image of the original vintage 1967 Chinese communist propaganda poster titled Long live Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong thought!

Long live Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought!

Regular price £625.00 Sale

Artist: Unknown

Year: 1967

Publisher: Liaoning Union

Size (mm): 545x785

Condition: Very good, creasing and small tears to margins

The portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin appear next to Mao in this widely recognised and often-imitated poster from the early Cultural Revolution. Text in the top corner, under the dates 1893-1967 (Mao's birth to present), urges respectful observation of Mao's 74th birthday. The text under the slogan reads: Liaoning Union, East Workers' Headquarters, Light Industry Liaison Headquarters, Red Group Trademark - opaque definitions to any but those who were present at the time.

Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought was the guiding ideology of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese state. Building on the foundation of Marxism-Leninism, it utilised the Marxist concepts of historical materialism, class struggle and dialectical materialism; along with Leninist theories on imperialism, democratic-centralism and the party as the vanguard of the proletariat - augmented by Mao Zedong's own practical ideology. Mao Zedong Thought - described in detail in the five-volume work Mao Zedong Xuanji or Selected Works of Mao Zedong - deviated from Marx in its notion of the emphasis on the peasantry rather than the proletariat as the basis of the revolution. It promoted the 'mass line', whereby the masses were consulted and their suggestions interpreted within the ideological framework and put into practice; as well as maodun (contradiction) and buduan geming (uninterrupted revolution). Defined in the constitution of the Chinese Communist Party as 'Marxism-Leninism applied in a Chinese context', Mao Zedong Thought contends that continuous class struggle is necessary even after the proletariat has overcome the bourgeoisie as capitalist elements will remain and need to be constantly battled against. 

In 1979 Deng Xiaoping included Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought in the sixiang jiben yuanze (Four Cardinal Principles) which were written into the constitution. Along with the principles of upholding the socialist path, upholding the people's democratic dictatorship, and upholding the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, these were the four issues about which debate was not permitted. Recently Xi Jinping has secured similar vaunted status by having his name written into the party's guiding principles, following Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory which was enshrined posthumously in 1997.

Many posters of this period feature the distinctive red, black and white colouration of the Yan'an woodblock print, and are perhaps the among the most recognised Chinese propaganda posters in the West. Individual artists are often not credited, with precedence given to naming the many revolutionary groups set up to achieve the aims of the Cultural Revolution. Posters were produced by amateurs, often assisted by professional artists. Most of the professional design studios that produced posters were shut down at the time and Red Guards would often approach printers directly to have their posters published; to refuse would mean running the risk of being labelled as counter-revolutionary.