China’s Revolution

China’s Revolution.

China’s Revolution

Role of Class

The reference of the social, political and economic class has often been characterized by the idea of ‘struggle for the fittest’ whereby a few people with power and wealth control over other people in the society. Thus, the aspect of the class has often been used to distinguish between people who are considered important vis a vis the non-important individuals. Indeed, the class struggle brought about the transformation that shaped China revolution. At one time, classes ruled the society, but in the subsequent era, they were eliminated. Nonetheless, they ultimately re-established themselves in a different form from what they were used to be.

Before the Chinese Revolution, the country was exhibited by the economic and political class that ruled over the masses. However, the reorganization and disparity of classes gradually transformed due to economic reforms.[1] For instance, there were unique socialist institutions that helped defined and shape the Chinese society. These comprised of the work unit, household registration system, and the cadre worker distinctions. In fact, the institutions defined a class as they helped in the ownership of the different assets and thus controlled the community. Consequently, the class has often been used as a common divide to establish the people who matter and those who help make them better. In the late 20th century, there was a great divide between the upper class and the lower class because of huge inequality in wages that was characterized by public protests, and rising labor disputes.[2] This made the social class a core concept in analyzing public inequality. China experienced a lot of issues regarding class inequalities since the emergence of its economic reforms.[3]

The political and economic class has been associated with a rise in private ownership for many years. In the 1980s, the number of private ownership kept on increasing while the workforce constantly complained of poor pays. This was because of the bourgeoisie withholding all the product of the working class while reluctantly refusing to improve the working conditions. Nonetheless, the Maoist dynasty considered the issue of class as a non-important concept while analyzing the socioeconomic inequality. Thus, the issue of class was not considered as a worthy issue to perpetuate in the society.

Nonetheless, the failure by the Maoist to look into the issue of a class led many people to protest. For instance, it is during the Cultural Revolution that Ye joined other students to protest against increased inequality in China. Thus, people were eager to see an end to the class struggle. For example, Ye argues that there were no acts of violence before the Cultural Revolution, but were only prevalent in movies. However, Ma believed that violence was necessary to fight for change; she said that counter-revolution violence was bad, but Cultural Revolution violence was necessary.[4] Ma argued that during this time, a person had to pick sides and thus she had no place for sentiments. Ma was a revolutionary in the fight for change while Ye was not willing to be in acts of violence.[5] Because of the reluctant of the administration during this period made every person rise against Mao. Ma argued that there was no other place in between.

The elite class controlled the production of good and services through political influence.[6] For instance, Ye and Ma argued that they both wanted to change because the ruling class exploited the civilians. Ma argues that she was a revolutionist and was an anti-Mao administration with the aim of ensuring they got the change that they deserved in the economic setup.[7] During this period, there was a huge divide between cadres and ordinary workers, or party members and non-party members. The issue of class was deemed unfair especially because the poor class comprised of the peasants and employees who did most of the works and earned the least. Moreover, the workforces was overworked and underpaid which caused great disagreement among the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

The class has a significant role in the running of the state. Therefore, the upper class always respected and adhered to the class structure. However, the neglect of social inequality and collective action brought a revolt during the Maoist reign. This necessitated the elimination of private ownership and entrenchment of bourgeoisie way of life. This epoch condensed the class structure as an unsatisfactory idea when evaluating economic and social dissimilarity. However, private ownership emerged again in the early 70s but remained marginal up until the mid-1990s.[8] Another reason why Maoist reluctantly looked into the role of class in society was that the Chinese Communist Party did not want to relate to the concept that had issues of exploitation, a concept that was against their official ideology.[9] Nevertheless, this did not mean the issue of the class had ceased to be. Actually, the wealthy class was still in control while the poor and middle-level class was employed to work for the wealthy, making them richer.

After the end of the Maoist regime, the Chinese Communist rhetoric argued that class structure ceased to exist in 1957 when the landlords and capitalists were taken off, and private ownership was transformed to public ownership.[10] Nonetheless, class struggles were strongly emphasized during this period, as was during the Maoist era. Before the class was referred to as a political label, which was based on one’s family origin during the period of liberation. At this time, it was not regarded so much as the socioeconomic term referring to private ownership of public assets.

The Chinese class structure changed during the Chinese Socialism, the Communist Revolution, and social reforms. The new classes that were formed entailed bureaucrats, Communist Party officials, and other functionaries. These groups used political power to control the means of production.[11] This shows that class structure continued in another form that was determined by the elite. The rhetoric of political class ensured that the capitalist and all private owners were alienated in a bid to make workers and peasants have a right to the production system. However, this did not bring meaningful change as term new structures aimed at exploiting the poor. This shows that over the years the role of class changes but never became extinct.

The pre-reform Chinese social structure is defined by distinct social groups, which include workers, peasants, and forces. These groups are often described as the status groups. They were shaped by the absence of markets during the socialist redistributive economy and thus classes defined by markets were rarely existent.[12] The term social classes were barely used during the period when private ownership had been eliminated in China. The Neo-Marxian approach to class emphasized that exploitation and domination were the foundations of social classes. This exploitation can be seen in the ownership of productive assets.

The productive assets used to define classes were meant to satisfy the exclusion, the inverse interdependence, and the appropriation of resources.[13] The aforementioned productive assets included capital, labor power, organizations, or skills. Nonetheless, in the feudalist system, classes were defined according to ownership of labor power. The lords partially owned the labor power of the serfs and thus exploited them by limiting their freedoms and coercing them of surplus production.

It is worth to note that economic reforms started in 1957 when capitalists and landlord were eliminated from the society by the Communist Revolution.[14] By this time, most of the Chinese population consisted of peasants. Nevertheless, the capitalist class gradually re-emerged later in the 80s, but most people were self-employed and could not notice the effect of the owners of capital. In addition, the stratum of party cadres was similar to the elite class in that they had the ability to control production. For instance, those in power, the bureaucrats, and political leaders defined the class, and this could note enable the bourgeoisie to be able to define themselves. However, there were many differences between workers and ordinary people, as they were not treated as equals.

 

Works Cited

Thunghon, Lin, and Wu Xiaogang. “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure, 1978-2005.” Social Transformations in Chinese Societies 2009: 1-45. <https://works.bepress.com/xiaogang_wu/19/>.

Weili, Ye, and Ma Xiadong. Growing Up in The People’s Republic: Conversations Between two Daughters of China Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

 

 

[1] Lin Thunghon, and Wu Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure, 1978-2005,” Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 2009. 2.

 

[2] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2-3.

[3] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 5.

[4] Ye Weili, and Ma Xiadong, Growing Up in The People’s Republic: Conversations Between two Daughters of China Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

[5] Weili, and Xiadong, Growing Up in The People’s Republic, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) 3-4.

[6] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 1-3.

[7] Weili, and Xiadong, Growing Up in The People’s Republic, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) 3-4.

[8] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2.

[9] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2.

[10] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2-6.

[11] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 2-7.

[12] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 4-6.

[13] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 7

[14] Thunghon and Xiaogang, “The Transformation the Chinese Class Structure.” 5-7.

 

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China’s Revolution

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