The Mass Line and the American Revolutionary Movement


This is a brief bibliography of some of the more significant sources used in the preparation of this book, as well as a few others related to the mass line.

Abbreviations used in the text (see below for more information about editions):

CMTTTP Chairman Mao Talks to the People
LCW Lenin’s Collected Works
MECW Marx & Engels Collected Works
MESC Marx & Engels Selected Correspondence
MESW Marx & Engels Selected Works
MMTT Miscellany of Mao Tsetung Thought
MRTP Mao’s Road to Power
SSCM Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao
SW Mao’s Selected Works
WMZ The Writings of Mao Zedong, 1949-1976

A citation of the form “LCW 26:291” means Lenin’s Collected Works, volume 26, page 291.

The English translations of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao often use British spellings of words, such as ‘labour’ (labor) and ‘centre’ (center). Since these authors were not writing originally in English, I have changed the spellings to the American style in passages I have quoted.

For a number of the items below I have added a few comments to give the reader a better idea about the nature of the work.

In addition to the references below, I also refer you to the following web site which I maintain, and which has a considerable amount of additional material on or related to the mass line, and its implementation by various revolutionary groups around the world:

Anglo-Chinese Educational Institute, Health Care in China [Modern China Series No. 8], (London: 1976). Contains the text of a lecture an lecture entitled “The Mass Line” by Dr. Joshua Horn which is not a theoretical description of the mass line, but like Dr. Horn’s book Away With All Pests (NY: Monthly Review Press, 1969), contains several interesting examples of the application of the mass line in health work in Mao’s China. This lecture is also available online at:

Avakian, Bob, Revolutionary Work in a Non-Revolutionary Situation: Report of the Second Plenary Session of the First Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (1976), (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1978).

Bernstein, Thomas P., “Leadership and Mass Mobilisation in the Soviet and Chinese Collectivisation Campaigns of 1929-30 and 1955-56: A Comparison”, China Quarterly, No. 31, July-Sept 1967, pp. 1-47.

Boas, George, Vox Populi: Essays in the History of an Idea, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1969).

Cham, Dr. Boon-Ngee, “The Mass Line in the Chinese Revolution”, Far East Reporter, Aug. 1976.

Hammond, Edward, “Marxism and the Mass Line”, Modern China, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1978, pp. 3-25.

Harding, Harry, Maoist Theories of Policy-Making and Organization: Lessons from the Cultural Revolution, A Report prepared for United States Air Force Project Rand, R-487-PR, (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, September 1969).

Hare, David, “Fanshen”, in David Hare: Plays, vol. 2, (London: Faber & Faber, 1997). Dramatization by a British playwright inspired by William Hinton’s book of the same name.

Harvard Business Review, Paths Toward Personal Progress: Leaders Are Made, Not Born. A collection of reprints from Harvard Business Review (Boston, Mass: 1982). Contains nothing about the mass line, but this is a fine self-exposure of bourgeois conceptions of “leadership”.

Hinton, William, Fanshen (NY: Monthly Review Press, 1966). A memorable portrait of revolutionary leadership by Communists in a small Chinese village, sometimes making errors in their work, but overall inspired by the mass line. One of the most enlightening books about the Chinese revolution ever published.

__________, Shenfan (NY: Vintage, 1983). A darker volume than Fanshen, which nevertheless has a lot of relevance to understanding the strengths and weaknesses in the application of the mass line in China.

Howard, Pat, Breaking the Iron Rice Bowl: Prospects for Socialism in China’s Countryside, (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 1988). A social-democratic critique of the mass line in the context of an argument in favor of “market socialism”.

Lenin, V. I., Collected Works (in 45 volumes), (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House/Progress Publishers, 1960-70). [Abbrev: LCW]. Most of Lenin’s works are available online in the Marxist Internet Archive at

__________, On Participation of the People in Government [a compilation of excerpts from Lenin’s writings and speeches], (Moscow: Progress, 1979).

__________, Party Work in the Masses [a compilation of excerpts from Lenin’s writings and speeches], (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969). Every communist should read this important collection from cover to cover.

Mao Zedong, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung (in 5 volumes), (Peking: Foreign Languages Press; Vols. 1-3, 1965; Vol. 4, 1961; Vol. 5, 1977). [Abbrev: SW] An unofficial continuation of this series (vols. 6-9) has been published in India. Both the official and unofficial volumes are available online in the Marxist Internet Archive at However, since the MIA site is controlled by Trotskyites, Mao’s writings are not in the “Marxists” section, but rather in the “reference” section.

