National Liberation: Revolution in the Third World

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NATIONAL LIBERATION Revolution in The Third World Edited by Norman Miller and Roderick Aya WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ERIC R. WOLF

THE FREE New Yo1lk .-~il-I~R

Collier-Macfnillan Lien/iteci, London

Copyright © 1971 by The Free Press A DIVISION OF THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Printed in the United States of America All rights reserves._*__


of- tiNs 'book may be reproduced or

transmitted in an! form or -y any means, electronic or mechanical,


including photocoliying, recording, by' any information storage anti retrieva1_s_s_tcm, w'§Hout permission in writing-from the Publisher.

The Free Press A Division of The Macmillan Company' 866 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10022 Collier-Macmillan

Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 73-143508 printing number

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

For Mom and Dad, Molly and Julius, and Dan NM T o my Parents, Roderick and Helen Aye, in appreciation and affection










Introdu ction

Eric R. Wolf A Hocioriition of the Revolutionary Situation


Manfred Halpern Peasant Rebellion and Revolution


Eric R. Wolf Archaic Zlffovements and Revolution AEn Soutfietn


Vietnam john R. McLane Colonialism anal National Liberation in Africa: The Gold Coast Revolution


C. L. R. James Revolutionary T/Varfazte and Countetinszrrgency

Eqbal Ahmad vii




Revolution and Third World Development: Peoples

War and the Transformation of Peasant Society Mark Selden


Mao The-tutng and the Cultural Revolution Richard M. Pfeifer





The personal and intellectual debts incurred

in the incubation of this collection of original essays are immense. Between the editors, it has been a team effort from the beginning. And its completion has been made possible only with more than a little help from our friends. Especially prominent are our debts to Richard Rubenstein a Egbal Ahmad. Their initial enthusiasm provided 5. impetus for this project, which has benefited at every stage from their counsel. Their friendship animated many discussions that helped to clarify some of the issues raised in these essays. Edward Gude also provided support and advice, though he might well dissent from some of the positions taken by the contributors. Richard


Pfefier supplied invaluable aid and advice during the book's beginning stages. We wish to thank him laughingly for all his clout. At crucial times in the book's development, Eric Wolf, Christopher Lasch, and Mohammed Guessous provided critical, perceptive insight when the editors' objective vision was wearing thin. Manfred Halpern and Franz Schumann both kept in touch with the project, providing

encouragement and bolstering our spirits. But our best critics remain our closest friends: John Higginson, Eric Perkins, and, especially, Canrnella Caridi. ix



At Northwestern University, our editorial work was facilitated by the assistance of Professors Ibrahim Abu-Lug~ . Robert Wiebe- Tesse Lemisch, and Robert Bezucha, run . _,je project and its demands on us. Invaluable t h o u §»"l111@ project was Dr. Howard M. Kline, whose aid in _practical matters was essential to the completion of this work. We wish to thank Mrs. Norma McMillan and Mrs. Frances Murphy, whose patience and efficiency contributed to our mental well-being, and saved us

from many blunders. James M. Cron, Vice President of the Free Press, deros ecrus II publication, bis unflagging goo faith and professional expertise literally kept the project alive. Advising but never constraining, he turned editorial permiss'"iV§E a v"it'tire.

serves sPecial praise: from

Of course, the arguments of each article, as well as the conclusions, are not necessarily those of the people named above, nor our own. The authors and the editors speak for themselves. Norman Miller Roderick Aya

New York July 4, 1970


This book deals with comparative revolutions. It raises and analyzes issues common

to all revolutions in the Third World, and it also examines some of these revolutions in detail. But the question

£1832 legitimate

be asked: \-Why another book on

Third \¢Vorld politics and revolution? Despite 21 recent bull market i "violence ` . octal change" studies, revolution remains


misunderstood; it inspires little beyond

terror or enthusiasm. Revolution seems to be what's happening, but no one seems to know just what this happening really is. Revolutionaries, to be sure, have not found it necessary to em.plov professional social scientists as advisers. In Washington, however, information culled from the researches of scholars interested in "modernization" is used as tactical intelligence to efficiently detect and crush guerrilla insurgen-

cies.1 Modernization theories of "order in changing societies" combine with super-sophisticated quantitative research rneth-

ods to produce "value free" inquiry into just how revolutions 1 The most blatant case to make the news was that of Froject Camelot, which is reviewed by many hands of different persuasions in Irving Louis

Horowitz (ed.), The Rise and Fell of Project Camelot (Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1967). The collection includes Ithiel de Sola Pool's classic statement, "The Necessity for Social Scientists Doing Research for Governments," which outlines in a nutshell the social engineering ideology of America's scholar bureaucrats, the "new inandarins." xi



may be contained and smothered to make the world safe for American economic expansion, marketing, investment, ex~ traction, and military security.2 And revolution, systematically distorted and analyzed almost solely in terms of what are perceived to be American vested interests, remains for many a dreaded and deadly enigma. Historian Car Alperovitz has perceptively diagnosed the new American "dilemma" regarding revolutions in the Third World:

. . . Americans rarely see leftist revolutions as opportunities for poor people to release themselves from poverty. Instead, they see them as threats-first to the United States, then to world peace, then to a myth about freedom and democracy. Most sincerely hope that the world will follow the "decent" American, democratic, capitalist pattern-that a "free world" along fmeriean lines will be established. But they are often so blinded by their fear-and their idealism-that they cannot imagine ways other than the American to achieve a Good Society. They do not recognize that

policy has built up a web of interlocking relationships between 2

Indeed, as the primary focus of American involvement overseas has

shifted from Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union to the suppression of revolution in the Third World, "modernization" theory has superseded theories of "totalitarianism" as the intellectual rationale for oil-icial policy: problems of modernization, in short, are the legacy of imperialism. See Andre Gunder Frank, "Sociology of Development and Underdevelopment of Soci-

ology," in his Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969), pp. 2l~94. See also Gail Omvedt, "Modernization Theories: The Ideology of Elnpire?" unpublished paper, University of California, Berkeley. For a penetrating review of the interdependence between scholarship and government o l i y requirements, see Noam Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins (New York: Pantheon, 1969). And for an analysis of Arneric-a's propensity for massive efforts at counterinsurEJency in the Third World, arguing that foreign policy is made to advance and defend the economic and political interests of America's corporate-

business ruling class, see Gabriel Kolko, The Boots of American Foreign Policy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969). A history of counterrevolutionary American interventions since World War II is Richard J. Barnet, Intervention and Revolution (New York: New American Library, 1968).



American diplomats and international cog iratlons, .1 the one hand, and large landowners, conservative businessmen, and local politicians, on the other, which in many nations that arc subjected to the informal American sway has produced stagnation, misery, economic disruption, and outright dictatorial terror for much of the century. Accordingly, many who oppose outright intervention are oblivious to its informal modes; they End it difficult to understand why increasing numbers in Latin America and elsewhere reject the-prel'Crred "decent democratic" road of reform when in practice it means largely ignoring or perpetuating or increasing human misery?

For those willing to confront revolution on its own terms, however, the subject is challenging and fascinating. This is the perspective of the essays assembled here: revolution is 3 Gar Alpcrovitz, Cold iVor Essays (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor, 1970), pp. 89-90. (Italics his.) The essay from which the quote

is taken, "The United States, the Revolutions, and the Cold 'Wars Perspective and Prospect," is a sophisticated and astute analysis of the historical origins of American antircvolutionism. Following William Appleman Wil-

liams' monumental study, The Roots of the Modem American Empire: A Study of the Growth and Shaping of Social Consciousness in Fr Marketplace Society (New York; Random House, 1969), Alpcrovitz goes on to suggest how imperialist policies, formed in accord with American corporate economic interests of an earlier age, have become a "kind of mind-set" (p. 88), leading to interventions and commitments that cannot be explained in terms of rational economic calculations. Moreover, this antirevolutionist stance has

justified the creation of a gigantic military apparatus that maintains an institutional vested interest in repressing revolutionary "threats" to the "free world." The military, in turn, has become a major component

in the cor-

porate economic system which, as presently organized, depends upon massive arms spending for its skewed affluence. Thus, the military-industrial complex of institutions, erected to "support the much older policies" (i.e., of "Open Door," Dollar Diplomacy imperialism), has developed a "life of its own" ( p. 119) with its own economic base. This political economy of American militarism, which, 3.5 a consequence of the Indochina War, has generated an economic disaster for the system at large, is analyzed comprehensively by Seymour Mel ran, Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970). See also Noam Chomsky, At War wen Asia (New York: Vintage, 1970), esp. pp. 3-81.



the essential shape of social life in the world today. In societies long stagnant, corrupt, and repressed, revolutionary change has come to mean the possibility of formerly wretched, impoverished masses seizing control of their own destinies and forging the dynamic institutional foundations of liberation. And, as Eric Wolf points out in his introduction, a new social science is emerging that seeks to comprehend these

movements and to assist in diagnosing the institutional problems of revolutionary development. If revolutionaries d-o not solicit such academic attention, this new breed of social analysis may at least promote a critical understanding in " advanced" countries, an understanding that may make their populations less complacent regarding the counterrevolutionary adventures of their ruling establishments. Manfred Halpern, in "A Redefinition of the Revolutionary Situation," begins with an assault on the conventional wisdom

of modernization theory. American literature on "economic and political development," Halpern reminds us, is characterized by Fragrant methodological biases toward "order" and "stability," as well as a pronounced predilection for remaking the "underdeveloped" world in America's image-or worse: Add together all the indices of modernization commonly used by American scholars-not only high per capita income and high

growth rate but also high literacy, high media consumption, highly developed transportation and communication networks, high use of nonhuman energy harnessed to technology, high de~ free of national consensus, high degree of law and order, highly eilicient bureaucracy, at least one political party connecting ruler and ruled in common public purpose-and no country in Western Europe in the late thirties would have ranked higher on this frequently used index of modernization than Nazi Germany.



