12 Theses on Contradiction

This is a summary of Mao’s book “On Contradiction”, a small piece written by him in 1937. I collected the 12 basic points of it and here I present them to you.

  1. The development of things should be seen as their internal and necessary self-movement.
  2. The fundamental cause of the development of one thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing.
  3. There is internal contradiction in every single thing.
  4. Every thing is in motion and develops.
  5. Social development is due to internal causes.
  6. External causes exist too and become operative through internal causes.
  7. External causes are the conditions of change and internal causes are the basis of change.
  8. Qualitatively different contradictions can only be resolved by qualitatively different methods.
  9. We must not only observe contradictions in their totality, but we must also examine the two aspects of each contradiction.
  10. There always is one principal contradiction which plays the leading role.
  11. Antagonism between classes exists in history as a particular manifestation of the struggle of opposites.
  12. Antagonism is one form, but not the only form of the struggle of opposites. Under socialism, the first will disappear, the second will remain.

This is an introduction to an analysis of dialectics I will try to make in my next posts. And as Mao begins his book: “The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the basic law of materialist dialectics.”


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