This is the very first installment of the online reading group, and I hope that it isn't the last.
The text in question is a speech delivered by Mao (which can be found here). Jack Stephens, author of The Mustard Seed blog, has kindly provided an introduction:
The speech "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People" was given in Feb. of 1957 to the 11th Session of the Supreme State Conference which was held in Peking. The main purpose of the speech was in response to the Hungarian Uprising the year earlier and why the uprising happened and how one could be avoided in China. While Mao was obviously misguided in his belief that the uprising (done by Communist party cadres and revolutionaries against Stalinism) there were some key points in Mao's speech that can be looked at today.
He further elaborated on antagonistic contradictions he had further written during the civil war. The antagonistic contradiction held that the bourgeoisie and proletariat and peasants can ally in certain instances which are not antagonistic towards them, such as the 1911 uprising against the monarchy. But, other times the contradictions are so great that only armed struggle can solve them, this is especially true, Mao holds, between the peasants and the land lord class.
Another important aspect in his speech was the phrase, "Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend." In this Mao wanted to open up debate between intellectuals and the people on different opposing viewpoints on socialism as well as letting artists open up their styles and letting scientific ideas contend with one another. However, this ended in failure with a crackdown against those who the CCP thought had disregarded the "healthy criticism" standard.
The speech also developed six criteria to judge one's own works and actions and to distinguish those who fought for Marxist ideals and those who were counter-revolutionary.
Let the discussions begin! I shall keep the post up for as long as necessary. All thoughts, comments, questions about this text are welcome, as are people from a range of backgrounds.