regard these changes as extremely important. Although the transformations in question weregiven an unprecedented impulse by the Cultural Revolution, it should not be concluded thatthey originated with this revolution or were the only ones to occur in recent years.Several points must be stressed. First, the changes in question gained their present impactonly because of the defeat of Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois political line.
The adherents of thisline had in effect begun to challenge similar changes initiated in 1958 during the Great LeapForward. On the other hand, these transformations correspond to an ideological revolutionmarking the beginning of an upheaval in manners and customs which is increasingly givingrise to a new proletarian morality.
Furthermore, the massive changes that occurred in the Chinese countryside after theformation of people's communes in 1958 continued and were strengthened during the CulturalRevolution. Between 1960 and 1966, the adherents of Liu Shao-chi's line had tried toundermine the economic and social changes initiated in the countryside during the GreatLeap Forward. The Cultural Revolution that followed was to provide the impetus for amassive socialist counter-offensive, especially in the area of rural industrialization, which hasalready substantially transformed Chinese village life. Here, too, the Cultural Revolution posed a challenge to the immemorial division of labor and, notably, to the division betweentown and countryside, that underlies the divisions between social classes.
1. Communist parties characterize as "bourgeois" a political line which objectively opposes viablechanges that would reduce the influence of capitalist or bourgeois factors in the economic base or in thesuperstructure. The predominance of such a line leads to the consolidation (an outcome that can be prevented) of capitalist forms of the division of labor and of industrial management, as well as of bourgeois positions in general. The bourgeoisie consists not only of former capitalists, landowners, etc., but also of cadres, technicians, and administrators who use their positions to undermine the workers' collective controlover the employment of the means of production and the direction of investments.2. See my article in
Le Monde diplomatique
, November 1971.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution thus represents an ideological and politicalstruggle the effects of which bear both on the economic base and on the superstructure,destroying the old social relationships and giving rise to new ones. The very fluctuations of the struggle which unfolded during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution evidence thedegree to which its outcome depended both on the mass movement and on its correctorientation by a revolutionary leadership.At each stage of the Cultural Revolution, the adherents of Mao Tse-tung's revolutionaryline had to accomplish an enormous labor of discussion. At the outset, for instance, it took several months for the workers to rebel against the prevailing methods of management andthe division of labor and against the diehard supporters of the existing relations in thefactories. It was only gradually, through the give and take of prolonged discussion, that they began to realize that the old relations were obstructing progress along the road to socialism.