Mao's Model for Socialist Transition Reconsidered.pd

Mao's Model for Socialist Transition Reconsidered.pd
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  Mao's Model for Socialist Transition ReconsideredAuthor(s): David MamoSource: Modern China, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 55-81Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 30/10/2013 11:29 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  .  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact  . Sage Publications, Inc.  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to  Modern China. This content downloaded from on Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:29:12 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  Mao's Modelfor Socialist Transition econsidered DAVID MAMO Columbhia niver.ii.t INTRODUCTION Since the death of Mao Zedong, his ntellectual nd historical legacy has become the subject f vehement ontroversies oth n the West nd in China. Aside from he rather cholastic ssues of how much of his thought nd political ction can be ascribed o him, nd what nstead as actually een he fruit f ollaborators, it is important o assess what has been his contribution o communist hilosophy nd politics. Did Mao Zedong formulate a new doctrine ble to shed some light on both practical nd theoretical ssues raised by socialist ransition? re his analyses really nnovative r mere repetitions f widely known Marxist- Leninist ormulae? In order to find ome possible answers, he attempt will be made here o examine Mao's views, omparing hem with hose f Lenin nd Stalin, s well s with hose of other hinese heorists. As it will be argued, Mao provided the analytical tools for revising he traditional eninist model of a socialist ociety nd AUTHOR'S NOTE: Mil thanks o Tom Bernstein, ndt' Nathan nd Laurie Upson for comments nd help in preparing his rticle. MODERN CHINA, Vol. 7 No. 1, January 981 55-81 ? 1981 Sage Publications, nc. 55 This content downloaded from on Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:29:12 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  56 MODERN CHINA / JANUARY 1981 for tarting Marxist ritique f Stalin nd the post-Stalin oviet Union. Better han anybody had before him, he described he contradictory nd dialectical uality f uch a society. However, in the view of this author, his theory f socialist transition remained omehow ncomplete. he structural auses of the birth of a new bourgeoisie, s well as the class alliance policy o be launched during the transition eriod were all interrogatives which Mao attempted, nsuccessfully owever, o solve. Sim- ilarly, is view n the role of he Party nd ts rganization id not go beyond the limits et by Lenin. Just ike Lenin, Mao never spelled out precisely what procedures ould best guarantee he free evelopment f class truggle ithin he Party-the ore f he political power-and the state pparatus. The attempt t a wider revision was made by other Chinese theorists ho tarted eveloping Mao's analysis long new paths. However, heir ndeavor was hampered t the very tart, nd they eventually fell into political disgrace. Yet, their theoretical contribution as brought ew nsight o the ssue of transition, and cannot but heavily nfluence he development f Marxist analyses of socialist ocieties. LENIN, THE CLA SSES A ND THE PA R TY DURlNG SOCIALlST TRANSITION Lenin was the first Marxist heorist o cope with revolution- ary ociety n transition oward ommunism. arx and Engels, n fact, had witnessed he historical xperience f the Paris Com- mune f 1871, but his pisode had been oo short or n in-depth study f the problems f transition. Two questions which Lenin saw as crucial nd attempted o clarify were the nature of the new proletarian tate and class relationships under socialist transition. With regard to the problem f class relationships, e expressed onflicting iews. On one hand, he felt hat he October Revolution ad been decisive step toward he abolition of classes. The exploiting lasses had been defeated nd dispossessed f the means of production; hus This content downloaded from on Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:29:12 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  Mamo / MA O'S MODEL RECONSIDERED 57 the main task was accomplished, nd it was now necessary o set up administrative rocedures o get rid of the surviving estiges of the old order, while t the ame time prevent comeback f he reactionary orces. The class struggle s continuing, e stated n 1920, it has merely hanged ts forms. t s the lass struggle f he proletariat o prevent he return f the old exploiters, o unite n a single union the scattered masses of unenlightened easants (Lenin, 1920b: 669). Due to centuries f exploitation nd personal nsecurity, he peasants had developed elfish nd narrow-minded ttitudes, nd now they had to be made to share the greater oals of socialism with he proletariat. urthermore, he evils of bureaucracy ad also long since reappeared, enin 1923: 781) noted. The causes were deeply rooted in the past, which, lthough t had] been overthrown, had] not yet been overcome. This inavoidable debris of the old regime ould be wiped away only slowly. The victory f the proletariat ad set the political preconditions or this to happen and now measures were required to control, reeducate, nd coerce f necessary, he nonproletarian lements within he Soviet society. However, Lenin had previously made a somewhat contra- dictory nd more pessimistic tatement. n 1919, n fact, he had warned: Theoretically, here an be no doubt that between apitalism nd communism here ies a definite ransition eriod which ombines the features nd properties f both hese forms f ocial economy. This transition eriod has to be a period f truggle etween ying capitalism nd nascent ommunism-or, n other words, etween capitalism which has been dcfrated but not cdestro ed and communism which has been born but s still very eeble.... The class struggle oes not disappear under the dictatorship f the proletariat Lenin, 1919: 107, 115]. In other words, lthough apitalism was not dominant nymore in the social formation, t still urvived, ot as a ghost of the past, but as a live element which was continuously ecreated y the economic base. Consequently, s this econd view mplied, This content downloaded from on Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:29:12 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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