Re: Mao & praxis Re: [xmca] Geertz and praxis for us too

From: Leif Strandberg (
Date: Mon Nov 06 2006 - 23:26:19 PST


I checked my Little Red Book (from 1968) and saw that Mao wrote about
three (3) kinds av social practice:

the stuggle for production

the class struggle


scientific experiments

(p 206)

Just a note from Sweden - where we had a conflicted conversation about
just that quote - as the Swedish translator wrote;

Where do the (sic) correct ideas come from....

But Mao wrote "correct ideas".

It was interesting to look in the old book again - esp after reading
Jung Chang's and Jon Halliday's book Mao The unknown story.



2006-11-05 kl. 16.51 skrev Tony Whitson:

> Actually, Mao was attempting to render Marxist theory in a way that
> would be accessible. His essay "On Practice" ["Shijian Luen" - could
> be translated "On Praxis"]. The English is at
> mswv1_16.htm
> & that site would have it in many other languages as well.
> This is one of the essays that everybody in China studied during the
> Cultural Revolution. I bet many knew it almost by heart. When Mao
> wrote for the masses, he was very deliberate about limiting the
> vocabulary so that everyone could read it (which was a good thing for
> second-year students of Chinese in places like the US!); but he
> doesn't shy away from presenting concepts like "social praxis" in a
> theoretically rich way.
> As I recall the standard English version of the slogan (which I don't
> see now, and which might actually be not from this text itself):
> "Where do correct ideas come from? From social practice, and from
> nowhere else."
> This was pretty straightforward Marxism, against Hegelian or other
> idealisms.
> On Sun, 5 Nov 2006, Jay Lemke wrote:
> ...
>> Praxis, as I understand it, is not activism. It is the near-fusion of
>> practice and theoretical understanding, with the latter informed by
>> participation in practice, and informing an always-learning and
>> ever-changing practice. I was, of course, quoting Mao a bit
>> provocatively in regard to correct ideas coming from the people, and
>> assumed it was clear what people he was referring to. He was
>> speaking, in context, of course, to cadres working with the masses,
>> and he was talking about praxis without using the formal vocabulary.
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