These Mao Zedong quotes about revolution, war, and politics will make you think. Share which quote you found the most surprising in the comments.
Mao Zedong was one of the founding fathers of the People’s Republic of China. He led his country in a communist revolution and was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death in 1976.
Mao followed a revolutionary philosophy that was made up of Marxist, Leninist, and Stalinist convictions, but he tailored his beliefs to support the Chinese people. His particular blend of revolutionary philosophy would become known as Maoism.
Some good that came out of Mao’s leadership was that some of his policies were beneficial to the peasants of China and his revolution achieved China’s sovereignty. However, Mao also led an authoritarian government, the effects of which China is still dealing with today.
Don’t forget to also check out these Vladimir Lenin quotes from the Soviet leader.
Mao Zedong quotes on revolution
1. “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous.” — Mao Zedong
2. “A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” — Mao Zedong
3. “An army of the people is invincible!” — Mao Zedong
4. “The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black people.” — Mao Zedong
5. “People of the whole world, unite still more closely and launch a sustained and vigorous offensive against our common enemy, U.S. imperialism, and its accomplices!” — Mao Zedong
6. It can be said with certainty that the complete collapse of colonialism, imperialism, and all systems of exploitation, and the complete emancipation of all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are not far off.” — Mao Zedong
7. “To rebel is justified.” — Mao Zedong
8. “You can’t be a revolutionary if you don’t eat chilies.” — Mao Zedong
9. “A potential revolutionary situation exists in any country where the government consistently fails in its obligation to ensure at least a minimally decent standard of life for the great majority of its citizens.” — Mao Zedong
10. “A people’s insurrection and a people’s revolution are not only natural but inevitable.” — Mao Zedong
Mao quotes on war
11. “War can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.” — Mao Zedong
12. “I call on the workers, peasants, and revolutionary intellectuals of all countries and all who are willing to fight against U.S. imperialism to take action and extend strong support to the struggle of the Black people in the United States!” — Mao Zedong
13. “The atom bomb is a paper tiger which the United States reactionaries use to scare people. It looks terrible, but in fact, it isn’t.” — Mao Zedong
14. “This army is powerful because all its members have a conscious discipline; they have come together and they fight not for the private interests of a few individuals or a narrow clique, but for the interests of the broad masses and of the whole nation.” — Mao Zedong
15. “Keep the enemy in the dark about where and when our forces will attack.” — Mao Zedong
16. “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. Ibid.” — Mao Zedong
17. “War, this monster of mutual slaughter among men, will be finally eliminated by the progress of human society, and in the not too distant future too.” — Mao Zedong
18. “Evil does not exist in guerrilla warfare but only in the unorganized and undisciplined activities that are anarchism.” — Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong quotes on politics
19. “Politics is war without blood, while war is politics with blood.” — Mao Zedong
20. “Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun.” — Mao Zedong
21. “The struggle of the Black people in the United States for emancipation is a component part of the general struggle of all the people of the world against U.S. imperialism, a component part of the contemporary world revolution.” — Mao Zedong
22. “The Communist party must control the guns.” — Mao Zedong
23. “Very many members of our family have given their lives, killed by the Kuomintang and the American imperialists. You grew up eating honey, and thus far you have never known suffering. In the future, if you do not become a rightist, but rather a centrist, I shall be satisfied. You have never suffered–how can you be a leftist?” — Mao Zedong
24. “Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.” — Mao Zedong
25. “Imperialism will not last long because it always does evil things.” — Mao Zedong
26. “It is the task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression and oppression perpetrated by imperialism.” — Mao Zedong
27. “In our international relations, we Chinese people should get rid of great-power chauvinism resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely.” — Mao Zedong
Chairman Mao quotes on education
28. “To read too many books is harmful.” — Mao Zedong
29. “When you point a finger at the moon to indicate the moon, instead of looking at the moon, the stupid ones look at your finger.” — Mao Zedong
30. “Our attitude towards ourselves should be to be insatiable in learning and towards others to be tireless in teaching.” — Mao Zedong
31. “All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.” — Mao Zedong
32. “Be a pupil before you become a teacher; learn from the cadres at the lower levels before you issue orders.” — Mao Zedong
33. “We should never pretend to know what we do not know.” — Mao Zedong
Wise Mao Zedong quotes
34. “Don’t give a child a fish but show him how to fish.” — Mao Zedong
35. “It’s always darkest before it becomes totally black.” — Mao Zedong
36. “In waking a tiger, use a long stick.” — Mao Zedong
37. “The great man, Genghis Khan, only knew how to shoot eagles with an arrow. The past is past. To see real heroes, look around you.” — Mao Zedong
38. “Make criticism in good time; don’t get into the habit of criticizing only after the event.” — Mao Zedong
39. “We should listen carefully to the views of the cadres at the lower levels.” — Mao Zedong
40. “Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.” — Mao Zedong
More Mao Zedong quotes and sayings
41. “Women hold up half the sky.” — Mao Zedong
42. “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent.” — Mao Zedong
43. “Firstly, do not fear hardship, and secondly, do not fear death.” — Mao Zedong
44. “History is a symptom of our disease.” — Mao Zedong
45. “Commandism is wrong in any type of work because in overstepping the level of political consciousness of the masses and violating the principle of voluntary mass action it reflects the disease of impetuosity.” — Mao Zedong
46. “I am alone monk walking the world with a leaky umbrella.” — Mao Zedong
47. “Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work in production.” — Mao Zedong
48. “What the cadres at the lower levels say may or may not be correct, after hearing it, we must analyze it. We must heed the correct views and act upon them.” — Mao Zedong
49. “Listen also to the mistaken views from below, it is wrong not to listen to them at all. Such views, however, are not to be acted upon but to be criticized.” — Mao Zedong
50. “The whole world is very bright. The darker the clouds, the greater the light.” — Mao Zedong
What did you learn from these Mao Zedong quotes?
Whether Mao Zedong was a good leader or a villain is widely debated. Because his leadership stretched over such a long period of time and he enacted policies that are considered both “good” and “bad” by the general public, it is hard to say whether he was entirely good or bad for the people of China.
The policies enacted at the beginning of Mao’s leadership were considered progressive and supported feminism, egalitarianism, anti-imperialism, nationalism, and anti-feudalism. However, towards the end of his leadership, Mao possibly undid all of the good he had done by becoming a power-hungry dictator.
Did you enjoy these Mao Zedong quotes and sayings? Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
April 28, 2021 7:00 AM EST