__________, Chairman Mao Talks to the People: Talks and Letters: 1956-1971, ed. by Stuart Schram, (NY: Pantheon/Random House, 1974). [Abbrev: CMTTTP]

__________, Mao Papers, ed. by Jerome Ch’en, (Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1971).

__________, Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings 1912-1949  (10 vols., in  progress; 7 volumes available through 2005), ed. by Stuart R. Schram with Nancy J. Hodes, (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992-..). [Abbrev: MRTP] Despite the annoying bourgeois series title, this promises to be the best and most complete English edition available of Mao’s pre-1949 writings. Outrageously expensive (over $200/volume!).
Vol. 1 The Pre-Marxist Period: 1912-1920, 688pp. (Published 1992)
Vol. 2 National Revolution and Social Revolution: Dec. 1920-June 1927, 608 pp. (Pub. 1994)
Vol. 3 From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets: July 1927-Dec. 1930, 848 pp. (Pub. 1995)
Vol. 4 The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Soviet Republic: 1931-1934, 1110 pp. (Pub. 1997)
Vol. 5 Toward the Second United Front: 1935-1937, 846 pp. (Pub. 1999)
Vol. 6 The New Stage: 1937-1938, 869 pp. (Pub. 2004)
Vol. 7 New Democracy: 1939-1941, 840 pp. (Pub. 2005)
Vols. 8-10 not yet published. These last 3 volumes will probably be the most interesting with respect to Mao’s comments on the mass line.

__________, Miscellany of Mao Tsetung Thought, (Arlington, VA: Joint Publications Research Service, 1974). This 2 volume work published by the U.S. government is often very poorly translated and is unreliable. [Abbrev: MMTT]

__________, The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao: From the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward, ed. by Roderick MacFarquhar, et al., (Cambridge, Mass: Council on East Asian Studies/Harvard University, 1989). [Abbrev: SSCM]

__________, The Writings of Mao Zedong, 1949-1976, ed. by Michael Y. M. Kau & John K. Leung, (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe). Vol. 1 (Sept. 1949-Dec. 1955) published in 1986, and vol. 2 (Jan. 1956-Dec. 1957). No further volumes have yet been published. [Abbrev: WMZ]

Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick, Collected Works (in 50 volumes), (NY: International Publishers, 1975-2005). [Abbrev: MECW]. Most of Marx and Engel’s works are available online in the Marxist Internet Archive at

__________, Selected Correspondence, 3rd ed., (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975). [Abbrev: MESC]

__________, Selected Works (in 3 volumes), (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969-70). [Abbrev: MESW]

Meisner, Maurice, “Leninism and Maoism: Some Populist Perspectives on Marxism-Leninism in China”, China Quarterly, #45, Jan.-March, 1971, pp. 2-36.

Meisner, Mitch, “Dazhai: The Mass Line in Practice”, Modern China, Vol. 4, No. 1, Janunary 1978, pp. 27-62.

Organization for Revolutionary Unity, The Decline of the RCP, pamphlet published circa 1983. Criticizes the RCP,USA with respect to the mass line and on other matters. Available online at:

Peking Review/Beijing Review, (Peking/Beijing, China). Official government English-language weekly news magazine. Some of the articles from Peking Review which pertain to the mass line can be linked to from:

Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, The Mass Line (Pamphlet consisting of 3 articles reprinted from Revolution), (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1976). Available online at:

__________, Programme and Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1975). First programme of the RCP; in force from Oct. 1975 until May 1, 1981.

__________, New Programme and New Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, (Chicago: RCP Publications, May 1, 1981). Second programme of the RCP; in force from May 1, 1981 until about May 2001.

__________, Draft Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA: May 2001, (Chicago: RCP Publications, May 2001). Although called a “draft”, this was officially adopted as the Party programme, probably in 2001.

__________, Revolution and Counter-Revolution: The Revisionist Coup in China and the Struggle in the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1978).

__________, Revolution (magazine), (Chicago: 1975-1994).

__________, Revolutionary Worker (weekly newspaper), (Chicago: 1979-2005). [Abbrev: RW] Web site: As of May 1, 2005, this newspaper continues under the new name Revolution.

Schram, Stuart, The Thought of Mao Tse-Tung (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

Selden, Mark, The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1971).

__________, “The Mass Line in China”, in A. Doak Barnett, ed., Chinese Communist Politics in Action (University of Washington, 1971).

Stalin, J. V., Works (in 13 volumes), (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1952-5).

Starr, John Bryan, Continuing the Revolution: The Political Thought of Mao, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979).

Townsend, James R., Political Participation in Communist China, New Edition, (Berkeley: University of  California Press, 1969).

__________, “Chinese Populism and the Legacy of Mao Tse-tung”, Asian Survey, Vol. XVII, #11, Nov. 1977, pp. 1003-1015.

Go to the online Hypertext Index for this book. [Still in preparation.]

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