America’s Maoist Moment

Well, here we are, transfixed at the spectacle of a slow-motion riot by a benighted mob, beneath whose thin patina of concern for justice is the base metal of Maoist ideology. Their obsession with desecrating statues reveals not an interest in the fate of particular human beings but a symbolical cast of mind. The fact that they moved quickly from Confederate generals to the Founding Fathers and thence to Abraham Lincoln (“The Great Emancipator”) and even the black former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass leads many observers to decry the abject ignorance of this mob.

Au contraire! These people know exactly what they are doing and who their enemies are.

For Lincoln and Douglass, emancipation was emancipation into citizenship within a free society, encapsulated in Douglass’s “three boxes”: the ballot box (the right to vote), the jury box (the right to trial by a jury of one’s peers), and the cartridge box (the right to keep and bear arms) – often supplemented with the soap box (the right to freedom of speech, which Douglass exercised as eloquently as any American ever has).

For modern-day Maoists, universal human rights such as these are noxious impediments to the true liberation of a socialist society.

Consider, for example, this statement from the Maoist Shining Path movement in Peru:

For us, human rights are contradictory to the rights of the people, because we base rights in man as a social product, not man as an abstract with innate rights. “Human rights” do not exist except for the bourgeois man, a position that was at the forefront of feudalism, like liberty, equality, and fraternity were advanced for the bourgeoisie of the past. But today, since the appearance of the proletariat as an organized class in the Communist Party, with the experience of triumphant revolutions, with the construction of socialism, new democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat, it has been proven that human rights serve the oppressor class and the exploiters who run the imperialist and landowner-bureaucratic states.

This radical undermining of the European and Anglo-American traditions of individual rights is opposed not merely to the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries but to the very foundations of the modern world, stretching all the way back to Ancient Greece and continually rejuvenated over the course of millennia (often in fits and starts and with many detours along the way, as anyone who has studied history knows all too well).

These traditions are a special object of hatred among true socialists, communists, Marxists, Leninists, and Maoists to the present day (see for instance Tanner Greer’s summary of Chinese President Xi’s vision for a new world order). In an American context, that hatred was an animating principle of the New Left of the 1960s, exemplified by Students for a Democratic Society and its successor the Weather Underground. The Weathermen (and women) were especially inspired by the Maoist Cultural Revolution in China and combined forces with the Black Liberation Army not only to foment violence with the intent of overthrowing the U.S. government but also to formulate a revolutionary ideology of anti-racism. Years later, Naomi Jaffe, one of the founders of the Weather Underground, justified their thoughts and actions as follows:

We felt that doing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence. That’s really the part that I think is the hardest for people to understand. If you sit in your house, live your white life and go to your white job, and allow the country that you live in to murder people and to commit genocide, and you sit there and you don’t do anything about it, that’s violence.

Silence is violence, 1960s style!

Black Lives Matter is a direct spiritual descendent of the anti-racist ideology of the Black Liberation Army and the Maoist radicalism of the Weather Underground. For these movements (as for the Chinese Communist Party), human rights and human freedoms are the problem, to be discarded in favor of a triumphant revolution, the construction of a socialist society, and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

This fight is not over a few statues; it is for the very soul and survival of a free society in America and throughout the world.


7 thoughts on “America’s Maoist Moment”

  1. I enjoyed this and am happy to see your work – hope you enjoy being here.
    Many (maybe not all) of the statues being torn down represent the heights (sometimes momentary and sometimes for a lifetime) individuals can achieve when their individual value finds expression. Certainly the self-consciousness, emphasis upon rationality and respect for each human that were personified in so many of these heroes opposes the angry mob that has set upon them. The chutzpah of those that drag down Lincoln or Douglass or, indeed, Washington (that indispensable founder) would be a humorous arrogance if it didn’t reek so much of a truly evil pride.

  2. An interesting essay today by VD Hansen.

    “Year Zero,” as most revolutions begin.

    What was uniquely different about this cultural revolution was how willing and quickly the entire progressive establishment — elected officials, celebrities, media, universities, foundations, retired military — was either on the side of the revolution or saw it as useful in aborting the Trump presidency, or was terrified it would be targeted and so wished to appease the Jacobins.

    This reborn America was to end all of the old that had come before and supposedly pay penance for George Floyd’s death and, by symbolic extension, America’s inherent evil since 1619. As in all cultural revolutions, the protestors claimed at first at that they wanted only to erase supposedly reactionary elements: Confederate statues, movies such as Gone with the Wind, some hurtful cartoons, and a few cranky conservative professors and what not.

    But soon such recalibration steam rolled, fueled by acquiescence, fright, and timidity. Drunk with ego and power, it moved on to attack almost anything connected with the past or present of the United States itself.

    He ends with this:

    Segregation will doom this revolution. It is the worst poison in a multiracial society. Yet it is the signature issue of Black Lives Matter — everything from separate safe spaces and theme houses based on skin color in universities to specials fees and rules for non-blacks. The popular forces of integration, assimilation, and intermarriage will not be harnessed by racial-separatist czars, asking for DNA pedigrees as they sleuth for microaggressions and implicit biases.

    The BLM problem is that never in history has a radical cultural revolution at its outset declared itself both race-based and yet predicated on a small minority of the population, whose strategy was to shame and debase the majority that was sympathetic to the idea of relegating race to insignificance.

  3. I’ve got a lot of new citizens in my engineering workforce (Indonesia, China, Peru, India/Canada) some US Citizens now, some just starting the process of citizenship. I like to chat with them about the novelty of the USA as a republic in 1776 along with the long history of self government in the Colonies before the Revolution. Here in Connecticut (“The Constitution State”) I tell them about the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639) which was probably the first written constitution.

    Thus in the USA, we had about 150 years of self government in most colonies prior to the revolution. When my ancestors arrived from Germany in 1856 it was 81 years since the revolution. Today its 384 years since the Fundamental Orders so the idea of self government is hopefully well baked in. Todays Maoists are just a continuation of the 1960s and are fundamentally an elitist movement. The idea that the masses are competent to rule themselves is dismissed as foolish and out of date. So we need to constantly reinforce the importance of the responsibilities of citizenship. Prime among these are voting as a serious thing. It should not be like ordering from Amazon. People went to the polls in wartime, pandemics and other disasters. Things like mailin, early and on-line voting should be discouraged.

  4. The spam comment above which, I’m sure, will disappear in good time includes a link in what I take to be Arabic. I’m confident no one here will be foolish enough to follow it. I’m also sure that there are people that wonder why I don’t learn enough HTML to post pretty links. It’s not (just) laziness, I feel it is more transparent to just post the whole link in all its glory so you can see where your headed more easily.

    More to the point, I worked for a time with three young women of East Asian extraction. One’s father was from Vietnam by way of the reeducation “camps” and a small boat, so as American as I. another was from Vietnam as well but, the “new” Vietnam. I never learned what her parents did, they apparently could send her to University here, she didn’t look to be going back except to visit. The third was from Korea, need I add South Korea. They had been in school together and mostly appeared to be friends, but even I could see some friction between the two from Vietnam. The American born one was a little surprised that I was familiar with the general circumstances that her father had survived. Not perspicacity, just age.

    I imagine the same dynamic is in place between Taiwan and mainland China where there are many families divided as happened during our Civil War. The statues and monuments most at issue here are the gestures by both sides toward reconciliation. Even the Union monuments are somewhat somber rather than glorying in victory. If we lose one half of that, the Confederate side, we lose the narrative that both sides could come together after shedding so much blood and live peacefully together. It was a long ways from perfect but a lot better than the alternative.

  5. Todays Maoists are just a continuation of the 1960s and are fundamentally an elitist movement. The idea that the masses are competent to rule themselves is dismissed as foolish and out of date.

    I read an interesting speculation yesterday. The globalists are behind the BLM and Antifa rioters. The plan is to disrupt society, defeat Trump, and then have the military restore order in a Thermidor reaction which, of course, led to Napoleon. The retired generals might already be aware and involved.

    The Marxist left, and by the way, our republic, would be crushed.

    Interesting thought.

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