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

Andrew Stewart

The Great Leap Forward failed because of the vast difference between the Soviets after the end of the Civil War and the Chinese after their Civil War. Besides certain resemblances in their experience (a World War followed by Civil War), the two could not have been more different. The Bolshevik inheritance of the Tsarist empire meant they came into possession of some of the largest raw material, precious metal, and fossil fuel reserves on the planet. The Chinese by contrast were trying to industrialize by having peasants smelt scrap metal in home furnaces, which does not produce the same kind of iron and steel the Bolsheviks were outputting in the 1920s. The Chinese didn't have agronomists versed in the technicalities of 1950s agricultural science, meaning that the peasants were being asked to rapidly adapt without guidance to yield expectations that created a famine.
One notable difference between the two? Lenin and the Bolsheviks had an NEP over several years that utilized capitalist markets to accumulate and build their productive capacity. By contrast Mao wanted to skip that part. I'm by no means a fan of Deng, particularly owing to his grotesque foreign policy that aligned with American imperialism repeatedly, but he wasn't simply a "capitalist roader," he had been trained at the Comintern by Bukharin during the Russian NEP and observed that impact upon the development and success of the USSR.

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