The Battle Front of the Liberated Areas, by Chu Teh [Zhu De]. This was the military report given on April 25, 1945 to the Seventh Congress of the CCP. This is the 3rd edition (with a revised translation) of the English pamphlet which first appeared in 1952. (Peking: FLP, 1962), 89 pages.
In His Mind A Million Bold Warriors – Reminiscences of the life of Chairman Mao Tsetung during the northern Shensi campaign [March 1947-March 1948], by Yen Chang-lin, (Peking: FLP, 1972), 95 pages.
A Volunteer Soldier’s Day: Recollections by Men of the Chinese People’s Volunteers in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, (Peking: FLP, 1961), 311 pages.
The Battle of Sangkumryung, by Lu Chu-kuo. Novel about a major battle won by Chinese People’s Volunteers in Korea. (Peking: FLP, 1961), 176 pages.
Strategy: One Against Ten; Tactics: Ten Against One – An Exposition of Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s Thinking on the Strategy and Tactics of the People’s War, by Li Tso-peng, (Peking: FLP, 1966), 52 pages. Originally in Hongqi [Red Flag], #23-24, 1964. [It should be noted that although the basic ideas in this pamphlet represent the strategic and tactical thinking of Mao, General Li Tso-peng later totally disgraced himself by joining Lin Biao’s attempted coup and assassination of Mao!]
Long Live the Victory of People’s War!, by Lin Piao [Lin Biao], Sept. 3, 1965. This famous essay was written in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japan. It is often still viewed as an important statement of the role of people’s war in the world despite Lin’s own personal treachery later on. (Peking: FLP, 3rd ed., 1967), 76 pages.
Fifty Years of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, issued on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PLA (originally called the Chinese Red Army). Although this work was issued by the capitalist-roaders who seized control in a coup after Mao’s death, it contains some historical matter of interest. (Peking: FLP, 1978), 183 pages.
Mao Zedong’s Art of War, by Liu Jikun, (Hong Kong: Hai Feng, 1993), 294 pages (including end map). This book was written by a person who was a target of the Red Guards during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, who still opposes the GPCR, and who seems to share at least some of the views of the current regime. However, there is still much of interest in it about some of the many principles and methods that Mao used in the People’s War in China.
Chairman Mao Tse-tung was one of the small group of towering giants produced as a result of the struggles of the workers and peasants throughout the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries. (The others were Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Enver Hoxha.)
Selected Works – published during the period of Socialism
The decision to published a comprehensive collected of the written works of Chairman Mao Tse-tung was taken in the early days of the Great Socialist Cultural Revolution, appearing in many world languages in a very short period of time. However, the 4 volumes produced during that period only went up to 16th September 1949, a couple of weeks before the Declaration of the People’s Republic. For this reason the ‘official’ Selected Works only includes these 4 volumes.
Selected Works, Volume 1
The First and Second Revolutionary Civil War Period – March 1926 – August 1937.
Includes many important works such as:
Analysis of classes in Chinese Society
A Single Spark can Start a Prairie Fire
Selected Works, Volume 2
The Period of the War of Resistance Against Japan (I) – July 23rd 1937 – May 8th 1941
Includes many important works such as:
Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War Against Japan
On Protracted War
On New Democracy
Selected Works, Volume 3
The Period of the War of Resistance Against Japan (II) – March 1941 – August 9th 1945
Includes many important works such as:
Reform Our Study
Talks at Yenan Forum on Literature and Art
On Coalition Government
The Foolish Man who Removed the Mountains
Selected Works, Volume 4
The Third Revolutionary Civil War Period – August 13th 1845 – September 16th 1949
Includes many important works such as:
Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong
Correct the ‘Left’ Errors in Land Reform Propaganda
Carry the Revolution Through to the End
Index to Selected Works (and Selected Military Writings)
An academically produced index of the four ‘official’ volumes of the Selected Works of Chairman Mao Tse-tung which might be found useful.
