Series V: Maoism: Legacies, uses, and dangers

Alliance Against Displacement’s Conditions of Struggle discussion series: Winter 2017

In late 2017, AAD decided to hold a reading series on Maoism. We used three points of reference in building the curriculum:

  1. Textbook overviews: Chapters from Elliot Liu’s Maoism and the Chinese Revolution and Rebecca Karl’s Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth Century World provide a historical framework for each of the classes, which roughly follow the timeline of the birth of Maoism as a political movement. These two textbooks are written by Marxists who are sympathetic with but not loyal to Maoism; they provide a critical framework to Maoist politics and practice. We should read these chapters critically but they should also be useful as touchstones.
  2. Interpretations of Maoism (under various sub-titles): Articles from Maoists and non/anti-Maoist revolutionary groups and writers. These articles provide interpretations of the work and legacies of the Chinese revolution and also show the international impact of Maoism, including in North America.
  3. Mao Zedong – essential selections: Mao in his own words. These articles by Mao (and in one case, by his defenders in the Red Guards) respond, anticipate, challenge, and substantiate the perspectives presented in the first two sections of each class.

Class 1: Origins and principles of Maoism

Textbook Overview

  • Elliot Liu, “Introduction;” “Chapter 1: Prologue: the first Chinese revolution,” and “Chapter 2: The People’s War from the Countryside;” pages 1-43 in Maoism and the Chinese Revolution: A Critical Introduction (PM Press, 2016). Download the full pdf of Liu’s book here.

Definition & left critique

Supplementary readings

Mao’s words

Class 2: Working class revolution or bureaucratic power?

Textbook overview

  • Elliot Liu, “Chapter 3: The CCP in state power,” and “Chapter 4: The cultural revolution,” pages 45-104 in Maoism and the Chinese Revolution: A Critical Introduction (PM Press, 2016). Download the full pdf of Liu’s book here.

Another view of the 1967 revolution

Women in the life of the Chinese revolution

Mao’s words

Class 3: Impacts and applications of Mao Zedong Thought outside China

Textbook overview

Maoism in revolutionary struggles outside China

Supplementary readings

Mao’s words