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Chinese Femininities/Chinese MasculinitiesA Reader$
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Susan Brownell and Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520211032

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520211032.001.0001

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“Little Brothers” in the Cultural Revolution: The Worker Rebels of Shanghai

“Little Brothers” in the Cultural Revolution: The Worker Rebels of Shanghai

(p.269) Chapter Ten “Little Brothers” in the Cultural Revolution: The Worker Rebels of Shanghai
Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities

Elizabeth J. Perry

Nara Dillon

University of California Press

This chapter provides a clear picture of the worker rebels of Shanghai in the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution was a period of extraordinary social turmoil. When Chairman Mao called upon the masses to bombard the headquarters, they often did so with a remarkable vengeance. However, the most notable aspect of Shanghai's worker-rebel activism was not their violence, but their pursuit of political power. The workers were content to adopt the fraternal appellation of little brother. After the January Revolution of 1967, worker rebels at the instigation of Zhang Chunqiao and Wang Hongwen augmented their political influence through a variety of programs: worker representatives, workers' Mao Zedong thought-propaganda teams, workers' theory troops, workers' new cadres, and worker ambassadors. Having operated on the fringes of orthodox society for many years, Shanghai's worker rebels seized the opportunity presented by the Cultural Revolution to forge a new brotherhood based on a common quest for political inclusion. In addition, despite the overwhelmingly male composition of their leadership ranks, the workers did permit women to take charge of male subordinates.

Keywords:   worker rebels, Shanghai, Cultural Revolution, little brother, Mao

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