A WORLD TO WIN    #20   (1995)


Mao Tsetung Centenary Celebrated

The celebration of the Centenary of Mao Tsetung marked the year 1993, especially on December 26, Mao's date of birth. It has been an event that sowed the seeds of revolution in many different corners of the world. By looking at the life and teachings of Mao Tsetung, a new generation who themselves never witnessed the dramatic changes wrought in revolutionary China could begin to understand that the poor and oppressed could indeed rise up and transform the world through revolution; that the imperialists' declarations that "communism is dead" reflect their hatred and fear of the very class of proletarians that can and will do away with them forever; and that to move forward to all the way liberation, the understanding forged by Mao Tsetung in the Chinese revolution and summed up as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the indispensable weapon for victory.

The celebrations of the Mao Tsetung Centenary have been carried on as battles against imperialism and revisionism. Even the very way the Centenary was initiated reflected that this would be a celebration of slaves determined to do away with their masters. For it was from one of the enemy's darkest dungeons that the initial call came for the Centenary. A fortnight after his capture, on 24 September 1992, Chairman Gonzalo of the Communist Party of Peru, in a prison cage surrounded by dozens of armed thugs, defiantly called for the People's War to go forward and for the Maoists of the world to celebrate the Centenary in an unforgettable way.

It is fitting then that the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the international organized centre of Maoists, uniting Maoist parties and organizations worldwide, including the PCP, launched its celebration of the Centenary by announcing on December 26th that RIM had taken an important leap forward in its unity and revolutionary understanding by adopting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its ideology. RIM's adoption of MLM was presented in a document that has already been translated into many languages and spread around the world: Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! [reproduced in this issue].

Today, the myth of the imperialists' New World Order is breaking down, the clash of arms is sounding in nearly every corner of the planet, and currents of rebellion are swirling beneath the surface and increasingly bursting forth. The adoption of MLM by the parties and organizations of RIM signals the mounting strength and ability of the world's revolutionaries to seize the opportunities and hasten the day when the oppressed will arise, guns in hand, and do away with imperialism forever. Such a leap is timely, for the collapse of the revisionists and the worldwide battle to defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo have tended to leave the Maoists occupying a more central position in the face of the imperialists. This is challenging the revolutionaries to assume their responsibilities and lead the masses forward. As Mao himself wrote,

"So many deeds cry out to be done,

And always urgently;

The world rolls on, time presses;

Ten thousand years are too long,

Seize the day, seize the hour!"

The Mao Centenary was celebrated in a great variety of ways, including armed attacks, village meetings, video showings in urban ghettos, and discussions in venerable academic institutions. There was also enthusiastic support for the plan announced by RIM to publish a new edition of Mao's famous Red Book, with new chapters of quotations from the Cultural Revolution period. Though some funds have been raised, more are quickly needed to publish this important weapon.

1994 also marked the Tenth Anniversary of RIM  and the deepening crisis of the world imperialist system and the increasing revolutionary prospects prove that it was most timely and correct to found RIM and to strengthen this precious centre of the world's revolutionaries. Today Maoist parties and organizations exist on every continent. The relative isolation that characterized the Maoist movement in the wake of the loss of proletarian power in China and the subsequent crisis in the ICM is being transformed step by step by adhering firmly to MLM and applying it with boldness and dogged determination. Strengthening RIM means strengthening a Movement that enables the world's revolutionaries to deepen their understanding of the experience of the international communist movement, to learn from advanced experience such as the People's War in Peru, to compare notes on how they are carrying out revolutionary struggle and making preparations to launch people's war, and to learn to act as one class, with one goal, worldwide communism.

Celebrations of the Mao Centenary have been held in every corner of the globe by the parties and organizations in RIM and by other revolutionaries, and word about some of these has yet to arrive. But what is known already shows the depth of the respect that millions have for this great leader of the world proletariat, of the struggle he led against the imperialists and reactionaries and for the immortal contributions he made to our understanding of how to wage revolution and advance towards communism. The Mao Centenary also sharply marked the celebration of May First 1994, as did the celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of RIM.

