisionists try to articulate their vision, it either sounds like liberalism or it sounds like traditionalism. Revisionists are unable to really find any political space between liberalism and traditionalism. And, if you all you can do is sound like a liberal or traditionalist, then it is pointless to try to maintain a separate identity. Be what you are. Be a liberal or traditionalist. Stop pretending to be a communist. Stop wrapping liberalism and traditionalism in the red flag. This is why so few people turn to the so-called “far left” anymore. Leading Light is the one force out there that is articulating a real vision that is neither liberal nor traditionalist. Our view is proletarianism. We advocate the liberation of men and women within the context of total revolution. We advocate the freedom of men to be men and women to be women, without putting any kind of restrictions on gender. Men and women should be encouraged to be attractive, healthy, strong, virtuous, creative as men and as women. There is nothing oppressive about being a good, healthy, positive exemplar of whatever your identity is. Both the Soviet Union and China, in their revolutionary phases, promoted these virtues without erasing gender itself. People should be encouraged to be their best selves within the context of advancing the community, the revolution. And, for most people, this means being a good example of manhood or womanhood. Despite what some revisionists think, there is a biological basis not only to sex, but also a biological aspect to some, but not all parts, gender. If we are to make a socialism, and communism, that succeeds, that really wins, we need to work with, not against, nature. If you go against nature, people will reject revolution. Revolution must move with nature, not against it.

  1. Liberals are so obsessed with identity. They love talking about themselves, personalities. I know you hate to talk about yourself, but lots of people are curious about the man behind the writings. Can you talk a little about yourself and how you deal with the sexual culture of the First World?

Traditionalism is a terrible order where women are controlled in very direct, abusive ways. It is a kind of gender apartheid inflicted on women. Capitalism with its liberalism overthrew traditionalism in many parts of our world. In the place of traditionalism, new forms of unhealthy and abusive behavior arose. Immanuel Kant wrote, in his time, of marriage being a contract to use each other’s bodies and property. Karl Marx wrote about how capitalism had penetrated every aspect of life, including the most intimate realm of family. Friedrich Engels wrote that marriage under capitalism and, by implication, relationships were really just prostitution. Usually, in his day, it was women selling and men buying. Today, it is a free for all. Liberalism is a culture of mutual degradation, lack of respect, mutual use and abuse, “assholes,” “pimps,” “douchebags,” “hoes,” “bitches,” and so on. Some people, fascists, religionists, Islamists, think the solution is a return to traditionalism. Liberalism has gotten so bad that even many women are running toward traditionalism. But traditionalism is really just a war against women, gender apartheid. It is no answer. First World people live in a disgusting wasteland of Empire where they do not know how to express themselves or relate in healthy sexual ways. Many people do not know how to be strong without being abusive. People even call romance and sex “the game,” as though you win at the expense of your friends, community, family, those around you, including your lover. People are afraid to give, because in such an environment, if you give an inch, a mile is taken. It is imperative that we lead humanity out of the wasteland. Proletarianism is the path to real freedom and respect.

I believe in family. I believe in community. I believe in giving, in sacrifice. I believe in love, love of wife or girlfriend, love of family, community, people, the Earth. Love is a big part of what makes life worth living. To be strong requires the help of others, especially someone special, someone you love and who loves you. First World sexual culture is one where we are made to feel that being strong is incompatible with caring about someone. Mainstream culture tries to tell us our best feelings are wrong, that we should be embarrassed or feel guilty. It is a bizarre world where those with virtue are mocked. Those with none are praised. I am someone who has experienced some of the worst of this world, yet I have survived. I endure. I carry on. It is important to keep marching even if the wasteland seems endless. We are on a mission. We are Leading Lights, men and women of destiny. We cannot help but remember our lives are not fully our own. Duty is always commanding us onward. We do have each other, the best of the best, and we have hope. I have hope. Hope is a precious thing.

  1. What about those who criticize Mao or Che Guevara as womanizers? What do you say to them?

Revolutionary leaders like Mao and Che have done far more to advance the cause of humanity, including women, than their nitpicky critics. Che had a hand in the leadership of numerous revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggles that sought to end not only economic oppression, but also gender oppression. He gave his life for the liberation of women. And Mao was the greatest feminist of all time. Mao led a revolution that involved a quarter of humanity, one out of every four women on Earth was involved in the Chinese revolution. The Maoist revolution brought political power, property, and basic human rights to a quarter of humanity, one out of every four women. Think about it. For the first time, women could have a say in their daily lives, in their families, in their communities, in politics. Women were given more ability to control property. They now had power in the families, in divorce. Mao ended the gruesome practice of foot-binding, the Chinese practice of deforming female feet to satisfy a perverted-male fetish. Under the Maoist regime, Jiang Qing, a woman, Mao’s wife, rose very high in elite circles of political power. Lin Biao’s wife, Ye Qun, also acquired tremendous power. This means a lot given how backward Chinese society was only a few decades before. Even with the defeat of the Chinese revolution in the 1970s, much of this progress remains. The Maoist revolution smashed feudalism and all of its barbarism for a quarter of humanity. This may not seem important to gossipy lifestylists who would rather talk about Mao’s liaisons with young peasant girls rather than the world-historic changes experienced by a quarter of the world’s women thanks to leaders like Mao and Lin Biao. And, really, should anyone be shocked that an older man sought out the company of young, healthy, pretty women, and that such women sought out an older, respected, powerful man? Is this so shocking, really?

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. Are there any final words?

In order to defeat Empire, we do not need a bickering herd of cats. We need unity and strength. We need to forge the people into a mighty army with unity of purpose and action. Real revolutionary science, all-powerful Leading Light Communism strengthens, not weakens, the people in their fight. Those who weaken people’s movements, even while claiming to be revolutionary or radical, are revisionist agents of the system. There is one real path to freedom. We must see through the illusion. There are more options than what they show us. Liberalism, Empire, is not the answer. Traditionalism, fascism, feudalism is no answer. Liberalism sets poor men against poor women, poor women are set against poor men. Traditionalism, gender apartheid, also sets poor men against poor women. By contrast, proletarianism unites. Poor men and poor women join hands in the common proletarian struggle against the system. We must drop the pink and black flags. We must pick up the red flag. We must elevate the revolutionary, Leading Light vision. We are filled with love. We love our families. We love our communities. We love our elders. We love our children. We, sisters and brothers, are warriors, attractive, strong, healthy, courageous, creative, filled with genius. Together, we fight for our common destiny. Our future is our own. First World men do not hold up the sky. First World women do not uphold the sky. We, the Proletarian World, the Third World and its allies, uphold the sky together, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands.

Beginning talking points on the Cultural Revolution era

Beginning talking points on the Cultural Revolution eracultural-revolution-propaganda-for-children-study-hard-202x300

(llco.org)

Communism is the final goal of our revolution. There is an old Maoist saying that you cannot break every chain but one. It does not matter if you are chained to a wall with one or a hundred chains, you are still chained to a wall. We must break all chains. The end of all oppression. The end of exploitation. No rich. No poor. No racism. No national oppression. No sexism. No gender oppression. There is no more oppression of the youth. Communism is total liberation. No groups have power over others. As Marx and Lenin taught, the state is a weapon for one group to oppress another. Since no group has power over another, there is no need for a state in communism. Communism is equality. A society organized around human need. No greed. No individualism. No longer will people see themselves merely as individuals under communism. Communism is collectivism. The common good. Sharing. Private property is eliminated under communism. Communism is altruism. The ethic of “serve the people” will govern all human interactions. The people will be one under communism. No more me, me, me. Communism is sustainability. No longer will people destroy the earth, our common home. We have  an obligation to future generations. Antagonistic contradictions no longer exist under communism. Communism is peace. Under communism, the revolution is self-perpetuating. Total communism has never existed, although there have been various indigenous societies that have shared many aspects with communism. Marx and Engels called some tribal societies ‘primitive communism.’

There have been three breakthroughs, three main waves of revolution that have advanced humanity into socialism toward communism. Sometimes people count the Paris Commune as the first wave, but it really was not sustained. It was a city uprising that was quickly defeated. Rather, the next waves  of revolution was initiated in 1917, the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin. Although this revolution was irredeemably reversed and capitalism restored by the 1950s, we learned much from the Soviet experience. We learned much from Lenin and Stalin era, which we uphold in a critical, general, and non-dogmatic way. The third wave of revolutions were the social revolutions that occurred after World War 2 as part of the struggle against imperialism. The best representative and most important of these is the Chinese revolution led by Mao. A quarter of humanity stood up and tried to build a better future. Of all our attempts into socialism and toward communism, the furthest advance was the Cultural Revolution period within the Chinese revolution. There is some debate about the exact date of the Cultural Revolution. For our purposes here, we can say that the Cultural Revolution period began  around 1966 and ended in the 1970s, it peaked from 1967 to 1970. The Cultural Revolution is a key part of the Maoist contribution to revolutionary science. Lin Biao stated that the Cultural Revolution was Mao’s most important contribution to theory:

“Comrade Mao Zedong has not only enriched Marxism in the area of the conquest of political power by the proletariat. He has also made a creative contribution to its development, marking a new historical era when he tackled the most important problem of our time: the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the struggle against all danger of restoring capitalism.”

Here are some important things to understand about this general period:

1. The Cultural Revolution period was an attempt to advance further into socialism and toward communism, total liberation. The Maoists understood that if we did not continue to go forward toward communism, the revolution would degenerate. Mao said, “there is nothing worse than a stagnant pond.” Socialism can only be understood as a transition to communism. Maoists called this “continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.”

2. Maoists identified the problem of counter-revolution as a problem of the rise of a new bourgeoisie within the Party and state. This new reactionary class arises within the organs of power. Inequalities in power, privileges and wealth crystallize. Reactionary ideas spread. Elements within the bureaucracies of society turn into a new reactionary class that seek to advance their own interests instead of the interests of the masses. They gradually reorganize society completely to advance themselves. They seek to advance their own class interests instead of heading for communism, instead of ending class itself. They seek a counter-revolution to restore capitalism.

3. One line that was advanced by the new bourgeoisie was the theory of productive forces. This line was one way that the new bourgeoisie consolidated and advanced its position. This line overemphasizes the role of the productive forces, of technology, in the revolutionary process. This line tends to see communism as mainly a matter of advanced technological development. Socialism, the transition between capitalism and communism, is merely a matter of creating the technology capable of creating a society of plenty, as though advances in technology will serve up communism. This theory discounts the role of power struggle. It discounts revolutionizing social relations. It discounts revolutionizing culture and the super-structure. It discounts the power of the people. The theory of productive forces is also related to First Worldism. It sets the bar for socialism incorrectly. It fails to recognize that wealth in the First World is a result of exploitation of the Third World. Instead, this revisionist theory holds that socialism should compete with the First World, capitalist standard of living. When socialism fails to deliver a consumer society because socialism is not based on imperialist exploitation, the revisionists blame socialism itself. Revisionists begin to say socialism doesn’t work and communism is impossible. The revisionists conclude that capitalism is a better way to advance technology and raise the standard of living. Leading Light communists reject revisionism. Leading Lights say that our goal should not be merely to match the accomplishments of the rich capitalist countries, but to create a better and sustainable way of life that isn’t based on exploitation and inequality. We need a whole new society.

