2009-12 On ‘What is Maoism?’ – Some Comments [Chattopadhyay]

We read with considerable interest the paper by Bernard DMello on ‘Maoism’(EPW 44/47). The absolute necessity of the existence of the widest democracy for a socialist society runs like a red thread through his paper,  which is a rarity in the Left thinking in India , and for this insistence he deserves high praise indeed. The hard labour that he has put in this work is also very impressive and  commendable. We have, however,  a couple of comments to make on some of his positions which hopefully he will take in the right spirit.

One striking aspect of the paper is almost complete absence of reference in the paper to works by Marx whose name is otherwise very often mentioned in developing the  arguments   of Lenin and Mao. In the same way not much is seen of Lenin’s own texts and only a few of  Mao’s own writings. In contrast, we come across the references to the works of a whole host of interpreters of the thoughts of Marx, Lenin and Mao. We submit that the readers should have been given  a chance to verify from the texts of Marx(Engels), Lenin and Mao how far the interpretations tally with the original texts.  We have, for example , problems with the interpretations of Marx by Sweezy and Miliband  read in the light of Marx’s original texts. To paraphrase a Tagore song, ‘I understand what you say, their words puzzle me’. Below we discuss a few points which strike us as problematic.

Marx’s wrong expectation

On the question of socialist revolution and socialism what Marx had believed has been belied . The author holds, following Sweezy, that things ‘have not worked that way’. The author adds,’Marx and Engels proved wrong in their expectation of a socialist Europe’ (By Europe he presumably means advanced  capitalist countries). Why? Because they did not take into account the gains of the working class from the existing system itself.
However,’Lenin and the Bolsheviks rescued Marxism from those who mechanically interpreted Marx as a historical determinist’. Then he goes to the very root of the ‘mistaken expectation’ of Marx and Engels (he speaks of the ideas of Marx and Engels as  ‘Marxism’ which is of course an ideologically loaded term) drawn mainly from Engels’s Condition of the working class in England (1845) and Marx’s Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859). Let us try to disentangle this very dense formulation. The opening statement faithfully following Sweezy is simply a faithful  rehash of Lenin’s position. We will take it up a little later. First we deal with the cause of this wrong expectation. How this shortcoming  is associated with the two texts remains not very clear, just as the question of any connection between these two texts themselves.  A ‘reasonable ‘ interpretation of the author’s position  would be that from Engels’s 1845 work ‘Marxism’ concluded that the European workers’ increasing  misery would lead them to revolution. As regards the 1859 text of Marx the idea here seems to be that this text could be made to mean a ‘deterministic’ approach to revolution and thereby this would constitute an obstacle to revolution. Unable or unwilling to confront Marx himself directly the proponents of this rather widespread idea among the Left squarely puts  the blame on the ‘revisionists’ of the Second International for this deformation and the consequent absence of   revolution in Europe. As to the first cause the argument has an astonishing implication. It implies that Marx   remained a permanent prisoner of Engels’s  ideas of 1845, whereas  any one with a modicum of knowledge of Marx’s writings know that nobody was more aware of the dynamics of capitalism, what revolutionary changes capitalism as a historical (and not natural) mode of production was going through as well as its inherent limitations.  Similarly no body was a keener observer of workers’ daily struggles through their organisations to improve their lives  compelling  from time to time the governments to force the capitalists by legislation to limit their aggressions against the working class (like factory acts in England).  Our author seems to accept the popular  idea of Marx as a partisan of the thesis of  continuous immiserisation of the working class.

Continuous immiserisation of working class  has nothing to do with the rise in wages and salary !

True, in Engels’s book in question the idea of the workers earning just the minimum necessary for survival is there and for a time Marx shared this idea,but he rejected it in CAPITAL (Engels also no longer subscribed to it).
Marx had  a much  richer position on the question. First of all, in the chapter on the’ buying and  selling of labour power’ in CAPITAL I Marx noted that contrary to the case of other commodities there enters into the determination of the value of labour power ‘a historical and moral element’.
Quite naturally in a system where the ‘machine employs the workers, workers do not employ the machine’(Marx’s paraphrase of Ricardo) workers’ economic situation was indissolubly associated with the accumulation of capital.
‘Accumulation is the independent variable, wages are the dependent variable’ as Marx wrote in the chapter on the ‘general law of capitalist accumulation’ where he noted:  ‘Under more favourable conditions of accumulation a larger part of the workers’ own surplus product, always increasing and continually transformed into additional capital, comes back to them in the shape of means of payment, so that they can extend the circle of their enjoyment; they can make some additions  to their consumption –fund of  clothes, furniture, &c. and can lay by small reserve-fund of money’. Then Marx added:

A rise in the price of labour, as a consequence of accumulation of capital, only means , in fact that the length and weight of the golden chain the wage-worker has already forged himself , allow of a relaxation of thetension of it.’

