Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Ta - Td   —

A rural collective production brigade in the mountainous area of northern Shansi Province which became the pace-setter and model for agricultural work and economic and social development throughout China during the Maoist period.
        In 1975 Tachai had 83 households with about 450 people. Prior to the liberation of China in 1949 Tachai was just one of countless desperately poor villages in China. But after Liberation, and under the excellent leadership of
Chen Yonggui [Chen Yung-kuei, old style], the secretary of the Tachai Party branch of the CCP, the whole village (and later the surrounding area) was mobilized to engage in collective work for the benefit of the whole community. Through socialist collective ideology and hard work and perseverance they turned what had been a miserably poor and downtrodden village into a thriving and prosperous community, despite originally having no natural advantages (such as good soil) in the region. A fundamental change in the mental outlook of the people of the brigade took place, and farm production rose rapidly.
        Chairman Mao took note of this great socialist success and in 1964 issued the call to the rest of rural China: “In agriculture, learn from Tachai.” After that the “Learn from Tachai” movement spread rapidly and many Tachai-type brigades and communes soon appeared in various parts of China. In 1970 Hsiyang County, where the Tachai Brigade is located, launched the learn-from-Tachai movement in all its communes and brigades. Grain output that year doubled that of 1967, and Hsiyang County was declared China’s first Tachai-type county. In 1975 the State Council convened a national conference on learning from Tachai, and in 1976 the number of Tachai-type counties grew to 400. And in 1976 China reaped its 15th consecutive rich harvest.
        Chen Yonggui’s socialist spirit and great success at mobilizing the peasant masses led to his gradual elevation to positions of leadership in the local area, then the county and province, and eventually he became a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party and a Vice-Premier of the State Council. He briefly retained these positions after Mao’s death, but then as the capitalist-roaders gained greater power Chen was removed from these positions, and the entire socialist collective economy of rural China was completely dismantled.

TAILISM (Tailing the Masses)
[Intro material to be added... ]

“Tailism in any type of work is also wrong, because in falling below the level of political consciousness of the masses and violating the principle of leading the masses forward it reflects the disease of dilatoriness. Our comrades must not assume that the masses have no understanding of what they themselves do not yet understand. It often happens that the masses outstrip us and are eager to advance a step when our comrades are still tailing behind certain backward elements, for instead of acting as leaders of the masses such comrades reflect the views of these backward elements and, moreover, mistake them for those of the broad masses.” —Mao, “On Coalition Government” (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, vol. 3, p. 316.

A massive peasant uprising or civil war that lasted for 14 years, from 1850 to 1864 and was fought in most of the provinces of China. It was led by a semi-Christian millenarian movement known as the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace against the Manchu-led
Qing Dynasty. It began when the government officials tried to suppress a Christian sect called the God Worshipping Society which was led by Hong Xiuquan, an unbalanced individual who believed himself to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. But though it started in reaction to religious persecution by the state, the rebellion grew to enormous size primarily because of the political and economic oppression by the feudal state of the millions of peasant masses in China. (Today, too, we often see that what are nominally religious wars actually are mostly due to the masses’ anger towards oppressive governments and foreign imperialism.) This was the largest war in China since the Qing conquest in 1644, and is one of the bloodiest wars in human history. It was the largest war of the 19th century, and estimates of the deaths that occurred in it range from 20 to 70 million. [Some of the information here comes from the Wikipedia.]
        See also: “EVER-VICTORIOUS ARMY”

“Similarly with the Chinese people’s knowledge of imperialism. The first stage was one of superficial, perceptual knowledge, as shown in the indiscriminate anti-foreign struggles of the Movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Yi Ho Tuan Movement [Boxer Rebellion], and so on. It was only in the second stage that the Chinese people reached the stage of rational knowledge, saw the internal and external contradictions of imperialism and saw the essential truth that imperialism had allied itself with China’s comprador and feudal classes to oppress and exploit the great masses of the Chinese people. This knowledge began about the time of the May 4th Movement of 1919.” —Mao, “On Practice” (July 1937), SW1:301, online at: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-1/mswv1_16.htm

Those people from Taiwan who are now living and working in mainland China, where there are more economic opportunities. As of the end of 2011 it is estimated that there are around one million people in this category.

