How cultural is your cultural revolution?


Adam Kotsko has a short post on Badiou’s essay on Chinese Cultural Revolution here – some comments follow. Having just finished Henry Kissinger’s On China, I have to say that the period of “cultural revolution” is not covered in that book very well. It is basically considered a period of great chaos and disarray, caused by senile Mao’s crazed attempt to keep revolutionary things going.

There is an interesting parallel between Chinese cultural revolutionary attempts to destroy the Communist Party bureaucracy and the Soviet discussions from 1923-24 (so called “left opposition” debates – Trotsky against the rising tide of Stalinism). Here Robert Vincent Daniels’ classic study The Conscience of the Revolution is still the best source (although it was obviously written before any real access to archives). Here is also an online version of Alexander Reznik’s study (in Russian) of Trotskyism and the Left Opposition.

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