By Lin Chun (auth.)
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Extra info for China and Global Capitalism: Reflections on Marxism, History, and Contemporary Politics
It was during the same periods, as another example, that such urban privileges as medical expertise, educational reforms, and cultural entertainments were extended to benefit the peasants in remote villages (Gao 2008: 13–30). Bureaucracy was tackled with a genuinely democratic impulse for realizing the creativity and self-organization of the masses. The high degree of popular participation puzzled formal democracy theorists, promoting the political scientist Giovanni Sartori to complain that the concept of participation “is by now so ill-defined that it might even lead to the finding that (on a participation measure) the fullest democracy ever to exist was China at the time of its so-called cultural revolution” (1987: 183–184).
But the daunting reality is that just as such a class is consolidating its power, another cultural revolution, now with a real target and urgency, is a sheer impossibility or already lost. ” The radicals do still say “long live the revolution,” but that no longer resounds. Such is the dialectic and irony of history. The adventurous, ultramodern policies in Maoist China may have been defeated catastrophically. But judged with common sense by both intention and outcomes, they are still categorically distinguishable from anything like deliberate “starving” of people or “genocide,” as represented in an influential literature.
The very meaning of socialist “reform” entails opposition to a wholesale capitalist transition; and any “revolution” in the historically postrevolutionary context would logically denote counterrevolution. Missing this counterrevolutionary nature of a neoliberalized reform by underestimating or denying the extraordinary Chinese Socialism and Global Capitalism 47 character of the Chinese communist revolution as a “new democratic” one leading to socialist rather than capitalist transformations in the first place, those who view the postsocialist reform as rather representing “the consolidation of the bourgeois revolution” of 1949 (Davidson 2012: 621, 252) are paying an unintended price.