A famous work by Mao Zedong first published in May 1942 and included in volume III of the Selected Works of Mao Tsetung. It is on the Internet in English at several places including
http://www.marx2mao.com/Mao/YFLA42.html and http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_08.htm .
        The Forum on Literature and Art took place during the month of May 1942, and Mao himself gave two presentations, an Introduction on May 2nd, and a longer Concluding speech on May 23rd. Mao stressed the importance of art serving the interests of the masses of people and especially their revolutionary interests. He talked about these key questions in art and literature:
        The problem of class stand, stressing that art should take the standpoint of the proletariat and masses, and that CCP members should promote the political line of the Party in their art work;
        The problem of attitude, that art should criticize the enemy and support the people in their struggles;
        The problem of audience, that our art is for the workers and the masses, rather than for the rich and privileged classes;
        The problem of work, meaning that those engaged in art and literature should merge with the masses, get to know their needs and situation, and learn from the masses how to reach the masses with their art; and
        The problem of study, that artists and writers must study Marxism-Leninism so that their work will be richer in content and more correct in orientation.
        The “Talks...” were especially strong with regard to the need for artists and writers to share the life of the masses so that they will be better able to reflect the real situation in society. And this work even includes one of Mao’s earliest statements of the basic idea of the mass line: “Revolutionary statesmen, the political specialists who know the science or art of revolutionary politics, are simply the leaders of millions upon millions of statesmen—the masses. Their task is to collect the opinions of these mass statesmen, sift and refine them, and return them to the masses, who then take them and put them into practice.”
        For a further discussion of this important work, and its context, see: “For Your Reference: About ‘Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art’”, Peking Review, vol. 15, #20, May 19, 1972, available at: https://www.massline.org/PekingReview/PR1972/PR1972-20b.htm

A bourgeois and petty-bourgois refrain found in Australia, New Zealand and the UK aimed at those who are supposedly “jealous” of people who are “successful” (i.e. adept at personal enrichment through the extraction of surplus value). It is of course perfectly natural for the bourgoisie to ascribe any hostility to capitalism and the accumulation of wealth as emanating from jealousy, because they genuinely cannot conceive of any legitimate grievances that people might have against their “wonderful” system. Of real interest is the large number of people of proletarian backgrounds who subscribe to the tall-poppy notion. This is another example of how bourgois philosophy and morality infects the proletariat, many of whom come to embrace the system that exploits them because “it’s human nature to want more”, or some such bourgeois notion. —L.C.

Assets which can be touched or felt, including homes, stores, factories, machinery, raw materials purchased, vehicles, livestock, etc., as opposed to intangible property such as stocks, bonds, savings accounts, cash, accounts receivable, intellectual property, and so forth.
        In capitalist societies tangible property is taxed, often heavily so, while intangible property is normally not taxed at all. Thus there are property taxes on homes, but no property taxes on stocks and bonds owned. Why is this, do you suppose? The rich man owns a lot more tangible property than does a poor man, of course. But a much higher proportion of the wealth of the rich man is in the form of intangible property, in stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and so forth. That is why those things are not taxed! The bourgeoisie runs society in its own class interests, after all! (It is true that there are taxes on income from both tangible and intangible property, but not on the intangible property itself. And even with regard to income taxes, the tax code is loaded with a vast number of
loopholes for the rich.)

        1. A strong supporter of Soviet-style
social-imperialism (or sometimes more traditional and openly bourgeois forms of imperialism), who defends the use of tanks and/or other powerful weapons in the pursuit of imperialist interests.
        The term came about when the state-capitalist and social-imperialist Soviet Union began using tanks in the 1950s to put down revolts in its satellite countries, especially Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. In Britain, and elsewhere, the defenders of the Soviet Union and its outrageous actions were then referred to as “tankies” because they supported the use of tanks to suppress the people’s revolts. In the 1980s the term was used to refer to those who supported the Soviet Union in its attempt to put down the the revolt against its puppet regime in Afghanistan. More recently it has been frequently used to refer to those who support the efforts of Russia (no longer pretending to be a socialist country) to prop up its client regime in Syria against rebellions and attacks of all kinds. In this situation a secondary meaning of ‘tankie’ seems to be coming about: Someone who, from a nominally “left” perspective, supports some vicious authoritarian regime, on the absurd grounds that this regime is at least somewhat opposed to United States imperialism. In other words, ‘tankie’ now sometimes just means a revisionist.
        2. [As used by Trotskyists and some other fanatical opponents of Stalin:] Because of the often dominant voice of academic Marxists and Trotskyists on the “left” in the U.S. today, definition 1 of the word ‘tankie’ (given above) is often twisted, distorted and identified with what they call “Stalinism”. Although there were certainly some serious problems and shortcomings in the Soviet Union when Stalin was alive, it was still a socialist country then and not a state-capitalist or social-imperialist country. And the term ‘tankie’ properly speaking refers to actions by social-imperialists or other phony “leftists”. But since this “Trot” definition is so common now, people who use the word ‘tankie’ today should always try to make clear exactly what they mean by it!

