Re: A Unity of Opposites: The Dengist and the Red Guard


Philosophy is not a good way to do history. But you might find philosophy in history. For example, from an essay, "Socialism Is a Series of Communist Projects:"

After nearly 25 years of people’s war, China was liberated in 1949. The Chinese communists promptly set to work on the relations of production. The peasants had individual plots of land, the landlords being eliminated as a class in the late 1940s and first years after 1949. The communists encouraged increasing levels of cooperation, from a few families to larger units. They shared the harvest at first according to both labor and the animals and tools contributed, then more by labor alone.

Agrarian advances in the relations of production seemed like the Soviet path. This changed with the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s. The Leap was badly done, partly because of mistakes by Party cadre, and, according to William Hinton, because the capitalist-roaders in the Party rammed it to exaggeration. The Communist Party of China during its long armed liberation struggle had attracted a number of sons of well-to-do people. They helped liberate the country from imperialism and landlord oppression. After 1949 they expected to ride at the top of a big modernization project.

Nonetheless, the Great Leap Forward earned eternal credit in history for creating the people’s communes. In its final form, the commune was a three-tier organization: the commune as a whole, the production brigade, and the production team. They roughly encompassed what had been, respectively, the market area around a sizable town, a group of several villages, and a village. Within this structure, the activities and rewards of production could be averaged over larger organizational units and made more egalitarian as conditions permitted. The communes also launched workshops and industries. A peasant might farm part of the year and work in a factory part of the year. The prospect was that the rural-urban divide and the difference between peasant and worker could be narrowed.


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