China class 3: Twin tasks of the revolution (1949-1979)

Jun 2, 2020

Rui Guangting, "The People's Communes are Good" (1958).

Class description: This week’s class covers the first 30 years of the People’s Republic, the period of the initial construction of socialism and the struggle between two lines. After liberation in 1949, China set about stabilizing the economy and establishing new governmental institutions. Land Reform and the 1950 Marriage Law began a process of social and economic transformation, including agricultural collectivization and urban industrialization. The Great Leap Forward was a high tide of this process, but was undermined by bureaucratic abuses within the CCP. The Soviet Union, which had aided China in the 1950s, withdrew that aid in 1959 as the Sino-Soviet Split intensified. Efforts at Party reform in the early 1960s left Chairman Mao frustrated with the Party’s alienation from the masses, and the Cultural Revolution was aimed at encouraging mass oversight of the Party. Prolonged and complex struggles within the Party remained unresolved until the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong in 1976, after which Deng Xiaoping emerged as the leader of the Party, now focused on a developmental model using market mechanisms to advance the productive economy.

Course description: As China’s global rise rivals U.S. hegemony, the number one priority of U.S. foreign policy is to wage a demonization campaign against China. Since the Obama administration announced the Pivot to Asia, the U.S. has spent countless military dollars in the Pacific to encircle China. While the demonization and propaganda campaign against China has been at an all time high, the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the anti-China narrative.

As the outrageous demonization campaign against China continues to grow amidst this crisis, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, in partnership with the Qiao Collective, is holding a five-part class series on China. The course will examine the construction of modern day China in the context of global imperialism, starting from the very first Opium war between China and Britain in the early 1800s. Imperial China, which was one of the most advanced civilizations of the world, quickly became a country looted and torn apart by many imperialist nations who wanted a piece of the pie. The course will examine China’s century-long national liberation struggle and the construction of socialism. The purpose of the class is to provide the necessary context for understanding modern China today, especially under the weight of U.S. imperialism.

Return to the course page here.