The Cultural Revolution at the Margins

The Cultural Revolution at the Margins

YICHING WU
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Harvard University Press
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wps4c
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  • Book Info
    The Cultural Revolution at the Margins
    Book Description:

    The Cultural Revolution began from above, yet it was students and workers at the grassroots who advanced the movement's radical possibilities by acting and thinking for themselves. Resolving to suppress the resulting crisis, Mao set events in motion in 1968 that left out in the cold those rebels who had taken it most seriously, Yiching Wu shows.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-41985-8
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  6. CHAPTER ONE THE UNTHINKABLE REVOLUTION
    (pp. 1-16)

    Why should we even bother with the dusty Cultural Revolution today? Nearly four decades after its end, there seems little left to be said about the origins, processes, and significance of this pivotal historical episode. Yet not so long ago, China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was widely admired as one of the greatest and most important events of the twentieth century. Many viewed this tumultuous movement, which proudly announced itself as a mass war against social inequalities and bureaucratic privileges, as having raised a number of issues crucial not only to the modern Chinese Revolution in particular but also to...

  7. CHAPTER TWO ENEMIES FROM THE PAST: Bureaucracy, Class, and Mao’s Continuous Revolution
    (pp. 17-52)

    The cultural revolution was an extraordinary political crisis that jolted the political foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The spectacle of widespread, violent rebel assaults on China’s party and governmental structures, initiated by the head of that apparatus, was baffling to say the least. A common question among many seasoned observers of Chinese politics was simply “Why?” As Roderick MacFarquhar, the leading scholar of the Cultural Revolution, once wrote:

    In the spring of 1966 China seemed a stable, disciplined, and united nation. It was led by a group of men whose comradeship had been forged by the Long...

  8. CHAPTER THREE FROM THE GOOD BLOOD TO THE RIGHT TO REBEL: Politics of Class and Citizenship in the Beijing Red Guard Movement
    (pp. 53-94)

    A fifty-eight-year-old man named Li Wenbo lived in the district of Chongwen in central Beijing. The state’s class taxonomy labeled Li a petty merchant(xiao yezhu), a category of nonproletarians. On the very hot day of August 25, 1966, Red Guards who had come mostly from politically desirable or “red” families ransacked Li’s home and attacked his family, now marked as targets by his class label. During the daylong ordeal, Li and his sick wife were confined to the attic without food or water. After numerous pleas, Li’s wife tried to go downstairs to use the toilet, but she was...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR REVOLUTIONARY ALCHEMY: Economism and the Making of Shanghai’s January Revolution
    (pp. 95-141)

    Alternatively called the January Storm or the January Power Seizure, the January Revolution was one of the most critical events of the Cultural Revolution. The collapse of the party apparatus in Shanghai under intense rebel assaults in early 1967 has been widely regarded as a critical turning point catalyzing the fall of party authorities nationwide. The broad outline of the Shanghai episode seems familiar. The following account offered in a volume edited by several experts on the Cultural Revolution is typical: “[The January Revolution] refers to a series of activities carried out by the self-claimed revolutionary rebels in Shanghai …...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE REVOLUTION IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION: Popular Radicalization of the Cultural Revolution in Hunan
    (pp. 142-189)

    With strong support from the central authorities, the January Revolution in Shanghai resulted in political reintegration and the restoration of order. Its national impact, however, was highly uneven. The radical rhetoric of the masses seizing power from “a handful of power holders in the party who take the capitalist road” inspired numerous rebel attacks on the political authorities. The precipitous collapse of local party and government organs in many parts of the country dramatically transformed the field of political action by injecting a new, unpredictable dynamics into a surging mass movement. By authorizing the masses to rebel against bourgeois representatives...

  11. CHAPTER SIX COPING WITH CRISIS IN THE WAKE OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION: The Historical Origins of Chinese Postsocialism
    (pp. 190-222)

    Turbulent times encourage a profusion of new possibilities. The Shengwulian episode marked an emergent tendency in the Cultural Revolution in which politically explosive ideas such as the privileged stratum or new ruling class became a critical line of ideological demarcation. Yang Xiguang and his Hunanese peers were not the only ones who saw the Cultural Revolution’s main antagonism as the struggle between the Chinese working people and the new ruling class. Similar ideas were developed elsewhere in China, for example, in Beijing by the April 3 Faction. Also, in Shanghai some students formed the Anti-restoration Society in August 1967—by...

  12. EPILOGUE. FROM REVOLUTION TO REFORM: Rethinking the Cultural Revolution in the Present
    (pp. 223-238)

    In this book, I have attempted to open up an interpretive space in which an alternative history of the Cultural Revolution that attends more to divergence, multiplicities, and critical possibilities can be written. I have explored the political and ideological dynamics of radicalizing the Cultural Revolution from below by examining several key instances of popular socioeconomic grievances and political criticism in their local circumstances. Through these currents, dominant forms of social representation were challenged, and new forms of political critique arose that transgressed the hegemonic boundaries of the Cultural Revolution. The incorporation or suppression of these tendencies constituted part of...

  13. APPENDIX: LIST OF SELECTED CHINESE CHARACTERS
    (pp. 241-244)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 245-304)
  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 305-328)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 329-335)