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Continuing the Revolution: The Political Thought of Mao

Continuing the Revolution: The Political Thought of Mao

John Bryan Starr
Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Continuing the Revolution: The Political Thought of Mao
    Book Description:

    The author investigates the internal logic and evolution of Mao's theory in terms of various themes. Beginning with a consideration of conflict, which in Mao's view is a given and permanent component of society, Professor Starr then takes up the individual concepts of knowledge and action, authority, class and class conflict, organization, participation and representation, political education, political history, and political development.

    Originally published in 1979.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6841-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Chapter One ON CONFLICT
    (pp. 3-45)

    The central idea around which the political thought of Mao Zedong was constructed was that of conflict or contradiction and the change to which it gives rise. Each of the important political themes with which he dealt in his political writings was grounded in his view of conflict and change as aspects of the natural or given state of the political realm, as they are in the realm of nature. Because his theory of knowledge was based on this central idea, he regarded his political ideas not only as an explication of, but also as an example of this view...

    (pp. 46-71)

    In the Same set of lectures at Kangda in which he addressed himself to the problem of contradiction, Mao devoted another lecture to the problem of the theory of knowledge—a lecture which he entitled, “On Practice: On the Relations between Knowledge and Practice, between Knowing and Doing.”² In this lecture he put forward an explicitly dialectical theory of knowledge, which he modified but slightly in the intervening years. In this chapter I will begin by investigating Mao’s description of the origin and development of ideas—the process of cognition—looking particularly at the dialectical characteristics he ascribed to this...

  6. Chapter Three ON AUTHORITY
    (pp. 72-96)

    The opening sentences in Mao’sSelected Works, drawn from a 1926 analysis of the classes in Chinese society, read as follows: “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.”²

    A first reaction might be to take this as the dichotomous view of the world we would expect to find in the work of a political thinker concerned, as Mao is, with contradiction. In fact, he alludes to three parties here: enemies, friends, and “ourselves.” The revolutionary “we” implicit in Mao’s question is an individual or group that has succeeded...

    (pp. 97-128)

    A theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, in which revolution is defined, in part, as a class struggle, must of necessity contain within it an explanation for the continued presence of class enemies. The simple explanation for the continued presence of class enemies after the revolutionary seizure of power treats that presence as deriving from the imperfect results of individual transformation or resocialization. Such an explanation may be satisfactory over the short run, but imperfections in the process of resocialization are potentially correctable, and thus cannot serve to explain the long-term presence of class enemies....

  8. Chapter Five ON ORGANIZATION
    (pp. 129-187)

    Mao had, on balance, a profoundly ambivalent attitude toward organizations. On the one hand, he saw organization as the indispensable means that makes revolution possible; on the other hand, he came to believe that the revolutionary organization itself can become both locus and cause for the corruption of revolutionary goals and their abandonment in favor of goals that move society in the opposite, counterrevolutionary direction. As an illustration of this ambivalence, we find him at one point extolling the fact that the Chinese Communist party succeeded in organizing the Chinese population—a population that Sun Zhongshan had referred to as...

    (pp. 188-222)

    Proposed solutions to the problem of the potential corruption of those who take part in organizational life were set forward at one point early in the Cultural Revolution, by means of an historical example—that of the Paris Commune of 1871. Thedazibaowritten in late May 1966 by a young philosophy teacher at Beida—an act that marked the initiation of the active phase of the Cultural Revolution—was described two months later by Mao as having been a “declaration of a Chinese Paris Commune of the 1960s.”² Less than a month later, the “Sixteen Point Decision” of the...

    (pp. 223-247)

    To the problem of retrogression and embourgeoisement in a socialist society Mao proposed four solutions: three therapeutic, the fourth prophylactic. In the preceding chapters we have considered at some length two of the therapeutic solutions: organizational reform and mass participation. We turn now to a discussion of the remaining two solutions. Both are included in the project of political education, since that project is seen as having a dual goal. Although the principal purpose of education is to create a new generation of “revolutionary successors,” immune, to the greatest extent possible, to the corrupting effects of political life, a secondary...

  11. Chapter Eight ON POLITICAL HISTORY
    (pp. 248-274)

    Given the subject matter of the bulk of Mao’s writings, one might well take him for an historian rather than for a political thinker. Not only do his speeches and essays abound with historical examples, but most of his pre-Liberation writing and much of what he wrote after Liberation is devoted to the chronicling of the history of the revolution in which he was participating, and which he subsequently led and helped to shape.² Far from merely recounting the events in which he participated, however, Mao’s historical writing is analytical in nature. It is based upon a philosophy of history,...

    (pp. 275-308)

    Mao’s political thought is fundamentally developmental in character. Basic to that thought, as we have seen, is the idea of positive or progressive change over time, which results from conflict and struggle correctly handled and resolved. Thus we shall find that to discuss Mao’s concept of political development—including in that concept both the goals toward which change is directed and the process by means of which the goals are achieved—is, in a sense, to summarize his political ideas.

    Among the goals toward the realization of which the political development of China must be directed, in Mao’s view, are...

    (pp. 309-318)
    (pp. 319-320)
    (pp. 321-354)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 355-366)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 367-367)