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Thread: Was Deng Xiaoping a nationalist rather than a communist?

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    Was Deng Xiaoping a nationalist rather than a communist?

    According to Wikipedia:

    Although Deng got involved in the Marxist revolutionary movement in China, the historian Mobo Gao has argued that "Deng Xiaoping and many like him [in the Chinese Communist Party] were not really Marxists, but basically revolutionary nationalists who wanted to see China standing on equal terms with the great global powers. They were primarily nationalists and they participated in the Communist revolution because that was the only viable route they could find Chinese nationalism."
    Might well be true. At the very least Deng Xiaoping was enough of a pragmatist and too little of a doctrinaire communist or Marxist to reform the Chinese economy away from orthodox economic planning.

    But if this is the case, how come then that Deng (and those like him) aligned himself with the Communist Party of China rather than with the Kuomintang, which was founded as an explicitly Chinese nationalist party? Being a Chinese nationalist through the CPC seems like a work-around.

    Just some thought that entered my mind after randomly reading that part of that Wikipedia entry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    According to Wikipedia:

    Although Deng got involved in the Marxist revolutionary movement in China, the historian Mobo Gao has argued that "Deng Xiaoping and many like him [in the Chinese Communist Party] were not really Marxists, but basically revolutionary nationalists who wanted to see China standing on equal terms with the great global powers. They were primarily nationalists and they participated in the Communist revolution because that was the only viable route they could find Chinese nationalism."
    Might well be true. At the very least Deng Xiaoping was enough of a pragmatist and too little of a doctrinaire communist or Marxist to reform the Chinese economy away from orthodox economic planning.

    But if this is the case, how come then that Deng (and those like him) aligned himself with the Communist Party of China rather than with the Kuomintang, which was founded as an explicitly Chinese nationalist party? Being a Chinese nationalist through the CPC seems like a work-around.

    Just some thought that entered my mind after randomly reading that part of that Wikipedia entry.
    Wanted to be on the winning side, and on a a side which wasn't too closely allied with the established "great" powers, who were trying trying still to keep China in its place.

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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Saying that someone is a "nationalist", so not a "communist" is a category error. A nationalist is someone who avidly identifies with their particular country and strongly supports its interests. It says nothing about their political philosophy. They can hold any number of political positions that they think is 'best' for their country. If a nationalist thinks free enterprise capitalism is in the best interest of their country then they will be free enterprise capitalists. If they think Marxist communalism is in the best interest of their country then they will be Marxists.

    Examples of nationalists that were also Communists/Marxists would include Josef Stalin and Pol Pot. You could also throw in Mao... he was an avid nationalist and an avid Marxist.

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    Contributor Trausti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Saying that someone is a "nationalist", so not a "communist" is a category error.
    Agree with this, I do. Only in recent times, and only in the West, has the term "nationalist" been adjudged bad. Nationalism is standard fare nearly everywhere else. Mao was a nationalist; so was Stalin; so was FDR. South Koreans, very nationalistic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Saying that someone is a "nationalist", so not a "communist" is a category error.
    Agree with this, I do. Only in recent times, and only in the West, has the term "nationalist" been adjudged bad. Nationalism is standard fare nearly everywhere else. Mao was a nationalist; so was Stalin; so was FDR. South Koreans, very nationalistic.
    All about the chamber of commerce and tech giants keeping the flow of labor moving smoothly and demonization of nationalism the right move for them.

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