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The Communist Revolution of China:
A Marxist Revolution?

Charlie Ma

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          Marxism does not involve revolutionary peasants. To Marx, the peasants were conservative rather than radicle. "[The peasant] fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history." The revolutionary class in China was not composed entirely of the proletariat. The peasants actually made up of the majority of the revolutionary class. China's revolution can be summed up in terms of the peasant's revolt, for it was the peasants who provided the backbone of the revolution. They supplied the Chinese Red Army with food and shelter, and even enlisting in the army which was composed almost entirely of peasant farmers. They did not try to reverse history as Marx envisioned, but helped to advance the revolution. "Given time the [Chinese] Red Army could turn defeat into final victory. But it had to live off the land and this was possible only if the peasants and the countryfolk accepted and supported them." Without the peasants, it is doubtful any revolution after the Guomindang took power would have been successful at all. Unlike the industrialized nations where peasants were grouped with the capitalistic middle class, Chinese peasants were closer to the proletariat.

          The proletariat and peasant farmers were similar. They were in the bottom strata of an oppressive hierarchy, making up the masses. They were the backbone of the society, and were exploited by the people above them. "All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority." The proletariat class to Marx is synonymous to the Chinese serfs. The Communist Revolution of China offered many promising reforms to the poor peasant farmers whom never had much power in the past. Like the proletariat, the peasant class was an immense group which was often neglected. Both the proletariat and the peasants usually lived an unpleasant life. The industrial workers of Europe lived in filthy slums where little attention was paid to their welfare. There was little security. If someone was injured, then they would become unemployed and effectively left to die. Children often fell asleep in front of dangerous machines. The peasant farmers were no better off.

When the peasant is ruined, he has to sell his field and
his hut. If it happens to be a good year, he may just be
able to pay his debts. But no sooner and has the harvest
been brought in than the grain bins are empty again, and
contract in hand and sack on back, he has to go off and
start borrowing again. He has heavier interest to pay,
and soon he has not got enough to eat. If there is a
famine he falls into utter ruin. Families disperse,
parents separate, they seek to become slaves, and no one
will buy them. 

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