Maoism has been around, at least in name, since the mid-1940s. Numerous attempts were made to elevate Mao Zedong Thought to the level of an “-ism,” much to Mao’s displeasure. In 1948, in a correspondence with Wu Yuzhang, then president of North China University, he refused to allow his name to be listed alongside Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, writing, “there is no Maoism”. In 1955, at a conference, again it was suggested that Mao Zedong Thought be elevated to Maoism. Mao replied simply, “Marxism-Leninism is the trunk of the tree; I am just a twig.” This was not mere modesty, this was dialectical.
With an ongoing trade war, tensions rising in the South China Sea, and the growing esteem of President Xi Jinping, China has been the subject of a significant amount of our twenty four hour news cycle. If, like me, you’ve subjected yourself to any of it then let me be the first to say: I’m sorry. Also, you’ve been lied to.