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Title: Misreading Mao: On Class and Class Struggle
Contributor(s): Healy, Paul Michael (author)
Publication Date: 2008
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Abstract: It has been argued frequently that Mao Zedong's thought is a significant departure from classical Marxism. This break, usually dated from the mid-1950s, supposedly occurred in two areas. First, the primacy of the economic characteristic of orthodox Marxism was replaced by a "voluntarism' which emphasised politics and consciousness. Secondly, whereas classes are defined in economic terms in the classical Marxist tradition, Mao defined them by reference to political behaviour and ideological viewpoint. This definition derives from the primacy Mao is said to have accorded to the superstructure. This article rejects the second of these interpretations and argues that a fundamental continuity exists between Mao's post-1955 propositions on classes and class struggle and those advanced by orthodox Marxism. In conformity with classical Marxism, Mao conceived of classes as economic categories. Further, both Mao and classical Marxism saw classes as active participants in class struggle in the superstructure called into being by the contradiction between the forces and relations of production. Finally, Mao shared with orthodox Marxism the idea that economic classes are represented in the superstructure by a range of political agencies and ideological forms.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38(4), p. 535-559
Publisher: Routledge - Taylor and Francis Group
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0047-2336
Field of Research (FOR): 160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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