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On contradictions, from Mao to Mngxitama

By BO Staff Writer

Five decades ago, when the Maoist wave was at its heights, Mao Zedong’s distinction between “primary” and “secondary” contradictions was the main currency in political conceptualization and discourse. The same principle was clarified by Steve Biko in the 1970’s when he pointedly said that “the main contradiction in South Africa is ‘white racism’”. Consequently, the only solution to racism is “black solidarity” which must in turn completely eradicate white racism.”

Today BLF President Andile Mngxitama further clarified the issue of contradictions in the midst of the confusion arising from those not having a proper grasp of the issue. He examined the issue in a Facebook post titled ‘Primary vs Secondary contradictions again!!!’. He said “Biko covers all these aspects”. He counseled “off course we should study all revolutions and revolutionary theories”

He further cautioned “there are agents of whiteness amongst us. Their job is to elevate secondary contradictions so that we lose sight of the real primary contradiction.”

Responding to a comment that Biko has been undermined by intellectuals who misrepresent him on the issue of primary vs secondary contradictions, the BLF President said sharply, “these are not intellectuals, they pose as such. They hide behind jargon and hope for the best.”

The current situation suggests that many of us can identify a counter revolutionary current and those that drive it but are not capacitated to deal with this phenomena! We are also often unable to distinguish between the contradiction prevailing between the oppressed people and the enemy, and; the contradictions that exists between the people. It is also true that there are those among us who understand the issue of contradictions very well but chose nonetheless to treat secondary contradictions as the primary contradiction for opportunistic reasons. These are agents of the enemy. The principle of employing different methods to solve different contradictions is a principle that all revolutionaries must strictly observe. Here’s Mao Zedong to further clarify this issue.

“The question of suppressing counterrevolutionaries is one of a struggle between us and the enemy, a contradiction between us and the enemy. Among the people, some see this question in a somewhat different light. Two kinds of persons hold views different from ours. Those with a Rightist way of thinking make no distinction between the enemy and us and take the enemy for our own people. They regard as friends the very persons whom the broad masses regard as enemies. Those with a “Left” way of thinking magnify contradictions between ourselves and the enemy to such an extent that they take certain contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy and regard as counter-revolutionary persons who are actually not counter-revolutionaries. Both these views are wrong. Neither can lead to the correct handling of the question of suppressing counter-revolutionaries or to a correct assessment of this work.

Qualitatively different contradictions can only be resolved by qualitatively different methods. For instance, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is resolved by the method of socialist revolution; the contradiction between the great masses of the people and the feudal system is resolved by the method of democratic revolution; the contradiction between the colonies and imperialism is resolved by the method of national revolutionary war; the contradiction between the working class and the peasant class in socialist society is resolved by the method of collectivization and mechanization in agriculture; contradiction within the Communist Party is resolved by the method of criticism and self-criticism; the contradiction between society and nature is resolved by the method of developing the productive forces.”

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