The term “useful idiot” has been in use since at least the late 1950s to describe followers and supporters of the socialist and Communist causes. The fact is that since its conception in 1848, Communism has been successfully manipulating and collecting throngs of useful idiots to fight for and win its revolutions. The Bolsheviks did it in the USSR. So did Mao Zedong in China.
Mao carried out two such revolutions. One was a Bolshevik-style revolution that overthrew the Nationalist government and turned China into a communist country in 1949. Hundreds of millions of peasants supported Mao’s revolution, convinced their reward would be free land. The reward turned out to be serfdom and starvation. Mao’s other revolution was the infamous Chinese Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) to destroy anything old and traditional, to establish his absolute power and the dominance of his personal brand of Marxism: Maoism. During the Cultural Revolution, I, as a young schoolgirl, witnessed how Mao mobilized and weaponized useful idiots to achieve his personal and political goals. Of course, when they had outlived their usefulness, Mao promptly discarded them.
Mao’s secret weapon and private army during his Cultural Revolution was tens of millions of indoctrinated children and youths from his government schools and universities. They had been “properly” taught that Mao was their “real parent.” Thus, their loyalty was, above all, to Mao and the Party. In their mind, there was not a slightest doubt and they were Mao’s loyal Red Guards and Mao was their Red Commander-in-Chief. With Mao’s full support, the Red Guards seized the power for Mao by dismantling the entire CCP bureaucracy. They made Maoism the supreme ideology of the land by destroying all aspects of traditional Chinese culture and civilization. Old statues were toppled, institutions, street names, and even personal names were changed to be politically correct, people deemed to hold incorrect thoughts contrary to Maoist thought were silenced, publicly brutalized and even killed.
Intoxicated with power, the Red Guards fought amongst themselves for power, each faction hoping to inherit the power Mao had given them. Ignorant of the history of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the 1949 Chinese Communist Revolution, the Red Guards knew nothing about the fate of useful idiots before them, and were totally unprepared when Mao turned against them. Troops were deployed to suppress the fractious Red Guards. Mao’s forces killed some, while the rest were exiled to the countryside for “re-education” from the peasants.
When the Cultural Revolution was over, millions of veteran Red Guards had lost their youth, been deprived of their education and had their future stolen. They are called the “lost generation,” Mao’s sacrificial “useful idiots” for his desire of absolute power. Although too young to be a Red Guard, I too was sent to the countryside after high school, where I worked for three years in the fields in hard labor under primitive conditions.
Just like Mao, the radical Left has been also turning our educational system into indoctrination mills. Students are fed lies that their country is and has always been a racist country and deserves to be dismantled. Just like Mao’s Red Guards, the American youth are taught to be loyal to the progressive causes and the Party above all else. Without knowing the real history of their own country, the evil history of Communism, and the history of how radical operatives exploit and discard “useful idiots,” American youths are joining the destructive force of the Left while believing they are fighting for justice, social justice, racial justice, or environmental justice.
We see them on campuses and streets, at state capitols and in legislative sessions, with the same revolutionary fervor of the Chinese Red Guards. Their goal is to intimidate, disrupt, and destroy. We see them intoxicated with power, which the Left, while the media protects and cheers them on. They seem to be unstoppable and ready at a moment’s notice to answer the call for yet another protest and demonstration chanting “No justice. No peace.. They seem to be totally committed to the cause to “fundamentally transform” America. In other words, they are the perfect “useful idiots”.
But they are utterly clueless of what awaits them if their revolution actually succeeds. How would they know since they are never taught such history or given no warnings. There are two ways for them to find out the truth. One is to experience the same sad ending of those Chinese Red Guards. The other is to learn the lessons from those before them, wake up, and refuse to become pawns for a Marxist revolution that would bring about suffering to everyone including themselves. To do so requires learning real lessons from the past. And I am here, as someone who lived it, to offer that lesson.
Xi Van Fleet grew up in Mao’s China and spent her entire school years in the turmoil of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In 1986 she came to America as a student to pursue her graduate studies. She holds master degrees in English and Library Science. She became involved in politics after realizing the Chinese Cultural Revolution was taking place in America. Her up-coming book “Mao’s America: A Survivor’s Warning” will be available in October 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.