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View Diary: China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – The Origins of Ultra-Left Ultra-Violence (pt. 1) (113 comments)

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  •  Fascinating and strange that this could happen. (3+ / 0-)
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    randomfacts, Sky Net, glorificus

    How a populace could literally throw off its civilization like this.  What do you say to your kids when he comes home from school and says he beat his teachers to death...???  Were the kids not living at home?  Was the population that submissive?

    To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

    by ban48 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 06:21:38 AM PDT

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    •  It's easier to understand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      randomfacts, lotlizard, glorificus

      If you first understand "the state of the nation" preceding the founding of the PRC and the mis-steps that pointed it backward as it was trying to move forward.

      To answer your question, it was not long until school was effectively disbanded, parents were sent down and the big kids were on their own.

      You might also ask parents how they explained their day at work to their kids.

      Difficult to imagine, I know, but so is much of human history.

      Society got turned upside-down. Messy stuff.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 07:00:10 AM PDT

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    •  It is fascinating. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Lefty

      I think part of it is that 99% of the Chinese population were unsophisticated, illiterate country bumpkins. They didn't know the first thing about the modern world. They were a sort of blank slate. The Communist Party and Mao were the only ones who could tell them what to think. Mao was perceived to be a genius, after all he had taken a rag-tag band of persecuted guerrillas and fought of the millions-strong army of the KMT. They had fought the U.S. to a standstill. Even some Western leftists idolized him into the 1970s and later, as some of the comments here attest. For some illiterate peasants no more educated than your average Medieval serf, what were they supposed to think? If Mao said their teachers were counterrevolutionary elements, then they must be. Even the people who were accused, many of them felt they must have done something wrong even if they didn't understand what.

      I think people became a lot more cynical after the defection and death of Lin Biao in September 1971. That was the turning point. Because throughout the entire Cultural Revolution, besides Mao, no one was higher than Lin Biao. He was Mao's right hand man. He was next to Mao in propaganda posters. He was the main propagator for the Little Red Book. He could do no wrong-- and then, all of a sudden, he tried to assassinate Mao? After that, a lot of people realized I think there was something wrong with the narrative they were being fed.

      "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

      by randomfacts on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:48:59 AM PDT

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      •  I disagree somewhat (2+ / 0-)
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        AoT, glorificus

        The Cultural Revolution was at least initially an overwhelmingly urban phenomenon and was especially concentrated in the very top universities, high schools and among the party hierarchy. The Red Guard were among the most highly educated young people in the country.

        Lack of education simply isn't an excuse for what happened.  It was, as its title suggests, a "cultural revolution" fought out at a surprisingly high level of cultural and political theory.

        On the other hand, when it spread to rural areas among the peasants, as you call them uneducated country bumpkins, it became almost surreal in its brutality (not that the urban CR was also surreal in its brutality) but in Guangxi, tens of thousands were killed seemingly for no reason and the victors celebrated by engaging in cannibalism.

        I agree with everything you say about Lin Biao though and the effect of his betrayal on the way people thought about politics.

        •  Yeah, the diary the revolution started in the (0+ / 0-)

          schools, so it isn't that they were uneducated.  It seems more like they never really bought into what they were being taught (both in the schools and culturally at-home), so they tossed it off on a moments notice.  Or they just decided en-mass to toss it off.  It is just extremely strange, unless they were also under alot of duress.

          I know this is a fiction reference - but it kindof reminds me of the humans and cylons in the closing of Battlestar Galactica putting all their ships (and technology) an auto-pilot and steering it into the sun so they can start over with a clean slate.  They were under alot of duress though.

          As a more real example, during the fall of roman civilization people actually abandoned the cities and 'went wild' living in unsettled regions however they could because feudal roman life blew that bad.  There is also a supposition that when the Romans withdrew their legions from Britain, many of the Romans that were left-behind immediately abandoned their Roman ways and reverted to their pre-conquest identities and customs.

          So it seems, civilization can collapse....

          To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

          by ban48 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:08:52 AM PDT

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          •  As my next installment will argue (0+ / 0-)

            the students were psychologically manipulated. According to the account of being a Red Guard by Ken Ling, although the explosion of RG activity looked spontaneous it was very much manipulated and guided by adults. In fact, it was almost a text book application of the Milgram and Zimbardo experiments.

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