“I study Mao Tse Tung’s tongue” – Bambu, “Chairman Mao”
We aim to explore, advocate, and make (self) criticism of a heterodox Maoism, struggle with Maoist orthodoxies, and engage other currents of the various Marxist, Socialist, Anarchist and Communist thought and practice.
If you have no idea what that just meant, please read this.
We accept that Maoism has had a contradictory history. However, we are disheartened at seeing the discourse inside of the left on Maoism exists basically in two poles – a disdainful, reductionist, objection based on the experience of State power in China (or of sectarian or even principled difference with existing or historical Maoist movements) or a dogmatic, reflective, defense of whatever Maoist sect is belonged to, often based on a defense of said experience in China (and of existing or historical Maoist movements).
Into that scenario we seek to wedge in. Our Maoism is heterodox in so far as it attempt to abandon, wholesale, the exigencies of power, the real politic, that has defined much of its orthodoxies. We also recognize that large areas of Maoism that have become dogma politically, actually lack a surprising amount of scientific rigor and concrete theoretical exploration. While this is true of many other traditions within the various Marxisms, well, we are Maoists – partisans of a tradition. So we care about our house first.
We seek to engage what we see as rigorous and scientific in other traditions, and even outside of Marxism, not from the point of view of eclecticism – we are firmly rooted in Maoist methods – but from the point of view of enrichment, and even of giving Maoist readings to these works.
Maoism has been uniquely important in the history of 20th century as a vital tool in the combat against capitalism/imperialism, colonialism/semi-colonialism/neo-colonialism, feudalism/semi-feudalism, racism, gender oppression, and even, if belatedly, queer oppression. And unlike most other traditions, it has achieved State power or provided real challenges to existing power. That is no small potatoes. This is a wealth of experiences – positive and negative – that only gets ignored, particularly in the West, due to the dogmas and orthodoxies of the dominant traditions, even those whose experiences are not devoid of problematic histories.
We also seek to expose to people in other traditions what we feel is unique and important in Maoism, at a practical and theoretical level: if they are to oppose us, let be from a perspective of actual knowledge, not from strawmen and propaganda.
It might seem quixotic, and perhaps it is, to both be openly self-critical and defensive of Maoism, and expect a good faith response. Yet only practice will tell if we are correct. We know we might fail in our ambitions, but we will try our best not to. As Jose Carlos Mariategui wrote: pessimism of the reality, optimism of the ideal.
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