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Communism POSC 150 Introduction to Political Theory Braunwarth Russian Society late 19th c. Keeping up with the rest of Europe? No, very backward, illiterate, and superstitious The nobility spoke French Semi-Feudal, peasant society Economy based on agriculture

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POSC 150

Introduction to Political Theory


russian society late 19th c
Russian Society late 19th c.
  • Keeping up with the rest of Europe?
  • No, very backward, illiterate, and superstitious
  • The nobility spoke French
  • Semi-Feudal, peasant society
  • Economy based on agriculture
  • Is this the setting for a Marxist Communist Revolution?
  • No - very small proletariat
russian politics
Russian Politics
  • Much Discontent
  • from both Peasants and Intellectuals
  • No freedom of debate/discussion
  • opposition parties outlawed
  • spies and informers everywhere
  • prisons full of dissidents
  • some illicit pamphlets, terrorism
lenin vladimir ilyich ulyanov
Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov)
  • Older brother executed for trying to assassinate Tsar Alexander II
  • Went underground, became a revolutionary, and took the name of Lenin
  • Plunged into an extensive study of Engels and Marx
  • Learned: class struggle is the driving force of historical development
  • Must take advantage of class distinctions
  • Any means necessary to achieve ends
  • Hardened against “softness”
vanguard party
Vanguard Party
  • What is it?
  • Small, organized group of revolutionary intellectuals
  • Need to agitate, organize, and educate the workers to their “true” interests
  • Needed to overcome “trade union consciousness”
  • Revolution would be more likely with “immiserated” proletariat and vanguard
1917 russian revolution
1917 Russian Revolution
  • Fed up with defeats and shortages WWI
  • March: riots in big cities, troops join in
  • Tsar Nicholas replaced by Kerensky
  • October: Bolsheviks storm Winter Palace
  • Seized mines, mills, factories, etc.
  • Led to counter-revolution by landowners and other privileged groups (whites)
  • 1918-1920 civil war: Reds won
russian communism
Russian Communism
  • Lenin needed the Vanguard of the Proletariat to bring about the revolution in Russia
  • Did the resulting state whither away as predicted by Lenin?
  • Why or Why not?
  • Example of “The Iron Law of Oligarchy”
china overview
China Overview
  • About same size as U.S.
  • over 1 billion people v. 255 million
  • Similar Climate, settled East to West
china 19th c
China 19th c.
  • Decline to Desperation (much starvation)
  • Situation: very similar to Russia
  • Very small proletarian (1 in 200)
  • Large Peasant population
  • Very poor, largely feudal (war lords)
  • Also, exploited by Imperialist Powers
  • Opium Wars
  • 1850s: series of Peasant Revolts
dr sun yat sen
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
  • Born 1866 in a poor farming family
  • founded Kaomintang Party (KMT)
  • Led rebellions against emperors including successful 1911 revolution
  • Good intentions but co-opted by foreigners
  • Died 1925
mao 1893 1976
Mao 1893-1976
  • Librarian (educated)
  • restricted to what had been translated into Chinese: Communist Manifesto, Lenin’s Imperialism
  • Founding member of Chinese Communist Party 1921
chiang kai shek
Chiang Kai-Shek
  • General in imperial army
  • Joined KMT
  • Succeeded Sun yet-sen
  • Actively opposed to Mao and communists
1935 the long march
1935 The Long March
  • Mao with army of 200,000
  • 1 year: capture 160 cities, cross 16 mountain ranges, innumerable rivers,
  • average 24 miles/day
  • with conscripts, lost ~ 400,000
  • end up in caves in Yenan province
  • guerilla warfare, befriended people
  • “swim like fish in the ocean”
  • set up small self-sufficient communism
japan invades 1937
Japan invades 1937
  • Chiang Kai Shek solidifies power
  • More concerned with communists “disease of the heart”
  • KMT blunders in both wars
  • Mao fights much better
  • 1946 Communists begin taking over
  • After 1949 Chiang Kai Shek takes wealth and flees to Taiwan
revolution 1949
Revolution 1949
  • Nation instead of Class
  • Not so much internal class warfare as
  • anti-imperialist war of national liberation
  • Rural Proletariat:
  • Lot of emphasis on oppressed people
  • They supported him
  • Revolution began in countryside
  • Model for revolution in Asia and Africa
progress under mao
Progress under Mao
  • Virtually eliminated starvation, prostitution, female infanticide, female foot binding, profiteering
  • kicked out foreign corrupters
  • Agriculture increases 4%/year
  • Industrial production increases 11%
  • “small is beautiful”
  • built dams, reclaimed land, etc.
always fighting ussr model
Always Fighting USSR model
  • 1957 Hundred Flowers:
  • encouraged criticism of entrenched elite
  • 1958 Great Leap Forward
  • Industry in small cottage industries
  • Neither worked well
  • Still very poor country
  • People largely enthusiastic
cultural revolution 1966
Cultural Revolution 1966
  • Revolution within the revolution
  • Saw problems in USSR
  • Tried to return power to people rather than entrenched elites
  • Moved elite and intelligentsia to country
  • Set back production some and education a lot
  • Ultimately couldn’t stop the ILOO
  • C.R. eventually manipulated by elite
post mao
Post Mao
  • After death in 1976: Deng Xiaoping
  • emphasis on Economic Development
  • some introduction of Free Mkt economy
  • No corresponding Political Freedoms
  • Tiananmen Square 1989