A point not much discussed is that the system of wage labour itself – which comprises manual and intellectual labour under capital-Marx saw as dehumanizing the individual, however elevated the remuneration is.  Drawing on his earlier discussion (1844-45,1857-58) Marx wrote in his very first notebook of 1861-63 ‘poverty signifies nothing  but the fact that individual’s labour power is the only commodity which s/he can dispose of‘(MEGA II/3.1:36)This Marx calls ‘absolute poverty of the worker’.
In his 1863-65 posthumously published text Results of the Immediate Process of Production Marx elaborates:’

The world of wealth develops as an alienating world dominating the worker and in the same proportion grows her(his) subjective poverty. Fullness  on one side  corresponds to the emptiness on the other side and they march together’(MEGA II/4.1:127;emphasis in original).

So when Marx spoke about socialist revolution at a particular stage of social development he had this ‘material dependence’ of the worker(as he calls it in his 1857-58 manuscript) in mind irrespective of the level of remuneration and the accompanying material advantages of capital’s ‘wage slaves’.*

* *

Now we come to Marx,’s  1859 text . In order to link Marxism’s  failure of expectation regarding proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist countries with this text one would have to say(if one does not want to blame the text itself  and thereby question Marx directly) that this text is ambiguous giving scope to the ‘revisionists’   to  overemphasize the objective factor-the forces of production- and neglect the subjective factor-the will and consciousness of the working class. This we submit is the subtext of what our author is affirming. And this is the usual argument of the revolutionaries against the ‘revisionists’  who are seen as preventing the revolution from happening. We submit that the very idea that a handful of ‘revisionists’ could prevent the working class  from revolting, which act by definition is the crowning point of the ‘independent movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority’ (Marx and Engels 1848) is a reflection of the idea of a servile working class being led by  a small group of illuminated individuals who alone know the truth.
This is condemning the working class to a state of perpetual subordination.
Before we proceed further let us remind the readers that twelve years earlier Marx had already designated the proletariat as the ‘greatest productive force’ . As regards the 1859 text itself  let us note that the part of the text dealing with  Marx’s materialism is basically a condensed version of  his earlier two texts- The German Ideology (1845) and Poverty of Philosophy (1847). And-it is also important to emphasize that Marx makes this text later in Capital more than once the reference point of what he calls the ‘materialist basis of my method’.  Now what does this text say exactly? Here is the gist: ‘ No social formation ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed’, and new, higher relations make their appearance before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.

Therefore humanity always sets itself only such tasks as  it can solve since the task itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution already exist or at least are in the process of becoming’. (The last four lines were paraphrased by Rosa Luxemburg in her critique of the Bolshevik leadership, for which she was vilely attacked by the Leninist George Lukac).

Following this materialist conception of history, Marx argues that socialism is a product of history, not of nature or individuals’ arbitrary will.  As the 1848 Manifesto observes, the material conditions of the emancipation of the proletariat are the product of the bourgeois epoch. In his 1857-58 manuscript Marx wrote ‘If in the society as it exists we did not already find the material conditions of production and the corresponding relations of circulation for a classless society in a latent form all attempts at exploding  would be Don Quixotism’ .  And years later,three years before his death, in his polemic with Bakunin Marx stressed ‘ A radical social revolution is bound up with certain historical conditions of development.
The latter are its pre-conditions. It is therefore only possible where, with capitalist development, the industrial proletariat occupies at least a significant position’, and then he added ‘Bakunin understands absolutely nothing of social revolution excepting its political phrases. For him its economic conditions do not exist’.

