No one appreciated the dialectic of contradiction as much as Mao Tse Tung. It was through his conversion to the dialectical method, he tells us, that he was able to rise from an insignificant peasant boy to the leader of Communist China’s 650,000,000 people. According to Mao, the dialectic from the hands of Marx, Engles, Lenin, and Stalin, was the weapon that sustained the Communist Party through periods of apparent defeat.[67]  Mao said,

“Communists the world over are wiser than the bourgeoisie, they understand the laws governing the existence and development of things, they understand dialectics and they can see farther.”[68]

It was through the Russians that the Chinese found Marxism. Mao Tse Tung said,

“Under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, the revolutionary energy of the great proletariat and labouring people of Russia, hitherto latent and unseen by foreigners, suddenly erupted like a volcano, and the Chinese and all mankind began to see the Russians in a new light. Then, and only then, did the Chinese enter an entirely new era in their thinking and their life. They found Marxism-Leninism, the universally applicable truth, and the face of China began to change.”[69]

Mao Tse Tung became a leading Marxist philosopher. His viewpoint was thoroughly dialectical. Failure to understand this aspect of the Chinese Communist Movement distorts the reality of what happened. Mao says at the beginning of his essay On Contradiction, which was written as a companion to his essay On Practice,

“The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the most basic law in materialist dialectics. Lenin said:  ‘In its proper meaning, dialectics is the study of the contradiction within the very essence of things.’ Lenin often called this law the essence of dialectics. he also called it the kernel of dialectics.”[70]

This essay was written to defend the dialectical way of thinking and to eradicate doctrinaire ways of thought. He accordingly distinguishes between the two.

“In the history of human knowledge, there have always been two views concerning the laws of development of the world  the metaphysical view and the dialectical view  which form two mutually opposed world outlooks.”[71]

The Doctrinaires, he says, are in danger of falling into the metaphysical method because they do not sufficiently understand the contradiction in things. Mao cites both Engels, who was Karl Marx’s friend and collaborator, and Lenin to substantiate his views.

“Engles said:  ‘Motion itself is a contradiction.’ Lenin defined the law of the unity of opposites as ‘the recognition (discovery) of the contradictory,  mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature (including mind and society)’  Are these views correct?  Yes, they are. The interdependence of the contradictory aspects  of a thing and the struggle between them determine  the life and impel the development of that thing. There is nothing that does not contain contradiction; without contradiction there would be no world.”[72]

In the same essay, On Contradiction, Mao says a few pages later,

“Contradiction exists in the process of development of all things, and contradiction runs through the process of development of each thing from beginning to end  this is the universality and absoluteness of contradiction which we have discussed above.”[73]

He says, further,

“. . . contradiction exists in and runs through all processes from beginning to end. Contradictions are movements, are things, are Processes, are thoughts. To deny the contradiction in things is to deny everything. This is a universal principle for all times and all countries, which admits of no exceptions. . . This principle of common character and individual character, of absoluteness and relativity is the quintessence of the problem of the contradiction in things  not to understand it is tantamount to abandoning dialectics.”[74]

Contradiction, as viewed dialectically, is the quintessence of the Communist theory. Through the dialectic, contradictions struggle against each other, turn into their opposites, dominate and disappear. This is not only a law of nature, but also a law of thought. It is a “new way of thinking”, a “new” reason. Mao concludes his essay On Contradiction by emphasizing this point.

“Now we can make a few remarks to sum up. The law of the contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the basic law of nature and society and therefore also the basic law of thought. It is the opposite of the metaphysical world outlook. It means a great revolution in the history of human knowledge. According to the view point of dialectical materialism, contradiction exists in all processes of objective things and subjective thought and runs through all processes from beginning to end  this is the universality and absoluteness of contradiction... If after study, we have really understood the essential points mentioned above, we shall be able to smash those doctrinaire ideas which run counter to the basic principle of Marxism-Leninism and are detrimental to our revolutionary cause, . . . “[75]

Dialectical Materialism, reconstructed from Hegel’s dialectical logic, is not a doctrine. It is “a way of thinking.”  It is a “new logic” that explicitly rejects the basic laws of thought that were the foundation of traditional Western rationality. Marxist Communism is revolutionary because a revolution in the basic rules of reasons calls for a corresponding revolution in the basic structure of society. The Communist method of organizing society develops logically out of their understanding of the new dialectic. Conversely, it develops dialectically out of their understanding of logic. Dialectic is the driving force, the unifying principle, the quintessence, the kernel,  the hallmark, the very soul of Communism. Of all the dialecticaltheories that have become influential over the centuries, Communist Dialectical Materialism is the most effective, if you measure it in terms of sheer control.