[Marxism] private property now protected by theChineseconstitution

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Tue Mar 16 15:05:23 MST 2004

On the Cultural Revolution in China, Jim Craven writes, "it seems that
during the Cultural Revolution, in many cases punishment and reeducation
were likely to have been too harsh on some, but were decidedly not harsh
or decisive enough on others."

To expand this question of leniency in reeducation, we should ask if the
problem was with those doing the reeducating themselves.  My impression
is that, pretty much by definition, the current courtship of foreign
investors is not the work of survivors of the Cultural Revolution and
their successors so much as the administrators of the Cultural
Revolution and their successors in the hierarchy.

In the organizations of nations or groups of any sort (especially the
workplace), those in charge of things often act on a logic of their own
that centers on preservation of the hierarchy...the specific ideological
justifications don't matter.  The Catholic Church survived antiquity,
feudalism, capitalism and communism.  My employing institution was
founded by a hierarchy explicitly embracing the principle of racial
exclusion, but it now sings different words to the same old tune...and
it will change again when inspired by self-interest.  On an individual
level, how many good Prussian functionaries became Nazis, then
"democrats" or "communist" depending on what side of the partition they

Mark L.

Response Jim C: I think that these comments and insights are very
penetrating and quite correct. No doubt many of the "excesses" of the
Cultural Revolution came from those in need of reeducation themselves
and from those who had a verry mechanical view of what the Cultural
Revolution is supposed to be about and how best to conduct it without
replacing in new forms, the various forms of despotism and weeds of
capitalism/feudalism that the Cultural Revolution was supposed to deal
with. And yes, a whole lot of careerism and opportunism was also at work
during the Cultural Revolution; but I do believe that the concept and
intent were sound and necessary. The more successful the socialist
construction, the more virulent will be the responses--and the more
sophisticated the disguises--of those capitalists, feudalists, war lords
and criminal elements desperate for one last chance to restore the old
systems and their institutions and core relations.

Jim C.

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