Lens of the Past: The Chinese Communist Party, The Masses, and The State

Most of us are pondering the future of China-U.S relations. The coming battles over China’s ability to project power in the South China Sea and the race to dictate what constitutes the sovereign usage of weaponized space satellites are important to conceptualize as they constitute issues that will shape the future contours of U.S hegemony. But it is also important to look into the past in order to understand the internal makeup of China’s ruling party, the Chinese Communist Party. To understand the coming political changes during the next decade between China and the U.S, it is essential to look at the humble beginnings of the modern Chinese state as institutionalized through the creed of the Chinese Communist Party. Let’s take a look at a quick synopsis of the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

The founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) developed out of the need for central power in China. The CCP took on Leninist-Marxist philosophy because of its attractive message to unite the masses while seeking to build a stable economic sector. The need for a strong power in China to unify its core was the essence of the battle between the CCP and the Kuomintang Party, also known as the Chinese Nationalists. Much of the foundation of the CCP was supported by Russian advocates for Communist governments, but the Chinese made it clear that they would not adopt the Soviet model. During the 20th century, the CCP had to build up their organization and structural style in an attempt to completely hold all power in China. Before the CCP would be a major factor in Chinese government they had to stake out the difficulties of vying for power in a war torn nation. What they endured was hardship but what they ended up with was success. Their story takes us much into the struggle of China to lessen the political wedge between its different ethnic clans and build itself up to a strong dignified nation. The CCP was able to survive and build a new China due to its ability to create mass political mobilization through its usage of a Farmers Association, its ability to cement internal stability of the party after many revolts and purges, and its ability to fortify Mao Zedong’s leadership within the CCP in order to bolster its role in centralizing China’s political and military power structure.

In order to gain substantial support, the CCP designed a movement of mass peasantry support to help buildup their military campaign in the civil war against the Kuomintang (1945-1949). To organize farmers they formed the National General Labor Group so as to create a single labor federation. Much of the peasantry masses did not trust or understand the CCP but were compromised by propaganda of ‘rent- resistance movements’ which played on the side of the peasants. Much of what the CCP organized was to help the political foundation of support in order to push for a bigger agenda: the military campaign. They trained the people in the ideology first and showed them the benefits of what this ideology can bring. After this was completed the CCP trained the rural population to help build up the organization with the Farmers’ Movement Training Institute. This was not a success because much of the people were not benefiting from the organization and there was no trust from village elites. Though the CCP was starting to become fractionalized, it was a good first move to gain the support of those who can help unify China’s warring political factions and begin the process of centralizing power through the national ethos of one party. Building a new national identity masked through the doctrine of Communist ideology was no easy task, but helped to coalesce the people behind a message that would first build China into an economy in order for a state to follow.

The enormous amount of revolts and purges throughout the history of the CCP was a weakness that left the party in shambles, one that the CCP has proven to never repeat. The revolts led to disorganization in leadership and membership. The essence of the CCP was lost in the wave of violence. To bring the party back together, the Comintern (the international communist organization of 1919-1943) helped to reconstruct what the CCP had lost throughout the murderous revolts. The party leadership was now hard to compromise because of the generation gaps between old and new members. The rise in the peasantry division left the intellectuals in a rebuttal of what to do next. In this period, the CCP was in disintegration by means of policy goals and political structure.

Mao Zedong’s entry as a strong man of the CCP was a crucial factor to help reorganize its political and military strength. Mao helped to mobilize the peasant masses once again in determination of a  ‘democratic revolution.’ He became the dominant figure in constructing the party’s political ideology in order to create a fundamental mission that everyone can understand. The military strategy was designed with the help of China’s top military general Zhu-de, who was a crucial factor in the CCP’s success. They worked together to prove that the CCP could work to unite China. They adopted guerrilla tactics of retreat and long marches to build up and keep the support of the party. The Long March of the CCP was an epic journey to help destroy the anti-Communist campaign designed by Chiang Kai-shek. This tactic showed the unquestionable effort and sense of duty of the Communist Party. The sacrifices made were the fuel for the commitment to finish the journey and conquer power to birth a new age for the Chinese nation to govern as a revived state. The CCP was now on the road to obtaining power and setting down the roadmap for victory.

The CCP sketched the design for the future China. The struggle for power is echoed by the mobilization of farmers whom helped to stabilize political support of CCP leadership. The internal revolts endured by the CCP may have led to initial weakness in its political structure, but were eventually gathered back up by the forces of Mao Zedong. Mao’s political stronghold was cemented down by the military strategy of the Long March. This helped to build the backbone of the Chinese Communist Party and its ability to strengthen the national unity of China by centralizing state power through the doctrine of one-party rule in order to impart solidity in the governance of the new People’s Republic of China.


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