Student seminar on absolute egalitarianism in China. Sample containing about 15900 words speech recorded in educational context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C532

PS46K X m (Philip, age unknown) unspecified
JJLPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
JJLPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 113701 recorded on 1993-12-08. LocationAvon: Bristol ( Department of History, Bristol University ) Activity: seminar

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [1] C C P [...] policy between nineteen forty six and forty eight, the rise and fall of absolute egalitarianism.
[2] During the course of the third revolution and civil war between nineteen forty six and forty nine, land policy of the Chinese Communist Party underwent a process of radicalization followed by moderation and was accompanied by measures that attempted to purify the Party itself.
[3] In April nineteen forty eight Mao wrote, whoever argues absolute egalitarianism is wrong.
[4] It appeared to many that the [...] of the C C P was moving away from one of the most fundamental principles of socialism.
[5] Indeed by this time Mao is specifically advocating that the Party ought to take a more cautious and less radical approach to land reform so as to not antagonize the interests of the middle and rich peasants.
[6] But surely the aim of all communists is to overthrow capitalism and eliminate all class distinctions rather than working round them?
[7] In this paper I will examine the reasons behind the, the C C P policy through this crucial period of land reform in China.
[8] ... Due to the anti-Japanese war of nineteen thirty seven to forty five, the United Front was formed which was committed to the maintenance of a broad alliance of classes.
[9] There was a severe moderation of land reform policies to only rent and interest reduction with restrictions in [...] and taxation too.
[10] There was a hint that this was a short term strategy, Mao at the seventh national congress in April nineteen forty five argued ... the C C P has made a major concession to land to the tiller.
[11] The communist want to return to this old policy but had to consolidate his position first with rent and interest reductions.
[12] In fact a moderate policy continued after the war but there was increasing cases of the landlords manipulating peasants in order to evade rent reductions.
[13] The newly liberated areas from the Japane er in the newly liberated areas from the Japanese the sit situation was more explosive.
[14] ... The peasants were taking things into their own hands through the anti [...] movements in their settling of accounts.
[15] In effect land redistribution was happening in advance of C C P official policy.
[16] An attempt to regain control over the peasants' movement [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [17] was passed ... [...] nineteen forty six.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [18] Although the document [...] land to the tiller it was essentially moderate in its tone and protected the interests of mi rich and middle peasants as well as industry and commerce.
[19] Moderate land reform was a cau cautious approach in ... in that how that the communists had to maintain a fragile balanc balance between the two fundamental aims of the maintenance of support and the increase of production.
[20] The moderate proposals of May the fourth would not have held however due to the outbreak of the civil war.
[21] Given the limitations of confiscation in the May the fourth directive, it was to be revealed that the provisions were largely ignored and land was taken.
[22] Most of the C C P areas underwent reform in a few months.
[23] About sixty million people received land through redistribution.
[24] Early in nineteen forty seven Mao wrote ... the land problem has been solved and the policy of land to the tiller has been carried out.
[25] This is a great victory.
[26] This comment reveals where many of the misconceptions that led to the official radicalization of land policy towards ... which ended up in the [...] land [...] October nineteen forty seven.
[27] Provisions of May the fourth had been seriously overstepped but the communists did not realize this and thought that more land was available for redistribution.
[28] This was based upon their assumption that how that eighty percent of the land was owned by ten percent of the population which in actual fact wasn't the case.
[29] So the C C P decided to press ahead with mor with the more radical campaign to get the mess masses' support and essentially their power.
[30] In my opinion the rise of absolute egalitarianism was a tactical move, the C C P hoped that land reform would be the key to the rapid mobilization of peasants which would enable them to defeat the superior forces of the K M T. They thought that the advantages of heightening peasant mobilization outweighed the drawbacks of narrowing its support base.
[31] The involvement of land reform would bind the peasants to the communists, and these hopes seemed to be confirmed in a rise of the P L A and militia recruitments when land reform had been re redistributed ... the land had been redistributed.
[32] The C C P hoped that the peasants would increase production of food and ... when working on their own land ... because of erm because of desire to increase production, that the C C P left commerce and industry untouched.
[33] They wanted to get rid of the feudal not capitalist elements of landlords which had to be destroyed.
[34] In many of the rural areas, however, reform tended to be uneven.
[35] Progressive landlords still owned a lot of land and redistribution often didn't go to the poorest peasants but to peasants who were members of the Communist Party.
[36] It would seem that their, the Party had been infiltrated.
[37] Indeed argued in his nineteen forty seven document that the May the fourth directive ha dire directive hadn't been thorough enough.
[38] He saw three main problems, one, the lack of thoroughness in the guidance of the movement, two, defects in the Party organization and three, bureaucratic leadership, I E the cadres were very commandist rather than giving the peasants political education.
[39] It was feared that landlords and rich peasants had en entered the Party erm ... but wh which had increased from tens of thousands to two point seven million in eleven years.
[40] According to Mao this had allowed the wrong people to enter ... therefore in order to advance with reform purification of the Party was necessary.
[41] This th ... w Wong actually calls this the ratification of the Party which can be cross-referred to the nineteen thirty seven [...] policies were happening.
[42] This self-criticism also con er this self-criticism of the Party and purification also contributed to erm the rise in absolute egalitarianism ... which [...] thought would thorough and satisfy the peasants ... but problems arose from er absolute egalitarianism in that how that the interests of middle peasants were encroached upon and rich peasants were severely under attack.
[43] The result was a support base in the C C P which was dangerously narrowed and production decreased.
[44] Over enthusiastic purification led to the ... dampening Party m morale and cohesion and therefore the ability of the communists to fight the civil war was threatened.
[45] This period can be seen as almost a power struggle between the K M T and the C C P competing for peasant support, and the policy changes during this period reflect a change [...] from mass mobilization and smashing local [...] maximizing agricultural production.
[46] ... The reasons ... towards this sh erm the reason why that you had the rise in er absolute egalitarianism was that the Communist Party thought that they'd be able to keep the speed up for the process of land reform.
[47] However they seemed
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [48] to realize that it was alienating other sectors of society when the C C P could least afford to.
[49] They had to reconcile the interests of poor peasants with the larger national goals of providing for the war ... and this meant that how the C C P had to take a more moderate erm ... policy.
[50] Erm they were hoping to use agrarian reform to mobilize mass support as well as economic and social change.
[51] It never associated ma agrarian reform as an end it itself.
[52] Ideal ideog ideologically it was committed to a nation where private property was abolished.
[53] If its policy seemed more or less radical at different times it wasn't necessarily changing its view of land reform, but it was keeping its final goal of socialism in sight so it had to make short term expediencies.
[54] The CC C P Par army was a quarter the size of the K M T and had little money and no tanks, therefore it needed mobilization of the peasants in the villages, they needed the peasants to volunteer to join the P L A and to protect their own property so they thought that this would be an incentive for them.
[55] ... By the radicalizing policy the C C P hoped to appeal to those peasants who still hadn't received much or any land.
[56] ... Erm ... however ... absolute egalitarianism showed that it couldn't actually work in practice because there wasn't ... they underestimated the amount of land which, that could be redistributed and you had leftist and rightist deviations where ... which meant that how that industry and commerce was being threatened and landlords were just being indiscriminately killed.
[57] Erm ... this meant that how that ... er erm some of the problems actually arose from the outline landlord itself er by land law itself in that it discussed land reform in very general terms and the policy towards middle and rich peasants was left unclear erm which meant that how that classes were being mis-classified and the movement was getting out of hand.
[58] Erm ... it may have been deliberate in that how the Par Party couldn't be seen as too radical in order to maintain ... er as broad a support as possible and allow the peasants to erm ... give them leeway to do what they wanted to do, but ... erm ... it's quite interesting though that whatever the Communist Party did, people were going to respond in which ever way they wanted to whether or not there was a law there, but they still had to sort of erm establish their legitimacy.
[59] Erm als other problems which arose from the outline land law was in its deliberate ambiguity er in its deliberate erm ... tt ... sort of ambiguity because it left reg it left the law to be interpreted by regional areas which meant that how that erm in some places they totally misinterpreted the law but the Communist Party had to have this flexibility because China was such a vast country and you couldn't just impose one policy per se across the country.
[60] Erm ... the problems of the implementation of the nineteen forty seven outline land law arose from two misapprehensions by the Party leaders.
[61] One, firstly, if equal distribution was to be achieved [...] peasant mobilization and increase produc erm if equally ... distribution was to achieve its goals of peasant mobilization and increased production, there had to be enough land available to bring most peasants up to an independent pe peasant status without encroaching upon the existing er middle peasants.
[62] [sniff] Erm ... and two, aware of this impossibility the C C P leaders saw that the impurity of the local Party as a problem ... while that though this played some part erm the C C P play was actually exaggerated according to.
[63] He said that how that the real problem was the expansion of the C C P between nineteen thirty seven to forty seven and the inadequate training.
[64] ... The, in effect the Communist Party had to choose between either equal distribution or the preservation of the middle peasants.
[65] However in nineteen thirty s nineteen forty seven this wasn't actually realizing, it was only later on that they saw the incompatibility of the two ... aims.
[66] And so throughout this period it was them er trying ... [...] importance upon these two goals.
[67] Erm as the scale of the problem became clear however the Party was forced to react and in a series of directives between February and May nineteen forty eight the leadership established more moderate ground rules for land reform.
[68] ... The new aims we was the abolition of feudalism and increased production.
[69] Mao specifically said in April nineteen forty five that whoever argues absolute egalitarianism is wrong.
[70] ... Erm the Communist Party needed the approval of the majority of peasants ... erm before land reform could take place and there was ... there's this sort of chicken and egg problem in that how that ... do you have land reform in order to mobilize peasant support or is it the peasant support that's going to enable land reform t to take place successfully.
[71] Erm [cough] by nineteen forty eight [sniff] erm the Communist Party had argued that three conditions had to be there for land reform to take place and that was that how that the area had to be militarily stable, the majority of peasants erm rich peasants had to be mobilized er had to ... want to be ... demanding land reform and the Party cadres there had to be adequate in numbers and quality.
[72] Where these three conditions weren't met then policy erm reducing interest and rents was to be taking place.
