Comrade Mao: necessary, evil, or a necessary evil?
Perhaps more important than the debate over the details of Mao's political career is the debate over how to define the society he created. In the comments boxes at indymedia Dave Brownz has done the great service of presenting Peter Taafe's orthodox Trotskyist analysis of Mao's China. Dave notes that:
"[I]t matters a lot whether Mao was a crazy capitalist, or a ruthless bureaucrat. If the former view is correct t leads to the conclusion that Mao's rule was nothing but an exercise in primitive accumulation, in preparation for a full-blown market capitalism. If Taafe is right, then despite Mao's dictatorship China was a degenerated workers' state that had gone beyond capitalism and created a planned economy as the basis for a healthy workers' state...[therefore socialists] would fight for the overthrow of the bureaucracy and the defence of state property against those who wanted to restore capitalism..."
What Dave brings out is the fatalism of the view that Mao was some sort of inevitable stage in Chinese history. Read Peter Taafe's article and decide for yourself. I'm off to buy some golden roast potatoes...