F Vlhile meeting the modernizers on their own territory, Halpern devises a new holistic paradigm-a theory of human relations that connects economic and political changes, social and individual transformations. Halpern works on a difficult and often obscure theoretical level, but he accurately diagnoses the central problems of organizing revolutionary change how to marshal resources of consciousness, creativity, and power to achieve social justice through persistent transformation of institutions as new needs (often unfore-

seen) are generated by the massive economic, demographic, and political dislocations of the modern age. This key institutional focus of how to prevent bureaucratic ossification of once dynamic revolutionary institutions -of how to keep revolution from degenerating into counter-

revolution-is maintained through most of the remaining essays in this book. Eric Wolf brings Halpern's abstractions down to earth in an analysis of the great peasant revolutions of the twentieth century, VVoH demonstrates how overpopulation combined with the commercial disruption of traditional economic ecologies to produce a crisis of institutional authority that revolutionized the peasants of Mexico, Russia, China, Vietnam, Algeria, and Cuba. When radical organizations grew up to guide the mass movements, guerrilla warfare pro-

vided the formative experiences on which later social experiments were based. This process of guerrilla warfare is further evaluated by Eqbal Ahmad as the pressure cooker of social revolution.

Acknowledging Wolf's account of the long-term economic and political changes disrupting peasant societies, Ahmad argues that political power rests on the "concurrence of economic and social forces and needs with political institute



sons and relationships." When protracted changes in the system of production (Wolf's "ecological crisis") "alter the basie configuration of economic and social relationships" and transform, for example, sanctified mandarins into landlords

pure and simple, "the crisis of legitimacy begins." New social needs and forces demand entirely new principles of legitimacy that revolutionary institutions must fulfill, if they are to succeed in mobilizing traditionally skeptical and suspicious peasants.

But such crises of legitimacy have not always produced revolution. As John McLane notes in his analysis of the politico-religious sects of Vietnam, the archaic Cao Dai and Hoa Hao societies sprang up after French repression had driven the Communist Party and other nationalist groups underground or into exile. Once entrenched, these backwardlooking movements came to compete with the Viet Minh for peasant loyalties. Nevertheless, as C. L. R. James shows in his study of the Gold Coast Revolution, mass spontaneity has considerable revolutionary potential if viable institutional alternatives exist. Thus revolutions, as Wolf states in his introduction, are "just-so" stories: they require the propitious blend of mass disaffection (rooted in Wolf's "triple crisis") with realistic ideology, revolutionary programs to realize ideologi-

cal goals, and coherent organizations pertinent to the needs of a rural peasantry. This fusion has historically occurred in the heat and pressure of revolutionary warfare. Guerrilla warfare, as Ahmad and Mark Selden demonstrate, is dependent on a high level of popular involvement to provide the demographic "sea" for the insurgent "fish" in Mao Tse-tung's oft-quoted metaphor. To maintain mass militancy, revolutionaries in China, Vietnam, and elsewhere have generated a nonbureaucratic style of leadership; the Chinese



have codified it as the "mass line"--from the masses, to the masses. In discussing the Chinese war of resistance against

the genocidal depredations of the Japanese war machine, Selden shows how the Chinese revolutionaries have evolved a political method to synthesize popular initiative and impeecable organization. Intensive programs of cadre recruitment from local communities bring articulate, politically conscious leadership into persistent interaction with the masses at the grass-roots level. In this context, the mass line involves

summarizing peasant grievances and aspirations in terms of broader political experience and revolutionary theory. Com-

piled and interpreted, these ideas are once again presented to the people in articulate form for public criticism, approval, and implementation. The practical consequences of these policies are reevaluated in the same terms, continuing the interaction of leader and led "over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time." 4 Hence, by drawing the peasants into what Westerners call the "decision-maldng process," the Chinese and other revolutionaries have been able to meet popular needs and to sustain radical commitment among the masses. This process of mass-line politics is what Eclbal Ahmad

means in writing that guerilla revolutionaries win by outadministering, not out-fighting incumbent regimes. But this deep empathy of successful revolutionaries with the culture, 4 Mao Tse-tung, "On the Mass Line," in Stuart R. Schram, The Political Thought of Mao The-tang (New York; Praeger, 1969 [revised edition]), Text VI-CS, p. 317. For another intelligent summary of the mass~line methodology of redefining leader and led, see ]ack Gray and Patrick Cavendish, Chirzese Communism in Crisis: Maoism and the Cultural Revolution (New York: Praeger, 1968), pp. 49-50. The best study of the mass line in practice is William Hinton, Fans fen (New York: Vintage, 1968 [Monthly

Review Press, 19661 ).



hardships, and aspirations of the masses-a complex political dialogue created (in Eric Wolf's phrase) "as cadre and peasant activists synchronize their behavior and translate from one cultural idiom to the other"-is meaningless to the theorists and practitioners of counterinsurgency. Instead, they filter revolutionary phenomena through the prism of their own bureaucratic political culture of hierarchy, cooptation, and manipulation. Such distortions are inherent in the nature of bureaucratic organizations, as Sheldon Wolin and John

Schaar suggest: bureaucratic modes of thought reduce "the world to the ordinary and the manageable," and lead the generals and government officials to approach revolution "as an exercise in 'problem-solving' " 5 Hence, the conventional militarists, who view social revolution as a problem of weaponry, logistics, and intelligence (in short, armed repression), differ only in tactics from the more sobhisticated, "liberalreformist" scholar-bureaucrats, who reduce the rebellious peasants to "objects of policy, a means rather than an end, a _r manipulable, malleable mass whose behavior toward the government is more important than are their feelings and attitudes" (Ahmad). Bureaucrats can only perceive revolutionary participation and commitment as the product of ruthless totalitarian organization ("infrastructure") backed

up by coercion ("terror"); consequently, it is assumed that revolution is forced by "communists" upon apathetic, ignorant peasants whose parochialism and good-natured gullibility render them wilnerable to outside agitation. Thus the famous "Lazy Nigger" reappears in the Third W'orld as the ignorant peasant, who is assumed to support whichever side is more 5

Sheldon Waylin and ]ohn Schaar, "Berkclcys The Battle of People's of Books, Vol. XII, No. 12 (june 19, 1969),

Park," The New York Review p. 2.9.



adept with carrot and stick. Predictably, counterinsurgents restrict their reform programs to methods of securing phpsical control over the population (as with Strategic ,Hornets and forced resettlement in Vietnam). But they do not and cannot duplicate the rebels' social program, which explicitly attacks the power and privileges of the landlords who comprise the social backbone of the incumbent regime. Not surprisingly, counterinsurgency efforts fail to win

the "hearts and minds" of the peasant masses; in anything, as Barrington Moore notes, "American support of governments that act as rent collection agencies for such landlords [as in Vietnam] intensifies the pressure behind revolutionary movements." 6 As a direct result the announced goal of "paciHca6 Barrington Moore, ]1°., Soviet Politics--The Dilemma of Power' (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1965), p. 434. In Vietnam, the social basis of the Government of Vietnam's reactionary politics is especially clear, as George McTurnan Kahin and _Cohn \Vilson Lewis report: "The narrow socio-economic representation of the [Saigon] assembly was dramatized when one of its few members of any stature, Dr. Pham Quant Dan, attempted to introduce a constitutional provision providing for land reform. This measure would have vested ownership of land with the peasants who worked it and was regarded by Dr. Dan as essential if Saigon were to have any chance of competing with the NLF for the allegiance of the peasantry, From the assembly's 117 members it received just three votes. This is not to say that the only or even major opposition to land reform came from the


