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Passionately governmental: Maoism and the structured intensities of revolutionary governmentality

Authors
Publisher
Routledge
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Politics
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

On 19 June 1976, at a meeting of China's police chiefs, the last remaining senior supporter of the radical 'Gang of Four' within China's security system, Deputy Minister Shi Yizhi, attempted to set the agenda for the coming year by posing the question: 'Who are our enemies, who are our friends?' At the time, he could hardly have known that the answer the police chiefs would give to that question would be as emphatic as it was unwelcome. By October, Shi, like all active supporters of the 'Gang of Four', was being 'entertained' by the security forces in far less salubrious surrounds than the plush meeting rooms of the Public Security Ministry compound. The radical exemplars of friend/enemy politics no longer needed to pose their Maoist question, for 'the enemy' now led them collectively off history's stage. Ironically, Shi Yizhi's 'last major remark' was merely a verbatim repetition of Mao Zedong's first: the friend-enemy proposition, built into this 'question of the first importance for the revolution', was initially uttered by Mao in 1925-1926, then later reproduced on the first line of the first page of the first volume of Mao Zedong's Selected Works, and thus became Mao's opening revolutionary gambit. These two interrogative speech events, Mao's and Shi's, therefore, stand as bookends at either end of that radical experiment that became known as revolutionary China.

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