4. Contrary to the revisionists, the Maoists of the time emphasized people power. Maoists unleashed the creativity of the masses to make up for lack of capital and technology. The masses, led by revolutionary science, can overcome these obstacles. This is what Mao meant when he said political line is decisive. People power under the correct leadership can move mountains. This meant using mass mobilizations and campaigns to solve the problems confronting society. This meant class struggle. This meant social experiment. This meant the mass line. This meant incorporating input from the bottom in the leadership of society. This meant a kind of mass democracy. The Cultural Revolution included huge mass movements for actually reaching communism, millions on the streets for communism itself.

5. Maoists held that revolution was a train on two tracks: class struggle and development of the productive forces, i.e. technology. However, class struggle is principal. Revolutionizing the social relations, reorganizing power, is principal. Mao said, “never forget class struggle!” Maoists unleashed spontaneous mass movements by red guard students, rebel workers and even soldiers against the authority of the entrenched new bourgeoisie in the organs of power.  A big part of this was allowing the masses the space to voice their grievances. The masses posted essays and posters all over the campuses, streets and workplaces. The Maoists called for “mass democracy” and “big debates.” Mao raised the slogan “it is right to rebel against reactionaries!” Mao called on the masses to “bombard the Party headquarters!”

6. As part of this class struggle, from late 1966 into 1968, a controlled chaos was unleashed. The masses were allowed to overthrow the bureaucrats and other reactionaries. They were allowed to seize power and reorganize society from below. Rebel workers, students, youth, and soldiers rose up. Women were empowered to fight remaining patriarchy. Youth had significant political power for the first time. The masses were allowed to tear down significant parts of the state and build anew. Lin Biao’s People’s Liberation Army held back and created a protective bubble that allowed the chaos to run its course. New organs of power emerged.

7. “Mao Zedong Thought” and Mao were promoted far and wide. The masses used Mao’s words and theories to justify their rebellion against the bureaucracy, the new capitalist class. For a time, the “cult” made it so that individuals (armed with “little red books”) had the ability to challenge bureaucratic rule. In this struggle, Mao’s personal authority became mixed up with the science of Maoism. This mixing was probably unavoidable, especially given the conditions in China. However, it is important to understand the complex nature of the “cult.”

8. The Maoists broke with both the Soviet view of development and counter-revolution. Much of the Soviet outlook was marked by its origin in the industrial revolution. Revolutionaries of the time looked at the world through the lenses of the machine. Many saw socialist development as creating a kind of machine that served up happiness. They saw development as a kind of perfect central plan whose goal was mainly the creation of wealth. When things did not work out, instead of questioning the underlying model, they tended to see the problem as one of wreckers and agents. In other words, when problems arose, they failed to look at the system. Instead, they concluded that the problems were a result of conscious sabotage. Thus the solution was better policing. Leading Lights refer to this flawed outlook as “the police paradigm.” Maoists began to break with this outlook. They did not fully break with it though. They began to see that socialism itself creates problems. Socialism itself generates a new bourgeoisie. Maoists began to understand the problem structurally, scientifically.

9. Maoists identified two general areas of battle in the fight for revolution during socialism. It is necessary to constantly wage war against remaining inequalities of power, wealth and privilege. If inequalities are not continually reduced, they grow. Eventually, a new bourgeoisie emerges and counter-revolution occurs. It is also necessary to constantly wage war in the culture, in the super-structure. Reactionary culture must be replaced. If reactionary culture is not eliminated, it spreads, infects and reverses revolution. It is a cancer on the collective brain of society. Revolution must be continually waged in these two realms.

10. Culture is society’s program. For thousands of years we have been taught that some are better than others: the rich better than the poor, men better than women, whites better than blacks,  the old better than the young. It’s going to be hard to change that overnight. Everyone is corrupted by old ways. We have to  neutralize reactionary culture. When possible, we must make the old serve the new; old culture must be made to serve our new society. In addition, we must create new, revolutionary culture. Just as the proletariat must take conscious control of the economy, the proletariat must take control of society’s program. It has to be rewritten to serve the people. This emphasis on changing society’s program, on making the revolution self-perpetuating, lays the basis of the end of the state.

11 Altruism and egalitarianism were advanced as part of this process. A new, communist morality of “serve the people” was advanced. Material incentives were reduced and sometimes abolished entirely. Moral incentives were promoted. “Fight self, repudiate revisionism” was raised as a slogan. Life was directed more toward community and less toward the individual. Life was collectivized in a democratic fashion. Outward signs of rank and privilege were abolished. For example, outward signs of rank were eliminated by Lin Biao’s People’s Liberation Army. Maoists aspired to create a society of equals.

12. All of society was thought of as a giant school for the study and advance of revolutionary science. This begins the process of making the people capable of ruling themselves without a hierarchical division of labor. Society became a great experiment. The Maoists tried to overcome the divisions between mental and manual labor, between town and countryside, between practice and theory, and other traditional divisions. Those who had positions of power were also required to spend time on the factory floor and in the field. They even experimented with the free supply system and the elimination of the commodity economy. They sought to make “to each according to his needs” a living principle.

13. The Cultural Revolution experience demonstrated the shortcomings of the metaphysical conception that the official party  is always the vanguard. Instead, it showed that the party itself can become corrupt. The vanguard of the revolution can shift from the official party to other structures and forces. It moved from the official party to certain mass organizations and even to parts of the People’s Liberation Army for a time. In other words, there can be a difference between the official party and the vanguard. The vanguard, the true communist party, does not always correspond to the official communist party. Thus the Maoists began to introduce a more fluid concept of revolutionary leadership. This conception is very different than the one inherited from the Soviets.

These points are not exhaustive. These are just some basics. All comrades should familiarize yourselves with these points. However, we should not merely repeat the past. We have to be scientists. We need to learn the lessons of the past. The Maoist revolution was glorious. It inspired the world. However, that wave, like the one before it, is over. Sum up the past. Make the new breakthrough of the Leading Light. We must go beyond what has come before. The revolution of the Leading Light will look very different than what has come before. The future is bright! The future is ours!

Two Roads Defeated in the Cultural Revolution Part 2: Lin Biao’s Road

Two Roads Defeated in the Cultural Revolution Part 2: Lin Biao’s Roadlinbiao-1

by Prairie Fire

(llco.org) (originally published in 2008)

It is popular, even among those sympathetic to the Chinese Revolution, to see the Cultural Revolution as only chaos, as destruction with no construction. These critics hold that this led to the demise of socialism in the People’s Republic. With no competing social reorganization to fill the void after the chaos of the early years, the door was left open to capitalism. Such a simplistic narrative is flawed. Instead, there were two identifiable leftist roads, two trends, during the Cultural Revolution that represented realistic, defined ways forward. The First Road was the road of the spontaneous mass movements whose power climaxed in 1967. The Second Road was the road of the leftwing PLA, Lin Biao’s road. This road climaxed from 1968 to 1971. Though in the early years of the Cultural Revolution, Lin Biao, as the spokesperson for the movement as a whole, echoed the First Road, later his group had their own particular vision. (1) The interests of both groups intersected and, often, these two trends shared similar ideals. Sometimes they were at odds. Both roads sought an extension and radicalization of the Cultural Revolution at key junctures. These trends sought to exert themselves where they could. The rise of capitalism was not a passive process. Rather, it was the active result of the political defeat of the early breakthroughs during the first half of the Cultural Revolution decade.

International Outlook: Global People’s War

The Second Road’s global strategic outlook and global class orientation is articulated in Lin Biao’s key 1965 article Long Live the Victory of People’s War! Lin Biao’s article extended the metaphor of the people’s war such that the main dynamic shaping the world is the global countryside pitted against the global city. Such is the principal contradiction. The Third World is pitted against the First World:

“Taking the entire globe, if North America and Western Europe can be called ‘the cities of the world’, then Asia, Africa and Latin America constitute ‘the rural areas of the world’. Since World War II, the proletarian revolutionary movement has for various reasons been temporarily held back in the North American and West European capitalist countries, while the people’s revolutionary movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America has been growing vigorously. In a sense, the contemporary world revolution also presents a picture of the encirclement of cities by the rural areas. In the final analysis, the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples who make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.” (2)

The implications of Lin Biao’s article for global class, though not completely articulated, were understood. Lin Biao’s view struck fear into the Amerikan imperialists of a Third World invasion. (3) (4) Lin Biao’s article was not the only one that hinted in this direction. Qi Benyu’s Patriotism or National Betrayal? comes close to explicitly writing off the West as whole in its condemnation of “Western civilization,” (5) “civilized Europeans,” (6) and embrace of Boxer slogans such as “kill the foreign devils.” (7) These outlooks have their precursor in Chen Boda’s systemization of Maoism as the revolutionary path for the colonial and semi-colonial worlds. (8) (9) Whereas, Lin Biao’s outlook tended to write-off the First World countries, Mao saw First Worlders, and the White “working class,” as allies. In fact, some Maoists in Shanghai saw the claim that Amerikan “workers” were no longer exploited as tantamount to capitulation. (9) Outside of China, the implications of Lin Biao’s line, in terms of First World “workers,” was understood. (10) In August, 1966, the Chinese media featured Black liberation fighter Robert F. Williams articulating a line that ran contrary to Mao, even as he praised Mao:

“The United States today is a fascist society more brutal than any the world has ever known. It has all but exterminated a whole people. It has robbed and raped an entire continent with impunity. It has divided the peoples of the world into national factions and set them against themselves and their brothers. With no more authority than the wave of its bloody imperialist hand it has abrogated the right of self-determination of small nations. It has appointed and crowned itself both king and armoured knight of the whole universe. It threatens the globe with annihilation. It is a super colonial power that is colonializing the colonials.

The world famed and brilliant philosopher, Lord Bertrand Russell has justifiably stated that racist America has exterminated more black people than Hitler exterminated Jews in Nazi Germany. Lord Russell and many other fair-minded humanists throughout the world have justifiably stated that the U.S. military aggression in Vietnam is executed in a more cruel and barbarous manner than even the horrible campaigns of aggression, genocide, and conquest carried out by Hitler’s fascist Germany.