Maoists from Australia report that May Day activities involved revolutionaries from several countries; leaflets were distributed broadly there, entitled Who Will Bury This System?; posters saying Celebrate the Mao Centenary were put up and funds collected from many people for RIM. A Mao Tsetung Centenary meeting included the showing of a video entitled Mao: The Greatest Revolutionary of Our Time, and statements were made by a Maori speaker from New Zealand, and by people from Turkey, the Philippines, Greece and elsewhere. Money was raised, including for AWTW's project for printing a new edition of Quotations from Mao Tsetung. Following the meeting, red flags were unfurled and several dozen people defiantly marched through the streets.

In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the Centenary was launched in December 1993 by a march and mass gathering organized by the Committee for the Celebration of the Birth Centenary of Mao Tsetung. A thousand people, including more than a hundred garment workers and many homeless children, gathered in front of the National Press Club in downtown Dhaka at about noon, and then set off with hundreds of fluttering red flags with the hammer and sickle, banners, festoons, posters and photos of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and numerous photos of Mao Tsetung, some of them life-size. The march wound for two and a half hours through key parts of the city, including a garment district and bazaar areas. As the red-hot sun blazed overhead, the marchers surged forward under banners proclaiming, "Forward Along the Path Charted by Mao Tsetung", and "Celebrate Mao Tsetung Birth Centenary". The Mao Centenary was also strongly present in the minds of revolutionaries on May Day, where hundreds again took to the streets of Dhaka under the leading banner, "Build Up Revolutionary Struggle in Order to Seize Our Own Power Along the Maoist Ideology".

In Germany, supporters of the Turkish Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist, Maoist Party Centre) (TKP/ML, MPC) and the Revolutionary Communists of Germany (RK) issued the call, "Revolution is the only solution here and around the world", and broadly distributed a leaflet addressing proletarians and new revolutionary forces in Berlin. Many individuals and groups came forward to support this call and to carry forward the tradition of Red May Day, even while certain forces who were formerly active on May Day are now capitulating in the face of the anti-communist offensive. Many masses came forward as they saw red flags flying and May Day activities stepping off. There was great jubilation, and at its peak as many as 4,000 people were present. Another significant change in this year's celebration was the presence of proletarians from Poland, youth from Palestine, immigrants from Romania, Kurdistan, and Yugoslavia, and many people formerly crushed by the East Bloc. Proletarian immigrants along with "nothing to lose" youth of Germany stepped forward and carried the banner of May Day. Although the police viciously attacked 8 or 10 times, they failed miserably to stop the demonstration or dampen the spirit of the people. There were many injuries, but people persevered. Pictures of Mao and slogans on the Centenary of Mao's Birth and RIM's 10th Anniversary characterized this Red May Day, and the entire city of Berlin was well decorated.

In Denmark, the Mao Centenary infused the May Day 1994 rally, which was held by a group of Danish people, supporters of PCP and other revolutionary immigrants. 1500 copies of the poster issued for the founding of RIM were put up all over the Copenhagen area in honour of the RIM's Tenth Anniversary, where many still remain, and many people took part in discussions with the revolutionaries.

The Communist Party of Bolivia (Marxist-Leninist) issued a poster proclaiming, "A Spectre is Haunting the Andes, the Spectre of Maoism" and "Celebrate the Centenary of the Birth of Chairman Mao!" A meeting was held in the Paraninfo University, with music and speeches by several professors on Mao's contributions.

In the state of Punjab, the RCCI(ML) held May First street theatre, torchlight processions, small factory meetings and public meetings in over a half dozen cities and rural towns in which nearly two thousand people participated. Long speeches detailed the collapse of phoney communism, the advance of real communism, including through the people's war in Peru, the need to defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo, and the need for the international communist movement to advance its unity around MLM. The RIM Committee's May Day leaflet and several thousand copies of a poster hailing the Tenth Anniversary were put up in many small towns and villages around Punjab. Many factory workers from small towns attended, as did some women, day labourers, and peasants who had just finished the season's wheat harvest.

