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5 – Rule of Tyrannical Madness

In Module 4 we saw Chairman Mao brought down by his own incompetence and dogmatic obsession. Module 5, Rule of Tyrannical Madness, is best described as the “Mao Strikes Back” sequel. This module brings us firmly into the second phase of China’s 30 Years of Absolute Socialism: the 1960s. The decade begins with the Great Chinese Famine burning itself out, Mao being marginalized within the Chinese Communist Party Power structure as a consequence, and so-called “Reformers” unraveling of some of the major damage caused by his grotesque failures. Though hardcore socialists themselves, these reformers offered the Chinese People more pragmatism and less dogma with their socialism—something that the re-traumatized Chinese people were no doubt grateful for. But sadly, we will see that Mao and his faction of fanatics weren’t through with their cynical and abusive experimentation with the lives and fortunes of the Chinese people. And in some ways, the worst for China’s culture and many of its people is in store for the 1960s.

Sadly, the reformers opportunity for change would be short lived. For as deadly and destructive as Mao’s era of the Ridiculous, Perverse and Insane was – he would now ferociously strike back with what can best be described as Tyrannical Madness. He would fight back against reformers by launching yet another nationwide campaign, The Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution: with the platform that counterrevolutionaries in Beijing and the bureaucracy have betrayed the Revolution and that it was every Chinese responsibility to fight to take the country back! Together with his wife JiangQing, they began the campaign by deliberately misguiding, miseducating and fomenting a fanatical army of purist youth who he would then set loose to terrorize his political rivals, and consequently the already suffering Chinese population. They were Chairman Mao’s Social Justice Warriors, his personal shock troops, Anti-Rightists…a kind of “ANTI-RA” to do battle in the streets with phantom counterrevolutionaries who were supposedly lurking around every corner. Or as they are called in America, a Civilian National Security Force, ANTIFA, who also target phantom political enemies, but who fortunately never achieved meaningful numbers to become “just as powerful, just as strong and just as well funded…as the US Military.”

But even the Great Mao ZeDong couldn’t do this alone. Mao’s Wife, Jiang Qing, was his partner in this endeavor. She controlled the Nation’s media, and importantly 70,000 loudspeakers that were in every school and factory. All printed materials were under their authority: from books to magazines to newspapers. Mao and his wife schemed to win back total power and control by creating of a cult of personality around Mao himself. And they began by seizing the hearts and minds of China’s youth. Mao ordered schools closed, and students were mobilized to carry out revolutionary action against the counterrevolutionaries, like Deng XiaoPing and others, who threatened the purity of the communist revolution. And Mao’s instruction manual? His little red book of sayings which every student needed to memorize and recite like a bible. Colleges and schools would be closed for 4 years as students ran amok following Mao’s every order, no matter how mad or destructive.

It may have been coincidence, but it was certainly interesting that the propaganda campaign launched to bring down Mao’s rivals happened to be led by the wife of one of the country’s leader. But the message was the same: Their rivals were betraying the nation, colluding with evil foreign forces and where dehumanized through baseless accusations and labeling bordered on the ridiculous. And in both cases the Media and education apparatus were employed to brainwash the nation’s youth.

What happened during the Cultural Revolution amounted to domestic terrorism. And unlike a dozen or so Antifa blocking an intersection in Seattle or Portland, there were over 10 million of them! Hopped-up teens ran wild across the country. They could ride any transportation for free. The army was obligated to feed them whenever they asked. And they would arrest and beat anyone who so much had a finger pointed at them. Being accused was as good as guilty: and these roving mobs were judge, jury and executioner. When the red guards arrived on your street, you prayed for them to pass your house by. This fictionalized depiction in the film “The Last Emperor” does a good job of portraying the tyrannical madness.

And like America’s current so called “Culture Leaders,” there were plenty of adults around, grown-ups in power who encouraged violence, and called for uprisings in the streets and mob rule for their own cynical benefit–to attack their political rivals. They were the absolute power, power hungry socialist deep state who didn’t care about the consequences of what they were doing: like whose lives were destroyed in the process. They were absolutely corrupted by absolute power.

The brewing tantrums of these youth fed on itself, and the red-guards grew ever higher on their devotion to their cause and ever more convulsive and unpredictable in their actions. The more certain they were, the more they believed in their own righteousness, the more contempt they had for their fellow citizen who weren’t as slavishly devoted. Infidels, or non-believers, were dehumanized into 2-dimentional labels: counterrevolutionaries…rightists…and capitalist roaders. For the Red Guards, all that mattered was the purity of their ideas and the single-mindedness of their execution. And that made them highly dangerous: one never knowing who they’d turn on next. One former Red Guard was 13 at the time and recounted his band breaking into people’s homes and destroying their porcelains, artwork and antiques. And seizing the good stuff: phonographs, binoculars, radios and the like and carrying them off to designated warehouses. He then told me: “But we returned everything eventually.” I told him I was impressed with how they must have well catalogued everything: to know whose stuff was whose. And as if he just realized what he’d done at that very moment, he stared stunned: “A lot was lost. Usually the valuable stuff.” He was made into an unwitting looter and didn’t even realize it. One wonders, if these Chinese Red Guards existed in 21st Century America, would they have also shut down Facebook and Twitter pages that promoted “counterrevolutionary content,” biased algorithms against the “rightists”, and doxed “capitalist-roaders” and listed them 1,000th in search results on Google. No doubt, yes, for China’s Red Guard’ “counterrevolutionary” label was equivalent to American’s SWJ “anti-democratic fascists.” “Rightist” equivalent to “right wing.” And “capitalists” equivalent to…well…“capitalists.”

But it wasn’t just the Chinese people who were victimized by the Red Guards. They were collateral damage. The primary target of Mao’s reign of terrorism was his Political Rivals. The so-called Reformers who’d put him down after the Great Chinese Famine. The red guards were unleashed upon them as well. One only needed was a well placed finger pointed their way, together with an appropriate label…most often counterrevolutionary…and people were accused of treason and arrested. They were then publicly denounced, humiliated and forced to confess to crimes on the street. Many were imprisoned and some even executed. In this way, Mao and his band of cronies systematically began to seize power with guilt by accusation and dirty-trick politics. But in case anyone still thought that Mao could be out-maneuvered, he put on an unimaginable demonstration that was guaranteed to eliminate any doubt that he was in charge.

Just when things had reached a fevered pitch, in October 1966 Mao brought his Red Guards to Beijing…. yes, all 10 million of them!  Over that one-month period, it is estimated that 10 million Red Guards came through Beijing’s Tian An Men Square to worship Chairman Mao who waved at them from on high at the gate to the Forbidden City: the former Emperor’s Palace. Surrounding Tian An Men Square, in view of the daily crowds was the Great Hall of the People and Central Government office buildings. One can imagine what a political rival of Mao’s might be thinking when for an entire month he looked out his office window at over a half million people at a time waving Mao’s little red book into the air and worshiping his every word: many fainting and in tears. Mao had elevated himself to a god status with his Red Guards. The point was surly taken by this incredible show of power: mess with Mao at your own peril. His political rivals had no choice but to submit to his authority or be destroyed.

And with that, Mao and JiangQing were back on top. From 1969 to 1973, Deng XiaoPing and his family were exiled to a rural cadre school for reeducation, where he performed manual labor and studied the writings of Mao and Marx. The Great Helmsman wrestled back the tiller of the country, a grip he would not lose until his death 10 years later.

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