Defending Mao in Berkeley

Jung Chang and Jon Halliday have written an honest book about Mao Tes—tung, title Mao: The Unknown Story. If I remember Jon correctly from decades ago, he used to be a dedicated leftist. Apparently experience and personal honesty have opened his eyes to the monstrous nature of Mao and the regime he founded. The book reportedly depicts Mao as a heartless hedonist (this is consistent with the account of Mao's personal physician) who thought nothing of exploiting little girls for his sexual pleasure or murdering millions to maintain his power.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a speech given by the authors in Berkeley, during which they encountered criticism from some members of the audience.

Maoist intellectuals have counterattacked, saying the book negates any historical grounds for the Chinese revolution and positive changes in what had been a corrupt society before Mao's military victory in 1949.

"It's just outrageous," said Gary Miller, a volunteer at Berkeley's Revolution Books, as he leafleted the authors' event on campus. "A lot of people look with a great deal of affection at the Mao years because China's been turned into one giant sweatshop."

In October, the city of Berkeley celebrated Bob Avakian Day in honor of one of the city's most stalwart revolutionary sons. A few weeks later, Raymond Lotta, a Chicago—based Maoist political economist and author, spoke to students at UCLA and UC Berkeley in what he called a bid to set the record straight.

"What sets this apart from other historical studies is that this person Mao, who led an historic revolution and changed the landscape of China and was an inspiration throughout the world —— they're saying this was a scheming, bloodthirsty opportunist who was evil from the day he was born to the day he died and who hijacked a revolution," Lotta said. "I think it's part of a continuing attempt to discredit communism and Maoism and any alternative to the current world order."

These people are true reactionairies, willing to abide a bloodthirsty tyrant so long as it advances their ideology, one which has been thrown in the dustbin of history by even the Chinese rulers. They see everything in terms of its impact on their own politics, not in terms of the real life consequences for a billion people in China (and elsewhere).

As a long term resident of Berkeley, I realize that such people exist here and hold sway over a clueless political establishment. But it is nevertheless somewhat shocking to see them so blatant in their adherence to evil.

Thomas Lifson   11 25 05

Jung Chang and Jon Halliday have written an honest book about Mao Tes—tung, title Mao: The Unknown Story. If I remember Jon correctly from decades ago, he used to be a dedicated leftist. Apparently experience and personal honesty have opened his eyes to the monstrous nature of Mao and the regime he founded. The book reportedly depicts Mao as a heartless hedonist (this is consistent with the account of Mao's personal physician) who thought nothing of exploiting little girls for his sexual pleasure or murdering millions to maintain his power.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a speech given by the authors in Berkeley, during which they encountered criticism from some members of the audience.

Maoist intellectuals have counterattacked, saying the book negates any historical grounds for the Chinese revolution and positive changes in what had been a corrupt society before Mao's military victory in 1949.

"It's just outrageous," said Gary Miller, a volunteer at Berkeley's Revolution Books, as he leafleted the authors' event on campus. "A lot of people look with a great deal of affection at the Mao years because China's been turned into one giant sweatshop."

In October, the city of Berkeley celebrated Bob Avakian Day in honor of one of the city's most stalwart revolutionary sons. A few weeks later, Raymond Lotta, a Chicago—based Maoist political economist and author, spoke to students at UCLA and UC Berkeley in what he called a bid to set the record straight.

"What sets this apart from other historical studies is that this person Mao, who led an historic revolution and changed the landscape of China and was an inspiration throughout the world —— they're saying this was a scheming, bloodthirsty opportunist who was evil from the day he was born to the day he died and who hijacked a revolution," Lotta said. "I think it's part of a continuing attempt to discredit communism and Maoism and any alternative to the current world order."

These people are true reactionairies, willing to abide a bloodthirsty tyrant so long as it advances their ideology, one which has been thrown in the dustbin of history by even the Chinese rulers. They see everything in terms of its impact on their own politics, not in terms of the real life consequences for a billion people in China (and elsewhere).

As a long term resident of Berkeley, I realize that such people exist here and hold sway over a clueless political establishment. But it is nevertheless somewhat shocking to see them so blatant in their adherence to evil.

Thomas Lifson   11 25 05