Category Archives: Reading Notes

CPGB-ML: Study of Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction”

20060310165606611The following is from the website of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist):

Theory: Mao’s ‘On contradiction’
A masterly exposition of how to use dialectics to change the world by the leader of the Chinese revolution.

Mao wrote the article ‘On contradiction’ in 1937 to explain the dialectical method of analysis. He did this to counter the development of dogmatic approaches to study and practice that had developed within the Chinese Communist Party.

He also sought to explain international events, particularly the struggle between Marxist-Leninist leadership and the right and, later, left opportunism within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

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Revolución Colombiana

aleqm5jqb5jixtd7td8msuhvedg6_0qubgMarch 26th was the one year anniversary of the passing away of Manuel Marulanda, founder of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). In honor of the occassion, I’d like to post here a brief collection of readings on the organization he founded and the revolution that he led, which continues today.

Who are the FARC and why do they fight?

The FARC Speaks Out: Interview with Colombian Revolutionaries (part 1 of 2)

FARC Speaks Out: Interview With Colombian Revolutionaries (part 2 of 2)

Revolution in Colombia: An Interview

Colombia: Mercenaries freed, FARC carries forward fight for liberation

Fidel Castro and the FARC: Eight Mistaken Theses of Fidel Castro

Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP (Book Review)

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Statements and Resolutions on the Colombian Revolution from FRSO

Resolution in Support of the Colombian Revolution

Revolution in Colombia: ISO stands on the wrong side (March 2008)

manuel_floresRevolutionary Martyrs

Manuel Marulanda: In the fight to end oppression, he never missed his mark (May 2008)

A Salute to Comrade Raúl Reyes: His spirit and work will live forever (March 2008)

Colombian rebel leader murdered: Reflections on meeting with Raul Reyes

Free Ricardo Palmera!

simonThe Facts about the Ricardo Palmera Case

60 Years in Prison for Colombian Revolutionary Ricardo Palmera

Free Colombian Revolutionary Leader Ricardo Palmera! U.S. Imperialism, Hands Off Colombia! statement by Jose Maria Sison

Interview with Imelda Daza-Cotes

See also the Colombia page at Fight Back! News: http://www.fightbacknews.org/news/colombia

Reading Notes 2: Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction”

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.

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Reading Notes 1: Mao Zedong’s “On Practice“

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

  1. On Practice
  2. On Contradiction
  3. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People
  4. Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work
  5. 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

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

Mao Zedong’s Five Essays on Philosophy: Reading Notes

5essaysThis is a collection of a series of reading notes as I work 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). As I work through the book, I’ll add to this 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 on the notes are encouraged.

Five Essays on Philosophy

  1. On Practice (my notes)
  2. On Contradiction (my notes)
  3. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (my notes forthcoming)
  4. Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work (my notes forthcoming)
  5. Where do Correct Ideas Come From? (my notes forthcoming)

Some points on Stalin (and Mao)

Stalin and Mao

Stalin and Mao

More and more these days, particularly among those calling themselves ‘Maoists’ and ‘post-Maoists’ it is becoming fashionable to go after Stalin and his legacy, to critique ‘Stalinism’ and to talk of ‘going beyond Stalinism’. There seems to go along with this a summation of Stalin that completely negates his successes, or that at least says that his errors were primary and successes were secondary, and that, overall Stalin should be thrown out. I want to seriously engage this trend, from my personal point of view. I’m not an expert, but I’ve read a few books and I’ve had a few discussions with people who have varying summations of Stalin and his contributions to the experience of proletarian revolution. This article, I hope, will only be the beginning of a series of discussions regarding this and related questions.

To begin with, lets get a few things out of the way. First, I do not believe that the question of Stalin is the cardinal question before Marxist-Leninists today. It is not the basis of rebuilding the unity of the Marxist-Leninist movement following the series of splits that occurred after his death and then the death of Mao Zedong. It is an important issue, but the basis of rebuilding unity among Marxist-Leninists should be based on agreement on Marxist-Leninist principles (rather than personalities) and anti-imperialist practice, i.e., proletarian internationalism. A summation of the experiences of the international communist movement is, of course, an integral part of building unity on the basis of principles. The 1999 declaration of the International Communist Seminar goes into this as well: “When parties have different ideological opinions concerning various questions, they can gradually surmount them in a process of common practical struggle against the international bourgeoisie, that strengthens confidence in the noblest ideals of humanity and eliminates all forms of opportunism, liberalism and dogmatism.” Continue reading