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Lin Biao's Plan to Overthrow Mao

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Komsomol
Post 23 Feb 2014, 23:52
Lin Biao's ''Project 571'' is one of the most controversial areas of Maoist historiography. A NY Times article from 1983 claims "While Mao began to espouse more moderate agricultural and economic policies, taking a more liberal attitude toward private land-holding, free markets and individual initiative, Lin continued to uphold the radical doctrines of rigid collectivization favored during the Cultural Revolution." Monkey Smashes Heaven (LLCO) OTOH upholds Lin Biaoist People's War and claims that the whole 571 Conspiracy was a frameup lead by Rightists within the CPC. LLCO believes that the Gang of 4, knew this was a frame up, but made the best of a bad situation by attacking the dead Lin Biao as a Rightist.

But all this comes from 2nd or 3rd hand sources. I was very pleased to come across the 1st hand documents from Lin Biao's conspiracy.

Its from the book Chinese Politics: Ninth Party Congress (1969) to the death of Mao (1976)
http://books.google.com/books?id=W9xm3M ... &q&f=false

According to Lin Biao's Manifesto, Mao was a Feudal Social Fascist and a Confucian. His Continuous Revolution was really the Trotskyist theory of Permanent Revolution. He accuses Mao of suppressing and betraying the Red Guards. He also believes that his coup will be supported by the USSR. Plans were made to negotiate Soviet military aid after the Revolution.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jun 2014, 02:06
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 29 Aug 2014, 02:02
Just like in any literary novel, Lin Biao was the antagonist or anti-hero, Mao was the hero or protagonist. The world is a stage theatre. Good versus Bad!
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
Pioneer
Post 16 Oct 2014, 10:56
In Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary the opposite is stated; that Lin Biao opposed Mao because of his dictatorial policies, even stating (according to the book) that "Mao was worse then Stalin"... No one knows what happened; China is still ruled by the Communist Party and the telling of this truth could only hurt one group, themselves.
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Post 16 Oct 2014, 20:33
There's honestly very little chance Lin Biao was plotting a coup like Mao claimed, let alone a Soviet-backed one.

I can understand Mao's fears. Lin Biao was growing in popularity around the time of his death, at the helm of the more stable and successful parts of the Cultural Revolution and a second and steadier attempt at a Great Leap Forward. In terms of popular support, he could be seen as a threat to Mao's base. That could give way to fears of a coup. Plus, as next-in-line, Lin Biao was a clear threat to the success of other figures surrounding Mao like Jiang Qing (Mao's very ambitious center-left-ish wife), Hua Guofeng (center-right and who Mao eventually chose as successor; he ended up completely ineffectual), and Zhou Enlai (Mao's top adviser late in life and basically Deng's mentor). He also could have privately become the center of opposition towards Mao's (Zhou Enlai-driven) decision to line up with the US against the USSR; Lin Biao's anti-Western stance was sometimes pretty shallow, but it was consistent. That said, it's doubtful he'd actually turn to the USSR to halt it, he did still strongly believe the Soviet Union was "social-imperialist."

All the evidence seems to show that he was comfortable as Mao's heir apparent, massive populist figure (ensuring an inevitable power transition when Mao died), and leader of the left of Maoism. Mao was in poor health and going to die soon anyway, Lin had no need to off him. His supposed "manifesto" that Mao produced also makes absolutely no sense in light of any of his other statements. It makes him out to be some kind of right-wing Japanese sympathizer, which is just funny if you know anything about his career. There's no evidence besides it that he was plotting anything.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 16 Oct 2014, 22:38, edited 3 times in total.
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Komsomol
Post 16 Oct 2014, 21:03
How does Lin's manifesto make him out to look like a "right-wing Japanese sympathizer"? , in it he claims to want to re-establish genuine Marxism-Leninism and a Socialist China and overthrow Mao's feudal dynasty. He compares Mao to the Emperor Qin who was the greatest villain and tyrant of traditional Chinese history, which explains why the Maoists rehabilitated the Qin Legalists during the Criticize Lin Biao and Confucius campaign.
Kamran Heiss
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Post 16 Oct 2014, 21:52
heiss93 wrote:
How does Lin's manifesto make him out to look like a "right-wing Japanese sympathizer"? , in it he claims to want to re-establish genuine Marxism-Leninism and a Socialist China and overthrow Mao's feudal dynasty. He compares Mao to the Emperor Qin who was the greatest villain and tyrant of traditional Chinese history, which explains why the Maoists rehabilitated the Qin Legalists during the Criticize Lin Biao and Confucius campaign.

