Mao: Its Terrible or Its Fine.

In Report from Hunan Mao praises the ‘Movement of the Riff Raff’ (Mao Vol 1 p29). The ‘riff raff’ are the ‘utterly destitute’ lumpen peasantry who we find in China as:

“completely dispossessed … People who have neither land nor money, are without any means of livelihood, and are forced to leave home and become mercenaries or hired labourers or wandering beggars” (Mao Vol. I P 32)

Mao then provides a detailed report on the achievements of these peasants as revolutionaries able to transform an uprising into Red self governance. Mao’s ‘Report from Hunan’ is a great example of engaged reportage and it provides a more balanced evaluation of lumpen elements. His amusingly titled section ‘“Its Terrible” or “Its Fine”’ is equally judicious. Mao is praising the ways the peasants had banded together to dominate the landed gentry in Hunan, how their organisation established the basic conditions for a defence of the gains, and the template for the pattern of protracted guerrilla war. His unconditional approval for the ‘Movement of the Riff Raff’ is unstinting in its praise for the violent suppression of counter-revolutionaries. He does not ever want to say they ‘go too far’ when they defend the revolution (Selected Works Vol. I).

Thus – build the revolution…

[✪ or is this just building the Internets? – word press just tells me ‘This is your 1,000th post. Whiz-bang! This post has 270 words’. Happy thousandth bit of trinketization! Nice its a Mao one.]


One thought on “Mao: Its Terrible or Its Fine.

  1. Hi John,

    Thought you might like this from Bakunin:
    “By flower of the proletariat, I mean precisely that eternal ‘meat’, … that great rabble of the people (underdogs, ‘dregs of society’) ordinarily designated by Marx and Engels in the picturesque and contemptuous phrase lumpenproletariat. I have in mind the ‘riffraff’, that ‘rabble’ almost unpolluted by bourgeois civilization, which carries in its inner being and in its aspirations … all the seeds of the socialism of the future….”
    Dolgoff, Sam, Bakunin on Anarchy, p.294.

    We’ve not had any riots on the coast yet.
    X Marc


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