Cultural Revolution and general MIM stuff

Chris Burford cburford at
Sat Sep 16 07:56:38 MDT 1995


I appreciated your reply. You put your points crisply, and perhaps
because I am not in confrontation with you, I did not experience them
as sharp.

On your central comments about the Cultural Revolution, I think you
have a telling point about capitalist restoration certainly including
communist party members. On this list in the course of arguing about
Yugoslavia we noted the case of Abdic, the communist leader, who split
from the Bosnian government, then became a warlord, and then a capitalist.

The growth of the mafia in the former Soviet Union is clearly closely
linked with corruption in the Communist Party, as are many of the
enterprises that are starting off with adaptations of economic
units under the previous regime.

Mao did not live to have direct experience of how this might work out.
He did argue in general terms that many members of the communist party of
the soviet union were "good" and it certainly appears that now, in however
confused a way people are struggling to regroup.

I see merits in restating Mao's analysis of the danger of capitalist
restoration because we have had  previous complex arguments on this list
about whether and when the Soviet Union ceased to be a socialist
state and what it was. By contrast Mao's analysis points to the insidious
nature of the process, which undoubtedly includes ideology.

In welcoming rational dialogue with you however, I do not wish to
imply I am in total agreement. I am not by the nature of my work a
member of the most proletarian sections of society! and your comments
about the class nature of subscription to internet seem to me to be

In particular I think there were major problems about the scope, the speed
and the handling of ideological issues in the cultural revolution. I think
at its worse, the re-education of intellectuals in the countryside was
a punishment and only the slightly more humane Chinese alternative to
the concentration camp. Most seriously of all I think there were big
problems about the economic programme of the cultural revolution, and
indeed Mao's whole economic policy from the Great Leap forward. But
there will be time enough clarify issues about this another month.

Chris B, London.

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