“The first time ‘Tankie’ was written down was in the Guardian [U.K.] in May 1985, in an article describing the Morning Star [CPGB] crowd: ‘The minority who are grouped around the Morning Star (and are variously referred to as traditionalists, hardliners, fundamentalists, Stalinists, or “tankies”—this last a reference to the uncritical support that some of them gave to the Soviet ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan).’”

[To be added...]
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“The error of observing and studying matter separate from motion resides in overstating the importance of the factors of immobility or equilibrium, in concealing their limitations and substituting these partial factors for the whole, in generalizing a particular condition of motion, and in presenting them in absolute terms. The saying beloved of China’s ancient metaphysical thinkers, ‘Heaven changeth not, neither does the Dao’ [saying of Dong Zhongshu (179-104 BCE)] is indicative of this theory of a static universe; and although these thinkers recognized change in the phenomena of the universe and society, they refused to recognize it as change in their essence. From their perspective, the essence of the universe and society remained eternally unchangeable. And the principal reason that they thought like this was the limitations of their class; for if the feudal landlord class admitted that the essence of the universe and society is in motion and develops, then theoretically this was tantamount to signalling the death sentence of their own class. The philosophy of all reactionary forces is the theory of immobility. The revolutionary classes and masses have perceived the principle of the development of the world, and therefore advocate the transformation of society and the world—and their philosophy is dialectical materialism.” —Mao, “Lecture Notes on Dialectical Materialism” (1937), in Nick Knight, ed., Mao Zedong on Dialectical Materialism (1990), pp. 106-7.

TARGET RATE (Federal Reserve)

A term referring to what has become the central strategy of U.S. imperialism in its so-called
“War on Terror”. One of the specific methods utilized is the assassination of individuals, as was done by a U.S. Navy Seal team in the case of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. However, much more common and typical is the use of drones to remotely kill supposed “terrorist suspects” and, inevitably because of very frequent “accidents”, much larger numbers of innocent civilians including a great many children. Because of this, the strategy of “targeted killing” is constantly generating many more new enemies of U.S. imperialism than it is killing. It is therefore doomed to fail in the end.
        Targeted killings (assassinations) have been part of the arsenal of U.S. imperialism since it came into existence well over a century ago. But until recently assassinations were more of an adjunct to “gunboat diplomacy”, invasions, and more conventional strategies of war. The “War on Terror” itself also began with the more conventional bombings and invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. But U.S. imperialism and its allies became bogged down in those wars, and found them way too costly. So, as is so often the case, the U.S. looked for a cheaper technical solution to what was actually a social problem of their own making. This new strategy of assassinations by drones first became important during the second term of George W. Bush. But during the Obama administration it has really mushroomed and become the basic strategy for its entire “War on Terror”. Because of all the civilians being murdered, this “targeted killing” strategy is gradually turning that war ever more clearly into a war of U.S. imperialism against the people of the world.
        See also the New York Times article, “Targeted Killing Comes to Define War on Terror” (April 7, 2013).


TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program]
An emergency U.S.
government bailout program for banks and other financial institutions which was passed in the fall of 2008 with an initial appropriation of 700 billion dollars. The name comes from the original idea that the money would be used primarily to buy up the “toxic assets” of the banks and Wall Street firms, such as their foolish investments in subprime mortgages and securities based on them. (The government bill used the euphemism “troubled assets” rather than the actual term being used by the public and Wall Street brokers themselves—“toxic assets”.) Actually, however, the government quickly changed its idea about what to do with all this money, and started using it to “recapitalize” these banks and other corporations. The aim was still to prop up these supposedly “private” corporations and keep them from going bankrupt, but the method was switched to simply giving them the money (in exchange for grossly overvalued stock certificates) instead of directly buying up their bad investments. This was a hidden form of bourgeois nationalization, in which the government “invested” in these financial institutions but did little to control or direct them, let alone to do so in the interests of the people.

