Is Maoism still alive?

March 19, 2014

Caution—do not confuse Maoists with the Communist Party that currently rules China. Maoism, known as Mao Zedong thought, is a variant of Marxism derived from the teachings of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976). 

Maoism was widely applied as the political and military guiding ideology in the Communist Party between 1949 and 1976, which led to the horrors of the Cultural Revolution.

But according to France 24, a new generation of Maoists in China thinks the CCP has “betrayed their leader’s roots by succumbing to capitalism and world trade.” And these “Maoists are very active on Chinese social networks.”

The Maoists in China want to roll back time to Mao’s Cultural Revolution where pure socialism rules with no capitalism.

After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the Communist Party under Deng Xiaoping repudiated revolutionary Maoism and embarked on the path toward a socialist-capitalist economic model that has led to prosperity for several hundred million people in China but more Chinese are not benefiting equally from economic growth in China—at least not as fast as they’d like, which explains why Maoism has not vanished.


China’s last Maoist village

Outside China, Maoism’s Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was founded in 1984 and included the Communist Party of Peru (also known as the “Shining Path”).

In addition, there have been Maoist movements in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Palestine, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, Somalia, Turkey and even the United States (where poverty is increasing). However, the international Maoist movement doesn’t have a unified, global leadership.

Recently, the Chinese “Maoist” Communist Party thought they had a leader in Bo Xilai. Then in 2012, Bo was connected to a cover up linked to his wife’s involvement in the murder of a British citizen. Bo was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery, abuse of power and corruption. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of murder and was given a suspended death sentence. She may spend the rest of her life in prison or get out on a medical parole after serving nine years.

In 2009, the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal formed a coalition government, which collapsed a few months later as different rebel factions fought with each other. The Maoist’s goal was to turn Nepal into a Marxist Republic. (Nepal Assessment 2010)

In India, there is an ongoing Naxalite-Maoist rebellion in Andhra Pradesh but by the end of 2013, the movement was weak and not the threat it had been years earlier. The Maoist influence in India was caused by the lack of progress to end starvation among rural Indians—thousands die daily—who have had no improvement in their lifestyles for decades. (Naxalite-Maoist insurgency)

In the US, the Black Panthers (1967) was a militant Maoist organization.

In Paris in 1968, the National Liberation Front, another Maoist group, was the cause of street combat.

Maoism is caused by too much poverty and suffering when the poor working class rises up in rebellion against the wealthy in an attempt to distribute the wealth more evenly, but historically this has led to brutal dictatorships and then more suffering and death.

Pure socialism hasn’t worked because historically, it’s inefficient, against the competitive nature of humans and leads to shortages and a waste of workers time.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Wage Thieves in the Private Sector

August 20, 2011

Tom Carter, the author of China: Portrait of a People, sent me a link to a forum on political and social change in China that I found interesting. The forum was published in the Boston Review.

One in particular that I agreed with was China’s Other Revolution by Edward S. Steinfeld.

Steinfeld points out that “patterns of inequity are unfortunately not unique to the Chinese experience”, and then he makes a strong point when he writes, “One need look no further than the United States and Western Europe for developmental histories replete with exploitation, abuse, violence, and environmental degradation.”

By coincidence, the same day Carter sent me the link to this forum in the Boston Review, I read Wage theft a scourge for low-income workers by John Coté, a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

It seems while many Americans and the Western media often criticize China for exploitation of migrants, low-skilled wage laborers, and the rural poor, the same practice is alive and well in the United States.

Coté writes, “It’s part of a national scourge known as wage theft. More than two-thirds of low-wage workers (in the United States) reported some type of pay-related law violation…”

The piece Coté wrote for SFGate was on two pages and ends with six facts.  One says, “$56.4 million is stolen every week from (low-wage) workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”

In addition, Poverty News reports, “Low-wage workers in the United States are gripped by increasing financial insecurity as they inch along an economic tightrope made riskier by pervasive job losses and rising prices. Many struggle to pay for life’s basics—housing, food and health care—and most report having virtually no financial cushion should they stumble.”

How many Americans are considered low-wage workers?

According to the Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College, “The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2008, 39.8 million people (13.2 percent of the U.S. population) lived at or below the Federal Poverty Level (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2009).”


When it comes to poverty, America ranks 3rd worst among developed nations.

If two-thirds of these low-wage workers (and there may be more) in the U.S. are being cheated, that is about 26 million people that are not being paid what they earned.

It seems to me that the American media, the nation’s leaders and most Americans should focus on solving these types of problems in the U.S. before criticizing other countries.

Discover more from The India, China battle to eliminate poverty and illiteracy

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Danger of False Truths – Part 3/3

July 23, 2011

In another e-mail, this “old” friend questioned China’s behavior in Asia and mentioned the disagreement between Vietnam and China over some offshore oil fields that both countries claim.

He felt this was a sign that China would wage war on other countries and inferred this would not happen if China were a democracy similar to the US, since “no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy” (his words).

