Women--Employment--China--Yangtze River, Women and socialism--China--Yangtze River, Silk industry--China--Yangtze River--History--20th century, Women silk industry workers--China--Yangtze River, and Work environment--China--Yangtze River
'Red Silk is a history of China's Yangzi Delta silk industry during the wars, crises, and revolutions of the mid-twentieth century. Based on extensive research in Chinese archives and focused on the 1950s, the book compares two very different groups of silk workers and their experiences in the revolution. Male silk weavers in Shanghai factories enjoyed close ties to the Communist party-state and benefited greatly from socialist policies after 1949. In contrast, workers in silk thread mills, or filatures, were mostly young women who lacked powerful organizations or ties to the revolutionary regime. For many filature workers, working conditions changed little after 1949 and politicized production campaigns added a new burden within the brutal and oppressive factory regime in place since the nineteenth century. Both groups of workers and their employers had to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Their actions—protests, petitions, bribery, tax evasion—compelled the party-state to adjust its policies, producing new challenges. The results, though initially positive for many, were ultimately disastrous. By the end of the 1950s, there was widespread conflict and deprivation among silk workers and, despite its impressive recovery under Communist rule, the industry faced a crisis worse than war and revolution.'
Revolutions and socialism--Soviet Union--History--20th century and Revolutions and socialism--China--History--20th century
China's ascent to the ranks of the world's second largest economic power has given its revolution a better image than that of its Russian counterpart. Yet the two have a great deal in common. Indeed, the Chinese revolution was a carbon copy of its predecessor, until Mao became aware, not so much of the failures of the Russian model, but of its inability to adapt to an overcrowded third-world country. Yet, instead of correcting that model, Mao decided to go further and faster in the same direction. The aftershock of an earthquake may be weaker, but the Great Leap Forward of 1958 in China was far more destructive than the Great Turn of 1929 in the Soviet Union. It was conceived with an idealistic end but failed to take all the possibilities into account. China's development only took off after—and thanks to—Mao's death, once the country turned its back on the revolution. Lucien Bianco's original comparative study highlights the similarities: the all-powerful bureaucracy; the over-exploitation of the peasantry, which triggered two of the worst famines of the 20th century; control over writers and artists; repression and labor camps. The comparison of Stalin and Mao that completes the picture, leads the author straight back to Lenin and he quotes the observation by a Chinese historian that, “If at all possible, it is best to avoid revolutions altogether.”
The founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1921, the spread of Marxism, and the rise of the workers and peasants'movement provided a powerful organization and ideological basis for China to explore a new road to modernization. Relying on a mass movement supported by strong ideals, beliefs, and strict discipline, the CPC with Mao Zedong as the representative successfully opened a revolutionary'road'to reclaim the national power. From 1949 to 1976, great efforts were made to explore the road of socialism construction. During this time, China's modernization made great strides forward but also experienced some serious twists and turns. The experiences and lessons of this time period have provided valuable political material and ideological resources for the future. China has successfully found a different road to modernization from the Western countries and the Soviet Union, giving the'Chinese Road'great historical significance. This book takes an in-depth look at this fascinating history in Chinese politics. [Subject: Chinese Studies, Politics, Socialism]