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Use The Past To Serve The Present; The Foreign To Serve China

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers how the theoretical opening up of Marxism-Leninism and its Stalinist form to include mass participation in revolutionary dialectics emerged out of philosophical and historiographical debates. Mao Zedong's conceptualization of the relationship between past and present developed alongside his understanding of Marxism-Leninism and his emerging relationship with Chen Boda, Marxist theorist and professor of ancient history. Mao insisted that the "standpoint and methodology" be distinguished from the "letter" of Marxism-Leninism. The result was a formulation of History that accepted a Marxist-Leninist and Stalinist periodization, emphasized a voluntaristic interpretation of Marxism, and envisioned the peasantry as a revolutionary force. The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution as well as the Sino-Soviet split; normalization of relations with the United States; and support for Asian, African, and Latin American national liberation struggles added new layers of politics to China's "past" and the applicability of Marxist-Leninist theory.

Keywords: China; Cultural Revolution; Great Leap Forward; Mao Zedong; Marxism-Leninism; Stalinist categories



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