[73] Erm by nineteen forty eight the military situation had changed in favour of the Communist Party and their policies reflected this.
[74] Erm ... by nineteen forty eight ... no in ... in nineteen forty seven with the rise of absolute egalitarianism, the policy of narrowing its base had helped them to erm ... get the peasant support and [...] to get into power but that was no longer necessary erm ... and ... the radicalization of land reform it appears had been based upon false premises which had created problems in the countryside and the Party.
[75] However through this radicalization of land reform the Party had learnt valuable lessons and that was the impossibility of egalitarianism with the demands of middle peasants which couldn't ... they conflicted one another.
[76] However this radicalization in land policy had allowed them to defeat the K M T and essentially led them to get into power so one has ... elements of pragmatism in their ideology and ... that how that you've got to realize that the Communist Party was in a very precarious situation throughout these years, that how that although they did have a kind of er policy in th there ultimate aim of socialism, and although it seare appeared s quite strange that they were almost promoting capitalism, that how that their aim during this period was to eliminate feudalism which was the s ... and then to establish capitalism in order that socialism could take place. ...
Philip (PS46K) [77] Fine, thanks very much.
[78] Erm that's good but there's an awful lot there, it needs breaking down a bit.
[79] Erm ... your
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Philip (PS46K) [80] in a sense what you're, what you're arguing is that y y you start off ... here
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Philip (PS46K) [81] with a s as we were picking up from last week, a c a c ... in, in a sense that land reform is, is already taking place, there is this sort of groundswell from the masses that ... to move beyond the, the moderate policy and that is then formalized in the May the fourth directive ... which marks like the return to land reform [...] going back to [...] ... and ... then y y y y you've got the implementation of that May the fourth directive and then out of a very difficult position in nineteen forty seven when they, they are under attack from the Kuomintang and i in the spring of nineteen forty seven [...] is actually taken by Kuomintang.
[82] ... They, they needed a, a sort of ... a, a set of more radical policies to, to get full mobilization and ... it's out of that that the outline agrarian law comes, and then they realize the mistakes of that and there's a, there's a pull back to the right so it's, it's that kind of move to the left and then back to the right.
[83] Okay.
[84] Erm ... Now can, can we go back to ... to the May the fourth directive.
[85] ... Erm [sigh] h how erm dunno, how many of you looked at the May the fourth directive?
[86] ... How did it strike you as a document?
[87] I mean what ... what what was your
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Philip (PS46K) [88] your feeling from it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [89] That there was a [...] that they were gonna be trailing behind the peasant movement and that how that they had to sort of get a hold over all the ... all the changes that were happening in the country.
[90] There was a real desire to get power and that how that they thought that mass mobilization was the only way they could do it.
Philip (PS46K) [91] Er right.
[92] So i is ... i ... it is quite a leftist movement in, in, in that it is, it is calling for radicalization, calling for recognizing the need for mass mobilization?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [93] It's calling for getting better control over what's happening in the country.
[94] Erm it's not, it's not
Philip (PS46K) [95] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [96] necessarily calling for radicalization cos it was forced erm ... I, I, it appeared to me that how that the Communist Party would have continued a moderate policy had the peasants not erm been demanding further radical change and in actual fact the tone of the document's quite moderate and it's protecting middle peasants, rich peasants, even some landlords who had remained loyal to the Party so it's not at all radical but erm it's just ... it's radical in the sense that how that it wants to get rid of ... feudalism, but it's not getting rid of landlords per se as a class. ...
Philip (PS46K) [97] Right.
[98] S so, so it ... i it's a radical document but ... it's moderate at the same time?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [99] They're [...] mm
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [100] It's, it's erm I think it's quite interesting cos it's a different style, in a sense it's just setting out some goals that they want to achieve but not really giving any clear instruction of how you can achieve those goals.
[101] So it's unlike a law.
[102] Well it's, it ... I mean it's, it's a different kind of style which is
Philip (PS46K) [103] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [104] quite interesting and it's quite vague in a way
Philip (PS46K) [105] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [106] it's just a speech given and ... this is
Philip (PS46K) [107] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [108] supposed to be adopted
Philip (PS46K) [109] Mhm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [110] as, I don't know in what sense it was supposed to be taken but it's just sort of outlining some objectives.
Philip (PS46K) [111] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [112] But it's n I still can't reconcile why it was kept secret cos surely this is a fundamental point cos it is because they can't openly declare that how that they are moving away from the United Front, but if they're trying to show that they're moving in line with the peasants' demands surely they want to show that to the peasants an ... so there, there's ... it's more that how th the Party cadres have been acting out of step rather than them making it clear to the peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [113] Mm.
[114] ... But er er er
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [115] Cos if they were trying to get peasant support and erm showing the importance of peasants instead of the United Front they would've made it public. ...
Philip (PS46K) [116] Wh why?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [117] Well so that the peasants realized that how that it's a communist [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [118] [clears throat] I know but how many peasants are gonna be able to read it?
Philip (PS46K) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [119] They probably [...] read it.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [120] But you're going to have erm peasant associations and their leaders are gonna be able to understand erm ... [...]
Philip (PS46K) [121] But who was the directive given to?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [122] It's given to the Party itself.
Philip (PS46K) [123] Party cadres?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [124] Yes.
Philip (PS46K) [125] Right.
[126] So then Party cadres are going to implement it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [127] Yeah. ...
Philip (PS46K) [128] Right.
[129] Bu but surely this is something a at this stage you can't make public because you are still committed to the United Front
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [130] There's still a ... a sort of truce ... six month truce [...]
Philip (PS46K) [131] i in the sense that [...] ... so if you come out public with this you are, you are breaking the United Front and you would be seen to break the United Front.
[132] So somehow you, you, you, you've got to get these ideas through th that you ... you've recognized that it, it's, it's necessary to move on beyond the pol the moderate policies of the United Front but you can't be seen to be doing that.
[133] ... So isn't the only way you could do it would be to issue it secretly to cadres ... you would then expect the cadres to take this up and promote it but you haven't actually broken the conditions in the United Front.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [134] If anything it's probably more just a suggestion.
[135] Erm cos I think a lot of the, I mean a lot of land redistribution had already been taking place in ... since about the ... since about January of nineteen forty six, so I think the May the fourth directive is just erm ... an official, well a secret official acceptance of this.
[136] Because
Philip (PS46K) [137] You said suggestion?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [138] Well a suggestion in that
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [sneeze]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [139] because it, well because it was secret and also because it was quite vague, it didn't actually set out that land redistribution was supposed to take place. ...
Philip (PS46K) [140] How was a er er er y y y y you're a cadre and you receive this ... how do you take it? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [141] Erm ... I suppose, I mean it would depend on where you were going back to, to where you ... which, which region then because I mean there was such a difference in ... in what the villages were going to erm ... accept.
Philip (PS46K) [142] Yeah.
[143] Bu bu bu but would you take it just as a suggestion or would you take it as a [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [144] No they'd probably take it as an a as a er er n okay to just go and ... just
Philip (PS46K) [145] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [146] go for it.
Philip (PS46K) [147] Yeah.
[148] I mean quite, if, if 's saying this ... you do it.
[149] I mean there's no oh I might, just a suggestion I [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh] ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [150] To do what?
[151] Basically they're just telling the Party to consider the demands of the peasants and do what the peasants want [...] but then ... er then in the first paragraph they say that you ought to erm ... they ought to support the masses ... in their erm [...] implementation of agrarian reform, you have to give them planned guidance so it's ... almost that how they're telling the cadres to go out there and ... almost manipulate [laughing] the peasants demands [] into more of a communist one.
Philip (PS46K) [152] Yes but surely if you're saying [reading] in combating Chinese collaborators, settling accounts with landlords and reducing rents and interest, the people have seized the land directly from the landlords thus realizing the principle of the land to the tiller ... where the mass movement has been thorough the land problem is being or has basically been solved.
[153] In some places the movement has progressed to the point where the principle of equal redistribution, equal distribution of land has been put into effect with everybody, even the landlords, getting [...] of land [] .
[154] Now if I was a cadre and I received that I think I would be thinking ... right erm ... if I really want to be at the forefront of this ... that's the policy that I want to promote erm and if the peasants in my area are not demanding this and not achieving this well ... we, I, I can't be seen not to be going it, I've gotta go with this.
[155] ... I mean would, would, wouldn't you think it is a, a directive that if it's not happening in your area you make it happen?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [156] Oh but I dunno erm cos there's always this thing about following the mass ideal what peasants want.
[157] [clears throat] I mean er it's, it's a ... i i it's sort of er you can read into it various sort of suggestions for radicalism but at the same time it's got a lot of erm ... you know sort of and stuff about the rich peasants, erm land of the rich peasants should not be confiscated [...]
Philip (PS46K) [158] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [159] Yeah it doesn't really say how you, how you could achieve the goal [...] I mean it just says you know don't hurt the middle peasants ... give the poor peasants land ... it doesn't say, you know, [...]
Philip (PS46K) [160] But it, yeah, I mean I quite take all of these qualifications ... but ... if sh if you take the first couple of paragraphs doesn't it seem to be a call to, to radical land reform? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [161] Yes but did the Party want, did the Party mean it at this stage? ...
Philip (PS46K) [162] Well I don't know,ha ha haven't you got a position where er as, as we began to, to see last week, there is this radicalization coming in but the, the ... er i i it's the peasants who've moved to the left of the Party, you're right, that they are inappropriate to this very moderate policy of rent reduction [...] ... erm a tax on collaborators ... land is being redistributed ... and isn't saying right we,i i in the same way that, that Mao was identifying the problem in ... in [...] , either you, you follow the masses or you, you lead them but, but thereof we are behind them ... and a sense the Party has gotta recognize that, it's gotta catch up with the masses ... and isn't that first paragraph saying look this is the way you should be going, that there are peasants who are redistributing the land and land reform is in effect taking place and that's what we want to see?
[163] ... I mean surely i i it does clearly mark the return to land reform?
[164] ... And there is this directive to cadres saying we are returning to land reform.
[165] Now I think if, if, if I'd've received this I'd've thought right we're off.
[166] Erm and then okay you, a bit later on you'd say well yes w we, we need to be a bit careful about this erm we mustn't be too hard on, on the middle peasant etcetera.
[167] ... Bu but basically we are, we are now going for land reform and if the, if ... th th the momentum from this is coming from the spontaneous actions of the peasants themselves, and if it's not coming then we've gotta give them the guidance to move in that direction.
[168] ... But in that case is it a bit like the [...] report where you, you, you've got this quite ... radical introduction and then when you come on to the, the bits at the end it's, it is really quite moderate? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [169] Erm in both of them ... it's, they're saying that how they're falling behind and they ought to lead them as opposed to joining them.
Philip (PS46K) [170] Right. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [171] In both the documents
Philip (PS46K) [172] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [173] the [...] report and this one.
Philip (PS46K) [174] Yes.
[175] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [176] Yeah I think it's, it's quite constant throughout the sort of, what, [...] eighteen different points about how things should take place.
[177] ... And they, they themselves aren't, well, they have similar characteristics I think, a lot of the points.
Philip (PS46K) [178] Yes.
[179] ... But, but i i ... if, if you just started erm ... if you just started on, on sort of the second page of the directive with, with the [...] twelve points [...] ... if you just go through those, they are all fairly moderate.
[180] I mean even, even the first one [reading] [...] firmly support the demands of the masses [...] realize the principle of land to the tiller by taking land from the landlords as they combat collaborators, settle accounts with landlords, reduce rent and interest and get landlords to rech to, to return the average half portion of rent and interest [] .
[181] Now apart from by taking land from the landlords which is pretty in unspecific, all of the others are, are s are straight, very moderate, very limited ... acquisitions and then if you go on where you've gotta protect the middle peasant etcetera, then they are really very low key ... methods, you, you, you would not see that I think as being the return to land reform.
[182] ... But you're given this very general instruction to begin with that yes we are returning to land reform and that the peasants are, are seizing land and this is what you should be supporting, and then when you come on to they, [...] as you're saying that they really are quite moderate.
[183] And there, maybe there is something of a conflict between those two bits.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [184] But there's the potential for it to be interpreted quite radically and
Philip (PS46K) [185] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [186] because they don't give a specific definition as to what a landlord is or a rich peasant or a middle peasant meant that how that there was a lot of flexibility within that and it's only later that they have to reissue those two documents on how to analyze the classes which [...] erm ... which had been published in nineteen thirty which they felt that you know the Party's moving too far away, but why didn't they do it at the time? ...
Philip (PS46K) [187] Erm ... Well I don't think you'd want to, presumably you, you, you wouldn't want to constrain it.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [188] Yeah.
[189] So it was all deliberate? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [190] That's what is says isn't it?
[191] It says in order to keep ninety percent of the population on our side.
[192] It actually just says that in the directive.
Philip (PS46K) [193] Yes.
[194] Yeah. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [195] [...] isn't very specific, it gives eighteen different things you should do [...] through all of them, you could just get [...]
Philip (PS46K) [196] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [197] I mean that's the [...]
Philip (PS46K) [198] Yeah.
[199] I mean wou would, as a cadre receiving this would you have been happy to take this up and implement it? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [200] Yeah I think so cos it's, well I mean I think it would probably be impossible to implement, to satisfy a lot of the requirements in it, but yeah it's quite, it's [...]
Philip (PS46K) [201] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [202] They but the Party cadres, particularly in the newly acquired areas from the Japanese, they, they wanted to seek revenge and they
Philip (PS46K) [203] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [204] they wanted to er you know given these guidelines I'd think right [...] let's, as you were saying, just go for it and
Philip (PS46K) [205] Right.
[206] So certainly if, if, if you were
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [207] I think that would give them the sanction to
Philip (PS46K) [208] if you were a fairly radical cadre, if you erm really did believe in land reform etcetera this would, this would give you the go ahead to promote land reform.
[209] ... Right.
[210] ... Er ... yeah ... and if you were a, if you were a rightist cadre that had doubts about all this and actually wanted to go the slow ... more moderate line, you could also find enough in here ... to be able to, to sort of curtail things a bit? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [211] I mean they've already made the mistake once of trying to lay down the law too heavily ... erm th this might seem, this ... seems to, to accommodate most [...] I mean how erm if you've got a cadre in a village I mean how supportive is he and how ... how is he going to implement er radical change?
[212] I mean what, what does, what means does he have at his disposal? ...
Philip (PS46K) [213] Erm ... only through working with the peasants surely.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [214] Right.
Philip (PS46K) [215] Erm ... in terms of taking up their ideas, guiding them, encouraging them etcetera ... an and saying look, you know, this is okay er er er I mean to an extent that would depend on how much military security there was in the area.
[216] Erm ... in terms of if you, if you've got a very strong [...] presence you might adopt a different line than if you haven't.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [217] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [218] So you've got er those kind of problems but er there ought to be some troop support for you.
[219] Erm ... but basically you, you would be going in to a village to, to try and encourage land reform with this document or knowing that this document existed.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [220] So it's consistent with this grass roots initiative that
Philip (PS46K) [221] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [222] [...] happening now.
[223] Okay.
Philip (PS46K) [224] Yeah.
[225] Yes I mean it's, it is very much growing out of that.
[226] ... Okay was there anything else from the, the directive itself you, you wanted to raise? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [227] [...] [clears throat] come to the situation here where it says, you know, it could be [...]
Philip (PS46K) [228] Yeah.
[229] ... And it's, it's, it's vague enough to be able to do that.
[230] I mean if it,wh wh what it is trying to do is, is to ... is to formalize ... the fact that land reform was already taking place, and therefore you, you've got to give the go ahead to that
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [231] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [232] but ... you, you can't make that public and you are still worried that it can go too far to the left and therefore you, you, you've got a range of, of erm quite moderate proposals which come in which,i if they were implemented, would restrain [...] and would maintain the [...] su the support of the ninety percent,th that you are still only seeking to antagonize really those, those landlords who are not going to be prepared to come back within the system.
[233] ... An and in, in that sense it's quite moderate, and in the sense of, of protecting middle peasants it's quite moderate erm ... but in, in terms of encouraging the move back to, to more radical land reforms it is an important step forward.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [234] Mhm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [235] I was just thinking ... could you consider it a panic measure?
[236] ... Rather than something which is [...] and calculated, you know, [...] ...
Philip (PS46K) [237] I don't think that I, I wouldn't see it as a panic measure. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [238] It's just that they [...] they were worried that they were losing, they were worried that they were losing [...] support, of losing ... cos the peasants are off on their own, you know, what's the logical path.
[239] You're a party [...] ...
Philip (PS46K) [240] I it, it's your means of getting back in control then?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [241] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [242] That ... it is happening, you've either got to just let it happen
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [243] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [244] or you've gotta try and stop it, or you've gotta get in there and ... and sort of organize it, take it on your shoulders, and I think this, this is a recognition that ... erm ... changes were taking place which were taking peasants beyond the straight moderate programme.
[245] Because th th th th there, there'd been statements from Mao until the end of nineteen forty five where he's still talking about land to the tiller being some way off
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [246] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [247] i in, in, in that our present policy, which will continue, is simply the rent reduction, interest rate reduction.
[248] Erm now given, what less than five months er before this May the fourth directive, Mao is still saying that, this marks quite an important shift in policy.
[249] And i i i it's, it's ... a clear statement, at least to the cadres, that that moderate policy has now been abandoned and we are now off into land reform because this is what is happening anyway.
[250] Because these very moderate policies have allowed the peasants to come through ... with actions which in effect mean land reform and we need to get back in control of that.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [251] Yeah.
[252] That's what [...] hanging on to there cos like it's just like erm ... the Party's worried that it's getting a bit left behind and needs to
Philip (PS46K) [253] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [254] catch itself up.
Philip (PS46K) [255] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [256] Not because, you know, it's, it's a revolutionary strategy but
Philip (PS46K) [257] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [258] it's just the pure political aspect that because people are moving on and you need to be seen to be ... you need to ... use that for your own advantage.
Philip (PS46K) [259] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [260] Which is [...] itself.
Philip (PS46K) [261] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [262] But I think he's a bit worried ... I read into this that there's a current there where ... you know the peasants are getting very radical, our [...] is we can't be too radical and therefore we need to issue something which is gonna [...] .
Philip (PS46K) [263] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [264] But it's also fears that the Party itself is becoming too radical too, they always want to control [...] two elements and I mean on the last page, point number sixteen it says that how that erm ... tt ... that how that the Communist Party members ought to refrain from securing undue benefits by taking advantage of their leading position.
Philip (PS46K) [265] Ah right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [266] And so that shows that how that they ... I mean it implies that that's happening and that that ought to be controlled.
[267] So they're los they're, they're falling behind the peasant movement but they're also losing control over their own party members and that was as important as erm following the peasants.
[268] I mean they need to have consolid I mean they need to consolidate their own party before they can even go out there and ... try to direct the masses.
[269] Cos [...]
Philip (PS46K) [270] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [271] the struggle's gonna be misdirected.
Philip (PS46K) [272] How, how are the Party members taking advantage of this?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [273] Erm by the land that's being redistributed, they are actually keeping it for themselves, and that how that they're
Philip (PS46K) [274] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [275] perhaps instilling more revolutionary erm ideas in the peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [276] How how were they taking more themselves?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [277] Well just ... when the land's redistributed they would give their own families disproportionately more land.
[278] Or perhaps through erm corruption in that the landlords are paying backhanders to them so that the landlords were left in effect with more land than they ought to have been. ...
Philip (PS46K) [279] Mm.
[280] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [281] Wasn't it erm also that the people who got in there first ... often took the most
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [282] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [283] took the wealth, and they were often people that were elected to cadres because they showed initiative.
Philip (PS46K) [284] Right ho hold on, so, so this is taking place within the village?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [285] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [286] That i it would be the people who stood up first and accused the landlords and took the lead in the settling accounts procedure, they were more likely to be able to, to get more in the way of [...] than anybody else, that they would get more land, more ... erm better quality land ... the animals, implements etcetera ... and those sort of,th those peasants who were taking the lead were actually members of the Party were they?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [287] Mm. ...
