99 episodes

In this podcast, Matthew Rothwell, author of Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America, explores the global history of ideas related to rebellion and revolution. The main focus of this podcast for the near future will be on the history of the Chinese Revolution, going all the way back to its roots in the initial Chinese reactions to British imperialism during the Opium War of 1839-1842, and then following the development of the revolution and many of the ideas that were products of the revolution through to their transnational diffusion in the late 20th century.

People's History of Ideas Podcast Matthew Rothwell

    • History
    • 4.9 • 90 Ratings

In this podcast, Matthew Rothwell, author of Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America, explores the global history of ideas related to rebellion and revolution. The main focus of this podcast for the near future will be on the history of the Chinese Revolution, going all the way back to its roots in the initial Chinese reactions to British imperialism during the Opium War of 1839-1842, and then following the development of the revolution and many of the ideas that were products of the revolution through to their transnational diffusion in the late 20th century.

    The Base Area under Economic Blockade and Unification with the Fifth Red Army (End of 1928)

    The Base Area under Economic Blockade and Unification with the Fifth Red Army (End of 1928)

    The national Guomindang center takes note of the Communists’ resilience, and takes charge of organizing a new suppression campaign, which is preceded by a tight economic blockade. Peng Dehuai makes his way to the Jinggangshan.

    Further reading:
    Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area
    Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930
    Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949
    Mao Zedong, “The Struggle in the Chingkang Mountains”
    Edward Dreyer, China at War: 1901-1949
    James Sheridan, China in Disintegration: The Republican Era in Chinese History, 1912-1949
    Agnes Smedley, The Great Road: The Life and Times of Chu Teh [Zhu De]
    Peng Dehuai, Memoirs of a Chinese Marshall

    Some names from this episode:
    Chen Yi, Political commissar for the 28th regiment of the Fourth Red Army
    Wang Zuo, Bandit leader who joined with Mao Zedong
    He Zizhen, Communist cadre known as the “Two-Gunned Girl General”
    Peng Dehuai, Guomindang colonel who was secretly a Communist and who launched an uprising in July 1928
    Teng Daiyuan, Fifth Red Army leading cadre
    He Changgong, important Fourth Red Army cadre
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    • 29 min
    Vagrants, Mercenaries, and Rich Peasants (November 1928)

    Vagrants, Mercenaries, and Rich Peasants (November 1928)

    A close reading of a couple portions of Mao’s November 25, 1928 report to the Central Committee.

    Further reading:
    Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area
    Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930
    Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 2: National Revolution and Social Revolution, December 1920-June 1927
    Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949
    Mao Zedong, “The Struggle in the Chingkang Mountains”

    Names listed as having attended Nov. 6 meeting mentioned near the beginning of the episode:
    Zhu De, Chen Yi, He Tingying, He Changgong, Yuan Wencai, Wang Zuo, Tan Zhenlin, Deng Ganyuan, Li Quefei, Chen Zhengren, Wang Zuonong, Xiao Wanxia, Liu Huixiao, Xie Chunbiao, Liu Di, Xiong Shouqi, Yang Kaiming, Cao Shuo, Deng Jiuting, Mao Zedong, Song Qiaosheng, Peng Gu, and Yuan Desheng.
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    • 41 min
    Transforming, Building, and Purging the Party (September to November 1928)

    Transforming, Building, and Purging the Party (September to November 1928)

    Finishing our close reading of the resolution of the Border Area Party Congress of October 4 to 6, 1928. Also, the reorganization and purge of the party following the Communist recovery of the Jinggangshan base area after the August Defeat.

    Further reading:
    Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area
    Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930
    Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949
    Charles Bettelheim, Class Struggles in the USSR: First Period: 1917-1923
    Fyodor Vasilievich Gladkov, Cement
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    • 25 min
    Opportunism and Self-Criticism: The Jinggangshan Party Congress Resolution of October 1928

    Opportunism and Self-Criticism: The Jinggangshan Party Congress Resolution of October 1928

    A discussion of the concept of opportunism as it developed in the international communist movement, and a close reading of the self-critical portion of the resolution of the Border Area Party Congress of October 4 to 6, 1928.

    Further reading:
    Lenin, “Opportunism, and the Collapse of the Second International”
    Cheng Yen-shih, ed., Lenin’s Fight Against Revisionism and Opportunism
    Mao Zedong, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People”
    Lynn White, Policies of Chaos: The Organizational Causes of Violence in China's Cultural Revolution

    Some names from this episode:
    Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June
    Liu Zhen, Secretary of the Yongxin County Party Committee
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    • 29 min
    “Why Is It that Red Political Power Can Exist in China?” (October 1928)

    “Why Is It that Red Political Power Can Exist in China?” (October 1928)

    A close reading of the portion of the resolution of the Border Area Party Congress of October 4 to 6, 1928, which later became a key early text in the Maoist canon.

    Further reading:
    Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area
    Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930
    Mao Zedong, “Why Is It that Red Political Power Can Exist in China?”
    Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949
    Jane Degras, ed., The Communist International, 1919-1943: Documents, vol. 2: 1923-1928

    A name from this episode:
    Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June
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    • 41 min
    The August Defeat (Part 2): The Communists Strike Back (August to November 1928)

    The August Defeat (Part 2): The Communists Strike Back (August to November 1928)

    The Communists fight to regain lost territory, and ethnic tensions explode among the peasants in the base area.

    Further reading:
    Stephen Averill, Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area
    Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930
    Pang Xianzhi and Jin Chongji, Mao Zedong: A Biography, vol. 1: 1893-1949

    Some names from this episode:
    Du Xiujing, Inspector sent to the Jinggangshan by the Hunan Provincial Committee in May 1928 and who returned in June
    Gong Chu, Political commissar for the 29th regiment
    Chen Yi, Political commissar for the 28th regiment
    Kang Keqing, Peasant guerrilla fighter from Wan’an County
    Yuan Wencai, Leader of the 32nd regiment
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    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
90 Ratings

90 Ratings

cah202212345 ,

Thank you!

Lots of fascinating detail and nuance. The focus is on historical forces/causes and ideas, rather than names, geography and dates. So you get good insight and good storytelling. Thanks!!

Ian Beansen ,

Incredible

Started from the beginning, this is such an incredibly informative podcast on the history of China, and the application - and development - of leftist theory

k dzie ,

If you don’t know much about China and want to change that, start here

The best historical podcast on China I’ve found to date. The main focus is on Mao and his ideas and how they spread through the world and were reapplied to different circumstances, but the show does an incredible service in providing hours and hours of historical context about China, Chinese and western philosophers of the time, the broader geopolitics of the era, and more. There’s a lot of info to get through at some points so I do find myself listening to episodes twice sometimes to make sure I’m following, but that’s not a bad thing. Looking up maps and photos of key figures also helps me to retain better. Treat it like a lecture and you’ll get a lot out of this podcast.

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