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So before the establishment of the CPR that is in July of 1040 nine undertook to outline in sharper terms what he meant and one of his writings was untitled. From this effort the New Democracy or democracy sometimes it's translated. What would this be. It would be an alliance. Of labor. This had to come first. Peasantry. What he called the petty bourgeoisie. And I gather he referred to shopkeepers small businessmen the kind of thing that makes a county seat run and then the national. And these were big operators people round Chinese department stores and who could manage a steal mail or an electric power producing unit or could be smart bankers and that kind of thing. That was a national board as was he
now. This outfit would enjoy democracy and it would be a dictating group over certain other groups. What were they. They were what he called the reactionaries then the unreconstructed. They were the landlords and this class would have to go. There were the bureaucratic capitalists who were bureaucratic capitalists. These were people who would use their government connections to further themselves in a business way. And I'm referring now to people Abidjan Kai-Shek regime would come back from West China and proceeded to take over expropriated Japanese properties and then use these to muscle out the native Chinese who hadn't fled to the west it was a shameful procedure bureaucratic capitalists bureaucrat connect with the government capitalists this is obvious and then finally the reactionary clique of the gloaming dung. So here was the group that would have to knuckle under. As far as measures to bring about what they wanted was concerned the
democracy which meant the right to vote and the right to voice opinions was for the first four. The dictatorship was for the last group. Democratic measures are methods of persuasion were to be given priority in reforming bad habits and thoughts derived from the old society. Person by person. These would be applied. The National bourse was the word to be encouraged as part of a general expansion of industry in commerce. These sectors of China's economy need the needed bad attention for example the currency was absolute disarray. This has gone through the wringer twice at least by 1949 and so you had the need for the National bourse was a but it was made clear to them that while they would be honored the time would come when the system would change and they would have to face up to change. They were warned and they knew this. So at the
national borders was they were not to occupy a major position in the state administration when time came to nationalize private enterprise. They were to be further educated and reformed but they were to be in service and then their education was coming later. Now let's see how this was implemented. And here I have a second concept known as democratic centralism. You may be familiar with the practice of this without having it given this name. I find the people that I talk to are familiar with the practice of it shouldn't be alarmed I don't think. Now this is a dualism. This is a dualism of the executive decisive group and the larger assembly the assembly is representative. In fact it tries to have as wide a coverage as possible and the elective principle is used. But the nominating principle is carefully carefully construed for the representative group. The executive
group is a small tightly closed type of thing. And naming to that comes from on high. With careful approval both from above and below. I say from below as well as from above because a key principle of the Maoist contact with the people was to ascertain what the people were thinking and doing. The organizer or the Chinese communist official must listen more than he talked and must find out where the regime was constantly. He must never neglect the regime in this regard so that the small group the executive group and the big group these two had specific tasks now must take decision making under these circumstances. The representative group I don't care whether on the local level the big level comes. It is informed it listens to speeches it probably has reading and then leaders present proposals. They may ask questions
about and may discuss and then they vote to take action. They are informed and they go home. Now in a smaller group where say it is small group is deciding whether to build a bridge or whether they're going to give a priority to maybe a male or a pomp. That kind of thing. Apparently there was a time when discussion shifts gears. I mean the discussion comes to the point where an idea or the key idea comes a Chinese communist want this to come from the people. But if it doesn't come from the people then it comes from them. And so where the idea comes from. May vary but once the idea is there then the climate changes and you don't raise the questions in the first part of the discussion that you raise in the second part of the discussion. The second part of this question. You say How are we going to do this. First part of the discussion. What should we do.
