From Mao to Jiang (ch2)
1. The Cultural Revolution
Despite the respect accorded Mao as the leader of the Revolution, the failure of the Great Leap
Forward brought change.
Led by Deng Xiaoping, who had organized the Anti-Rightest campaign but
criticized the Great Leap Forward, the party undertook more moderate policies to promote economic growth,
including allowing peasants to cultivate their own individual plots and creating more large-scale industry.
everyone, it was argued could be "red and expert."
Some would have to have more technical expertise--and
the power that went along with it--than others.
Deng was primarily concerned with increasing production, not
with the social and moral issues that inspired Mao's delusionary schemes.
Deng liked to quote a proverb
from his native Sichauan, it makes no difference if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.
Mao was distressed by this turn of events.
He felt that "the capitalist roader" Deng was allowing
individualism and, with it, capital accumulation.
Deng's policies were strengthening the party bureaucracy
and economic managers at the expense of the revolutionary enthusiasm that had brought the Communists to
What good had the Revolution been if it led only to a "new class" state like the Soviet Union?
Having lost control of the party, Mao was forced to look outside the party for support.
In 1965 he
took the offensive, launching the Great Cultural Revolution.
The problem, Mao argued, was that the
Revolution had not thoroughly rooted out the old culture and that party bureaucrats and authority figures of all
types had become entrenched in their positions.
To root them out, he argued, it would be necessary to
repeat the Revolution periodically: "The Cultural Revolution presently going on is only the first of its kind," he
"In the future such revolutions will necessarily take place at several occasions.
.. All Party
members, and the population at large, must refrain from thinking that all will be smooth after one, two, three,
or four Cultural Revolutions."
The Cultural Revolution was intended to break all roots in the Chinese past in
order to prevent any return to this past.
The goal was construction of a “new man” who would give
immortality to the Revolution.
Mao took the unprecedented step of looking outside
the party to the People's Liberation Army (PLA)
and to the youth.
The Army was a bastion of egalitarianism: in 1965, all insignia were abolished.
officers and men were indistinguishable from one another and shared many of the common tasks of daily life.
The Army indoctrinated itself in Maoist thought, distributing millions of "little red books" to its troops.