Thursday, October 21, 2010

Communes in Sichuan

"A Commune in Sichuan? Reflections on Endicott’s Red Earth", by Husunzi

"Stephen Endicott’s Red Earth: Revolution in a Sichuan Village (New York: New Amsterdam Books, 1991) is one of the few enjoyable village studies that provide carefully documented, detailed accounts of the system of agrarian “people’s communes” that dramatically transformed rural and urban China from the late 1950s to the early 1980s. As such, it provides important insights to students of modern Chinese history, researchers on “development” in general, and even to social activists concerned with how to create a better post-capitalist world. To those who recognize the unsustainability and injustice of capitalism but think no better alternative is possible, that “communism is a good idea in theory but will never work in practice,” pointing to China as an example of its failure, Red Earth demonstrates that, while the PRC was never communist (and never claimed to be), some of the communistic arrangements it experimented with did work despite unfavorable circumstances, and it was not any inherent impracticality that led to their abandonment."


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