Flushed with victory of what he considered  as socialist revolution, Lenin, in 1918, declared,clearly against Marx’s materialist approach,that ‘ things have worked differently than what Marx and Engels had expected’. Sweezy’s statement cited above is an uncritical, almost word for word repetition of Lenin’s statement. In fact, under the ‘illusion of the epoch’ as Marx would call it, such lucid scholars as Sweezy, Carr and Deutscher remarkably easily vindicated Lenin against Marx’s materialist prognostic. So far the “expectations”of  Marx and Engels have not been refuted  for the simple reason that  there has been no socialist revolution or (naturally)socialism anywhere in the world in the  Marxian meaning of these terms. Contrary to what Sweezy thought, socialism has not been tried and therefore socialism has not failed.

Of course one could always argue that this very fact of absence of proletarian revolution till now is itself a refutation of Marx’s prognostic .

However,  there is no evidence that Marx had fixed a calender for the advent of the new society the way the pious Christians wait for the Second Coming of Jesus. But a more important point,  from the point of view of Marx’s materialism, is that the objective situation in the capitalist countries in general has not yet reached the point where the ‘greatest productive force’-the wage and salary earning hired labourers- in their great majority could no longer accept the existing society(that is,the complex of the social relations of production) and rise in revolt.  After all capitalism is only a few hundred years old. The point is that Lenin, of course in the name of Marx, completely overturned-that is, revised – both the conditions of socialist revolution and the meaning of socialism itself as they were envisaged by Marx following the materialist conception of history. And history, the ‘best of all Marxists’ (Hilferding) has already rendered its verdict on Lenin’s position as we all know.

Ultimately,the ‘rescuer of Marxism’ could not himself be recued.

Lenin inspired  by Marx

Our author says that Lenin’s aspirations and vision of the socialist state as expressed in the  State and Revolution – after the seizure of power were inspired by Marx’s lauding of the Paris Commune. He adds  that  ‘Marx was emphatic’ that the working class after taking power should not simply take control of the existing structure, institutions of the  old state all
of which had to be smashed and ‘replaced by a new state’(our emphasis).
Now this is a paraphrase of what Lenin had said on this question. In his article “Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power”(1917) Lenin wrote:

“Marx taught that the proletariat cannot simply lay  hold of the ready-made state machine and use it for its own purposes, that the proletariat must smash this machine and substitute a new one for it. ” (emphasis ours).

Lenin here revised  in a vital way what ‘Marx had taught’.

Let us read the teacher’s own words. In his Civil War in France (1871,composed in English) Marx wrote: ‘ The working class cannot simply lay hold of  the ready made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes.’ At about the same time,in a letter to Kugelmann,Marx reminded his friend that already in Eighteenth Brumaire, he had declared that the ‘next attempt of the French Revolution will be no longer, as before, transfer of the bureaucratic military machine from one hand to the other, but to smash it, and this is the preliminary condition of every real people’s revolution on the continent’.

If we closely read the texts of these two individuals we see most of the things hat Marx had written find their place in Lenin’s text, but Marx nowhere says what we have underlined in Lenin’s text or in our author’s text following Lenin.This is literally Lenin’s revision  of Marx’s text, by Lenin’s own definition of this dreaded term. In Lenin’s hand the full revolutionary meaning of the Marxian text is seriously watered down.


Because Marx always thought State as an alien, repressive machinery for the individual, whatever be the type of the state. Already in the early forties he had written  ‘‘The existence of  state and  the existence of slavery are inseparable’. In the same text Marx precisely wrote .‘ Even the radical and revolutionary politicians seek the cause of evil not in the essence of the state but in a specific form of the state which they want to replace by another form of state’(our emphasis).

In  the posthumously published ‘First Outline’ of The Civil War in France Marx counted as one of the achievements of the communards  the ‘displacing of the state machinery- the
government machinery of the ruling class-by a government machinery of their own’ (our emphasis). The remarkable thing is that Marx does not see the replacement of the old state machinery by a new state machinery. It is the government, not the state which enters the scene. In the same text Marx writes:*’ This was a Revolution not against this or that  form of state power. It was a Revolution against the State itself’.

As if he saw the realization of what he had expressed as a general statement  about three decades earlier.

