Wang Fanxi, a leader of the Chinese Trotskyists, wrote this book on Mao more than fifty years ago. He did so while in exile in the then Portuguese colony of Macau, across the water from Hong Kong, where he had been sent in 1949 to represent his comrades in China, soon to disappear for decades into Mao’s jails. The book is an analytical study whose strength lies less in describing Mao’s life than in explaining Maoism and setting out a radical view on it as a political movement and a current of thought within the Marxist tradition to which both Wang and Mao belonged. With its clear and provoking thesis, it has, since its writing, stood the test of time far better than the hundreds of descriptive studies that have in the meantime come and gone.
Wang Fanxi (1907 – 2002) was a leading Chinese Trotskyist revolutionary. Born in 1907, he was imprisoned during the 1930s, and for the last decades of his life lived in Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Gregor Benton is Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University. His books include Mountain Fires: The Red Army's Three-Year War in South China, 1934–1938 (University of California Press, 1992), honoured by the University of California Press as ‘a special book in Asian studies’ and by the Association of Asian Studies as the Best Book on Modern China. His most recent book is Dear China: Emigrant Letters and Remittances, 1820-1980 (University of California Press, 2018; co-authored with Hong Liu).
Notes on the Translation Abbreviated Source Designations
Introduction Gregor Benton
Mao Zedong Thought
1 On the Personality Cult
2 The Sources and Components of Mao Zedong Thought
3 Mao Zedong Thought and ‘Mao Zedong Thought’
4 A Brilliant Tactician
5 A Middling Strategist (Part 1) New Democracy and Permanent Revolution
6 A Middling Strategist (Part 2) Armed Revolution and Revolutionary Strategy
7 Theory and Practice
8 Art and Literature: Policy and Creativity
9 Self-Reliance and ‘Communism in One Country’
10 Mao’s Position in History: On Outstanding Personages
Appendix 1: Seven Theses on Socialism and Democracy (1957)
Appendix 2: Thinking in Solitude (1957)
Appendix 3: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1967)
Appendix 4: The ‘Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius’ Movement (1974)
Marxists, students of Chinese Communism, Trotskyism, the history of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao, historians of peasant movements and Marxist political thought.