Philip (PS46K) [288] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [289] Well that's [...] [...] that's what
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [290] If er in the anti-traitor movements it was
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [291] also that it was the Party cadres that were taking the lead, but in the settling of accounts the peasants
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [292] themselves ... in advance of erm what the Communist Party was [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Philip (PS46K) [293] I i i in what sense were these people Party cadres then?
[294] ... I mean i i i ... the these are individual peasants from a village who are standing up and taking the lead in criticizing landlords etcetera ... but, but they, they are not the Party cadres coming in from outside.
[295] ... Because i if you're from outside the village you would have no entitlement to land in the village at all would you?
[296] ... So, so i i it's peasants who have been radicalized by Party cadres who themselves are then becoming members of the Communist Party and are taking advantage of that position by getting more than they're entitled to.
[297] ... Right.
[298] ... Okay.
[299] I mean wh do, do you think this was a widespread process? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [300] Well yeah [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [301] Obviously yes because of the amount of land that was redistributed. ...
Philip (PS46K) [302] I i it's saying something about the motivation of the people who ... who are doing this, those peasants who were taking the lead and becoming members of the Party.
[303] Because i in, in theory presumably they s they shouldn't have been abusing their position, they shouldn't be gaining more because the whole point was to do it for the masses ... particularly, I mean if you were a Party cadre ... erm you shouldn't be getting more out of it than anybody else. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [304] According to 's account there was quite a lot of ... abuse by the Party members who had actually managed to blackmail and embroil different peasants or
Philip (PS46K) [305] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [306] landlords and they used to do whatever they wished to do.
[307] Erm
Philip (PS46K) [308] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [309] either, you know, gain land or ... do things with people.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [310] I didn't think there was that much bribing but there were sort of women seducing young peasants [laughing] who'd come into a bit of money []
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [311] but I, there weren't any accounts of like actually communists bribing [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [312] Yeah there was a
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [313] I thought there was a, there was a full chapter on how the cadres and the Party members sort of went beyond their ... allowed position and took
Philip (PS46K) [314] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [315] advantage of their position. ...
Philip (PS46K) [316] So [...] is at least providing the opportunity for that?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [317] Oh yes, [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [318] Well it was also how they distributed it as well cos it needn't necessarily just be the cadres, it was ... dunno there's a scene where they [...] the house, like you get in a queue [laughing] take what you want [] [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...] [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [319] Like a car boot sale.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [320] But er wh why from the point of view of the peasants was this radicalization taking place?
[321] ... Because in a sense the, the whole ... our analysis of the [...] was that this er very moderate policy of rent reduction, interest rate reduction, of building up reductions, that in itself was producing the required results wasn't it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [322] Well why was it producing the required results because it, in fact it was [...] beyond ... what it erm [clears throat] you know it specifically was set out to do.
[323] Cos in actual fact there was a, a lot of sort of de facto redistribution because er some of these account settling things were just so ridiculous ... you know [...] make them pay for crimes their family had committed over the last sixty years or whatever.
[324] So in actual fact they, they
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [325] they, they, they didn't pay it back [...] they give up their land
Philip (PS46K) [326] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [327] and so it was just another way of
Philip (PS46K) [328] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [329] [...] during rent reduction [...] ?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [330] Yes. [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [331] Was it, during
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [332] accounts it was.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [333] Was it?
[334] During
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [335] Mm
Philip (PS46K) [336] Bu bu bu but why [...] why is that happening?
[337] Because wh when, when we were looking at, at, at the [...] I mean sort of things [...] ... the implication to me seemed to be that, that this in itself is a successful policy, rent reduction, interest rate reduction ... methods improving er productivity, increasing input, in themselves are satisfying the demands of the peasantry and you would not need to go beyond that, I mean ... well didn't need to, he isn't the ideal, but he didn't need to go [...] and he, he was doing very well out of it.
[338] ... S so, so where is this radicalization coming from?
[339] I mean is it that the rent reduction interest rate reduction is not working and in order for the peasant to get enough for themselves, they needed to go further?
[340] ... Or are they just greedy and saying well we're doing quite well out of rent reduction, but if we, you know if we [...] the landlords, we're gonna get some more? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [341] I think the fact that the Japanese had surrendered must have something to do with it cos then they probably had a chance to attack the people who'd er collaborated with the Japanese.
Philip (PS46K) [342] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [343] [...] they wouldn't just accept rent reductions from [...]
Philip (PS46K) [344] Right so ... after nineteen forty five there cer there certainly would have been a momentum towards this in the areas where there'd been a strong Japanese presence because there would be more collaborators and there would be some more obvious targets.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [345] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [346] But in ... the old liberated areas like ... say around [...] ... i i i in theory none of this should be necessary, very little of it should've been happening.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [347] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [348] But it might also be happening where the Communist Party have provided some sort of secure ... physical presence and where if, as a result of past exploitation, there was a substantial degree of antagonism towards landlords which, it would be that that was carried out.
[349] But it, it needn't necessarily be ... erm ... the kind of direct material gain in terms of well we need to go beyond rent reduction because rent reduction is not, hasn't given us enough, because in theory rent reduction ought to be giving you as much you need. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [350] Maybe the erm peasant er their desires are just growing and, you know, [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [351] reduction I, I want a bit more.
Philip (PS46K) [352] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [353] A subtle change in psychology. ...
Philip (PS46K) [354] Yes. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [355] They also had
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [356] I just think it was a momentum that was caused by ... some villages feeling safer from the nationalists as they got further and further from the front and therefore more and more people ... a bit f erm being willing to sort of talk again, shout up against the, the landlords and as they saw, as they saw that their neighbours were getting land, all the others decided well they're getting land, we might as well talk to, have a talk about them ... the problems and the harsh treatment that we've had in, in years before.
Philip (PS46K) [357] So what's happened to our moral economy?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [358] [...] cos you're an opportunist.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [359] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [360] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [361] Just, just like that, almost?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [362] Yeah, I think
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [363] Well you've got a lot of nationalism [...] as well cos er a lot of them [...] article forty seven when they, they said that the problem of the nation was the result of the landlords, and so there's all this sort of nationalist [...] and there's also [...]
Philip (PS46K) [364] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [365] party erm line saying that, identifying anyone with any power in the community as er well you can identify them [...] so therefore you've already got that directive and then you've got [...]
Philip (PS46K) [366] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [367] you imply that it's ... er I mean [...] quite easily [...]
Philip (PS46K) [368] Right, yes.
[369] Yes.
[370] But if, if we, if w we accepted the moral economy, which was that the peasant has a, a view of what is right and fair and once that fairness is established for him, that's it, he doesn't want to go any further than this.
[371] What we're, in effect what we're saying is that for a ... a number of years ... the Communist Party has provided, has made that moral economy work ... i in a s and made it work very well because rents have been reduced more than the peasants would expect ... erm er interest rate is extremely low.
[372] The conditions of the moral economy have been met, okay the landlords have been forced to [...] ... if one accepted that was the way in which the peasants saw the world ... they would not have gone beyond that.
[373] I i in a way, way th that they're going beyond it not because the Party's encouraging them to do it, but because they're doing it themselves.
[374] Now does that call into question the, the moral economy at all?
[375] Does, does it call into question the fact that that was really what the peasants did think and believe, or were the peasants ... opportunists, and if they felt they could get away with anything they would get away with anything?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [376] Isn't it more the case that it's not so much ... what they're trying to get away with, it's just that how [...] what was happening the peasants did see the world that they were in ... but with the Communist Party and the revolution that the idea is to change the way the peasants see the world and how they view themselves [...]
Philip (PS46K) [377] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [378] which is what [...]
Philip (PS46K) [379] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [380] So they're changing the way
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [381] [...] structures, their possibilities ... I mean at one stage they would have been at a certain level [...] hadn't got a landlord [...] their income [...] ... but that's within one particular moral economy, now the idea here is to break that down, you know, just get rid of the circle altogether.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [382] But also the moral economy [...] low [...] rates so presumably [...] means less of the sort of loyal [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [383] so presumably, you know, with all this [...] in the earlier period that erm people are gonna be, you know, have less ties towards with people, traditional ties, it's much more [...] , so they would just see people who were higher up in society with more ... other people with, with, you know [...] rather than
Philip (PS46K) [384] Right.
[385] Yeah
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [386] Within, oh sorry.
[387] Within the moral economy there was potential for them to be revolutionary though because erm you had this sub-culture which was
Philip (PS46K) [388] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [389] very much part of, which ran alongside this moral economy
Philip (PS46K) [390] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [391] and so when the system clearly wasn't working, the peasants would form their own collectives and
Philip (PS46K) [392] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [393] erm supporting agencies and stuff so it's not necessarily running against the ... the idea of a moral economy, just that moral economy developing its revolutionary potential
Philip (PS46K) [394] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [395] and that's what Mao saw in nineteen twenty seven.
Philip (PS46K) [396] Right.
[397] Yes.
[398] So obviously there are a number of [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Philip (PS46K) [399] one is that ... i it may be that the old moral economy worked because the peasants recognized that, in a sense, that was the way they w well they, they could not stand up and criticize the landlord ... th the, the most they could do was to try and get the landlord to behave in a reasonable way, and that within that there would then be the sub-culture, the counter-culture of, of beginnings of mutual aid and what is happening in [...] is in part that the communists are making them think the old moral economy work, but in part they are picking up on those sub- culture bits because the, the, the whole of mutual aid ... idea is, is coming from existing peasant cooperations.
[400] But what they're doing which is more important than that, they are beginning to change the way in which the peasant sees the world.
[401] Er that they are changing a whole range o of non-economic variables which allow the peasant the world to see the world doesn't have to be like this ... we can actually question the landlord ... and not only can we get away with it but we can get something out of it.
[402] And once that has begun to change, the peasant is off because he, he, he, he's begun to see a new world that he can realize.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [403] How widespread now is erm ... the education movement now in [...] you have much more schools, now is this spreading? ...
Philip (PS46K) [404] Erm ... tt ... yes but not ... er er w w once, once the war
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [405] [...] education [...]
Philip (PS46K) [406] finishes, we are talking about the, the whole of north China right the way through Manchuria
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [407] Right.
Philip (PS46K) [408] erm I E you've got an enormous area where sometimes you're moving in very quickly, and particularly in Manchuria y you're trying to get there extremely quickly, and you, you haven't got the time to build up that kind of infrastructure, but that is gonna come later.
[409] So I, I don't think it's there ... er and it can't be created quickly enough.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [410] Mm yeah.
[411] Also what struck me was now that they ... they're not fighting the Japanese ... erm they're not required to make the sacrifices of war that they were so perhaps they're going to think right let's see what we can make out of this, I don't, I no longer have to pay X tax because
Philip (PS46K) [412] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [413] there are no more soldiers to maintain
Philip (PS46K) [414] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [415] what can I do, well I mean the there are, but I mean well they're not, it's not as expensive is it, once your
Philip (PS46K) [416] The, the Party's not gonna reduce its tax but it's, it's fighting the [...] at least as expensive as fighting [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [417] But surely the ... the, some of the burdens on the peasants surely gotta be less now that they're no longer fighting the Japanese as well. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [418] But then why would Mao in nineteen forty five say that how that they'd made a major concession to land to the tiller but that this is a correct one and they're going to, that land reform has to be taken in stages and they're going to first of all reduce rent and, I mean er
Philip (PS46K) [419] Yes, that's
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [420] what you're implying is that how that they had a radical policy in mind but because of the war it had to be moderated but I, somehow I tend to believe the reverse, that how that they may have continued the moderate policy but was forced into it because of circumstances ... to, forced to erm into radicalizing their policies.
Philip (PS46K) [421] The they certainly moved back to radicalization much more quickly than Mao had, had expected
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [422] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [423] erm and that presumably in, in part is because there is this radical groundswell from ... the peasants in, in part because it would need a new policy after nineteen forty five wouldn't you because ... not just on, on the financial side but er er a lot of your mobilization has come through,a as you say, nationalism ... now once the Japanese are defeated, that's finished.
[424] You've also lost your easy targets in terms of up until that point you could always very legitimately attack Japanese collaborators.
[425] Now you ... y you, you've gotta find a substitute for that. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [426] Don't you also attack the church?
Philip (PS46K) [427] In effect you, you, you, you, you've got the church, you've got erm ... you, you might sort of move from collaborators with the Japanese to collaborators with the Kuomintang, I E the counter-revolutionaries.
[428] So you would still be able to identify targets ... but those targets may become a bit more general, I E because in the past the landlord as a class had always sided with the Kuomintang ... then i it gives you the opportunity to go back and attack them, almost the landlords per se in a way you couldn't during the Japanese war because clearly loyal landlords were fighting the Japanese.
[429] ... But, but you need a new set of targets anyway, and somehow you,y y you've gotta [...] and ... the May the fourth directive, by returning to land reform is beginning to open up those as possibilities.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [430] How widespread were the accounts described by [...] ?
[431] I mean that's just one village, or one county that he's described [...] but how widespread throughout the north [...]
Philip (PS46K) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [432] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [433] it's almost a bit
Philip (PS46K) [434] No I, I think there is, there is a lot of evidence that this is happening in all of the villages
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [435] Right.
Philip (PS46K) [436] er and in some villages they went a great deal further than they did in, in [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [437] Right.
Philip (PS46K) [438] erm but, but certainly the, the ... er er the [...] period has given the Communist Party er quite a large number of ... trained cadres which will be able to go out into the villages in a way that they hadn't been able to in [...] ... because it would, that was all too soon.
[439] But through, through erm the [...] period, particularly after [...] campaigns in nineteen forty one, forty two, you, you, you've got a l a lot of people coming into the Party, then they've all been instilled with the [...] spirit, you can then send them out into the villages.
[440] Erm they are going into the villages, they're making contacts with ... individual peasants ... erm it's those peasants that, that they get to stand up and make the first accusations, it's those peasants who join the Party ... erm and the process can build up in, in a way which was more difficult before then.
[441] So, so you, you, you have got this basis for mass mobilization ... together with some of the education [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [442] Mm. ...
Philip (PS46K) [443] Okay shall we s stop there and have a ... [...] ?
[444] We'll go on to the, the [...] itself.
[445] ... [break in recording] Right.
[446] Okay so we, we, we've the May the fourth directive, er we, we, we've now got the May the fourth directive operational.
[447] Tt erm and the, the next thing is the outline agrarian law, so let's, let's have a look at this.
[448] First of all what ... what is the outline law saying and secondly why is tho those particular provisions necessary?
[449] What's, what's the outline er agrarian law all about and what's, what's [...] ?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [450] Well ... in effect it says that how that it's now the Party is sanctionalizing absolute egalitarianism, the aim that landlords, K M T officers, everyone's going to get equal distribution of land.
[451] It also erm ... pr it's protecting commerce and industry and that
Philip (PS46K) [452] [...] ess essentially i it's, absolute egalitarianism means that everybody within the village or the
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [453] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [454] the [...] , everybody will acquire the same land and the same quality of land.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [455] Yes, and that no [...] gonna be given to C C P cadres or to, or to ... landlords
Philip (PS46K) [456] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [457] it's just ...
Philip (PS46K) [458] Is, is, is that different to any other land law before, is ... well is, is this a new idea or is it just picking up on other ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [459] [...] equalizing quantity and quality, that's, that's an old idea isn't it?
Philip (PS46K) [460] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [461] [...] Mao's [...] policies [...]
Philip (PS46K) [462] Right.
[463] Is, is, is it any different at all from, from that land law of Mao's in nineteen thirty?
[464] In, in effect.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [465] Was this erm differences in quality to be made up by more land?
[466] Or was it ... the same amount of land [...] ?
Philip (PS46K) [467] Erm ... i in, in ... in theory if you, if, if you balance quantity and quality everybody should end up with the same.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [468] But with Mao's law it wasn't complete ... erm egalitarianism because landlords erm rich peasants were to receive less, they were meant to be penalized weren't they?
Philip (PS46K) [469] No not within, that's, that's within the nineteen forty one ... law.
[470] Surely in, in the nineteen thirty law ... Mao's ... Mao's policy was, was in effect absolute egalitarianism ... in that everybody within the village,in including, depending how you read those definitions,
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [471] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [472] but including possibly landlords or at, at the very worst their families would have a share of land.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [473] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [474] So i i i in a sense this has gone back to ... one of Mao's early views, except that, that there is a difference now in that ... er ... the land is being redistributed for ownership ... whereas for Mao earlier it was, it was for your use.
[475] Although it's ... it's slightly unclear to me you know because if you take article two it's land ownership rights of all landlords are abolished, but then you're distributing land back for their ownership so ... it's not quite clear what's happening with that.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [476] [...] the way to do it [...]
Philip (PS46K) [477] Yeah.
[478] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [479] Maybe it's their past rights over ...
Philip (PS46K) [480] Yes.
[481] Right so even, even landlords, within this absolute egalitarianism policy, are now to get land.
[482] So ev ev everybody in the village will end up with the same amount.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [483] [...] few exceptions.
[484] [...] criminals.
Philip (PS46K) [485] Right.
[486] Yes, fair enough, yeah.
[487] ... Okay.
[488] ... So
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [489] It's, they
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [490] have it for ownership instead of state owned
Philip (PS46K) [491] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [492] because of their erm desire to increase production.
[493] The
Philip (PS46K) [494] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [495] Communist Party thought that how that by giving peasants their own land it would give them the incentive to increase production which
Philip (PS46K) [496] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [497] they needed to [...]
Philip (PS46K) [498] Right.
[499] And as, as you said, the one exception to all of this is industrial and commercial property.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [500] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [501] So ... anything that a landlord or a rich peasant had owned in terms of industry or commerce would be left alone and i it would still be his.
[502] ... So you, you were in a sense equalizing land ownership but you were not equalizing incomes.
[503] You were not equalizing assets. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [504] In, in many ways there's, well there's [...] as well is that repeat a lot of the things that are said [...]
Philip (PS46K) [505] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [506] [...] word for word but just sort of changing the vocabulary isn't it?
Philip (PS46K) [507] Yeah.
[508] Yes.
[509] Yeah.
[510] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [511] [...] because landlords were seen as progressive and they might want, they di the erm communists didn't want to get rid of them as a class but in their feudal capacity.
Philip (PS46K) [512] Right.
[513] So this is very much part of the mass line.
[514] Th th th this is, it is a mass line at work,th th th there's very little in here in terms of class antagonisms.
[515] Erm i i it's more about landlords sort of being reintegrated into a new mass society.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [516] Isn't it, well I mean, isn't it more about just keeping production up?
Philip (PS46K) [517] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [518] I mean that's what I thought [...] this movement towards egalitarianism isn't, doesn't actually reflect any change in ideology at all.
Philip (PS46K) [519] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [520] Yeah.
[521] Okay so wh why then do we go from the May the fourth erm directive into this specific idea of, of egalitarianism?
[522] What, what, why ... I mean
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [523] Well
Philip (PS46K) [524] i i i in a sense it is a, it is a shift to the left because under the May the fourth directive erm rich peasants in particular would've been left out of it altogether and there would still be some landlords who were, who would maintain their property but, but now he's shifted to the left and this, this does represent a further attack on landlords cos, cos everybody comes down to the same level.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [525] Well I think you can look at it on two levels and one, one reason is to change the Party structure [...] shake them up a bit, cos there's, there's evidence that they were erm you know moving to the right and allying with er rich peasants and landlords, and the other, on the level is actually having a policy which would get mass support and this obviously would require incentives in the form of land to peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [526] Right.
[527] So that, is the basic drive behind this to provide a greater incentive for the, the majority of peasants to support, actively support the Party?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [528] Mm. ...
Philip (PS46K) [529] Why, why is that needed though?
[530] Wh why is
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [531] Cos the military situation that it er well from er [...] says you know they realized, apparently, that it was gonna take at least seven years to win over the nationalists so they
Philip (PS46K) [532] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [533] might need more support.
[534] And this
Philip (PS46K) [535] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [536] was one way of getting it.
Philip (PS46K) [537] Right.
[538] So th th th there's, there's a heightened need for support because of the ... the nature of the civil war now, and, and they are under quite substantial pressure ... and therefore you need to mobilize the population behind you and to get that mobilization you, you've got to offer more struggle fruits to the peasants and absolute egalitarianism is the way to offer them the maximum. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [539] But their two aims conflicted because on the one hand they're trying to protect production and to allow erm ... er capit private enterprise and capitalism to develop but on the other hand they're erm trying to redistribute all the land er because the May the fourth directive wasn't going far enough, they, they needed to be more severe upon landlords
Philip (PS46K) [540] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [541] and erm and so ... it appears, if you just take this document at this time, that how that they're placing less emphasis upon production, I mean if their aim is to, if their primary aim is to mobilize mass support [...] that how that production was going to decrease because it was gonna infringe upon rich and middle peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [542] Right.
[543] ... Right.
[544] ... So ... but w w w why is that you need absolute egalitarianism?
[545] Why, why have you got to go for equality?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [546] Cos that's one of the communist [...] .
[547] Perhaps I mean it's, we don't know in nineteen, October nineteen forty seven whether the Communist Party actually really did think that absolute egalitarianism might be able to work.
Philip (PS46K) [548] So so
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [549] It was only the events afterwards that proved that it didn't work, but they weren't clear at this time
Philip (PS46K) [550] So it's ideology which is driving it.
[551] So that, that, that we are now back into socialism, we, we're sort of now back into our communist ideals.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [552] Well that's a possibility.
Philip (PS46K) [553] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [554] It certainly wouldn't be against the ideological ... er ideas of the Party but I mean [...] that it was an ideological [...] , it was more practical cos it was, it was related [...] the purification campaign of the Party, cos we know they're having these [...] campaigns
Philip (PS46K) [555] Right.
[556] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [557] [...] the May the fourth directive, after [...]
Philip (PS46K) [558] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [559] and they found a lot of, you know, serious crimes going on in the Party and stuff
Philip (PS46K) [560] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [561] like that.
Philip (PS46K) [562] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [563] It could be both, it could be pragmatic but also erm furthering the communist cause.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [564] Well why did they just, why was it rejected
Philip (PS46K) [565] Right
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [566] two months later then?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [567] Because it was shown to not work.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [568] Yeah exactly.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [569] Well in other words the pragmatic consideration's far more important than the ideological one is.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [570] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [571] But we're looking at it with hindsight, we can't just say that because of this this that and the other ... erm that pragmatism did overrule at this particular point in time.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [572] Oh I dunno, I dunno.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [573] I think Mao was quite ... keyed up on the whole situation, I think he realized that to win the war they had to ... erm adjust the mass support very carefully, and I think that's basically what this ... I think that's why two months later they er ... they er gave up this document cos he was worried then they'd lose the middle peasants' support.
Philip (PS46K) [574] Is, is, is, yes, is there another element to this though, that ... what in, in your new more difficult military situation ... you need to mobilize the mass of support behind you, which er essentially means mobilizing the poor peasants ... is it possible that within the May the fourth directive, although the poor could have done much better, they need not necessarily do very much better.
[575] I E th there, there is no guarantee within the May the fourth directive that, that the poor do ... significantly ... a as a group ... all do well because th th they, they, they, there's nothing to guarantee that they all share properly in the fruits of struggle.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [576] No.
[577] No.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [578] [...] after they had come forward with this [...]
Philip (PS46K) [579] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [580] directive.
Philip (PS46K) [581] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [582] But that's, but the, this actually sets out that everybody will get the same, it doesn't, it has absolutely nothing to do with people coming forward.
Philip (PS46K) [583] So it's a guarantee that everybody
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [584] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [585] will get the same [...] you haven't had [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [586] In effect they are, they're appealing to the, the, the poorer peasants hoping to get more mobilization
Philip (PS46K) [587] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [588] but I think two months later Mao realizes that this is harming
Philip (PS46K) [589] Right.
[590] S so the position as of say the summer nineteen forty seven when, when you're, you, this law was being formulated ... the reports coming back are that although there is the opportunity for the poor to do better, as a, as a matter of course they're not all doing better.
[591] Now that's a bit of a surprise to you in the sense that you believed that ... ten percent of the population owned eighty percent of the land ... and therefore this, this kind of ... erm a a attack on, on the rich was happening through the May the fourth directive [...] , that would've produced enough to bring everybody up to a reasonable middle peasant status.
[592] And it doesn't seem to be happening.
[593] ... Now if, if you accept the ten percent owning the eighty percent, there must've been enough ... but the poor are not getting it.
[594] ... So why weren't they getting it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [595] This is one of 's questions isn't it?
[596] When he says that erm [clears throat] that sort of, that's what the C C P leadership thought and so they thought that ... if they weren't getting the land then something must be going wrong with the policy
Philip (PS46K) [597] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [598] and the thing that was going wrong was this erm was this problem of the operation of the cadres.
[599] They
Philip (PS46K) [600] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [601] were basically erm inflicted upon and this sort of er ... all the landlords and rich peasants [...] corrupting the whole process.
Philip (PS46K) [602] Right.
[603] S so it's, it's, it's either that the cadres are being rightist, they are protecting the landlords so they are keeping too much, or the problem is that the cadres, what we looked at earlier, the cadres are getting in themselves and they are taking too much for themselves.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [604] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [605] Right.
[606] So the, the May the fourth directive is not working because it's not guaranteeing that the poor get enough to bring them up to the middle peasant status which is, is the aim.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [607] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [608] So th th th the, the outline agrarian law is simply a means of ensuring that everybody will come up to a middle peasant status. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [609] No [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [610] But surely that's not possible? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [611] [...] it must be possible
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [612] But if, if, if you accept this [...] ten percent and the eighty percent that it
Philip (PS46K) [613] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [614] is possible.
Philip (PS46K) [615] Must be possible.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [616] Mm. ...
Philip (PS46K) [617] I mean if, if, if you've got, if, if,
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh] [...]
Philip (PS46K) [618] if you've got that much land ... there must be enough.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [619] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [620] But argues that how that in actual fact by this time land reform had already taken place and there wasn't enough, any more land to be redistributed.
Philip (PS46K) [621] Th th there's going to be some.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [622] Yeah well some but not as much as the Communist Party
Philip (PS46K) [623] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [624] expected so although
Philip (PS46K) [625] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [626] th there were cases of cadres being rightist and taking too much land for themselves, the Communist Party [clears throat] actually exaggerated this problem and that the main cause was erm the very low lan land ratio.
Philip (PS46K) [627] Right.
[628] So a a a a as you say that the problem is that erm as this process gets under way and er i i s so, I, I think it's, it's not just absolute egalitarian in that everybody will get the same, I think there was an assumption that there would be enough for everybody becoming up to a middle peasant status.
[629] And therefore i i i it wasn't just the poor s saying well I want the same as everybody else, I want as much as a middle peasant.
[630] Now wh what ... were, in your introduction w were you saying that there, there simply wasn't enough land for that to happen?
[631] And therefore in the process of trying to bring the poor up to er [...] some of the land of the middle peasant had to be taken ... and that's a problem isn't it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [632] Oh very much so because I mean all through this er through this period the communists are making, they, they want to unite themselves firmly with the peasants
Philip (PS46K) [633] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [634] [clears throat] and so that anything which will possibly infringe the middle peasants would be, would be disastrous.
Philip (PS46K) [635] Right.
[636] So at the point where it becomes clear that absolute egalitarianism is going to encroach on the interests of the middle peasants, you need to stop it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...] ...
Philip (PS46K) [637] But
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [638] But it could also be used to their advantage in that how that erm absolute egalitarianism would speed up the process of land reform and eliminate feudalism whereas a moderate policy would just take ages for this to happen, so
Philip (PS46K) [639] Yes.
[640] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [641] it was an expediency at the time.
Philip (PS46K) [642] A justifiable one?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [643] Mm. ...
Philip (PS46K) [644] So the outline agrarian law policy was the right policy? ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [645] I, no I, I get the impression that, you know, everyone just ... everyone just kind of freaked out end of nineteen forty six forty seven and they were just, oh God what are we gonna do now,wh what can we do to get some more support, oh excellent, yeah, let's go for equal distribution, what a great idea and then all of a sudden they think oh no, it's not, you know, perhaps it's not such a good idea after all.
[646] I really, I really get the impression that there's, there's [...] , it's incredibly sort of nobody really knows what to do, you know, there's this big turbulent thing just happening ... and people are very confused about the whole thing because [clears throat] the M May the fourth directive isn't particularly er it didn't give anybody an absolute guideline, guide to erm what to do.
[647] In October nineteen forty six Mao says to the cadres look, get land reform sorted out, don't worry about the war, just get land reform sorted out!
[648] You know and they probably went well yeah, what do we do?
[649] What, what exactly
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [650] are we meant to do.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [651] Can't blame them with the K M T knocking on your though.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [652] What?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [653] Well you can't really blame them that much with the K M T knocking on the door.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [654] Well I dunno, I mean on the one hand in nine in nineteen forty five I think it was, they were saying you know well in order to do, have s s s successful land reform you need three conditions, they said the same thing in nineteen forty eight, they said you need this, this, this and then we have to be militarily secure but then in nineteen forty six they're saying [laughing] no, don't worry about it, just get [] the land reform sorted out, just do it.
[655] And I, I really get the impression that, for a while, you know there was, there was just this incredible rush and they just thought oh we've got to do something, and, and tha that's what [...] and this idea that you've [...] gotta be right [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [656] But why was there an incredible rush?
[657] I mean
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [658] What?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [659] where was that incredible rush coming from?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [660] The war, I reckon.
Philip (PS46K) [661] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [662] I reckon it starts with the war.
Philip (PS46K) [663] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [664] No they all of a sudden really need support.
[665] They saw that, you know the, this wa wash your face campaign and all of a sudden their cadres were pretty unpopular and they thought goodness me, we're really doing something, we're just doing something wrong and we've got to try and mobilize support, we need a radical policy.
Philip (PS46K) [666] Right.
[667] Isn't,i i this is back, Simon
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [668] [...] they have,th that they need sort of a radical policy to mobilize support erm when all the oth all the other radical policy [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh] [...]
Philip (PS46K) [669] [...] that, that ... do you ... it, it's this sort of catch twenty two between erm land reform and mass mobilization.