The manifesto Mao brought forth established him as a member of the right, and that's the standard line on him in China to this day. It does associate him, weirdly considering his pretty staunch anti-Soviet stance elsewhere, with the Soviet Union. But that was towards what was considered imperialistic "revisionism" in China at the time. More importantly though, it also has favorable references to both Japan and the Kuomintang, in the form of praising "the spirit of Etajima" (a kamikaze pilot training site) and using Chiang Kai-shek's "death before dishonor" slogan. It seems pretty much designed to link him with every one of the regime's enemies. So in effect, it's the Maoist equivalent of "Nazi Trotskyist" claims, and not exactly trustworthy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_57 ... he_outline

I also think describing the rule of Mao as a "feudal dynasty" isn't really helpful, considering the feudal lords were the main class he suppressed, and he passed the "throne" on to an incompetent bureaucrat (Hua) rather than any relative of his. This is like Red Tsar stuff. And Qin Shi Huang has long had a mixed legacy in China, he can't really be described as a "great villain" in anything but Western liberal historiography. While he did shut down absolutely any view that opposed him, he's also recognized as the one who unified China into a stable kingdom and as father of a number of public work projects. The popular Chinese movie Hero shows that, in spite of all his flaws he's seen as worth supporting because he brought stability. It's akin to Western views on Ivan the Terrible versus Russian views; the communists did increase his stature, but he was widely hailed as a great ruler beforehand.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 16 Oct 2014, 22:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 16 Oct 2014, 22:43
Going against the Maoist narrative however, in Project 571, Lin claims Mao "is not a true Marxist-Leninist but rather one who follows the ways of Confucius and Mencius"

If it was a forgery this line would not be included, since it goes against the narrative that Lin Biao himself was a follower of Confucius

LLCO has its own take on the plot here
http://llco.org/draft-was-lin-biao-guil ... rt-1-of-2/
Kamran Heiss
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Post 16 Oct 2014, 22:46
heiss93 wrote:
Going against the Maoist narrative however, in Project 571, Lin claims Mao "is not a true Marxist-Leninist but rather one who follows the ways of Confucius and Mencius"

If it was a forgery this line would not be included, since it goes against the narrative that Lin Biao himself was a follower of Confucius

"Lin Biao followed Confucius" wasn't a major defamatory claim of Mao's regime until three years after the supposed coup attempt, 1974. It was tied in with the anti-Confucian campaign to quell Lin Biao's still-extant folk hero status, originally (from 1971 to 1973) the two weren't put together. The anti-Confucian campaign was also largely led by Jiang Qing rather than Mao personally.

Declaring him a sympathizer of, variously, the USSR, the ROC, and Imperial Japan was and is a common line used by both Mao and Deng, based entirely on quotes from his supposed manifesto. It was stated from the very beginning, right at the moment of Lin Biao's death. Hence my skepticism.

