Maoism (Mao Zedong thought)

The Chinese Communist Party, which was established in 1921, had a highly varied history until the 1930s – as demonstrated by its temporary alliance with the Kuomintang, the formation of a left-wing opposition under former General Secretary Chen Duxiu, the Civil War and the  “Long March” from 1934.

During the military withdrawal, which later became the Communist Party’s central heroic myth, Mao was able to gain the party leadership against a faction that was loyal to the Comintern. As of 1943, Mao’s position as chairman of the Chinese Communist Party enabled him to ensure that the “Sinicization of Marxism” continued and that it reflected his interests. Much like under Stalin, under Mao’s leadership, independent or dissident Marxists were brutally persecuted as belonging to the “left” or “right opposition”. In the second half of the 20th century, Maoism went on to influence numerous political movements, often, but not only, in “underdeveloped countries”. Thus, “Shining Path” from Peru, and the Indian Naxalites were influenced by Maoism as was the West German student movement from the 1960s to some extent. Finally, even if the Chinese Communist Party still refers to Maoist positions, its political and ideological positions are not Maoist in the strictest sense.