THE CHINESE PHILOSOPHER: When and under what conditions
did you begin to read Mao Zedong’s writing? Mao Zedong is pretty unusual
reading material for a French philosopher, after all.
I started reading Mao’s writing in the early 1960s, because of the
global situation. I had never been tempted by Stalinist communism, the
USSR, or Khrushchev’s revisionism. I’ve never been a member of the
French Communist Party. Right from the start, the content and style of
the Chinese polemic against the Soviet revisionists gave a precise form
to my doubts about both the USSR and the French Communist Party. You
might say that what I first saw in Mao and the Chinese Communist Party
was a “left” critique of Soviet politics. Mao’s major grievance was as
follows: Stalin’s vision isn’t dialectical. He represents congealed,
immobilized state socialism, whereas Mao, as is clear in all his great
texts, thinks in an almost infinite way.