Editor’s note: September 9, 2016 marks 40 years since the death of Mao Zedong. We are republishing the following, which was originally published on www.revcom.us in May 2016. And we urge our readers to read and study the new book by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM.
50 Years Since the Cultural Revolution in China:
Upholding—and Going Forward From—a Historic Breakthrough for Humanity
May 9, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
May 2016 marks 50 years since Mao Zedong launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. The Cultural Revolution was a breakthrough in dealing with a world historic problem of communist revolution—how to prevent counterrevolution under socialism, in a way that enables the masses of people to play a decisive role in revolutionizing all of society and transforming their thinking and values in the process. Mao, for the first time in history, had analyzed that class struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletariat continues under socialism; that this struggle is focused around whether to advance further on the socialist road toward communism or to revert to capitalism; and that the main force of the bourgeoisie is concentrated in the Communist Party itself. And in the Cultural Revolution, he found a way to lead masses to act to deal with that.
As the Revolutionary Communist Party’s Manifesto, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, puts it:
[I]t is hard to overstate the importance of this theoretical analysis by Mao—which cleared up a great deal of confusion as to whether, and why, there was a danger of capitalist restoration in socialist society, and which provided fundamental guidance in mobilizing masses to advance on the socialist road in opposition to revisionist forces whose orientation and actions were leading precisely toward such a capitalist restoration. The Cultural Revolution in China was the living embodiment of such a mass revolutionary mobilization, in which tens and hundreds of millions of people debated and struggled over questions bearing decisively on the direction of society and of the world revolution. For ten years, this mass upsurge succeeded in holding back, and putting on the defensive, the forces of capitalist restoration, including high officials in the Chinese Communist Party such as Deng Xiaoping. But shortly after the death of Mao in 1976, those forces—headed, ultimately, and for a time from the background, by Deng Xiaoping—succeeded in carrying out a coup—wielding the army and other organs of the state to suppress revolutionaries, killing many, many thousands, and imprisoning many more—and proceeded to restore capitalism in China. This was, unfortunately, a living demonstration of the very danger that Mao had so sharply pointed to, and whose basis he had so penetratingly analyzed.
The Cultural Revolution, 50 years later, still inspires anybody who aspires to a liberating society. At the same time, it still infuriates the representatives of the old order and all who fear the upheaval involved in actually ridding the world of exploitation and oppression. Already, there have been publications, symposiums, programs, etc. attacking the Cultural Revolution with gross distortions and lies, and we anticipate more over the coming year. OK, then, bring it on! Let them do their worst. We look forward to meeting the challenge head on and turning these attacks around, using the controversy to draw new people into the process of seeing for themselves what the evidence actually is and what it means.
Starting this week and over the course of the coming months, revcom.us will be getting into this. We will be doing this from the standpoint of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. When the Cultural Revolution was reversed and socialist society overthrown, Bob Avakian (BA) stepped up to fill a great need, bringing scientific clarity to this historical juncture: upholding the great accomplishments of Mao and the revolution in China, while digging deeply into the experience of the first stage of communist revolution. In doing so, he has summed up the great achievements and he has summed up the errors, even significant ones, in these first attempts at truly emancipating humanity. The new synthesis of communism includes breakthroughs in understanding the dynamics of socialism as a transition to communism, internationalism, and strategy for revolution; most essentially, it is a breakthrough in the scientific method and approach to reality and to revolution in particular. As the 2016 Resolutions of the Central Committee of the RCP, USA put it, this new synthesis “represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.”
In this issue, as part of launching this offensive on the Cultural Revolution, we are including several pieces:
No Wonder They Slander Communism, by Bob Avakian
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