Yet, there is a mighty tendency, promoted by the sinister American devil himself, to engender more sympathy and fraternalism for the so-called ‘good reasonable Americans’ than for the wretched victims of vicious and brutal U.S. imperialism. The U.S. constitutes one of the greatest fascist threats ever to cast its ugly shadow across the face of the earth. When the butchers of Nazi Germany were on the plunder, the world cry was ‘Crush Nazism!’ ‘Crush the Fascist Power Structure!’ ‘Crush Germany!’ Total war was unleashed without deference to any who may been considered ‘good Germans’ inside Nazi Germany. No sane person opposed to fascism pleaded for a soft policy toward Nazi Germany or pleaded for victims to wait for deliverance through the benevolence of ‘good German workers and liberals.’ Racist America didn’t give a damn about sparing the good Japanese people when they dropped their horrible and devastating atom bombs.” (11)

A year later, the Chinese media again featured Robert F. Williams paraphrasing Long Live the Victory of People’s War! In the paraphrase, Robert F. Williams refers to whole First World countries as exploiters. Since this speech was made within China, and published within China, it is likely that Robert F. Williams was expressing not only his own view, but also a non-official, minority line within the Chinese Communist Party. It is very likely that there were, at a minimum, different pulls within the Chinese Communist Party. And, some of those foreshadow  Leading Light Communism. It would not be surprising if Robert F. Williams’ views on White Amerika expressed the losing side of a two-line struggle within the Chinese Communist Party:

“This is the era of Mao [Zedong], the era of world revolution, and the Afro-Americans’ struggle for liberation is a part of an invincible worldwide movement . . . . In keeping with the principles of people’s war, wherein the great masses of exploited peoples of the world represent the rural masses surrounding the cities (the exploiting industrial countries), the Afro-American revolutionaries represent a mighty urban underground within the city. Our people will further develop and master people’s warfare. Every battle will be a glorious monument to Chairman Mao’s August 8, 1963 statement and we shall become even more fierce in resisting the tyranny of racist U.S. imperialism.“ (11)

In August of 1967, Lin Biao’s work was raised against the revisionist Adverse Current, Zhou Enlai and Marshal Chen Yi in the Foreign Ministry, by the mass movements and the left Central Cultural Revolution Small  Group (CCRSG). The Adverse Current made the claim that the mass movements of the First Road were hurting China’s ability to fight imperialism. They insisted the PLA must maintain order. (13) Qi Benyu, by making the connection that the new bourgeoisie were comprador, implied that the mass movements were not hurting the struggle against imperialism, but were part of that struggle. The First Road’s street movement, which he likened to the Boxers, was part of Lin Biao’s global people’s war. The First Road was advancing the principal contradiction against imperialism. (14) On August 7, Wang Li claimed that the Foreign Ministry of Zhou Enlai and Marshal Chen Yi had done nothing to put Lin Biao’s global people’s war line into practice. The media echoed the importance of the people’s war line. (15) (16) This led to the brief ascension of the red diplomat Yao Dengshan, who echoed Qi Benyu’s threats against Britain in Hong Kong from the Foreign Ministry. (17) (18) There was an intersection between the Lin Biao Road and the First Road in the struggles during the hot summer of 1967.

A part of Lin Biao’s view was that Western imperialism, led by the United States, and Soviet social-imperialism, worked jointly to oppress the Third World. Despite accusations after Lin Biao’s death, there is little evidence that he sought an alliance with the Soviets against the United States. Certainly Mao was closer to the United States than Lin Biao was to the Soviets. In fact, Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War! had been, in part, a polemic against such a position articulated by then Chief of Staff Lou Ruiqing in 1965. (19) Lin Biao’s outlook, since it seeks its principal allies among the forces of people’s wars, leaves little maneuvering room for traditional foreign policy. After all, these people’s war forces seek to overthrow the very states that traditional foreign policy aims to do business with. Intra-imperialist rivalry was not acute such that one imperialist bloc could be played off another. Rather Lin Biao’s view was to support the broad united front of national liberation and socialist forces against imperialism. Rather than playing the imperialists against each other, Lin Biao’s outlook sought to prioritize establishing a global ideological, but not organizational, independent, proletarian pole. As part of this, the work of Chinese missions abroad emphasized the dissemination of Maoism. And, ambassadors returned to China to participate in the Cultural Revolution. (20)

Lin Biao’s road elevated the significance of Maoism in the International Communist Movement. Following Chen Boda’s earlier elevation of Maoism as the path for the colonial and semi-colonial world, Lin Biao’s Second Road recognized that Mao had “creatively and comprehensively and has brought it [Marxism-Leninism] to a higher and completely new stage. Mao [Zedong]‘s Thought is Marxism-Leninism of the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to world-wide victory.” (21) The elevation of Maoism is militantly internationalist. This line was also associated with elevating people’s war generally. So much so, that whether one dared to wage people’s war was a mark of whether one was a true communist or revisionist. (22) (23) This was not the ordinary politics of shortsightedness and compromise. This was a farsighted strategy that departed from the politics of the ordinary in its efforts to remake the world. Recently, some revisionists have accused other revisionists as “Lin Biaoist” for their efforts to establish a Fourth International of Mao-influence parties. (24) (25) However, there is no evidence that Lin Biao’s road sought to establish a new Comintern to micro-manage a global people’s war. At one point, Indian Maoists influenced by Lin Biao sought to appoint Mao as the chairman of their party. The Chinese rejected this move; they rejected the patriarchal party model of the Soviet revisionists. (26) There is no evidence that Lin Biao sought to revive such a model, nonetheless, the First Road and Lin Biao’s Second Road were later criticized for self-glorification and Trotskyism by Zhou Enlai. (27) Echoing the post-Lin Biao consensus, Samir Amin recently called the Second Road’s global people’s war model as “too extreme to be useful.” (28) Contrary to this consensus, Leading Light Communism has revived the global people’s war model. Today, global people’s war is at the heart of the rebirth of the International Communist Movement. (29)

The changing winds could be seen at the Twelfth Plenum of the Eighth Congress in the fall of 1968. This meeting was to prepare for the Ninth Congress in April of 1969. At this meeting, both Lin Biao’s and Jiang Qing’s groups agreed that the main issue was the Adverse Current and the attempt to reverse the verdict on deposed cadres. The aim of both radical groups was to remove as many conservatives before the Ninth Congress.

“One after another, they denounced a number of veteran cadres. Kang Sheng condemned the Feburary Adverse Current as ‘an opposition to Chairman Mao, a negation of the Yanan rectification campaign, an an attempt to reverse the verdict on the Wang Ming line’. Jiang Qing declared that Chen Yi, Ye Jianying and Xu Xiangqian had created disturbances in the army. Yao Wenyuan expressed the view hat the Feburary Adverse Current demonstrated an effort to reverse the verdict on Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Tao Zhu. Xie Fuzhi held that Chen Yun had opposed Mao, the Great Leap Forward and the General Line to build socialism. Huang Yongsheng declared that Zhu De was ‘an old right-wing opportunist’, that Nie Rongzhen had ‘always indulged in mountain-stronghold mentality, had set up an independent kingdom and spread the theory of multi nuclea’, and that Ye Jianying was the leader of the Feburary Adverse Current. Wu Faxian challenged Zhu De to tell him how he had opposed Chairman Mao at Jinggangshan in the late 1920s.. Before speaking to the Plenum on 20 October, Lin Biao  asked Mao’s instructions as to the content of his speech in which he proposed to focus on the Adverse Current. Mao agreed to this, but told Lin Biao not to mention any names, since Mao’s policy towards senior cadres was ‘criticism and protection’ (yi pi er bao). Senior cadres, Mao said, should be elected to the 9th Congress, ‘but they should not wag their tails.’” (30)

It was at Mao’s behest that Marshal Chen Yi, specifically, attended the Ninth Congress. At the Ninth Congress in April of 1969, when Marshal Chen Yi asked,”How can I be at the Congress? I am supposed to be a ‘rightist.’,” Mao replied, “Well, then, represent the right.” (31)  In Lin Biao’s view, the Adverse Current was  “the most serious anti-Party event after the 11th Plenum of the CC” and represented “a rehearsal of capitalist restoration.” Lin Biao would later be proved correct on this point. Mao, however, stated in 1968 that the danger of the Adverse Current should not be overrated. He, then, significantly, referred to the Adverse Current as “comrades” who should participate in the Ninth Congress. Thus Mao stopped the joint efforts of the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing groups in 1968. (32) Lin Biao followers, including Air Force commander Wu Faxian, continued their attack on the Adverse Current and Marshal Chen Yi at the Ninth Congress, where Mao and Zhou Enlai had protected them (33), as they had protected them from the First Road in 1967. Of the First Road Mao said, “Chen Yi made fewer mistakes in forty years than his critics have in forty days.” (34)

The overturning of Lin Biao’s foreign policy line and what would become the foreign policy line of Ninth Congress began even before the Ninth Congress of April of 1969. The former line opposed both the United States and the Soviets. The emerging policy began to lean more positively toward the West. The policy change began, possibly, as early as 1968.  According to Evner Hoxha, as early as October of 1968, the Chinese Foreign Ministry were seeking an alliance with the United States under Zhou Enlai’s direction, “For the Chinese comrades, therefore, anyone who appears to be against the Soviets, even temporarily is regarded as an ally, regardless of who he may be.”   Evner Hoxha stated that Chinese overtures to revisionists in Romania and Yugoslavia in 1970 were based on this new policy. (35) On July 22, 1972, Evner Hoxha was correct in his speculation that the death of Lin Biao was connected to China’s new relationship with the West. (36)

In February, 1969, Mao secretly set in motion overturning aspects of Lin Biao’s line  later preserved and adopted by the Ninth Congress. Four Marshals involved in the Adverse Current, Chen Yi, Ye Jiangying, Xu Xiangqian and Nie Rongzhen were sent down to factories as part of “struggle-criticism and transformation,” the last stage of the Cultural Revolution. During this period Mao and Zhou Enlai had them secretly working on a new direction in international affairs. At one point, the objection was made that the Ninth Congress Report had already defined the international situation. However, Mao and Zhou Enlai made it clear that they wanted a departure from the Ninth Congress. From June 7 to October 20, twenty secret meetings were held. The marshals of the Adverse Current came to the view that the Soviet Union posed the greatest threat to China. Marshal Ye Jianying said China should draw a lesson from the history of the three kingdoms of Wei, Shu and Wu, in which the strategy of Zhuge Liang, prime minister of the Kingdom of Shu, was to unite with Sun Quan of the Kingdom of Wu in the east to resist Cao Cao of the Wei Kingdom in the north. Marshal Chen Yi pointed out that Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Hitler could be a reference. Marshal Chen Yi put forward his idea for a breakthrough with the United States as the report was finalized:

“I have been thinking about a breakthrough in Sino-US relations for a long time. The Warsaw talks had been going on for more than ten years and nothing came out of them. No breakthrough can be expected from them even if they are resumed… Out of strategic considerations, Nixon is eager to win over China. We should make use of contradictions between the United States and the Soviet Union proceeding from strategic interests. It is also necessary to achieve a breakthrough in Sino-US relations.” (37)

This vindicates criticisms against Marshal Chen Yi through 1967 and 1968 that he always sought reconciliation with the United States. (38) Later, in July of 1970 when Marshal Chen Yi was recuperating from illness, he was excited to learn that Henry Kissinger was to visit China in secret. (39) As early as December 1970, the change in Chinese foreign policy was publicly hinted at with Mao’s invitation to Richard Nixon to visit China in an interview with Edgar Snow. (40) After Lin Biao’s fall, in February of 1972, Nixon visited China.

Mao’s alliance with the Adverse Current, once identified as the Liu-Deng headquarters in the Foreign Ministry, was not simply a move to counter Lin Biao’s growing power. It was an ideological alliance. Lin Biao’s fall made this shift to the new global outlook easier. By December of 1970, the change in policy between China and the United States was clear. At this time, Lin Biao ran interference by objecting to a conference to discuss the matter of Nixon’s visit. Lin Biao stated, “imperialism will never lay down the butcher’s knife.” Lin Biao’s differing view can be discerned at a rally celebrating the 21st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Lin Biao stated, the same month as Kissinger’s  second visit in October, 1970:

“A new upsurge in the struggle against U.S. imperialism is emerging in the world. As Chairman Mao pointed out in his solemn statement of May 20 this year, ‘The danger of a new world war still exists, and the people of all countries must get prepared. But revolution is the main trend in the world today.’ Throughout the world, the people’s revolutionary struggles are developing vigorously, and the united front against U.S. imperialism is constantly expanding and growing in strength. U.S. imperialism and social-imperialism are most isolated and are having a very tough time.”