Quote:
LLCO has its own take on the plot here
http://llco.org/draft-was-lin-biao-guil ... rt-1-of-2/

I pretty much agree with their assessment of it. The only thing I'd add is that Etajima was more than just related to the samurai, it was a symbol of Imperial Japan. It was the site of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, one of the main training grounds for WWII-era kamikaze pilots.
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 03:04
The stuff about Lin Biao being pro-Japan, pro-KMT, anti-Stalin all comes from other sources. The specific document 'Outline for plan 571' in my link, presents Lin Biao as a dissident Marxist-Leninist restoring socialism from Mao's ultra-radical Trotskyism and feudal autocracy.
Kamran Heiss
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 03:24
heiss93 wrote:
The stuff about Lin Biao being pro-Japan, pro-KMT, anti-Stalin all comes from other sources. The specific document 'Outline for plan 571' in my link, presents Lin Biao as a dissident Marxist-Leninist restoring socialism from Mao's ultra-radical Trotskyism and feudal autocracy.

Sure, but I'm giving the line Mao and later Deng used to smear Lin Biao after his death. Since that was rooted in quotes from his supposed manifesto, ones which would seem very suspicious to a Chinese communist if not blatantly going "hi I'm a traitor," it makes me call the whole thing into question. Especially since numerous other sources have also called the credibility of the manifesto and his ostensible "coup attempt" into doubt.

And for the record, he wasn't really smeared as anti-Stalin so much as pro-Khrushchev/USSR.

Also, describing Mao as either a feudal autocrat or an ultra-radical Trotskyist is just kind of hilarious to me.
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 03:31
You are claiming that the document I produced ''Outline for Project 571'' is a forgery, and yet you have not produced a single piece of evidence from the actual document, that suggests its a forgery. You reference other charges against Lin, from Mao and Deng. But what in this specific document suggests it could not have been written by Lin Biao?
Kamran Heiss
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 03:38
heiss93 wrote:
You are claiming that the document I produced ''Outline for Project 571'' is a forgery, and yet you have not produce a single piece of evidence from the actual document, that suggests its a forgery. You reference other charges against Lin, from Mao and Deng. But what in this specific document suggests it could not have been written by Lin Biao?

I referenced specific quotes from the document. Quoting Chiang Kai-shek's slogan "death before dishonor." Praising "the spirit of Etajima." Nothing unambiguously treasonous, but very suspicious statements in the eyes of any Chinese communist. The charges of ROC and Imperial Japanese sympathies by Mao and Deng came from those quotes. They'd be unlikely things to say, given Lin Biao's military experience against both Imperial Japan and the KMT.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 17 Oct 2014, 03:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 03:40
Maybe I missed it. But where in this document are either of those 2 phases used?

http://books.google.com/books?id=W9xm3M ... e&q&f=true

EDIT:
Ok your're right, I did find “Resolutely carry out all actions according to commands and display the spirit of Edashima. Be prepared to die for the cause.” at the end of the document under security concerns. You're right that is a strike against it.

I'm not denying that after his death the CPC had a whole plethora of charges against Lin, including working for the KMT.

I'm just saying that the document itself, which is supposedly Lin's manifesto does not necessarily present him in the worst light. It has many strigant critics of Mao's regime, that many anti-Maoists would accept. And it generally presents him as a orthodox Marxist-Leninist trying to overthrow Mao's deviant Trotskyism. A position a faction within the CPC generally held. There is nothing in it that presents him as a comic book villain.

The only 'enemy' country that Lin Biao suggests allying with is the USSR, and that is not all together far-fetched, as late as 1964 the CPC still considered the USSR a socialist nation with a bad leadership, and there was talks of a detente with Brezhnev. And there was a large faction within the CPC that considered the Soviet period of economic development 1949-1956 the glory days of Red China. Calling on the PRC to ally with a declared Marxist-Leninist nation is no more out of the ballpark than having detente with Nixon.
Last edited by heiss93 on 17 Oct 2014, 04:00, edited 2 times in total.
Kamran Heiss
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 03:51
heiss93 wrote:
Maybe I missed it. But where in this document are either of those 2 phases used?

http://books.google.com/books?id=W9xm3M ... e&q&f=true

I could find one in just a cursory skim, page 153:

"Resolutely carry out all actions according to commands and display the spirit of Edashima." An alternate spelling for Etajima, based on a different romanization method. Comparing your coup to kamikaze attackers who ravaged your country is like if a Soviet said: "be exactly like the SS." It's just not likely.

