People's History of Ideas Podcast

People's History of Ideas Podcast

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.... Show More

Episodes

July 8, 2020 68 min

A podcast version of a recently published article which discusses what the leader of Peru's Shining Path, Abimael Guzmán, has to say about the time he spent in Maoist China.

The article can be read on the podcast website.

Share
Mark as Played

Workers, students and merchants in Shanghai take on the British authorities of the International Settlement and Japanese mill owners after protesters are massacred.

Further Reading:
Steve Smith, A Road Is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920-1927

Some names from this episode:
Li Lisan, Communist leader of the Shanghai General Labor Union
Zhang Xueliang, son of Zhang Zuolin, occupied Shanghai’s Chinese city
Zhang Zuolin, northern warlord
Greg...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

In response to a listener request, we consider the situation in the United States today in light of historical thinking on the question of revolutionary situations.

Further reading:
Lenin, The Collapse of the Second International (chapter two)
Lenin, Letters from Afar
Lenin, “Marxism and Insurrection”

Share
Mark as Played

The Communist Party tries to figure out how to put the workers in the lead of the nationalist revolution, and has some initial success.

Further Reading:
Steve Smith, A Road Is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920-1927

Some names from this episode:
Deng Zhongxia, Leading Communist labor organizer
Li Dazhao, Co-founder of the Communist Party, often credited as China’s first Marxist
Li Lisan, Leading Communist labor organizer
Chen Duxiu, Chen D...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

The thinking of Chinese Communism’s two founders, Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu, diverges as revolutionary experience is gained.

Further Reading:
Maurice Meisner, Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism

Some names from this episode:
Li Dazhao, Co-founder of the Communist Party, often credited as China’s first Marxist
Chen Duxiu, Co-founder and first general secretary of the Communist Party
Zhang Guotao, Communist leader and opponent of ...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

As both the Guomindang and the Communist Party benefit from their collaboration, tensions build.

Further reading:
Tony Saich, The Origins of the First United Front in China
Steve Smith, A Road Is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920-1927
Alexander Pantsov, The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution, 1919-1927
C. Martin Wilbur and Julie Lien-ying How, Missionaries of Revolution: Soviet Advisers and Nationalist China, 1920-1927
Arif Dirlik, “M...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

A podcast version of a recently published article which argues that the rightward turn of Chinese politics in the 1970s was a key contributing factor in ending the revolutionary era of the long and global 1960s and ushering in the neoliberal age of reaction which followed.

The article can be read on the podcast website.

Share
Mark as Played

The Communist Party of China tries to find a way to implement the united front with the Guomindang in 1923, but ultimately has to wait for the Soviet-Guomindang alliance to mature.

Further reading:
Tony Saich, The Origins of the First United Front in China
Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 2

Some names from this episode:
Sun Zhongshan/Sun Yatsen, leader of the Guomindang
Wang Jingwei, leader of Guomindang left-wing, later pr...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

The Communist Party begins its labor organizing drive, and the Comintern pushes for a united front with the Guomindang.

Further reading:
Elizabeth Perry, Shanghai on Strike
Tony Saich, The Origins of the First United Front in China
Steve Smith, A Road Is Made: Communism in Shanghai 1920-1927 

Some names from this episode:
Henk Sneevliet, alias Maring, Dutch Communist and Comintern leader in China beginning in 1921
Zhang Guotao, emerged fr...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

The early divergence in strategic thinking and revolutionary priorities between the CCP and the Comintern. 

Further reading:
Tony Saich, The Origins of the First United Front in China

Some names from this episode:
Chen Gongbo, Founding Chinese Communist who studied at Columbia and later joined the Japanese puppet regime
Henk Sneevliet, alias Maring, Dutch Communist and Comintern leader in China beginning in 1921
Sun Zhongshan/Sun Yat-sen...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

Polemics with non-revolutionary Marxists and anarchists, and then the party congress in July 1921.