And so here's democratic centralism I'm sure that you people have seen this operation. But it's not been by this name. It's dignified and formalized this is a technique part of human engineering. Now third in the imperial system that used to rule China before 1912 it was not necessary to extend the power of the central government very far down to the people. In fact the lowest and appointed Imperial Magistrate would sometimes be one imperial official in a city of a hundred thousand. He would run quite an establishment but still he wouldn't run the city. The city was run by custom and by elders and by a principle of collective responsibility which deferred to age and experience and group of families and heads of families and all that kind of thing. Now that had to go and in its place the Chinese Communists
first use the forestry lines are three echelons going all the way down. And I'm referring to the party the government and the army. But these only accounted for just a fraction of China's population of five hundred fifty or six hundred million. By 1949 What about the rest. And here the Chinese Communists said we must somehow get at every echelon ever Yes rely on if we can. Our population. How do we do this. We do this by organizations according to age according to interest according to mission. And so China underwent right away a terrific experience of organization I'm going to give you some of these organizations Chinese pioneers. That's for children under 14. They have a red neckerchief. The Chinese new democratic youth league the all China students study aeration
of the all China Democratic Women's Federation that has a potentially for a large membership. The all China Federation of Labor. Now this is dated the saddle Sabia Friendship Association. They had a skyscraper a built for them in Shanghai. I don't know what you have being use for now it's probably a kindergartener club or something. Chinese Federation of scientific societies. And then the conference of the people's representatives of all circles. That's a sort of a Medicine Council of Churches type of thing. But applied to everybody. The National Conference of models I mean model workers peasants and soldiers and models can exchange their experiences and reflections. The National Conference of combat heroes. I don't know whether I'd want to belong to this or not but I have a Taiwan Democratic self-governing league that's obvious the returned overseas Chinese Friendship Association. And so under these circumstances it was hard for any Chinese not to get into an organization have
to go to meetings and use his free time for discussion of common tasks. Now in these discussions a technique known as criticism and self criticism evolved and this I think is worthy of some attention after a common experience where the group is working hard and it doesn't achieve what it should do. The Chinese communists after supper have the meat and they go around the group and examine the day in terms of what hasn't been done what should be done and my experiences. Now we call these re-evaluation or evaluation sessions we have this. But as a technique. This involves everybody speaking. You can't be silent I mean you can't be if you're tired you're selfish. And if you're quiet you're selfish. You don't want to participate. It is not part of the group. So you have to express your reaction to the day in terms of your
performance but not only that in terms of the other comrades performance because if you don't observe them then they are without your interest in your criticism. And you really deserve to express this fire is the whole group is concerned if you don't you don't care. So criticism of the other fellow and criticism of yourself when you go around. Pretty soon everybody else has the whole thing out. Well that is what we used to call a truth session. And sometimes it's brutal but especially to be helpful here. Then following this then what are we going to do for tomorrow. And so each person has to go on record Well I really didn't work today and I was kind of confused to get my objectives clear and spent my time getting up and I would just watch me tomorrow. Well you say that you go on record before everybody else and you're not silent. And also there may be a party person there probably you know he is. But I will how can you escape. Now here's a device which is a wonderful thing for mobilizing spontaneous enthusiasm and
making the total of the number and in a group greater than the sum of its parts which I think is probably possible in human groups more than they could have imagined that number would do. But also it's a missed piece of machinery for coercion. And here it has some value of still a limited value. The Chinese have a great tradition of non cooperative cooperation especially farmers. A farmer has to be out by himself and he can work and just think about it and all. Chinese notions of integrity a different than ours traditionally do and that helps him. But on the right this has been effective. And therefore are every bit of thought an effort is really mobilized here. The can be as far as they can go. Now let's take this. This Chinese phrase now SI which means to wash the brain clear the brain. Now this is a concept that the Communists bring into the matter
of penal reform prison reform. Because it's obvious that a person who commits a crime doesn't really understand his society. You're not part of the group he's a protestor against this thing to do is to reason with him. And under conditions which will induce single mindedness. And I'm referring to prison conditions but not just to lock him up. And you have other people with him. These are reformed prisoners. It's like Alcoholics Anonymous I suppose. And these people come and talk to him and he's talked to every day and the discussions go on as a regular program. Of course he takes care of his own Sal and he works to be sure and there's an alternation here. But what he is thinking is very important and he has to produce at the end of this period a long statement it's apt to be written. Of what he felt and thought before he came to prison. And then it's an intellectual biography of what he thought at various stages and now what he thinks that it better be sincere. You have been pretty artful not to be sincere.
