Mummifying the Working Class: The Cultural Revolution and the Fates of the Political Parties of the 20th Century

Alessandro Russo
2016 The China Quarterly  
A number of prolonged political experiments in Chinese factories during the Cultural Revolution proved that, despite any alleged "historical" connection between the Communist Party and the "working class," the role of the workers, lacking a deep political reinvention, was framed by a regime of subordination that was ultimately not dissimilar from that under capitalist command. This paper argues that one key point of Deng Xiaoping's reforms derived from taking these experimental results into
more » ... al results into account accurately but redirecting them towards the opposite aim, an even more stringent disciplining of wage labour. The outcome so far is a governmental discourse which plays an important role in upholding the term "working class" among the emblems of power, while at the same time nailing the workers to an unconditional obedience. The paper discusses the assumption that, while this stratagem is one factor behind the stabilization of the Chinese Communist Party, it has nonetheless affected the decline of the party systems inherited from the 20th century.
doi:10.1017/s0305741016001089 fatcat:recuejamlnhfbou73uhcrx7jfi