Vietnamese. According to former Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman, the U.S. Embassy in Saigon strongly opposed land reform after the Hono-

lulu Conference in early 1966. Washington Star, March 16, 1969" (The United States in Vietnam [New York: Dial Press, 1969], revised edition, pp. 349 note, and 407 note 6 ) . The Government of Vietnam and its U.S. allies have persistently refused to officially recognize the popular appeal of Viet Cong social policies, especially land reform. For a comprehensive analysis of the South Vietnamese rural economy and the NLF land reform program, see the study by Robert L. Sansom, The Economies of Insurgencz/ in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam (Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1970). This book demolishes virtual! every official explanation of Viet Cong success as due to "terrorism" or "tote-il) itarianism"; it further shows NLF popularity to be rooted in its program of social, economic, and political reconstruction.



son" is quietly abandoned in favor of a military strategy of isolating the "fish" by "draining the water." r The road to My Lai 4 is paved with Strategic Harnlcts.8 The socially destructive effects of counterinsurgency, as Ahmad points out, are not restricted to genocide against subject populations in the Third World. The methods and executors of counterrevolution abroad eventually see their way into

use at home; in times of disorder, the temptation of frightened politi cans to employ military force to keep "law and order" is strong. Nor have military specialists in counterinsurgency been content to leave domestic politics to the politicians, when there is serious talk of negotiation in the face of defeat, Ahmad reminds us, the vanquished military machine has an historical tendency to return and make war on the liberal democratic procedures that "sold them out at home." 9 '1 This is precisely the course of U.S. policy in Vietnam; paciiieation, the attempt to compete politically with the Viet Cong for the allegiance of the peasantry, was abandoned in 1967 when "General Vlfestnioreland began to abandon his basic strategy of employing U.S. military power to open the

way for Saigon's olitical control and came to concentrate on using this power simply to celery the NLF as much rural territory as possible. . . . [The aim was] to deny the guerrillas a social environment in which they could live. In practice, what was referred to as 'rooting out the NLF's infrastructure' amounted to the destruction of much of South Vietnanfs rural society" (Kahin and Lewis, op. cit., pp. 367-369). *" For a nightmarish description of My Lai 4 and an equally horrifying

summary of the genocidal depopulation of Quant Ngai province (beginning in 1.962 with the Strategic Hamlet Program and growing through a series of military sweeps aimed at "catching the fish by removing the water"), see Seymour M. Hersh, My Lai 4.~ A Report on the Massacre and its Aftermath ( New York: Random House, 1970); a shorter version appears under the

same title in Harpers, May 1970, pp. 53-84. For a parallel account of the military devastation of Quant Ngai, especially the role of air power in flattening '70 percent of the villages in the province and in driving 40 percent

of the population into "refugee camps" (as of 1967), see Jonathan Scholl, The Military Half (New York: Vintage, 1968). 9 For sobering accounts of what happened when the French "boys came home" from Algeria-coupe cl'état led by counterinsurgency specialists pos-



Once a revolution is successful, however, it runs the risk of "institutionalization"-of degenerating into bureaucratic rigidity as cadres settle back and become officials, a "new class" with vested interests in their careers, in routine, in law and orde # 2 short, §&ks becoming the establishment.

Stalinism is the well-llnown consequence of bureaucratic entrenchment following the revolutionary birth of the Soviet Union. But the ffiinese Cultural Revolution, as Selden and Richard Pfeifer show, is aimed at smashing bureaucratic fetters. Mao Tse-tung, moreover, "is not Stalin," as Franz Scliurmann points out in his massive study of Chinese society; "Stalin . . . believed in the power of organization, of the state. Mao, on the contrary, believes that organization alien~ ated from the masses ultimately means its own doom." 11 The Cultural Revolution thus represents a powerful rea$rmation of what Selden calls the "Yenan Legacy"-a fundamentally antibureaucratic, mass-line strategy of social development sessed of proto-fascist ideologies of "national regeneration" with which they hoped to supplant the "decadent" bourgeois liberalism prevailing among

politicians and intellectuals-see ]ares H. Meisel, The Fall of the Republic (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1962), and John Steward

Ambler, Soldiers Against the State' The French Army in Politics (Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1968). Ambler specifically notes the

intimate connection between the presence of guerre 'révolutionnuire theorists among paratroop officers and resemblance of esprit paro to fascism, "espe-

cially fascism of the German variety" (p. 384). The elite paracllutists were the French equivalent of the U.S. Special Forces (Green Berets), 10 On the bureaucratization of revolutionary leadership in China during the years preceding the Cultural Revolution, see Ezra F. Vogel, "From Revolutionary to Semi-Bureaucrat: The 'Regularization' of Cadres," The Chino Quarterly, No. 29 (]'anLlary»March 1967), pp. 36-60. See also the astute analysis of E. H. Carr, Socialism in One Country, Vol. 1 ( Baltimore, Md.: Penguin, 1970 [London: Macmillan, 19581), esp. pp. 13-101. 11 Franz Schumann, "Supplement," Ideology and Organization in Communist Coina (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1968 [revised edition]), p. 518.



that embodies the egalitarian, participatory ideals of the Revolution.

Pfeffer notes that the history of Chinese Communism has contained two contradictory tendencies embodied in the figures of Mao Tse-tung and Liu Shao-ch'i: a "populist" faith in mass spontaneity and a profound mistrust of bureaucratic organization (Mao) versus a Stalinist approach of exhaustive Party control over all economic, political, and cultural activities (Liu). Fost-1949 policies in China, Pfeffer writes, emphasized economic growth and development along Soviet lines; as a necessary corollary, this involved the growth of "a centralized, hierarchical, incredibly pervasive Party-cum-

priviliged stratum" Pfeifer)-a complex of administrative and technical elites clearly separated by power and prestige from the masses. The Great Leap Forward, Mao's brainchild, was a sharp departure from the methodical, top-down Soviet approach. But its failure retrenched the Party forces, led by Liu Shao-ch'i, who aimed at building the classical militaryindustrial complex which, presided over by a cautious technobureaucratic elite, would manage Chinese society into "mod~ ernization" and "developlnent." Fearing the death of revolutionary society, Mao tapped popular discontent (especially

acute among youth) to break the rule of the Party bureaucrats and to foster the institutional basis of socialism prior to full industrialization. It is appropriate that this volume should close on the

optimistic note sounded by the Cultural Revolution, for the Chinese experiment is the boldest attempt in the history of revolution to reverse the pattern ( continuous from the Puritan to the Russian revolutions) of economic development and



modernization at the expense of the "little people." 12 In this sense, as Pfeifer argues, "the Cultural Revolution . . . [is]

a revolution against history, a revolution either against what appears to be the inevitable development of a privileged re Three British leftists, in an indictment of English society and modem capitalism, perceptively analyze the real, human content of modernization -a content that is generally masked b the pseudoscientific jargon employed in the literature of "ccrmomic and political development." 'Modernization," they write, "is, indeed, the 'theology' of the new capitalism. It opens up a perspective of change-but at the same time it myst es the process and sets

inits to it. Attitudes, habits, techniques, practices must change; the system

of economic and social power, however, remains unchanged [c{. note 6 of this Preface]. Modernization fatally short-circuits the formation of social goals-any discussion of long-term purposes is made to seem utopian in the down-to-carth, pragmatic imam which modernization generates [of. Richard Pfeliei-'s analysis of the reasons for the enactment of the Cultural Revolution, "Mao Tse-tung and the Cultural Revolution," included in this volurnel. The discussion is not about what sort of s o c i , qualitatively, is being aimed at, but simply about how modernization is to he achieved. All and perspectives are treated instrumentally. As a model of socio c ange, modernization crudely foreshortens the historical development of society. Modernization is the ideology of the never-ending present. The




whole past belongs to 'traditional' society, and modernization is a technical means for breaking with the past without creating a future. All is now: restless, visionless, faithless: human society diminished to a passing technique. No confrontations of power, values, or interests, no choice between competing priorities, are envisaged or encouraged. It is a technocratic model

of society-conflict-free and politically neutral, dissolving genuine social coniiicts and issues in the abstractions of 'the scientific revolution,' consensus,' 'productivity [of. Herbert Marcusess critique of the false harmony of

advanced-industrial society, One-Dimensional Man, Boston: Beacon Press, 1964]. Modernization presumes that no groups in the society will be called upon to bear the costs of the scientific revolution-as if all men have an equal chance in shaping the consensus, or as if, by some process of natural law, we all benefit equally from rise in productivit),_.:,Mo;le1'nization' is thus h the real costs would he of creating Q.. I . a truly a way of masking what modern society" (Stuart Hall, Raymond `WiIlianls, and Edward Thompson, "From The May Day Manij'esto," in Carl Oglesby [Cd.], | New Left Header [New York: Grove Press, 19691, p. 119). Though most modernization literature carries a rhetorical facade of realism, of liardheacled empiricism, it is perhaps the least realistic genre of social thought, As Hall, Williams, and Thompson point out, it entertains a



stratum in the process of economic development or, even more-holciy; a revolution against [Western- and Soviet-style] modernization itself." This is no ordinary accomplishment in

a hostile world in which dominant ideology is an official " realism" founded on the presumption that the bureaucratic

elite of managers and technocrats know what is best for us all. false assumption about the development of history; it presumes a unilinear, progressive movement of economy and society, a presumption that stands in Hat contradiction to the immense struggles and sufferings of classes and groups whose success or failure to direct ( o r stop) the process of "develop-

ment" determined the quality of life for succeeding generations. Two recent comparative studies that help correct "consensus "notions of modernization are Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966), and Eric R. Wolf, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (New York: Harper & Row, 1969).

Contributors MANFRED HALPERN, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, is the author of The Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa (1963) and The Dialectics

of Transformation in Politics, Personality, and Society ( forthcoming, 1971). ERIC B. WOLF is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and the author of Sons of the Shaking Earth (1959), Peasants (1966), Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (1969), and many articles on peasant societies.

JOHN R. McLANE, Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University, is editor of The Political Awakening in India (1970) and the author of a forthcoming study of early Indian nationalism, 1890-1910. C. L. R. JAMES, currently teaching at Federal City College, Washington, DC., is the author of many books and articles on a number of subjects (see Radical America, Vol. IV, No. 4 [May 19'70], for an anthology of his writings and a selected bibliography). His most famous book is The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Onoerture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938; 1963 )5 two of his manuscripts, Notes on Dialectic and Nkrumah Then and Now, will be published shortly.

EQBAL AHMAD, presently a Fellow of the Adlai Stevenson Institute, is editor of AfricAsia (Paris) and the author of Revolution and Reaction in the Thircl World (forthcoming) xxv



and a forthcoming study of labor and revolutionary nationalism in the Maghreb. MARK SELDEN is co~editor of the Bulletin of Concernecl Asian Scholars and author of The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China (forthcoming, 1971). W'ith Edward Friedman he edited AmeErica's Asia 1971 3 he teaches history at Washington University, St. Louis.

RICHARD M. PFEFFER, Assistant Professor of Political

Science at Johns Hopkins University, is editor of No More Vietnamsf' (1968) and the author of a forthcoming book on Chinese politics and society.

NORMAN MILLER is a WVoodrow Wilson Fellow and a student at the Harvard Law School. RODERICK AYA is a graduate student in comparative history at the University of Michigan and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. They edited The New American Revolution (1971).

Erie R. Wolf


In the midst of' present-day upheavals, a

new social science is beginning to emerge. This volume is a contribution to this emerg€I1ce: its constituent papers seek to ask new questions and

to supply new answers. This new social science will necessarily have to be radical-radical not only in that it will touch on subject matter only g r u d g i n g . admitted into the precincts of the academic disciplines, radical not only in that it will have to be better social scien (l (incorporating but also transcending what has been done in t J. as Ra iv . not merely in seeking the clash of social forces beneath the integument of formal institutions, but radical above all, in returning to the "root"-to affirm, with the socialists and libertarians, that the "root is man." It is no accident, therefore, that we once again ask questions about alienation, about human capacities and their loss and transformation in different social systems, n




or that we seek "the primacy of the human factor" in a world increasingly emptied of human significance.

Once again, too, we need to be radical in posing questions about morality and human values, questions about ends as well as human means, in a world too often rendered inhuman by the unholy alliance of tech oeratic and bureaucratic elites. Perhaps it is t i e that historically such radical questions are

asked most clearly by members of human groups and cate1



gories increasingly pushed to the margins of an ongoing social order. Barrington Moore has said recently that "the wellsprings of human freedom lie not only where Marx saw them, in the aspirations of classes about to take power, but perhaps even more in the dying wail of a class over whom the wave of progress is about to roll." 1 Yet the questions of the victims of yesterday reverberate through the corridors of history: the repressed return, time and time again, to pose problems of might and right, of human freedom and coercion, of rele"ii

vance and purpose. If there is an "iron law of oligarchy,

there is also, as Alvin Gouldner has noted* an "iron law of democracy": men doggedly rebuild the bridges of democracy each time the oligarchical waves have washed them away. Only by returning to the human root of human activity can we discover something Of the great wellsprings of protest and creativity that rise again and again to beat against the bastions built to contain them. Protest and revolt, confrontation

and revolution-as human facts-are the subject matter of the papers collected in this volume. These papers surely do not yet make a new social science, , together with many convergent efforts, they will presently. In his essay on "A Redefinition of the Revolutionary Sffuafibn,s "Malllled Halpern sounds some of the recurrent keynotes of these essays. For him, the origin of revolution is

not merely and only social imbalance to be redressed and restored to equilibrium, but "incoherence," the anomic result of the "persistent breaking and reconstructing of fundamental linkages between individuals, groups, and ideas that 1 Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966), P. 505.

zz Alvin W. Goulclner, "Metaphysical Fathos and the Theory of Bureaucracy," American Political Science Review, Vol. 49, No. 2 (1955), pp. 49G~ 507.



constitute the unique and essential nature of the modem age . . ." Marx was the chief diagnostician of the incipient forms of this incoherence. First, in primitive accumulation, the expanding capitalist system ransacked the world in its search for capital; later, in ever widening circles, it converted the tribesmen and peasants of the world into millhands, rubber-tappcrs, sugar-cane cutters, miners, or into scaven gets and beachcombers on the slag heaps of civilization. It " created the world" as a social system, as Peter Worsley has said,3 but it did so by converting human labor and natural resources into "tree-floating" factors of production, readymade for allocation within the capitalist market. Yet labor and resources arc not abstract conceptual categories, they are human attributes and the attributes of human groups-and their conversion into commodities also liquidated age-old institutions upon which men had long depended for their safety and identity. Hence the triple crisis of the nonindustrial world in our time which I see as the key to modern peasant rebellion and revolution. But Halpern goes further than this. Predicting that most of the world in the foreseeable future will strive to live with incoherence, by retreating into "apathy, repression, and normless violence," he also poses the other basic question of

a new social science: what are to be the new forms Of conseiousness, of creativity, of institutionalized

power, and of

justice upon which we are to erect a new future? "To develop linkages and methods that make for conscious, creative transformation,>» he says, 'lt . e m i r s one of the greatest unfinished tasks of our practical imagination." He poses a question of

means as well as of ends; once again we are confronted by the 3 Peter Worsley, The Third World (London: Weidenfeld and Nichol son, 1964), p. 14.



great problem of how we are to shape the future through our means, by issues long thought dead-issues of spontaneity and consciousness, of direction from above and initiative from below, oercion, and of authentic participation. These means must be, as the situation requires, economic and political, psychological and ideological, warlike or "morally equivalent to war." They must he capable, moreover, of linking men of vastly different past experiences in common communication and action. Surely men have long dreamed of an end to injustice, of new men activating a new order of days in which a new freedom would override imposed and inauthentic constraints, and men have acted to implement these visions on the parochial level of their immediate understandings. The result has often been, however, an endemic and recurrent millenarianism that imagines a great human

transformation-to the expensive neglect of the political and economic means required to assert the revolutionary project against its enemies, not only in the moment of its inception, but also in the course of its growth and transformation. Finally, it has been the socialist argument that human alienation is prerequisite to the formation of a new consciousness, for only with the realization of the societal roots of alienation

can we transcend our present incoherence. What is new in the radical politics of the twentieth century are the twin realizations that technology and organization must be joined with the ideology and that leaders and people must act in concert within society as a whole to transcend their common alienation. Otherwise, the result is an abortive prepolitica] movement, exemplified by the Vietnamese sects (discussed in this volume by John McLane) which joined a universal millenarian vision with a parochial politics that only resulted



in the cooptation -of the parochial millenarian machines by the larger exploitative state. Action in concert, however, means participation by all and an end of political alienation through such participation. Participation, in turn, releases that burst of creativity which has everywhere marked the revolutionary upsurge. ]us and which forms the ultimate human -iistilica-tion for a radical politics-not merely to end injustice, but, In ending injustice, to create a new world. ii this vision is to remain more than an article of faith, then there is indeed room for a radical social science that systematically investigates what happens in the course of the constituent events. Onl Y the analysts of revolutionary warfare have so far touched upon some of the relevant mechanisms, and then only in passing. When Eqbal Ahmad and I speak, in the papers before us, of "the profound and intense interaction between leaders and followers" in revolutionary warfare; when we discuss the process by which the rebels construct a new self-made social and political order in the recesses of mountain and jungle; when Mark Selden speaks of the development of the "mass-line" technique of linking leaders and followers, we touch upon the multitude of |