Quote:
I'm just saying that the document itself, which is supposedly Lin's manifesto does not necessarily present him in the worst light. It has many strigant critics of Mao's regime, that many anti-Maoists would accept.

I'm not so sure of that. It makes critics of Mao look ridiculous, the critiques of his regime amount to vaguely accusing him of being both a feudal autocrat and an ultraleft Trotskyist at the same time. With nothing to back up either slur. Either it's deliberately unconvincing or Lin Biao wasn't very bright.

Quote:
The only 'enemy' country that Lin Biao suggests allying with is the USSR, and that is not all together far-fetched, as late as 1964 the CPC still considered the USSR a socialist nation with a bad leadership, and there was talks of a detente with Brezhnev. And there was a large faction within the CPC that considered the Soviet period of economic development 1949-1956 the glory days of Red China. Calling on the PRC to ally with a declared Marxist-Leninist nation is no more out of the ballpark than having detente with Nixon.

The issue isn't whether or not we'd agree with that, but how most in the PRC would view it and how well it matches Lin Biao's past actions. Lin Biao pretty strongly supported China's independent stance, at least openly. There's little doubt he would have opposed allying with the West, he was against first-world imperialism more than anything (even if shallowly sometimes), but there's also little other evidence he took a remotely pro-Soviet stance and pretty strong evidence against it. He referred to the USSR as "social-imperialist" multiple times.

And that's how a Soviet-backed coup would be viewed at the time; as an imperialist act. By the 70s, the bulk of the Chinese government saw the USSR as an enemy just as much as the ROC and Japan.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 17 Oct 2014, 04:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 04:05
Trotskyist Feudal Autocracy, is no more a ridiculous epithet than the official Dengist verdict on the Gang of Four and the Cultural Revolution as 'Feudal Fascism'.

Maybe your right, even a forger would have to put some redeeming qualities into the villain, instead of having him write how evil and traitorous he is.

Given this, what are the consequences for Maoism if the case against Lin Biao was a frameup and forgery as LLCO claims?

For MIM it was easy to blame everything that went wrong in China on the post-Mao leadership. But LLCO has some pretty serious charges against Mao and the Gang of Four. That they framed and slandered one of the greatest revolutionary heroes. LLCO still calls themselves Maoists, but surely this would be a black spot on Maoism. And it is not by accident, that many of their sources for their article are extremely anti-Mao.

Also the change in ideological policy towards the USSR changed very quickly after Mao's death, suggesting that while Russia was a geopolitical rival, it was not as ideologically distant as ROC or Japan. As early as 1977, Hua Guofeng met with the Yugoslav and Italian Communist Parties. And in 1980, Deng Xiaoping declared that the USSR was a socialist state. Declaring Soviet Communism a genuine form of Marxism-Leninism was not the same thing as praising Fascist Japan.
Kamran Heiss
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 04:19
heiss93 wrote:
Trotskyist Feudal Autocracy, is no more a ridiculous epithet than the official Dengist verdict on the Gang of Four and the Cultural Revolution as 'Feudal Fascism'.

That one's completely ridiculous too, but it doesn't make the accusations in that manifesto any better.


Quote:
Given this, what are the consequences for Maoism if the case against Lin Biao was a frameup and forgery as LLCO claims?

My own opinion has always been that Mao was an opportunist at least late in life (but possibly always; the Sino-Soviet split was more his fault than anything), as well as short-sighted, but that's no real reason to abandon the example of communist China as worthwhile. It just means we have to learn from its mistakes, like any experiment anywhere.

It was a huge success against Japanese and Western imperialism, until the 70s. Tactically, utilizing the peasantry as a revolutionary class that can be proletarianized probably doesn't make for the most consistently Marxist post-revolutionary structure, but it's a good way to set the conditions for socialism and helps refute stagism. The Great Leap Forward was probably done too quickly, adopting a five-year plan structure makes more sense from the perspective of preventing suffering, but it did mostly-successfully push a very large and populous country out of feudalism.

