Sticking Up for Chairman Mao
It's a dirty, disgusting little job, but somebody's gotta do it
:"It's just outrageous," said Gary Miller, a volunteer at Berkeley's Revolution Books, as he leafleted the authors' event on campus. "A lot of people look with a great deal of affection at the Mao years because China's been turned into one giant sweatshop."
In October, the city of Berkeley celebrated Bob Avakian Day in honor of one of the city's most stalwart revolutionary sons. A few weeks later, Raymond Lotta, a Chicago-based Maoist political economist and author, spoke to students at UCLA and UC Berkeley in what he called a bid to set the record straight.
"What sets this apart from other historical studies is that this person Mao, who led an historic revolution and changed the landscape of China and was an inspiration throughout the world -- they're saying this was a scheming, bloodthirsty opportunist who was evil from the day he was born to the day he died and who hijacked a revolution," Lotta said. "I think it's part of a continuing attempt to discredit communism and Maoism and any alternative to the current world order."
Tom Gold, associate dean of international and area studies at UC Berkeley, said he visited China on a guided tour in 1975 and was impressed. "You can't just say it was one evil person," he said in a phone interview. "What Mao did was tap into some sort of psychology. You cannot get away from saying that Mao tapped into something."
Connie Wu, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004 with a degree in international political economy, traveled throughout China as a Haas Scholar. She talked to Chinese who grew up under Mao and are adjusting to life in a capitalist economy.
"A lot of their response would be, 'Materialistically it's great. We can get whatever we want. We don't have to wait in long lines.' But they also said that morally it's really going down because now it's a money society," she said.
What Mao tapped into was greed, pure and simple. The difference between capitalism and communism is that the former uses the greed of the wealthy to make more money, while communism uses the greed of the poor to redistribute the wealth.