Countercurrents | June 30, 2021
On July 1st the Communist Party of China turns 100. Without doubt it’s formation was one of the greatest turning points in the history of mankind. It shaped the political course of China being a precedent to many a historic event, be it the Long March of 1935,the anti-Japanese War from 1937-45 , the civil war of 1946-1949, the New Democratic revolution of 1949, the Socialist Revolution from 1949-56 the Great Leap Forward, the Socialist Education Movement of 1962, and finally the Great Proletarian Cultural revolution of 1966-76 .All these events enriched the ideology of Marxism Leninism to a pinnacle with symmetry and continuity and unprecedented penetration of practice of massline and It is a great travesty that at the very time of celebration the CPC has completely betrayed the path it undertook from the 1930’s itself to morally make it an anti-thesis of Marxism-Leninism. With the very induction of the four modernisations by Deng Xiaoping the very backbone of Socialism was destroyed in China and seeds planted for capitalism to bloom.
China from 1949-76 took social equality or revolutionary democracy to unprecedented realms, surpassing every third world country in literacy, health, agricultural and industrial production. I recommend readers to refer to the books of Edgar Snow, William Hinton, Joan Robinson, Felix Greene, Maria Antonietta Macciocchi , Rewi Alley, Charles Bettelheim etc.who visited the very heart of China to discover the magical strides and expose the lies and pretensions of the Western media. It is hard to describe the intensity of how the hearts of people reverberated at the very core, after reading about the realities of China. Never in the history of the world was a set up constructed with factories created just besides farms and schools. Experiments in the field of medicine traversed unparalleled regions. Manual and mental labour was integrated as never before. Technicians were sent to work in factories, intellectuals to toil in the fields, students made to learn from the peasants. All commodities were more affordable than in any third world country before, unemployment unheard of, and price rise controlled as nowhere else. No army in the world was more democratic or ethical, exchanging roles of the workers and peasantry and aiding them in labour as the Peoples Liberation Army. The workers controlled and revolutionized production decisions and methods in factories to anextent no country ever did .Through revolutionary committees peasants exercised rights as nowhere else. Forms of mass movements were innovated and undertaken to enable the masses to exercise their rights unparalleled in history, with the big character posters a concrete example.
Revolutionary democratic power reached unprecedented heights through the democratic methods of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, surpassing the democratic levels of the earlier three antis campaign and five antis campaign. Path breaking experiments were made by the CPC penetrating regions untouched before. Inventiveness or creative energy of the workers and peasants in production methods and movements touched mythical heights.Emphasis was placed on creating an inner change in people or transforming thought process through re-moulding ,instead of coercion.
For the first time in history of man were ranks abolished in the army. In the pre -revolutionary period the CPC reminded you of a womb in a mother’s stomach. in the manner it weaved its path. The CPC evolved in the most endangered path or precarious situations, when confronted with the overwhelming power of Chiang Kai Shek on one hand and Japan on the other. The 365 day and 6000 mile Long March was an achievement in the magnitude of a pinnacle reached. The manner the march was executed from Kiangsi to Yenan by initially a small bunch of cadres to turn into a mighty army, braving every possible hazard or obstacle is unprecedented in history of man.
It is must for every cadre to study Chairman Mao’s revolt against the Stalinist urban putchist line of Wang Ming and Li Li San and advocated line of agrarian revolution which was rural based. What was relevant was within the very Communist party itself he challenged the line of urban based insurrection, which emerged victorious in the Tsunyi conference of 1935.
Chairman Mao made many a path breaking contribution to Leninism whether in philosophy or in practice. Lenin’s writings on dialectical materialism and democracy were developed even further and Mao was the pioneer of the first military theory ever for a third world country. It is notable that write from the 1920’s to the 1960’s Chairman Mao held a position of a minority within the Chinese Communist Party when waging his struggle for mass Line.This is apparent in the early 1930’s ,1956 or even 1966.
The practice of the CPC before 1949 also elevated democratic practice within a Communist party to an unequalled magnitude. William Hinton’s experience in Long Bow Village in book ‘Fanshen’ in 1937 itself is a must read. So is Edgar Snows China which most illustratively recounts how the CPC established genuine democratic institutions through building base areas in Hunan, Shanghai or Kiangsi and portrays how the red army was built and based in the very heart of the people. It narrates how land distribution was undertaken by the red army applying the massline.It is most intriguing how the CPC adapted Leninism in respect to the very condition s prevailing, understating the very idioms of the masses. It is a revelation reading about how the Communists established genuine democracy in base areas with the peasants controlling production after confiscation of land from warlords and schools built for villager’s children.
I suggest everyone read Edgar Snows’ account of the ‘Long March’ in China which vividly illustrates how the CPC turned a spark into a Prairie fire. The construction and functioning of the Tachai brigade formed in 1963, took revolutionary power of the peasants to heights unexplored or unprecedented in history of mankind. Two major conferences were launched there in 1975 and 1976. Similarly the student capture of Tsinghua University in 1968 was another path -breaking experiment as well as the workers capturing the Municipal headquarters in Shanghai in 1967.
China exhibited no degree of nation Chauvinism from 1949-76, supporting every national liberation movement and challenging the hegemony of both superpowers, America and Russia. It never intervened or imposed itself on the foreign policies of other countries, not even Communist parties. It is fascinating that CPC even opposed the formation of a Communist International in the 1960’s.Most unfairly China was blamed for the 1962 war when the fault lay with India ,itself who cut across the Macmohan line.China played a major role in Vietnam’s triumph over America. Its behaviour with North Korea in 1954 in the war was an exemplary example of its foreign policy exhibiting no nation chauvinist tendencies. I deeply admire that CPC gave no big brotherly treatment to the Indian C.P.I. (M.L) and infact advised it not to imitate the Chinese path.
Apart from Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou En Lai the most notable contribution from 1949-76 was made by Chang Chun Chiao who was the biggest crusader in challenging the revisionist line ,as well as Chiang Ching who revolutionised art to give it a proletarian form, at a degree never paralleled. They both comprised the ‘Gang of four’ with Wang Hongwen and Yao Wenyuan. Lin Biao made a historic contribution at one juncture as a military commander in the 1940’s ,when abolishing ranks and revolutionising the Peoples Liberation Army in 1962 and enforcing the Socialist Education Movement but after 1976 made a 360 degree turn to give a blow to the Socialist Road.
Irrespective of it’s great achievements ,there is no doubt the Chinese Communist party displayed considerable flaws and made serious mistakes. Where CPC erred was in my view was in not condemning assassination of Salvador Allende by America in Chile, becoming a part of the United Nations in 1971, placing more emphasis on confronting Soviet Social Imperialism than US imperialism, dismantling revolutionary Commitees after 1969,delaying the Socialists transformation and Great debate, converting the Shanghai Commune into revolutionary Commitees and in assessing 2-line struggle within a Communist party to be sufficient for the victory of revolutionary democracy.
I must admit that left sectarian tendencies were predominant during the Cultural Revolution as well as excessive power awarded to the military. Most regrettable excesses were committed on intellectuals, writers and artists and arguably even the revisionists were meted out too harsh treatment. The Red Guard depredations too abused human rights. There was deep penetration of rightist commanders in the People’s Liberation Army and insufficient practice of the masses checking the party. William Hinton brought to our notice how the ‘Gang of Four’ failed to properly establish the united front by winning over the middle sections, and thus properly applying mass line.
In my view the Maoists’ or CPC failed to give sufficient respect to the inner or spiritual aspect of man or human psychology. It did not sufficiently build institutions of revolutionary democracy independent of the Communist party .It solely depended on struggle within the framework of a Communist party itself, instead of completely broadening base of democracy. Mass movements were not launched independent of the Communist party, rising to factional tendencies resembling tussle of many characters in a plot.
It is most challenging for Marxist historians to critically study the phenomena of the rise of Lin Biao in the late 1960’s to position of head of state, or earlier Liu Shao Chi in 1956.Similarly the rally of the Chinese people in a counter revolutionary rally in 1976 supporting Hua Kuofeng and condemning the Gang of four testifies the weakness in practice of massline.To completely develop proletarian revolutionary power movements and organisations should be created outside the orbit of the Communist Party.
No doubt Comrade Zhou En Lai made a monumental contribution but made a major error in re-instating Deng Xiaoping into the Communist party. I also feel CPC from 1949-56 did not adequately sharpen the sword against capitalism or revisionism allowing revisionists like Liu Shao Chi to blossom. In the Great Leap Forward it displayed most hap hazard planning. Unintentionally Confucian thinking affected the political work of leaders and cadres. Intervention of the People’s Liberation army was excessive in preventing mass movements to blossom to the full. There is a tendency for intellectuals to solely blame Lin Biao or make him a scapegoat without being properly self-critical of the overall political conduct of the CCP. On the other hand certain Maoist unfairly tag Premier Zhou En Lai as a capitalist roader, giving him no credit for being Chairman Mao’s comrade in arm still the very end. Arguably the CPC also was unable to sufficiently mobilise the working class or penetrate the proletarian headquarters. I am also critical of the CPC calling itself ‘The great, glorious nod Correct Communist Party.’ which illustrates idealist point of view or non –dialectical approach.
It is debatable whether one can analyze CPC in Mao’s time as a protagonist of Stalinism. In important ways it did continue Stalin’s legacy but on crucial issues extricated from it.CPC lacked the methodology or planning of USSR under Stalin and failed to completely overpower the capitalist roaders within the party. However till 1976 it consistently initiated 2 line struggles against revisionism and maintained the legacy of the party as a vanguard. Unlike Stalin it did not execute enemies or opposition in purges but galvanised masses into struggles to challenge capitalist roaders through movements like the Cultural Revolution. Mao extricated from Stalin’s bureaucratic practices. Still in my opinion CPC under Mao exhibited vanguardist Stalinist tendencies that did not enable mass revolutionary movements to flower at their full bloom or facilitate the masses to supervise the party.CPC under Mao did not completely fulfil the democratic aspirations or visions of Karl Marx or even Lenin, which was testified in the factional tendencies. I am a strong adherent that Chairman Mao did not foster a personality cult and took every possible step to eradicate it.
Still we must be sympathetic to the fact that the CPC was implementing the first ever revolution of its kind. whereby a struggle was waged in a Socialist Society itself. The old thinking process of Confucian tradition was strongly embedded in the Chinese culture and it was very challenging to completely extricate from it. The Sino-Soviet conflict too considerably affected the CPC political line and mass movement , diverting attention to border disputes with USSR.
Sadly after 1978 China reverted it’s policies and followed a path in a directly opposite direction to that of 1949-76. It made phenomenal achievements in production, but to serve the ruling classes or create billionaires. It is ironic that today many Communist party members in China have become millionaires and corruption has reached a scale on par with countries like even India. Latin American countries of African nations. Workers are subjugated to misery in sweat shops and denied adequate wages. After 1978 China made a 360 degree turn from it’s Socialist path, reverting it’s earlier Socialist path completely. It dismantled all the communes, re- introduced ranks in the armies, introduced Special economic zones, privatised health and education and at an international level abandoned all support to national liberation Struggles. Today China is a major imperialist country which is a contender for world hegemony over markets and pursues expansionist military policies. It has exhibited considerable nation chauvinism in recent years. Morally a free market economy has been instated. All cadres must meticulously study the priority leaders like Liu Shao Chi,Lin Biao and later Deng Xiaoping placed on development of productive forces. They all advocated ‘It does not matter whether the cat is white or black as long as it catches the mice.’Deng Xiapong raised the slogan ‘It is glorious to get rich.’
It is notable today that the present CPC smashed every brick in the wall to suppress the Maoist resurgence in China. It has supressed or censored many a writing of the Cultural Revolution period. Its persecution of the supporters of Mao in 1981 was like a fascist sentence, Workers strikes have been brutally suppressed in recent times. Consumerism has virtually reached a crescendo. Still in China large volumes of sympathy are still demonstrated for Mao’s policies.
We have to counter those who praise China after 1978.Such intellectuals state that it has introduced Socialism in another form, but is in essence marxist.They fail to understand how china to the last drop exploits other third world countries, literally tightening a noose around them. China displayed territorial expansionist policy in Phillipines recently. The only plus point is their confronting the hegemony Of USA ,supporting Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and condemning Israeli aggression also praise their sporting achievements which is a direct consequence of the Socialist sports policy which gave opportunities to all. To an extent I also praise its planning and organisation in handling the Covid crisis.
I am curious how Socialism can be resurrected in China in the future with the forces of globalisation operating at a crescendo. Younger cadres must learn from the lessons of the New Democratic, Socialist and Cultural Revolutions but not blindly imitate them. In the digital age or one of mechanisation different methods of work may have to be devised .I feel the vanguard concept of Communist party cannot be mechanically applied .Genuine Maoists may even work within the framework of the existing mass organisations in China to expose the essence of revisionism. Still it is complex how Communists can build a revolutionary movement in a one-party, revisionist or social –imperialist state. New revolutionary elements could also emerge within the People’s Liberation army. Chinese people have an advantage of being indoctrinated with Marxism-Leninism or complete exposure to the writings of Marx and Lenin. Young cadres today may well be inspired by the achievements of CPC before 1976.It is through mastery of the essence of Marxism-Leninism that the revisionist CPC could cut by the throat the genuine Socialist revolutionaries and disguise or mask themselves as Socialists. Marxist analysts must probe into why a serious Revolutionary movement has not arisen in China today challenging the oppression of the bourgeois state. A new Socialist Society in China would have to integrate considerable degree of mechanisation ,even if applying Mao’s directives.
I recommend all to read ‘Edgar Snow’s China’, William Hinton’s ‘Fanshen’, ‘Long Road to Revolution’ by Edgar Snow, ‘Red Star Over China’ by Edgar Snow ‘The Wall has two sides’ by Felix Greene’ ‘Daily life in Revolutionary China’ by Maria Antonietta Macciocchi , ‘Travels in China by by Rewi Alley ,’Cultural Revolution and Industrial Organisation in China “ by Charles Bettelheim , Deng Yuan Tsu and Pao Yu –Ching’s ‘Rethinking Socialism’ and articles by Moba Gao on “Why Is the Battle for China’s Past Relevant to Us Today? ”and Dang Hongpin on “The Socialist Legacy Underlies the Rise of Today’s China in the World.”The most illustrative or pictorial perspective is by Edgar Snow with the least of propaganda and the most open or objective analysis. For sheer economic study Charles Bettleheim’s work is a masterpiece portraying the very essence of Mao’s line in establishing peoples political power. To portray the phenomenal achievements of China in Socialist era ‘Daily life in Revolutionary China’ by Maria Antonietta Macciocchi is a classic . Moba Gao and Dang Hongpin are much more recent intellectuals who make an ideal contrast between China of today and the China before 1978.William Hinton in ‘Fanshen’ exhibits the greatest political mastery. ‘ Deng Yuan Hsu and Pao Yu Ching’s ‘Rethinking Socialism’ is a true classic in defending Marxist Leninist polemics and dialectically making a distinction between the Socialist and capitalist path in China. She brilliantly portrays the vey continuity and symmetry of all the periods. Of CCP and how post-1978 Deng Xiaoping completely re-railed Socialist path.
I must state that many of these writers were originally bourgeois democrats and only after encountering the thick of the skin of China did their views transform. Raymond Lotta’s 6 part serial of articles in ‘Socialism is Much Better Than Capitalism and Communism Will Be a Far Better World.’ Is also a most illustrative project revealing the truth on China.
I also advise readers to refer to the massline.info blog of Scott Harrison and the Democracy and class Struggle blog of Nick Glais. Both have rendered an invaluable service to the massline of CPC.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF CPC IN THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION
- A de-centralized medical system creating Barefoot doctors. Medical field saw most innovative changes. Services which were unheard of even in developed countries were implemented. Before this, in no Asian, African, Latin American country medical services were made available for the poor peasantry and other sections to such an extent.