Lin Biao goes on to provide a long list of those nations waging people’s wars against United States imperialism. In this speech, social-imperialism is only mentioned once. This is at a time when Mao, Zhou Enlai and the Adverse Current are re-working China’s foreign policy behind the scenes. Kissinger had visited only a few months earlier in July. (41) A year later, Haung Yongsheng, one of Lin Biao’s generals, made a militant attack on United States imperialism on Army Day, August 1, 1971. He stated that United States imperialism must get out of “all of Asia.” He also failed to mention Soviet social-imperialism. (42) (43) In 1970 and 1971, Mao reorganized the Beijing military region importing troops from Nanjing and Fujian. (44) The military leadership in Nanjing and Fujian were hostile to Lin Biao’s policies at that point. (45) (46) This weakened Lin Biao at the center as Mao moved against his “closest comrade-in-arms and successor.” The ball was set in motion. Alexander Haig, Deputy Assistant, National Security Affairs stated that there was a disconnect between the rhetoric meant for public consumption and the actual relationship between China and the United States. “We expected and frequently received diatribes for public consumption in the press and in the diplomacy itself. The real, the careful issue was not to be carried away by this, to not get overly offended as we attempted to achieve a greater outcome.” (47) This new emphasis is reflected in the greater number of anti-Soviet articles to anti-United States articles in Beijing Review through the 1970s. (48) Eventually, even this public rhetoric would be abandoned under Deng Xiaoping. The fall of the Second Road meant a rejection of the global people’s war strategy; it eventually meant a de facto Sino-United States alliance.

Domestic Outlook: Flying Leap

Domestically, Lin Biao’s road was the extension to society as a whole the policies that Lin Biao implemented in the PLA in order to solve the problems that had been associated with the Maoist developmental model during the Great Leap Forward. (49) Lin Biao favored a vigorous return to the Maoist developmental model, a new Flying Leap, combined with the militarization of society. It was when the Cultural Revolution was winding down in the urban areas that the Second Road was extending it to the countryside. (50) The term “Flying Leap” originally derived from provincial reports, not a general directive on economic policy. Like the beginnings of the Great Leap Forward, this was probably to see what course local activism would take before backing it from the center. (51) Whereas, the First Road was mostly an urban movement, at the center of Lin Biao’s road was agricultural reform. Mao was hoping to end the Cultural Revolution around the Ninth Congress in 1969. (52) The Second Road sought to transform and spread the Cultural Revolution to the vast majority in the rural areas of China. This vision incorporated many of the ideals of the First Road, but was a more orderly and disciplined approach to continuing the revolution. This vision can be seen in propaganda books like The Red Sun Lights the Road Forward at Dazhai, released as part of the Learn from Dazhai campaign around 1969 and associated with Lin Biao’s push for radicalization of agriculture. (53) This road was most vigorously embarked on from 1968 to 1971 in those places where Lin Biao or other leftists held sway. After the Ninth Congress in 1969, Chen Boda, who had been an important pro-Mao radical during the Great Leap Forward, had joined Lin Biao’s trend. Even though Chen Boda has been part of the First Road to an extent, as his independent base in the mass movements was eroded, he joined Lin Biao’s group. Chen Boda was one of the intellectuals behind the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. He helped popularize and theorize the People’s Commune Movement. Lin Biao’s own career was also tied to the Great Leap Forward:

“Lin Biao was one of the few supporters Mao had left. Lin’s speech followed directly after Mao’s. ‘The thoughts of the Chairman are always correct,” he said. ‘If we encounter any problem, any difficulty, it is because we have not followed the instructions of the Chairman closely enough, because we ignored or circumscribed the Chairman’s advice.’ Mao said, ‘What a good speech vice-chairman Lin has made. Lin Biao’s words are always so clear and distinct.” (54)

Lin Biao was one of the few people who remained loyal to Mao after Mao came under criticism in connection with the Great Leap Forward. He replaced Defense Minister Peng Dehui, a vocal critic of the Great Leap Forward whose outlook was closer to that of Khrushchev, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. After the spontaneous mass movements of the First Road winded down in 1968, Chen Boda hitched his future to Lin Biao’s, believing that Lin Biao’s Road had become the best way forward. Both were advocates of the Maoist version of the Great Leap Forward. If the Cultural Revolution was to go forward, it would have to touch the lives of China’s vast majority in the countryside.

In 1958, during the Great Leap Forward, the utopian sentiment to actually reach communism was expressed, “[the People’s Communes] are the best basic form of organization in China’s socialist society, and will be the best for the attainment of socialism and the transition to communism.” (55) (56) (57) (58) This utopian impulse was shared by the First and Second Roads during the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution itself was seen as a bridge to a higher level of socialism and, ultimately, to communism. As expressed by a unit in the Air Force, a stronghold of Lin Biao, “The great proletarian cultural revolution, launched and led by our great leader Chairman Mao himself, has ushered in a new era in the international communist movement and blazed a brilliant trail for the transition from socialism to communism. This is the most important sign that Marxism-Leninism has developed to the stage of Mao Zedong Thought.” (59)

In 1969 and throughout the Flying Leap period, articles began appearing that focused on the Great Leap Forward, the struggle between two lines in the countryside, and new economic successes. (60) According to Jurgan Domes, “Mao’s deputy and appointed successor made it clear that he seriously wanted to reverse the revisionist interpretation of Mao’s concept of development.” (61) Jurgan Domes characterizes the Maoist model of development that Lin Biao advanced:

“(1) an emphasis on the simultaneous and equal development of industry and agriculture;
(2) an emphasis on simultaneous promotion of modern and traditional methods of industry and agriculture;
(3) the decentralization of planning and administration in agriculture and local industry to the level of People’s Communes, with, at the same time, the centralization of the ‘modern sectors’ of industry;
(4) the strengthening of the position of the People’s Communes with respect to their subordinate smaller agricultural production units;
(5) the replacement of shortage in investment capital by the mass mobilization of the work force –i.e. renewed transition to labor intensive instead of capital intensive methods of development;
(6) the rejection of attempts to elicit positive mass response toward the leadership through material incentives. Instead this was to be achieved through a change of consciousness during mass campaigns;
(7) a contempt for profit as a standard of industrial development;
(8) a demand for intellectuals to arrive at a uniform style of ‘revolutionary romanticism’ in literature and the arts;
(9) an emphasis on personal initiative of the Party Leader as opposed to that of ‘collective leadership’ — i.e. an emphasis on individual charisma as opposed to rule by organization.” (62)

Part of this return was the Learn from Dazhai campaign that began around 1969. This was a restart and transformation of an earlier campaign that had been interrupted by the Cultural Revolution in 1966. General Long Shujin, commander of the Xinjiang Military Region, spoke of this new campaign. In February, in a speech to activists, he advised to learn from the “Dazhai system,” a system where politics was to be in command. Wages and bonuses would be distributed firstly according to politics. Ideology and politics were to take center stage. The independence of the production unit from state investment and reliance on its own resources were emphasized. Sacrifice for the greater community and future generations was another theme. (63) Key to this concept of development was mass mobilization of the population. Between 1966 and 1968, peasants had marched into urban areas for conservative and economist ends. They protested for an extension of private family plots and free markets. (64) The Flying Leap sought to counter this trend. Efforts were made to obstruct private ownership of land. Private plots, once 15 percent, were now limited to 5 percent. Free markets were restricted. And peasants were ideologically pressured to sell surpluses to the state. (65) “Equal distribution first, exchange second” governed some areas. First land would be distributed equally according to size and quality. Then, the plots would be changed around between households annually, regardless of the output of the land in question. This aimed at undermining feelings of private ownership of land among the peasantry. (66) During the Great Leap Forward, Chen Boda, at one point, advocated that everything should be free and money should be abolished. (67) In the Flying Leap too there were attempts at implementing a free supply system. (68) There was also an effort to move back toward the People’s Communes of 1958. (69) Some of the old errors of the Great Leap Forward were said to have returned. Projections predicted optimistic increases in industrial and agricultural production. Guangdong, under Lin Biao’s influence (70), reported all time record harvests. (71) Lin Biao spoke of “fulfilling or overfufilling” the current Five-Year plan in a significant speech in October of 1970, thereby laying the basis for a new plan. (72) Like the Great Leap Forward, there were reports that problems arose when commandist methods were  used to fulfill inflated targets. According to critics, the unit of account was prematurely raised. One source writes, “Though laudable as a radical ideal, many people felt that to implement the [Dazhai] model over much of China too precipitately might result in ‘commandist’ deviations.. Commandism in the rural sector was, in large part, a consequence of the belated extension of the Cultural Revolution into the rural sector.” (73)

Great Leap Forward-type programs returned in the areas of education and urban services. Integrating the education system was stressed. Factories were combined with schools and vice versa. According to one source, during the Great Leap Forward, there was an over-concentration on educational output rather than quality of inputs. The slogan of the Flying Leap was “Little but well.” Similar to 1958, “red and expert” universities and technical middle schools were established. Local initiative was fostered. Theoretical education was combined with a practical orientation in the spirit of the Resist Japan University of 1942-1943. The ideal of Yanan informed these efforts. (74) These practices existed throughout the Cultural Revolution decade resulting in primary and secondary enrollments in the countryside dramatically increasing from 116,000,000 to 150,000,000 over the decade for primary enrollments. Secondary enrollments increased from increased from 15,000,000 to 58,000,000. (75) There was a revival of Great Leap Forward programs in urban services. There was an emphasis on local control and decentralization. Along the lines of the Great Leap Forward, there was a stress on producing more medical personnel rather than specialization. Medicine was democratized, made to serve the people. (76) This was true of education generally. For example, in 1968, one article praises a new type of military school where “class struggle is the main subject” and “Vice Chairman Lin Biao’s policy of teaching fewer courses but concentrating on what is most essential.” (77) The Two Roads aspired to make governance in all areas more participatory, simple and streamlined. (78) “A major task of the newly rehabilitated cadres and propaganda teams was to rebuild neighborhood committees (street committees and residents’ groups) according to the triple combination and the old Yanan slogan of ‘simple administration.’ Security and policing functions were transfered to local teams and worker groups. “[T]he model Daqing oilfield had been set up according to the urban commune idea of fusing together units of industrial and agricultural production, education and administration.” With the merging of the neighborhood co-operatives with street administration, the stage was set for the revival of the old urban communes. Yet the urban commune from the Great Leap Forward was not revived as such. (79)

Aims were to diminish the three great differences: between workers and peasants, town and country, and intellectual and manual labor. This was to be accomplished by a push in rural industrialization. Rural industries were locally financed and controlled, but used technology from the cities. At the end of the Maoist era, 20,000,000 peasants were transformed into full-time or part-time industrial workers in the countryside. (80)

All of these reconfigurations of society were attributed to the power of the masses led by “Mao Zedong Thought.” A commentary as late as July of 1971 praised Lin Biao’s special role: “Energetically learning from the People’s Liberation Army, they regard instructions by Chairman Mao, Vice-Chariman Lin and the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Party on the army’s ideological and political work as those given to themselves, put proletarian politics in the fore, and build the [Daqing] oil field politically.” (81)

