Land Reform and the Revolutionary War

A Review of Mao's Concepts and Doctrines

by K. C. Yeh

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Discussion of the economic basis of the Communist doctrine of land reform and the conditions that led to it. A revolution, as Mao sees it, is a protracted armed struggle, led by the Party and supported by the masses. An essential ingredient in Mao's mobilization program was the positive appeal that touched directly upon the peasants' interests. In the pre-1937 and post-1945 periods, land reform was used to fulfill the need for economic security. During the Sino-Japanese war, when the radical land reform policy was temporarily suspended, a campaign to reduce rent was instituted to redistribute income in favor of the peasants. The Communist leaders spared no effort in indoctrinating and organizing the peasants at the base levels. The catalytic role of the Party was all important: Although poverty and social blockage created the permanent gap between the peasants' aspirations and reality, land reform and other motivational appeals provided a way to bridge that gap. (See also RM-6077.)

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