- Stopping examinations in schools and colleges and making students learn from the peasants and workers as well as by participating in productive labour. Now it was the peasants and workers who taught the students. Factories were attached to schools so that students would learn science from production. In the villages students would learn about agriculture and peasants would explain them their problems and about production.
- Enabling workers to be masters of Marxist Leninist philosophy through study in factory schools which enabled workers to build their own machines and run their own factories.
- Revolutionary committees were launched where the workers’ and peasants’ democratic rights were represented. There were ‘three in one’ committees. These were far more effective than the committees in factories under bourgeois democratic system.
- The Army was called upon to serve the people doing work like construction, building canals and rotated the jobs of Workers and peasants. They were politically enlightened and trained about the role of revolution and history and politics in connection to Marxism Leninism. The Army was asked to defend and protect the mass movements unlike bourgeois states. Ranks were abolished in the military.
- Revolutionizing the Agricultural Communes through mass movements and introducing piecemeal wage system. Tachai was the best Example as well as Shanghai.
- There were mass rallies where the broad masses could print big character posters. The CPC was not afraid of disorder breaking out due to people’s movements. “Great Debates’ and anti-Rightist campaigns were held. The masses could voice their demands to punish corrupt officials, oppose bureaucraticism, fight for press freedom and for democratic Rights. They had the four great ‘freedoms ‘of speaking out Freely, airing views folly, holding great debates, and writing big character posters.
- The Army was asked to represent the heart and the soul of the broad masses, they being based from the basic classes. Once the Cultural Revolution started in earnest, the Army was not allowed to intervene in what emerged as a civil war between the various factions of Red Guards and Red Rebels. The PLA was ordered by Mao to “support the left” by standing aside, even when their arsenals were looted by the civilian combatants. But when the chaos were claimed to have reached its climax, when the Party was in disarray and the economy faced challenges, the Army appeared to be the only functioning organization left, and the leaders turned to the PLA to restore order. As a result, the PLA emerged from the chaos with greatly increased position and power: senior Army men headed the newly-formed revolutionary committees responsible for local administration; so almost half of the Central Committee members elected in the Ninth Congress of 1969 were soldiers; and half of the State Council members in 1971 belonged to the PLA. The Army had to participate in the production in factories and help the peasants in production. They were involved in digging the countryside, transporting grain and all kinds of furniture on carts, leading Children in drills in schools etc.
- Great innovations in the field of art and literature representing the Proletariat also took place.
EXAMPLES OF PRACTICE IN CHINA
FACTORIES AND REVOLUTIONARY COMMITEES
One worker explained that he was working in a dyeing and weaving workshop in Factory No2since he was 17 years old. His father had died from illness because he didn’t have proper medical care and his salary meant to support 5 people could hardly keep 2 people alive. They had to eat bean curd and potatoes and in the winter had only thin jackets. Workers had hernias and rheumatism and hid their illnesses for fear of being been laid off. However in the liberation period in 1949 the conditions of life were like “going to heaven.”
Besides the Revolutionary Committee in the factory the workers representative committee played an instrumental role. It was an organ of red power elected by all the workers and in charge of the daily problems of the factory. It co-ordinated with the revolutionary committee and with the workers council replaced the trade Union. The party has a leading role, the Revolutionary Committee is responsible for management, and the workers council is in charge of the revolutionary reorganization of work and acts as a control from the base levels on the higher echelons. Piecework wages and incentive bonuses were abolished. The highest salary was 120 yuan,the lowest 50 yuan.The difference between the pay of an engineer and that of a skilled technician was 40 Yuan. A struggle-criticism-transformation movement dealt with the salaries problem (Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China).
In revolutionary China peasants built their own houses through co-operative efforts. A peasant explained that before the liberation the peasants had no political power. They merely had a harvest of 450 pounds per mou and had to give 350 to the landlord. After liberation they could purchase a bicycle, a sewing machine and furniture. For the first time in their lives they could get clothes, ate what they wanted and sent their children to school. (Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China).
MEDICINE AND BAREFOOT DOCTORS
Barefoot doctors performed phenomenal feats. One doctor re-attached 2 fingers on a peasant’s hand-something unheard of in pre-revolutionary China swearing by Mao TseTung Thought. Similarly poor peasant women had her leg replaced. A professor narrated his experiences of meeting the poor peasants and how it changed his life. The peasants re-educated the professor enabling him to transform his entire outlook. Working in the Countryside made the professor a different person. Despite being over 70 years of age the professor traveled climbing mountains to share the experiences of toiling people. He started how he leant Marxism Leninism from direct contact with peasants rather than books. One Comrade Lin told reporters where he went to the villages to learn from the poor peasants. He explained how their team stopped in a village where there was a woman who was considered incurable. The family was already preparing for the funeral. Applying Mao Tse Tung Thought he developed a form of medicine that cured the patient. The patient was suffering from chronic Arthritis. Another professor explained that only by being re-educated by the peasants and changing his ideology he cured 20 incurable patients. He elaborated by transforming his world outlook he developed his techniques and that the peasants had cured him of his ‘ ideological sickness.’ There was a child who had a tumour on his arm as large as the head of a foetus. The Doctors cut away the diseased part and re-attached the arm This could never have been done in Pre Revolutionary China. Doctors were able to remove a 100-pound tumour said to be incurable. An electric mower cut one peasant’s hand and his fingers fell to the ground. The new doctors looked for his fingers, found them and put them on ice. The fingers were re-attached! In the old society this could never have taken place. Another girl who once had a clubfoot was operated. Her tendons were lengthened and now she could carry a load of about 50 pounds on her shoulders. The peasant and the girl attributed their cures to Mao TseTung Thought. This in actual fact meant de-centralization of medicine, which brought doctors to the most remote places, which made them test their skills. The doctors traveled through the mountains, border regions, islands Etc Revolutionary Committees ran hospitals and each ward had it’s own revolutionary committee. (Excerpted From Daily Life in Revolutionary China)
This is a quote from a specialist in internal medicine.
“In the fall of 1968 I went into the countryside to learn from the poor peasants. Once our team stopped in a village where there was a woman who was considered incurable. The family was already preparing for the funeral. I decided I had to pay a call on those women too. I examined her closely and I realized that she had a generalized arthritis; she had not been treated in time and she had swelled up. I asked her family,’ Why don’t you take her over to the doctor?’ Her husband told me angrily that they had taken the sick women on a stretcher to a ciy hospital four years before, that this had cost them much money, but that the hospital had told them she was incurable. Back in her village, the woman took the medicine prescribed for her but he sickness worsened steadily. I learned from her husband that the doctor inn question belonged to the same hospital as I did. When I returned, I looked through the files and found that the doctor who had made the incorrect diagnosis was me” Here he lowered his head like a guiltyman. “I was tremendously upset and full of self-contempt.’ Whom do we serve? I always replied to that question in the following way. We live in a Socialist Society. It is therefore clear that we serve the workers, peasants and the soldiers. For a young person like me, the important thing is to raise the level of medicine to serve the people. But the story of the sick woman taught me many things. I was medically prepared to cure the sick, bit I just lacked an ideology. That was why first I examined the women superficially and was unable to meet the correct diagnosis.
“I returned to the countryside and took up my work with the barefoot doctors. The treatment I gave her for me the beginning of the struggle of seeing the world differently. After 2 months I had cured the women. She was able to get up.”
“After I changed my ideology, I cured 20 patients who had been considered incurable. It was the poor peasants who cured me of my ideological sickness, and not I who cured the peasants.”
One Dr .Ling stated. “In 1968, 10,000 worker doctors were sent from Shanghai into rural zones. A revolutionary Committee runs the hospital and each ward has it’s own revolutionary committee. Since the re-construction of the party -reorganization, which took place during the last year, the party is in charge of the hospital’s political direction, while administrative matter are handled by the Revolutionary Committee various decisions are approved by the leadership after it has been elected according to democratic election principle of the Paris Commune. Here thee is no trace left of the former hierarchy. Now there was a hospital chief and a committee of hospital administration composed of professors and specialists. men who had transformed their conception of the world. The Old director now works as an ordinary doctor. The Peoples Liberation Army Comrades work in administrative work too. There is a three in one combination operating. Specialists and professors are allowed to work in rotation.
Control by the masses is necessary for the good administration of the hospital. The patients are the best judges of this, but they are not allowed to participate in the elections because they are only here temporarily. However, they can set up groups to study Mao Thought in which patients and doctors work together. The Revolutionary Committee has created a special team, which collects the criticisms and opinions of patients on the operation of the hospital and on the abilities and political spirits of doctors.
We have a safety network of worker-doctors who go to work in particular enterprises. The doctors live in the factories and study what the most recurring illnesses are. They examine inquiries and take preventive measures. Only because they live in the factory can the doctors accomplish this. For example in a chemical factory harmful fumes circulate during production. The doctor who has practical experience of living in the factory knows exactly what has to be done to eliminate toxic gases.
Medical students do a type of medical internship we call open instruction. Students are sent to factories and into the countryside to deepen their knowledge.
Scientists share a comradely relationship with ordinary doctors, nurses, and hospital personnel Scientists carry out struggle-criticism -transformation and are not paid higher salaries than doctors or nurses.
“Western and Chinese medicine is fused The metaphysical aspects of Western Science is cut out. Dialectical materialism teaches us that everything is in movement and transformation. Human knowledge and it’s potential for transforming what seems incurable hat is why we sat that there are no illnesses that are absolutely incurable. Even Cancer will be cured when we learn the natural they obey as has happened with other laws they obey. The movement of transformation in the World of objective reality is without end, and hence man is never done learning the truth from practice.”
“As we examine the human body, we consider that it is always a unity of opposites. It’s various parts are united, one to the others: They are in opposition and at the same time depend on each other. It is only in dialectically examining the relations between the parts and the whole I all their aspects, and in regulating them, that we can know the disease and cure it. “In the case of fractures we put little wooden splints on the limb to fix the bone after setting it back to position, and we make sure that movement can begin after setting it back to position, and we make sure that movement can begin as soon as the bone has set. It is a question of resolving the contradiction between the stability and movement. By Western methods, the limb is enclosed in a cast to wait for the bones to merge again. The arm can’t move, and sometimes it takes 3-6 months of absolute immobility. Since we previously did not use x-rays, we did not know that in traditional medicine, exactly how the bone had broken and that was a drawback. In shot, one type of method treat only the fracture and neglect articulation and the overall body. Others do not limit their interest to the beneficial aspect of immobility for setting a bone, but also note he drawbacks of a healing method that prevents the simultaneous reassertion of the bone’s solidarity and the functioning of the whole limb.
Thus in short, the doctor workers of China combine what is positive in Western medicine and what is positive in traditional Western medicine. This is an example of the Unity of Opposites.
“Regarding research for Cancer in medical centres people study plants and prepare local recipes for medicines that are tried in the treatment for cancer. For cancer, too we apply the dialectical process.”
“Barefoot doctors are all attached to Communes. who divide their time between medicine and soil. Generally they are 25 years old and earn 250 to 300 Yuan, 100 from Agricultural Work, the rest in fees. Barefoot doctors earn as much as the manual workers in the Countryside. They treat the less serious diseases, thus the peasant can be treated within his village. Barefoot doctors also make plant medicines which cure burns constipation, stomach aches, diarrhoea Etc. The work of the barefoot doctors ensured a basic health system, for where Universities take years to produce a doctor; we take only a few months to train a barefoot doctor.
“Ina surgical department for children, there was a child who had a tumour on his arm as large as the head of a foetus. Previously they would have amputated his arm. But what would a worker’s son have done with only one arm? “We cut away the diseased part and re-attached the arm.”
“We are able to re-attach hands higher up when they have been severed. When one peasant lost a part of his forearm, we attached his hand at the mid-point of the forearm. Not only can we attach completely severed arms, but also fingers cut off by thresher’s legs severed by trains Etc.
“In the overall context the expression, “The Thought of Mao Tse Tung meant that due to de-centralisation of medicine doctors were brought to the remotest places, which made them test their skills, using every means they could find on the high plateaus, in the border regions, on islands, in order to cure people considered incurable.
THOUGHT OF MAO TSE TUNG
Writer Han Suyin with remarkable insight and perspective in her book ‘China in the year 2001’ summarised the essence of the ideology of Mao Tse Tung thought and how it paved the path for liberation. She explained the very thread of continuity of the Chinese Communist party and the Red Army from the Chingkang mountains in 1928 to the launching of the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
Quoting writer Han Suyin in Cinia in the year 2001.’The Thought of Mao is universalised and its main application to the present epoch is ‘Road to Chingkang mountains’, use of military might to develop insurrection, ‘The road of the Chingkang mountains is the road of the armed struggle, characterised by the establishment of the rural proletarian revolutionary base areas and the countryside encircling the cities and ultimately taking them. In other words it is the road of Mao Tse Tung that is guiding the revolution to victory. ‘This means a continuing series of people’s wars.’
‘It was upon the manpower reserves of the peasantry that the Chinese revolution was based. In his speeches Mao Tse Tung refers to its peasant base to the alliance of the worker peasant, which formed the red army: The great task of the Communist Party in its militant expression, the Red base area, was the solution of the peasant question and the liberation of the peasantry from oppression. In Mao’s mind, the educated, scientific minded peasant, who can plant and plough, write and discuss philosophical concepts, and also handle a gun or a machine is the new man the society must build.’
‘The defeat of the revolution in 1927 by Chiang Kai Shek and Mao’s subsequent actions to save the Communist Party remnants and establish the first base areas in the Chingkang mountains are inseparable from his view of the role of the army, its organisation and leadership. The red bases could only survive because of army-peasant co-operation ,and this co-operation was in turn based on fulfilling the peasant’s co-operation, and this co-operation was built on fulfilling the peasant’s aspirations, abolishing taxes, carrying out land reform, and making the army ‘brother’ to the peasant. ‘It was this background that developed the peoples wars’’.
REFUTATION OF LIES ON THE GREAT PROLETARIAN CULTURAL REVOLUTION AND GREAT LEAP FORWARD AND CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY
Lee Fegion was not a Marxist-Leninist but in his biography of Mao Tse Tung reflected how morally China made strides in revolutionary democracy at a magnitude unsurpassed and extricated itself from the bureaucratic practices of the USSR. He expressed great praise for how education and literacy penetrated at unprecedented levels, with ever worker and peasant able to provide an education for their children. Lee Fegion was critical of excesses of CPC in red guard factional duels and of incoherent organisation and planning in the Great Leap Forward. However he praised China’s achievements in establishing self-reliance and de-centralising power in the villages to give the peasantry a complete say in organisational decisions.
Quoting author Lee Fegion in ‘Mao-a Re-Interpretation’, ‘The speed of China’s economic growth from 1949-1966 was unprecedented in history. Amazingly the production doubled from 1966-76.The rate of Growth CPC achieved in the Cultural Revolution era far exceeded that of the first ten years of Deng Xiapoing’s years, growing at 8 percent. Mao took the Chinese govt. Out of business and controlled the day to day lives of the peasantry. The reason for the substantial growth was that during the Cultural Revolution, Mao reverted to giving priority to rural industrialisation. Local governments were given the right to manage their independent finances. Mao wanted more financial and investment decisions to be made by the local government, not the central authorities. He made factories increasingly self-reliant, subject only to the demands of the party, and the administrative organs of their locality or region. Central control was not completely dissolved; broad decisions still followed party policies dictated from above. Mao’s attacks on the bureaucracy, his efforts to level distinctions between mental and manual labours, and his empowerment of workers and education of peasants made the distribution of income in China among the most balanced in the world, surpassing that of every Asian country. Mao succeeded in ousting more than 70 % of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commitee, reducing and decentralising the Soviet Style bureaucracy that was dominating China. Mao had deep conviction that the bureaucracy entrapped China. Mao broke the unity of the Communist party, by attacking the system of consensus under which the party had built it’s rule, during the previous decades. He was convinced that corruption had its roots in bureaucratism. Mao’s method of dealing with the bloated bureaucracy were unlike Stalin’s, never executed from above ,but from below by the red guards who confronted it from below, promoting de-centralisation of the government. ‘Lower level education was altered by Mao’s Cultural Revolution, with examination system abolished. Specialized Agricultural Schools were abolished as well as technical training schools. However elementary school enrolment increased from 116.21 million in 1965 to 150.1 million in 1976.Middle school enrolment grew from in 1965 from 9.34 million to 67.8 million in 1976.’
