RE: Jung Chang's book

From "David Ewing" <>
Date Fri, 08 Jul 2005 11:41:43 -0700
In-reply-to <BAY101-F39619D503AF9DC97F13364BBDB0@phx.gbl>

Mr Turner: I have not seen the new Mao book, but it sounds like more 
second-thoughts-type "God That Failed" trash. This is always a sure seller 
to conservative American readers who know few facts about China.  My 
personal interest in Mao is Mao's Marxism and his deviations from Marxism.  
There is no doubt, in my mind, that Mao was, subjectively, a Marxist.   His 
reliance on the "masses" to accomplish revolutionary change, his military 
theory of peoples war, his emphasis on working-class political leadership, 
his orthodox Leninist anti-imperialism arel all based on ideological 
confidence in Marxism.  The GPCR was an attemped social leveling to preserve 
ML idology in a backward economy.  This may seem "un-marxist" to us, but Mao 
thought he was applying marxism. I think Mao saw the GPCR as a social 
experiment -- the only thing hecould come up with, to try to instutionalize 
socialist valuse that would survive his deat.  Dave ERwing, San Francisco.

>From: "brian turner" <>
>Subject: Jung Chang's book
>Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2005 07:15:13 +0000
>Time Magazine has an article called "Taking Aim at Mao" which discusses 
>Jung Chang's book.
>The article praises the book, but does mention that (1) it's hard to 
>evaluate the reliability of this evidence (2) the book is one-sided.
>Re: (2) the writer mentioned that Chang left off such achievements of Mao 
>as:  1-unifying the country 2-keeping China independent of the USSR 
>3-giving Chinese people national pride  4-marketing his image successfully 
>I find it interesting that whenever journalists or scholars want to not be 
>one-sided against Mao, they cite this nationalistic stuff.  Philip Short, 
>for instance, ignoring nonsense about a wrecked or stagnant economy, 
>credits Mao for modernizing China.
>Personally, I find nationalistic achievements and modernization not all 
>that impressive.  I think Chiang Kai-Shek could have done just as well in 
>unifying the country, keeping China independent, making China an 
>international player, and growing the GDP.
>Issues related to economic equality or the point made even by Mao-haters 
>like Wei Jingsheng, Fang Lizhi, and non-admirers like Stuart Schram that 
>the CR anti-bureaucratic populism (even if betrayed by Mao personally) has 
>enhanced the potential for democracy in China (just political, though we 
>could say the same re: economic democracy).
>The Time writer also asked Chang why Mao is so popular, if he's so evil.  
>She said that it's because of brainwashing.  There is no free press in 
>China and there is nothing but books praising Mao.  The writer found this 
>unsatisfying, but nevertheless said that if they ever get to read Chang's 
>"atom bomb of a book", it will cure them of Mao admiration.  This reminds 
>me of Mobo Gao's review of G. Barme's book on popular culture...he 
>mentioned that Barme repeats a basic theme that the masses are hoodwinked 
>re: Mao and the GLF/CR, and if they could only read this or that book, 
>they'd see the truth.
>I notice that when writers do try to analyze Mao's popularity in serious 
>terms, they often cite the aforementioned nationalistic stuff. Doubtlessly 
>that's true for young urban nationalists that admire Mao, but my impression 
>is that the peasants of north, central, and western China (where Mao is 
>most admired, so I gather from reading) is that they don't care about all 
>that macho chauvinist nationalist stuff.  Am I right?
>Apparently Chang claims in this book that Mao is not a Marxist theortician. 
>  I'm writing a paper/monograph arguing that many of Mao's practical 
>policies are understandable in a Marxist framework.  So I'm most interested 
>in what she's talking about.  Anyone know?  I wonder if she's just 
>borrowing Nick Knight's argument that Mao's 1930s philosophic writings are 
>mainly copied from Soviet philosophy.  I paid little attention that myself, 
>being only interested policy, but found plenty of Marxist influence.
>>From: Saul Thomas <>
>>Subject: Three pieces on Chang and Halliday's new Mao book
>>Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 10:48:03 -0500
>>Forwarded from Dirk Nimmegeers <>
>>Dear all,
>>In the following you will find two reviews of Jung Chang's and Jon
>>Halliday's book against Mao. There is also an opinion article which tries 
>>make use of the publishing of this book. The documents show more or less 
>>what we are in for, the coming months.
>>Countering the drift and the purposes of this book seems an urgent task. 
>>will have to use facts and arguments to be effective though.