The Second Road combined leftist economics with the extension to society as a whole programs that had been implemented in the PLA. This entailed a leading role to the leftist PLA and a militarization of society. This militarization was reflected in the language of the time. The metaphor of people’s war was applied to all spheres of life. Peasants were “armed” with Maoism to “defeat” reactionary lines, to “battle” nature. Art and literature were “weapons.” Reactionary art and literature were “sugar-coated bullets.” “Fields are turned into battle fields” (82) The mass movements and mobilizations often took on military designations: “regiment,” “brigade,” “guard,” etc. This militarization of language and life was connected to a heroic self-image in carrying forward the Cultural Revolution. For those who had not fought in the military to liberate China, the Cultural Revolution was their war, their heroic time.  According to one outsider looking in, “there was a tendency for the country to be turned into something like an army camp.” (83) An author and one time sent-down youth (zhiqing) recalls the spirit of the times captured in a conversation, presumably, around 1970 or 1971:

“Actually, she talked modestly, and on one topic: the significance of the Cultural Revolution.. She enlightened me within only a couple months. Her description of of the goal of sent-down youth (zhiqing) fit well with my childhood utopian dream, that Communism aims to make the whole world a beautiful garden where everyone lives happily without exploitation and oppression: ‘From each according to one’s ability and to each according to one’s needs.’ Now we revolutionary youth were in the position to make our country a beautiful garden.. It cannot be more difficult than the Long March… I enthusiastically began to work toward this glorious dream, imagining myself among the ranks of revolutionaries who heroically endured hardship and pain for the sake of all people’s everlasting happiness.. I wrote a letter to the brigade leader sincerely asking for the lowest salary. I reasoned, ‘When the Red Army soldiers were on the Long March, each had only five cents a day for food. I have no reason to ask for more than what I need to feed myself since our country is still poor.’ I was soon identified by the party leaders as a promising ‘revolutionary seedling.’” (84)

Similar self-conceptions can be found among those in the Stalin-era who struggled to industrialize the Soviet Union. In this barracks egalitarianism, Lin Biao eliminated outward sign of rank in the PLA.

As early as 1959, Lin Biao placed an emphasis on the role of the super-structure, culture, ideology, in the process of capitalist restoration:

“The force of habit of the bourgeoisie and small producers is a kind of social basis for bourgeois ideology which still finds a place among a section of the people and would become active and cause trouble when the opportunity arises. Either socialist or capitalist ideology must dominate the minds of the people. Therefore, in the transition period, the struggle to enhance proletarian ideology and liquidate bourgeois ideology remains vital at all times in building up the army. None of the work of our army, including its modernization, can be divorced from this ideological struggle. The political and ideological struggle between working class and the bourgeoisie rises and ebbs, rises again and ebbs again, like the tides; it is far from over to this day and will not end until classes are finally and completely liquidated… Every revolutionary must go through uninterrupted revolution ideologically.” (85)

Extended to all of society during the Cultural Revolution were Lin Biao’s the Three Eight work style and Four Firsts PLA policy of 1959: “1) As between man and weapons give first place to man; 2) as between political and other work giving first place to political work; 3) as between ideological and routine tasks in political work, giving first place to ideological work; and 4) in ideological work as between ideas in books and living ideas currently in people’s minds, giving first place to living ideas currently in people’s minds.” (86) Later, the slogans of Lin Biao’s PLA would become the main slogans of the Cultural Revolution. “Put politics in command!,” and, later, “Mao Zedong Thought in command!” originated in the PLA of the early Lin Biao years, the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Under Lin Biao, the PLA was seen as a “giant school of Mao Zedong Thought.” Hence, society too was to become a giant school of Maoism. When the Hubei Revolutionary Committee was established under the influence of Lin Biao’s followers (87), one leader said, “we should… turn the whole Hubei Province into a big red school of Mao Zedong Thought.” (88) PLA Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams ideologically “armed” the countryside by spreading Maoism. (89) Maoism was to be in command of everything in this new social order. (90) Lin Biao writes, “People’s revolution under Mao Zedong’s Thought is the locomotive for the advance of history.” (91) Also, “China is a great socialist state of the dictatorship of the proletariat and has a population of 700 million. It needs unified thinking, revolutionary thinking, correct thinking. That is Mao Zedong Thought. Only with this thought can we maintain vigorous revolutionary enthusiasm and a firm and correct political orientation.” (92) The Maoism that was to guide this new order was practical, moralistic, abbreviated, ritualistic and cultish. It was a Maoism that was to be accessible to the vast majority of the population in the countryside who were often barely literate. Lin Biao pushed a socialist moralism embodied in the “three constantly read articles”: Serve The People, In Memory of Norman Bethune, and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains. Quotations from Chairman Mao, originally prepared for the PLA by Lin Biao, was produced for the general public. General Xiao Hua, known for creating a Lin Biao personality cult, who fell as part of the purge of the “May 16th Corps,” wrote:

“Comrade Lin [Biao] has instructed us that the army must implement the thought of Mao [Zedong] in order to resist revisionist ideology and all sorts of exploiting class ideology, to strengthen revolutionization, to elevate our class consciousness, to raise our understanding of policy and improve our way of thinking. Comrade Lin [Biao] has stressed that not only the fighters but also the cadres must study the ‘three constantly read articles’.. It is very easy to read the ‘three constantly read articles.’ But to apply them truly is not so easy. We must study these three articles as maxims. These must be studied at all levels. We must apply what we study so as to revolutionize our thinking. These instructions of Comrade Lin [Biao] must be implemented with great earnestness.” (93)

Lin Biao’s Cultural Revolution was a movement to touch people’s “very souls.” It was a movement to revolutionize the mind. The altruistic spirit was captured in the slogan “fight self, repudiate revisionism.” The media extolled the virtues of socialist heroes in order to build a new communist humanity:

“The existence and influence of the ideology of the exploiting classes will in the end inevitably restore the old political power protecting the system of private ownership. Those who are opposed to the destruction of old culture and old ideology are bound to suppress the revolution and the masses. If we want to consolidate the socialist system –its economic system and its political system–we must advocate a concept of public-mindedness, i.e. we must create a new man to construct a new society, a man with a communist spirit. What is a man with a communist spirit?  He is Zhang Side, Norman Bethune, Liu Hulan, and Lei Feng, who have all been praised by our Chairman Mao. Other such men are Ouyang Hai, Jiao Yulu, Wang Jie, and Liu Yinhjun, all of whom are men of communism and men of a new kind. We need new men like these to build our new society, and we must gradually transform the people in our society into men of this kind… These are the people of communism. Their opposites are people centered on ‘self,’ who are only interested in their own gain, fame, power, status, and with being in the limelight… To care only about oneself is a purely bourgeois world view… What we need is to foster people dedicated to the ‘public.’” (94)

Ideological remolding for socialist ends was carried out on a massive scale. On August 20, 1966, it was Lin Biao who announced the campaign against the Four Olds: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. The PLA was where Jiang Qing first found support for her artistic innovations that were later extended to all of society. (95) There is a logic to this focus on culture. After all, it is the cultural programming of social motion that makes possible the elimination of bureaucratic control, setting the basis for the elimination of the state and reaching communism.

Lin Biao’s programs had a big effect on authority in society. Spreading Maoism throughout society in an easy to access form spread the linguistic tools to overthrow authority. The ability to rebel became widely available as Maoism became the language of the ordinary and everyday. Speech acts to overthrow authority became ready-to-hand such that even the young and uneducated were able to wield them against authority. This made the legitimation narrative of society available to the broad masses of Chinese society to be used, especially, against local and bureaucratic authority. Almost anyone could find the right Mao quote to wield against a local boss, or even a parent. (96) The linguistic habits of the early Cultural Revolution challenged authority in general even if those habits re-inscribed Mao’s own as absolute. However, at the same time, cultish ritualism was used to shut down spontaneity. Overall, authority was transfered away from the middle layers of the Party and state, upwards and downwards. Authority was spread democratically across the bottom, but also concentrated at the very top, in the leaders of society, especially, in Mao. Later, this situation changed as Mao pulled back from the more radical aspects of the Cultural Revolution. As the bureaucracy reconstituted itself, authority shifted back to the middle. Lin Biao’s approach would be denounced as “a priori-istic” and Confucian. In the “criticize Lin, criticize Confucius” campaign from 1973 to 1974, various post-Lin Biao factions would often attack an allegorical Lin Biao in these terms in order to attack each other. A concentration of authority that is both democratic, spread horizontally, and authoritarian is, so far, the best configuration of authority that socialism has yet produced. This, so far, has been the historical alternative to the bureaucratic configuration that actually restored capitalism in the Soviet Union of the 1950s and China of the 1970s. Whether there is a realistic configuration for authority that avoids entrenching the bureaucracy yet does not have the drawbacks of the cult is a question that will face future revolutions. How is the science of Marxism brought to the vast majority of world’s population, often barely literate, without dilution? If we are stuck with non-science as a component of revolution, then it is idealist to reject it across the board. The question becomes one of how to mitigate the negative effects of certain non-scientific tropes. What version of Plato’s noble lie has the least blowback?

The anti-Lin Biao coalition, the end of the Second Road

Although initially successful, the radicalization of the Second Road met with resistance in the provinces. Hainan Island radio broadcasted, “We must vigorously confront the right-wing mentality of people who say: we are poor. It will take time to learn from [Dazhai]. One just cannot expect people to leap straight into the sky.” This conflict was reported from Canton, Shaanxi, Hubei, Guangxi, Anhui, Yunnan and Zhejiang. By the summer of 1971, the media reported open resistance in Hunan and Fujian. (97) Opposition to Lin Biao centered around those provincial commanders who did not want a return to Maoist social experiments in the countryside. Through 1971, provincial critics received support from the center. By the fall of 1971, criticism of Lin Biao’s programs were pervasive. The Cultural Revolution had come full circle. The origins of the Cultural Revolution can be traced to the differing lines that emerged during the Great Leap Forward. On the Maoist side, there was mass mobilization and social experimentation. On the Liu-Dengist side, there was bureaucratic management and the return to capitalist measures. The Second Road sought a return to that moment where Mao first lost out to Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, to set things on the correct, socialist path.

