The Mandate of Heaven - Nigel Harris

PLA enter Beijng, bearing a portrait of Mao Zedong

The original blurb for this book read as follows:

China’s transformation from a poor country devastated by war into a major world power is a modern legend. But how did this change come about? What are the real living conditions of teh peasants and workers? Why, when apparently united in their beliefs, are Russia and China enemies? And why, if Mao is right, must Marx be wrong?

Using publications from the People’s Republic and his own extensive research, Nigel Harris has written a serious critique of the history, aims and actions of the communist Party in China.

Obviously much has changed in the almost quarter century since the book was written, but it is still a valuable, even indispensible, guide to the background to current developments in China.

Preface

The Communist party of China claims that it is the leadership of the working class, and that the Chinese working class leads the peasantry in a State which exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat. This book is an appraisal of these claims in the light of present-day reality in China.

The first part is a brief résumé of the party’s experience before coming to power in 1949. The second part describes the history of the new Chinese State and the problems it has faced in the period to 1977. Part three then examines the party’s relationship to workers and peasants in the People’s Republic. Part four appraises the degree of equality and democracy in China, and the ability of the new State to protect its hard-won national independence. Part five assesses the significance of China’s foreign policy and the activities of the supporters of Mao Tsetung thought abroad.

Throughout this account, a number of problems arise in relating the claims of the Chinese Communist party to the known record. Part six takes up these themes and attempts to offer an explanation of the past and the present, and so a suggestion as to the future course of events.

I am grateful for the discussions I have had with many people over the issues involved. Particular gratitude is due to Tony Cliff for his work in reading earlier drafts of the manuscript.

London, 1978

Notes for the Reader

Abbreviations Used in the Text and Notes

ACFTU All-China Federation of Trade Unions (before 1953, All-China Federation of Labour)
CB Current Background, translation of official documents of the government or party, issued in translation by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
CC Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party; when it occurs with a number (e.g. the Ninth), this refers to the Congress which elected it
CCP Chinese Communist Party
CI Communist International (Comintern), 1919-43
CQ China Quarterly (originally, Chungking; from 1960, London)
ECCM Extracts from China Mainland Magazines (subsequently, Extracts from People’s Republic of China Magazines), published by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
GAC Government Administrative Council; from 1954, State Council, the council of ministers of the Government of the People’s Republic
JMJP Jen-min Jih-pao (The People’s Daily, Peking); as officially now transliterated into Roman script, Renmin Ribau
JMP Jen Min Piao or Yuan (or Chinese dollar), official currency of the People’s Republic. Official transliteration now, Renminbau (RMB)
JP Jih-pao, daily (of newspapers)
KMT Kuomintang
NPC National People’s Congress
PLA People’s Liberation Army
PR Peking Review, Peking, weekly (in English and other languages)
PRC People’s Republic of China
RMB See JMP
SCMP Survey of China Mainland Press (subsequently, Survey of People’s Republic of China Press), translations from the Chinese Press, published by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
SCMM Survey of China Mainland Magazines (subsequently, Survey of People’s Republic of China Magazines), translations from Chinese weekly and monthly publications, published by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
SWB Survey of World Broadcasts, monitoring service (of Chinese radio) by the British Broadcasting Corporation, London

Transliteration

Over the period concerned, different forms of transliteration from Chinese to Roman characters have been used. Where possible, these have been standardized on the first use in this book, without any regard to the relative merits of different forms. Where citations use different transliteration for the same term, no attempt has been made to standardize them.


Chinese measures

JMP/RMB: converted from old to new (10,000:1) in 1955. Currently, 1 RMB equals 0.526 US dollars.

Mou: 0.067 hectares or 0.165 acres.

Catty: 500 grammes or 1.102 lbs.
Note on Sources of Mao’s Works
Statements before 1949

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol.1, Peking, 1965 (official translation of the second official Chinese edition, Peking, April 1960). Textual reference: SW I

Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, 1926-1936, Vol.1, New York, 1954 (official translation of the Chinese edition, Peking, 1951). Textual reference: SW I, New York, 1954

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vols.II and III, Peking, 1956 (official translation of the second Chinese edition, Peking, 1960). Textual reference: SW II or SW III

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol.IV, Peking, 1961 (official translation of the first Chinese edition, Peking, 1960). Textual reference, SW IV

Sources of citation from individual writings of Mao earlier than these editions are cited in the text. They include:

A Documentary History of Chinese Communism, edited by Conrad Brandt, Benjamin Schwartz and John H. Fairbank, New York, 1967. Textual reference: A Documentary History

Mao’s China: Party Reform Documents, 1942-44, translated by Boyd Compton, London, 1952

Mao Tse-tung, China: The March Towards Unity, documents, Communist Party of the United States, New York, 1937

Speeches, writings and quotations after 1949

Official published sources – for example, Mao Tse-tung on Art and Literature, P

eking, 1960; Four Essays on Philosophy, Peking, 1968; Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, Peking, 1966; and as cited in the text.

Internal party publications, as compiled in various sources, but particularly Mao Tse-tung ssu-hsiang wan sui (Long Live Mao Tse-tung Thought), 1967/69, as translated in:

Miscellany of Mao Tse-tung Thought, 1949-68, Vols.I and II, Joint Publications Research Service, Arlington Virginia, n.d. (mimeo). Textual reference: Miscellany

Mao Tse-tung Unrehearsed, Talks and Letters, 1965-71, edited by Stuart R. Schram, London, 1974. Textual reference: Mao Unrehearsed

Mao Papers, Anthology and Bibliography, translated and edited by Jerome Ch’en, London, 1970. Textual reference: Mao Papers

The publication of Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol.V, Peking, 1977 (covering the period 1949 to 1957) occurred too late for the volume to be used here as a source.

For discussions of these documents, cf. the introduction to Schram, op.cit.; CQ57, pp.156-65; John Gittings, The World and China, 1922-72, London, 1974, chs.XI and XII; and CQ60, pp.750-66; or Roderick McFarquhar, The Times, 5 Sept 1973.

References

Citations and notes to the text are given at the end of each chapter, although they are numbered by part.

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Comments

Entdinglichung
Apr 22 2016 13:41

thanks for posting it!

Nymphalis Antiopa
Apr 23 2016 08:36

This text is already available on the internet here: http://www.marxists.de/china/harris/

It is written by an economics professor who wrote this when he was in the SWP, of which he was a long-term leading member (editor of International Socialism) . It is full of classic productivist shit - use of the term "underdeveloped country" which is predictable for an economics professor (that is, a propounder of the con that economics is and the whole capitalist notion of progress and development seen in economic terms, in terms of the production of things, of the production of commodified technology, even if he seems to criticise the class basis of this production). Whilst it may have some interesting facts, there are very few books out of the university that don't. But I doubt that the right-wing Robert Conquest's book on the soviet union's "Great Terror", also full of interesting facts, would be put here because its language and perspective are more obviously bullshit.

So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label.

Hieronymous
Jan 30 2017 08:08
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
This text is already available on the internet here: http://www.marxists.de/china/harris/

It is written by an economics professor who wrote this when he was in the SWP, of which he was a long-term leading member (editor of International Socialism) . It is full of classic productivist shit - use of the term "underdeveloped country" which is predictable for an economics professor (that is, a propounder of the con that economics is and the whole capitalist notion of progress and development seen in economic terms, in terms of the production of things, of the production of commodified technology, even if he seems to criticise the class basis of this production). Whilst it may have some interesting facts, there are very few books out of the university that don't. But I doubt that the right-wing Robert Conquest's book on the soviet union's "Great Terror", also full of interesting facts, would be put here because its language and perspective are more obviously bullshit.

So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label.

You wrote:

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
Hieronymous says:
Quote:
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:

"So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label."

I have not said that anywhere. Please indicate your source.

Liar

Reddebrek
Jul 28 2018 03:16
Nymphalis Antiopa wrote:
This text is already available on the internet here: http://www.marxists.de/china/harris/

True, whats your point though? the vast majority of online texts are already available online somewhere else, just awaiting the day when the website domain expires and they get lost.

Quote:
It is written by an economics professor who wrote this when he was in the SWP, of which he was a long-term leading member (editor of International Socialism) .

The Socialist Workers Party is a terrible organisation but then so are most organisations. The First International included academics, conspiracists, anti-semities, racists, misogynists and open anti Communists, I guess we should just automatically blacklist everyone affiliated with it, too.

Quote:
It is full of classic productivist shit - use of the term "underdeveloped country" which is predictable for an economics professor (that is, a propounder of the con that economics is and the whole capitalist notion of progress and development seen in economic terms, in terms of the production of things, of the production of commodified technology, even if he seems to criticise the class basis of this production).

Huh? you seem confused, yes that's in there, but that was how the CCP framed its own economic and social strategy. The PRC has for decades openly strived to develop its industries and its `class basis` seems rather a poor strategy to analysis and criticise something while ignoring its stated aims, and purpose and actions.

If you have a similarly researched and evidenced based criticism of the PRC then please share.

Quote:
Whilst it may have some interesting facts, there are very few books out of the university that don't. But I doubt that the right-wing Robert Conquest's book on the soviet union's "Great Terror", also full of interesting facts, would be put here because its language and perspective are more obviously bullshit.

So, you disagree with the criticisms made in this book about the PRC then? So in your view it achieved its goals perfectly well and the party dictatorship was benevolent and honest and didn't make deals with the global capitalist system? And Mao was perfectly in step with Lenin without issue hey?

Because that's what Harris is criticising here, so if you think what he says is bullshit then that's the only conclusion to be drawn.

Quote:
So - rather typical for this site to publish it, since the admin are basically modern Leninists hiding under a libertarian label.

I'm not an admin at all, and if you think this book is capable of converting people to Leninism, well that's generous. I found the orthodox praising rather dull and distracting from the rest of the work.

Ed
Jul 28 2018 23:07

FAO Reddebrek, quick style comment: can you use a hyphen to separate titles from author names? I changed it here but if you could do it in future that'd be great as it looks a bit confusing (i.e. 'The Mandate of Heaven: Nigel Harris' looks like Nigel Harris is The Mandate of Heaven rather than the author of a text of that title).

Thanks for helping us push Leninism under a libertarian label, though. It's much appreciated! wink