chronicles of a revolution (4)

Personally bound with the exploited, practice of revolt “by all means”, study to know the world in order to chang him.

Learning of socialism, need of further study and facing the limits of a nationalist democratic revolution (Here the revolution of 1911[1])

“Thus it was what while soldiering in this confused and doomed revolution of 1911, Mao came across the term 'socialist' for the first time in a newspaper, the Hsiang River Daily News. 'I also discussed socialism with other students and soldiers. I read some pamphlets ... about socialism.... I wrote enthusiastically to several of my classmates on this subject, but only one of them responded in agreement.' ' No one I have ever known,' Siao Emi was to say about Mao, 'hungered for so much knowledge on so many different levels.' He also hungered for communication.
The 1911 revolution swiftly sank into the morass of a power struggle. Sun Yatsen relinquished power to Yuan Shih-kai,  a circumspect, double-crossing militarist[2] who at one time served the Manchu dynasty but was now commander-in-chief of the New Republican Army. The hopes of the people ran high, but lassitude, disillusion, cynicism and intrigue were disrupted the great plans of reform among the intelligentsia. 'Thinking the revolution over, I resigned from the army and decided to return to my books.' Mao Tsetung found himself in March 1912 once again in need of a school, penniless, with no great endeavour except to find a way to go on studying. But he was not built for personal enterprise alone. (.....) 

In these six months Mao laid down the foundations of an education more ample than many. He studied world geography and world history. 'There for the first time I saw and studied with great interest a map of the world.' He read through the works of Rousseau, Spencer's logic, Montesquieu, Adam Smith and Darwin; poetry, economics, tales of ancient Greece. The world lay within his mind's grasp, and what an intricate, marvellous universe, all there for him to swallow! From then on, he would never be without books, nor spend a day without trying to learn something new. Even on the Long March he carried books with him.(....)
The mind could only be limbered by debate, contact with other minds; synthesis, cohesion came from arrangement of knowledge in categories; but which system was foolproof? Where did correct ideas come from? One's ideas changed as one's knowledge amplified; as Mao  watched his own transformation, certainties laid low, new doubts arising, he realised that 'knowledge is inexhaustible'. There  could be no end to the search, but how exciting this pilgrim's progress towards a new cosmos of wisdom, beauty and truth! All that happened, all situations and events were teaching material; life was a Long March to the discovery of the infinite. In the Changsha library Mao became a dialectician; years later Marxism would give him the answers he looked for; dialectical materialism would supply the philosophical foundation upon which he would found his vision of the world. But he would always, because of this beginning, resist dogmatism. ' Although we are determined by nature, we are also part of nature. Hence, if nature has the power to determine us, we also have the power to determine nature.' A seminal thought, key to the progress of voluntary, self-willed direction which alone can conceive of a Cultural Revolution as a conscious act of change, not only of nature, but of man's very soul.(...) 

In February 1912 Sun Yatsen had resigned the Presidency bestowed upon him by the 1911 revolution in favour of the militarist Yuan Shih-kai.(....)
One of Sun's defects was overtrusting others. Sun trusted Yuan Shih-kai, the unscrupulous, and went south to Kuangchow, leaving Yuan in charge in the capital Peking.(...)
But public opinion was disturbed by the news of a six-power consortium reorganisation loan offered to Yuan by the Western powers. This was actually an investment in weapons, to back Yuan as military dictator and protect foreign investments in China. Britain, France,the United States, Japan, Germany and Russia were afraid of the new nationalism, and openly announced that they would sabotage Sun Yatsen and his Republic. Yuan was the type of ambitious and corrupt militarist, whom they would back against Sun Yatsen.(....)
Rebellion against Yuan broke out and the whole of the Yangtze River valley smouldered with civil strife. Yuan well supplied with foreign funds from the reorganisation loan, had strongly equipped armies and defeated Sun Yatsen's hastily collected troops. Sun fled to Japan. Yuan's inauguration as chief of state by a subservient National Assembly, and the immediate recognition accorded his government by the jubilant Western powers, made Sun Yaysen's defeat appear crushing. The United States and the other colonial powers then endeavoured to popularise the idea of making Yuan emperor, but the last thing the Chinese people wanted was an emperor. Yuan's authority was contested in all provinces. 'The revolution is not finished,' said Sunt Yatsen.
Thus began the warlord era, when militarists fought each other up and down the land like feudal barons in medieval Europe, and China was shredded by warlord wars.[3]” 

To make revolution has to be learned: by historical study and by practice

“When World War I started in Europe in August 1914, China was temporarily 'vacated' by the Western powers. Japan seized the opportunity to present to Yuan in early 1915 the notorious Twenty-one Demands which substantially made of China a Japanese colony. Yuan's Western protectors were unable to counter Japan's bid for supreme power in China. Yuan, enchanted with the idea of becoming emperor, cast caution aside; the proclamation  of the new dynasty in December  1915 brought uprisings in south-west China. In April 1916 Hunan and Szechuan declared their independence, and Yuan Shih-kai, abandoned by his own military, died of a heart attack in June 1916.
But Yuan's death did not stop the centrifugal forces at work in the land. No less than seven warlords were now fighting each other in Hunan, where Yuan's protégé was driven out and Tan Yen-kai came back as governor in August 1916.
Sun Yatsen returned from Japan and set up his headquarters in Kuangchow(....) 

