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The Cultural Revolution To Breed The New Chinese Citizen

3305 words - 14 pages

The Cultural Revolution lasted for a decade and saw the fragmentation of China only ending after yielding seemingly little benefit to anyone involved. Mao Zedong was foremostly, and most successfully, a revolutionary and much of his life had been spent seeking to fundamentally transform China. Mao’s goal, to form a new strong and prospering China, required the creation of a new national sense of being through the Cultural Revolution. To forge a new society and culture, rid of entrenched feudal ways was considered absolutely necessary with the omnipresent shadow of the New Culture Movement, which had been frustrated by the size of the task. Only a mass movement by the entire nation to reform ...view middle of the document...

Mao’s belief in the necessity of interminable revolution to create, and preserve, a classless state was put into practice with these incited unrests.1 Among all of the party campaigns, the Cultural Revolution stands without rival as the largest, most sweeping, and most dramatic example of China’s interminable struggle to advance itself into an autonomous, and firstrate nation.
The revolution had slowly begun to succumb to its rival forces of classism, and favoritism as soon as it had ceased. Political factions and bureaucratic entities dominated and others were subordinated. The former divisions on social and economic grounds, which had never been completely done away with, reemerged with CCP members as the new aristocracy.2 Mao understood the hegemony of the socialist masses relied upon by the control of the proletariat over all positions of power, and total control of the society, “During the historical period of socialism it is necessary to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat and carry the socialist revolution through to the end if the restoration of capitalism is to be prevented, socialist construction carried forward and the conditions created for the transition to communism.” 3 This required an unyielding commitment to end exploitation of the working class, and emphasized the necessity for the political participation of the proletariat, including class struggle to ensure the revolutions goals were brought to fruition.
Mao, both in theory and actual policy, was aware of the importance of dealing with the problems of post-revolutionary comfortability, and the lingering societal problems from the period before 1949. Mao believed the struggle against anything ‘counterrevolutionary’ would be a difficult, complex job, in some ways harder than the initial military revolution. The CCP was faced with the enormous task rapidly industrializing a nation, the majority of whose population was still in a traditional, backwards way of life. The massive scarcity of modern technology, resources, and capital would only compound the problem of building an equal society and ensuring common prosperity. Mao approached the issues at hand reliant upon ideological rigidity to substitute material scarcity, convinced that ideology was the most powerful way to motivate and organise the masses to achieve these ends. The raw power of the people rather than technological innovation would be relied upon to usher the nation forward. 4
Mao believed that individuals could do tremendous things with dedication and hard work alone to advance the new Chinese nation and armed with the correct ideological indoctrination and discipline, the people would come to live and embody the right socialist traits. Mao viewed the changes needed for society as ultimately to result from changes made to transform individual Chinese. 5 Mao supplanted Marx’s ideas of dialectical materialism, with a sort of dialectical moralism, which stressed the major role that a philosophy,...

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