Re: RE: Mark Selden and "The Yenan Way"

From "William C. Wooldridge" <woldrdge@Princeton.EDU>
Date Wed, 20 Oct 2004 00:02:31 -0400


My (limited) understanding of post-Seldon scholarship is that there has been a major shift in the field from looking at CCP ideology to looking at individual bargains the CCP drove in different places.  I vaguely remember a book called Making Revolution by somebody Chen, and lots of case studies since.  Where did I see a review article ... Journal of Asian Studies?

This is all horribly vague.  But my sense of the current state of the field is that it has moved toward viewing the CCP as making use of different methods in different places, and that expediency was more relevant than ideology.  People point to things like the Communists selling opium to raise money or cutting bargains with local warlords.  Seems like it is about time for the pendulum to swing back toward Seldon. 

But I'm a nineteenth-century guy, a bit out of the loop.  If you find an answer to your question, I'd appreciate it if you let me know.



----- Original Message -----

From: brian turner <>

Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 0:53 am

Subject: RE: Mark Selden and "The Yenan Way"

> >From: Saul Thomas <>
> >To:
> >Subject: Mark Selden and "The Yenan Way"
> >Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 07:30:58 -0500
> >
> >
> >Does anyone here have any opinion of Mark Selden and "The Yenan
> Way" (or
> >the
> >later revision, "The Yenan Way Revisited")? I am curious as to
> how he and
> >that
> >work are regarded now by left and mainstream China scholars.
> >
> >Thanks,
> >
> >Saul
> The new chapter (I think the same as "Yan'an Communism
> Reconsidered" an
> article in 'Modern China' around 1995) acknowledges that he
> overlooked
> Leninist/Despotic elements that were present even then, but argues
> that by
> in large the view of a populist party creating a more (not fully)
> democratic
> culture is right.
> A cynic would simply declare that new evidence about CCP crimes in
> the war
> period proves they were always evil bastards, but a more
> interesting
> question, rejecting the simplistic cynical view, is why they went
> from
> genuine populists constructing something quite different from
> Soviet
> "socialism" to Soviet despotic bureaucrats. Is it inevitable (the
> iron law
> of bureaucracy)? Influenced by particular circumstances? Chinese
> culture?
> Or was there a betrayal by those with power?
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