There are striking similarities between the current protests we are seeing on campuses in the United States and Mao's Cultural Revolution. In some ways, what is going on at campuses in America should be considered Mao-lite.
The Cultural Revolution was a brutal period. The Online Encyclopedia of Mass Killings reports:
The Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a historical tragedy launched by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It claimed the lives of several million people and inflicted cruel and inhuman treatments on hundreds of million people.This type of brutality is not now going on in the US, but the fuel powering today's campus protesters seems to be very much in line with the fuel that powered the cultural revolution. In short, they both seem to rage against any success and blame class oppression as the root of all evil.
They both are horrifically intolerant. From OEMK:
As indicated by a militant editorial on June 1 in the People’s Daily, an official guideline for the Cultural Revolution, the main purpose of this unprecedented political campaign was to “Sweep Away All Cow-Demons and Snake-Spirits,” which not only included traditional class enemies such as the “Five Black Categories” (landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, and rightists), but also “capitalist-roaders in the Party” (cadres) and “reactionary academics” (teachers and other intellectuals)...Mao and the Party Central stirred up the passions of thousands of rebellious youth in Beijing middle schools and colleges, where students began to establish Red Guards to challenge and attack school authority and teachers. During the short period of June- July 1966, mass violence spread over campuses, where teachers and other educators were abusively subjected to “struggle sessions,” humiliated, and beaten by fervent students.Wikipedia on Struggle Sessions:
A struggle session was a form of public humiliation and torture used by the Communist Party of China in the Mao Zedong era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, or execute political rivals and class enemies. In general, the victim of a struggle session was forced to admit to various crimes before a crowd of people who would verbally and physically abuse the victim until he or she confessed.
Can today's protesters be thought of as anything other than instigating early-stage struggle sessions?
Evidence event number 1: The University of Vermont Held a Three-Day Retreat so Students Could Confront Their “White Privilege”
Number 2: Below are some items on the lists of demands made by protesting students at Mizzou:
We demand that the University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a handwritten apology to the Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demonstrators and holds a press conference in the Mizzou Student Center reading the letter. In the letter and at the press conference, Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white male privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exist, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands...Number 3: Roger Kimball reports on what is going on at the Amherst College campus:
Even as I write, Amherst College is exploding with nonnegotiable demands from a student group that the president apologize for (among others things) Amherst’s “institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latinx racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native/ indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma, and classism.”Number 4:Think Progress reports:
Hundreds of Ithaca College students, faculty, and staff flooded the campus quad Wednesday afternoon to protest racial inequality on the college campus and the leadership of college president Tom Rochon.
The “walkout” demonstration was led by student activist group POC at IC, which stands for People of Color at Ithaca College. The group formed in October in response to recent events viewed as racist by members of the campus community.
Wednesday’s walkout follows multiple acts of student protest on the Ithaca College campus in response to a slew of racial controversies and insufficient action from college president Tom Rochon and the administration.
.Number 5: At the University of Louisville, President James Ramsey apologized after a student uproar over his Halloween costume, which included him wearing a sombrero.
Number 6: Most unsettling was the protest on the campus of Dartmouth, where protesters entered the library where students were studying and shouted: “Fuck you, you filthy white fucks!” “Fuck you and your comfort!” “Fuck you, you racist shits!”
The Dartmouth Review reported that some of the protesters became physically violent: “Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group. ‘If we can’t have it, shut it down!’ they cried. Another woman was pinned to a wall by protesters who unleashed their insults, shouting ‘filthy white bitch!’ in her face.”
One of the Dartmouth protesters posted online, saying they were ashamed of what the protest turned into. “After making a girl cry, a protester screamed ‘Fuck your white tears,'” he reports. “I was startled by the aggression from a small minority of students towards students in the library, many of whom were supporters of the movement.”
The choice of a library, where no administrative policies are set and students study, is telling.
Number 7: Then there was, of course, the Mizzou professor who called for "muscle" to prevent news media from covering a protest:
On July 28,
How far are we really from a figure emerging like Mao's wife? In 1966, Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife and a key figure of the Central Cultural Revolution Group, conveyed Mao’s instruction regarding mass violence at a students’ rally: “If good people beat bad people, it serves them right; if bad people beat good people, the good people achieve glory; if good people beat good people, it is a misunderstanding; without beatings, you do not get acquainted and then no longer need to beat them.”.
I contacted a friend who recently taught at Mizzou and asked him if he saw any signs, while he was there, of the radical element at the University. He wrote back:
Not at all. Mizzou had the usual amount of PC silliness but no more than other schools, as far as I was aware. Actually, it probably could have happened anywhere – this particular protest movement is spreading rapidly to other campuses. Pretty soon this will be a national phenomenon.At present, the number of students involved in the protests appears small. Although with the PC indoctrination that most students are exposed at this time, I would imagine there are many non-protesting sympathizers.
As I say, it is Mao-lite at present. Let us hope that doesn't get anywhere near the traction to go full Mao, though I suspect some would like to see just that.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at EconomicPolicyJournal.com and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics