“One of the most controversial policies of the Cultural Revolution (Mao) seems to have been that of sending the intellectuals to the countryside to work and learn from the people. I have to confess I loved that policy. I was literally born on a small farm in rural Iowa……The idea that the poor might have a lot to teach the well-off intellectuals was a great source of strength when it came time for me to take some leadership in the movement.”
~Carol Hanisch. Impact of the Chinese Cultural Revolution on The Women’s Liberation Movement. Speech she gave. (Feminist. Lead First protest of Miss America Pageant. Had great appreciation for Mao.)
Mao may have had a great idea as Carol suggests. It might not hurt to do the same in Ottawa today, with politicians and policy makers. They might better understand the jobs and people who work with the elemental resources of our country; like the fields, Timber forests, the sea, mines for dozens of different metals and ores, gasses, and petroleum. Without which our country would collapse.
However, in Carol’s speech and her praise of how Mao was a helpful pattern for the feminist movement, misunderstood what Mao really did, what his full intention was. It was not the adult intellectuals whom Mao sent out to the countryside to gain an appreciation of rural life and rural insight, it was their children, and many never saw their parents again for years. There “reeducation” was not education at all, it was children forced to do hard labour. He wanted to humble the bourgeoisie and get resources from the country into the cities.
“The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement was a policy instituted in the People’s Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a result of what he perceived to be pro-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong declared certain privileged urban youth would be sent to mountainous areas or farming villages to learn from the workers and farmers there. In total, approximately 17 million youth were sent to rural areas as a result of the movement.” Wikipedia
Here is an article with some personal stories.
“In the 1960s and 1970s, millions of young Chinese were sent to the countryside to ‘undergo re-education by poor peasants’”….
On September 17 1968, the train took Ma and 305 other students more than 2,000km from her middle school in Shanghai, to the wooded hills and deserted plains of China’s far northeast, close to the Russian border. They were among more than 17 million Chinese urban youths sent to the countryside to do hard labour on farms and in forests in the 1960s and 1970s……
“It is very necessary for the educated youth to go to the countryside and undergo re-education by the poor peasants,” declared Mao Zedong, the man who led China’s communist revolution in 1949…….
“We must persuade the cadres and others to send their sons and daughters who have graduated from elementary school, middle school and university to the countryside, let’s mobilise. The comrades in the countryside should welcome them.” With the start of the cultural revolution in 1966, schools all over the country closed. Many of the children who followed Mao’s rallying cry to “go up into the mountains and down to the countryside” ended their education after elementary school. The transfer engulfed about 10 per cent of China’s urban population.
Kathrin Hille September 20, 2013 China’s ‘sent-down’ youth
These children became known as the lost generation.
“Many fresh high school graduates, who became known as the so-called sent-down youth (also known in China as “educated youth” and abroad as “rusticated youth”), were forced out of the cities and effectively exiled to remote areas of China. Some commentators consider these people, many of whom lost the opportunity to attend university, China’s “lost generation”.” (Wikipedia)