Wild Lily, Prairie Fire
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Gregor Benton and Alan Hunter provide here a source book of documents of democratic dissent under Chinese Communism, most of them previously untranslated and difficult to find in the West. Ranging from eye-witness accounts of a massacre to theoretical critiques of Chinese Marxist thought, these essays are among the most powerful and important works of Chinese dissident literature written in this century. An extensive introduction maintains that the documents reveal a tradition of democratic thought and practice that traces its descent to the New Culture Movement of the 1910s and the founding generation of the Chinese Communist Party. Far from being a late twentieth-century import (along with capitalist economics) from Europe, Japan, and the United States, this tradition of dissent is deeply embedded in the experience of China's revolutionary movements.
The story of Chinese Communism has often been reduced to uniformity not only by political bureaucrats in China but by Western scholarship derived from official Chinese histories. Wild Lily, Prairie Fire paints a far richer picture. The book calls into question many of the usual beliefs about the relation between democracy and communism, at least in the Chinese case, which may now be seen to depart from the Soviet model in yet another crucial respect.
the show windows of our shops, in this way turning them into a front for propagating Mao Zedong’s ideas. 8. We should seriously and creatively learn and apply Chairman Mao’s writings, remold our thought, and transform ourselves into both hairdressing personnel and propagandists for spreading Mao Zedong’s ideas. 9. We should vehemently open fire on all outmoded practices of commercial enterprises and all things that do not conform to the superstructure of the socialist economic base. 10. We should
who are sitting tight over the laboring people and “keeping their four limbs idle and making no distinction among the five kinds of grain.” They even told the students: “In future you should become generals, ministers, and prime ministers. You are the hard-core of the successors and should not go around selling soy and vinegar.” Just to infuse the thought of special privileges, in the area of political thought these schools have openly opposed Chairman Mao’s theory on class and class struggle;
holders who have taken the capitalist road.” Of course very few of those who have had the opportunity to enter school and to become Red Guards belong to the second category. Among the students and the Red Guards, the majority are not offspring of “heroes and great men” either. (This third category is, in fact, discriminated against by the Cultural Revolution Group of the Central Committee. 148 CHAPTER THREE They have been specifically advised not to become the leaders of Red Guard
the greenhouse of Mao Zedong’s “Cultural Revolution.” WH A T CLASS INTERESTS D O E S TH E CU L T U R A L RE V O L U T I O N SE R V E? What has been discussed above concerns mainly the political and factual aspects of the “Great Cultural Revolution.” We would like to discuss a deeper theoretical question, namely, what class interest does Mao Zedong’s “Great Cultural Revolution” serve? The case with Stalin was crystal-clear—he represented the interests of conservative bureaucrats of the USSR and
revolution, the question arose of what to do with the professional revolutionaries. Lenin died before he could answer this question adequately. But it is well known that Lenin wanted elections along the lines of the Paris Commune, so that no one would be allowed to occupy a post permanently, however great his or her contribution to the revolution. If this principle is not followed, there is nothing to distinguish a Communist revolution from a peasant one. Unfortunately, under Stalin’s influence