Italian Winemaker Defends Adolf Hitler-Branded Wine

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naturalplastic
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17 Aug 2022, 5:09 am

CockneyRebel wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
The winemaker just announced that he is quitting wine business altogether, and that instead he will start a new used record store- the store will trade in 33's, 45's, and 78's, from every decade.

The name of his new store will be: "The Vinyl Solution". :D


I'd like to buy some German stuff from his store.


Apparently, you dont get the joke. Oh well. :(



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17 Aug 2022, 5:46 am

It's astounding how fascism is rising in Europe. It's not illegal in most European countries to fly swastikas or deny the Holocaust, including Britain.

As someone said above, people have short memories. Also, most people who were in World War 2 are now dead.

My mum is 84 now. WW2 ended when she was 7 years old. She remembers how scary it was hearing the air raid siren and going to the bomb shelter. She remembers her dad going out every night watching for fires caused by bombs being dropped.

My neighbour who is in his late 80s still remembers running across his school playground in England being chased by a Nazi fighter plane. He saw the pilot's face. A lot of them targeted civilians on their raids.

But most people their age or over, are now dead. So the memories have been lost.

I read only the other day about a village in France that was destroyed and the inhabitants burned to death one afternoon by a passing SS patrol. Just for their own amusement.

Even I remember travelling in Europe as a teenager in the 1980s and being mistaken for German. Local Europeans were rude and unhelpful. When they realised I was English, they came forward with smiles and cakes. I couldn't understand why until I asked my mum. The memories of WW2 were still there in the 1980s but not anymore.

Never forget.


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17 Aug 2022, 7:30 am

Misslizard wrote:
I’ll wait for the Idi Amin and Papa Doc vintages to be released.

Pol Pot vintage


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17 Aug 2022, 4:57 pm

KitLily wrote:
It's astounding how fascism is rising in Europe. It's not illegal in most European countries to fly swastikas or deny the Holocaust, including Britain.


I think Plato predicted (in his Statesmen) that governments will go through cycles. He was right.



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17 Aug 2022, 8:11 pm

I suppose it's time for the obligatory harangue about how nobody bats an eye at revolutionary chic styles incorporating Che or Stalin or other communist imagery, despite the much higher death toll than Nazism.


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17 Aug 2022, 10:53 pm

Dox47 wrote:
I suppose it's time for the obligatory harangue about how nobody bats an eye at revolutionary chic styles incorporating Che or Stalin or other communist imagery, despite the much higher death toll than Nazism.


Considering that Che was a murderer representing an authoritarian regime, I have no use for his image on the "Fight The Power" tee shirts and posters. He just looks like a cool bad ass in that one picture of him, and that's all historically illiterate people care about.
I've never seen anyone using the likeness of Stalin to promote anything. I really have to wonder why anyone in their right mind, or with a soul, would.


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18 Aug 2022, 12:50 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
Considering that Che was a murderer representing an authoritarian regime, I have no use for his image on the "Fight The Power" tee shirts and posters. He just looks like a cool bad ass in that one picture of him, and that's all historically illiterate people care about.
I've never seen anyone using the likeness of Stalin to promote anything. I really have to wonder why anyone in their right mind, or with a soul, would.


You're clearly sheltered from the more extreme elements of the left, some of whom absolutely will lionize Stalin among other odious figures. The point remains though, those people are treated very differently than those who incorporate Nazi imagery into their political fashion, a very clear double standard. Kinda like how progressives constantly hunt for "disqualifying" statements or actions to smear historical figures and declare their work contaminated and not fit for modern consumption, but somehow overlook Marx's extremely racist writings, kind of gives the game away.


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18 Aug 2022, 1:21 am

Dox47 wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Considering that Che was a murderer representing an authoritarian regime, I have no use for his image on the "Fight The Power" tee shirts and posters. He just looks like a cool bad ass in that one picture of him, and that's all historically illiterate people care about.
I've never seen anyone using the likeness of Stalin to promote anything. I really have to wonder why anyone in their right mind, or with a soul, would.


You're clearly sheltered from the more extreme elements of the left, some of whom absolutely will lionize Stalin among other odious figures. The point remains though, those people are treated very differently than those who incorporate Nazi imagery into their political fashion, a very clear double standard. Kinda like how progressives constantly hunt for "disqualifying" statements or actions to smear historical figures and declare their work contaminated and not fit for modern consumption, but somehow overlook Marx's extremely racist writings, kind of gives the game away.


This not new Mao adorned clothing was radical chic in the 60s. Che was even bigger then than now.

Why and How to Revive American Anti-Communism
Quote:
The Victims of Communism Museum opened this June without the kind of fanfare that has accompanied the recent debuts of other exposition halls in the nation’s capital. Indeed, outside of a lone article in the Wall Street Journal and some local and conservative media outlets, it did not command much press coverage at all—a far cry from several lengthy Washington Post articles on the Museum of the Bible and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This might have been a function of the Victims of Communism Museum’s status as a small, private institution with only three permanent exhibition halls that can be easily covered in 40 minutes. Still, shouldn’t the first museum in the United States dedicated to educating the public about the deadliest ideology in human history have garnered more attention? Shouldn’t the sheer scale of the topic—over a century of history, dozens of countries, 100 million dead, and literal billions more victimized—have warranted more square footage than the lobby of one of the Smithsonians?


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18 Aug 2022, 1:35 am

Dox47 wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Considering that Che was a murderer representing an authoritarian regime, I have no use for his image on the "Fight The Power" tee shirts and posters. He just looks like a cool bad ass in that one picture of him, and that's all historically illiterate people care about.
I've never seen anyone using the likeness of Stalin to promote anything. I really have to wonder why anyone in their right mind, or with a soul, would.


You're clearly sheltered from the more extreme elements of the left, some of whom absolutely will lionize Stalin among other odious figures. The point remains though, those people are treated very differently than those who incorporate Nazi imagery into their political fashion, a very clear double standard. Kinda like how progressives constantly hunt for "disqualifying" statements or actions to smear historical figures and declare their work contaminated and not fit for modern consumption, but somehow overlook Marx's extremely racist writings, kind of gives the game away.


Well, it must only be a small part of the left, as I've never heard of anyone lionizing Stalin outside of Putin and his nationalist friends in Russia.
Some progressives. Or do you paint whole groups of people with the same brush?


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18 Aug 2022, 1:36 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Dox47 wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Considering that Che was a murderer representing an authoritarian regime, I have no use for his image on the "Fight The Power" tee shirts and posters. He just looks like a cool bad ass in that one picture of him, and that's all historically illiterate people care about.
I've never seen anyone using the likeness of Stalin to promote anything. I really have to wonder why anyone in their right mind, or with a soul, would.


You're clearly sheltered from the more extreme elements of the left, some of whom absolutely will lionize Stalin among other odious figures. The point remains though, those people are treated very differently than those who incorporate Nazi imagery into their political fashion, a very clear double standard. Kinda like how progressives constantly hunt for "disqualifying" statements or actions to smear historical figures and declare their work contaminated and not fit for modern consumption, but somehow overlook Marx's extremely racist writings, kind of gives the game away.


This not new Mao adorned clothing was radical chic in the 60s. Che was even bigger then than now.

Why and How to Revive American Anti-Communism
Quote:
The Victims of Communism Museum opened this June without the kind of fanfare that has accompanied the recent debuts of other exposition halls in the nation’s capital. Indeed, outside of a lone article in the Wall Street Journal and some local and conservative media outlets, it did not command much press coverage at all—a far cry from several lengthy Washington Post articles on the Museum of the Bible and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This might have been a function of the Victims of Communism Museum’s status as a small, private institution with only three permanent exhibition halls that can be easily covered in 40 minutes. Still, shouldn’t the first museum in the United States dedicated to educating the public about the deadliest ideology in human history have garnered more attention? Shouldn’t the sheer scale of the topic—over a century of history, dozens of countries, 100 million dead, and literal billions more victimized—have warranted more square footage than the lobby of one of the Smithsonians?


I've never heard of anyone so demented as to worship Mao. I don't doubt their existence, but they must be relatively few.


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18 Aug 2022, 3:25 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
I've never heard of anyone so demented as to worship Mao. I don't doubt their existence, but they must be relatively few.


:lol:



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18 Aug 2022, 4:09 am

Who, What, Why: What is the Little Red Book?

Quote:
It's an icon of China and communism as well as a work of propaganda. More than a billion copies have been published, making the book, often wrapped in its distinctive vinyl cover, one of the most widely produced of all time. During China's "Cultural Revolution" it became virtually mandatory to own and carry one.

The Little Red Book - or, to give its full title, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong - contains 267 aphorisms from the Communist Chinese leader, covering subjects such as class struggle, "correcting mistaken ideas" and the "mass line", a key tenet of Mao Zedong Thought. Included is Mao's famous remark that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".

Originally produced in 1964 by the People's Liberation Army - an early version was titled 200 Quotations from Chairman Mao - it soon became a key feature of the leader's personality cult.

As the regime attempted to export its ideas as a form of "soft power", millions of copies were published in translation and sold abroad. It was taken up by Western radicals such as the Black Panthers and passed around as a samizdat text in the Warsaw Pact nations, where the USSR's split from China ensured it was banned.

Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping disliked the book and tried to suppress it, says Leese, but this only served as a kind of "viral marketing". While its appeal today may be nostalgic or even kitsch, McDonnell's stunt may have temporarily boosted its British sales - since his speech, the Sun reported, left-wing bookshops have sold out of it.


How the west embraced Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book
Quote:
At the peak of its popularity from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, it was the most printed book in the world. In the years between 1966 and 1971, well over a billion copies of the official version were published and translations were issued in three dozen languages. There were many local reprints, illicit editions and unauthorised translations. Though exact figures are not possible, the text must count among the most widely distributed in all history. In the view of Daniel Leese, one of the contributors to Mao’s Little Red Book, the volume “ranks second only to the Bible” in terms of print circulation.

The editor of Mao’s Little Red Book writes in the preface that this is “the first scholarly effort to understand Quotations from Chairman Mao as a global historical phenomenon”. It is an accurate description, but the collection has the shortcomings that are to be expected in a book of essays by academic authors. The prose style is mostly stodgy and convoluted, and the contributors seem anxious to avoid anything that might smack of a negative attitude towards the ideas and events they describe. “As a group,” the editor continues, “we are diverse with respect to age, gender, ethnicity and political sympathies.” He is right that, judged by prevailing standards, it is a well-balanced group. All of the relevant disciplines are represented – history, area studies, literature, political science and sociology – and although ten of the 13 contributors teach in the US, the collection is representative of the range of views of China that you will find in universities in much of the world. However, the fact that it reflects the present state of academic opinion is also the book’s most important limitation.

Reading the essays brought together here, you would hardly realise that Mao was responsible for one of the biggest human catastrophes in recorded history.

In fastidiously avoiding any reference to the oppressive realities of the Mao years, academics were faithful followers of conventional opinion. The predominant western perception of Mao’s regime was of a progressive political project – if at times it got a little out of hand, that was no more than the exuberance that goes naturally with such a liberating enterprise. When in the 1970s I raised with a British communist the millions who were killed in rural purges in the years immediately after Mao came to power, he told me, “Those sorts of numbers are just for western consumption.” Further conversation showed that his estimates of the actual numbers were significantly lower than those conceded by the regime. No doubt unwittingly, he had stumbled on a curious truth: the prestige of the Mao regime in the west was at its height when the leadership was believed to be at its most despotic and murderous. For some of its western admirers, the regime’s violence had a compelling charm in its own right.

Julian Bourg recounts how in France Mao’s thoughts became à la mode with the August 1967 release of La Chinoise, Jean-Luc Godard’s film about a youthful Parisian Maoist sect. Among French thinkers, Bourg notes, “Mao’s language of violence had a certain rhetorical appeal.” In fact, it was his combination of rhetorical violence with sub-Hegelian dialectical logic that proved so irresistible to sections of the French intelligentsia. Eulogising Mao’s distinction between principal and secondary contradictions, Louis Althusser deployed Maoist categories as part of an extremely abstract and, indeed, largely meaningless defence of “the relative autonomy of theory”.

In the west, Maoism had two defining characteristics: it bore no relation to conditions in China, in regard to which its proponents remained invincibly ignorant; and it was embraced by sections of an intellectual class that was, for political purposes, almost entirely irrelevant. In Italy, Mao’s thought had for a time a slightly wider influence.
As Dominique Kirchner Reill writes, discussing Maoism in Italy and Yugoslavia, “In Italy Mao-mania was not purely a left-wing phenomenon. Some ultra-right groups quoted their Little Red Books to justify their arguments.” In 1968-73 the neo-fascist party Lotto di Popolo (“the people’s fight”) lauded Mao as an exemplary nationalist and resolute opponent of US global hegemony. In a footnote Reill observes that the “Nazi-Maoist movement in Italy included many other figures and groups” besides the Lotto di Popolo. It is a pity this aspect of Mao’s influence is not explored in greater detail.

f it was used as scripture during the Cultural Revolution, the Little Red Book had something of the same function for its western devotees. In China, studying the book was believed to have enabled peasants to control the weather. In the west, its practical efficacy was more limited. Among the radical intelligentsia, it provided a fantasy of revolution that enabled them to forget that their political influence was practically non-existent. As China has embraced a type of capitalism and turned itself into the world’s second-largest economy, original editions have become a scarce commodity. Today the great leader’s thoughts have joined a host of trashy collectibles – Mao fridge magnets, CD cases, cigarette lighters and playing cards, among other bric-a-brac – and become items whose only value lies in the commercial marketplace. The Little Red Book has now achieved what looks like being its most enduring significance: as a piece of capitalist kitsch.


Revisit the glory days of radical chic with Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise and Le Gai Savoir
Quote:
La Chinoise is the more dated of the two films, since it deals explicitly with the since-discredited influence of Maoism on Western leftist discourse. Yet it’s no political screed—Godard is clearly bemused by the radicals’ infatuation with ideology, which he conveys in witty visual detail. (Even when the director abandoned narrative completely, he could never suppress his flair for arresting images.) Note how the characters stack copies of Mao’s Little Red Book around the apartment, creating little dioramas out of them. These images recall the mosaics of consumer goods that Godard organized in Two or Three Things I Know About Her (which he released just months before La Chinoise), and like them, the stacks of books represent an ideology run rampant over the material world. Godard also has fun with the radicals’ discourse; throughout the film, the characters paint slogans over the walls of the apartment, thereby turning language into yet another image or thing.



Maoism in the United States
Quote:
For a few brief years during the 1970s, advocates of the type of Marxism-Leninism promoted by the Chinese Communist Party constituted the largest and most dynamic trend on the U.S. socialist left. This self-described “New Communist Movement” (the term “Maoism” was then frowned upon) was overwhelmingly a creation of young people radicalized in the tumultuous 1960s. At its height, U.S. Maoism could claim a core of roughly 10,000 activists devoted to its mission of constructing a new, “genuinely revolutionary” vanguard party to supplant the Communist Party USA and other allegedly reformist groups of the Old or New Left.

U.S. partisans of “Mao Tse Tung Thought” were never able to unite into a single Maoist party. But the largest radical newspaper of the time, the 20,000-plus circulation Guardian, was a proponent of New Communist goals from 1971 to the end of the decade. Additionally, the various Maoist cadre organizations (which ranged in size from a few dozen to more than 1,000 members) produced dozens of other newspapers, journals, books and pamphlets which reached thousands beyond the Maoist ranks. The New Communist Movement was the most racially diverse sector of the U.S. left with the highest proportion (25-30% or more) of African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos and Asian Americans in its leadership and membership ranks. Several thousand New Communist activists rooted themselves in industrial jobs and working class communities, and some played central roles in local and even occasional nationwide struggles. These included support for major strikes, such as the May 1972-February 1974 walkout in Texas and New Mexico by 4,000 mainly Chicana women at Farah Co. (then the largest U.S. manufacturer of men’s and boy’s pants); and mass mobilizations against the initial high court decisions rolling back affirmative action (Bakke vs. Univ of California, 1977-78).

Beginning in the late 1970s – as the Chinese party ever more openly abandoned its earlier advocacy of anti-imperialism and social revolution – the Maoist trend began to disintegrate almost as rapidly as it arose. For a time, the depth of Maoism’s crisis was obscured by the energy of a few “second wave” efforts at party building, which generally avoided the extreme ultra-left tactics and over-inflated rhetoric that characterized Maoism’s early days. But these late-’70s initiatives never attained the size or influence of their predecessors. To the contrary, the always-contentious relationships among the different Maoist groups became even worse. The largest organizations experienced splits and large-scale membership losses if not total collapse. Maoism’s (and China’s) prestige on the broader Left plummeted. By the middle of the 1980s Maoism as a viable trend had disappeared, although various small organizations espousing offshoots of Maoist ideology continued to exist on the fringes of the U.S. Left.


Basically, these articles confirmed my memories. I talked about radical chic in the 60s(my timing was a few years off), Dox47 talked about the extreme left. These were people you did not or are not likely to run into. Of note, as mentioned unlike Hitler worship (which is also a small minority), the full extent of the killing was not known. But the general gist of what was happening with the Cultural Revolution was reported at the time.


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18 Aug 2022, 8:11 am

Dox47 wrote:
I suppose it's time for the obligatory harangue about how nobody bats an eye at revolutionary chic styles incorporating Che or Stalin or other communist imagery, despite the much higher death toll than Nazism.


[sarcasm]But underneath it all their hearts where in the right place :heart: :heart: [/sarcasm]


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18 Aug 2022, 8:12 am

I'm not too thrilled with the "radical Left" myself....

Not that it matters...a genocide is a genocide....but Stalin certainly did kill more people than Hitler.



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18 Aug 2022, 5:02 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Not that it matters...a genocide is a genocide....but Stalin certainly did kill more people than Hitler.


At least under Stalin you could survive if you kept quiet. Under Hitler if you were a jew, a PoC or disabled there was no place to hide.



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18 Aug 2022, 7:22 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Who, What, Why: What is the Little Red Book?
Quote:
It's an icon of China and communism as well as a work of propaganda. More than a billion copies have been published, making the book, often wrapped in its distinctive vinyl cover, one of the most widely produced of all time. During China's "Cultural Revolution" it became virtually mandatory to own and carry one.

The Little Red Book - or, to give its full title, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong - contains 267 aphorisms from the Communist Chinese leader, covering subjects such as class struggle, "correcting mistaken ideas" and the "mass line", a key tenet of Mao Zedong Thought. Included is Mao's famous remark that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".

Originally produced in 1964 by the People's Liberation Army - an early version was titled 200 Quotations from Chairman Mao - it soon became a key feature of the leader's personality cult.

As the regime attempted to export its ideas as a form of "soft power", millions of copies were published in translation and sold abroad. It was taken up by Western radicals such as the Black Panthers and passed around as a samizdat text in the Warsaw Pact nations, where the USSR's split from China ensured it was banned.

Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping disliked the book and tried to suppress it, says Leese, but this only served as a kind of "viral marketing". While its appeal today may be nostalgic or even kitsch, McDonnell's stunt may have temporarily boosted its British sales - since his speech, the Sun reported, left-wing bookshops have sold out of it.


How the west embraced Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book
Quote:
At the peak of its popularity from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, it was the most printed book in the world. In the years between 1966 and 1971, well over a billion copies of the official version were published and translations were issued in three dozen languages. There were many local reprints, illicit editions and unauthorised translations. Though exact figures are not possible, the text must count among the most widely distributed in all history. In the view of Daniel Leese, one of the contributors to Mao’s Little Red Book, the volume “ranks second only to the Bible” in terms of print circulation.

The editor of Mao’s Little Red Book writes in the preface that this is “the first scholarly effort to understand Quotations from Chairman Mao as a global historical phenomenon”. It is an accurate description, but the collection has the shortcomings that are to be expected in a book of essays by academic authors. The prose style is mostly stodgy and convoluted, and the contributors seem anxious to avoid anything that might smack of a negative attitude towards the ideas and events they describe. “As a group,” the editor continues, “we are diverse with respect to age, gender, ethnicity and political sympathies.” He is right that, judged by prevailing standards, it is a well-balanced group. All of the relevant disciplines are represented – history, area studies, literature, political science and sociology – and although ten of the 13 contributors teach in the US, the collection is representative of the range of views of China that you will find in universities in much of the world. However, the fact that it reflects the present state of academic opinion is also the book’s most important limitation.

Reading the essays brought together here, you would hardly realise that Mao was responsible for one of the biggest human catastrophes in recorded history.

In fastidiously avoiding any reference to the oppressive realities of the Mao years, academics were faithful followers of conventional opinion. The predominant western perception of Mao’s regime was of a progressive political project – if at times it got a little out of hand, that was no more than the exuberance that goes naturally with such a liberating enterprise. When in the 1970s I raised with a British communist the millions who were killed in rural purges in the years immediately after Mao came to power, he told me, “Those sorts of numbers are just for western consumption.” Further conversation showed that his estimates of the actual numbers were significantly lower than those conceded by the regime. No doubt unwittingly, he had stumbled on a curious truth: the prestige of the Mao regime in the west was at its height when the leadership was believed to be at its most despotic and murderous. For some of its western admirers, the regime’s violence had a compelling charm in its own right.

Julian Bourg recounts how in France Mao’s thoughts became à la mode with the August 1967 release of La Chinoise, Jean-Luc Godard’s film about a youthful Parisian Maoist sect. Among French thinkers, Bourg notes, “Mao’s language of violence had a certain rhetorical appeal.” In fact, it was his combination of rhetorical violence with sub-Hegelian dialectical logic that proved so irresistible to sections of the French intelligentsia. Eulogising Mao’s distinction between principal and secondary contradictions, Louis Althusser deployed Maoist categories as part of an extremely abstract and, indeed, largely meaningless defence of “the relative autonomy of theory”.

In the west, Maoism had two defining characteristics: it bore no relation to conditions in China, in regard to which its proponents remained invincibly ignorant; and it was embraced by sections of an intellectual class that was, for political purposes, almost entirely irrelevant. In Italy, Mao’s thought had for a time a slightly wider influence.
As Dominique Kirchner Reill writes, discussing Maoism in Italy and Yugoslavia, “In Italy Mao-mania was not purely a left-wing phenomenon. Some ultra-right groups quoted their Little Red Books to justify their arguments.” In 1968-73 the neo-fascist party Lotto di Popolo (“the people’s fight”) lauded Mao as an exemplary nationalist and resolute opponent of US global hegemony. In a footnote Reill observes that the “Nazi-Maoist movement in Italy included many other figures and groups” besides the Lotto di Popolo. It is a pity this aspect of Mao’s influence is not explored in greater detail.

f it was used as scripture during the Cultural Revolution, the Little Red Book had something of the same function for its western devotees. In China, studying the book was believed to have enabled peasants to control the weather. In the west, its practical efficacy was more limited. Among the radical intelligentsia, it provided a fantasy of revolution that enabled them to forget that their political influence was practically non-existent. As China has embraced a type of capitalism and turned itself into the world’s second-largest economy, original editions have become a scarce commodity. Today the great leader’s thoughts have joined a host of trashy collectibles – Mao fridge magnets, CD cases, cigarette lighters and playing cards, among other bric-a-brac – and become items whose only value lies in the commercial marketplace. The Little Red Book has now achieved what looks like being its most enduring significance: as a piece of capitalist kitsch.


Revisit the glory days of radical chic with Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise and Le Gai Savoir
Quote:
La Chinoise is the more dated of the two films, since it deals explicitly with the since-discredited influence of Maoism on Western leftist discourse. Yet it’s no political screed—Godard is clearly bemused by the radicals’ infatuation with ideology, which he conveys in witty visual detail. (Even when the director abandoned narrative completely, he could never suppress his flair for arresting images.) Note how the characters stack copies of Mao’s Little Red Book around the apartment, creating little dioramas out of them. These images recall the mosaics of consumer goods that Godard organized in Two or Three Things I Know About Her (which he released just months before La Chinoise), and like them, the stacks of books represent an ideology run rampant over the material world. Godard also has fun with the radicals’ discourse; throughout the film, the characters paint slogans over the walls of the apartment, thereby turning language into yet another image or thing.



Maoism in the United States
Quote:
For a few brief years during the 1970s, advocates of the type of Marxism-Leninism promoted by the Chinese Communist Party constituted the largest and most dynamic trend on the U.S. socialist left. This self-described “New Communist Movement” (the term “Maoism” was then frowned upon) was overwhelmingly a creation of young people radicalized in the tumultuous 1960s. At its height, U.S. Maoism could claim a core of roughly 10,000 activists devoted to its mission of constructing a new, “genuinely revolutionary” vanguard party to supplant the Communist Party USA and other allegedly reformist groups of the Old or New Left.

U.S. partisans of “Mao Tse Tung Thought” were never able to unite into a single Maoist party. But the largest radical newspaper of the time, the 20,000-plus circulation Guardian, was a proponent of New Communist goals from 1971 to the end of the decade. Additionally, the various Maoist cadre organizations (which ranged in size from a few dozen to more than 1,000 members) produced dozens of other newspapers, journals, books and pamphlets which reached thousands beyond the Maoist ranks. The New Communist Movement was the most racially diverse sector of the U.S. left with the highest proportion (25-30% or more) of African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos and Asian Americans in its leadership and membership ranks. Several thousand New Communist activists rooted themselves in industrial jobs and working class communities, and some played central roles in local and even occasional nationwide struggles. These included support for major strikes, such as the May 1972-February 1974 walkout in Texas and New Mexico by 4,000 mainly Chicana women at Farah Co. (then the largest U.S. manufacturer of men’s and boy’s pants); and mass mobilizations against the initial high court decisions rolling back affirmative action (Bakke vs. Univ of California, 1977-78).

Beginning in the late 1970s – as the Chinese party ever more openly abandoned its earlier advocacy of anti-imperialism and social revolution – the Maoist trend began to disintegrate almost as rapidly as it arose. For a time, the depth of Maoism’s crisis was obscured by the energy of a few “second wave” efforts at party building, which generally avoided the extreme ultra-left tactics and over-inflated rhetoric that characterized Maoism’s early days. But these late-’70s initiatives never attained the size or influence of their predecessors. To the contrary, the always-contentious relationships among the different Maoist groups became even worse. The largest organizations experienced splits and large-scale membership losses if not total collapse. Maoism’s (and China’s) prestige on the broader Left plummeted. By the middle of the 1980s Maoism as a viable trend had disappeared, although various small organizations espousing offshoots of Maoist ideology continued to exist on the fringes of the U.S. Left.


Basically, these articles confirmed my memories. I talked about radical chic in the 60s(my timing was a few years off), Dox47 talked about the extreme left. These were people you did not or are not likely to run into. Of note, as mentioned unlike Hitler worship (which is also a small minority), the full extent of the killing was not known. But the general gist of what was happening with the Cultural Revolution was reported at the time.


in the 1960's and 70's, sure, Mao got adoration in the west from the ignorant and misguided. But today? I haven't seen it.


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-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer