On the tip of Orange Island,
The Xiang flowing northward;
I see a thousand hills crimsoned through
By their serried woods deep-dyed,
And a hundred barges vying
Over crystal blue waters.
Eagles cleave the air,
Fish glide under the shallow water;
Under freezing skies a million creatures contend in freedom.
Brooding over this immensity,
I ask, on this bondless land
Who rules over man's destiny?
-----Mao Zedong (1925)
The 1949 Chinese Revolution was a transformative, epochal event, not only for the Chinese but for the rest of humanity, as well. If the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (that resulted in the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Union) inaugurated an international competition for the hearts and minds of people all over the globe, the Chinese revolution raised the stakes of that struggle. The popular media, academics, political leaders and others in the "West" produced an understanding of this struggle as between "capitalism" and "communism," although these terms were rarely defined in more than loose and unusually flexible terms, and in spite of the fact that the Chinese revolution was shaped by domestic struggles with a long history within China, much more so than by global struggles between two super-systems.
Nevertheless, the intensity of the perceived global struggle between super-systems was shaped, in part, by the fact that communist ideology, as represented by certain statements of Vladimir Lenin, the central intellectual and political figure of the Bolshevik Revolution, was understood as grounded upon an idea of worldwide revolution --- all nations would, according to the logic (teleology) of this (orthodox) version of Marxism, ultimately succumb to communism. (The Soviet leadership expressly supported the idea of "worldwide revolution" and took steps to help achieve this objective, including organization and... [continues]
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