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On the role of Mao Zedong - In 1995 a foreign reporter interviewed me about Mao. She sought me out as someone who had met the man in person and openly admired him over the years. She asked, "What about all the people he killed? What about all those famine deaths? And what about all the suffering and destruction of people in the Cultural Revolution?" With these questions she lined herself up with the current media line on Mao, the line of conventional wisdom, which is to present him as a monster—Mao, the monster. The Mao-the-monster thesis depends on two major charges. The first makes him responsible for all the euphoria and excesses of the Great Leap Forward and the organization of people’s communes, which, so the charges go, led to a collapse of production and finally to famine in China. (Isn’t it indeed strange that this famine was not discovered at the time but only extrapolated backward from censuses taken 20 years later, then spinning the figures to put the worst interpretation on very dubious records.) I do not mean to say that there were no mistakes in policy, no crop failures, and no starvation at all, but the hardships of those years are advertised as the greatest famine in human history, a conclusion that I do not accept. The second charge blames Mao for the extremes of violence and all the personal tragedies that occurred during the Cultural Revolution. Must Mao take the blame for all these phenomena?

(Published: 2005-07-14 09:33 AM)

William Hinton on the Cultural Revolution

(Published: 2005-07-14 09:33 AM)

Writing "Fanshen" : a talk by William Hinton - On April 3, 1999, a one-day conference, “Understanding China’s Revolution: a Celebration of William Hinton’s Lifework” was held at Columbia University to celebrate his eightieth birthday. At the conclusion of the conference, organized by China Study Group and cosponsored by Monthly Review and Columbia’s East Asian Institute, Hinton gave an impromptu talk on the background to the writing of Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in A Chinese Village.

(Published: 2005-07-14 09:33 AM)

William H. Hinton (1919 –2004)

(Published: 2005-07-14 09:33 AM)
Straightforward and passionate, farmer and revolutionary, Bill Hinton’s life demonstrates the universal core of Marxist revolutionary practice. Neither cultural nor generational differences proved barriers to his learning and teaching. Live like him.

Why the cultural revolution was defeated - a 1979 paper. Nobody can deny that the coup d'etat of October 6, 1976 has resulted in a fundamental change in direction for China, and the dispute was between two fundamentally opposed political lines - whichever side you happen to agree with. Yet it was originally presented as merely the overthrow of four individuals who were described as Kuomintang agents etc., and their defeat was presented as a great victory for Mao Tsetung Thought and the Cultural Revolution. Quite clearly the Cultural Revolution and Mao Tsetung Thought has been defeated in China and this has had enormous repercussions for Marxist-Leninists, or "Maoists" around the world

(Published: 2005-06-25 07:06 AM)

'Wild Swans' is a Dead Duck

(Published: 2005-06-16 07:17 AM)
A 1995 review of Jung Chang's first book, "Wild Swans".

Hegel and the Pseudo-Left - Three postings discussing Hegel's 1886 statement "All that is real is rational; and all that is rational is real", in relation to current pseudo-left ideology.

(Published: 2005-06-15 12:00 AM)

Assad's Forgotten Man:interview with Syrian intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh

(Published: 2005-06-12 12:46 AM)
A *very* powerful interview with Syrian intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh who has been one of the most daring and interesting voices coming out of Syria in recent years. Saleh spent his entire youth, and rather longer, in prison, for belonging to a dissident communist movement.

Unmitigated Galloway

(Published: 2005-05-22 12:52 AM)
The bad faith of a majority of the left is instanced by four things (apart, that is, from mass demonstrations in favor of prolonging the life of a fascist government). First, the antiwar forces never asked the Iraqi left what it wanted, because they would have heard very clearly that their comrades wanted the overthrow of Saddam. (President Jalal Talabani's party, for example, is a member in good standing of the Socialist International.) This is a betrayal of what used to be called internationalism. Second, the left decided to scab and blackleg on the Kurds, whose struggle is the oldest cause of the left in the Middle East. Third, many leftists and liberals stressed the cost of the Iraq intervention as against the cost of domestic expenditure, when if they had been looking for zero-sum comparisons they might have been expected to cite waste in certain military programs, or perhaps the cost of the "war on drugs." This, then, was mere cynicism. Fourth, and as mentioned, their humanitarian talk about the sanctions turned out to be the most inexpensive hypocrisy.

Free to choose or compelled to lie? - the rights of voters after Langer v the Commonwealth

(Published: 2005-05-18 03:58 AM)

Syria-2003 Annual Report

(Published: 2005-05-07 06:51 AM)
Useful background material put together by "Reporters Without Borders".

Global Warming Debate in Australia

(Published: 2005-04-14 07:26 AM)
Science featured prominently in the discussions. For the first time in Australia, Australia's leading advocates of the Kyoto model were required to publicly defend the "official" UN science supporting Kyoto to their peers. They were not successful. Doubts about the UN science are increasing in Australia.

The Shia Turn in U.S. Policy

(Published: 2005-04-01 07:44 AM)
The first quarter of 2005 has seen increasingly dramatic news from the Middle East, but equally significant developments, relevant to the future of Islam and the whole world, continue to emerge in Washington. When the United States took leadership of the Iraq intervention in 2003, few Beltway insiders grasped the immense importance of liberating an Arab country, with a Shia Muslim majority, that included in its territory the holy sites of the Shia sect, Kerbala and Najaf.

The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy

(Published: 2005-03-13 08:46 PM)
book review and interview with Reul Marc Gerecht

Letter from Cairo

(Published: 2005-03-06 02:08 AM)
Published in December 2004, this article provides some useful and interesting background material about Egypt.
Created by pault
Last modified 2004-11-18 07:37 AM

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