The protests in city streets of developed countries are coordinated and led by Social Justice Warriors indoctrinated in Western academies of higher education, after elementary school slanted teaching. If neo-Marxist progressive post-moderns take pride in this as accomplishing their agenda, consider what happened in China’s cultural revolution in the 1960s and is repeating itself in 2020.
It all started in China with educational reform implemented by teachers and administrators. That history is summarized in an article China’s Cultural Revolution: Reforms in the Education System at UK Essays. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The implementation of educational reforms was carried out via a decentralized process, as most schools were placed under local management. In fact each school had its own “Revolution in Education’ Committee responsible not only for implementing reforms but also for part of the planning process within its own institution.” So it would seem that local experimentation within the general framework of the new educational policies was encouraged. Experimentation was seen as necessary primarily because of the emphasis on adopting flexible methods to meet the diverse needs of different schools and regions. We will identify below the major guidelines regarding the implementation of the educational reforms, as well as describe some of the different ways the reforms were implemented.
In order to elevate the “political consciousness” of the students, the curriculum was heavily stocked with political education courses. The major texts used were drawn from the works of Mao. Aside from increasing the number of political course, other courses also drew upon Mao’s thoughts to explain various approaches to the analysis of whatever phenomenon was involved. This reliance on Mao’s thoughts was essentially the concept of “putting politics in command of knowledge.” At the same time, “revolutionary mass criticism” and “class struggles” were actively promoted to bring into sharp relief the various contradictions in society from a more personal perspective. The principal means of linking theory and practice in the educational process were to make production labor a major part of the students’ curriculum and to direct research to meet local needs. These methods were based on the concept of “practical training,” although their implementation in China seems to have gone far beyond that practiced by other countries.
What Happened to the Educators
The fate of the teachers is revealed in research conducted by Youqin Wang In her paper Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The author investigated the so-called “Red August” of 1966, the start of large-scale violent persecution during China’s Cultural Revolution. She interviewed hundreds of teachers and students from ninety-six schools and reviewed all available written materials. This article provides a detailed description of how educators were insulted, tortured, and even killed by their students. Mobilized as members of a new youth organization named “Red Guards,” the students attacked the educators for being “capitalist intellectuals.” In those schools, twenty-seven educators were murdered; more committed suicide subsequent to torture. Cruel oppression silenced resistance. Stories about bloody campus persecutions were too politically sensitive following the Cultural Revolution, so have heretofore received scant attention in the historical narrative. As the author shows, given the high regard China has traditionally held for education, the brutalizing of educators in China was an unprecedented act. The objective of this article is to reveal the texture and significance of this underreported and underappreciated part of China’s history.
Not only were the stories of violence not reported by the media at the time of their occurrence, but thirteen years later, in 1979, with the repudiation of the Cultural Revolution reaching the highest circles of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese media only cautiously began to mention the victims as a way of “restoring” their reputation. This sort of publicity was limited to a small number of purged high-ranking cadres, victimized celebrities, and a few ordinary people who were considered “heroes” or “heroines” for resisting the “Gang of Four” (四人幫). The teachers who were victimized in 1966 were not so much as mentioned. None of the three published general histories of the Cultural Revolution (printed in 1986, 1988, and 1995 respectively) covers the brutality against teachers in the summer of 1966.
In general, the brutality of students in colleges and in elementary schools was not as severe as in middle schools, but it was nevertheless serious. At Beijing University, hundreds of people on the “labor reform team of ox-ghosts and snake-demons” were forced to clean the campus with irregularly shaved heads, while wearing boards with their name and title (such as “member of the black gang” or “reactionary academic authority”) around their necks and receiving gratuitous insults from many students who came to “learn revolutionary experiences from Beijing University.”
On August 24, 1966, the Red Guards of the Middle School attached to Qinghua University transported truckloads of Red Guards from twelve middle schools to Qinghua campus, where they beat the administrators and professors. After several persons at the Department of Electronic Engineering were beaten, their blood stained the ground. Someone marked a circle around the blood and wrote “dog blood.” That day Red Guards ordered those on the “ox-ghost and snake-demon team,” under the lashes of whip, kicks, and punches, to pull down a white marble monument which was built in 1905 to commemorate the founding of the school. That night, all school-level cadres at both the university and the attached middle school were detained in the Science Building, and there in a small room, a beating was inflicted upon each of them. No one escaped without serious injury.
Even kindergarten teachers could not escape the violence. Some teachers of Beijing Zhongshan Gongyuan Kindergarten and several kindergartens in Beijing’s Dongcheng District (東城區) were denounced and beaten in the Zhongshan Concert Pavilion; there, students from middle schools beat them and shaved their heads
The “working groups” organized sessions to expose and to criticize teachers and divided all teachers into four categories: good, fair, those with serious errors, and anti-party/anti-socialist “rightists” (右派份子). For example, the working group at the Girls Middle School attached to Beijing Teachers University led an “exposing and denouncing meeting” against vice-principal Bian Zhongyun on June 21 at which all students attended. According to the working group’s record of July 3, 1966, the group put two out of six leading cadres of this school into category IV (the worst one), two in category III, and two in category II. Some teachers, unable to bear the pressure and insults, committed suicide.
When their parents were denounced by the new student organizations, the Red Guards fell victim to the movement that they had started. However, the decline of the original Red Guards did not mean the end of the philosophy of violent attacks. On the contrary, the massive violent persecution that the Red Guards promoted in the so-called “Red August” (紅八月) period of 1966 continued in the following years. In late 1966 and 1967, students in the mass organizations that had dominant status during that period physically attacked the “capitalistroaders with powerful positions in the party.” For example, students beat Peng Dehuai (彭德 懷), the former defense minister, at the “struggle meeting” in Beijing in July of 1967. Two of Peng’s ribs were broken during the beating.47
On June 18, 1968, at Beijing University, about two hundred teachers and cadres, who had been imprisoned on campus for months, were beaten and tortured in very brutal ways during a school-wide action. This date was chosen to celebrate the violent event that had occurred two years previous, on June 18 of 1966, mentioned twice above. In the attack of June 18, 1968, more educators were beaten more viciously than in the previous attack of June 18, 1966. From 1966 to 1968, it was in part this increasing violent persecution that fueled enthusiasm for the Cultural Revolution.
Cultural Tyranny Continues in 2020 China
The present direction in China is not encouraging as reported at Reuters(Beijing) by Huizhong Wu In echo of Mao era, China’s schools in book-cleansing drive. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
As schools reopened in China after the COVID-19 outbreak, they have thrown themselves into a nationwide exercise to remove books deemed politically incorrect, deepening Chinese President Xi Jinping’s push to instill patriotism and ideological purity in the education system.
A directive from the Ministry of Education last October called on elementary and middle schools to clear out books from their libraries including “illegal” and “inappropriate” works. Now teachers have removed books from schools in at least 30 of mainland China’s 33 provinces and municipalities, according to a Reuters review of social media posts, publicly available school and local government documents, and interviews with teachers.
From western Gansu province to Shanghai, the review of publicly announced measures pointed to books being cleared by the hundreds of thousands.
Censorship in China has been intensifying under Xi, but analysts say this is the first national campaign aimed at libraries in decades. It comes as government employees in Hong Kong last week removed books by pro-democracy activists from public libraries to see whether they violate a new national security law.
“This is the first movement targeted at libraries since the Cultural Revolution,” said Wu Qiang, a political analyst based in Beijing and former political science lecturer at Tsinghua University. In the late 1960s, zealous teenagers driven by Mao Zedong carried out a nationwide campaign targeting libraries and destroying or burning what they could get their hands on, as part of a wider destruction of traditional culture.
An old Soviet joke has an university professor of history addressing his students at the end of the term. “Regarding the final exam, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that all the the questions are the same as last year. The bad news: Some of the correct answers have changed.”
The story was shared among the proles as an example of the slogan of the times: The future is certain; only the past keeps changing. I never thought we’d see such thought control appearing in Western democracies in the 21st century. But here it is, demonstrated by the 1619 project promoted by the New York Times, former newspaper of record in the USA. Further the Red Guard, now wearing Black, are roaming and destroying monuments honoring heroes of the past, who though flawed paved the way for our freedoms and prosperity. People guilty of wrongthink are insulted, their reputations denigrated and driven from their livelihoods, just a shade from beatings and murders.
Of course there are differences in 2020 USA from 1966 China. The charismatic Mao called the shots for the purge of dissenters in China, while the woke leadership is more diffuse and hides behind names like “Sunrise Movement.”. “Black Lives Matter,” and “Anti-Fascists.” Clearly the media are broadcasting the “Resistance” playbook, but the directors and financiers are in the shadows. The slow-moving coup is reaching a crescendo, but the citizenry still have a choice to be heard.