‘In October, 1967 after re-opening the universities, allowed admissions to colleges based on recommendations from one’s work unit. It enabled peasant youths to gain a better education than would have been done by the earlier policy.’
‘Mao initiated the formation of red guards who confronted corrupt party officials and the Royalist red guards who were established. Major clashes erupted between the 2 red guard factions. Mao’s efforts virtually dismantled official avenues of communication between bottom and top. Even when Maoist leaders attempted to contact the various red guard groups to give them personal instruction, they struggled. The Central govt could no longer control day to day affairs and new rebel factions formed daily. The situation grew more chaotic when revolutionary red guards attempted to seize power in factories, confronting the workers.’
‘A very significant development of the Cultural Revolution was that the new core leadership at all levels included a substantial number of worker rebels. During the previous seventeen years of Communist rule, workers representatives had been selected for their diligence at work for their obedience to party directives and had served a little more than tokesnat people’s congresses. By contrast the new cadre corps of worker rebels evidenced a keener understanding of political operations and greater willingness to speak their minds.’
‘In sum the empowerment of ordinary villagers promoted a change of political culture in villages. Production team leaders were now chosen by production team members.-with ordinary villagers having a major say in the process. If the production team leaders did not do a good job, they would lose their position at the end of the year. In some cases, the production team leaders had to be replaced every year. Before the Cultural Revolution production team leaders were appointed by village leaders, who were in turn appointed by commune leaders.’
‘A significant achievement of the Cultural Revolution was the reducing of monopoly of agricultural policy, promote local self –sufficiency and encourage co-operative, labour intensive institutions.’
Dongping Han was born in Jimo County, Shandong Province, China in 1955. He grew up on a collective farm, and starting working with villagers when he was nine years old during the weekend and school vacations. After high school, he returned to his village to work full time. He worked in the fields for a while, and then was recruited to operate a lathe in the village’s industrial enterprise. He was also the manager of the collectively owned village factory for four years. The village had 173 workers, generating an output of over one million yuan a year, before he went to college in the spring of 1978. In his writing he brilliantly contrasted Maoist China from that of Deng .He summed up ho win essence genuine revolutionary democracy was built in the Cultural Revolution. At the vey grassroots he narrated experiences of the Chinese people in controlling their lives.
Quoting Dongping Han “One of the most important accomplishments of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was the empowerment of ordinary people and the democratization of Chinese society. ‘
‘’Most people who talk about democracy in this world tend to make the concept of democracy very complicated. Democracy is a very simple and straightforward concept. It means that, contrary to the old system which allowed the elite to run the political affairs, the ordinary people participate in decision making. It means that ordinary people are part of the governance of their society. In order for democracy to work, ordinary people have to be empowered and made equal to the government officials, the old elite. In a democratic society, there should be no privileged classes and there should be no elite. Everybody should be equal politically and economically. That is a prerequisite of democracy.’’
‘’In the so-called western democracies, one per cent of the people own most of wealth. Because of this gap in wealth, the small rich minority can buy power, influence, and control. They literally have a monopoly over power. That is not a real democracy at all. Democracy like that is in name only. It is fake. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution tried to build a real democracy. It empowered the ordinary Chinese people to write big character posters to criticize their leaders, and required their leaders to participate in manual labour like everybody else. It was a big step forward in the progress of Chinese society. During the Cultural Revolution, most Chinese officials had lifestyles similar to those of ordinary people. They lived in houses similar to those of ordinary people. Their children went to the same schools as other Chinese people. They went to work on bicycles like everybody else. Production team leaders were elected by peasants and worked with peasants in the field every day. Village leaders worked with peasants 300 days a year in the fields because they had to attend meetings and make plans for the community. Commune leaders were required to work 250 days a year with peasants in the fields and county government leaders had to work with peasants for two hundred days a year.’’
Mobo Gao was born and brought up in a small Chinese village, and did not leave the village until he went to Xiamen University to study English. He thereafter went to the UK and completed his Master’s and doctoral degrees at Essex.
Professor Gao has worked at various universities in China, the UK and Australia, and has been visiting fellow at Oxford, Harvard, and other universities. At present he is the Director of the Confucius Institute at Adelaide.
‘Moba Gao gives a striking blow to the revisionists with the cutting edge of a sword illustrating the 360 degree contrast between CPC before 1978 and after.He gives most accurate figures which testify the gigantic strides of CPC in the Cultural Revolution and degeneration of CPC in the last few decades.Moba also summarises how Mao never initiated struggle for personal power.
Quoting Mobo Gao ‘’Those who want to preserve the hegemonic status of capitalist values have tried very hard to erase the facts of socialist achievements from history. For those who want to fight against this hegemony we need to bring out the facts before the world. We have to remind the world that it was during the Mao era that the average Chinese life expectancy rose from 38 years in 1949 to 68 years by the 1970s. During the same period, the literacy rate increased dramatically and rural health improved dramatically, so much so that it prepared for millions and millions of skilled and healthy workers in the post-Mao period economic expansion. The “barefoot doctor” health care system invented in the Mao era was acclaimed by the United Nations as an incredible success story. The system was successful in China for three important reasons: Firstly, it was primarily directed at the poor people in rural China; secondly, it focused on prevention; and thirdly, it combined Western and Chinese medicine (Chen 2004). These three strategies are significant for developing countries, even today.’’
‘’Despite all the claims to the contrary, socialist China’s GNP grew at an average annual rate of 6.2 per cent between 1952 and 1978. Indeed, as Lin (2006) points out, the industrial sector outperformed most other developing economies. Although rural development was not as fast as was desired owing to the industrialization strategy that aimed at speedy accumulation of capital from the rural sector, the quality of life by the 1970s in rural China was improved and was on the edge of being transformed throughout county towns and villages. Though decades behind the economically developed world, China was already “on a par with middle-income countries” in human and social development (Bramall 1993, 335). Measured by social indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and educational attainment, China, especially urban China, in the Mao era had already forged way ahead of most market economies at similar income levels and surpassed a number of countries with per capita incomes many times greater. By the late 1970s, China stood up as a nuclear power, able to defy the bullying of capitalist superpowers, a country that had satellite technology and became the sixth largest industrial power in the world – whereas in 1949, when the PRC was established, China’s industrial capacity was that of tiny Belgium (Meisner 1999).’’
‘The Cultural Revolution has been routinely touted as Mao’s personal power struggle against his designated successor Liu Shaoqi, even though all the documentary evidence suggests otherwise. Mao’s authority in the CCP and PRC was supreme, so much so that it could never be challenged by anyone. Mao knew it and everyone else knew it. Mao could have gotten rid of Liu easily without mobilizing a mass movement like the Cultural Revolution that was supposed to have lasted ten years, from 1966 to 1976. In fact, as early as August 1966, when the Cultural Revolution had just started, during the Eleventh Plenum of the Eighth Party Congress held in Beijing, Liu was already demoted from number two position in the party to number eight. All Mao had to do to achieve this was to have written a few lines on a piece of scrap paper called the “big poster”. Many years later Liu’s widow, the very intelligent Wang Guangmei, who also suffered personally during the Cultural Revolution, admitted that Mao and Liu had policy differences, and that initially Mao did not intend to remove Liu politically. (Liu’s political and even personal fate went downhill only after Mao was presented with “solid evidence” that Liu was once a traitor during his days when he was an underground communist activist.)’’
