In early 1974, the aging Mao launched a campaign calling upon people to study China’s ancient history for lessons to help drive China’s modern revolution. Workplaces became the main locus of the confrontations and the Shanghai docks became a highly publicized site for the theatrical struggles that followed. But Mao had learned from his earlier mistakes and did not want politics to threaten production. When the two competing factions were told to reconcile, old-rebels who had been sidelined earlier were promised a fifty-fifty share of Party memberships. But the hundreds of thousands of student-workers in Shanghai were further sidelined. Once idealistic Red Guards, these young people had since become deeply disillusioned. As they were enrolled en masse to study modern Marxist interpretations of ancient Chinese texts their disillusionment only deepened and they turned their back on ideas of revolution to live very traditional lives.
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Thesis advisor: Brown, Jeremy
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