Footnote: Summary from the UK Essay at the top
While the drastic educational reform measures have given peasants opportunities to attain basic education in rural areas, as well as agricultural production and political gains, it naturally came with lasting negative impacts that promoted many post-modernist’s critiques. In the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, values like collaboration, diligence, modesty, and respect for elders and teachers were discarded as a result of the purge of the old Chinese cultures and traditions. Many have failed to retain the virtues during the revolution. Second, due to political struggle and line drawn between working classes and intellectuals, as well as political and violent nature of the social revolution, substantial innocent teachers and professionals were subjected to personal attacks and humiliation, some even executed. Third, specific strategies of the reformed curriculum and examination system proved to be misguided and wasted the schooling of many young people. The disconnection between academic achievement and students’ future career, the emphasis on political correctness over academic achievement, and the neglecting of theory learning and over-emphasis on hands-on experiences were all examples of poor decisions. Fourth, the Cultural Revolution both liberated students and dominated them. It liberated students and people because it opened their eyes to the inequality existing in education and society; However, it imposed political control and dominated them because it did not allow real democratic, independent and critical thinking ability. As Freire (1970) put it, “If teachers help students from oppressed communities to read the word but do not also teach them to read the world, students might become literate in a technical sense but will remain passive objects of history rather than active subjects.”
See Also Modern Educayshun
We call it “The Attack From the Ivory Tower”… I’m pretty sure the phrase was coined by a Canadian.
I had the pleasure of going and travelling around western China in or around 1998. We were led by a high ranking official an engineer who suffered under the Cultural Revolution. He told us so many tales but the one that stuck with me was when Den Gioping (spelling) crushed the Red Guards some 209 million were shot by the army. Grad that progressives.
Sorry, 20 million not 209 million!
“The angry and reverent spirit peculiar to youth appears to allow itself no peace, until it has suitably falsified men and things, to be able to vent its passion upon them: youth in itself even, is something falsifying and deceptive. Later on, when the young soul, tortured by continual disillusion, finally turns suspiciously against itself–still ardent and savage even in its suspicion and remorse of conscience: how it upbraids itself, how impatiently it tears itself, how it revenges itself for its long self-blinding, as though it had been a voluntary blindness!”
from F. Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil #31
Thanks rw. I noticed that in Peterson’s maps of meaning, he also saw the dangers of stalled or blocked maturity. For example:
“The normal individual solves his problem of adaptation to the unknown by joining a group. A group, by definition, is composed of those who have adopted a central structure of value, and who therefore behave, in the presence of other group members, identically—and if not identically, at least predictably. The fascist adapts to the group with a vengeance. He builds stronger and stronger walls around himself and those who are “like him,” in an ever more futile attempt to keep the threatening unknown at bay. He does this because his worldview is incomplete.
The decadent, by contrast, sees nothing but the tyranny of the state. Since the adversarial aspect of the individual remains conveniently hidden from his view, he cannot perceive that his “rebellion” is nothing but avoidance of discipline. He views chaos as a beneficial home, seeing the source of human evil in social regulation. . . The decadent looks to subvert the process of maturation—looks for a “way out” of group affiliation. Group membership requires adoption of at least adolescent responsibility, and this burden may seem too much to bear, as a consequence of prolonged immaturity of outlook.
The fascist and the decadent regard each other as opposites, as mortal enemies. They are in actuality two sides of the same bent coin.”
rw, there’s more to your quote so pertinent to today’s street violence:
“In the context of the extreme political ideologies, I will argue that there is narcissistic transference (idealized, mirroring and twinship transference) at play as a causal factor in determining an individual’s choice of political orientation. For example although extreme ‘left’ political ideologies, like Communism, and extreme ‘right’ political ideologies, like National Socialism, presents itself conceptually as two opposing ideological positions, from a psychological perspective I will argue that the logical and conceptual content of these ideological positions are superfluous, as the psychological dynamics that motivates both its adherents are similar. At the root lies a form or archaic narcissism that leads to the mode-of-being of ressentiment (in the Nietzschean sense) and a yearning for a future utopia, and what distinguishes the extreme left from the extreme right is the type of narcissistic transference individuals use to sooth their unstable inner worlds. People consumed by ressentiment are, says Nietzsche, “cellar rats full of revenge and hatred” and conceals “a whole, vibrating realm of subterranean revenge” (in Leiter, 2002, p 203).
I will argue that that extreme left and right political ideologies could also be classified according to a similar typological continuum. For example, on the one side of the continuum we have extreme the extreme left-wing ideology of Communism on the one side and on the other side, we have the extreme right-wing ideology of National Socialism. Although they represent two extreme poles on the political spectrum, there are more similarities than differences. As Sir Rodger Scruton (2016) states, in his book Fools, Frauds and Firebrands, that “the public ideology of communism is one of equality and emancipation, while that of fascism [for example National Socialism] emphasizes distinction and triumph. But the two systems resemble each other in all other aspects…” (p. 201). I classify extreme left ideologies like communist as a ‘pathological feminine ideology’ of “equality and emancipation” and extreme right ideologies like fascism as a ‘pathological masculine ideology’ of “distinction and triumph”. Like Scruton (2016) I will argue that there is a “deep structural similarity between communism and fascism, both as theory and as practice” and to think otherwise “is to betray the most superficial understanding of modern history” (p. 200–201).