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  1. Communes.

What was a commune?

They were groups of villages in large areas with an average of 5000 families and had everything from eating halls to a local government. It was a unit of work organisation with teams of dozens of families.

How was it organized?

It was organised so that nothing could distract people from their work and families.

Industrial development could be achieved through the individual efforts of the rural Chinese peasants.

How was a commune an instrument of?:

  1. political

It had a government and had to follow the CCP’s rules and decisions. Where the party could control the people. Committees were a unit of the CCP, ensuring obedience. Urban workers had no right to choose where they worked and were assigned jobs by state labour offices. The worker would keep the same job for the whole of his/her working life.

  1. social

It put families near each other and they did everything together from eating, working and learning. The people were not allowed to talk badly about the party. People weren’t allowed to think differently and were very restricted.

An eight-hour, six-day working week was introduced, workers received one week’s paid holiday a year and up to three week’s family visiting holiday.

  1. economic control?

They were expected to contribute to the Great Leap Forward in small and big projects. The Backyard Steal Campaign had every little village have a steal furnace, which then produced 11 million tones of steel, which was not expected. Peasants were restricted in making extra money.

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  1. ‘The energy of the masses’.

How did Mao and the CCP mobilize the masses during the Great Leap Forward?

By using communes, Mao mobilized the masses of Chinese by bringing them into the mind-frame of helping in any way they could.


Why did Mao put so much emphasis on the masses?

Mao understood that the masses gave him power because when the other leaders wanted his resignation, the masses supported him, so he stayed in power.

What evidence is there that the masses were mobilized successfully?

Because they helped to increase production and ...

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