Mao’s, Combat Liberalism — Part 4
When conversing with just about anyone on any number of subjects, they always assume that the position that I am taking on the given topic of discussion is the liberal stance. Those from the right will call me a bleeding heart liberal in need of a good dose of fortitude, or something to that effect, and those on the left will mistake me for a liberal democrat or something similar, sometimes too liberal for their tastes. Whichever it may be, I always tell them that in order for me to be liberal, I would have to be a capitalist, which, I am not. I am a Marxist and cannot, thus, be a liberal, lest I betray the ideology that I have chosen to defend with much rigor. One of the best definitions of liberalism from a Marxist perspective is given by Mao in his brief work Combat Liberalism (September 7, 1937).
Mao then outlines several ways in which Liberalism can manifest itself. This is what liberalism is and Marxism is not.
Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
This basically means that liberalism is destructive to the collective in a revolution. It eats away at and destroys unity, creates neglect, and causes the people to give up on caring. It damages discipline, loosens order in the ranks, weakens the chain of command, and alienates leadership form the masses, which is very bad for overall cohesion.
Liberalism stems from petty-bourgeois selfishness, it places personal interests first and the interests of the revolution second, and this gives rise to ideological, political and organizational liberalism.
Liberalism stems from the selfishness of the petty bourgeois. It places the people’s personal interests above those of the revolution, which gives rise to ideological, political, and organizational liberalism.
People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practice it or to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well — they talk Marxism but practice liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kinds of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.
Liberals look upon the the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of the concept but are are not prepared to practice it in full. They are not prepared to replace their liberalism with full Marxism. The have both concepts, taking Marxism while practicing liberalism. They apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both concepts together and use them when the situation sits, but they never commit to Marxism in full.
To be Continued…..If you want keep reading the piece that is the source for this commentary, visit https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_03.htm.