Mass mobilisation : the Chinese Communist Party and the peasants




Kyoko, Tanaka

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The central question of the Chinese revolution is also the central question of the changing world; how can men liberate themselves from all kinds of alienation in the existing systems? How can they break the network of the ties of oppression, obedience and fear? How can they build new social and political organisation based on communication and responsibility? A revolutionary transformation means not only a replacement of a group in supreme power with another group within a short period of time, but also a replacement of the whole system of government and socioeconomic organisation and, above all, the whole social value system with new egalitarian one in the daily life of the people. In this sense, the Chinese Communist revolution is the first and the most profound revolution in this century. Moreover, the all existing values have been challenged by the new value system of the Chinese Communists, which they have attempted to put into practice. It is so different from any existing value system in human history that it is little understood by the 'China experts' outside the country. The whole process of the Chinese Communist revolution was directed to free the whole Chinese population from alienation, in its broader sense, is now the primary challenge of Marxism to both highly industrialised and 'underdeveloped' societies. It suggests to the third world a way to 'modernise' itself by its own efforts, as Dr. Mark Selden has maintained throughout his fascinating book, The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China, that is, how can the people be capable and industrious when they are even partly freed from alienation. It is, of course, not only the problems of alienation that is presented by the Chinese revolution, but also the problems of political and economic organisation. These organisations, however, are designed to minimise social alienation of their components. As suggested in the CCP's concern with the elimination of the 'three great differentials' in the Cultural Revolution, the problem of alienation is a focal point in the Communist revolution. This is also the question of the Chinese way to commuunist society. Mass mobilisation by the CCP in the Yenan: period included all these questions, and moreover, the 'Yenan way' seems now to be considered by the CCP a possible shortcut to communist society. Mobilisation of every individual in the Communist territory was necessitated by the war circumstances in the Yenan period, but its achievement went beyond its minimul goal, survival. In the process of mass mobilisation in the Yenan period, the CCP challenged almost all the existing values, customs and habits in rural China which had tied up energy and activism of the peasants. It was difficult work, but the Party succeeded to an impressive extent in a drastic transformation of social values, in addition to the changes in political and economic systems. The experience of Yenan mass mobilisation formed the basis of the Party's challenge1to the existing ways in the 'modernisation' of China after 1949.






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