[670] Do you need mass mobilization in order to get land reform or is the only way in which you can achieve land reform ... to have mes mass mobilization?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [671] Well I th I get the impression that there's sort of a, there's an assumption that the communists are making is that, you know you get land reform sort of like give these people a bit of land [...]
Philip (PS46K) [672] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [673] [...] and fight for me.
Philip (PS46K) [674] Have you got a better idea?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [675] Well no [laughing] no [...] []
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [676] there is no better way, but er the problem with that is that, you know okay, you might get, you might get some peasants who say well we're really grateful, we'll go off and fight but some of them might just say no look, we've got some land I'm not gonna leave it, [...] [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [677] But they should put in little sort of qualifications like er ... er they gave people land and if they went off to fight then it would be guaranteed that the land would be tilled.
[678] I think that's very important.
Philip (PS46K) [679] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [680] Because I think one of the most worrying things that for the soldiers at the front was will their family be looked after and will their land sort of be alright when they get back [...]
Philip (PS46K) [681] Yes, yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [682] Cos it was quite a respectable position as well wasn't it?
[683] And also I think not everyone was accepted in the army, they sent a lot of people back.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [684] Yeah.
[685] That's right.
Philip (PS46K) [686] [...] yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [687] Because of what?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [688] Because they weren't fit enough physically ... even mentally ill I should imagine will be sent.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [689] What, cos they weren't committed enough to it?
Philip (PS46K) [690] Er now w w w we've got this position during the course of nineteen forty seven and it's, it's, it's really the first half of forty seven which I think is the crucial one when the [...] launch its offensive erm it's, it's a very big shock for, for the communists,th th they, you know, [...] itself is overrun and
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [691] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [692] th th they defend that against the Japanese and then in, early in forty seven the [...] come in and take it over so it's an enormous psychological shock erm and they recognize that erm they, they, they do need to er they recognize that the way [...] is through mass support, they think that's what they've gotta get, and they've gotta get it quickly.
[693] In a sense they, they were back now in, in the [...] situation that they, they needed support from the peasantry quickly and surely the way to do that was to offer them land, to give them land reform because rent reduction interest ra interest rate reduction is not enough.
[694] You've got to go the land reform.
[695] ... And if you go for the land reform, if you promise the peasants the land erm and you're moving towards a position of,y you, you ... you're still thinking exactly what your policy is but under that might come a ... a realization that absolute egalitarianism is the best way of doing this, look th th there is enough land for us to be able to do this, this is the simplest process which will guarantee for middle peasant status, it will bring their, their living standards up to acceptable levels.
[696] ... I if we go for land reform we will get mass mobilization.
[697] ... I mean i it's, it's a fair enough strategy isn't it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [698] [...] I think that's what, I think [...]
Philip (PS46K) [699] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [700] [...] in the end of the speech about, you know if, if agrarian reform is thorough [...]
Philip (PS46K) [701] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [702] You know I think that was very much what they had in mind.
Philip (PS46K) [703] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [704] [...] mobilize people [...]
Philip (PS46K) [705] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [706] But it's all based upon their assumption that land reform was the erm ... the solution to the agrarian problem.
[707] They saw that how that, they saw the Chinese problem essentially as one of exploitation and that how that as soon as, that they saw it as the land problem
Philip (PS46K) [708] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [709] erm ... now if ... they, I mean they didn't even consider that how other options which might have increased the living standards because land reform
Philip (PS46K) [710] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [711] would enable them to get into power
Philip (PS46K) [712] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [713] and that was what, I mean if they had erm decided to take more te [...] point of view and to increase production through improved methods of farming and so on, that prob erm I mean we can see that that would've created higher yields and that, because we've assessed the situation now [...]
Philip (PS46K) [714] Yes but how long would that take?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [715] That would take ages so ... they're having land reform as a means to an end and that how that it's improving living standards of peasants so that they get mass support, land reform was the only political option they had.
Philip (PS46K) [716] Right.
[717] Fine.
[718] ... But is, is, I mean w w what we've said so far is that the problem with this is that there isn't enough land and therefore it encroaches on the middle peasant and, and that's the problem, that's the reason you had to change your policy.
[719] But was that the only problem?
[720] What, what about the poor themselves?
[721] You know y y y y you're a poor peasant and the Party's coming in [...] in conditions of civil war and we say right erm ... we've gotta get land reform and the land reform process is being done, not by the Party coming in and imposing it, it is very much done by the Party encouraging and enabling the peasants to, to take the moves themselves, to stand up and begin the criticism.
[722] ... Ho how can you, going to be, to do that, I mean [...] right you're a poor peasant and I explain to you all the benefits of land reform, what are you gonna say to me?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [723] Well it depends, you know, it depends if I expect erm my landlord to come back and chop my head off or something.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Philip (PS46K) [724] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [725] I mean that's, that's very important, there was a lot of suffering, I think it's about the people who, I can't remember [...] returned to the villages
Philip (PS46K) [726] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [727] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [728] and they meted out some terrible retribution of people who [...]
Philip (PS46K) [729] Absolutely, yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [730] communist.
Philip (PS46K) [731] Yes.
[732] So
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [733] Especially if the K M T [...]
Philip (PS46K) [734] Exactly.
[735] So if, if you are a poor peasant you are thinking hold on ... the Party expects me to stand up to this landlord and accuse him of this this and this, actually point a finger at him when there is a chance that, you know, the Kuomintang is, is twenty miles away ... and they, I know they've come into other villages as they come back, m of land to peasants.s in the form of land
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [736] There must've been ... with erm in forty seven was it the encirclement campaign where they allowed the nationalists to sort of drive through the, I don't know the defences, they must've been fairly certain of their support in certain areas by then.
[737] Because they actually allowed the, the nationalists to, to sort of drive a an attack through into villages and take over erm and they, they assumed that they would drive too far erm
Philip (PS46K) [738] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [739] so they must've been fairly sure of their support to allow them to come into an area of villages.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [740] [...] they acknowledged as a mistake later on didn't they? [...]
Philip (PS46K) [741] I mean in a sense they were just sacrificing peasants for that strategy.
[742] ... But, but, but once, once the, the stories get around that the communists have not created a strong enough military base to guarantee that land reform will hold
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [743] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [744] and you know what happens, I mean I, [laughing] [...] [] and therefore you er there, there might be a problem within [...] in that you might not get the necessary mass mobilization support from the land reform because of the, of the possible consequences.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [745] Well it did up the stakes somewhat didn't it?
Philip (PS46K) [746] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [747] If you were gonna go for it, but then they, they changed it didn't they?
[748] When they had their sort of semi [...] liberated areas and stuff.
Philip (PS46K) [749] Right, okay so out of this comes a
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [750] Yeah they realize that [...]
Philip (PS46K) [751] a different set of policies but but as of forty seven the strategy is we need to mobilize the masses quickly behind us now, there must be enough land to give the er peasants enough.
[752] Th the only reason there might not,i i i if they're not getting enough it is because erm ... ei either too much land is being held by the landlords because the cadres are [...] , or the cadres [...] taking the [...] land.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Philip (PS46K) [753] Now er er out of that comes the view well maybe this is [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [cough]
Philip (PS46K) [754] maybe we've got to guarantee security first and then go on, and secondly a realization well maybe there may not be enough land.
[755] And therefore more protection for the middle peasants.
[756] ... But, but, but that would ex at least explain why the outline agrarian law takes the form that it did and what was the thinking behind it. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [757] But we're saying if you look at, right, these two factors, one is the ... you've got land reform ... er on absolute egal dunno what you call it grounds, the other is that you're getting the peasants to do it themselves
Philip (PS46K) [758] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [759] they're just simple ... really measures of the urgency of the situation.
Philip (PS46K) [760] Yes.
[761] Yeah. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [762] [...] otherwise erm what did, how did they mo mobilize enough er forces then?
[763] Because we decided that they didn't have a, a strong enough military base er w w w what erm gave the peasants the incentive to, to join [...] ?
Philip (PS46K) [764] Well er er quite a lot of peasants did join because they, presumably they were motivated by land reform, er it's clear that that did happen
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [765] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [766] and i it wasn't in all areas that the [...] came back, I mean in some areas there was enough security but you wouldn't know which area was going to be secure.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [767] Right.
Philip (PS46K) [768] But it was er er I mean i it's clear that the policy was, was successful ... in that they do mobilize a lot of peasants and, and they [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Philip (PS46K) [769] the nationalist offences so I mean that bit of it worked.
[770] It's just that the costs involved in a lot of peasants being killed and you then begin to encroach on middle peasants.
[771] So y y you're, you're weighing the gains of, it's a success, it is successful in terms of mobilization, but there are costs involved.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [772] Oh.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [773] I would have thought it's, it would be harder and harder to, to mobilize the peasants.
[774] I mean, weren't they getting ... quite tired of these land reforms? [...] years.
Philip (PS46K) [775] Er mm I don't think so because the, the, we, we are [clears throat] ... with all of this we are still in north China so this was the first time land reform has come.
[776] ... Erm and therefore the, the, the peasant wasn't yet in a position where, my God this is not another land ran [laughing] land reform []
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Philip (PS46K) [777] er ... I mean I, I don't think that had begun to build up but yes I mean that, that ... is coming to be a problem.
[778] I mean er and if you go through [...] it goes on and on and on erm and the changes in policy come to be a problem.
[779] Erm ... one thing before we move on ... do you think there is a distinction or a difference between the outline agrarian land reform which is essentially 's creation, and the speech that he gives at the end of the conference?
[780] Do, do they conflict at all?
[781] ... In that ... i i in the speech isn't recognizing some of the difficulties, isn't he recognizing the need to protect the middle peasant?
[782] And, and, and, and, and, and are, are there points in, in the speech where he specifically says you, you must protect the interests of the middle peasant [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [783] Mm [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [784] The speech was written before the [...] ... er which speech are we talking about?
Philip (PS46K) [785] The ... speech concluding the national land conference.
[786] Yes, but, but ... the national land conference approved ... the outline agrarian law ... erm and then it be it became formal policy in October so it is after, but, but it was the land conference which actually ratified it. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [787] Yeah is, what you're saying is that on the one hand he was saying right let's have absolute equality of distribution but at the same time he [...] quite clear that [...] peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [788] Right.
[789] So i i i
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [790] Yeah.