social processes constituting that ra'sovereigns Of the human

factor" on which revolutionaries must rely and which the counterrevolution must suppress "pacification" is ever to become a reality. Yet what, precisely, is it about men under given historical

circumstances that ,grants such heroic and indestructible priinacy to the human factor? 'What is it that transforms the silent mass of the downtrodden, who seemingly hear no evil

see no evil, and speak no evil, so they may ensure their survival from patient day to patient day, into the active pro-



tagonists of a creative political process. Surely Eqbal Ahmad is right in calling attention to the vital process of deligitirnizing the established coercive order to overturn the taboos and restrictions that block the vision of new and creative alternatives. More than that, revo-lution frees men hitherto in bondage for active participation. It has become digEicult to remember, 50 years after the Russian Revolution, the enor-

mous release of energy that accompanied the creation of workers' and peasants' soviets in the midst of the revolution-

ary upsurge. In the present volume, C. L. R. James, once again, expresses the capacity of the seemingly incoherent crowd, united by common experience and common grievances, to engage in concerted action, also, he draws attention to the emergence, in the political process of protest and confrontation, of innumerable men of the people, previously

known only to their kin and friends, as the true heroes of a revolutionary political effort. All village studies carried on in revolutionary areas document the accelerated social mobility and €Illg£l&€l'l'l€I1-t in creative tasks of men and women who i i 'Et never have had an opportunity t_) express their talents under the oH regime4 Often, indeed, the clusters of revolutionary leaders, urban and rural, seem to become the carriers of a speeded up process of learning and innovation."

In this context we also need a new sociology of the creative unit. We now know something about the processes by

which men bring their thoughts and attitudes into


See, for example, Isabel and David Crook, Revolution in a Chinese Village (Lo11don- lioutledge and Kevan Paul, 1959); William Hinton, Fun4

shen (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966); ]an Myrdal, Report ftoen a Chinese Village (New York- The New American Library, 1966). 5

For a discussion of the role of clusters of individuals within social

networks in evolutionary change, see the suggestive pages of Margaret Mead, Continuities in Cultural Evolution (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1964).



with those of their fellow men, and the processes by which they are stimulated to seek new s`kiTTS ai'1d'knowTedr>"e. Nance


We are learning something about how restructure their internal organization in terms of new societal visions. But we have not yet undertaken a comparative sociology of participatory groups. In this :Held of knowledge, it seems to me, lies the greatest challenge to the inherited dichotomy between "spontaneity" and "consciousness," which counterposed the image of the spontaneously acting masses to that

of the cool and calculating rational bolitical party, Some beginnings have been made," but we need to assemble and interpret our accumulated knowledge of smaller scale participatory groups, of community action projects, of T-groups, of cooperatives and work brigades, of the revivalist camp meeting, of university seminars, and problem-solving meetings. The experiences of various innovative radical and revolutionary

movements ., established i11 daily practice to provide the source material for such systematic scrutiny. Moreover, to the extent that such middle-level participatory groups form an essential relay between the large and the leadership, such scrutiny is also required for a proper understanding of what happens after the revolution has become a fact. Present attention is riveted most often on the synergetic qualities of revolutionary warfare, which » - . v

- _ .




seems to redouble and triple human energy; yet one of the key problems of radical transformation lies in how to institutionalize the creativity produced by the grande fate of the revolution. The recurrent problem of revolutions lies in the fact, underscored in the paper by Richard Pfefter, that "or6 See, for example, Amitai Etzioni, The Active Society (New York' The Free Press, 1968).


Introdu anion

ganizations tend, at some point in the process of institutional~ ization, to become counterrevolutionary." So far, he notes, "there appears to be no single organizational form appropriate to permanent revolution." The Russian Revolution sacrificed spontaneity to bureaucracy and was forced to introduce flexibility into the apparatus by "revolution from above," including repeated ukases for shaking up the entrenched official apparatus. The Cultural Revolution, in Mark Selden's words, "reaflirrns the fundamental vision and significant in-

stitutional features of the Yenan legacy"-it sacrifices bureaucratic efficiency to the energies generated in participation. Yet, despite the centrality of the problem of bureaucracy, there has been precious little analytic radical thought about the nature of bureaucracy, or the need to explore the vital distinction between bureaucratic and nonbureaucratic modes of institutionalization. Talk of a "cult of personality" or of "bureaucratic degeneration" simply substitutes a devil theory of history and society for analysis, such phrases point the finger at satanic saboteurs, instead of seeking explanations of the phenomenon in the wider context of revolutionary transformation. Only recently the late Isaac Deutscher attempted to furnish the beginnings of a socialist explanation of the phenorrlclion of bureaucracy, by suggesting that bureaucracy

gains in proportion to the exhaustion of social forces in the course of revolution' This suggests that resources, including energy, diminish and disappear in the course of a revolution, and that one of the tasks of bureaucracy is to gather up and organize what remains for the next leap. There is surely a measure of truth in this view, but it does not spell out just 'r Isaac Deutscher, "Roots of Bureaucracy," in Ralph Midband and John Seville (eels.), The Socialist Register 1969 (London: Merlin Press, 1969), pp. 9-28.



how this garnering and concentration of resources may be achieved, and what may be its implications for the future course of revolutionary transformation. The essential function of any bureaucracy surely lies in its operation as a machine for allocation. It may be suggested that processes of allocation always have two functions, one is instrumental, the other is in the nature of ritual. \»Ve owe to Marx a very important insight into how money acquires its sacred character in capitalist society, because it serves as the chief alloca-

tive mechanism of the systeln.8 But noncapitalist societies are not immune to the sacralization of their allocative processes; one of the tasks for radicals in the future will be not only to work out means for the control of bureaucratic positions through recall and rotation, as suggested by socialist

analyses of the experience of the Paris Commune, but-even more importantly-to devise means for a participatory revision of the alloeatin.g_process. While the Cultural Revolution has given increased power to the People's Liberation Army as a guarantor of order, as Pfefler points out in his valuable contribution, it has striven at the same time to mobilize the

Red Guards as relevant actors from below. This may ultimately result in a very different system of setting priorities and working out allocative procedures than has been the case

in the Soviet Union, which seems as yet unable to subject its allocative process to any but bureaucratic revision. Finally, a new social science of the order projected in these pages cannot, by its very nature, avoid the question of who is likely to make a revolution, where, when, and under what circumstances. Marx saw the motor of the impending 5 T. B. Bottomore and Maximilian Rebel (eds.), Karl Marx: Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy, tr. T. B. Bottomorc (London:

Watts, 1956), pp. 171-177,



revolution in the proletariat, subject to a massive alienation of its labor under uniform conditions of work. Yet, as Paul Sweezy was tempted to ask recently, If, for whatever reason, the emergence of a revolutionary situation is long delayed, what wil] be the effect in the meantime of modern industry's revolutionary technology on the composition and capabilities of the proletariat'

And he answered his question by saying that The revolutionary technology of modem industry, correctly dcscribed and analyzed by Marx, has had the effect of multiplying by many times the productivity of basic production workers. This in turn has resulted in a sharp reduction in their importance in the labor force, in the proliferation of new job categories, and in a

gradually rising standard of living for employed workers. In short, the first effects of the introduction of machinery-expansion and homogenization of the labor force and reduction in the costs of production ( value) or labor power-hav; Lean1§8§I:! maid. Once again, as in the period of manufacture, the proletariat is highly differentiated; and once again occupational and status consciousness has tended to submerge class consciousness.9

Thus the proletariat of the Western industrial nations disappointed socialist hopes for a revolutionary transformation in the heart of the capitalist system. Instead, the occurrence of the Russian Revolution not in the heartland of capitalism, but in an area in which capitalism and labor alienation were in their infancy, prompted the development of the hypothesis that revolution was most likely to occur in 9

Paul M. Sweezy, "Marx and the P1-oletariat," Monthly Review, Vol. 19,

No. 7 (1967), PP- 35-36, 38.



