CRF Blog

The enduring influence of Mao Zedong

by David De La Torre

In The enduring influence of Mao Zedong, The Economist reviews Maoism: A Global History by Julia Lovell.

As Julia Lovell of Birkbeck, University of London, describes in “Maoism: A Global History”, the abstract chairman inspired revolutionaries around the world, from the highlands of Peru to the jungles of Cambodia, from the cafés of Paris to inner-city America. Mao’s ideology, distilled into a few pithy epigrams (“to rebel is justified”, “serve the people” and “bombard the headquarters” is all you need to know), helped foster suffering and mayhem not only in his own country, but around the world. His was the thinking behind Pol Pot and his Cambodian killing fields. It was his personality cult that encouraged an envious Kim Il Sung to push his own to similar heights of absurdity; North Koreans remain in its terrifying thrall today.

The cult of Mao did not end with the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. It has enjoyed a tenacious afterlife that has not received the attention it deserves. [more]

For free classroom lessons related to Mao and other post–World War II happenings in China, see:

“Mao Zedong and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”

“The Chinese Civil War: Why Did the Communists Win?”

“Communism, Capitalism, and Democracy in China”

“The Dispute Over the South China Sea”

All are available from CRF’s Bill of Rights in Action Archive, it is currently only in PDF and you may have to register (if you haven’t already), which is free.