Lenin and Bureaucracy

Our author quite consistently with his stress on the indispensability of democracy for socialism, regrets the rise  of bureaucracy in Russia not long after the Bolshevik victory.The principle of ‘democratic centralism’ lost its democratic component in practice. He particularly mentions the virtual outlawing of factions within the party beginning with 1921 ‘something Stalin is said to have taken advantage of to secure his domination of the party’. Blaming Stalin for ‘soviet’ bureaucracy is the easy part. Our author seems to try to absolve Lenin from much (if not all) of the responsibility for the growing bureaucracy  by recalling Lenin’s ‘last struggle-warning of danger from the growth of a ruling democracy’. The author’s discussion of rise of bureaucracy in ‘Soviet’ Union , we submit, is oversimplified. It is somewhat surprising that while our author is rightly concerned with democray as a principle, when he comes to discuss the regression of democracy in the USSR his focus is mainly on the loss of democracy within the Party. The rapid loss of democracy within the society at large does not seem to bother him. Victor Serge, a great contemporary eye winess, remarked in his Memoires that ‘Soviet democracy lasted  from October 1917 to the summer of 1918. Afterwards the Communist party began to suppress all the revolutionary groups and parties’. Isaac Deutscher wrote in The Prophet Armed (1963):’(Referring to the period 1921-22)For the first time since 1917 the bulk of the working class, not to speak of the peasantry, unmistakeably turned against the Bolsheviks…If the Bolsheviks had now permitted free elections to the Soviets, they would almost certainly have been swept away from power’(p.504). As regards the role of Lenin personally  in this regression of democracy, he cannot get away from it so easily. Stalin came only later and with a vengeance. Deutscher analyses with rare lucidity the rise of Stalin in his Stalin:A Political Biography(1949) on which we draw.
Stalin’s cadidature as general secretary of the party was sponsored by Lenin. Stalin was voted into all his positions of power by his rivals. ‘ The General Secretary knew how to justify each act of repression against malcontent Bolsheviks in the light of the party statutes as they had , on Lenin’s initiative and with Trotsky’s support , been amended by the Tenth and
Eleventh congresses. He was careful to explain every step he made  as an inevitable consequence of decisions previously adopted by common consent’(our emphasis).’ Within months of October uprising ‘ how the ‘revolution was in retreat from the aims of social liberation it had proclaimed’ has been very well described in a recent publication based on the newly opened Russian  archives by a young researcher Simon Pirani The Russian Revolution in Retreat (1920-1924) 2008. This ‘retreat’ did not have to wait for Stalin for its start. In fact the resolution to ban the factions within the party was moved by Lenin in person at the Tenth Congress(1921) of the party, and the  decision , as Pirani notes, was taken after the briefest discussions at a closed door session,  held after many delegates had already left. Much  later Trotsky, through his own painful experience as an outcast from the system,wrote that the Tenth Congress ‘brought the heroic history of Bolshevism to an end and made way for its bureaucratic degeneration’(cited in Pirani).

But whatever might have been the contribution of   the Tenth congress to the strengthening of the bureaucratic process, its basic cause did not lie there. It has to be traced to October,1917 itself,to the starting point of the new régime-ignored by most of the observers and certainly by the dominant Left (including academics like Sweezy and Miliband).The surest antidote to bureaucracy was generated in the great council(‘soviet’) movement of the labouring people and soldiers  arising spontaneously in early 1917 in Petrograd and spreading fairly rapidly all over the vast land, gaining increasing strength with a strong possibility of going over to the next stage of social evolution-socialism(communism)-if allowed unfettered freedom to go ahead.

The councils as the self-governing organs of the labouring people,through the system of universal free election and recall by the electorate of all holders of administrative positions would make the rise of bureaucracy simply impossible. This unique opportunity-the great chance of the century-was destroyed  by the preemptive strike by the Bolsheviks who under the cover of the great popular slogan ‘All Power to the Soviets’ seized power  before the Second Congress of Soviets could meet,behind the back and over the head of the Congress of Soviets (the Leader literally denigrating the soviets in his private correspondence with his colleagues in the leadership) and paved the way for a single party rule.
An important point should be noted here. Here we draw on the superb blow -by blow- account of the period July-October(1917) by the eminent historian Alexander Rabinowitch- The Bolsheviks come to Power (1976,2004). On the eve of the Second Congress the delegates assembled in Petrograd for the event were  asked to fill out detailed personal questionnaires. Tabulation of these questionnaires reveals the striking fact that an overwhelming number of delegates(including of course the Bolshevik delegates  who constituted
the biggest single group), supported the transfer of  ‘all power to the soviets’, that is , the ‘creation of a soviet government presumably reflective of the party  composition of the congress’ (Rabinovitch :291-92).
Rabinovitch concludes his great book thus: ’ It bears repeating that the Petrograd masses , to the extent that they supported the Bolsheviks, in the overthrow of the Provisional Government, did so not out of any sympathy for strictly Bolshevik rule but because they believed the revolution and the congress to be in imminent danger. Only the creation of a broadly representative socialist government by the Congress of Soviets ,which is what they believed the Bolsheviks stood for, appeared to offer hope of insuring that there would be no return to the hated ways  of  the old régime’ (314;our emphasis).

It is indeed ironical that Lenin, after having presided over the liquidation of the workers’ organs of self government (the soviets and the factory committees) could,’in his last writings’, according to our author, ‘express the need for creating a basis for popular self-governance’. Given this liquidation it is not surprising at all that within a very short period after the establishment of the Party-State there arose an administration with a body of unelected  officials hierarchically organized from top downwards. Similarly within  the newly
created ‘Red’ Army the principle of election of officers was abolished , the rights of soldiers’ committees were clipped, and the erstwhile Tsarist officers –universally hated till now-were placed in responsible positions.
Towards the end of his life Lenin had to admit that the Bolsheviks ‘effectively took over the old state apparatus from the Tsar and the bourgeoisie’ (1922).

Naturally the régime felt threatened by  the existence of the thoroughly democratic soviet of Kronstadt which defied it by demanding the implementation of all the democratic, libertarian  promises that the Bolsheviks had made before coming to power and later did not deliver,  and raised the slogan ‘all power to the soviets, not to parties’.

Consequently,on the totally fabricated charge that the Kronstadt sailors and toilers were at the service of the Whites, the counterrevolutionaries , the régime massacred thousands of them(Only Lenin had the honesty to deny the charge at the Tenth Congress of the party). Thus ended ‘a bustling, self-governing , egalitarian democracy, the like of which had not been seen in Europe since the days of the Paris Commune’, writes the well-known historian Israel Getzler in perhaps the best documented book on the subject by an academic, Kronstadt 1917-1921 The Fate of a Soviet Democracy (1983: 246).

Mao’s Bolshevik Connection

Our author offers a competent narrative of the development of the political dynamic of the post-1949 China dominated mostly by Mao. He quite correctly stresses the close connection of Mao’s thought with the ideas of Lenin and Stalin and at the same time he shows Mao’s critical attitude to them, to Stalin’s ideas in particular. Though Mao’s Marxism was closer to the Stalinist version of Lenin’s Marxism, rather than Lenin’s Marxism itself, Mao at the same time was ‘struggling to overcome and go beyond Stalinism’.
After arguing that Mao criticized Stalin’s mechanical materialism, our author asks: ‘how apparently open ended  the interrelations among  and between the forces of production , relations of production and the superstructure are in Mao’s conception of Marx’s theory of history?’   He says that ‘Marx  (like Mao) fell into the (same ) trap when his very method of analysis led him to believe  that revolution was around the corner, immensely underrating the huge barriers to progressive change. Does the very application of the method of materialist dialectic lead its practitioners to err on the side of ‘voluntarism in practice?’ We submit that whenever Marx thought that ‘revolution was around the corner’ he precisely did not follow his own ‘materialist method’. This comes out in a remarkably  self-critical letter that he wrote to Engels immediately after he had finished writing the first volume of CAPITAL(December 7,1867). Not much attention has been given to this important letter.  In this letter he only refers to himself as the ‘author’ of CAPITAL, without mentioning his own name. Here is the most important part (given in our translation):  “ One should distinguish between two things (in CAPITAL): positive developments and tendentiousconclusions. The developments constitute a direct enrichment of the science, since the real economic relations are treated here in an entirely new way, following the materialist method. As regards the tendency of the author, here also a distinction is in order. When the author demonstrates that the existing society, considered from the economic point of view, carries within itself the germs of a new form of higher society, he is only showing , on the social plane, the same process of transformation which Darwin has established in the natural sciences. However, the merit of the author is to show progress hidden even where the modern economic relations are accompanied by consequences, which are immediately disastrous.  Thereby all utopia is destroyed.  Contrariwise, the subjective tendency of the author-he was perhaps obliged to act this way bound by his party position and his past- that is, the manner in which he presents the result of the present day movement,  of the present day social process has no relation with its real development. One could perhaps show that his ‘objective’ development refutes his own ‘subjective’ fancies’(our emphasis).

One aspect of  Mao’s Stalin connection is not found in our author’s otherwise important narrative and has hardly been discussed in literature. With all his otherwise significant  differences with Stalin , Mao’s ideological position in its fundamental aspects was Stalinist.

He completely accepted Stalin’s un-Marxian position that the system of ownership is the basis of the relations of production. In Marx, following the materialist conception of history,it is the exact opposite. For Marx, real relation of production forms the foundation on which arises the juridical relation of property.

It is what Marx calls a ‘juridical edifice’, arising from the production relation(see the 1859 Preface mentioned earlier). Stalin required  this inversion in order to prove the socialist character of the society he was leading. He declared the ‘Soviet’ Union to be socialist on the basis of the juridical elimination of individual private ownership of the means of production, thereby standing Marx on his head.

Mao too proclaimed the establishment of China ’s ‘socialist system’ on the basis of the juridical change in the form of ownership of the means of production. This was totally abstracted from the real relations of production, or rather Mao assumed an equivalence relation between a juridical change in  ownership and a change in the real relation of production. Marx would call this a ‘juridical illusion’. (This ‘juridical illusion’ has engulfed the rulers of the Party-States and their international sympathizers and followers since Stalin).

Mao was of course fully aware of the existence of commodity production and wage labour in China, which have no place in Marxian socialism, and did not go to the absurd  length of the  Stalinist position that this wage in socialism is different from the capitalist wage(copying from Bukharin and Preobrazhensky without acknowledgement). The contradiction is clear in Mao’s statement:’ China is a socialist country…At present our country practises the commodity system, an eight grade wage system, and the wage system is unequal, and in all this scarcely different from the old society; the difference is that the system of ownership has changed’. This goes well with Stalin’s concept of socialism and would correspond to what Marx would consider as (state) capitalism. Mao’s assertion of the existence of classes in socialism-even when (wrongly) understood as the lower phase of communi- sm, à la Lenin-is a complete revision even of Lenin who said that ‘socialism means the abolition of classes’. But it goes well with Stalin’s position.

Increasingly, after the Fifties , classes were conceived by Mao not in terms of production relations but in terms of ideology and culture. According to him though China was already socialist, classes and class struggle continued to exist. In order to eliminate ‘restoration of capitalism’ , the ‘capitalist roaders’ had to be eliminated through  series of ‘cultural revolutions’.

In Marx cultural revolution as an independent category does not exist. A socialist revolution is an all-embracing  self-emancipatory act undertaken by the working class which continues ‘in permanence’ over an entire epoch.

There is no need for a separate cultural revolution after  society has become socialist. For  the period intervening between the establishment of the proletarian rule and the advent of socialism is precisely the ‘period of revolutionary transformation’ during which the ‘working class passes through long struggles, through a series of historic processes transforming circumstances and individuals’ as Marx wrote in 1871 (which takes care of cultural transformations as well).

A final word. The communist party under Mao was at best a party for the labouring people but could not really be called a party of and by the labouring people. Remaining outside the labourers’ effective control and claiming to know their interests better than the labourers themselves the CPC , like communist party of the USSR, considered leading and directing the labouring people as their ‘duty’. The fundamental decisions concerning the fate of the labouring people were made and enforced by the party leadership unaccountable to and over the head of the general body of China’s labouring people who were ,as in the USSR, simply exhorted to participate in executingthose decisions.

Ultimately it was Mao on whose decisions depended the destiny of a whole people. The régime prided itself on stressing that ‘Chairman Mao personally directed and fixed the resolution on the edification of the people’s communes’. The initiative to launch the cultural revolution came , unsurprisingly, not from the labouring people themselves but from the ‘Chairman in person’. In a society supposed to be marching to communism every move was centred on Mao’s ‘latest instructions’. The continuing emphasis was on  Mao being  ‘the great teacher,  great leader, great supreme commander, great helmsman,’ There indeed is an unbridgeable gap between this society of subordinated  labour and a society of ‘associated labour plying its toil with a willing hand, a ready mind and a joyous heart’(Marx 1864).

We are grateful to Bernard DMello for his encouragement.

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