Index to Selected Works of Chairman Mao
Selected Works – produced in the early stages of the counter-revolution
Only one further volume of the Selected Works of Chairman Mao Tse-tung was produced by the state-run Foreign Languages Press in Peking. It was produced whilst the coup for the leadership of the Communist Party of China was still in progress. Produced within a year of the Chairman’s death was probably too short a time for serious political ‘revision’ to have occurred but this has to be considered when referring to contentious issues that might appear in this volume. Although there was an intention to continue the production of the Selected Works nothing else appeared after Volume 5. (The ‘Publication Note’ on pages 5-6 gives an idea of the situation of flux at the time of publication.)
Selected Works, Volume 5
The period of the Socialist revolution and Socialist Construction (I) – September 21st 1949 – November 18th 1957
Includes interesting, and some important, works such as:
Liu Shao-chi and Yang Shang-kun Criticized for breach of Discipline in Issuing Documents in the Name of the Central Committee Without Authorization
Combat Bourgeois Ideas in the Party
On the Correct handling of Contradictions Among the People
Selected Works – collected together outside of China
Once it became clear that the Chinese Revisionists would not be publishing more of Chairman Mao’s Selected Works (or that they couldn’t be trusted if they did) various groupings around the world made attempts to glean through the mass of paperwork and try to determine what might have been produced by the Chairman. This was not as difficult as it might first be thought. Chairman Mao had a very distinctive style and anyone steeped in his work would be able to make a more than intelligent guess whether a work was by him or not. This was especially the case during the early days of the Cultural Revolution when many editorials or unsigned articles were almost certainly from the pen of the great Socialist leader.
The first of those (under the name Volume VI) goes away from the style of the first Five volumes in that it attempts to pick up articles and writings that might have been omitted from those earlier volumes.
Selected Works, Volume VI
From April 1917 – April 1946
Includes titles such as:
Oppose Book Worship
The League of Nations is a League of Robbers
To be Attacked by the Enemy is not a bad Thing but a Good Thing
Likewise, Volume VIII is a work in progress but we have access to to downloadable version, of what has already been produced, so that is included here.
Selected Works, Volume VIII – partial
From January 1958 – 1961.
Includes titles such as:
Red and Expert
Communes are Better
Critique of Stalin’s ‘Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR’
Volume IX, produced in India in 1994, returns to the format first used in China in 1967. What’s important about this edition is that this is the first attempt to cover some of the crucial years of the Great Socialist Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in any depth.
Selected Works, Volume IX
From May 1963 – September 12th 1971
Includes articles such as:
Where do the Correct ideas Come From?
The Soviet Leading Clique is a Mere Dust Heap
Talk at a Meeting of the Central Cultural Revolution Group
Speech to the Albanian Military Delegation
Mao Zedong On Diplomacy
This is a strange one, taking into account where (Beijing) and when (a 1998 translation of the Chinese edition of 1994) it was published. This doesn’t mean that the translations are not accurate or complete (although they might be) but in reading them we must have, at the back of our mind, why were they produced at that particular time.
Mao Zedong on Dialectical Materialism
A detailed look at some of the essays that Chairman Mao produced whilst in Yenan in 1937. This was to culminate in the seminal works of On Contradiction and On Practice.
The following volumes contain various material produced by Chairman Mao in the years before the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949. They have been collected from numerous sources and their validity and accuracy cannot be verified. As with all collections of Mao’s writing published after his death, whether in China or outside, these have to be treated with care. The very title of the books (Mao’s Road to Power) should already start the alarm bells ringing. There are too many entities with an agenda to distort what he had written but are included here with the aim of making as much material as possible available to those with an interest in the ideas of one of the most significant thinkers of the 20th century.
N.B. These are very large files!
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 1
Early writings of the young Mao Tse-tung as he was developing his own ideas before adopting Marxism as the basis of his ideology.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 2
The period in the 1920s when Mao was involved with both the Kuomintang and the young Chinese Communist Party, having an impact upon both.
