You are on page 1of 3

FOREIGN CULTURES 63 9.28.

2005

Note: start thinking about paper topic (proposal due October 23); talk to prof. or TF about this
Post-1949 social patterns in China
Does not have to fit into the two revolutions framework
examples: success/lack of success in implementing universal education; moving urban
individuals to rural regions (during cultural revolution); effect of family planning;
efforts to suppress religions in Chinese villages

Recall village dynamics


Renting land; led to relative inequality
Social structure organized according to kinship (lineage; clans), not economics status, etc.
Prior to the communist period, families would be rivals – poorer members of the
clan looked to richer members for support and backing
Communists wanted to erode family consciousness, foster class consciousness

Educational system in late imperial China


Philosophical, moral training key to education; this was built into the examination system
Tests open to basically all of the promising men in all families
Specific kind of philosophical, moral training based on the Confucian orthodoxy
Begin appointed to an official position brought great pride and wealth to a family line
Schooling was not run by the state – local, community run schools; all tended to operate
in a similar fashion b/c they were targeted toward the exams
Highly specialized type of education; no math, science; not a “practical” education as we
see it
This system was not abolished until 1906
Still, not many people did it (?); high opportunity cost of pursuing this unpractical
education
By 1900, 1/3 of males literate; 5% of females literate

China’s crisis (see Eastman chapters)


General perception that from 1900 onward, China was being exploited by foreign powers
Hong Kong ceded, treaty ports that were dishonorable
Inequality, poverty, natural disasters
Therefore internal pressure for China to reform and do something about the downturn
People looked to the rural as the problem (saw a need for agricultural reform).
Different views
Chinese communists: saw inequality as the problem – though wealthy were
parasitic; exploited workers; thought solution was a fundamental attack on
class inequality
Led to land reform, collectivization (post-1949)
Alternative arguments in 1920s-30s: problem of relationship between farming
technology and population; view that population had grown too fast, yet
little change in technology
solution to get farmers to use better techniques, population control
Note: Communists rejected this rival analysis (although in recent years,
the current communist regime has begun to accept it)
FOREIGN CULTURES 63 9.28.2005

Third argument: the crisis was simply a product of disorder (warlord period,
followed by Japanese invasion and civil war). Political stability required
for successful production was absent

Social revolution to institute socialism (post-1949)


Reliance on Soviet advisors
Many institutions developed after 1st revolution modeled after the Soviet Union
(also, after 2nd revolution, attempt to undo Soviet institutions)
Marxist ideas
“Historical materialism” – the assumption that the nature of society is determined by the
type of economy in place; moreover, history progresses in an economic fashion
(forces of production/relations of production); means of production = capital stock
(factories, etc), relations of production = those who own capital stock.
slavery  feudal societies  capitalist  socialist  communist
Historical materialism holds that the transition from one state to another occurs through
class conflict and eventually revolution.
Note: when we call China “communist” that is a political designation; in Marxist theory,
there has yet to be a true communist state (it is a utopian notion that only exists in
the future); socialism: distribution according to contribution; communism:
distribution according to need.
Lenin (1917 revolution in Soviet Union) and other communist rulers (Mao) ran into the
problem that a capitalist society was first necessary to start a socialist society;
Lenin didn’t want to “wait around”, so he sped up the process via political ideas
in “what is to be done” (pamphlet)
Lenin argued that there needed to be a new party organization that could
catapult society into socialism before the material requirements were met;
developed the idea of a communist party.
Elite party – needed dedicated members who would put the party first; special
process of training and selection
Hierarchical, authoritarian structure; “democratic centralism” – party decision-
making is democratic, yet once the decision is complete, everyone must be
totally dedicated to the decision. Any democracy is at the very top level.
Create a very disciplined party
Stalin
Defined more sharply what it meant to be a socialist society
5 year plans
Collectivization drive in the countryside
By 1936 authorities declared that socialism had been established in the USSR
Gave “socialism” a concrete form
What happens to this class struggle that Marxism advocates?
Stalin said that there should be an intensification of class struggle when
communism rises, since the outgoing classes will try to retain their
struggle; led to purges.
N. Kruschoff
Mao’s counterpart in the USSR
FOREIGN CULTURES 63 9.28.2005

In 1956 as part of his consolidation of power made a secret speech to that


communist congress that denounced Stalin’s crimes. Declared that large-scale
class struggle had no place in the USSR. Mao didn’t like this announcement –
contributes to the Sino-Soviet conflict in the 1960s