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Maoism, also known as Mao Zedong Thought (mao zedong sixiang 毛泽东思想), is a variant of Communism, which is itself a form of Marxism, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong (1893–1976). Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it is widely applied as the political and military guiding ideology in the Communist Party of China (CPC) from Mao's ascendancy to its leadership until the party was taken over by Deng Xiaoping, who implemented Deng Xiaoping Theory and Chinese economic reforms in 1978. Nonetheless, although not fully adhered to by the government of the People's Republic of China anymore due to the reforms, Maoist parties and groups exist throughout the world, most notably in Peru, India, and Nepal, in the latter of which, the Maoist party won the elections in 2008.[1]


Marxist origins

Mao drew information from the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin in elaborating his theory. Philosophically, his most important reflections emerge on the concept of "contradiction" (maodun). These are contained in two major essays: “On contradiction” and “On the correct handling of contradictions among the people”. He adopts therein the positivist-empiricist idea (shared by Engels) that contradiction is present in matter itself (and thus, also in the ideas of the brain). Matter always develops through a dialectical contradiction: "The interdependence of the contradictory aspects present in all things and the struggle between these aspects determine the life of things and push their development forward. There is nothing that does not contain contradiction; without contradiction nothing would exist".[2] Thanks to this development or unfolding, something that was subordinated in the past may become dominant in the present and the future. This should be directly read in the light of the principle of class struggle, Mao said. Furthermore, each contradiction ("class struggle", then: the contradiction holding between relations of production and the concrete development of forces of production) expresses itself in a series of other contradictions, some dominant, others not. "There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions".[3] Thus, the principal contradiction should be tackled with priority when trying to make the basic contradiction "solidify".

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