TASCA, Angelo   (1892-1960)
syndicalist in Turin in his early years. Worked with Gramsci, Togliatti and Terracini, and after the Livorno Congress in 1921 joined the Italian Communist Party. He was a rightist who broke with the left wing of the party around 1926, and was expelled in 1929 (because of his support of Bukharin against Stalin it is said). He emigrated to France and became a French citizen in 1936. During the Spanish Civil War he supported the Trotskyite POUM in opposition to the Communist Party of Spain. During World War II Tasca was an important official in the Vichy regime in France (which collaborated with Nazi Germany). After World War II he became a professional anti-Communist and “fiery anti-Stalinist”.

“After the trial of Bukharin, Tasca abandoned Marxism altogether and swerved to the right. The outbreak of war found him broadcasting for French radio. In 1940, he rejected an opportunity to escape to London and worked for the Vichy government as an anti-Communist propagandist. He did so because he was convinced that the enmity between Communists and Socialists had brought France to defeat. However, his hope that France could be reborn under Vichy was short-lived and he soon made contact with the Belgian resistance. It was not enough and his early collaborationism prevented his having any kind of political career in France or Italy after 1945. With some bitterness, he turned to writing fierce anti-Communist studies based on his own archives and diaries. He ended up on the CIA-funded lecture circuit....” —Paul Preston, quoted in a Stanford University sponsored anti-communist website discussion at: http://web.stanford.edu/group/wais/Fascism/fascism_angelo.htm

Devices, used mostly by police, to shoot electrodes into a person’s body which then stuns the person into immobility (and usually considerable pain and mental confusion) through the discharge of high voltage (but low amperage) electricity. Though called by the manufacturers and police “safe and non-lethal”, these are actually very painful and dangerous weapons which sometimes do kill people. And far from being “a non-lethal alternative” to guns, these are just one more additional weapon used by the ruling class to intimidate and keep the unruly masses under tighter control. They actually lead to many more violent attacks on the people by the police because they now have the (phony) excuse that tasers are supposedly harmless.
        Tasers are also sometimes purposefully used as a torture instrument.

“Tasers did not lead to a decline in gun use, as marketed; they became instead a new tool for police abuse, employed against nonthreatening people for failure to follow officers’ commands. And some taser victims did die... Meanwhile, taxpayers, who foot the bill for police misconduct, have paid out more than $172 million in taser-related lawsuits.” —Adam Winkler, “Electric Blue”, a review of the book Thin Blue Lie: The Failure of High-Tech Policing (2019), by Matt Stroud, in the New York Times, Book Review section, March 31, 2019.
         [The reviewer also notes that the result of this “high-tech policing” is that “‘fixes’ can aggravate the very problems they were designed to remedy”. And he adds that “Whether combatting terrorism or just ordinary crime, modern law enforcement adheres to what Stroud calls ‘technological solutionism,’ the belief that technology is always the best answer.” What both Winkler and Stroud apparently do not understand is that if a tiny capitalist ruling class is going to defend a viciously unjust and exploitative system there are no completely adequate social and peaceful ways to do this. Ideological indoctrination, as important as it is, only goes so far. Therefore, the bourgeoisie absolutely must continually seek ever more outrageously violent and fascist technological means for maintaining control. —Ed.]


