William Hinton , died in 2004, age 85.
- He will be remembered as one of the great observers and proponents of the Chinese Revolution. He was not only a witness to revolution but also an active participant in revolution.
- William Hinton wrote a book that had an enormous and inspiring impact on the generation of revolutionaries who came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That book was Fanshen , an extraordinary account of China's communist-led agrarian revolution in the late 1940s. In subsequent writings, Hinton carried the story forward and brought the experiences and lessons of Mao's Cultural Revolution to an international audience.
William Hinton was the brother of Joan Hinton.
Interest in China
As a young man in the early 1940s, Hinton read Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China , which chronicled the early years of the Chinese revolution and Mao Tsetung's leadership. The book turned Hinton into a Marxist-socialist and convinced him to abandon his pacifist views.
Serving in China
At the end of World War 2, Hinton went to China as part of a U.S. government delegation (short-lived peace talks were taking place between the Chinese revolutionaries and the Kuomintang forces). He met Mao Tsetung. In 1947, Hinton, who had a degree in agronomy from Cornell University, returned to China as a tractor instructor. A year later, after teaching for a short time at the Northern University near Changzhi, he joined up with a land reform work team led by the Communist Party in a liberated district. His experiences with peasants and party members formed the basis of Fanshen.
In 1949, the Maoist revolution triumphed. Hinton decided to stay behind in China to participate in the revolution and contribute to the new society. He came back to the U.S. in 1953. This was a time of intense repression against communists and leftists. The U.S. government authorities seized Hinton's notes and journals and confiscated his passport. He was harassed by the FBI. Not backing down from his support of the revolutionary cause, he was blacklisted and denied employment. Forbidden to take a job, he became a Pennsylvania farmer, and continued to farm for many years. After lengthy legal contests, Hinton eventually regained his notes and papers. He completed Fanshen , and it was finally published in 1966.
Defending "Cultural Revolution"
By the time Fanshen was going into paperback editions, a new chapter of the Chinese revolution was unfolding. This was the Cultural Revolution launched by Mao in 1966. Hinton, who continued to visit China, began writing and speaking ardently about the experiences and goals of the Cultural Revolution.
- I invited Hinton to my campus in 1970. He stayed with us for several days and gave a wonderful series of lectures on the new-democratic revolution, the phase of socialist transformation beginning in 1949, and the Cultural Revolution. Tall and lean and with a distinctive shock of white hair, Hinton delivered his talks in a disarmingly plainspoken style. He had a great effect on us. He illuminated the historical arc of the Chinese revolution--the stages it passed through--and the incredible breakthroughs of the Cultural Revolution. He explained how the shifts in Party policy that were described in Fanshen reflected the contention between Mao's line and opposing bourgeois lines in the Chinese Communist Party. He gave examples of the struggle between the capitalist road and the socialist road under socialism. And he highlighted Mao's idea of continuing the revolution against new bourgeois forces and how the Cultural Revolution was "bombarding" their headquarters within the Communist Party. After his lectures, he talked with us late into the night. (It was the sort of thing he would continue doing in many corners of the world throughout his life.)
- This was a time when many revolutionary-minded students had decided to leave campus to take revolutionary politics to the workers in surrounding communities and factories. We were part of that and Hinton was encouraged by, and supportive of, what we were embarking on.
Defending the revolution
Also according to Raymond Lotta;
After Mao died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping came to power in China. "They suppressed the Maoist revolutionary leadership and began the process of restoring capitalism". Where Bob Avakian led the Revolutionary Communist Party in assessing that the so-called "gang of four" was fighting for Mao's line and leading the fight against the forces of capitalist restoration, Hinton supported the "coup" and the putting down of the "gang of four." It was a position that caused great damage. For several years, Hinton continued to support the Chinese government, a government that was "no longer socialist or revolutionary. But as Deng Xiaoping revealed his utterly capitalist program, Hinton took better positions, turning against the Deng regime and arguing that China was on the capitalist road."
There still remained significant differences between Hinton and the RCP on issues of the 1976 coup in China.
In 1975, the US-China Peoples Friendship Association, established a National Steering Committee, subcommittee on "Normalization and the Taiwan issue".
Its members were;
Socialist Scholars Conference 1990
Is Socialism a Real Alternative in the Third World
- Sponsor: Monthly Review
- Moderator: Paul M. Sweezy, Co Editor, Monthly Review
- Maria Helena Moreira Alves, Workers Party, Brazil
- Bill Hinton, author, The Great Reversal
- Carlos Vilas, Author, The Socialism Revolution
Hinton traveled to different parts of the world to express his solidarity with revolutionary movements. 
- During the final years of his life, he felt a special responsibility to uphold the Chinese revolution against the attacks and distortions leveled against it. In writings and lectures given around the world, he explained and defended Mao's revolutionary approach to land reform and collectivization. He took on the slanders directed at the Great Leap Forward and Mao's agricultural policies, and he stood strongly against the vilification of the Cultural Revolution. This was an important contribution to the battle to counter the bourgeoisie's ideological offensive against communism.