The Mao Tsetung Centenary has also inspired many other diverse kinds of activities worldwide. A magazine in West Bengal, India, raised the support necessary to publish and distribute a thousand copies of the original Little Red Book (the Quotations of Mao Tsetung) in Bengali.

Elsewhere in India, a coalition including various pro-Mao forces that have their roots in the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) of Charu Mazumdar, held a massive rally in Calcutta, attended by tens of thousands of people.

An international meeting in honour of the Mao Centenary was held near Düsseldorf, Germany, in November 1993, attended by hundreds of people from many countries. Among the organizers were some forces stepping forward to reclaim the banner of Mao, such as the Communist Party of Philippines, which is undergoing a rectification campaign to struggle against deviations that arose over the past period. They are looking to Mao Tsetung's teachings as a key weapon to carry this battle through and help advance the revolutionary war there. Many others at the meeting were, however, from a hodgepodge of reformist and revisionist groups, including the notorious Patria Roja group from Peru, who have supported the Peruvian government's genocidal war against the PCP-led People's War.

RIM forces attended, and Maoist theoretician Raymond Lotta from the US spoke about Mao Tsetung's Last Great Battle. His support for Mao's comrades-in-arms Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chao and his denunciation of Chou En-lai as the patron of Deng Xiao-ping caused controversy, as did his identification of the key source of capitalist restoration as the new bourgeoisie under socialism, the capitalist-roaders headquartered in the party and state apparatus.

Mao and Maoism were also celebrated right in the belly of the world's biggest imperialist beast, the United States. A special issue of the Revolutionary Worker, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was released on December 26th, containing the two new RIM documents and articles about Mao Tsetung. Programs were held at Columbia University in New York and at revolutionary bookstores in New York, Berkeley, and other cities, and a demonstration was organized in San Francisco's Chinatown. A programme was held in Los Angeles not long after the Chiapas rebellion. People also commemorated Mao Tsetung in a variety of other ways, utilizing video showings in housing projects in the ghettos and barrios, study and correspondence circles in prisons, and exhibits and classroom discussions in high schools.

150 attended the programme in New York, including people from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Central and South America, the former Soviet Union, and China, as well as homeless activists, supporters of the revolution in Peru, artists, Vietnam vets, youths, and others of all nationalities. Statements were given by spokespeople from the RCP, USA; the Committee To Support the Revolution in Peru; the December 12th Movement (a Black revolutionary nationalist organization); the Haiti World Autonomous Cultural Movement; the Movimiento Popular Dominicano, Marxist-Leninist; and the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, as well as by one of the Attica Brothers who participated in the prisoners' takeover in 1971, activists in the anti-intervention and Native American movements, and others.

In Spain, lively meetings were held in streets dotted with posters and banners proclaiming "Long Live Red First of May! Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! Celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement!"

TOP RIGHT: Posters in Kurdish hailing the adoption of MLM by RIM.

RIGHT: Durban, South Africa

In Peru the Centenary was marked by a wave of attacks that came to a crescendo during the week beginning December 26th. Several attacks were carried out on army units and outposts in the countryside, and in the capital of Lima, revolutionary fighters launched the Centenary week by targeting a military barracks. For the rest of the week attacks followed daily in Lima, hitting numerous banks, a telecommunications centre, and police and military facilities, including the headquarters of the notorious DINCOTE secret police, where heavy damage was done and 13 secret police wounded. On December 31st, near midnight, the Centenary attacks culminated in the blowing up of electrical pylons feeding the Lima metropolitan area power supply. As the city was plunged into darkness, the flames of a huge hammer and sickle suddenly lit up the skies from a hillside overlooking one of the vast shantytowns, not far from the city centre. The wave of attacks was carried out despite repeated announcements by the government of increased security preparations in anticipation that the PCP would mark the Mao Centenary. The ability of the Maoist revolutionaries in the PCP to mark the Centenary in such a powerful way, despite the enemy's preparations, dashed any remaining hopes of the imperialists and reactionaries that their capture of Chairman Gonzalo had dealt the PCP and the People's War a mortal blow. The supporters of the PCP abroad actively took the Maoist message to the revolutionary and rebellious masses in various European countries.