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Reclaiming the Chinese Revolution


Focusing on the Chinese Communists' mobilizational efforts at the Anyuan coal mine in the early 1920s, the author argues for reconsidering a sometimes forgotten part of Chinese revolutionary history. At Anyuan, idealistic young Communist cadres led a highly successful nonviolent strike and launched a major educational program for workers, peasants, and their families. The result was a remarkable outpouring of popular support for the Communist revolutionary effort. Although the meaning of the “Anyuan revolutionary tradition” has been obscured and distorted over the years to serve a variety of personal, political, and pecuniary agendas, the author seeks to recover from its early history the possibility of alternative revolutionary paths, driven less by class struggle and cults of personality than by the quest for human dignity through grassroots organization.

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Joseph W Esherick . 1995. “Ten Theses on the Chinese Revolution.” Modern China 21 (1): 4476; reprinted In Twentieth Century China: New Approaches, ed. Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, 39–65. London: Routledge, 2003. [Citations are from the reprint]

Charles H. Fairbanks Jr. 2007. “Revolution Reconsidered.” Journal of Democracy 18 (1): 4453.

Elizabeth J Perry . 2007. “Red Literati: Communist Educators at Anyuan, 1921–25.” Twentieth-Century China 32 (2): 111–34.

Paul Pierson . 2004. Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

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The Journal of Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9118
  • EISSN: 1752-0401
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies
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