1-Sentence-Summary: Maoism explores the ideology of Mao Zedong, the Chinese leader of the communist party of the twentieth century, and how he managed to turn his doctrine into a mass-adopted phenomenon that continues even today, under different forms and shapes.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
So, what is Maoism? This form of communism took over China. Then it spread to Asia and the rest of the world in the most destructive form, using violence and the suppression of free speech as its main tools.
Unfortunately, this toxic form of governance is not a thing of the past. In contrast, it laid the foundation for part of the current Asian political environment. Mao Zedong, the initiator of this movement, didn’t start communism. However, it sure helped to propagate and change it into a more damaging form.
Mao built an army to protect his ideas, help spread his toxic ideology, and do away with everyone who was against it. Just as any far-left doctrine, it uses public disinformation, control of the media, and the cult around the leader to spread around and take over.
What helped him create this ideology and put it into practice was the psychological manipulation of the public. He showed his positive side and made it look like he was part of the crowd.
He seemed connected enough to understand the people’s daily struggles, but strong enough to fix them. Among these tactics, many other practices helped Mao propagate Maoism.
Here are my three favorite lessons:
- Mao pleased the masses to gain power and control.
- Mao tried to inspire leaders all over the world to follow his ideology but with no success.
- Maoism is rooted in many systems, so it still exists today.
Now, let’s take a moment to explore these lessons in detail. Here we go!
Lesson 1: To gain power, Mao Zedong aimed to become popular among peasants and women.
Powerful dictators don’t just show up one day and take over their countries. Instead, they manipulate their people to view them as saviors ready to address all the problems they may have and fix the damage that was done before. As such, Mao focused on peasants and built communism by having them as his main audience.
Mao opened his arms to them and turned his back on the few rich. After all, he was looking to popularize his doctrine and spread it across China, not make friends with those who were well-off. The overall sentiment of unfairness and jealousy people have about those who are wealthy helped him do that.
As such, exploiting these feelings and beliefs by addressing them out loud made peasants feel understood and revenged. They were ready to follow and back up Mao, their savior, in his endeavors. To attract more followers, he then showed importance toward women.
In public, he was putting emphasis on females and their rights. He seemed ready to protect them and acknowledge their importance. Backstage though, he was nothing more than a dictator exercising his cruelty on them.
Other people he was violent with were his opponents. However, he wasn’t afraid to show this to the public, as he was executing them in front of large audiences.
Lesson 2: Maoism had attempted to spread further, but other leaders didn’t agree with that.
At first, Mao had tensions with Russia. After Stalin died, the country went through a process of destalinization, which also implied getting rid of the cult of personality.
This didn’t go well with Mao’s ways, as he was relying on this left-winged method to promote himself as a communist leader. As such, Nikita Khrushchev, Russia’s new leader, was challenged to a “peaceful coexistence”.
To address the international situation, Mao ordered the Chinese publishers to print out a billion copies of the Little Red Book, which was a compilation of his quotes meant to increase his popularity.
Another way of spreading Maoism occurred when the Chinese leader tried to help the Indonesian Communist Party, or the PKI, to take over their country.
Their unsuccessful attempt ended with the murder of half a million people. The reason? Communist propaganda can’t last without military backup, so the Indonesian army inhibited their movement.
Maoism tried to go international through Africa as well, so he invited 111 African leaders to China to discuss business and foreign aid. Soon after these meetings, Tanzania’s leader came up with a plan to transform the country after Mao’s model.
Needless to say, nationalizing the industries and re-educating people to adopt farming and agriculture as their new lifestyle led to poverty and famine.
Still, bonding with the African leaders helped China get a spot in the UN seat when voting occurred. Maoism didn’t end up making it international, but it sure spread and managed to keep its roots even after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976.
Lesson 3: Mao’s followers managed to keep his legacy alive.
Although people overall agreed that Maoism was a detrimental movement to humanity, and communism, in general, isn’t the proper way to govern a country, there are still people who identify with this ideology today.
Even after Mao’s death, the country’s officials kept his six meters long picture in Tiananmen Square, and some taxi drivers had his picture in the rear mirror. In contrast, China was going through a process of de-Maoification, with the intention of keeping communism alive.
The complexity of this situation created a new type of communism, where the capitalist economy was the preferred way of governance, while the cult around the new leader, Deng Xiaoping, kept on going, as he was referred to as “The Great Leader.”
The communist party in India also failed to continue, despite many followers trying to revitalize this doctrine. The government managed to repress the Maoist movement after it started to interfere with the mining contracts which they forecasted to bring good profits for the country. As usual, the disasters of these events fell on the shoulders of civilians who are the collateral victims.
Maoism delves deep into the history of Mao Zedong’s governance and explores how his toxic doctrine managed to spread all over the world and create roots in vulnerable countries.
This book is perfect for all those who want to expand their knowledge and learn facts when it comes to the history of China and its political systems.
The author exposes how Mao did everything to gain power, from manipulation to violence, and public disinformation.
Who would I recommend the Maoism summary to?
The 50-year-old who is passionate about the history of China and its politics, the 30-year-old politician who wants to expand their knowledge in this domain, or the 23-year-old history student who wants to find out more about the Asian political systems.