Writer Joseph Ball must be complimented for striking the enemy at it’s hardest point by at the very root exposing the lies of Intellectuals like Frank Dikotter .His brilliant and most dialectical analysis portrays how China in the Great Leap Forward stitched the very fabric of revolutionary democracy ,surpassing production figures of any third world country.
‘In ‘the Great Famine Frank Dikötter alleges that the Great Leap Forward starved the Chinese masses. This was a complete distortion of history with the book literally twisting facts.Josepb Ball most effectively countered the lies of Dikottter,hitting back at the very root.Quoting writer Joseph Ball on the Great Leap Forward “To read many modern commentators on Mao’s China 4, you would get the impression that Mao’s agricultural and industrial policies led to absolute economic disaster. Even more restrained commentators, such as the economist Peter Nolan 5 claim that living standards did not rise in China, during the post-revolutionary period, until Deng Xiaoping took power. Of course, increases in living standards are not the sole reason for increases in life expectancy. However, it is absurd to claim that life expectancy could have increased so much during the Mao era with no increase in living standards.’
‘For example, it is claimed by many who have studied figures released by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death that per capita grain production did not increase at all during the Mao period. But how is it possible to reconcile such statistics with the figures on life expectancy that the same authors quote? Besides which these figures are contradicted by other figures. Guo Shutian, a Former Director of Policy and Law in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, in the post-Mao era, gives a very different view of China’s overall agricultural performance during the period before Deng’s “reforms.” It is true that he writes that agricultural production decreased in five years between 1949-1978 due to “natural calamities and mistakes in the work.” However he states that during 1949-1978 the per hectare yield of land sown with food crops increased by 145.9% and total food production rose 169.6%. During this period China’s population grew by 77.7%. On these figures, China’s per capita food production grew from 204 kilograms to 328 kilograms in the period in question.’
‘Even according to figures released by the Deng Xiaoping regime, industrial production increased by 11.2% per year from 1952-1976 (by 10% a year during the alleged catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution). In 1952 industry was 36% of gross value of national output in China. By 1975 industry was 72% and agriculture was 28%. It is quite obvious that Mao’s supposedly disastrous socialist economic policies paved the way for the rapid (but inegalitarian and unbalanced) economic development of the post-Mao era.’
‘There is a good argument to suggest that the policies of the Great Leap Forward actually did much to sustain China’s overall economic growth, after an initial period of disruption. At the end of the 1950s, it was clear that China was going to have to develop using its own resources and without being able to use a large amount of machinery and technological know-how imported from the Soviet Union.’
‘Although problems and reversals occurred in the Great Leap Forward, it is fair to say that it had a very important role in the ongoing development of agriculture. Measures such as water conservancy and irrigation allowed for sustained increases in agricultural production, once the period of bad harvests was over. They also helped the countryside to deal with the problem of drought. Flood defenses were also developed. Terracing helped gradually increase the amount of cultivated area.’
The most politically insightful or illustrative work was by William Hinton who could perceive the intensity of the mass revolutionary movement at the very core and portrayed how seeds were planted to germinate genuine working class power. No writer projected such a sound or analytical political perspective. Being a visitor three times Hinton penetrated the very heart of China and upheld CPC politically before 1978 than any foreign writer.
Quoting William Hinton in ‘Fanshen’, ‘The heart of the Cultural Revolution has indeed been a struggle for power, a struggle over the control of state power….But it has not been a struggle over power for power’s sake….It has been a class struggle to determine whether individuals representing the working class or individuals representing the bourgeoisie will hold state power. It has been a struggle to determine whether China will continue to take the socialist road and carry the socialist revolution through to the end, or whether China will abandon the socialist road for the capitalist road.
Socialism must be regarded as a transition from capitalism to communism (or in the case of China from new democracy to communism). As such it bears within it many contradictions, many inequalities that cannot be done away with overnight or even in the course of several years or several decades. These inequalities are inherited from the old society, such things as pay differentials between skilled and unskilled work and between mental and manual work, such things as the differences between the economic, educational, and cultural opportunities available in the city and in the countryside, as long as these inequalities exist they generate privilege, individualism, careerism and bourgeois ideology….They can and do create new bourgeois individuals who gather as a new privileged elite and ultimately as a new exploiting class. Thus socialism can be peacefully transformed back into capitalism. (
In Turning Point, Hinton placed the Cultural Revolution within an international context. China faced a serious threat from U.S. imperialism in the Pacific and Southeast Asia (the Vietnam War was still raging in 1971). In Siberia, the Soviet Union posed a growing and possibly imminent threat to China’s nuclear program and plants.
The primary foreign policy issues in the Cultural Revolution were: how to deal with military threats from the Soviet Union and the United States; how to develop modern defensive armaments; and how to continue supporting national liberation struggles. China was the largest source of military aid for the peoples of Indochina. A key question was what kind of “opening” or political alliance socialist China should develop with the West to deal with the Soviet Union’s growing military threat to China, especially its nuclear program. Deng saw this opening in strategic terms and was able to use it to rip China off the socialist road and integrate China into the U.S. imperialist-dominated global economy. While these questions “helped to define the dividing line between the contending forces in China,” Hinton emphasized that the Cultural Revolution developed as a result of internal contradictions arising out of socialist construction in China.
In my view Charles Bettelheim created outstanding research which most vividly portrayed the essence of the goals’ and practice of the Cultural Revolution. Of great relevance was his describing the General knit wear factory, Transforming the Social division of Labour, and revolutionising the means of production. Most methodically he summarises how revolutionary democracy was virtually elevated to a new height .No writer at factory level portrayed how democracy in functioning was virtually elevated to a new dimension and the magnitude with which workers democracy was established. His writing portrayed the clear demarcation of CPC from the Stalinist path or that of the USSR. At the economic level no writer was more penetrative on analysing the dynamism of the Cultural Revolution.
In the preface of Charles Bettleheim in his book ‘ Cultural Revolution and Industrial Oganisation in China “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution thus represents an ideological and political struggle the effects of which bear both on the economic base and on the superstructure, destroying the old social relationships and giving rise to new ones. The very fluctuations of the struggle which unfolded during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution evidence the degree to which its outcome depended both on the mass movement and on its correct orientation by a revolutionary leadership.
“At each stage of the Cultural Revolution, the adherents of Mao Tse-tung’s revolutionary line had to accomplish an enormous labour of discussion. At the outset, for instance, it took several months for the workers to rebel against the prevailing methods of management and the division of labour and against the diehard supporters of the existing relations in the factories. It was only gradually, through the give and take of prolonged discussion, that they began to realize that the old relations were obstructing progress along the road to socialism. When I visited China in 1967 the members of various revolutionary factory committees told me that during its initial stages they believed the Cultural Revolution to be concerned only with literature and the arts, and that they had distrusted the critics of the situation in their own factories. Eventually they came to understand that the prevailing conditions in the factories had to be changed before further advances along the road to socialism could be made. “
“Later, when confronted with the task of elaborating new relations, the workers were often at odds about how to interpret the slogans of the revolutionary line. Months and even years of discussion and struggle were required to achieve the unity indispensable to the success of the Cultural Revolution. Through discussions and struggles involving millions of workers and vast sections of the population, a new road was opened up in the struggle for socialism. There is no precedent for such an attempt to transform social relations. It constitutes a decisive and permanent achievement, as decisive and permanent as any scientific or social experiment which discovers new processes or new objective laws. “
“In brief, this book argues that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution represents a turning point of the greatest political importance; it “discovered” (in the sense in which Marx used the expression in connection with the Paris Commune) an essential form of the class struggle for the construction of socialism. It will be recalled that Marx stressed the significance of the Paris Commune in these words: “The struggle of the working class . . . has entered upon a new phase with the struggle in Paris. Whatever the immediate results may be, a new point of departure of world historic importance has been gained.”