"the weakest links" of the capitalist system, rather than in its stronghold. Still later, the developing revolution in Asia prompted tendencies to substitute the _peasantil caught up in the vicissitudes of the capitalist market, as the decisive revolutionary element. In "Peasant Rebellion and Revolu. (included in this book) and in Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century ( Harper & Row, 1969), I attempt to sharpen this point still further by declaring that it is precisely the most traditional kind of peasantry, the stratum of "petty bourgeois" middle peasants, whose relative deprivation (to critically adapt a currently fashionable term) is greatest with the advance of the capitalist market, that is likely to furnish the rural motor of modern rebellion and revolution. This raises a much larger point. iltouched on occasionally in these pages, but clearly of major importance; it it is not the absolute misery of the masses, bu t relative deprivation in terms of some previous social, cultural, and psychological standard that drives men to action, under what circumstances can action by the ruling classes reduce that sense of relative misery, and hence reduce the drive to revolution? If we are to know under what conditions revolutions can occur, we must also know something about when they do not occur. Barrington

core, in


marvelous study of the Social Origins

of Dictatorship and Democracy, has briefly sketched the outlines of the Japanese and German cases as examples of the successful cooptation of peasants by the industrialists, the landlords, and the state. In Russia, the same alternative was

posed by the efforts of Pyotr Stolypin to create a broad stratum of relatively prosperous farmers after the abortive revolution of 1905. And it is a measure of Lenin's astute realization that such cooptation through land reform might in fact succeed that he was moved to write:



Economic inevitability unquestionably causes and is effecting the

most far-reaching upheaval in Russia's agricultural order. The question is only whether this is to he brought about by the land-

lords led by the tsar and Stolypin, or by the peasant masses led by the proletariat."

In the present volume, the paper by John McLane on South Vietnamese religious "inaiias" addresses itself to the same point, with a demonstration of how many South Vietnamese tenants and landless laborers, under the impact of economic and political alienation, joined cultic movements rather

than movements of political rebellion, thereby granting political leverage to religious chieftains to create positions for themselves within the ruling South Vietnamese coalition. The term "maNe" seems appropriate, since in Sicily somewhat similar conditions of landlord absenteeism, coupled with the provision of work opportunities through individual informal contracts by labor bosses and administrators, similarlv resulted in the development of "mafias"-hierarchical patron-client sets-at the expense of rebellious peasant movements." This should caution us to analyze revolutions only as "just-so" stories in which every factor links up with every other factor to produce the inevitable culmination of the hoped-for final event. \eVe have long known that revolutions ebb and flow, and we need to understand the conditions

prompting one as much as the other. In this, too, we need to return to the "sovereignty of the human factor." It is human not only to storm the barricades, red flag in hand, in one 10

Quoted in Alfred G. Meyer, Leninism (New York: Praeger, 1957),

p. 132. 1 1 Anton Blok, "Mafia and peasant rebellion as contrasting factors in Sicilian latifundism." Archives Eufopéennes de Sociologic, Vol. 10, No. 1

(1969), PP- 95-116.



grandiose moment of history, but also to endure through

suffering and despondency and through the infinite cares of ever day. One is our human lot as much as the other, and when a new social science wishes to ask "whyri mrrust surely listen also to the words of those who each-day weave

the fabric of humanity from the warp and woof daily experience.



Manfred Halpern

A Redefinition

of the Revolutionary Situation TRANSFORMING OUR CONSCIOUSNESS

Change has been experienced by mankind from the very beginning. Two thousand years ago, a Persian Emperor living in an

age of turmoil and transition asked his wise men to find him

at least one sentence that would always be true. They consulted and found him such a sentence. The sentence was: "And this, too, shall pass away." Even so, more and more of us feel that somehow change in the modern age has become historically unique. Are we right? Change has become rapid, continuous, accelerating, pervasive. We are beginning to keep track of these new quantities of change so well that we are tempted to measure our progress toward modernity by

such indices. Yet it is above all the quality of change that is ne n. Never before have we lived in an age marked in every 14



society in the world by the continuous breaking of connect sons-connections between generations, between established ideas and their intended consequences, between talking and the possibility of being heard, between felt pain and perceived remedy. Our best artists and critics have dramatized both the threat and the freedom of our dissolving connections. Surely this persistent incoherence in all systems by which man has organized his life constitutes the fundamental revolution of our times.

The world is being molded neither by a conspiracy of world revolutionaries nor by counterrevolutionary forces (as both these terms are conventionally defined), but primarily by unintended, incoherent change. This kind of incoherent transformation turns encounters into chaos, renders dialogue impossible, and obscures (and so also deepens) injustice.

Political and intellectual traditions have focused our attention primarily on stability and those famous and particular revolutions of modern history that, thanks to their victory or defeat, seemed to return us to stability. What we do not understand is incoherent revolutionary change. 'Nhat we are least able to achieve is the transformation of such change into coherent change conducive to justice. If a social scientist can make a contribution to the under-

standing of the revolution of modernization, it is above all through theory-by providing interconnected and testable generalizations explaining incoherent and coherent change. Part of our problem is that many of us who were not Dro p . tected against generalizing by dogmatic already remember being burned by what were a.llegedito "Be theories. Radicals have by now joined conservatives in being skeptical of the scholasticism of theories that claimed to explain all history and society; conservatives are beginning to join radicals in being skeptical of the scientism of partial



The Revolutionary Situation


theories correlating four or five variables with s ectacular statistical refinements that remain irrelevant story or society. Meanwhile, given the scarcity of adequate theories of system-transforming change, the right has tal-or, more generally, Maoist leadership-and the L._ of the masses are all upgraded, while the monopoly role of the Party is downgraded.

V Mads experience in Yenan and since, his image of himself as leader, and his conceptions of the nature of the Party and es Just what participation of and supervision by "the masses" will mean

in practice is unclear. The Revolutionary Committees, which appear to have been set up throughout China at all levels, may well represent, in part,

an attempt to institutionalize the role of "the masses." But the nature, perrnanency, and relationship of the Revolutionary Committees to other institutions is problematical. Despite the contention that the Committees are constituted On the basis of "triple alliances" among representatives of the

Bed Guards, rehabilitated "old cadres," and the military, it appears that the Committees were frequently imposed from above and are generally domi-

nated by military men. The Revolutionary Coniniittees seen to combine functions previously performed by the government and the Party. And it appears that the Revolutionary Conirnittees played a leading role in preparations tor the Ninth Party Congress. Now, if the Party apparatus is reconstituted independently of the Revolutionary Committees, these Committees may come to act essentially

as "mass" watchclogs of the Party. On the other hand, if the Revolutionary Committees are the building blocks of the transformed Party, the minority representation of previously non-Party, nonmilitary members may add some " mass" dimension to the Party. _ as With regard to the term "the masses," Michel Okscnbcr alas pointed

out to me that the Chinese term for "masses" (ch'1Qtn-¢,


. "seems

not have been frequently employed in the past three years; rather

the stress has been .

. . upon particular

sectors of society

Si r

to m

the students,

or the workers, or the military." In this perspective, the "masses" in the draft may be intended to refer selectively to non-Party, nongovernnlent, nonmilitary Maoists.

But, whatever is meant by the term, the vision of an active role for

"the masses" will be an empty one if there is no institutional facility through which they can exercise power.



the masses all contribute to unCTers~'£andin& Macs' goals in the Cultural Revolution. Beyond this, 'Mao s goals since the mid-1950s may in some sense best be understood in terms of I»;.., increasil Ly bbscrvable rejection of Marxism-Leninism, accompanied. *Jr an increasing affirmation of Rousseauean concerns and methods." Although Mao earlier seems to have believed, with Marx, that economic development and moral progress were indissolubly and positively linked-that industrialization would dIIE..


produce the communist

here is little evidence that

Mao today continues to em race this convenient rationalization for withholding concern for moral progress while focusso This discussion of Mao and Rousseau owes much to the work of Benjamin I. Schwartz, especially his brilliant "The Reign of Virtue," op. cit., and his earlier "Modernization and the Maoist Vision," op. sit. For extensive,

very line discussions of Rousseau, see Ernst Cassirer, The Question of Jean Iacqoes Rousseau, tr., ed., and intro. by Peter Cay (Bloomington, Incl., 1963), and C. E. Vaughan, The Political Writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau (Cambridge, Mass., 1915 ), Vol. I, Introduction, pp. 1-123. One overly simple but useful way to appreciate the similarities between Rousseau and Mao is to read Peter C/ay's liberal critique of Rousseau's philosophy as if it were a critique of Mao's thought. Thus: "For a party out of power or a philosopher in opposition, no theory could he more useful or consistent than . [Ma0's]. Once it is embodied in institutions, how-

. .

ever, once the democratic party has gained power, the absolutist implications of his philosophy emerge. [Mao] . attacks voluntary associations, deprecates dissent, wishes to impose a civil religion which can be disobeyed


. . . This is consistent with the rest of his thought: the kind of citizen he wants to create-the new man . . . who must be so

only on pain of exile

carefully shielded from the society of his own day lest he he corrupted by it -would not desire to belong to any special interest group; he would have no inclination to disagree with the decisions of the general will. Imloerl, he

would recognize the civil religion as a necessary cement and either believe in it or profess it without scruple. The supremacy of the eolonté générale is a prescriptive demand, a moral claim made for the good man who does not yet exist but whom an equalitarian .society and a natural education al'e to bring forth . It is this normative conception, this Utopian tendency to reason from the perfectibility of man to the perfect state in which only



the perfect man can live that makes


[Mao'sl thought so great as

criticism and so dangerous when taken as a guide for constitution making"

(Introduction to Cassirer, op. cit., pp. 28-29).