Further reading:
Arif Dirlik, The Origins of Chinese Communism

Some names from this episode:
Chen Duxiu, editor of New Youth and leader of Shanghai Communist nucleus
Gregory Voitinsky, Leader of Comintern delegation to China in 1920
Karl Kautsky, Second International theorist of economic determinist Marxism
Li Dazhao, Beijing-based revolutio...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

Gregory Voitinsky comes to China and helps get the ball rolling to found the Communist Party. Also, a few words on commodity fetishism as the keystone of Marx's Capital and how this leads to Lenin's innovations in conceptualizing communist party formations.

Some names from this episode:
Gregory Voitinsky, Comintern organizer who arrived in China in March 1920
Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu, two of the key figures in founding the Chi...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played
March 25, 2020 25 min

Explaining how the strategic thinking of the Communist International developed, as background to the key role the ComIntern played in facilitating the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.

Share
Mark as Played

In this episode we continue our examination of Mao Zedong’s ideological development by discussing his anarchist period.

 

Further reading:

Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 1: The Pre-Marxist Period, 1912-1920 is the indispensable source here.

 

Some names from this episode:

Li Dazhao, leading proponent of learning from the Russian Revolution

Hu Shi, student of John Dewey and advocate for pragmatism

Chen Duxiu, editor of New Yo...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

In this episode we explore the move from liberalism toward Marxism among progressive intellectuals in the 1915-1919 period, and how those ideas began to be brought to the working class in China’s cities. This includes the New Culture Movement, the May 4th Movement, and the June 5th Movement.

Further reading:

Maurice Meisner, Li Ta-Chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism
Arif Dirlik, The Origins of Chinese Communism

 

Some names from thi...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played
December 21, 2019 22 min

In this episode we look at Mao Zedong’s childhood, family background, and see what he was thinking in 1912.

 

Further reading:

Edgar Snow, Red Star Over China

Stuart Schram, ed., Mao’s Road to Power, vol. 1: The Pre-Marxist Period, 1912-1920

Lee Feigon, Mao: A Reinterpretation

Jonathan Spence, Mao Zedong: A Life

 

Some names from this episode:

Ba Jin, anarchist novelist who wrote The Family

Shang Yang, founder of the Legalist school

Sima Qian...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played
December 14, 2019 23 min

The overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, followed by the first years of the Republic of China.

 

Further reading on the 1911 Revolution:

Joseph Esherick and C.X. George Wei, editors, China: How the Empire Fell


Some names from this episode:

Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese Revolution and revolutionary communist par excellence

Sun Zhongshan/Sun Yat-sen, leader of the Revolutionary Alliance

Huang Xing, Vice-President of the Revolutionary Alliance...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

In this episode, we explore some of the major voices of revolution from the decade preceding the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912: Zou Rong, Qiu Jin and Sun Yat-sen [Sun Zhongshan].

Some names from this episode:
Kang Youwei, Confucian advocate of liberal modernization and focus of episode 8
Guangxu Emperor, Emperor of China who was put under house arrest by Cixi after attempting to assert his power during the Hundred Days Reform (episo...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played
November 5, 2019 26 min

In the face of foreign aggression and natural disaster, masses of Chinese people turn to traditional folk religion and martial arts to attempt to throw out the imperialists.

A couple sources for reading more, and which I used in preparing this episode:
Joseph Esherick, The Origins of the Boxer Uprising
Paul Cohen, History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

Some names from this episode:
Wang Lun, leader of White Lot...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played
October 12, 2019 26 min

In the wake of the Sino-Japanese War, Kang Youwei works with the Guangxu Emperor to try to replicate Japan's Meiji reforms, before being crushed by Cixi and other Manchu conservatives.

At the beginning of the episode, I talk some about how westerners have written about Chinese history. A good book that goes really deep into this is Paul Cohen's Discovering History in China. If you're into that topic, you may also want to...

Read more
Share
Mark as Played

Chat About People's History of Ideas Podcast

Popular Podcasts

Crime Junkie
Crime Junkie
If you can never get enough true crime...
The Daily
The Daily
This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.
    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeartRadio App.

    Connect

    © 2020 iHeartMedia, Inc.