The following volume (No 3) is in two parts due to file size limitations.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 3 – Part 1
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 3 – Part 2
Writings by Mao about the development of the Chinese Communist Party
The start of Mao’s interest, and study, of military strategy and tactics.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 4
The period of the Chinese Soviet republic in Jianxi and inner-Party struggles within the Communist Party of China
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 5
Covering the period of The Long March.
The following two volumes (Nos 6 and 7) are also in two parts due to file size limitations.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 6 – Part 1
The time of the United Front with the Kuomintang against Japanese aggression.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 6 – Part 2
The period in which Mao outlined his interpretation of Dialectical Materialism in works such as On Contradiction and On Practice.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 7 – Part 1
The period of the development of guerrilla warfare and the establishment of base areas behind Japanese lines.
Mao’s Road to Power – Vol 7 – Part 2
The tactic of flexible united fronts with the Kuomintang and various other groupings.
Mao Tse-tung Poems
Many people may be surprised to learn that Chairman Mao was also an accomplished poet. Although one of the world’s most revolutionary thinkers his poetry very much follows the traditional style developed over the centuries.
In the late 1960s, as well as producing the Four Volumes of the Selected Works, the Foreign Languages Press also produced a volume of Selected Readings. This single volume contained many of the most important, and most studied, of Chairman Mao’s writings during the period of the Cultural Revolution – not just in China but in many countries of the world.
Writings on Military Affairs
It is sometimes forgotten that as well as being the principal theoretical leader of the Chinese Revolution Chairman Mao was also a very able military commander. During his lifetime various collections of writings devoted to military affair were published. Although useful in a military sense to this day it is important top remember Chairman Mao’s dictum of always ‘putting politics in command’ – without that military success will always be transitory.
Selected Military Writings
Contains articles such as:
Why is it Red Political Power can Exist in China?
On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party
Problems of War and Strategy
Manifesto of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army
On Protracted War
Not just a treatise on warfare but one of Chairman Mao’s most important contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory.
Six Essays on Military Affairs
Six of the most important and relevant essays that Chairman Mao wrote related to the successful outcome of a military campaign.
On Guerrilla Warfare
A pamphlet with the basic principles of Guerrilla Warfare that was widely disseminated throughout ‘Free’ China after it was first published in 1937. Produced by the US military, thereby proving the importance of ‘knowing your enemy’. Surprisingly not published in the Selected Works.
Mao Zedong’s Art Of War
A look at Chairman Mao’s military strategy as it was put into practice in the National Liberation War against the Japanese invaders and then the Civil War against the reactionary Kuomintang forces under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek.
Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung – The ‘Little Red Book’
Produced in millions, in dozens of languages, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, here we have short quotations that distill the essence of Mao Tse-tung Thought.
Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
Literature and Art
From the very early days of the struggle to free his country from foreign domination Chairman Mao was aware of the importance of literature and art in any National Liberation struggle as it enabled the oppressed people to establish their own, independent identity. This was developed as the successful struggle of the Chinese People against the Japanese invaders developed into a Civil War for the establishment of a Socialist state. The importance of literature and art probably reached its apogee in China during the Great Socialist Cultural Revolution when the likes of Peking Opera was adapted to represent the struggles and desires of the working people. That theoretical basis came from Mao’s writings during the Anti-Japanese war of Resistance.
On Literature And Art
Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art – May 1942
Reform Our Study
Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing
The Problem of Culture, Education and the Intellectuals
Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art
Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art – May 1942
Five documents on Literature and Art
Five very short articles addressing the issue of the importance of literature and art in the building of Socialism
Mao’s Talk At Yan’an Forum
A new translation of Chairman Mao’s ‘Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art’ together with a commentary on the elements of literary theory that it contains.
Separating Chairman Mao’s writings into different ‘categories’ is always going to be problematic as all aspects of the struggle are inter-related. This pamphlet, of four essays, was one of those most studied during the period of the Great Socialist Cultural Revolution.