Mao The-tung and Revolution

ing on material progress. Like Rousseau, and buttressed by subsequent world history and the additional experience of having observed the processes and consequences of the institutionalization of the Chinese Revolution, Mao appears to have concluded that "the arts and sciences (tecbnico~

economic progress) as they . . . developed . . . [after the Great Leap] . . . actually . . . [ran] counter to moral progress and contributed to all the corruptions of society" 'Le and of the Revolution, Today at least, as Burke said of Rous-

seau in the eighteenth century, it is fair to say that Mao "is nothing it not a moralist." 71

The parallels to Rousseau do not stop there. Mao"s vision of the ideal society is very similar to that of Rousseau. Mao's good society is a kind of Christian utopia-collectivist, aus~ J'

term, egalitarian, and without the need for coercive institutions because it is composed of virtuous men who have

internalized values (such as self-sacrifice) and who directly and actively participate as a solidary mass in determining the course of politics. Mao, like Rousseau, believes that " man, by nature good, can transfOrm himself into the good citizen in the good country." in And like Rousseau, Mao focuses on the demand tor a new society, the importance of education, and the role of the great charismatic leader who

understands the needs of the masses, epitomizes the national character, and at the same time embodies their highest moral concerns. It is the leader who "liberates" the masses from their narrow particularity as individuals, so the/Y can realize their human potential. But here the difference between Mao and Rousseau is '70

Schwartz, "The Reign of Virtue," op.


Quoted in Maid., p. 8.


Cassirer, op. cit., p. 18.


p. 9.





central to understanding Mao's role in the Cultural Revolt son. Rousseau was a radical theorist, without power. His primary goal, historically conditioned, was to eliminate the sort of immobile particularisrn associated with feudalism, thereby freeing man to understand the broader potentiality of his nature. Bousseau°s mechanism for this miraculous transformation is the "great legislator," who arrives rnessiahlike, fuses the people into a moral unity, extirpates traditional institutions which obstruct that fusion, and establishes laws

and institutions to perpetuate the good society. Rousseau's whole scheme has freq ently and correctly been described as an evasion of the central political problem of e a r r i n g out the transformation, an evasion accomplished by reliance on a J'

deus ex machine, the great legislator. But Mao is the great legislator. Mao is a radical in power, perhaps the first radical in history who substantially retained his radical purity after being in power for over a generation." As such he must deal with political problems, the fore-

most of which is that there will be no messiah to magically produce the end state. The cultural revolution required to "liberate" man must be accomplished through, not in evasion of, politics. The great leader must act in history. The problems of institutions cannot be avoided-neither the present

problem of how to transform old institutions and men, nor the continuing problem of how to ensure the future integrity of 7 3 As Americans it appears that we may be peculiarly unable to appreciate a radical in power. We tend to view politics as "the art of the pos-

sible," an implicitly conservative formulation. 'While in the nineteenth cen-

tury we had our voluntarist heroes, the self-made men and captains of industry, in the twentieth century we increasingly have come to disbelieve in the power of 1nan's will in the face of overwhelming technological forces.

Bereft of white, middle-class heroes, we may even resent great men abroad. Radicals at home and abroad tend to frighten and annoy us.


Mao The-tang and Revolution

those transformed. Mao, then; must go -beyond l§lousseau's savior, who comes once to earth and ft" rou II Charisma and the giving of good laws) institutionalizes Unto eternity the good society. In going beyond Rousseau, Mao also has gone beyond Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism by trying to resolve institutional problems. Mao has sou ght, in the Cultural Revolution, to transform the most powerful institution in China, the Party. Mao, as Benjamin Schwartz brilliantly argues, has declared that sacred moral values previously associated exelusively with the Party are most purely found in himself and his thought, and that these qualities 'Tmay be shared by groups, institutions, and individuals which lie outside of the party. Indeed, the party as such when considered apart from . . . [the leader and his thought] may wholly degenTO erst18 But in going beyond Rousseau, by trying to institutionalize in fact the countervailing roles of the great leader, sacred ideology, and the masses, Mao, in another sense, has returned to Rousseau. For, as part of the process of reducing the value of the Party, Mao has rejected the Leninist concept of Party as legislator and executive and has returned to the Bousseauist distinction between leader and executive. In so doing, Mao has once again reasserted a Rousseauean faith in the masses and in the positive function of an institutionless, direct communication between the masses and the great leader. It is the leader, his ideology, and the masses he can directly inspire that offer hope of a counterforce to overinstitutionaliz ation and to problems of organizational goal J:




displacement. 1*-4

Schwartz, "The Reign of Virtue," op. cut., p. 13.



VI 111

But how and why did Mao determine to follow this strat5 In the 1950s, despite important differences of opinion within the Chinese leadership group, there was a shared belief that the various revolutionary goals to which elements of the leadership elite attached different priorities were compatible-a belief, in short, that by working for China's modernization and strengthening, one simultaneously was working for a Maoist Communist China. Here again the role of ideology, this time as a cohesive force, can hardly be overestimated. For Marxism-Leninism, the commonly accepted ideology of the leadership elite, combined a technological approach to history with a moral one. By simultaneously '15 I do not here attempt to chronicle the events leading up to the Cultural Revolution or to describe in any detailed way the tortuous course of the Cultural Revolution itself. For political analyses stressing events in the first half of the 19605 and the early stages of the Cultural Revolution, see Harry Gel ran, "The New Revolution: Mao and the Permanent Purge," Problems of Cornfritmism, Vol. XV, No. 6 (November-December 1966), pp. 2-145 Philip Bridgham, "Mads 'Cultural Revoluti(Jn': Origin and Development," The Coina Quarterlz/, No. 29 (January-March 1967), pp. 1-355 and Charles Neuhauser, "The Chinese Communist Party," op. cit. For analyses

focusing on events (luring 1967, see Philip Bridgham, "Mads Cultural Revo-

lution in 1967: The Stniggle to Seize Power," The Chine Qudftefllj, No. 34 (April~]une 1968), pp. G-37; the essays in The Cultural Revolution: 1967 in Review; Chalmers Johnson, op. cit.; and Charles Neuhauser, "The Impact the Cultural Revolution," op. cit. For accounts that include developments in 1968, see the articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. XXV, No.


2 (February 1969); Richard Baum, "Chinaz Year of the Mangoes," op. sit.; Allen S. \Vhiting, "Mao's Troubled Ark," Life, Vol. 66, No. 7 (February 21, 1969), pp. 62d-68; ]ohn Cittings, "Sweet and Sour," Fat Enter Economic Review, Vol. 63, No. 6 (February 6, 1969), pp. 236-241; and Emily MacFarquhar, Coina-Mads Lot Leap (London, 1968). A sane and useful overview of the impact of the Cultural Revolution On the top of the civil service is provided by Donald Klein, "The State Council and the Cultural Revolution," The China Quarterly, No. 35 (July-September 19681, pp. 78-95.


Mao Tse-tang and Revolution

promising fulfillment of technological and moral goals through history, Marxism-Leninism strengthened the Chinese leadership consensus. Particularly! in tTle earTv states amer 1949, the obvious tensions between professionalism ( expert l and Maoist politics (red) did not seem unmanageable. Even the Great Leap of 1958 appears to have been conceived and irnplementecl m large part on the assumption that the different revolutionary goals were not fundamentally incompatible-the Great Leap in part was an attempt to harness the power of redness in service of modernization, an attempt to accelerate economic development through mass mobilization and ideological exhortation, with politics in control." But the failure of the Great Leap in the immediate economic and organizational sense-there were severe food shortages and breakdowns in organizational control-and the recriminations that followed that failure in 1959-1961, including Marshall P'eng Te-huai's secret attack on Mads leadership at the August 1959 Lushan Plenum, tended to polarize China's political elite into two groupings. One diffuse grouping, headed, we can say in retrospect, by Liu Shao-ch'i, Feng Chen, Tend Hsiao-p'ing, and others, concentrated their attention primarily on organization building regularity and modernization." These men, the organization men, were in operational control of China after 1959. They built up vested interests in organizations like the Party. For t h e n economic development

directed by Party and government bureaucracies was ultimately expected to produce the communist society. The to My emphasis on the continued felt compatibility of goals does not imply a luck of conflict over means; see Dernberger, op. cit., especially pp. 40-41. Nevertheless, it is my contention that the intensity of the conHict

between the Maoists and the organization men rose drastically when goals also were perceived to be incompatible.

