J. Moufawad-Paul

Canadian academic and writer

J. Moufawad-Paul is a member of the faculty of York University in Toronto, Canada, where he earned his PhD. in Philosophy.


Continuity and Rupture:Philosophy in the Maoist Terrain (2016)Edit

  • Before 1988 Maoism did not exist. I begin with this counter-intuitive statement in order to clarify the particular theoretical position that is the concern of this book.
    • Prologue: Maoism and Philosophy
  • The moment one speaks of returning to the concept of a revolutionary communist party, and motivates this return with a reclamation of past categories of struggle (i.e. the vanguard, proletariat-bourgeoisie, revisionism and anti-revisionism, revolutionary science), every defense mechanism conditioned by the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the supposed triumph of world capitalism is mobilized to inoculate the reader from ideological contamination.
    • Prologue: Maoism and Philosophy
  • Regardless of its mobilization of the name Maoism, it was only a precursor of contemporary Maoism—its skeleton, its DNA—and was ultimately conditioned by the fossil remains of a Leninism that had reached its limit, despite those moments where it yearned for more than Leninist orthodoxy.
    • Prologue: Maoism and Philosophy
  • There has been very little understanding amongst the contemporary mainstream left about the history of the name Maoism. Since this mainstream left’s discourse is often determined by anarchist, autonomist, and Trotskyist/post-Trotskyist understandings of history, Maoism is a term attached to a vague understanding of the Chinese Revolution—that is, it is the Marxism practiced by the Chinese Revolution led by the figure of Mao Zedong—and is thus immediately relegated to the past. To speak of “Maoism” is to render oneself more than half-a-century out of date, or worse to enunciate a “Stalinism” with Chinese characteristics. Leaving aside, for the moment, the fact that some of these analyses of Maoism are themselves over-determined by an out-of-date Marxism, there is also the fact that they pass over the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist period in silence.
    • Prologue: Maoism and Philosophy
  • If anything, Theory of the Subject is a work of Marxist philosophy that contains all of the contradictions reached by Marxism-Leninism, while being, at the same time, aware that these contradictions are contradictions insofar as they point to the necessity of a new rupture in revolutionary science.
    • Chapter one
  • The process of continuity and rupture is internally defined by the process of universality and particularity.
  • We need to recognize that Maoism as a concept stands over and above the name of Mao Zedong, just as Marxism and Leninism must stand over the name of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, respectively.
    • Chapter Two, Science's Dogmatic Shadow
  • Despite the Stonewall Rebellion, despite decades where queer persons were targeted by the forces of reaction, the RCP-USA maintained a chauvinist position when it came to this identity that, despite being veiled in revolutionary language, was no different in practice than the position of bourgeois society: gays and lesbians were treated as aberrant, their sexuality dismissed as “bourgeois decadence”, and queer members of the RCP-USA were directed towards bizarre re-education practices that were ultimately the same as fundamentalist Christian anti-gay programs
    • Ch. 4: Maoist Openings
  • Creativity is thus important but creativity should manifest within the boundaries prescribed by history: that is, a creativity understood according to the strictures of the science. While it might be the case that it is creative and “undogmatic” to theorize in a manner that rejects these boundaries and the supposed strictures demanded by historical materialism, such creativity belongs in the fine arts and is rather useless when it comes to the sciences. At best this kind of creativity can pique the imagination and thus spur scientific thought forward; at worst it leads to muddle-headed para-scientific conjectures.
    • Chapter Five, A New Anti-Revisionism
  • ...Class struggle will affect even Marxist theory where the ruling ideas of the ruling class will be unconsciously ( and sometimes consciously) adopted by some Marxists in a manner that sounds Marxist but it at the same time a rejection of the basis of the science, the necessity of class revolution.
    • Chapter Five
  • In the now-failed socialist societies of Russian and China revisionist trends emerged to eventually reinstate capitalism and the latter revolutionary context waged a valiant struggle in an attempt to defeat this trend: the Cultural Revolution
    • Chapter Five
  • Revisionism is an immanent danger for the revolutionary movement; anti-revisionism is an immanent struggle within this movement so as to constantly redefine the movement’s basis. What is meant by “revision” here is a revision of the basis of Marxist theory, that which makes Marxism properly Marxism: the theory of class struggle. When Marxist theory is altered so as to argue that class struggle is no longer necessary, that class revolution is not the motive force of history and that social change can be brought about by a peaceful co-existence between classes (through rational debates, legal reform movements, etc.) then we find ourselves in a theoretical terrain that is no longer Marxist because it is a terrain that already exists, the terrain of liberalism. We will return to the meaning of “revisionist” itself in a later section; what matters at this point is to understand that an opportunistic rejection of the Marxist theory of class struggle that brands itself with the name “Marxist” is always a possibility with each and every creative adaptation of Marxist theory to particular contexts.
    • Chapter Five, A New Anti-Revisionism
  • Revisionists believe that the cardinal sin of communism is not opportunism but "infantile ultra-leftism" and, basing themselves on a selective reading of Lenin's analysis of ultra-leftism, will argue that any criticism of revisionist practice (any open demand for a revolutionary politics that produces militant practice) is the very ultra-leftism that threatens the left.
    • Chapter Five

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