On February 27, general Xu Shiyuin from Nanjing, a harsh critic of Lin Biao said:

“It is not necessary to make the rich and the poor equal in order to make a revolution… There are people who condemn private holdings and part-time earnings [of individual peasants] as hangovers from capitalism, although such practices are expressly accepted by Party policy. This type of thinking may be Leftist in appearance, but its content is Right-wing. Such people are of the opinion that the more Leftist they are, the better. They are not aware of the fact that they are becoming detached from reality..” (98)

Throughout 1971, the Flying Leap policies were re-adjusted. By July 1971, critics went beyond attacking Lin Biao’s Flying Leap. They extended their criticism to the whole Maoist developmental model. This came as an attack on Mao by way of an attack on Chen Boda, who had played a key role in the Great Leap Forward in 1958:

“In the summer of 1958 the Pseudo-Marxist political swindler like Liu Shaoqi deceived the Chairman and madly excited the villages in a Pseudo-Marxist boom… As a result, a tyranny developed which brought much suffering to the masses.” (99)

Even though the attack, in the twisted manner of polemics of the time, falsely likens Lin Biao and Chen Boda to Liu Shaoqi, the content of the criticisms is the same of Peng Duhuai’s criticisms of Mao at Lushan in July and August of 1959. Out of these Great Leap Forward confrontations Peng Duhuai would fall, replaced by Lin Biao who defended Mao. However, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping would be elevated and Mao would be reduced in power. Peng Duhuai criticized “left mistakes” as “wanting to enter into communism at one step,” the Great Leap Forward was “hasty” and “excessive.”  He criticized “a period of confusion regarding the question of the system of ownership,” and “free supply of food.”  These errors, he claimed, were a result of “petty bourgeois fanaticism.” Also, “Putting politics in command is no substitute for economic principles, still less for concrete measures in economic work. Equal importance must be attached to putting politics in command and to effective measures in economic work; neither can be overestimated or neglected.” (100) Following Lin Biao’s fall, Mao echoed the line of the Adverse Current on the Second Road:

“In our country there are people who curse us, saying we are completely leftist. Which people are our ‘leftist faction’? They are those who wanted to knock down the Premeir today, Chen Yi tomorrow, Ye Jianying the next day. This so-called ‘left’ faction is now in jail. For several years there was chaos under heaven, fighting in various places throughout the nation, widespread civil war. The two sides fired guns, all together one million guns. This army faction supported this faction, that army faction supported that faction, [all] fighting. Power was seized by that ‘left’ faction… The chief backstage backer [of the ‘left’ faction] is now no longer with us, [he is] Lin Biao.” (101)

This verdict was again implied at Marshal Chen Yi’s funeral. On January 10, 1972, at Marshal Chen Yi’s funeral, Mao referred to Marshal Chen Yi as a “comrade,” and said that the problem of Deng Xaioping, currently exiled in Jiangxi, was a “contradiction among the people.” Mao instructed these verdicts to be spread around. This is not surprising since it was Mao who protected Deng Xiaoping by separating  his case from Liu Shaoqi’s in 1967. In a People’s Daily editorial, Mao was again quoted, “We should remain convinced that more than 95 percent of our cadres are good and fairly good, and that a majority of those who have committed errors are able to change.” (102)

Lin Biao and Chen Boda would be cast initially as ultra-left after their fall (103), they would be pegged as anarchists and radicals. In October of 1972, People’s Daily had an entire three page article devoted to the repudiation of anarchy. (104) Later, during the campaign to criticize Lin Biao and Confucius, they were deemed ultra-right. (105) Once again, in 1976,  the original verdict was maintained as ultra-left. However, criticism of Lin Biao was, almost always, in essence, criticism of the left. The immediate reasons for their fall was officially tied to an obscure argument over genius. Hardly an issue to risk the future of socialism over. Another immediate issue was that of whether the State Presidency vacated by Liu Shaoqi would be re-established and given to Lin Biao. Chen Boda sought to have it reestablished in 1970. Mao objected. It was claimed that this was part of a conspiracy against Mao. Since Lin Biao was already designated as Mao’s successor, it isn’t clear why his occupying the State Presidency should be looked upon as a power play to remove Mao. It makes more sense as an attack on Zhou Enlai and the Adverse Current. The Second Road was accused of numerous other “errors” and “crimes.” Lin Biao was accused of having over emphasized the spontaneity of the masses, over emphasized the  human and spiritual factors in production, and having undermined rural stability by attempting to hastily universalize the Dazhai model and by advocating the immediate transition to communism. These latter reasons played a larger role in Lin Biao’s fall than the former ones. By 1972, he was even being unmasked as the unlikely backstage boss of the May 16th Corps of the First Road. (106) Attempts to redirect the criticism of Lin Biao as a criticism of the right were never very successful. Lin Biao had been, up until his fall, portrayed as a revolutionary saint. He was Mao’s “closest comrade and arms,” “best student” and “successor.” The PLA General Staff, at its Fourth Congress of Activists in the Creative Study and Application of Mao Zedong’s Thought stated, “We must take Vice-Chairman Lin Biao as our brilliant model in having infinite love for, confidence in, esteem for and loyalty to the great leader Chairman Mao.” (107) Lin Biao was a symbol of the early Cultural Revolution, Mao’s instructions were often being delivered through Lin Biao. With the exception of Mao himself, Lin Biao delivered the most important speeches of the Cultural Revolution. (108) The fall of Lin Biao burst the bubble of the Cultural Revolution, “After Lin Biao died, we stopped the daily rituals praising Mao and Lin. The fanaticism faded. It was as if we were all in a dream.” (109) (110)

The anti-Lin Biao coalition had solidified as a result of the struggle over foreign and rural policy. (111) (112) Agricultural policy has been at the heart of conflict within socialist (and revisionist) regimes: the Stalinist purges were often connected with agricultural policy, the fall of Imre Nagy in Hungry in 1955, and the fall of Edward Ochabs and rise of Wladyslaw Gomulka in Poland. (113) The core of the anti-Lin Biao coalition were the provincial right-wing PLA and the civilian administration. The vanguard of this anti-Lin Biao coalition was the Adverse Current and Zhou Enlai. In 1979, the revisionists led by Deng Xiaoping and the old Adverse Current who lumped the Fist Road, Second Road, and post-Lin Biao, remaining “Gang of Four” left together, accused the Lin Biao group of planning an ultra-left disruption of the economy in 1970. (114) (115) The trial of the “Lin Biao and Gang of Four counter-revolutionary cliques,” like its name suggests, did not draw sharp distinctions between the accused “ultra-left.” Like Mao, Lin Biao sought a more orderly consolidation phase. Unlike Mao, Lin Biao sought to embark on a further radical reorganization of society, a new push in the countryside. This would widen the Cultural Revolution considerably. Like the First Road, the Second Road saw the Cultural Revolution as a transition to a higher stage of socialism or communism. (116) Since 1968, Mao wanted to bring back the cadres, Lin Biao sought to rely on those sections of the PLA that were loyal to himself. The bureaucracy was rebuilt, the revolutionary mass movements, revolutionary committees, and revolutionary army declined. (117) This led to the second and most damaging major purge of Maoists during the Cultural Revolution. The end result of this purge was the return of Deng Xiaoping and the Adverse Current of 1967, the right wing, takes over the PLA, “the pillar of the Dictatorship,” at the center. Marshal Ye Jiangying of the Adverse Current took over responsibility for the Military Commission from Lin Biao’s faction. (118) The revolutionary outlook of Long Live the Victory of People’s War! is replaced over time by an outlook that eventually capitulates to the West. Zhou Enlai ascends as normalcy, stability, and economic growth win out over social experimentation, reorganization and class struggle. (119) By 1973, there is a glaring incongruity between the rhetoric of the early Cultural Revolution decade with its emphasis on class struggle and “continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat” and the post-Lin Biao emphasis on political unity, centralization, and consolidation. (120) The defeat of the Second Road is the endgame of the Cultural Revolution. One observer dubbed the post-Lin Biao situation as “Liu Shaoqi-ism without Liu Shaoqi.” (121)

The radical vision of the early Cultural Revolution trends energized the masses. The coordinates of what people conceived as possible were reset by the Two Roads. Whatever the flaws of the early Cultural Revolution decade, the utopian impulse of those years kept the Cultural Revolution moving forward toward communism.  Like the First Road before and the Gang of Four after, the Second Road would be accused of plotting to usurp power and restore capitalism. After the defeat of the Second Road, what remained of the left was a mostly symbolic opposition totally dependent on Mao. And, in 1976, the Gang of Four, who had joined the anti-Lin Biao bloc, would be dispensed with by those at the heart of the anti-Lin Biao bloc. Marshal Ye Jiangying of the Adverse Current would preside over their arrest, the final purge of the Cultural Revolution left. Far from a passive process, the restoration of capitalism and capitulation to the West was an extremely active and violent process.

Notes.

