“Great Leap Forward” is Americanized to “Forward” — a socialist campaign blunders.
Most characteristic of this preaching [of the Great Leap Forward] was its utopianism, the promise of a bright future just in the offing, “three years of suffering leading to a thousand years of happiness.” — Franz Schurmann writing in Ideology and Organization in Communist China
Comrades, you can’t make it up. Can you say “campaign blunder”? Or is it a blunder? Is it deliberate? The socialist mind at work in campaign mode?
The Obama campaign has picked a portion of one of the most infamous socialist slogans of 20th century history to use as its own new campaign slogan.
“Forward” is the new Obama slogan, Team Obama borrowing boldly from none other than the late Communist Party of China leader Chairman Mao.
Mao’s slogan? “The Great Leap Forward.”
Rather than describing this myself, let’s take a tour of various descriptions of this wonderful, Communist slogan.
The Great Leap Forward (simplified Chinese: 大跃进; traditional Chinese: 大躍進; pinyin: Dà yuè jìn) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China (CPC), reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China’s vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern communist society through the process of rapid industrialization and collectivization. Mao Zedong led the campaign based on the Theory of Productive Forces, and intensified it after being informed of the impending disaster from grain shortages.
Chief changes in the lives of rural Chinese included the introduction of a mandatory process of agricultural collectivization, which was introduced incrementally. Private farming was prohibited, and those engaged in it were labeled as counter revolutionaries and persecuted. Restrictions on rural people were enforced through public struggle sessions, and social pressure. Rural industrialization, officially a priority of the campaign, saw “its development … aborted by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward.”
The Great Leap ended in catastrophe, resulting in tens of millions of excess deaths. Estimates of the death toll range from 18 million to 45 million, with estimates by demographic specialists ranging from 18 million to 32.5 million. Historian Frank Dikötter asserts that “coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the very foundation of the Great Leap Forward” and it “motivated one of the most deadly mass killings of human history.” In contrast, journals such as the Monthly Review have disputed the reliability of the figures commonly cited, the qualitative evidence of a “massive death toll”, and Mao’s complicity in those deaths which occurred.
The years of the Great Leap Forward in fact saw economic regression, with 1958 through 1961 being the only years between 1953 and 1983 in which China’s economy saw negative growth.
If you prefer the video version of the Great Leap Forward, here’s a video summary. At 5:08 in the video the film tells us that the Great Leap Forward resulted in famine and starvation for the Chinese people.
Perhaps one of the most interesting video takes on The Great Leap Forward is from a PBS series called Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism.
Not only is the film well done, it was posted (in segments) on YouTube in 2009 by one “CE Hitchens.” That’s right — the late Christopher Hitchens, the one-time left-winger who, in the years after 9/11, developed a profound antipathy for the totalitarian left.
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