Mao’s, Combat Liberalism — Part 5
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 a manifestation of opportunism and conflicts fundamentally with Marxism. It is negative and objectively has the effect of helping the enemy; that is why the enemy welcomes its preservation in our midst. Such being its nature, there should be no place for it in the ranks of the revolution.
Liberalism is opportunism and directly conflicts with Marxism. It is negative and works only to help the enemy; that is why the enemy hopes that liberalism will live on in society. Such being the nature of liberalism, Marxists cannot allow it to survive.
We must use Marxism, which is positive in spirit, to overcome liberalism, which is negative. A Communist should have largeness of mind and he should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolution as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; he should be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any private person, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a Communist.
Marxism, positive in its nature, must be used to destroy the negative nature of liberalism. A Marxist should keep a large mind and remain active in the struggle against liberalism. The interests of the revolution are worth more than their life. They must wage a tireless struggle against liberalism, to the expense of their own interests. The purpose is to consolidate the collective life of the party and strengthen the ties between the party and the masses. The party and the masses are more important to them than their own life. When this is so, they will then be considered a Marxist.
All loyal, honest, active and upright Communists must unite to oppose the liberal tendencies shown by certain people among us, and set them on the right path. This is one of the tasks on our ideological front.
It is the duty of all good Marxists to oppose liberalism in all its forms. They must work to set all who practice liberalism correct.
If you want to read the rest of the piece that is the source for this commentary, visit https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_03.htm.