This is the second part of my reading notes on Mao Zedong’s book, Five Essays on Philosophy, dealing with On Contradiction. The first part dealt with Mao’s On Practice.
Notes on Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction”
Mao Zedong wrote his major essay on dialectical materialism, On Contradiction, to challenge dogmatist and subjectivist thinking inside the Chinese Communist Party. It is a companion piece to On Practice, his essay on Marxist epistemology or theory of knowledge. Its purpose is to explain the analytic tools provided by Marxism-Leninism that should be used to look at problems scientifically, looking at their inner workings and the internal contradictions that drive them so as to come to the best and most progressive resolution possible under the given circumstances and conditions. These notes will attempt to draw out the main points from this work in a concise way and draw connection to our practice as revolutionary Marxist-Leninists in the United States. All underlining in quotes from the texts is my emphasis.
This is the first of a series of reading notes. I intend to begin by working my way through Mao’s book, Five Essays on Philosophy. Some of this will expand upon material I’ve touched on in my article, Some Points on Stalin (and Mao). This post will include my reading notes for On Practice. The rest will be forthcoming as time goes on. I’m doing this for two reasons: (1.) To help popularize and aid in the study of Marxism-Leninism in general and in the thought of Mao Zedong in particular, and (2.) to help sharpen my own thinking and raise my own theoretical level and understanding. I should add, finally, that in this and all of the other reading notes, this reflects a work in progress in my own study, and therefore, comments and Marxist criticism is encouraged.
Five Essays on Philosophy
- On Practice
- On Contradiction
- On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People
- Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work
- Where do Correct Ideas Come From?
Reading Notes on Mao Zedong’s “On Practice“
Members of the Black Panther Party studying Mao's Little Red Book
On Practice is Mao Zedong’s main text on Marxist epistemology, that is, on the Marxist theory of knowledge. In it he examines from a Marxist point of view the problem of how people learn, how their consciousness develops, and how correct theory is developed through practice. It was written along with On Contradiction to challenge dogmatism and subjectivism in the Chinese Communist Party and to help encourage a scientific outlook. We should look at it and study it as revolutionaries struggling to advance mass movements and popular struggles toward revolution, and with the understanding that to do this we must raise the level of consciousness and understand of the masses as we fight along side them. Continue reading