China’s Cultural Revolution

 

What the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China was about

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China was a mass revolutionary upsurge from 1966-1976, involving hundreds of millions of people. It was a kind of “revolution within the revolution.” The Cultural Revolution was a profound and intense struggle over the direction of society and over who would rule society: the working people or a new bourgeois class.

Mao Zedong and the revolutionary forces in the Communist Party mobilized people to rise up to prevent capitalist takeover and to shake up the higher levels of the Party that had become increasingly cast in a bourgeois-bureaucratic mold. But the Cultural Revolution was much more than that. The masses were carrying forward the revolutionary transformation of the economy, social institutions, culture, and values and were revolutionizing the Communist Party itself. This is what Mao called continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

For a comprehensive analysis of the Cultural Revolution, read the excerpt from the interview with Raymond Lotta, in the section “The Cultural Revolution: The Furthest Advance of Human Emancipation Yet.”

Go to our Fact Sheet on the Cultural Revolution, “The Truth about the Cultural Revolution.”

An important interview with Bob Avakian, “The Cultural Revolution in China . . . Art and Culture . . . Dissent and Ferment . . . and Carrying Forward the Revolution Toward Communism,” is reprinted in Revolution newspaper, or you can listen to the audio of Michael Slate’s show on KPFK.

For more on the economic achievements and breakthroughs in revolutionary political economy during the Cultural Revolution, read the essay by Raymond Lotta, “The Theory and Practice of Maoist Planning: In Defense of a Viable and Visionary Socialism,” which is the afterword of the 1994 book, Maoist Economics and the Revolutionary Road to Communism.

REDISCOVERING CHINA’S CULTURAL REVOLUTION:

Art and Politics, Lived Experience, Legacies of Liberation

Want to know what revolutionary socialism was really like? From people who lived it—and loved it? Hear from youth who went to the countryside to work and learn from the peasants . . . artists who set out to create revolutionary art . . . women who struggled against feudal tradition . . . people who look back at this period as some of the best years of their lives. And learn from scholars whose work brings to life a crucial and vital legacy of liberation. Check out the videos of the presentations at the 2009 Symposium on the Cultural Revolution.

For more on the Cultural Revolution, read these sections of the speech by Raymond Lotta, “Socialism Is Much Better than Capitalism, and Communism Is a Whole Better World”:

Part 10: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China — Not Fanatical Purge, But the Socialist Road vs. the Capitalist Road

Part 11: Mao on the Contradictions of Socialist Society

Part 12: The Cultural Revolution in China, A Seismic Eruption of Liberation

Part 13: The Cultural Revolution—Complex and Liberating Struggle

Part 14: The Cultural Revolution—Accomplishments in Education and Culture

Part 15: The Cultural Revolution—Health Care and the Economy

Sources on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

The Cultural Revolution: The Furthest Advance of Human Emancipation Yet, excerpt from interview with Raymond Lotta, Revolution #323, 11/23/2013.

The Cultural Revolution in China...Art and Culture...Dissent and Ferment...and Carrying Forward the Revolution Toward Communism, Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—Interview on Michael Slate radio show, 2005, Revolution #260, 2/19/2012

Raymond Lotta, “Socialism Is Much Better than Capitalism, and Communism Is a Whole Better World”:

Part 10: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China — Not Fanatical Purge, But the Socialist Road vs. the Capitalist Road

Part 11: Mao on the Contradictions of Socialist Society

Part 12: The Cultural Revolution in China, A Seismic Eruption of Liberation

Part 13: The Cultural Revolution—Complex and Liberating Struggle

Part 14: The Cultural Revolution—Accomplishments in Education and Culture

Part 15: The Cultural Revolution—Health Care and the Economy

“Alain Badious’s ‘Politics of Emancipation,’ a Communism Locked within the Confines of a Bourgeois World,” by Raymond Lotta, Nayi Duniya, and K.J.A., Demarcations: a Journal of Communist Theory and Polemic, Issue No. 1, Summer-Fall 2009. See Ch. 4 “Rereading the Cultural Revolution in Order to Bury the Cultural Revolution.”

Dongping Han: The Unknown Cultural Revolution – Life and Change in a Chinese Village, Revolution #174, 8/30/2009, Q&A

Interview with Bai Di: Growing Up in Revolutionary China, Revolution #161, 4/12/2009

Check It Out: New Book – The Battle for China’s Past, by Mobo Gao, Revolution #140, 8/17/2008

The Truth About the Cultural Revolution: Fact Sheet by Set the Record Straight, PDF version

Yang Ban Xi: Model Revolutionary Works in Revolutionary China, by Li Onesto, Revolution #051, 6/18/2006, PDF version

“We had a dream that the world can be better than today,” Set the Record Straight interviews Wang Zheng, author of Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era, Revolution #059, 9/3/2006

Mao Zedong: Not Fairy-Tale Monster, But Greatest Liberator of Mid-20th Century, (PDF) by Raymond Lotta, 11/6/2005

Daring to Scale the Heights for the Emancipation of Humanity: In Tribute to Zhang Chunqiao: 1917-2005, by Raymond Lotta, Revolution #003, 5/22/2005

Zhang Chunqiao and the Anting Incident, Revolution #003, 5/22/2005

From “On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie” by Zhang Chunqiao (written in 1975), Revolution #003, 5/22/2005

Introduction: “Maoist Economics and the Future of Socialism,” from Marxist Economics and the Revolutionary Road to Communism: The Shanghai Textbook on Political Economy, by Raymond Lotta, 1994, PDF version

Afterword: “The Theory and Practice of Maoist Planning: In Defense of a Viable and Visionary Socialism,” from Marxist Economics and the Revolutionary Road to Communism: The Shanghai Textbook on Political Economy, by Raymond Lotta, 1994, PDF version

The Red Guards: Hong Wei Bing – In 1966, millions of youth stormed the heavens during China's Cultural Revolution, Revolutionary Worker #966, 7/19/1998

Running with the Red Guards: Memories of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (PDF), Revolutionary Worker #735, 12/12/1993

Chiang Ching: The Revolutionary Ambitions of a Communist Leader, A World To Win #19, 1993

Chiang Ching: A Revolutionary Life, Revolutionary Worker #610, 6/16/1991

Lotta, Raymond, ed., And Mao Makes 5, Chicago: Banner Press, 1978. Collection of a large number of primary texts that document the battle led by Mao and his closest followers, the so-called “gang of four,” against a powerful neo-capitalist headquarters in the Communist Party led by Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. With an Introduction by Raymond Lotta that traces the political struggle as it unfolded from the 10th Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1973 to the arrest of the Four and triumph of counterrevolution following Mao's death in 1976.

Back to Historical Controversies

FAQ

DONATE TO SRS