Now that is also a technique which it was felt should be applied to useful people of the regime. Our Father regime and I'm talking about people trying in the United States and Germany and France who could be called intellectuals and who many of them have decided to cast in their lot with China. And see if this wouldn't work for China. Now these people come or came this is in the past now. I came into special training schools where they were given thorough training in Marxism Leninism Maoism Stalinism the whole bus business and China's past as re-interpreted in China's needs for the future and so on and especially did they work on this matter of the line that had developed in China traditionally between the intellectual and the farmer the man who worked with his hands. There was a line a very sharp line run people were Mao's ambition and that meant that the scholarship
spent a certain amount of time with the farmer in the country helping with common tasks and understanding Chinese there as he never had. And the farmer boy at night should learn characters. Nothing sacred about writing at all it wasn't just connected with one kind of people they might be just as smart as a people who'd been raised under tutors guidance in a large family. And so the intellectual being reformed was I was up against this too. And so a process of indoctrination if you wish brainwashing had to be applied. This was applied it was applied to return students from the United States. Generally I may say that it took less time with those that have been trained in the natural sciences than those trained in the social sciences. And you had to write a term paper too. And this had to be I mean this had to be acceptable at the first draft was never acceptable. And so you you find that this process. And then at the end of this intellectuals were given jobs but never really
fully trusted. And this is a dilemma for this regime. Because any amount of freedom of thought which the intellectual has to develop if he's going to be a scientist be the social our natural scientist this kind of thing is an amicable to the reliance on politics and upon the mass line. Which the Maoist regime was committed to. And so the intellectuals allegiance was never complete. It was partial. And of course protest was unthinkable and possibly Chinese ideas of integrity helped out the people who had to write the confessions and sign up. We had one of those people on our campus in the summer of 1940 7 when I was quite a new faculty member here. It was my privilege to spend all afternoon with him after he'd given a lecture in Bascom Hall 165 Bascom. This man was from UAN a distinguished professor of Chinese philosophy and his works are still
standard. He made his decision and he knew where he was going. He's still alive and I hope I can meet him again. To see if he would give me his intellectual biography since I talked with him. I think he. He'll remember it all right. But the accommodations that have occurred in between this is what I'm curious about. Well now we have this regime then started and I think the achievement was nothing short of brilliant. It transformed China. It mobilized it. It put China into business in a way that previous people in China couldn't believe possible. And those who lived outside of China in the overseas Chinese communities became very proud of this nation and of its military performance in Korea although they wanted no part of it because a Chinese soldier held up his head for the first time in more than 100 years. And China was on its way to becoming a great power but a long time since that had been sold. And so you do have
then a brilliant inauguration. But in Chinese life as in other types of life sometimes a great leader can't shift gears I mean cannot to point out the founder of a family business is he the guy to run it. Or do you need somebody else to Sun train and something else. And yeah but it's a life very often the innovator is not the best administrator. And here I think that mouse career was was due for some rocky times. And as one school of thought that traces the years since especially since 1955 as as a period of great failures. And now I just go into this a little bit here. I this isn't the whole story but this may be part of the story of what has been happening in the last 15 months. Now take first of all the hundred flowers movement Mao was very much distressed. By the fact that he somehow could not get the allegiance of the
intellectuals. And a lot of his thinking by the way is based on Chinese precedent and Chinese romances of the three kingdoms period that goes back to all three in 400 a day. So he came out with this quotation about let the hundred flowers bloom let the hundred schools of thought prosper that goes back really to the edge of the philosophers before 220 B.C.. Then he developed a theory of contradictions and this was contained in his document on contradictions how does this work. Apparently according to this there are some things that you don't argue about that were loyalty and common allegiance are taken for granted. These are axiomatic. Loyalty to communist doctrine and loyalty to the Communist Party in China. And two basic aims of the regime. This is never a question but within that people differ and their opinions their differing opinions are
valuable for variety's sake and for motivation. Therefore their own springs of motive should be taken account of and used to the full. You could therefore have contradictions and you could allow them within a framework. And here Mao thought it would work. He thought the time had passed sufficiently so that the basic criticism would not reappear and people wouldn't believe it that he was really opening things up. But he was sincere about this and things were opened up. And here he was completely taken aback. He was surprised and saddened I think because the depth of criticism on the part of people who had been in China a long time surprised him. And he finally had to clamp down and begin with one of these five or three and take campaigns and stamp it up. This was a failure and his success with the intellectuals therefore has not gone ahead at all and has really gotten worse
