This article examines Louis Althusser's writings on China and Maoism in conjunction with his structural rereading of Marx, both of which occurred during the 1960s. In particular, I focus on the role of contradictions, antihumanism, and ideology in Althusser's texts of this period. I argue that Althusser's Maoism and his structuralism were both answers to the specific theoretical and political impasses confronting French Marxism in the 1960s. In a second part, I analyze how Althusser's Maoist students applied some of these ideas to their political activities. Finally, I turn to the phenomenon of “de-Maoization” in France during the late 1970s and 1980s, which was accompanied by a revival of human rights.

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