BACKWARD TOWARD REVOLUTION: The Chinese Revolutionary Party by Edward Friedman

BACKWARD TOWARD REVOLUTION: The Chinese Revolutionary Party

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Friedman builds a metaphysic of pastoral revolution around Chu Chih-hsin, an obscure theoretician of an obscure sect, the Chinese Revolutionary Party, founded in 1914 by Sun Yat-sen after his nationalist victory fell apart. This time around Sun wanted a tight, elite vanguard. The CRP's oaths and fingerprinting of members seem more like a Rotary ritual than, as Professor Friedman solemnly calls them, ""supra-Leninist."" Sun himself was never so overcome by zealotry as to give up croquet on his front lawn and other more worldly pleasures of the flesh. Politically, the period was an intricate power vacuum. Friedman focuses on CRP intellectual Chu, who sought a mass base among the peasantry and foreshadowed the un-Marxist side of Maoism. Friedman sees in Chu the beginning of a redefinition of revolution as a return to ""egalitarian community,"" as opposed to Marx, Engels and Lenin's belief ""that change, the bigger and better, is the essence of revolution."" Chu, like the hundreds of thousands who died to bring China into the 20th century, would have little enthusiasm for Friedman's ""value of return.

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 1974
Publisher: Univ. of California Press