Soon after I received that e-mail, I used Google and found Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another … or Do They? by Matthew White, who does a great job throwing ice-cold water on another false truth.

White says, basically, it depends on the definition of democracy and that individuals will shift the meaning of the definition to fit what he or she wants to believe.

To come up with a set of probabilities, White studied the wars that took place in 1967 and came up with these results:

White wrote, “Now, 1967 is just a single year, but I’ve spent a good deal of this Atlas counting democracies. I can state with reasonable certainty that 44.5% of mapable sovereignties during the WW2-Y2K Era were full democracies. This calculates out to…

  • The odds of 2 random democracies going to war: 19.8%
  • The odds of 2 random non-democracies going to war: 30.8%
  • The odds of a random democracy going to war with a random non-democracy: 49.4%

He also mentions an interesting theory that “no two countries with a McDonald’s Restaurant have ever gone to war with one another”, which seems to indicate that as countries are incorporated into the global economy by trans-national corporations, they stop waging war on one another.

This theory is an individual truth that most of us might want to believe since there then should be no worry that the US and China will ever wage war.

In 2009, the US had 13,381 McDonalds and in 2010, China had almost 1,000 with thousands more planned. In addition, China has thousands of Pizza Huts, KFCs, Starbucks and the Chinese love to drive Buicks and Fords. Wal-Mart is even building stores in China.

However, I discovered the McDonald’s theory might be another false truth.

Pakistan has 25 McDonalds and the first one was built in 1998. India has 192 with the first built in 1996, and the last Indo-Pakistani War was in 1999.

Return to The Danger of False Truths – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Ma Yan’s Story – Part 2/2

February 11, 2011

A few days after Ma Yan hears that her family cannot afford to continue her education past fifth grade, Pierre Haski, the French journalist, visited her village.  After seeing the diaries, Haski promised that he would help her continue school then go to a university or even further than that.

Needless to say, after the publication of her diaries, Mao Yan continued on to middle school along with lots of attention from the media.

Ma Yan says that most of the media asked her about her experience at school and she wanted to tell them what it was like so the world would hear of the other poor children that wanted to go to school longer.

Because of that media attention, the students at her elementary and middle schools received offers of help.

That outpouring of interest led to the founding of Children of Ningxia, which will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary. The Children of Ningxia reports that the nonprofit has reached out to more than 2,500 students, scholarships to more than 150 and fourteen have finished their university studies since 2009.

China’s government also abolished school fees through ninth grade but many remote, rural families still struggle to pay for boarding fees.

One student, who is still in school, said she would have been doing farm work if it hadn’t been for Children of Ningxia.

As the Al Jazeera segment of Ma Yan’s Story ends, I thought of the billion people living in poverty around the world.  Less than 10% of those people live in China and this story is only of a few of those people.

Return to Ma Yan’s Story – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The India, China battle to eliminate poverty and illiteracy

November 2, 2010

Chris Devonshire-Ellis wrote a convincing piece at China Briefing that India‘s economic growth would speed past China in the near future. 

He says, “It (India’s) growth rate could overtake China’s by 2013… Some economists think India will grow faster than any other large country over the next 25 years.”

However, there are flaws in that opinion.

Once again, the foundation of this prediction is based on India being a democracy “where entrepreneurs are all furiously doing their own thing” while China is a culture of secrecy and censorship. Chris mentions a few of China’s other flaws too, which China is struggling to overcome.

What Chris doesn’t mention is the difference in poverty and illiteracy between India and China.

India and China both became independent about the same time—China in 1949 and India in 1947.  Due to Chairman Mao’s policies, China suffered horribly from 1949 to 1976 and little progress was made.

For China, most of the progress has taken place in the last three decades. India, on the other hand, has had more than 60 years to solve its problems.

Let’s see what each has accomplished.

The World Bank says, “that China’s record of poverty reduction and growth is enviable. Between 1981 and 2004 the fraction of the population consuming less than a dollar-a-day fell from 65% to 10% and more than half a billion people were lifted out of poverty.”

For India, the World Bank says, “poverty remains a major challenge. According to the revised official poverty line, 37.2% of the population (about 410 million people remains poor, making India home to one-third of the World’s poor people.” UNICEF shows the poverty in India to be 42%.

World Bank studies also established the direct and functional relationship between literacy and productivity on the one hand and literacy and the overall quality of human life on the other.

India’s literacy rate was about 12% when the British left in 1947. Today, literacy is 68%.

In China, literacy is more than 93% with a goal to reach 99% in the next few years.

This means that India has about 800 million literate people competing with 1.2 billion in China.

As for India succeeding, MeriNews.com says, “At a time when we (India) are poised on the threshold of becoming a superpower, the rampant malnutrition and prevalence of anemic children and women to the extent of 48 per cent of the population is a definitive indicator that we have failed as a democracy in ensuring the fundamental requirements of our citizens.”

It appears that China—with its censorship, secrecy and socialist government—has done a much better job of taking care of its citizens.

See the other posts on this topic at India Falling Short and Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


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