Four Essays on Philosophy
On the Correct handing of Contradictions Among the People
Where do the Correct Ideas Come from?
Before the publication of the Selected Works and Selected Readings (downloadable above) many individual pamphlets were produced of the writings of Chairman Mao in the early 1960s, in advance of the Cultural Revolution. Some of those are reproduced below. More will be added as and when they become available.
Preface and Postscripts to Rural Surveys
Written by Chairman Mao in 1941 in an effort to encourage Party comrades to understand the contemporary situation rather than get caught in thinking that matters don’t change.
Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong
Two conversations of Chairman Mao with an American journalist, when the war of liberation against the Japanese invaders had been won and the war against the US/UK /Western imperialist war was taking place against the Kuomintang – the US puppets of what became Taiwan – was still in full force. She was a true friend or revolutionary China and wrote many books to this effect.
The Orientation of the Youth Movement
This was a speech delivered by the Chairman on May 4th 1939 at a mass meeting of youth in Yenan to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the May 4th Movement. It represented a development in his ideas on the question of the Chinese Revolution.
Urgent Tasks following the Establishment of Kuomintang-Communist Co-operation
The need for China to resolve internal differences in order to present a United Front against the principal enemy, the Japanese imperialist aggressors
A Single Spark can start a Prairie Fire
Even when is looks like there are so many problems surrounding us that a revolutionary change is impossible we have to remember from a small acorn a mighty oak can grow – all it needs is the right conditions – and under capitalism those conditions are created by the next crisis around the corner!
Current Problems of Tactics in the Anti-Japanese United Front
Chairman Mao wrote this outline for a report he made on March 11th 1940 at a meeting of the Party’s senior cadres in Yenan
For the Mobilization of all the Nation’s Forces
This was an outline for propaganda and agitation written by Chairman Mao on August 25th 1937 for the propaganda organs of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. It was approved by the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee at Lochuan, northern Shensi.
On Strengthening the Party Committee System
NO revolution of workers and peasants has achieved a modicum of success, with a chance of lasting more than the 61 days (which includes a week of slaughter of the Communards) of the Paris Commune in France (1871), WITHOUT an organised M-L Party. Get it wrong and the revolution will fail, thousands of workers will die and the revolution will be put back more than a generation.
On the tactics of fighting Japanese Imperialism
Comrade Mao Tse-tung here explains, in great detail, the possibility and the importance of re-establishing a united front with the national bourgeoisie on the condition of resisting the Japanese.
Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society
ALL revolutionary movements, whatever country or epoch, need to understand the society in which they are working. A knowledge and understanding of the balance of class forces is vital for the success, or failure, of the revolution.
Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan
This article was written in March 1927 as a reply to the carping criticisms both inside and outside the Party then being levelled at the peasants’ revolutionary struggle. Comrade Mao Tse-tung spent thirty-two days in Hunan Province making an investigation and wrote this report in order to answer these criticisms.
Why is it Red Political Power can exist in China
This article was part of the resolution, originally entitled “The Political Problems and the Tasks of the Border Area Party
Organization”, which was drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung on October 5, 1928 for the Second Party Congress of the Hunan-Kiangsi Border Area.
On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship
This article was written on June 30th 1949 to commemorate the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Communist Party of China.
On the question of Agricultural Co-operation
This was a report delivered by Chairman Mao on July 31st 1955 at a conference of secretaries of provincial, municipal and autonomous regional committees of the Communist Party of China.
Our study and the current situation
This was a speech made by Comrade Mao Tse-tung at a meeting of senior cadres in Yenan on April 12th 1944 on the subject of the discussions about the history of the ‘Left’ elements within the Party between 1931 and 1934.
Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s important talks with guests from Asia, Africa and Latin America
In May and June 1960 in Tsinan, Chengchow, Wuhan and Shanghai, Chairman Mao received delegations and other friends from the countries and regions in Latin America and Africa and from Japan, Iraq, Iran and Cyprus, who were then visiting China.
To be attacked by the enemy is not a bad thing but a good thing
You know when you are following a correct line when the capitalist and imperialist attack your policies.
People’s Democratoc Dictatorship
Speeches made by Chairman Mao in 1949, just before the declaration of the People’s Republic of China.
China’s New Democracy
An article written by Chairman Mao in 1940 before the war in Europe expanded to include the Soviet Union and before its extension as a World War.
Three fundamental articles
Three revolutionary ‘parables’.
Win the masses in their millions for the Anti-Japanese National United Front
This was the concluding speech made by Chairman Mao at the National Conference of the Communist Party of China held in May 1937.
People of the world unite and defeat the US aggressors and all their running dogs
A call by the Chairman for the people of the world to stand up against US imperialism. As valid now as when it was written. Published as a supplement to the weekly political and informative magazine ‘Peking Review’.
The works of Chairman Mao in languages other than English
The writings of Chairman Mao Tse-tung were produced in many different languages. Here we present a few in Spanish.
Citas del Presidente Mao Tse-tung
‘El pequeño libro rojo’ de citas de las obras del Presidente Mao Tse-tung.
Comentarios sobre el Manual de Economia Politica Sovietico
Los comentarios del Presidente Mao sobre el Manual de Economía Política Soviético (un libro de texto por Comunistas) y sobre el libro Problemas Económicos del Socialismo en la URSS de José Stalin
La guerra de guerrillas
Un pequeño libro con los principios fundamentales de La guerra de guerrillas, originalmente publicada en 1937.
Cinco Tésis Filosòficas
Sobre la Práctica
Sobre la Contradicción
Sobre el tratamiento correcto de las contradicciones en el seno del pueblo
Discurso ante la conferencia nacional del PCP sobre el trabajo de propaganda
¿De dónde provienen las ideas correctas?
The death of Chairman Mao Tse-tung
Peking Review, No 38, 1976
The edition of Peking Review that announced the death of Comrade Mao Tse-tung.
Nanjiecun (South Street Village) is in Linying County, Henan Province in the central part of the People’s Republic of China. What makes this place special (with a population of no more than 13,000 people) is the fame it has achieved as being ‘the last Maoist Commune in China.’
Whether it’s really possible for such a small place to maintain a Socialist Revolution is more than questionable, having to depend upon both loans from the Chinese capitalist banks as well as external, Japanese, investment. It can really be no more than a tolerated anomaly, a curiosity or a tourist theme park. If it ever posed a threat to the present day ‘capitalist roaders’ in Beijing then Nanjiecun would be crushed, both literally and figuratively, out of existence.
The fact that Nanjiecun exists (as does the politics and the actions of its people in the village of Marinaleda, in southern Spain) only goes to show the limitations of a small group of people attempting to build something better in a huge ocean of exploitation and oppression. Their efforts may be applauded and, at times, admired but we should never forget that to extend such ‘experiments’ demands the destruction of the present capitalist structure and until that is achieved (on a long-term, multi-generational basis) all is but chimera.
However, the merits or otherwise of Nanjiecun are not the subject of this post. A proper analysis of what has happened there – and why only there – since the destruction of Socialism in China would need a thorough study to understand why the Chinese people, in general, have rejected a past where the potential for the betterment of all has been rejected for the benefit and advancement of a relatively few corrupt thieves who are now some of the richest people int he world. It would also require a proper analysis of how we actually measure ‘poverty’. Capitalist standards are only concerned with ‘things’ and not the, sometimes, financially unquantifiable social capital that Socialism brings – the ‘iron rice bowl’ in the Chinese context.
No, this post is concerned with a single area of this present day commune – The East is Red Square.