‘’The General Knitwear Factory affords a concrete instance of general transformation. Its history during the Cultural Revolution provides us with the basic features of these changes. In the production units, the Cultural Revolution pursued the objectives of correcting the role and work of the cadres, strengthening the relations between cadres and workers, changing the style of management, and promoting a socialist outlook in everyday life — a proletarian morality based on a proletarian world outlook (in family life, production, etc.). Central to this vision is the will to subordinate individual and particular interests to the overall interests of the revolution. ‘’
‘’Substantial progress was made toward the realization of these objectives when the masses began to appropriate revolutionary ideas. This involves a study of the basic writings of Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse-tung while relating this study to practice. It also requires collective discussion and study, both inside and outside the factory (in the family, for instance). These collective discussions take many forms. Their primary focus is the effort to understand Marxism and to struggle against revisionism and its ideological consequences’’
“One aspect of this activity was the mass movement of criticism directed against the errors of the factory cadres. Its aim was not to eliminate these cadres, except when they had made serious errors, but to help them learn from their mistakes and assimilate revolutionary ideas and the revolutionary line. Wherever the old cadres were reinstated, this was done by the masses. Many of them, after having been criticized, would have preferred not to resume their functions — largely because, under the influence of the “ultra-leftist” line, criticism was extended to cadres who had committed only slight errors, and sometimes assumed brutal forms (including physical assault). Such methods, instead of helping the cadres correct their practice in keeping with the directives of the party Central Committee, tended to demoralize them and induce them to limit themselves to work involving little political responsibility). It was emphasized that this criticism was meant not to punish, but to educate as many people as possible. This movement of criticism brought about profound changes both in ideas and in the everyday relationships between workers and cadres, and was made possible by the unifying role of the Chinese Communist Party. Party intervention was of a general character; it influenced the workers even in cases when — as happened in this factory — the local party organizations were temporarily shaken up.”
“”The Cultural Revolution sets in motion the inexhaustible participation of the masses, which accelerates and puts into concrete form the appearance of proletarian democracy of which the Chinese speak. How else are we to define the politicization of the masses, which I saw during the trip? The moment the masses no longer fear coercion from the state apparatus, proletarian democracy begins to establish itself. It is here on the level of consensus, that the mass line conceived by Mao more than 40 years ago undergoes it’s broadest development This unprecedented reliance on the masses might merely conceal a pedagogical and academic character were it not based on social practice, did not explode within the heart of the ideological apparatus.”; “The constant reliance on the masses, seems to be the most valid contribution of the Chinese Revolution. MaoTse Tung’s dictatorship of the proletariat in actual fact is the ‘broadest democracy for the masses of the people. The Chinese Revolution reminds us that the dictatorship of the proletariat is nothing other than proletarian democracy, democracy for the broadest masses of the people.”
Raymond Lotta of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA with vivid clarity narrated in a series of articles how revolutionary democracy flourished at the base with a series of path breaking experiments. In his 6 part serial on the Cultural Revolution he most dialectically projects how mass revolutionary power reached unparalleled heights.
Quoting Raymond Lotta “The Cultural Revolution saw great debate and questioning. There were political demonstrations, protest rallies, marches, and mass political meetings. Small newspapers were published. In Beijing alone, there were over 900 newspapers. Countless mimeographed broadsheets were handed out. Materials and facilities for these activities were made available free, including paper, ink, brushes, posters, printing presses, halls for meetings, and public address and sound systems.’’
‘The Red Guards helped spread the movement to the proletariat. And as the Cultural Revolution took hold among the workers, it took a new turn. In 1967-68, 40 million workers engaged in intense and complicated mass struggles and upheavals to seize power from entrenched municipal party and city administrations that were hotbeds of conservatism. Through experimentation, debate, and summation, and with Maoist leadership, the masses forged new organs of proletarian political power.”
In its scope and intensity, the Cultural Revolution has no parallel in human history. The routine of daily life was blown wide open. People from every social milieu engaged in broad debate.”
‘’Peasants were discussing the ways ancient and reactionary Confucian values still influenced their lives. Workers in factories in Shanghai were experimenting with new forms of participatory management.’’
‘’Nothing and nobody was above criticism. Political, administrative and educational authorities who had become divorced from the people were called to account. No longer could officials be tucked away in offices just barking out instructions. They had to go down and be part of the situation of the workers and peasants.’’
Edgar Snow was the most illustrative writer ever on Red China who shimmered the democratic spirit of CPC more than any person outside China in his lifetime. No writer with such a magnitude of intensity narrated the day to day lives of the CCP and Red Army or gave such a vivid character portrayal. Displaying no bias he described why the CCP was the epitome of People’s Liberation and the almost miraculous transformation it made to the lives of the Chinese people, breaking the shackles of slavery.
Quoting Journalist Edgar Snow” Most Red Army soldiers were peasants and workers who joined to “help the poor and save China”. Officers and soldiers were equal, and the casualty rate was high among commanders as they fought side by side with soldiers. The ruddy-faced young soldiers were, as Snow observed, “cheerful, gay, and energetic”. In the Soviet Area, schools were opened to provide free education to poor kids. Theatres were free of charge with no exclusive seating or luxury boxes, with officials usually sitting among the audiences. Children called the Red Army “our army”. Peasants referred to the government of the Soviet Area as “our government”. There were no opium, corruption, slavery or begging. The freedom of marriage was respected and protected. In every Muslim neighbourhood they stayed, the Red Army helped guard and clean the mosques. People were impressed by “their careful policy of respecting Islamic institutions”, even the most suspicious ones among peasants and imams, according to Snow.”
After over 100 days in Shaanbei, Snow found the answer he had been looking for. He was fascinated by this unique charm of the East, something he believed representing the light of rejuvenation for the ancient nation of China. For him, the Communists were the most outstanding men and women he had met in China in the past decade with the “military discipline, political morale, and the will to victory”, and “for sheer dogged endurance, and ability to stand hardship without complaint”, they were “unbeatable”. He recalled his four-month time with the Red Army as a most inspiring experience, during which he had met with the most free and happy Chinese he’d ever known. In these people who devoted themselves to what they believed was the right and just cause, Snow felt a vibrant hope, passion and the unbeatable strength of mankind, something he had never felt again ever since.
When asked by Snow, “What do you think of the Red Army”, a bare-footed farmer boy said, “The Red Army is the army for poor people, and they fight for our rights”. And when asked “How do you know they liked the Reds”, the soldiers answered, “They made us a thousand, ten thousands, of shoes, with their own hands. Every home sent sons to our Red Army.” “We, the Red Army, are the people.”
PAO YU CHING
Pao Yu Ching ‘s book ‘Rethinking Socialism” with most outstanding and dialectical analysis and lucidity of words has made the distinction between the Socialist path of Mao and the capitalist road of Deng Xiapoing .In recent times no writer made a more classical analysis of the mass line and how CCP practiced it before 1978.She has reviewed Chinese Communist history ,penetrating it at its very core whether the 1949 revolution, the Socialists transition period, the revolutionary war period before 1949 ,the Great Leap forward or the Cultural Revolution .She brilliantly portrays the vey continuity and symmetry of all the periods .Above all she elaborates how Mao never fought for personal power but was a crusader of tow line struggle and mass line.
Quoting book Rethinking Socialism “We think that mass movements sponsored by the party in power is unusual, because authority usually fears not only that such movements might end up in chaos but also that mass action might target the authorities themselves. Furthermore, we believe that mass movements in the past were the only counter-vailing forces that challenged the concentration of power in the State (and the Party) apparatus as well as the structural rigidity of Chinas bureaucratic system. During mass movements, cadres were subjected to the criticism of the masses and were forced to reform their bureaucratic style of management. To a large extent, the abuse of power was contained. However, before the Cultural Revolution, all mass movements were sponsored and organized by the CCP. It was only during the Cultural Revolution that young students and the masses began to organize themselves. Instead of having the CCP give direction to the movement, many initiatives came from below at the grassroots level. It was during the Cultural Revolution that “seizing power” was first mentioned. Slogans such as “making revolution is not a crime, open revolt has a reason” were widely publicized. This change in focus was very important because it was an open admission, for the first time, that the masses had the right to challenge those in power. It was true that this revolutionary ferment created a certain amount of chaos and some people were wrongly punished. However, it was most important that the masses learned from this experience that they could challenge not only some corrupt officials in government as in the past but also the decisions made by the Central Commit-tee of the CCP. The divine image of the CCP, which could do no wrong, was thus smashed. During the Cultural Revolution, attempts were made to search for an alternative to the existing power structure. One example was setting up Revolutionary Committees to manage factories and other administrative functions.. For reasons yet to be analyzed, these attempts failed. When we assess the Cultural Revolution from the viewpoint of the proletariat, what the Cultural Revolution accomplished outweighed what it failed to accomplish. As Mao said, “It will take many more cultural revolutions to finish the task. Therefore, revolution continues.’’
