Dead Socialist Watch, #46

Mao Zedong, 1893-1976.

According to the programme notes for John Adams’s splendid opera, Nixon in China, “Chairman Mao was probably the closest thing to Plato’s Philosopher King that the world will ever see. He was a brilliant peasant autodidact who played up his thick Southern accent, spat, belched and scratched himself. He wrote great poetry in the classic Chinese forms, and later banned those forms. In a country he had made puritan, he was an inveterate womanizer. His enemies destroyed one another; millions died who opposed his thought.”

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