Class Conflict in Chinese Socialism

Class Conflict in Chinese Socialism

Class Conflict in Chinese Socialism

Class Conflict in Chinese Socialism

Excerpt

In the course of its protracted struggle for power, the Chinese Communist Party developed a deep concern for social inequality, elaborating both programs and institutions to mobilize the support of the impoverished and oppressed against the wealthy classes which provided support for its enemies. This book explores the fate of this revolutionary commitment to class struggle in the generation since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Within socialist China, the interpretation of class conflict has been a question of bitter, sometimes violent controversy. Neither the Marxist classics nor the prior experience of the Soviet Union have provided decisive answers to such fundamental questions as when recently dispossessed ruling classes could be said no longer to exist; the nature of the relationship of workers, peasants, and intellectuals to the new socialist state; and how the officials of this state are related to the rest of society. The practical ramifications of such issues are so clearly important that their discussion has never been detached and academic, but rather has been embedded within serious political and social struggles over what kind of society China should be. To put the matter sharply, class analysis in China is an aspect of the class conflict it is intended to comprehend.

As an example, consider the awkward new assessment by the Communist Party of its former Chairman, Mao Zedong. In the view of his successors, who seek to borrow Mao's prestige while sanitizing his ideas, among the late Chairman's most bothersome errors was that he saw conflict among classes where it (and they) did not exist. From this class analysis, Mao concluded that an old revolutionary ought to advocate a radical program to limit the . . .

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