I agree with Hoxha that the Cultural Revolution was haphazardly adopted, in the underdeveloped provinces it had too little constraints which led to chaos. But I also think it aligns well with both Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution and Gramsci's analysis of bourgeois (or in 60s China's case, aristocratic) cultural hegemony. Something like it, even if (and preferably) more subdued, will probably be necessary to halt the bureaucratic stagnation that's afflicted every red state and push out of reactionary social norms that hamper them. It was ultimately stillborn, it was mostly killed (everything aside from Jiang Qing's anti-Confucian program) when it came to threaten Mao's own inner circle, but it did do a better job than the anti-bureaucratic efforts in the USSR (because of Andropov's death and the bureaucracy's deep entrenchment) or Albania (because that was so centralized the military top brass were "reforming" themselves).

Quote:
LLCO still calls themselves Maoists, but surely this would be a black spot on Maoism.

I disagree with the LLCO types on a few points, though they at least don't talk about their crazier "let's deport white people"/"there is no first-world proletariat" stuff anymore. They might have dropped it, and I actually love most of their recent articles. But regardless, I don't think seeing value in Mao's insights means you have to be a hero-worshiper. Reviving his cult of personality just amounts to cosplaying.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 17 Oct 2014, 08:48, edited 8 times in total.
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 04:23
So do you believe that to the extent there was a genuine difference between Lin Biao and Mao, Lin Biao was in the right?

This seems to be the general line of LLCO.
Kamran Heiss
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Post 17 Oct 2014, 04:52
heiss93 wrote:
So do you believe that to the extent there was a genuine difference between Lin Biao and Mao, Lin Biao was in the right?

This seems to be the general line of LLCO.

Generally I'd agree with that, yeah. I guess in the battle of Mao's heirs, I'm kind of between Lin Biao and Jiang Qing. Though I tentatively come down on the side of Lin Biao as someone who was more to the left, with more popular support and managerial experience.

Jiang Qing could be pretty opportunistic herself, and even if Lin Biao wasn't framed, she was more responsible than anyone for the Cultural Revolution's excesses. But at the same time, if he didn't want renewed ties with the Soviet Union, what we know of Lin Biao's line on foreign policy can get a little silly. The idea of the "global countryside" surrounding the "global cities" just ignores the difference in conditions between separate countries and could be a recipe for Pol Pot-style disaster, depending on how you interpret it. Even lighter interpretations could give way to narrow third-world nationalism, over and above class struggle.

Either way, I'm strongly against Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaopeng. And I don't think we can ignore the fact that it was Mao's decision to keep Zhou around, and Mao's decision (though at Zhou's urging) to bring Deng back. And by appointing a meek compromiser like Hua Guofeng his heir over a stronger leftist like Jiang Qing, ultimately Mao shares blame for Deng's rise to power.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Nov 2015, 22:40
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Post 27 Nov 2015, 11:59
As a Maoist I personally don't think there was much evidence of Lin Biao trying to overthrow Mao or that Mao had him killed for that matter.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 02 Jan 2016, 14:43
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Komsomol
Post 10 Feb 2016, 00:38
We do not rely on our voices on our head. Maybe Lin Biao was basing all his plots on voices on his head. You have to research first before embarking on a coup d'eta. His case is similar to a coup plotter in the Philippines who relied on a TaRoT card leader ( lev who sowed disinformation, reading his palm and telling him he 'is an important man'/ Coup plotter readily 'damned' his wife) not knowing that even if he attempted 6 times, they will all fizzle out. People are sick and tired of banana republics or illegitimate governments. Only the mediocre coward adventurer can appreciate it. The man with a gun poking it to the head of an unarmed civilian.The wiser and the wisest would always turn it down.
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