LEARN FROM TACHAI
What does this small spot on the grand map of China have to teach others, especially in agriculture, and already for thirteen years? Dazhai is a microcosm of the forces at play in China. The struggles of the peasants of Dazhai in coping with the human and natural contradictions in their situation has lead them through their own efforts to achieve solutions to the problems of social organization and production that now put them in the forefront in China. Dazhai is also a window on the future as to where China is going and how she will get there. The lessons of Dazhai are the lessons of struggle, conflict, leadership, commitment, dedication, hard work, and that change in rural China is taking place from below at the team, brigade and commune level and not being imposed from above and outside. The manifesto of the 1975 conference on learning from Dazhai called for the peasants and cadres of China to confront the contradictions in their own social situation and production, to remake themselves and the face of nature as Dazhai has done by making Dazhai-type counties throughout China.
QUOTING INTELLECTUALS ON CHINA AFTER 1978
Chairman Joma Sison who is head of the National Democratic Front of Phillipines is one of the outstanding Marxist scholars in the world today. His most penetrative grasp of Marxism Leninism enabled him to perceive how capitalism penetrated the very heart of Chin after 1978.
Quoting chairman Joma Sison “Indeed, the Dengist counterrevolution resulted in the restoration of capitalism in China and its integration in the world capitalist system. By Lenin’s economic definition of modern imperialism, China may qualify as imperialist. Bureaucrat and private monopoly capital has become dominant in Chinese society. Bank capital and industrial capital are merged. China is exporting surplus capital to other countries. Its capitalist enterprises combine with other foreign capitalist enterprises to exploit Chinese labor, third world countries and the global market.”
“China colludes and competes with other imperialist countries in expanding economic territory, such as sources of cheap labour and raw materials, fields of investments, markets, strategic vantage points and spheres of influence. However, China has not yet engaged in a war of aggression to acquire a colony, a semicolony, protectorate or dependent country. It is not yet very violent in the struggle for a redivision of the world among the big capitalist powers, like the US, Japan, Germany and Italy behaved in joining the ranks of imperialist powers.
It is with respect to China’s contention with more aggressive and plunderous imperialist powers that may be somehow helpful to revolutionary movements in an objective and indirect way. China is playing an outstanding role in the economic bloc BRICS and in the security organization Shanghai Cooperation Organization beyond US control.”
The Great Reversal by William Hinton is the first critical study of the widely heralded reforms currently transforming China’s economy. From his long experience in Chinese agriculture, Hinton first examines the course of agricultural reform over the past decade, then looks at its consequences in different areas of the countryside and considers its implications for the country as a whole. He raises troubling questions about China’s capitalist future—the growing landlessness, increasing inequality, and above all, the destruction of the nation’s natural resources and the collectively built infrastructure that was the great achievement of the revolution. In so doing he sheds new light on the sources of discontent behind the demonstrations that culminated in the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989. In The Great Reversal and his speeches in the 1990s, Hinton marshals facts to demonstrate why Chinese agricultural production is already stagnating and in some areas is in acute crisis as a result of the capitalist “reforms.” He points to high levels of unemployment, migration, social ills, and open political unrest. He points to growing social polarization and a greater vulnerability of the Chinese economy to crises in the world capitalist economy. His conclusion: The future does not look bright for Deng’s successors.
Throughout the 1980s, it appears that Hinton believed that the political direction of the new regime could still be reversed within the party by honest cadre. By 1989, in the wake of the Tienanmen Massacre of several thousand students and workers by units of the erstwhile People’s Liberation Army from Sichuan (Deng’s home province), Hinton had reached a new view.
My estimate is that there are large numbers of dedicated communists in the Chinese Communist Party and also in the army. I foresee the possibility of change brought about by the mobilization of such people—perhaps through an army coup led by radical officers who can rally all the revolutionary elements in the army, in the party, and in society. (191)
Putting aside the wisdom of a “change” strategy based on the party and army, Hinton no longer believed that the new regime could be reformed by means of non-antagonistic struggle within the Communist Party. Hinton would be very pleased to hear of the case of the Zengzhou Four, veteran workers from Henan who passed out flyers titled “Mao Zedong Forever Our Leader” on December 26, 2004, Mao’s birthday. The flyers denounced the party leadership and called for a return to the socialist road. Tens of thousands of people from all over China attended their trial, and news of their courageous actions spread over the internet
Quoting Dongpin Han ‘The market reform Deng Xiaoping introduced in China restored capitalism in China. A great number of billionaires have been created in a very short time. According to some statistics, China has more billionaires than any other country except the United States. As a result, China’s Gini index (a measure of inequality, in which ‘0’ is perfect equality, and ‘1’ is perfect inequality, with all wealth concentrated in the hands of one person) reached 0.7, and thus China became one of the most unequal societies in the world. But during the socialist era, China was one of the most equal societies in the world; its Gini index was only 0.29 then.’
‘With the restoration of capitalism, all the social vices returned with a vengeance. Prostitution, drug trafficking, drug addiction, trafficking of women and children, petty crime, organized crime, official corruption, and everything related with profiteering, have become rampant in China. The Government became powerless to fight these social vices. Corruption among officials is so rampant that it would be hard to find an official who is not corrupt any more. I have encountered Government officials who openly say that by Chairman Mao’s standards they should be killed several times over. Some Chinese peasants told me that if they killed every official, there might be one or two in one hundred who would be wronged. But if they shoot every other official, then too many corrupt ones would have escaped punishment. In a social climate like this, all the Government’s efforts at ‘fighting corruption’ are useless. It seems that the more the Government ‘fights corruption’, the more corrupt the system becomes. And the people are no longer convinced about the effectiveness of the Government’s anti-corruption measures. Purges have instead become a method for the Government to remove people who pose a threat to it.’’
‘The Chinese government has been boasting about China’s development model. Its model has been very simple. It has been plundering the accomplishments of the Mao-led Chinese revolution to get capital for its capitalist development. It sold the land, the houses, the factories, and hospitals confiscated by the revolution and very many more built during the Mao period. According to some statistics, over 80 per cent of local government revenue came from selling land to developers. A model like this has no applicable value elsewhere. They are able to do this because of Mao’s revolution, even though they are constantly trying to devalue the significance of Mao and his revolution.’’
‘The reason Mao’s new democratic revolution and socialist revolution succeeded was that they were aimed at benefiting the overwhelming majority of Chinese people. Therefore, the revolution got the support from the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.’
‘Deng Xiaoping’s reform was bound to fail because, from very beginning, his policy was aimed at allowing a small minority of people to get rich first. When this small minority happened to be his own children, other high officials’ children, and officials themselves, people became resentful. But the Government refuses to respond to people’s resentment, and continues to insist that the reform was good and sound. Of course, the reform was good and sound for them, because they and their families profited from it. But the ordinary people, who are the overwhelming majority, have lost in the bargain, and they will continue to resent their losses. Their resentment will accumulate and some day the resentment will explode, which is one of the reasons that the rich and powerful are leaving China.’’
‘’Any reform that only benefits the minority will not succeed, and will only lead to self destruction in the end, even if it appears to be going well in the beginning.’’
‘’What is the way ahead for China? A return to socialism is the only way out.’’
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist.Toured India,particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements ,,Massline,Maoism on blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and frontierweekly .An avid cricket lover too who has posted writings on blogs like Pakpassion Indian Cricket Fans and Sulekha.com