Submitted by Editor on Sat, 10/04/2021 - 10:33

This interesting graffiti at the Broughton Street end of Albany Street Lane makes use of a pre-existing incision in a random flagstone.

At first glance it reads like a half-remembered song lyric, but in fact it loosely paraphrases part of Mao Zedong’s concluding speech to the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth Central Committee of the Party on 6 November 1938.

We thought it might be interesting today to quote from Zedong’s paradoxical Problems of War and Strategy at greater length.


‘Now that Japanese imperialist oppression and the nation-wide resistance to it have pushed our labouring people into the arena of war, Communists should prove themselves the most politically conscious leaders in this war. Every Communist must grasp the truth, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

‘Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun.

‘According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. Some people ridicule us as advocates of the “omnipotence of war”. Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist. The guns of the Russian Communist Party created socialism. We shall create a democratic republic.


‘Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed.

‘We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.’

Make of that what you will.

[Image top-right: Wikipedia Creative Commons.]