In the Socialist societies in Europe (including the Soviet Union) the Communist Parties sought to commemorate the revolutionary past (and present) with statues. (One of the fallen statues, of Frederick Engels, from the Ukraine has even been recently installed anew in Manchester.) This preponderance of statues was not the case – at least to the same extent – in China. Yes, there were innumerable posters of Chairman Mao and his image was everywhere, on posters, in paintings and on the badges worn by most of the population. However, statues as such were relatively few. This means that when a statue has been installed – at the same time as the renegades within the Communist Party of China are going further and further away from Chairman Mao’s ideas – there’s always a story behind the decision, although sometimes that story might be difficult to find.
The large statue of Chairman Mao in front of the railway station in Dandong (the principal border crossing point between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is a case in point. So far I have failed to find out any information of why or when.
The situation is clearer in Nanjiecun.
The people in the village decided to reject and roll back the ‘de-collectivisation’ and privatisation that was becoming the norm in China with Deng Xiaoping’s claim that ‘to get rich is glorious’. Selfishness, that had been challenged in the years following Mao’s declaration of the People’s Republic in 1949, was turned into a virtue and the predominantly peasant population of the country fell back into the insularity and individuality of their backward, pre-revolutionary, rural culture.
Nanjiecun’s ‘experiment’ must have been relatively successful in the 1980s as there was enough surplus for them to pay for the installation of a large statue of Chairman Mao in what is now known as ‘The East is Red Square’. The statue was erected in 1993 and I assume it was inaugurated on the 26th December – the centenary of Chairman Mao’s birth.
At some time in the next decade the four large portraits of the ‘greats’ of Marxism-Leninism – Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Joseph Stalin – were added to the monumentality of the square. (I, personally, would have added a fifth – Enver Hoxha of Albania – but I know a number of Maoists would not agree.)
There’s always a potential problem when it comes to Socialist art – nuance can be everything. To give an idea of how this is an issue I’ll refer to capitalist commentators who can ‘see’ subversion in a painting or a musical score produced in the Soviet Union that went unnoticed by the authorities (i.e., the ‘intellectuals’ were too clever for the ‘stupid’ Communists) only seconds after arguing that art is ‘apolitical’ and that capitalist art doesn’t aim to perpetuate the system. It’s not their analysis I dislike and detest – it’s their crass hypocrisy
I’ve always argued that art IS political and so it’s valid to critically evaluate any new monuments or ‘celebrations’ of the past (in whatever form they might take place) that might be appearing in China. As the present leader, Deng IV, seems to be attempting to take on some of the trappings of Mao – stripped of any revolutionary, Communist ideology – this might become an issue in the not too distant future.
It’s possible to attack Mao by praising Mao – this was something that took place during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. After attacking the so-called ‘personality cult’ of Mao from the late 1970s those enemies of Maoism could well create a new ‘personality cult’ of Mao based solely on the person.
Chairman Mao in Dandong
The Chinese Revisionists and Counter-revolutionaries have been unable to achieve the same rejection of Mao as happened in the Soviet Union with Lenin and Stalin or in Albania with Hoxha. Mao is still seen in China, by the overwhelming majority of the population, as a great Chinese leader – millions still queue every year to visit the Mao Mausoleum in Tienanmen Square in Beijing. It’s possible, therefore, that those who seek to establish greater legitimacy and maintain their hold on power will try to play the nationalist card and turn Mao into a purely ‘Chinese’ personality – the antithesis of how Mao would have seen his achievements – thus turning the country inward. This is not that far-fetched as it might seem as the level of nationalistic fervour has been stoked up in recent years to justify China’s imperialistic ambitions.