'" An

interesting, unorthodox interpretation of the Mao-Liu rift, which

stresses economic questions, is provided by Gray, op. iS.



other grouping, headed by Mao, was more radical and increasingly lost faith in bureaucratic procedures and in the Marxist notion that economic development would lead to the good society. As the two groups tended to polarize, the struggle between them more and more involved a struggle for power, the power to determine the future course of China's development. with the organization men in the early 19605 following

pragmatic policies and in control of Party, government, and

economy, Mao moved rapidly after 1959 to maximize his influence in the 'PLA (People's Liberation Army) through a series of internal campaigns to reindoctrinate the army with Maoist goals g Tm' 11 M and' fccT§n1 u s Mao's choice of the PLA as the

opening wedge I then probably was viewed prospectively as the beginning of' a needed nationwide campaign , was r1at11ra1. In many ways the PLA was the easiest of the three basic organizational hierarchies of China-armv, Partv_ and government-to politicize in Maoist or' S 0" 7 OU and action. In the context of the break with toe Soviet Union; the increasing desire of China in the late 1950s to find a "Chinese way" to develop, the revered Maoist model of protracted, guerrilla warfare, and the fact that of the three hierarchies the PLA. had the least need to "produce" clay to

day, Mao seemed best able to establish his model in the army. Despite some opposition from professionally oriented oilicers within the PLA, Mao succeeded in the early 1960s in fashioning the PLA into his most reliable organizational sup-

port.TS In the 19605, prior to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, the prestige and power of PLA leaders and second18 As Stuart Schram, op. cit., p. 325, has written, Mao's reliance on the PLA also "was entirely in harmony with Mads mentality and with the place of the army in the Chinese revolution. . . . [Hn Mads road to power,


Mao The-tung and Revolution

echelon military men increased rapidly under Mao and Lin Piao's tutelage, primarily at the expense of the Party and secondarily at that of the government. The PLA became the embodiment of Maoist virtue, thereby subtly undermining Party prestige. PLA leaders assumed important political roles in the government and economy. And as the battle between Mao and Peking Party leaders became more intense in late 1965, the official PLA newspaper, Ijyatfion Army Daily, became for a time the most authoritative mass media voice in China, replacing the Party's.,pe_qp1é Emily. But too much has been mum of Maoist control of the PLA. While the PLA has probably been the most loyal organizational supporter of the Maoists, the Cultural Revolution has made clear that PLA support has been substantially limited. If Mao ever hoped in the early 1960s to fashion the PLA into a trul y revolutionary force, prospects for success by 1966 seemed dim. The operational question always has

been PLA support to do what? 'is The upgrading of the PLA the Red Anny, if it did not actually replace the Communist Party as the

incarnation of the 'will of the pi-oletariat,' was far more than a simple instrument of the party. To fit the army for its role in the national and social revolution, Mao developed methods of indoctrination which were applied to the troops before they were extended to the country at large. In the

history of Chinese Communism, the army was thus the First school for the ideological transformation of the masses. Moreover, Mao regards the army as the natural repository of the ethos of struggle and sacrifice which is for him the hallmark of every true revolutionary movement. The army .also tends naturally toward the combination of discipline and initiative which is Mao Tse-tung's constant preoccupation. It is thus not surprising that the heroes recommended as models to Chinese youth in the last few years have been soldiers." 7 9 This point emerges in ]ohn Gittings' excellent, "The Chinese Army's Role in the Cultural Revolution," Pacific A§ai:r.s', Vol. XXXIX, Nos. 3 and 4

(Fall and Winter 1966-1967), pp. 269-289. PLA conservatism is manifest in Cittings, "The Prospects of the Cultural Revolution in 1969," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. XXV, No. 2 (February 1969), pp. 23-28.





as Mao's staunchest ally appears to have been feasible precisely because Maoist demands for PLA support remained relatively limited. The PLA, until late January 1967, was significant primarily as a proclaimed model and a reserve force that all sides probably were _pleased to see remain on the sidelines-in part because of oncer-taintv B harding wT.»at action it would take. Until 1967, the significant roles of the PLA in support of Mao were not directly dependent upon its coercive powers, nor was most vocal supporter, ¢'

Defense Minister Lin Fiao, called upon to test on any national scale the solidity and unity of PLA support. As the Cultural Revolution evolved out of elite polarization and certain mass dissatisfactions, Mao came to rely basically on two groups-M Red Guards (and Revolutionary tllese_two g_roups funcRebels) and the PLA. 111.1icallv, ' tinned (we can say 1i retrospect) in relative] s eciaHzed ways: the Maoist Red Guard and Revolutlollarl/ >elmove-



meet constituted the Force for set )1-ll!-WilIi1. while the PLA substan-tlall-y embodied the tendency to impose order from abovell" The pattern of the Cultural Revolution has involved an alternation between attack and reso Red Ctiard and Revolutionary Rebel groups were not by any means

all responsive to Mads desires- "The real rebels were the 'have not' of China-tlic unemployed students, coritrawt laborers, unskilled workers, and

others who had had the worst deal so far, and who looked on rebellion as the way to remedy their lot" (Cittings, "The Prospects," op. cit., p. 24). But

even many of these "rebels" were more concerned with material improvement of their lot than with Maoist values, See Evelyn Anderson, "Shanghai The Masses Unleashed," Problems of Communism, Vol. XVII, No. 1 (_`[anuaryFebruary 1968), pp. 12-21. In addition, otl'lcr conservative groups were set up by "local establishment figures" in self-clefense. See Whiting, op. cit.,

pp. 62 ff. Naturally, all groups, whatever their motives encl whoever their sponsors, called themselves Maoists. A somewhat different view of the relationship between Reel Cuarcls and the PLA is given in Gayn, op. cit., p. 252.


Mao The-tang and Revolution

trenchrnent, between revolution from below and control from above. The Cultural Revolution intensified in 1966-1967, reaching its peak perhaps in Au gust 1967.81 The attack phases were not fully controllable by the Maoist faction, both because their intensity and duration depended in large .part on the

degree of resistance Maoist attacks met l__r_etrenc merits frequently being rationalized after the fact of setback) because in the nature of the Cultural Revolution the capacity to internally, operationally control highly decentralized Red Guard activities was not great. Moreover, even where that S i \»Vhile it is arguable whether August 1967 represents the peak of violence and dislocation Or whether at times during 1968 even the turmoil of August was surpassed, August 1967 still appears to be the turning point of the Cultural Revolution. "Beginning in Septcmwr 1967," as Ezra F. Vogel, O at., p. 118, has written, "there was a serious attempt to rebuild


local poetical structures." Struggles in 1968 generally involved a jockeying for power in "the whole process of political consolidation and restoration of order." It became necessary at times tor radicals to demonstrate their strength to prevent their being frozen out in the division and restructuring

of power. See Gittings, "The Prospects," op. cit., pp. 24-27. With regard to the general issue of the extent of violence durin . the Cultural Revolution, we would do well to be humble about the relialNlity of our estimates, particularly in light of the apparent dill-iculty of even deter-

mining the number of those injured in Chicago during convention time (1968 ) . Statements by even the most reliable and knowledgeable outside observers, for example, that "from November 1967 to February 1968, and . . . from May to August 1968 . . deaths probably [ranged] somewhere between


50,000 and 100,000" (Whiting, op. cit.) seem incredible and must be taken with a large grain of salt. In this connection, Vogel has written: "It is difficult tor outside observers to get a precise sense of the seriousness of the current disorders. China

has not by any means reverted to warlordism, but on the other hand the turmoil is obviously more serious than the current urban violence in the


United States . . . There have been sizeable armed clashes involving large numbers of people" ( o . cit., 124). The vagueness of Vogcl's "estimates"

reflects the nature of prob)em. so Charles Neuhauser's discussion, "The Impact of the Cultural Revo-

lution," op. cit., pp. 471-472, of the "controls" on Red Guards only serves to highlight how thin these controls were.



capacity may have existed, its exercise often would not have been legitimated by the primary goals of the Cultural Revo-


lution. Within the parameters prescribed the exigencies of the power balance in China and the need to avoid too serious a disruption of agricultural and industrial production

and distribution, the Maoist central Cultural Revolution Group of the Party Central Committee found it difficult both organizationally and ideally to impose internal control from above on a revolution they were trying to stimulate from

below. And with regard to external control, the usual instmments of control-the Party and the government-were the prime targets of the attacks, leaving only the PLA. In the Cultural Bevolution's first phase, from its inception w nil - Tanuary 1967 me FLA played a relatively minor role. Most of the events in this phase occurred in the absence of any well~structured organization playing a significant national role. The shift from institutionalized procedures to mass meetings in Peking between youth and the supreme leader was more than simply symbolic. The shift was central to the meaning of the Cultural Revolution as an assault on hierarchically stnictured control mechanisms. In this centrality lie both the peculiar strengths and weaknesses of the Cultural Revolution.