Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century
Mao on the Army, 1966 Its relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century


Marx and Engels:
Communist Manifesto

Civil War in France


Theory of History

Marx and Engels:
On Human Nature


Violence and the Origin of the State

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Marx, Engels, Lenin:
On Dialectics

What is to be done?


The State and Revolution

Lenin: War Communism

The Cultural Revolution

Left-Wing Communism

The American Revolutions

The French Revolutions

On Workers Control

On Religion

On the Arms Race

Militarization of Labor

Russian Revolution

The Women's Question

Role of Communist Party

On Violence

On the Army

On Women

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Mao and Fidel:
Fall of the American Empire

Man and Socialism in Cuba

Hall and Winston:
Fighting Racism

National Liberation and Culture

Cabral: National Liberation and Culture

Nkrumah: Neo-Colonialism

Mao relied on the Red Army not only for defense of the Chinese Revolution, but also for an active role in carrying out economic and political policy. Hence in his chapter on Relations between Officers and Men he states, "Our army has always had two policies. First, we must be ruthless to our enemies; we must overpower and annihilate them. Second, we must be kind to our own, to the people, to our comrades and to our superiors and subordinates, and unite with them." And further, "We must make a distinction between the enemy and ourselves, and we must not adopt an antagonistic stand towards comrades and treat them as we would the enemy. In speaking up, one must have an ardent desire to protect the cause of the people and raise their political consciousness, and there must be no ridiculing or attacking in one's approach."

Under Mao's direction, the army became a major economic factor in production. As he describes in Building Our Country Through Diligence and Frugality "Production by the army for its own support has not only improved the army's living conditions and lightened the burden on the people, thereby making it possible further to expand the army. In addition, it has had many immediate side effects [including] improved relations between officers and men [who] work together in production and become like brothers ... better attitude to labour ... strengthened discipline ... improved relations between the army and the people ... less grumbling in the army about the government ... an impetus to the great production campaign of the people ... "

Democracy and education are of particular importance within the military. During the Long March which led to military victory of the revolution, Mao emphasized democratic participation within the military: "With regard to military democracy, in periods of training there must be mutual instruction as between officers and soldiers and among the soldiers themselves; and in periods of fighting the companies at the front must hold big and small meetings of various kinds. Under the direction of the company leadership, the rank and file should be roused to discuss how to attack and capture enemy positions and how to fulfil other combat tasks. When the fighting lasts several days, several such meetings should be held. This kind of military democracy was practiced with great success in the battle of Panlung in northern Shensi and in the battle of Shihchiachuang in the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei area. It has been proved that the practice can only do well and can do no harm whatsoever."

And for the modern Chinese army he emphasized in Education and the Training of Troops a non-authoritarian and democratic education: "Our slogan in training troops is 'Officers teach soldiers, soldiers teach officers and soldiers teach each other'. The fighters have a lot of practical combat experience. The officers should learn from the fighters, and when they have made other people's experience their own, they will become more capable." Study, he emphasized is not the memorization of dogma but a process of collective problem-solving: "It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and solving problems."

Just as he insists for the Communist Party, Mao insists on the unity of the army: "Internally, there is unity between officers and men, between the higher and lower ranks, and between military work, political work and rear service work; and externally, there is unity between the army and the people, between the army and government organizations, and between our army and the friendly armies. It is imperative to overcome anything that impairs this unity."

Of course, Mao's reliance on the Red Army was a form of the culture of war, since it ensured that power was ultimately in the hands of those with a monopoly on the means of violence, as was shown at Tien Min Square in 1989. Under these circumstances how is it possible to develop a socialist culture of peace?

Perhaps a way out from the paradox may be found through Mao's remarks in Serving the People where he praises the Canadian doctor Normal Bethune who came during the civil war to serve the Red Army on its Long March: "Comrade Bethune's spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in his boundless sense of responsibility in his work and his boundless warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people. Every Communist must learn from him. We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man's ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already nobleminded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people." Although he doesn't use the word, Mao is talking of love in much the same way as Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi.

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Revolutionary socialist culture of peace

Culture of War

Internal Culture of War

Culture of Peace

Education for nonviolence and democracy

Sustainable development for all

Human rights vs exploitation

Women's equality vs patriarchy

Democratic participation vs authoritarianism

Tolerance and solidarity vs enemy images

Transparency vs secrecy

Disarmament vs armament

Revolutionary leadership

Revolutionary organization

Proletarian Internationalism

National Liberation

Guerrilla Warfare


Agent Provocateurs

Communication systems

Psychology for revolutionaries

Capitalist culture of war

Socialist culture of war

Winning Conflict by Nonviolence

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More Sources

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Peace Process

Soviet Union
Disarmament Proposals

Soviet Collapse

Has Socialism Failed?

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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On Religion

Human Rights in South Africa

on Nonviolence

on Nonviolence

on Communism

Cuba's revolutionary medicine

People-power revolution in the Philippines