Warlord armies were quartered in temples and schools all over Hunan. Pillage was common, hoarding of goods and grain made money worthless, the peasants starved and the townspeople rioted; students plunged into mass protest. Thus took shape another revolution, through a swift maturing of consciousness among the young. The students organised self-defence corps, trained for physical fitness (regarded as 'political consciousness' at that time) and self-defence, which meant military drill. Eery school had its 'voluntary corps', and the Changsha Normal College was no exception. From the start Mao Tsetung took an active and swiftly leading position in all the political activities of the student body, and that included military drill. (....)
The student association under Mao took up political causes, demonstrations against Yuan Shih-kai, against the Japanese Twenty-one Demands. Mao led street demonstrations by the students against the Japanese and on 7 May 1915 wrote: 'To revenge this extraordinary humiliation [imposition ot the Japanese ultimatum] will be up to our generation.'   He also organised a research department, for 'social investigation', and organised student teams to visit and to investigate conditions in Changsha's factories. He laid plans for liaison with other schools to promote an All-China Student Federation. And when the self-defence corps against the warlords was established, Mao became head of the college batallion in the spring of1917. Just then scattered bands of warlord Fu Liang-tso's troops occupied the buildings of the Normal College. With some fellow students, Mao obtained a few real and some dummy rifles from a nearby police station, where he had made friends by going and talking to the policemen during street demonstrations he had led. At night he and his followers rushed the occupied college buildings,meanwhile raising a great shout: 'Fu Liang-tso has run away! Kwangsi troops are here! Surrender! Surrender!' The confused troops surrendered, were disarmed, and the student self-defence corps obtained more weapons. This was Mao's first experience of a typical surprise guerilla attack; he now studied intensively the science of war.
For war was normal, a daily occurrence in warlord China, and Mao's generation saw all life as war. They had been born between two wars, had seen a revolution, and now the whole country festered with warlords.
The influence of Sun Tze's classic book The Art of War, written two thousand years before, extends throughout Chinese history, and also influenced Mao's generation.(....)
The concept of war and peace as alternate facets of the same application of power is as old as Chinese history. Mao studied Sun Tze, and it is not surprising that he incorporated and developed in his creative writings on war the idea of the old master.(...)
He taught the students devices utilized by guerilla of the Taiping[4] days in the Hunan countryside – to cut the young bamboo in such a way as to leave a sharp point which could pierce the attacker's feet or hands; to scream and shout from one spot while attacking in silence from another. Thus guerilla war, peasant war, was brought into the classrooms of the Normal College by Mao Tsetung. 'He took charge ... his orders, even to the senior professors, were instantly obeyed.'[5] [6]” 

To increase consciousness of the masses which will once consciously fight for revolution, you have to become a teacher

“But his restless energy pushed him into many other activities  It was he who started, in 1917, together with Hsu Te-li, evening classes for workers and shop assistants. A building near the college was put at their disposal, how or by whom is not clear, and there is today the fascimile copy of a poster written by Mao Tsetung announcing this evening school, and promising that it would teach the workers culture, to read, to write and to count, free of charge[7]. ' In our country, the situation is  that most people have no opportunity for education,'  wrote Mao. He railed against the literary language employed by the officials, and advocated using the vernacular in these classes. 'When one lectures in the literary language nobody can understand the lecture; when one writes in it, no one can read it ....  it is also impossible to do sums  in it ....We are not wood or stone, we are men ... so come quickly and register .... do come and listen to some plain speech.' The poster added:'You can wear any clothes you want,' and 'Copybooks and other material supplied  free.' About one hundred workers from Changsha's sweatshop factories applied. The courses were from seven to nine ant night. Mao taught history and also 'current affairs', read the newspaper to the workers, and made them discuss what was happening. It was through his experience that Mao Tsetung acquired his basic grounding in education techniques.[8]

[2] The term militarist is more or less interchangable with the term warlord. In the break-up of the Manchu dynasty, military governors and commanders, with their own armies and territories, were for decades to carry on exhausting 'warlord years'.
[3] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chines Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890
[4] The songs and ballads of the Taiping uprising were still being sung by the Hunan peasants in Mao's youth.
[5] Siao San (Siao Emi). Quoted by Robert Payn, Portrait of a Revolutionary: Mao Tsetung, new and revised edition, Abelard-Schumann, New York and London, 1962.
[6] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chines Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890
[7] Seen by author in Changsha museum in 1966,1971.
[8] Out “The Morning Deluge – Mao Tse Tung and the Chines Revolution”, Han Suyin, http://www.amazon.com/morning-deluge-Tsetung-revolution-1893-1954/dp/0316342890

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten