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People's History of Ideas Podcast

History Podcasts

In this podcast, Matthew Rothwell, author of Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America, explores the global history of ideas related to rebellion and revolution. The main focus of this podcast for the near future will be on the history of the Chinese Revolution, going all the way back to its roots in the initial Chinese reactions to British imperialism during the Opium War of 1839-1842, and then following the development of the revolution and many of the ideas that were products of the revolution through to their transnational diffusion in the late 20th century.

Location:

United States

Description:

In this podcast, Matthew Rothwell, author of Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America, explores the global history of ideas related to rebellion and revolution. The main focus of this podcast for the near future will be on the history of the Chinese Revolution, going all the way back to its roots in the initial Chinese reactions to British imperialism during the Opium War of 1839-1842, and then following the development of the revolution and many of the ideas that were products of the revolution through to their transnational diffusion in the late 20th century.

Language:

English


Episodes

On the Experience of the National Bourgeoisie in the New Democratic Revolution

2/4/2024
Some reflections on the experience of Shanghai capitalists after 1949 prompted by the ‘Notice to Merchants and Intellectuals’ that Mao issued after taking Changting in 1929. Further reading: Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Yao Wenyuan, “On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique” (for heavenly horses reference) David Apter and Tony Saich, Revolutionary Discourse in Mao’s Republic Lynn White, Policies of Chaos: The Organizational Causes of Violence in China’s Cultural Revolution David Barbosa, “Rong Yiren, a Chinese Billionaire, Dies at 89” Some names from this episode: Wu Zhongyi, Shanghai capitalist Rong Yiren, Shanghai capitalist Support the show

Duration:00:26:43

A New Communist Order in Changting (March 1929)

1/13/2024
Looking at what Mao and Zhu De did to install a new Communist order after conquering Changting. Further reading: Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De] Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Mao Zedong, “On New Democracy” Some names from this episode: Guo Fengming, bandit turned Guomindang local despot in Changting Feng Yuxiang, warlord close to both the USA and the Soviet Union Wang Jingwei, leader of the Guomindang left Dai Jitao, Guomindang ideologue Yan Xishan, warlord accused by Mao of being a running dog for the Japanese imperialists Support the show

Duration:00:34:07

Leaving Donggu, Taking Changting (February to March 1929)

12/7/2023
How the Fourth Red Army spent their time in Donggu, and how they took the first city in the new base area in the Jiangxi-Fujian border region. Further reading: Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De] Joseph Fewsmith, Forging Leninism in China: Mao and the Remaking of the Chinese Communist Party, 1927–1934 Gao Hua, How the Red Sun Rose: The Origins and Development of the Yan’an Rectification Movement, 1930-1945 Stephen Averill, “The Origins of the Futian Incident” Some names from this episode: Xiao Ke, an officer in the Fourth Red Army Peng Pai, Communist peasant organizer Long Chaoqing, important early Communist in Jinggangshan area Peng Dehuai, Leader of the 5th Red Army Guo Fengming, Bandit turned Guomindang local despot in Changting Support the show

Duration:00:22:50

From Dabodi to Donggu: The Retreat from the Jinggangshan Continues (February 1929)

10/19/2023
The Mao-Zhu Army raises funds in Ningdu and moves on to the Donggu base area for rest and recovery. Background on Donggu. Link to map of Jiangxi province: https://www.chinamaps.org/china/provincemaps/jiangxi-province-map.html Further reading: Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De] Joseph Fewsmith, Forging Leninism in China: Mao and the Remaking of the Chinese Communist Party, 1927–1934 Some names from this episode: Wang Chuxi, big landlord in Donggu area who lived in Futian Ye Jianying, Communist who led division of the National Revolutionary Army which took Ji’an during the Northern Expedition Duan Qifeng, Donggu bandit chief who joined with Communists Wang Zuo, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong Lai Jingbang, first leader of the Donggu communists Wang Liangzhao, younger brother to Wang Chuxi Support the show

Duration:00:20:48

Running for Their Lives: The Retreat from the Jinggangshan (January to February 1929)

10/12/2023
Mao and the Fourth Red Army break the encirclement of the Jinggangshan and retreat across southern Jiangxi with the Guomindang in hot pursuit. Link to map of Jiangxi province: https://www.chinamaps.org/china/provincemaps/jiangxi-province-map.html Further reading/watching on the difficulties of finding good maps of China: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restrictions_on_geographic_data_in_China https://www.reddit.com/r/Maps/comments/b6qnvc/just_blew_my_mind_every_map_of_china_is/ https://www.reddit.com/r/China/comments/7pju2c/why_is_google_maps_coverage_of_china_slightly_off/ Further reading: Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De] Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 4: The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Soviet Republic, 1931-1934 Some names from this episode: Chen Yi, Political commissar for the 28th regiment of the Fourth Red Army Lin Biao, Battalion commander in the 28th regiment Wu Ruolan, Communist cadre and Zhu De’s wife Support the show

Duration:00:22:00

Frameworks for Thinking about Tragic Historical Shortcomings of the Socialist Experience

10/4/2023
Answering a listener question on the Great Leap Forward famine. Further reading: Mobo Gao, The Battle for China’s Past United Nations, “Losing 25,000 to Hunger Every Day” Minhaz Merchant, “Churchill’s Bengal Famine” Karl Marx, Capital Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts Frederick Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England Support the show

Duration:00:28:28

The End of the Sixth Congress

9/28/2023
We wrap up our discussion of the Sixth Congress with a discussion of the political line coming out of the congress, and some related issues. Further reading: Tony Saich, The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party Chang Kuo-t’ao [Zhang Guotao], The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party (2 volumes) Daniel Kwan, Marxist Intellectuals and the Chinese Labor Movement: A Study of Deng Zhongxia, 1894-1933 Various 6th Party Congress documents in Chinese Studies in History vol. 3, #4 through vol. 5, #1 Yueh Sheng, Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow and the Chinese Revolution: A Personal Account A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China Some names from this episode: Nikolai Bukharin, general secretary of the executive committee of the Comintern Qu Qiubai, Named head of provisional politburo at August 7, 1927 Emergency Conference Zhang Guotao, Leading Communist Pavel Mif, Top Comintern China specialist Li Lisan, Leading Communist Zhou Enlai, Leading Communist Xiang Zhongfa, Trade unionist and new general secretary of the CP Xiang Ying, Leading Communist Support the show

Duration:00:33:04

Clashing Communists and Comintern Guidance: The 6th Congress Gets off to a Rocky Start

9/21/2023
Qu Qiubai’s report and proposal are disputed, and the Comintern intervenes to restore order. Further reading: Tony Saich, The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party Chang Kuo-t’ao [Zhang Guotao], The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party (2 volumes) Daniel Kwan, Marxist Intellectuals and the Chinese Labor Movement: A Study of Deng Zhongxia, 1894-1933 Qu Qiubai, “The Past and Future of the Chinese Communist Party” Various 6th Party Congress documents in Chinese Studies in History vol. 3, #4 through vol. 5, #1 Some names from this episode: Nikolai Bukharin, general secretary of the executive committee of the Comintern Qu Qiubai, Named head of provisional politburo at August 7, 1927 Emergency Conference Chen Duxiu, Co-founder and first general secretary of the Communist Party Zhang Guotao, Leading Communist Pavel Mif, Top Comintern China specialist Chen Shaoyu, Protégé of Mif (better known as Wang Ming) Shen Zemin, Sun Yat-sen University student who translated at the 6th party congress Support the show

Duration:00:21:22

Bukharin on the Nature of the Chinese Revolution in 1928

9/14/2023
Our third (and last) close look at Bukharin’s speech at the 6th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held in Moscow in the summer of 1928. Further reading: Nikolai Bukharin, “On the International Situation and the Tasks of the Chinese Communist Party” Lenin, “Speech at the First All-Russia Congress of Working Women” Some names from this episode: Nikolai Bukharin, general secretary of the executive committee of the Comintern Peng Dehuai, Guomindang colonel who was secretly a Communist and who launched an uprising in July 1928 Support the show

Duration:00:38:08

Bukharin on the Theory of the Productive Forces (and Mao’s counterpoint on New Democratic Revolution)

5/27/2023
Bukharin articulates a vision of the Chinese Revolution at the 6th Party Congress which is highly colored by the non-revolutionary Marxism of the 2nd International. Further reading: Nikolai Bukharin, “On the International Situation and the Tasks of the Chinese Communist Party” Andre Gunder Frank, World Accumulation, 1492–1789 Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System, vol. I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century Mao Zedong, “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party” Vladimir Lenin, “Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution” Vladimir Lenin, “Once Again on The Trade Unions: The Current Situation and the Mistakes of Trotsky and Bukharin” Hung Hsueh-ping, “The Essence of ‘Theory of Productive Forces’ is to oppose Proletarian Revolution” Some names from this episode: Nikolai Bukharin, general secretary of the executive committee of the Comintern Chen Duxiu, Co-founder and first general secretary of the Communist Party Mikhail Borodin, Comintern agent and head of Soviet mission to aid the Guomindang during the period of the first united front Support the show

Duration:00:24:51

The ‘Third Period’ of the World Revolution: Bukharin’s Speech at the Sixth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (June 1928)

5/20/2023
Nikolai Bukharin kicks off the party congress with a very long speech. Further reading: Tony Saich, The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party Chang Kuo-t’ao [Zhang Guotao], The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party (2 volumes) E. H. Carr, Foundations of a Planned Economy, vol. 3 Nikolai Bukharin, “On the International Situation and the Tasks of the Chinese Communist Party” Nicholas Kozlov and Eric Weitz, “Reflections on the Origins of the ‘Third Period’: Bukharin, the Comintern, and the Political Economy of Weimar Germany” Theodore Rosengarten, All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw Robin Kelley, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression Some names from this episode: Nikolai Bukharin, general secretary of the executive committee of the Comintern Zhang Guotao, Leading Communist Qu Qiubai, Top leader of the Chinese Communist Party from the August 7, 1927 emergency meeting until the 6th Party Congress Eugen Varga, Hungarian communist economist Support the show

Duration:00:25:18

Preparations for the Sixth Party Congress (April to May 1928)

5/13/2023
The decision to hold the Sixth Party Congress in Moscow, and some of the political debate inside the Communist Party of China leading up to that Congress. Further reading: Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Tony Saich, The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party Patricia Stranahan, Underground: The Shanghai Communist Party and the Politics of Survival, 1927-1937 Daniel Kwan, Marxist Intellectuals and the Chinese Labor Movement: A Study of Deng Zhongxia, 1894-1933 Chang Kuo-t’ao [Zhang Guotao], The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party (2 volumes) E. H. Carr, Foundations of a Planned Economy, vol. 3 Organization of Communist Revolutionaries, “The CP, the Sixties, the RCP, and the Crying Need for a Communist Vanguard Party Today: Summing up a century of communist leadership, organization, strategy, and practice in the United States so that we can rise to the challenges before us” Some names from this episode: Qu Qiubai, Top leader of the Chinese Communist Party from the August 7, 1927 emergency meeting until the 6th Party Congress Zhang Guotao, Leading Communist Chen Duxiu, General Secretary of the Communist Party until summer 1927 Zhou Enlai, Leading Communist Support the show

Duration:00:21:43

The Bailu Conference: Suppressing Orders from the Party Congress and Preparing to Leave the Jinggangshan (January 1929)

2/16/2023
Potentially explosive guidance arrives in the Jinggangshan from the 6th Party Congress of the Communist Party, and plans are laid to break out of the enemy encirclement. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Tony Saich, The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong, “Combat Liberalism” Some names from this episode: Peng Dehuai, Guomindang colonel who was secretly a Communist and who launched an uprising in July 1928 Wang Zuo, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong Yuan Wencai, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong Wang Shouhua, President of the General Labor Union Chen Yi, Political commissar for the 28th regiment of the Fourth Red Army Long Chaoqing, secretary of the Ninggang County Committee of the Communist Party Wang Huai, secretary of the Yongxin County Committee of the Communist Party He Changgong, important Fourth Red Army cadre Support the show

Duration:00:24:01

The Base Area under Economic Blockade and Unification with the Fifth Red Army (End of 1928)

2/2/2023
The national Guomindang center takes note of the Communists’ resilience, and takes charge of organizing a new suppression campaign, which is preceded by a tight economic blockade. Peng Dehuai makes his way to the Jinggangshan. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Mao Zedong, “The Struggle in the Chingkang Mountains” Edward Dreyer, China at War: 1901-1949 James Sheridan, China in Disintegration: The Republican Era in Chinese History, 1912-1949 Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De] Peng Dehuai, Memoirs of a Chinese Marshall Some names from this episode: Chen Yi, Political commissar for the 28th regiment of the Fourth Red Army Wang Zuo, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong He Zizhen, Communist cadre known as the “Two-Gunned Girl General” Peng Dehuai, Guomindang colonel who was secretly a Communist and who launched an uprising in July 1928 Teng Daiyuan, Fifth Red Army leading cadre He Changgong, important Fourth Red Army cadre Support the show

Duration:00:29:25

Vagrants, Mercenaries, and Rich Peasants (November 1928)

11/27/2022
A close reading of a couple portions of Mao’s November 25, 1928 report to the Central Committee. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 2: National Revolution and Social Revolution, December 1920-June 1927 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Mao Zedong, “The Struggle in the Chingkang Mountains” Names listed as having attended Nov. 6 meeting mentioned near the beginning of the episode: Zhu De, Chen Yi, He Tingying, He Changgong, Yuan Wencai, Wang Zuo, Tan Zhenlin, Deng Ganyuan, Li Quefei, Chen Zhengren, Wang Zuonong, Xiao Wanxia, Liu Huixiao, Xie Chunbiao, Liu Di, Xiong Shouqi, Yang Kaiming, Cao Shuo, Deng Jiuting, Mao Zedong, Song Qiaosheng, Peng Gu, and Yuan Desheng. Support the show

Duration:00:41:10

Transforming, Building, and Purging the Party (September to November 1928)

10/31/2022
Finishing our close reading of the resolution of the Border Area Party Congress of October 4 to 6, 1928. Also, the reorganization and purge of the party following the Communist recovery of the Jinggangshan base area after the August Defeat. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Charles Bettelheim, Class Struggles in the USSR: First Period: 1917-1923 Fyodor Vasilievich Gladkov, Cement Support the show

Duration:00:25:00

Opportunism and Self-Criticism: The Jinggangshan Party Congress Resolution of October 1928

10/20/2022
A discussion of the concept of opportunism as it developed in the international communist movement, and a close reading of the self-critical portion of the resolution of the Border Area Party Congress of October 4 to 6, 1928. Further reading: Lenin, “Opportunism, and the Collapse of the Second International” Cheng Yen-shih, ed., Lenin’s Fight Against Revisionism and Opportunism Mao Zedong, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People” Lynn White, Policies of Chaos: The Organizational Causes of Violence in China's Cultural Revolution Some names from this episode: Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June Liu Zhen, Secretary of the Yongxin County Party Committee Support the show

Duration:00:29:26

“Why Is It that Red Political Power Can Exist in China?” (October 1928)

9/15/2022
A close reading of the portion of the resolution of the Border Area Party Congress of October 4 to 6, 1928, which later became a key early text in the Maoist canon. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Mao Zedong, “Why Is It that Red Political Power Can Exist in China?” Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Jane Degras, ed., The Communist International, 1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2: 1923-1928 A name from this episode: Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June Support the show

Duration:00:41:13

The August Defeat (Part 2): The Communists Strike Back (August to November 1928)

7/31/2022
The Communists fight to regain lost territory, and ethnic tensions explode among the peasants in the base area. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Some names from this episode: Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June Gong Chu, Political commissar for the 29th regiment Chen Yi, Political commissar for the 28th regiment Kang Keqing, Peasant guerrilla fighter from Wan’an County Yuan Wencai, Leader of the 32nd regiment Support the show

Duration:00:24:08

The August Defeat (Part 1)

7/24/2022
The 29th Regiment goes against Mao’s orders and decides to stay in Hunan, with disastrous results for the Communists. Further reading: Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De] Jurgen Domes, Peng Te-huai: The Man and the Image Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930 Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949 Some names from this episode: Wang Zuo, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong Yuan Wencai, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong Hu Shaohai, Commander of the 29th regiment of the 4th Red Army Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June Fan Shisheng, Guomindang general and old friend of Zhu De Yuan Chongquan, 28th Regiment battalion commander who mutinied Yuan Desheng, Representative of the Hunan Provincial Committee Peng Dehuai, Guomindang colonel who was secretly a Communist and who launched an uprising in July 1928 Support the show

Duration:00:21:54