Unlike their disgraced middle class counterparts, the upper caste lower class people were given social honor and opportunities for upward mobility during the Cultural Revolution. Chairman Mao Zedong and his associates declared that workers, poor peasants and other revolutionary masses were the backbone of the communist state, whereas high ranking and middle ranking intellectuals and cadres were the major targets of the Red Guard movement.
Mao's call was well received by lower ranking cadres, junior intellectuals, workers and poor peasants. They organized rebel organizations to struggle against "capitalist roaders within the CCP" and "bourgeois academic authority figures." Some upper caste lower class people rose to prominence and got into the most powerful political organization in China, the Central Committee of the CCP, during the Cultural Revolution.
Before 1966, all members of the CCP's Eighth Central Committee ( 1956- 1969) were CCP cadres. 1 The Ninth Central Committee replaced the Eighth Central Committee in 1969. It was reported that out of the 170 full members of the Ninth Central Committee, 39 were workers and peasants; out of the 109 alternate members, 34 were workers and peasants. 2 Chen Yonggui, a peasant in the Dazai Production Brigade in Xiyang County, Shanxi Province, and Wu Guixian, a textile worker, entered the Politburo of the CCP, the inner circle of power in China.
Chairman Mao also ordered that at least one third of the executive board directors of every Revolutionary Committee in China, the ad hoc government during the Cultural Revolution, should be junior cadres, workers or poor and lower middle peasants, i.e., people of the upper caste lower class. They were invited to participate in the management of their enterprises or the People's Communes. They were also mobilized to take over schools. 3
Despite their upward movement on the status ladder, most upper caste lower class families had to deal with many problems in everyday life. These problems were not the same as those faced by middle class families. Patterns of political participation among upper caste lower class people were also different from those of their middle class counterparts.