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March 11, 2014

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ajay

It is one of the most disturbing things about accounts of the GLF (and Cultural Revolution) that masses of people just instinctively seemed to know what to do when they wanted to torture and humiliate people. The knowledge was very widely distributed.

Malcs

I think it only looks that way when the events of the immediately previous period are occluded, as they sometimes are in accounts of the GLF - but the anti-rightist campaign and in fact lots of stuff that happened during the consolidation of power after 1949 paved the way, from what I've read (which is not enough admittedly and will hopefully soon be supplemented when I finally get round to The Tragedy of Liberation).

dsquared

masses of people just instinctively seemed to know what to do when they wanted to torture and humiliate people. The knowledge was very widely distributed.

"scrubbing the taro" looks very much like a standard one of those playground plausibly-deniable-bullying-games. TBH kids as young as ten can work out how to torture and humiliate people so I don't think it requires much training.

des von bladet

kids as young as ten can work out how to torture and humiliate people so I don't think it requires much training.

Or: the playground also has an institutional memory of torture and humiliation.

jamie

Can't swear to it statistically I think one of the main differences between China and the SU was the fact that the formal Russian security organs were much bigger than China's, at least on a per capita basis. China seemed to rely much more heavily on popular mobilisation to enforce political control, especially out in the countryside. Likewise, administratively China was always quite decentralised on a sort of 'mission control' basis, by which I mean that whiulke yoiu had to obey orders and meet targets, how you did it was up to you (a lot of this latter structure still persists post reform,)The GLF and - especially - the Cultural Revolution seems to be what happens when the whole process gets completely out of control.

belle le triste

the playground also has an institutional memory of torture and humiliation

Iona and Peter Opie's classic "The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren" has a chapter devoted to precisely this (chinese* burns and so on).

*relevant!

Alex

Iona and Peter Opie's classic "The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren"

I was fascinated by this book when I was a kid, but wasn't allowed to read it in case I started coming out with random Shetland whalefucking songs in break when I should have been getting in fights.

Phil

A friend of mine got into folk at a young age, regaled his friends at break with the plot of Lizzie Wan and very nearly got suspended for it - the headteacher was not pleased.

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