A country, or region within a country, where taxes on the rich and their corporations are substantially lower even than the average low tax rates which the rich generally pay everywhere (assuming they pay any taxes at all). In some cases, the tax rates in tax havens are actually zero; i.e., there are no taxes whatsoever on income. The best known tax havens are various small island nations in the Caribbean, especially the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. Many tax havens also offer secrecy, so that wealth (including wealth acquired through criminal activity) may be securely held there without anyone’s knowledge.
        Besides such traditional tax havens as the Cayman Islands, there are other countries including Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore and Britain, which also function as tax havens even though they have non-zero tax rates (though still low). The United States itself is also often viewed as a tax haven in this sense. The advantage that these tax havens have over the traditional zero-rate tax havens is that they have tax treaties with other countries which allow the legal movement of income from one to another, which makes it easier for corporations and the rich to report the income in the lower tax areas and thus eliminate most of the taxes they would otherwise have to pay.
        Tax havens lead to the loss of huge amounts of tax revenue to jurisdictions which need that income for government spending (both good and bad). According to the Wikipedia (as of 2018), the most credible range for these tax losses is between $100 billion to $250 billion per year.
        In addition, the existence of tax havens can lead to increased tendencies toward financial crises, most obviously by exacerbating government deficits because of lower tax receipts. Another, more indirect, way in which this can happen is that tax havens bring in lots of money from other countries, which officially counts toward local GDP (even though it actually represents no production within the tax haven country). This in turn makes it easier to hide the excessive growth of government debt in the tax haven country, since government debt is calculated in relation to the size of GDP. Thus some countries, such as Ireland in 2009-2013 have suddenly found themselves in a serious financial crisis that the government was apparently unaware was even developing.
        So why then don’t governments which need the taxes (and also fear financial crises) close down access to these tax havens at home or abroad? This is because the capitalists and financiers who control these governments are themselves conflicted: They want others to pay taxes, but to have access themselves to tax havens where they personally pay little or no taxes. Capitalism is a very contradictory social system! Moreover, bourgeois economists can always be found who will cook up excuses amenable to the bourgeoisie about why tax havens are either no problem, or are even supposedly beneficial with regard to GDP growth, jobs, etc. One recent article along these lines is “Unintended Consequences of Eliminating Tax Havens”, by Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, July 2018 [NBER Working Paper No. 24850.]

Lawyers employed to allow corporations and the rich to make best use of the thousands of pages describing special LOOPHOLES (see below) in the tax laws in capitalist countries.
        See also:

“How does General Electric get away with paying little to no federal taxes? By employing a tax department of some 975 lawyers and accountants, often called the world’s best tax law firm. Headed by John Samuels, a bow-tie-wearing former Treasury Department official, the tax department has more than tripled in size over the past two decades, all in the interest of reducing the company’s tax bill. The department is widely admired for its artful accounting, crafted by the dozens of former IRS officials and former employees of congressional tax-writing committees that GE has hired. ... GE also files tax returns in 250 global jurisdictions, many of them low-tax countries where profits are parked to avoid the U.S. taxman.” —The Week, Sept. 2, 2011, p. 13.

Loopholes are special exceptions in the tax code which allows those who qualify (virtually always corporations and special categories of rich people) to escape paying part of their taxes. Politicians are bribed (usually in the form of “campaign donations”) by the rich to include the loopholes which will benefit those bribing them. The fact that the tax code is now so enormously complex and full of tens of thousands of loopholes speaks for itself as to who is in control of the American government.
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“The federal tax code, which was 400 pages long in 1913, has swollen to about 70,000. Americans now spend 7.6 billion hours a year grappling with an incomprehensible tangle of deductions, loopholes, and arcane reporting requirements. That is the equivalent of 3.8 million skilled workers toiling full-time, year-round, just to handle the paperwork. By this measure, the tax-compliance industry is six times larger than car-making....
         “Every wrinkle in the tax code represents a favor to some group.... A typical loophole has passionate defenders but no opponents. Those who benefit from it, benefit a lot. Those who would gain from its repeal (i.e., taxpayers in general), have never heard of it. So the mess gets ever messier. Happy April 15th.” —The Economist, April 10, 2010, p. 35.


A term used mostly in bourgeois economics to indicate one or another type of distortion in economic choices caused by a tax. The most frequently mentioned type of tax wedge is the difference between the cost of a worker’s wages to the employer, and what the worker actually receives as take-home pay. The national, state and local governments deduct substantial parts of a worker’s gross pay for income taxes, Social Security taxes, unemployment and disability taxes, and so forth. Thus the worker’s net pay, i.e., what they actually receive in their pay checks, is very much smaller.
        Sometimes a broader difference is drawn between the total cost of employment of a worker to the capitalist company (including not just gross pay but also the costs of vacation, health, retirement and other benefits) and take-home pay. (This broader difference is not, strictly speaking, entirely a tax wedge.)

[To be added...]
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