in what is known as the red vs. expert dilemma. I refer to that presently not a second. Failure and this may not have been all his fault although you are certainly on the side of it. This is the failure of the Great Leap Forward which was in progress at the end of the fifties and was a disaster for China by eight thousand nine hundred. I mean one thousand sixty one two and three. Now the idea here was to go ahead on toward communism and also to use the forces of human will in a way that he felt he could do by this time. By sheer morale almost the peasant could go ahead to tasks that were unimaginable before. And this therefore brought in the big long called the communes. Some of these units were as big as 22000 people with as much of life in common as could be managed here. I mean it's inefficient and wasteful to have one hundred cooking fires where you have one
cooking fire to have food for everybody. Sure it's inefficient and wasteful to have one baby's babysitter for one child where you could have one baby sitter for 10. Summers that they do better in a group any way than just one to one and so on. And as a result of this there for the individual even in family life got very little personal satisfaction out of this. I mean your husband might be sent off to the front tier for need for work and you'd be home. Well you marry a person to live with them I gather. At least this isn't ideal but this wasn't their ideal so I'm a ground of pushing people too far. This failed and they had to roll the thing back and make their case that a work team sometimes covering no more than three or four hundred people. And that's where the center of gravity for the country is now. Not only that but small plots were allowed again to the individual farmer. And there he would
raise the best bags and the best vegetables. I say the best pork is grown close to the house. I think that's. All right. So you have this and agriculture was pushed too far in favor of the five year plan kind of thing. Chinese economies not recovered from this experience. And the five year plan that type of thing has been largely laid aside with of course the conspicuous can exception of atomic development this has been given extra impetus and the damage is still apparent here. Now out in the field of foreign policy. And here I don't think this is all of Mao's fault I think this is a fault of Chinese tradition. And Marxism makes it worse. Especially if you think you have the best kind. Now this has been responsible for major disagreements. With all the major powers really. I mean if you want to be complete by how
could you be more complete NDA Sabia union of the United States. Bad relations. And then you go through other countries even the newer countries. Here the Chinese ineptitude is simply colossal a big country makes big mistakes and they certainly have. To imagine that the doctrine by which you are able to capture cities from the countryside that works so well in China could be applied to the world at large is massively presumptuous. And how Joe onli their foreign minister who is a very supple Abiola man could go to capital after capital of Africa and say Our condition is just the same as yours. See we can export and we can help you. Then he must have been too much for him or something here. I guess I'm unable to understand how they feel that their doctrine is applicable universally. This is illogical wishful thinking. Self intoxication. I spose it happens
at any rate. No I was a model and Bialik. Which SO EXCITED Washington so much in the fall of 965 is a flop and Chinese Foreign Relations are a flop. And this is reinforced by Chinese tradition. In an interesting way. The Chinese tradition of foreign relations is based upon their isolation and their great cultural achievement. Therefore our Chinese in talking to people from outside along their borders are reflected. Their achievement in comparison with their neighbors achievement but it was known as a tribute system. This was a very economical and psychologically satisfying type of thing. I mean the representative from Brown are a man with common he would bow and do the count how would don give his presents first and then the Emperor giving more valuable presents. Then you go home and the traitors were handled at the border they were bunnies. Well serious official consideration. And then the individual regime
about its own business and talk about self the Chinese could say the amenities have been satisfied and this is fine we don't have to interfere and they didn't. But it's a relationship of Sapir to inferior so that the community of nations idea the exchange of ambassadors the give and take on the horizontal level has been lacking in Chinese tradition. Now the rest made the Chinese accept their system and Chinese diplomats learn to be very skillful as they showed it at Versailles and Washington conference and subsequently. But now the Chinese are reverted. To this position of superiority but but Maoism is replaced Confucianism as their their principal article of intellectual pride and they're confirmed in in their belief sort of if they're not confirmed they don't say anything differently. So here you have something it's hard to break through and it isn't all Miles fault. But he's an old man and he remembers his youth and when he was successful at what was successful older he feels can be successful now.
So we find that his current answer in the form of a Great Cultural Revolution Great Cultural Revolution. Is his latest answer as a matter of 73. What he finds is wrong with China. You've been listening to Professor Eugene Boardman of the University of Wisconsin Department of History as he discussed the way of Mao Zedong. Next week Professor Michael B Petrovich returns with a discussion of world communism today. These lectures were drawn from the 1967 was guns an alumni seminar on the theory and practice of communism and I arranged a radio by W agency the University of Wisconsin to get almost speaking this is the national educational radio network.
The theory and practice of communism
The Way of Mao Tse-Tung
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University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland
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Chicago: “The theory and practice of communism; The Way of Mao Tse-Tung,” 1968-04-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “The theory and practice of communism; The Way of Mao Tse-Tung.” 1968-04-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: The theory and practice of communism; The Way of Mao Tse-Tung. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from