1. Prairie Fire. Two Roads Defeated (part 1 of 3). Monkey Smashes Heaven. August 18, 2008. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com….oads-not-taken/
2. Lin Piao. Long Live the Victory of People’s War. Foreign Language Press. Peking, China:1965. http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/lin-biao/1965/09/peoples_war/ch07.htm
3. http://www.archive.org/details/RedChine1964 Sometimes the enemy can get something more correct than so-called friends. The movie gets the global people’s war aspect of Leading Light Communism, more or less, correct. The movie was probably made in 1967 (because of the footage of the Chinese embassy in Indonesia), the height of the GPCR — Yao, the Chinese diplomat in Indonesia is the one accused of trying to become the Foreign Minister in league with the “ultra-left” CCRSG. The film mentions Lin Biao’s LLVPW, which was written in 1965. So, the film is not from 1964 as the title says. It is unlikely it was made after 1972, obviously, because of the Lin Biao references.
4. Avakian, Bob. For a Harvest of Dragons. RCP Publications. USA:1983. p 150-151. “ ….to cling to at least aspects of Lin Biao-ism. Lin Biao was a top leader of the communist Party of China in the 1960s and he is associated with the line of singling out U.S. imperialism for a common onslaught from the “third world,” with simultaneous national liberation wars defeating U.S. imperialism throughout the “third world,” and even possibly destroying it altogether. His line (as expressed in a 1965 pamphlet [written by Lin Biao], Long Live The Victory of People’s War) represented the absolutizing of what was then the principal contradiction in the world (between oppressed nations and imperialism) — raising it out of context of world relations and contradictions in which it actually exists and treating it as a thing unto itself and virtually the only significant contradiction in the world. While recognizing the existence of revolutionary situations and favorable revolutionary prospects in many countries in the “third world” it exaggerated this into a tendency to treat the “third world” as an undifferentiated whole, ripe everywhere for revolution. Related to this, in upholding the importance of armed struggle as a necessary means for replacing the old order with the new and insisting on the fact that in many places in the “third world” it was possible and necessary to make armed struggle the main and immediate form of struggle — in opposition to the Soviet revisionist line that attempted to make economic development the main task in the “third world” neo-colonies — Lin Biao’s line exaggerated this to a point of virtually insisting that everywhere in the “third world” revolutionary warfare could and must be launched right away (in Long Live the victory, whether one dares to wage a people’s war is made the touchstone of distinguishing Marxism-Leninism from revisionism). As part of this whole line, the objective fact that the proletarian revolution had been delayed in the imperialist countries and that there was as yet no proletarian revolutionary movement there was absolutized, so that the prospect of such revolution in the imperialist countries was all but dismissed…
…But to attempt to cling to Lin Biaoism in the world situation of today, with all its profound changes since the 1960s, including the principal contradiction, can only have very serious and disastrous consequences…”
5. Chi Pen-yu. Patriotism or National Betrayal? Foreign Language Press. Peking, China: 1967. p. 48
6. Chi Pen-yu. Patriotism or National Betrayal? Foreign Language Press. Peking, China: 1967. p. 35
7. Chi Pen-yu. Patriotism or National Betrayal? Foreign Language Press. Peking, China: 1967. p. 25
8. Chen Po-ta. Mao Tse-Tung and the Chinese Revolution. Foreign Language Press. Peking, China: 1953. p. 17
9. Whylie, Raymond F. The Emergence of Maoism. Standford University Press. USA:1980. p. 288
10. Caldwell, Malcolm. The Revolutionary Role of the Peasants. International Socialism. December 1969/January 1970. “Finally, one must say something of revolutionary prospects. Surveying the world today, it seems to me very clear that Lin Biao’s perspective conforms more closely to reality than that of traditional Trotskyism or mechanical Europocentric pseudo-Marxism. In his well known work Long Live the Victory of People’s War! Lin Biao envisages a global repetition of the drama of the Chinese revolution – that is, the isolation of the ‘urban’ (i.e. industrialised) areas of the world in a sea of rural revolution as a prelude to the collapse of the former. Now of course this must be interpreted more generously than literally. More and more, politics in the West will be the politics of reaction to events and initiatives elsewhere – in the tricontinents. This is already apparent, in marked contrast to the decades when Western initiatives shaped the entire world. The crises of the imperialist powers may provoke reactive internal dissension and even civil disturbance, but the causes will ultimately have to be sought in the seething world of the peasant poor. Certainly this bears more relation to reality than the idea, noted above, of an apathetic peasant poor awaiting salvation from revolutionary (and, note, white) industrial workers! Much comfort was taken by mechanistic Marxists from the abortive French ‘revolution’ of 1968. In fact, this was the graveyard of their ideas, since the workers were readily bought off by application of blatant labourism.” http://marxists.architexturez.net/history/etol/newspape/isj/1969/no041/caldwell.htm Interestingly, Caldwell was one of the few Westerners allowed into Democratic Kampuchea under Pol Pot. Caldwell was killed in Democratic Kampuchea after he had spoken with Pol Pot. Who exactly killed Caldwell is a mystery: Pol Pot? Pol Pot’s enemies? the Vietnamese? the CIA? Also see: Avakian, Bob. For a Harvest of Dragons. RCP Publications. USA:1983. p 150-151. See endnote 4 for Avakian’s discussion of Lin Biao’s line on the First World, including invasion of the First World. Also: An Amerikan propaganda film about Lin Biao’s Third World invasion of the Fist World: http://www.archive.org/details/RedChine1964
11. Robert Williams. Peking Review August 12, 1966. http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/classi….illiams1966.txt MIM’s dishonest approach can be seen in the commentary to this article on its website. MIM implies that since this speech appeared in Beijing Review that it reflected Mao’s line. Anyone familiar with Beijing Review should know that the overwhelming majority of articles on White workers go against the Leading Light line. The majority of articles go against the line of Robert F. Williams and MIM. The reduction of articles focusing on First World workers has less to do with Mao and more to do with the rise of Lin Biao in 1966. This is confirmed the following year when Robert F. Williams paraphrases Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War!
12. Peking Review no. 34, August 18, 1967
13. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. p. 104
14. Prairie Fire. Some notes on Lines within the Communist Party of China. Monkey Smashes Heaven. January 24, 2008.http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/some-notes-on-lines-within-the-chinese-communist-party-in-the-m aoist-period/
15. Karol, K.S. The Second Chinese Revolution. Hill and Wang. USA: 1973. p. 280-281
16. A heightened militancy exists in the media in the Summer of 1967. Beijing Review focuses more on People’s War during the so-called “hot summer” of 1967, the so-called “ultra-left” period.   Peking Review no. 29 July 14, 1967 is a good example of the increased militancy found in its pages. Lin Biao is also featured often.
17. Karol, K.S. The Second Chinese Revolution. Hill and Wang. USA: 1973. p. 282
18. Chi Pen-yu Condemns British Fascist Atrocities in Hong Kong. Peking Review no. 24 June 9, 1967. p. 12
19. Van Ginneken, Jaap. The Rise and Fall of Lin Piao. Avan Books. USA: 1977. pp. 39-41
20. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. pp. 406
21. Lin Biao. Quotations from Chairman Mao (w/ Introduction by Lin Biao). Foreign Language Press. Beijing, China:1967.
22. Avakian, Bob. For a Harvest of Dragons. RCP Publications. USA:1983. pp. 150-151
23. Liquidation of Armed Struggle Means Shameful Betrayal of Proletarian Revolutionary Cause. Peking Review no. 30 July 31, 1967 pp. 26-28
24. http://209.85.141.104/search?q=cache:pT1c07OOwEYJ:www.icmlpo.de/us/newsletter/ipk30.doc+lin+piaoism&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us&client=safari
25. http://www.freeindiamedia.com/guest_column/guest_column_1616.php.
26. Harsh Thakor. Zhou En Lai’s 30th death anniversary. http://www.antiimperialista.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4084&Itemid=150 Also: This was also mentioned by MIM:http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/wim/wyl/text.php?mimfile=linbiaotoday.txt
27. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. p. 311
28. Amin, Samir. What Maoism has contributed. Monthly Review.September 2006. http://www.monthlyreview.org/0906amin.htm
29. The Sun Rises in the East and sets in the West. Monkey Smashes Heaven. January 1, 2008. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/sunrise-in-the-east/
30. Banouin, Barbbara and Yu Changgen. Ten Years of Turbulence. Kegan Paul International. USA:1993 pp. 171-174
31. Han Suyin. Wind in the Tower. Little, Brown and Company. USA:1976. p. 336
32. Banouin, Barbbara and Yu Changgen. Ten Years of Turbulence. Kegan Paul International. USA:1993 pp. 174-175
33. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. pp. 288-290
34. Karol, K.S. The Second Chinese Revolution. Hill and Wang. USA: 1973. p. 282
35. Enver Hoxha’s Reflections on China Part 2 of Vol. 1 http://redrebelde.blogspot.com/2008/09/enver-hoxhas-reflections-on-china-part_10.html
36. Enver Hoxha’s Reflections on China Part 3 of Vol. 1 http://redrebelde.blogspot.com/2008/09/enver-hoxhas-reflections-on-china-part_11.html
37. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. p. 299
38. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. p. 123
39. ibid. pp 292-301
40. Han Suyin. Wind in the Tower. Little, Brown and Company. USA:1976. p. 346
41. Speech by Vice-Chairman Lin Piao. Peking Review no. 41, October 9, 1970. pp. 14-13.
42. Han Suyin. Wind in the Tower. Little, Brown and Company. USA:1976. p. 346
43. Karol, K.S. The Second Chinese Revolution. Hill and Wang. USA: 1973.p 417
44. Han Suyin. Wind in the Tower. Little, Brown and Company. USA:1976. p. 348
45. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p. 113
46. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 pp. 114-116
47. China: A Century of Revolution Part 2: The Mao Years (Sue Williams, Ambrica productions, 2002) Also, Li Zhisui. The Private Life of Chairman Mao. Random House Inc. 1994:USA. p.387-388 According to Mao’s physician, Li Zhisui,  “I remember that Mao said to Nixon, after our countries resume diplomatic relations, we’ll still have to curse you a little in our newspapers. Calling you Amerikan imperialists. You can also curse us a bit. This is just for show. Firing a few empty shots. It’ll be easier for ordinary people to accept. If we say that the Amerikan imperialists are no longer imperialists, and they have become friends of China, people will find it hard to accept.”
48. Peking Review no. 52, December 26, 1975. Base on the titles, the subject index lists: 9 articles for 1975 that are only anti-United States; 21 articles that are pro-United States or neutral; 37 that are just anti-Soviet; 7 that are both anti-United States and anti-Soviet in the titles. This is based on the headlines in the subject index, not the content. However, this should give us an idea about the ratio of anti-Soviet to anti-United States articles in the Chinese media.
49. This becomes incorporated into the plot of many media stories. An example of using ideological education to solve the problems of the Great Leap is discussed in an article in November 1969. The article discusses a commune in Hobei, then a Lin Biao stronghold. After some immediate successes, the commune put out a plan for even “a bigger leap forward.” Some members expressed pessimism at the new plan. The Lin Biao influenced Revolutionary Committee, arrived at the conclusion that “we are still lacking consciousness for continuing the revolution.” Ideological classes on Maoism led to the masses overcoming their pessimism. See: Mao Tse-tung Thought Guides Us in Conquering Nature. Peking Review no 47 November 21, 1969 pp. 5-8 Or see: Yi Shan. At the Taching Oilfield. Peking Review no. 30 July 23, 1971. pp. 8-12
50. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p. 374
51. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981. p. 126
52. Banouin, Barbbara and Yu Changgen. Ten Years of Turbulence. Kegan Paul International. USA:1993 p. 176
53. The Red Sun Lights the Road forward at Tachai. Foreign Language Press. China: 1969.
54. Li Zhisui. The Private Life of Chairman Mao. Random House Inc. 1994:USA. p.387-388
55. See: Wu Chih-pu. From Agricultural Producers’ Cooperatives to People’s Communes. Hongqi No. 8, September 16, 1958.
56. See: Wu Chih-pu. From Agricultural Producers’ Cooperatives to People’s Communes. Hongqi No. 8, September 16, 1958.; Hold High the Red Flag of People’s Communes and March On. Renminn Ribao editorial, September 3, 1966; Lin Tieh. The People’s Commune Movement in Hopei. Hongqi No. 9, October 1, 1958;
57. Becker, Jasper. Hungry Ghosts. Owl Books. USA: 1998. p. 121
58. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977. p. 106
59. New Era With Mao Tse-Tung’s Thought As Its Great Banner Acclaimed. Peking Review no. 2. January 12, 1968. p. 13
60. In Guizhou, a Lin Biao stronghold, attributed their success in building a water conservancy project to their commune form of organization, to the Cultural Revolution and to Maoism. Before the commune was formed, only 34.7 percent of the paddyfields were irrigated. There was little electricity for lighting, pumping and processing produce. They boasted that they now had 41 mechanized pumping stations, 31 constructed during the Cultural Revolution. The built nine medium and small power stations.They now have 20 commune-run or brigade-run mechanized workshops, most built during the Cultural Revolution. Irrigation canals crisscross the commune, dotted by ponds and mechanized pumping stations. The commune’s power generating capacity had reached 540 kilowatts. This is enough to power tool making, rice husking, milling, and lights have been installed in the vast majority of the commune members’ homes. These success stories in the media were part of the attempt to build public opinion for a socialist push in the countryside. See: Growth of a Contingent of rural Technicians in Water Conservancy and Power Generating. Peking Review no. 6 February 7, 1969 pp. 4-6 Also, in Hubei, still a Lin Biao stronghold in 1968, media began reporting that never had there been such fine harvests. Zhejiang, another Lin stronghold at the time, reported the doubling of the fish harvest in places. This was in the backdrop of a general economic upswing across China. These reports would continue for at least the next two years.  See: An Abundant Wheat Harvest. Peking Review No. 25 June 20, 1969 pp. 29-30  Also: Mao Tse-tung Thought Guides Us in Conquering Nature. Peking Review no 47 November 21, 1969 pp. 5-8 See: Excellent situation on China’s Industrial and Agricultural Fronts. Peking Review no. 39. September 25, 1971. pp. 5-7. Jiangxi, another Lin Biao stronghold, taking Dazhai as their model, reported huge gains in electrification, harvest output. See:A Look in South Kiangsi Mountain Area. Peking Review no. 52, December 31, 1971. p. 20
61. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p. 61
62. ibid.
63. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p. 61
64. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p. 373
65. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p. 375
66. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981. p. 129
67. Becker, Jasper. Hungry Ghosts. Owl Books. USA: 1998. p. 80
68. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981. p. 129
69. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p. 95
70. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p. 98
71. Kwangtung Grain Production Hits All-time High. Peking Review no. 1 January 1, 1971 p. 16 Also: Zhejiang, a Lin Biao stronghold, and Shanghai, another leftist stronghold, were singled out in an already good harvest report in 1970.See: China Reaps Rich Harvest in 1970. Peking Review No. 2 January 8,1971.
72. Speech by Vice-Chairman Lin Piao. Peking Review no. 41, October 9, 1970. pp. 14-13.
73.  Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981 p. 129
74. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981. p. 131
75. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p. 381
76. From “Hospital for Overloards” to Hospital of the Labouring People. Peking Review no. 5, January 29, 1971. pp. 14- 16
77. A New Type of Military School. Peking Review no. 2 January 10, 1969. pp. 17-20
78. A Co-operative Medial Service Greatly Welcomed by Poor and Lower-Middle Peasants. Peking Review no. 3 January 13, 1969. pp. 4-8
79. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London pp. 133-134
80. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p. 378
81. Follow Our Own Road in Developing Industry. Peking Review No. 30. July 23, 1971. p. 8
82. The extension of the metaphor of people’s war to other spheres of work is part of this militariaztion. One article (see: Mao Tse-tung Thought Guides Us in Conquering Nature. Peking Review no 47 November 21, 1969 pp. 5-8) describes the battle of a commune with nature. Peasants are described as “armed with Mao Tse-tung Thought” in numerous cases. For example see: Marching Forward With Big Strides Under the Leadership of the Working Class. Peking Review No. 31 August 1, 1969. p. 11. See title: Great Truth, sharp Weapon. Peking Review #2, June 23, 1967. p. 19 This article describes Maoism as a weapon in the sphere of culture. Reactionary culture is even described as a “sugar-coated bullet.” This is part of the general militarization of language of the Cultural Revolution. This has obvious parallel to the militarization of society. Also: Mao Tse-tung Thought is the Soul of Party Building. Peking Review no. 28 July 11, 1969 p. 4 “…in placing Mao Tse-tung Thought in command of all their work. Keeping the problems they encountered in revolution and production in mind, they ran different types of Mao Tse-tung thought study classes in diligently studying and applying Mao Tse-tung Thought in a living way. Using Mao Tse-tung Thought as their weapon, they turned fields into battle fields.” p. 13
83. Avakian, Bob. From Ike to Mao and Beyond. Insight Press. Chicago, USA: 2005. p. 254
84. Zueping Zhong, Wang Zheng, and Bai Di. Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era. Rutgers University Press. USA: 2001. pp. 47-48
85. Lin Piao. March Ahead Under the Red Flag of the Party’s General Line and Mao Tse-Tung’s Military Thinking. Foreign Language Press. Peking, China: 1959. p 6-7
86. Carry the Mass Movement for Creative Study and Application of Chairman Mao’s Works to a New Stage. Peking Review no. 42 October 14, 1966. p 6
87. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p 95
88. Hupeh Provincial Revolutionary Committee Established. Peking Review no. 7 Feubruary 16, 1968. p 25
89. A PLA Company Amrs a Village With Mao Tse-tung’s Thought. Peking Review no. 7 Feubruary 16, 1968. p 30
90. Lin Biao. Report to the Ninth Congress of the Communist Party of China. Foreign Language Press. Beijing, China: 1969.
91. Proletarian Revolutionaries of the Higher Military Academy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Revolutionary Mass Movement is the Locomotive for the Advance of History. Beijing Review no. 42 October 18, 1968.
92. ibid
93. Carry the Mass Movement for Creative Study and Application of Chairman Mao’s Works to a New Stage. Peking Review no. 42 October 14, 1966. p 7
94. Lin Biao. “Why a Cultural Revolution?” in China’s Cultural Revolution 1966-1969, Not a Dinner Party edited by Michael Schoenhals. M E Sharpe. USA: 1996. pp. 17-18
95. Summary of the Forum on the Work in Literature and Art in the Armed Forces With Which Comrade Lin Piao Entrusted Comrade Chiang Ching. Peking Review no. 23 June 2, 1967 p 10
96. Prairie Fire. Review of Some Of Us (part 3). Monkey Smashes Heaven. June, 15 2008. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com….n-the-ma o-era/
97. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p 112
98. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p 114
99. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p 116
100. Bridgeham, Philip. Factionalism in the Central Committee.  Party Leadership and Revolutionary Power in China edited by Lewis, John Wilson.  Cambridge University Press. USA: 1970. pp. 213-215
101. Teiwes, Fredrick C. The End of the Maoist Era. M. E. Sharpe. Inc. USA: 2007. p 1 of introduction
102. MacFarquhar, Roderick and Schoenals, Michael. Mao’s Last Revolution.The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. USA:2006 p 339-340
103. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p 406
104. Banouin, Barbbara and Yu Changgen. Ten Years of Turbulence. Kegan Paul International. USA:1993 p. 253
105. Chen Boda was accused of upholding the Theory of Productive Forces based on a few lines from a draft report he had written for the Ninth Congress. However, Chen Boda, and the media outlets he controlled, wrote article after article against this revisionist theory. Was Chen Boda a revisionist? Was he inconsistent? Firstly, we don’t have the actual document in question. We only have what Chen Boda’s enemies have allowed into the public record. Polemics during the Cultural Revolution did not always reliably quote opponents. We can’t say for sure how damning the document was as a whole. We only have what his factional opponents want us to see.  Secondly, Chen Boda was a ghostwriter for the Party. He had written or collaborated on documents with Mao in the past as Mao’s personal secretary. He probably wrote what he thought Mao wanted. After all,  Chen Boda sought to widen the Cultural Revolution at key points. Mao sought to end it in 1969. Mao was personally involved in putting an end to the class war phase, the power seizure phase of the Cultural Revolution. Mao had shifted to the right, he had protected Zhou and the Adverse Current. Mao moved against Wang Li, Guan Feng, and Qi Benyu. All indications were that Mao sought a return to normalcy. In fact, Zhou Enlai had approved Chen Boda’s document. However, Mao still wished radical rhetoric to be included in the Ninth Congress. Thirdly, because of the purges of his associates on the CCRSG and the winding down of the mass movements, Chen Boda may have sought to position himself more toward the center. In the following year, Chen Boda still sought to implement radical measures. Perhaps, there was a disconnect between the rhetoric he was using to attempt to survive politically and his politics. After all, such disconnects were not uncommon. Even Mao was moving away from the rhetoric of the Ninth Congress on foreign policy and global outlook before it was even written. Fourthly, the post-1976 revisionists maintained that Chen Boda belonged both to the Lin Biao and Gang of Four cliques. The revisionists considered him an ultra-leftist, and imprisoned him for it. Fourthly, if the pre-1976 police narratives against the May 16 Corps, Chen Boda, and Lin Biao are all true, if they were all fakes, then it should be admitted that the Cultural Revolution itself was little more than high level opportunism dressed up with radical rhetoric. To accept the police narrative as it crystalized in the 1970s is to reject the Cultural Revolution. However, even these 1970s police narratives can’t help but criticize Chen Boda and others as ultra-left even as they claim they were rightists. This is why Mao repeatedly emphasizes that socialism exists over a long period of time and practices a commodity system in his criticisms. This is why Zhang Chunqiao has to defend himself against charges that he is attempting to stir up a wind of communization like Chen Boda in 1975.
106. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p 406
107. PLA General Staff HQ Holds 4th Congree of Activists in the Creative Study and Application of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. Peking Review no. 19 March 8, 1968. p 9
108. Banouin, Barbbara and Yu Changgen. Ten Years of Turbulence. Kegan Paul International. USA:1993 p. 199
109. China: A Century of Revolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NT8RibVwow&feature=related
110. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p 406
111. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981. p 135-136
112. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p 104-117
113. Domes, Jurgen. China After the Cultural Revolution. University of California Press. USA: 1977 p 104
114. Brugger, Bill. China: Radicalism to Revisionism 1962-1979. Croom Helm London Barnes and Noble Books. Great Britain: 1981. p 137
115. According to Jean Daubier, there was no disruption in the economy in terms of basic consumer goods from what she witnessed. She reports this was the case in Beijing and in other areas. See: Daubier, Jean. The History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Random House. USA: 1974. p. 261-262 Also see: Living Standards in China Improve. Peking Review no. 40 September 30,1971 pp. 14-15
116. New Era With Mao Tse-Tung’s Thought As Its Great Banner Acclaimed. Peking Review no. 2. January 12, 1968. p. 13
117. Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. Free Press. USA: 1986. p 407
118. Ma Jisen. The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry. The Chinese University Press. Hong Kong, USA:  2004. p 353-354
119. Jean Daubier points to the obvious fact that Zhou Enlai could not had dealt with Lin Biao and Chen Boda by himself. Rather, it is obvious that Mao was backing Zhou Enlai against Lin Biao and Chen Boda. See: Daubier, Jean. The History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Random House. USA: 1974. p 275
120. Meisner, Maurice.i Free Press. USA: 1986. p 412
121. Karol, K.S. The Second Chinese Revolution. Hill and Wang. USA: 1973. p 445

