Confucianism and Trade Imbalances

The enlightened dictatorship of money

The Revolutionary

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So what would the Gang of Four, responsible for the Cultural Revolution, have done after the revolution was finished?  Take up normal government posts?  Write an autobiography?  Retire in peace?

Not according to Sidney Rittenberg, the first American to ever join the Chinese Communist Party. “Go to America” was their unanimous answer.

The American capitalist system seemed so chaotic, yet the government seemed so secure in power.  It was a sort of security the Chinese system lacked, and it was all very fascinating to them.  It’s a mindset so similar to today’s that I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that line at a screening of “The Revolutionary” (with the subject in attendance himself.)

I’ve been writing a lot about the logic of the Chinese system and how it syncs with capitalism.  His experiences were quite surreal to me, not knowing perhaps as much as I should about the history in the earlier 20th century.  It was very interesting to see what aspects of that logic were in force, back when you had to spend six years in prison to demonstrate your loyalty to the government, rather than just try to face down the visa office.

He was very honest and open about the role he played, which wasn’t always positive.  If he had to do it all over, he said, he wouldn’t have joined the Communist party at all.  He says he could have made more of a difference as an English teacher and a foreign expert.

Instead, he dove right into the cultural revolution, somehow becoming a political player in his own right.  He spoke at rallies of tens and hundreds of thousands of people, and played political chess with the top leadership.  Although he’s very well spoken (despite being 92), it’s hard to imagine him leading mass political movements.

“Power hungry” was an adjective he used to describe himself.  It’s sort of what it takes to survive here, then and now.


Written by Maofucious

November 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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