Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century
Mao on the Army, 1966 Its relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century

Sources

Marx and Engels:
Communist Manifesto

Marx:
Civil War in France

Marx:
Alienation

Marx:
Theory of History

Marx and Engels:
On Human Nature

Engels:
Anti-Dühring

Engels:
Violence and the Origin of the State

Engels:
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Marx, Engels, Lenin:
On Dialectics

Lenin:
What is to be done?

Lenin:
Imperialism

Lenin:
The State and Revolution

Lenin: War Communism

Lenin:
The Cultural Revolution

Lenin:
Left-Wing Communism

Lenin:
The American Revolutions

Lenin:
The French Revolutions

Lenin:
On Workers Control

Lenin:
On Religion

Lenin:
On the Arms Race

Trotsky:
Militarization of Labor

Luxemburg:
Russian Revolution

Zetkin:
The Women's Question

Mao:
Role of Communist Party

Mao:
On Violence

Mao:
On the Army

Mao:
On Women

Mao:
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Mao and Fidel:
Fall of the American Empire

Guevara:
Man and Socialism in Cuba

Hall and Winston:
Fighting Racism

Fanon:
National Liberation and Culture

Cabral: National Liberation and Culture

Nkrumah: Neo-Colonialism


Mao relied on the Red Army not only for defense of the Chinese Revolution, but also for an active role in carrying out economic and political policy. Hence in his chapter on Relations between Officers and Men he states, "Our army has always had two policies. First, we must be ruthless to our enemies; we must overpower and annihilate them. Second, we must be kind to our own, to the people, to our comrades and to our superiors and subordinates, and unite with them." And further, "We must make a distinction between the enemy and ourselves, and we must not adopt an antagonistic stand towards comrades and treat them as we would the enemy. In speaking up, one must have an ardent desire to protect the cause of the people and raise their political consciousness, and there must be no ridiculing or attacking in one's approach."

Under Mao's direction, the army became a major economic factor in production. As he describes in Building Our Country Through Diligence and Frugality "Production by the army for its own support has not only improved the army's living conditions and lightened the burden on the people, thereby making it possible further to expand the army. In addition, it has had many immediate side effects [including] improved relations between officers and men [who] work together in production and become like brothers ... better attitude to labour ... strengthened discipline ... improved relations between the army and the people ... less grumbling in the army about the government ... an impetus to the great production campaign of the people ... "

Democracy and education are of particular importance within the military. During the Long March which led to military victory of the revolution, Mao emphasized democratic participation within the military: "With regard to military democracy, in periods of training there must be mutual instruction as between officers and soldiers and among the soldiers themselves; and in periods of fighting the companies at the front must hold big and small meetings of various kinds. Under the direction of the company leadership, the rank and file should be roused to discuss how to attack and capture enemy positions and how to fulfil other combat tasks. When the fighting lasts several days, several such meetings should be held. This kind of military democracy was practiced with great success in the battle of Panlung in northern Shensi and in the battle of Shihchiachuang in the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei area. It has been proved that the practice can only do well and can do no harm whatsoever."

And for the modern Chinese army he emphasized in Education and the Training of Troops a non-authoritarian and democratic education: "Our slogan in training troops is 'Officers teach soldiers, soldiers teach officers and soldiers teach each other'. The fighters have a lot of practical combat experience. The officers should learn from the fighters, and when they have made other people's experience their own, they will become more capable." Study, he emphasized is not the memorization of dogma but a process of collective problem-solving: "It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and solving problems."

Just as he insists for the Communist Party, Mao insists on the unity of the army: "Internally, there is unity between officers and men, between the higher and lower ranks, and between military work, political work and rear service work; and externally, there is unity between the army and the people, between the army and government organizations, and between our army and the friendly armies. It is imperative to overcome anything that impairs this unity."

Of course, Mao's reliance on the Red Army was a form of the culture of war, since it ensured that power was ultimately in the hands of those with a monopoly on the means of violence, as was shown at Tien Min Square in 1989. Under these circumstances how is it possible to develop a socialist culture of peace?

Perhaps a way out from the paradox may be found through Mao's remarks in Serving the People where he praises the Canadian doctor Normal Bethune who came during the civil war to serve the Red Army on its Long March: "Comrade Bethune's spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in his boundless sense of responsibility in his work and his boundless warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people. Every Communist must learn from him. We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man's ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already nobleminded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people." Although he doesn't use the word, Mao is talking of love in much the same way as Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi.

To take part in a discussion about this page, go to the Forum on Writings of Mao Tse-Tung on the Discussion Board:
discussion board

Issues

Revolutionary socialist culture of peace

Culture of War

Internal Culture of War

Culture of Peace

Education for nonviolence and democracy

Sustainable development for all

Human rights vs exploitation

Women's equality vs patriarchy

Democratic participation vs authori- tarianism

Tolerance and solidarity vs enemy images

Transparency vs secrecy

Disarmament vs armament

Revolutionary leadership

Revolutionary organization

Proletarian Interna- tionalism

National Liberation

Guerrilla Warfare

Terrorism

Agent Provocateurs

Communica- tion systems

Psychology for revolution- aries

Capitalist culture of war

Socialist culture of war

Winning Conflict by Nonviolence


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More Sources

South African
Peace Process

Soviet Union
Disarmament Proposals

Soviet Collapse

Slovo:
Has Socialism Failed?

Freire:
Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Fidel:
Ecology in Cuba

Fidel:
On Religion

Mandela:
Human Rights in South Africa

King
on Nonviolence

Gandhi
on Nonviolence

Gandhi
on Communism