Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Maoism is generally synonymous with the thought of Chairman Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1976. Maoism is best understood within the larger context of Marxism and the communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Marxism is generally understood as a theory that claims that the contradictions of capitalism would lead people to create a revolution aiming to construct a new socialist society. However, twentieth-century revolutions in general, and the Chinese revolution in particular, happened in places where the contradictory logic that Marx described in Capital had not developed. The various tenets of Maoism must be understood as an alternative Marxist political theory, which emphasizes aspects other than, or in addition to, the contradictions of capitalism. Maoists attempt to show how revolutions in the third world could be part of a world-historical transformation of capitalism. This entry first briefly summarizes Marx's understanding of the possibility of socialism and During ...