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The great leap forward sabotaged?

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Soviet cogitations: 43
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Jan 2012, 12:29
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 04 Apr 2012, 21:09
I have read a few bits on TGLF and have often wondered whether it was actually sabotaged from anti-mao entities within the communist party (no fingers pointed but Deng Xiaoping supporters ect.) as alot of its problems and failures stem from people falsifying economic data.
Any thoughts on this?
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 04 Apr 2012, 23:48
I really don't think there is much evidence for this. The GLF failed because of three reasons: the Sino-Soviet split, poor logistics and planning, and the influence of "yes-men" lieutenants (themselves a product of Maoist political praxis).

First of all we have to remember that the GLF (or second five year plan) was, in part, a reaction to the Sino-Soviet split. The first five year plan which was completed before the split enlisted the aid of Soviet technicians and other assistance. It resulted in a highly centralised effort with a focus on heavy industry. This ran contrary to typical Maoist policy (first demonstrated in the Yan'an Period before the revolution) which stressed self-reliance/peasant ingenuity, a focus on the agricultural sector over the industrial sector, and decentralisation. While the first five year plan resulted in an overall successful development in terms of industrial growth, the sudden withdrawal of Soviet aid in the mid-late '50s meant China no longer had the means to replicate it for the second five year plan. It thus resorted to a more orthodox Maoist line of both economic development and organisation.

Secondly, the planning and logistics of the GLF suffered from a combination of delusion and traditional Maoist decentralisation. Instead of using the centralised state to direct peasant efforts to increase production, it encouraged the peasants to use their own methods resulting in inefficient and technologically unsound practices (e.g. backdoor furnaces, dams made of mud and straw, etc). Similarly, a lack of co-ordination meant people focused too much on steel production to the neglect of agricultural harvest. People melted down their farming tools on encouragement from officials (who were ordered to do this by Beijing). Harvests lay rotting in the fields while people made useless lumps of scrap metal.

Finally, these officials themselves produced fabricated reports for steel and grain production resulting in even higher being quotas set by Beijing. This was partly due to Maoist praxis established way back in Yan'an when Mao asserted his full dominance over the CCP by purging those who disagreed with his line. Furthermore, it was enforced by the purge against critics during the 100 Flowers Movement a few years beforehand. This resulted in a culture of "yes-men" who realised you had to agree and parrot the party line to the letter in order to remain in a job (and let's not forget that officials were a privileged caste in the PRC before the Cultural Revolution). I think we can also attribute an aspect of Chinese culture (face) to the GLF in the sense that people did not want to report bad news. Thus officials wanted to show how well they were doing and China itself wanted to prove to the Russians it could develop without their help (hence China continued to export rice abroad during the GLF). Combined with the decentralisation that was employed, you had powerful officials out in the provinces eager to prove themselves to the Maoist leadership and with a vast amount of influence over the actions of peasants under their jurisdiction.


You can't blame everything on Mao here but he certainly had a lot of responsibility for what happened. It is no surprise therefore that Deng and Liu Xiaoqi attempted to revert to more Soviet-style policies between 1962 and 1966 when Mao was somewhat relegated to the political doldrums.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 43
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 Jan 2012, 12:29
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 07 Apr 2012, 19:44
thanks for the info, i thought it was a long shot conspiracy theory regarding the sabotage attempts.
JAM
[+-]
Soviet cogitations: 172
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Mar 2012, 02:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 12 Apr 2012, 05:52
gRed Britain wrote:

First of all we have to remember that the GLF (or second five year plan)


Attention, the second five year plan had nothing to do with the GLF. We are talking about two distinct things. The second five year plan which was intended to continue the policies of the first plan was abandoned one year after its beginning. The GLF replaced the second five year plan. I agree with you in all the rest.
"If I could control Hollywood, I could control the world." -Joseph Stalin
Soviet cogitations: 2407
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
Ideology: Other
Forum Commissar
Post 15 Apr 2012, 14:59
Quote:
I have read a few bits on TGLF and have often wondered whether it was actually sabotaged from anti-mao entities within the communist party (no fingers pointed but Deng Xiaoping supporters ect.) as alot of its problems and failures stem from people falsifying economic data.
Any thoughts on this?


It was not sabotaged. At its core it was an insane idea and not based on proper thinking or organisation unlike the First Five Year Plan. To a large extent there was misinformation which the Chairman was deceived by. It is believed by many that he did not actually know what was going on, he being up in Beijing and in the sheltered environment of the Chinese governmental compound. Officials would also falsify figures for fear of telling the truth They would also demand from people excessive yields. When these could not be produced they would take the amount they demanded regardless of it people had enough to eat or not. It is not helped by the fact that in People's Communes during the GLF people were no longer paid money but instead given everything for free in a communal setting. This destroyed the motivation to work. You also have to remember that Mao Zedong was an idealist and romantic who did not always see economic realities. A good and skilled politician but not an economist or technocrat. In the end even he had to see that what was happening was destorying the country.

They should have not embarked on such a foolish scheme.

Red Britain has explained most of it.
Soviet cogitations: 69
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 May 2016, 15:31
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 07 Mar 2018, 01:24
i agree, great leap forward was such a disaster that made Mao retired from political scene for a period. Then he initiated cultural revolution to regain political power
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