[791] I mean i i i in a sense I think he was, he's been criticized unfairly for, for this because he ... he, he copped all the blame for absolute egalitarianism, whereas in fact if, if you look at the details behind it he was aware of the dangers of encroachment on the middle peasant and was warning against that and saying look this shouldn't happen.
[792] So if ... if the cadres had taken the law and ... 's speech there shouldn't've been the sorts of problems that, that we came up against.
[793] I E the, the middle peasant shouldn't have been encroached upon.
[794] But then if the middle peasant wasn't encroached upon, the poor wouldn't've got enough.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [795] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [796] So that y you, you, you couldn't win either way.
[797] ... Right.
[798] ... So ... the law was, was implemented, it became fa clear fairly quickly that, in the process of that implementation, it did lead to encroachment on the r middle peasant.
[799] At that point you have to call a halt to it. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [800] Well [...] what you consider the er middle peasants to be and obviously the erm
Philip (PS46K) [801] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [802] communists er placed a great deal of importance [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [803] cos as, as a class they were a great body
Philip (PS46K) [804] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [805] cos as land reform's more and more successful then presumably more people were becoming middle peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [806] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [807] They made up almost forty percent of the army
Philip (PS46K) [808] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [809] erm [clears throat] I think there was, there was erm, they definitely made the decision by then to ... [...] sacred cow and they can't harm the middle peasants [...]
Philip (PS46K) [810] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [811] Yeah, Mao said ... we support the peasants' demand for equal distribution of land in order to help the [...] masses of peasants speedily to abolish the system of land ownership, but we do not advocate absolute egalitarianism, whoever advocates absolute egalitarianism is wrong, such thinking is reactionary, backward and retrogressive in nature [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [812] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Philip (PS46K) [813] [...] it's a pretty nasty criticism [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [814] Yeah, [...]
Philip (PS46K) [815] the whole, whole basis of [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [816] [...] then he goes on to explain why [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [817] And this is in nineteen forty eight is it?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [818] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [819] But at the same time [...] so presumably he would've supported it.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [820] Yeah the l that's the laughable thing as well, he tries to criticize it on ideological grounds
Philip (PS46K) [821] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laughing] [...] []
Philip (PS46K) [822] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [823] which they admitted [...] work cos it was a load of rubbish.
Philip (PS46K) [824] Right.
[825] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [826] But what about when, I dunno i it ... [...] in his speech he's being very honest and saying well look we really need the support blah blah and the and then tries to put this er bit in about erm Marxist Leninism
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [827] that's life and ... is er well wh what's all that about?
Philip (PS46K) [828] I think he's trying to do a number of things here
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [829] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [830] and this is the problem an an and as you get into them they all do begin to conflict.
[831] But in terms of the change of policy, does this fit with the, the kind of Maoist view of excesses?
[832] That is to right a wrong you need to go to excess.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [833] No I don't think so, I think there's a difference ... because the other excesses were on the peasants' part ... now it's okay whatever the peasants did, you know, it's not terrible it's, it's fine to let the peasants do that, and also erm ... into the war period the peasants are gonna [...] but [...] mustn't do it, this time it's like okay, now we're the party that's saying let's go as far as we can.
Philip (PS46K) [834] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [835] It's the party actually saying that we should promote rather than allow.
Philip (PS46K) [836] Who's er who's doing the excesses?
[837] Who's taking [...] ?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [838] Well it's
Philip (PS46K) [839] It's the poor isn't it because they [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [840] Yeah but it's on the instruction it's on the instructions of [...]
Philip (PS46K) [841] Not, no not [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [842] Cos the poor they can do what they want [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [843] [...] sort of bits, I've got a bit here and it says ... all landlords may be [laughing] liquidated immediately [] you know
Philip (PS46K) [844] [...] right.
[845] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [846] So so the, the leadership
Philip (PS46K) [847] Right.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [848] did get it all wrong and [...]
Philip (PS46K) [849] Well but e bu bu but that i is inconsistent with what is telling us,th there's nothing in 's speech which, which [...] whi which condones that kind of excessive violence.
[850] ... I mean if, if you take his view it's fairly moderate.
[851] You're quite right that a number of er statements are coming out which, which do really give ... give erm legitimacy to this kind of violence bu bu but basically the violence is still being created or led by the poor in their attempt to, to get more.
[852] Now
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [853] No but that was a result of the er lan land law in itself wasn't it?
Philip (PS46K) [854] Yes.
[855] Well i it, it, certainly it, it allowed you to do that
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [856] Yes.
Philip (PS46K) [857] but I think one ... one might still see this in terms of, of Mao's ideas on excesses that, that clearly the situation was not right in the first half of, of nineteen forty seven.
[858] The May the fourth directive hadn't gone far enough, you needed to go beyond that.
[859] Y y you needed to right that wrong.
[860] Now in order to move yourself forward you might need to go to excess, you might need at least to tolerate excesses.
[861] ... Once you've gone too far, and I think this is where the centre is crucial, the centre has got to, to say we have gone, this is the point where we have gone too far and we need to stop.
[862] But you then ended up somewhere which was better than where you started off from.
[863] And in order to get from A to B you needed to go to excess.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [864] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [865] Well ... yeah but the reason I think you can condemn the excesses is because it's [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [clears throat]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [866] middle peasants to waver
Philip (PS46K) [867] Yes.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [868] er [...]
Philip (PS46K) [869] Bu bu bu but but er but you're not unhappy with those excesses taking place because th they may be necessary in order to move you forward. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [870] [...] more and more saying look [...] and let's try and kill a few less people.
Philip (PS46K) [871] Ah but, but only when it's realized it, it's gone too far. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [872] Yeah but w w too far because it's affecting the middle peasants.
Philip (PS46K) [873] Peasants.
[874] That becomes your criterion?
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [875] Yeah.
Philip (PS46K) [876] Mm.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [877] Yeah he didn't really care [...] ... he wasn't too bothered [...] but at least that's what he said at one point [...]
Philip (PS46K) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [878] But if, if you've got that idea of what Mao's idea of excess is you know that you can have excesses then you go f forward and then you come back [...] there
Philip (PS46K) [879] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [880] that in itself ... is the Party saying we should do this.
[881] I mean it's not just letting the excesses go which I think [...] understand it when you first said it, so that idea in itself is a Party idea, it's not just letting the, the peasants do it and say well okay ... what you're trying to say now is that okay that we have got this strategy, we'll let the excesses go and then we'll stop it, we get to about stage B and stage C and move on and move on.
[882] That in itself is a Party [...] isn't it?
Philip (PS46K) [883] Er ... yes, the, the, I think the one bit of it that is not Mao's is that, is that you do unfortunately in a [laughing] sense [] sense have these statements from the, the various bureaux and this is a,th this absolute terror is okay.
[884] Erm er I mean if you go back to 's view,i it is, it's legitimate for the, for the masses to commit excesses, it's not legitimate for the Party to promote them.
[885] Now I think in 's view those Party s those bureaux statements were excessive and, and ... I think you wouldn't probably have gone along with them, or at least he, he oughtn't to within his own terms of reference.
[886] Erm but without that as long as it's the masses who are committing this it's, it's okay because you, you need that in order to create the [...] [door banging] When it's gone too far, when it's counter-productive in a, not for the individual middl poor peasant because he's doing very well out of it, but in terms of the movement as a whole, you begin to stop it. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [887] [clears throat] And who makes that decision?
Philip (PS46K) [888] It's Mao's. ...
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [889] How much, how much erm [...] by a landlord cos I mean they didn't even attend the conference.
[890] Apparently.
Philip (PS46K) [891] I, I, I find it difficult to believe he would not have known that.
[892] I mean for Christ sake it's a conference lasts three months [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Philip (PS46K) [893] erm [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [laugh]
Philip (PS46K) [894] I mean o okay it's, it's a difficult area but I, I just don't believe the communications were that bad that he didn't know what was going on and wasn't in a position to say look this is wrong.
[895] I, I think he knew about it, I think he was happy with it because ... I mean as, as, as we've seen th th one can build up a, quite a convincing rationale for it
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [896] Mm.
Philip (PS46K) [897] erm if, if, if you, if you, if you take this view of excesses you're not unhappy for that to happen in order to move it forward ... as long as you maintain the control necessary to stop it when it's gone too far, which is exactly what he does.
[898] I mean as soon as it's clear that the middle peasants are coming under pressure ... December nineteen forty seven, he begins to issue statements, we must protect the middle peasant and as, as said the, the, the nineteen thirty three class documents are reissued er which make it very clear that, that middle peasants must be protected.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [899] So do you think that erm when this law was erm pushed through in nineteen forty seven that er perhaps Mao [...] ... you know well I think there's been a bit of excess now, I think we'll do some we just need, we just need a bit of a rush now just to take us through a bit and then we'll stop it in a few months time.
Philip (PS46K) [900] Mm.
[901] Mm right.
[902] It's either that deliberate or a, a sort of er one stage back where well if it leads to excesses it won't actually matter ... because we may, it might be necessary and we can stop it anyway.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [903] Mm.
[904] It's like
Philip (PS46K) [...]
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [905] giving the appearance of the Party following the peasants but in fact the Party's got a good idea where they will probably go anyway.
Philip (PS46K) [906] Yeah.
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [907] Erm a very subtle, very behind the scenes ...
Philip (PS46K) [908] But, but if, if you followed Mao's speech it, there shouldn't be much in the way of excess anyway.
[909] I it, it's, you've got these other statements now I think the they're the real problem, those are the ones which, which really do lead to [...] not just condone but support and encourage the excesses which are the problem.
[910] Cos I mean, I mean I think that, that there is, there are two things, one is the excesses in terms of, of landlords being killed, and the other is, is the encroachment on middle peasants er er er they are different things.
[911] There's the t the violence of it and the excesses in terms of, of the effects on the middle peasant.
[912] ... We, we'd better stop there.
[913] Can, can we, we'll pick this [...] at this point
Unknown speaker (JJLPSUNK) [914] Quickly that if what you're saying is true that how that erm they wanted to er that they, they didn't care that this could lead to excesses because they could control of the situation, wasn't that a bit damnable because supposing they couldn't? ...
Philip (PS46K) [915] Yeah