All this doesn’t accept what made Mao great in the first place – that was the taking of Marxism-Leninism, applying it in the Chinese context and by learning from both the success and mistakes of the past Socialist revolutions developing the theory of the Cultural Revolution and taking Marxism to a new level, (although becoming a bit of a mouthful) to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
The statue of Mao in Dandong is one such example of this new, depoliticised, depiction of the great Chinese leader. There’s nothing on, or around, the statue which refers to what made him such a great leader in the first place, his uniqueness as a leader of the world proletariat and peasantry – his being a revolutionary Communist. It’s a great statue but you get the impression that, like the statues of the Roman Emperors, you could just replace the head with whoever was in power at the time and there would be no real difference. As it stands at the moment it’s just a statue of a 60 year old wearing a big overcoat who, for some unknown reason, has his right hand raised and pointing to some unknown location in front of him.
The statue of Mao in Nanjiecun doesn’t suffer from that defect. Coming from those who knew the importance of the politics, of the necessity of a Communist Party, of the necessity of a revolutionary ideology, all these attributes are represented in the statue itself in a very simple and almost unobtrusive manner, but there nonetheless, – and that’s the star on the cap he holds in his hand.
The Red Star
As I’ve written in a number of posts about the Albanian lapidars (such as the mosaic on the Historical Museum, the mosaic of Bestrove, the Durres monument to the anti-Fascist struggle, amongst others) where the star has often been the target of the fascists and reactionaries – eradicate that and they think they can eradicate Communist politics. So including it in a ‘new’ monument the people of Nanjiecun made their own political statement.
That political statement was made even stronger with the addition of the four portraits of the Marxist ‘Greats’. Whether whoever designed the layout of the square considered how it would look when completed what we have now is a history of the development of Marxism thought through; successes and failures; revolutions and counter-revolutions; twists and turns; suffering and sacrifice; elation and despair, to arrive at where we are now with Maoism being the pinnacle of the development of the revolutionary theory of the working class. We are not in a situation that we would have wished just over a hundred years after the October Revolution of 1917 but we are where we are. At least the revolutionary theory has moved forward. Whether we make the most use of all that history is another matter.
In a sense the statue and portraits in The East is Red Square are in a bit of a time warp – that of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Mao’s image is of what he would have looked like in the mid 1960s and the paintings of the four Marxists are almost exact copies of the coloured posters that were available throughout the world from the late 1960s until the counter-revolutionary coup of Deng and his goons after the death of the Chairman in September 1976.
The portraits are behind Mao as he looks to the east. In front of him, on either side, are two large billboards with a lot of text in Chinese characters. (In fact for a Socialist political monument there’s a lot of text full stop – including on the plinth upon which Mao stands. Although unusual it shows the level of literacy that the Socialist state had achieved during the time of Communism. The people can actually understand what is written – unlike most religious locations throughout the world where emphasis is upon image due to the high level so of illiteracy.)
The one on Mao’s right also carries an image which looks very much like the photo of him making the declaration of the People’s Republic in Tienanmen Square in October 1949. Unfortunately I’m not able to understand Chinese characters but would surmise that the text is that very declaration.
Declaration of the People’s Republic of China 1949
On his left the image is of an older Mao, probably from the 1960s, so I would hazard a guess that the text is from one of the exhortations he made from the podium over the Gate of Heavenly Peace to the massed Red Guards in Tienanmen Square.
The area has changed over the years. I’ve seen photos where there were trees behind the statue. They might have been OK as bushes but started to become a bit much after a few years and they have been removed so the immediate area around the statue is now clean and clear. I’ve also read that there was a permanent ‘guard’ at the site but there was no evidence of that during the (regrettably short) time I was there. Also there was no music playing (as is often reported) so don’t know if this is the now permanent situation.
I made a number of mistakes and got to the village quite late in the afternoon and many of the places immediately next to the square were closed so I wasn’t able to get a feeling of how the area had been developed for the growing number of tourists that visit Nanjiecun.
It’s possible to stay in the Commune’s own hotel, which is located right next to the square. The problem is one of communication as the staff only speak Mandarin.
If a day trip is all that is looked for then getting to Linying railway station is the best bet and then walking a kilometre or so or getting a taxi to the village. There are also regular buses from Zhengzhou (the nearest big tourist destination) to Linying.