Was Mao really born on the 26th of December?

Was Mao really born on the 26th of December?maosun1-300x217

(llco.org)

Around this time, every year, we see people celebrating December 26th as the day of Mao’s birth. Whole groups, like the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines, celebrate this day not only as the day of Mao’s birth, but also as the anniversary of the founding of their own organizations. It always struck me how close this day was to the day that Christians celebrate as Christmas, as the day of Jesus’s birth. Christmas is celebrated just a day earlier, December 25th. Is it just coincidence that both Mao and Jesus share almost the same birth day?

It is no secret that Jesus’s birth was placed around or on the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. The winter solstice had long been a holy day for pre-Christian religions. Christians have a long history of appropriating elements of pagan religions in order to win converts. Jesus often is represented as the light, the sun. For example, in John 8, he states, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So, both Jesus and the sun, both the light that nourishes the world, is born on the solstice. But, it is not just Jesus who has been represented as the sun. In the twentieth century, as Mao’s cult of personality reached religious proportions, Mao too was portrayed as the sun. Over and over, Mao’s head was portrayed with the sun behind it shining down to nourish sunflowers, which represent the masses. This was a recurring theme in Maoist art. “The East is Red,” the unofficial anthem of Maoist China, uses this imagery:

“The east is red, the sun is rising.

From China comes Mao Zedong.

He strives for the people’s happiness,

Hurrah, he is the people’s great saviour!

(Repeat last two lines)

Chairman Mao loves the people,

He is our guide

to building a new China

Hurrah, lead us forward!

(Repeat last two lines)

 

The Communist Party is like the sun,

Wherever it shines, it is bright

Wherever the Communist Party is

Hurrah, the people are liberated!

(Repeat last two lines)

(Repeat first verse)”

 

How reliable were birth records in the late 1800s and early 1900s in a rural China dominated by warlords and colonial forces? Given that the Chinese Communist Party often rewrote its history in a very mythologized way, could it be that Mao’s birthday was made to correspond to the winter solstice? It could be a big, happy coincidence that the sun of the Chinese revolution just happened to be born on the solstice, but it is at least as likely that the December 26th date is a later fabrication. If it is indeed a later invention, then it just shows the religious extremes of Mao’s cult of personality at its height. It is also worth noting that other cults of personality have fabricated information about the births of their leaders. For example, the Kim family cult in northern Korea has created a myths that the Kim family is linked to Tangun, the mythological progenitor of the Korean people. As part of this, the northern Korean cult has sought to link the Kims to Mount Peaktu. The question of Mao’s actual birth day is a question that will require more research to settle. In any case, Mao was a great, if flawed, revolutionary who deserves to be honored not as an infallible sun, but as a real hero who changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people for the better. In this sense, the real Mao, warts and all, is better than any myth.