A Shining Beacon: Global Maoism and Communist Movements in Peru and Cambodia, 1965-1992

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    Karl Marx predicted that "the Chinese Revolution will throw a spark into the overloaded mine of the present industrial system and cause the explosion of the long-prepared general crisis, which spreading abroad, will be closely followed by political revolution on the continent." A century later, Chinese leader Mao Zedong went further, endeavoring to transmit the Chinese revolution globally. This paper examines how and why Maoism emerged as a guiding ideology in two disparate case studies: Peru and Cambodia. It argues that traveling intellectuals (Jose Sotomayor and Manuel Soria from Peru, Saloth Sar from Cambodia) turned to Communist China as a model for their own revolutionary designs. Upon visiting, they honed their ideology and developed a sophisticated revolutionary raison d'etre imbued with Mao's ideological stamp. Their visits to China coincided with the SinoSoviet Split (1960) after which Beijing sought to set an ideological example for others to follow. As senior Chinese Communist officials stressed the worldwide suitability of China's revolutionary experience, these intellectuals' reception of Maoism was dialectical in nature. By speaking back, as this paper argues, these men had considerable agency over their interpretation of Maoism, and ultimately, in the production of a new ideology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-73
    JournalRevista Asia America Latina
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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