Mao rule and the Cultural revolution of 1966
The economic challange for the communist government in 1949 was to repair the devastation of war and to invest in industrialisation, infrastructure, education, health care and agriculture. The goal was radical egalitarianism and elimination of the economic base of class relations. The means would be collective enterprise and the mobilisation of investment through planning. That was the communist utopia. In the land reform of 1950, two fifths of China’s land was redistributed in a series of nationwide village meetings from those higher up in the hierarchy to those lower down. Mao argued that the best way to finance industrialisation was for the Government to take control of agriculture, thereby establishing a monopoly over grain distribution and supply. This would allow the State to buy at a low price and sell much higher, thus raising the capital necessary for the industrialisation of the country.
However, the first phase of collectivisation was not a great success and there was widespread famine in 1956, though the Party's propaganda machine announced progressively higher harvests. By the completion of the first 5 Year Economic Plan in 1957, Mao had come to doubt that the path to socialism that had been taken by the Soviet Union was appropriate for China.
Astrologically, this period, until 1957, ended with Neptune’s enterence to the Scorpio/10th house and Saturn had already crossed over the MC, it was in declining phase in terms houses. With the advent of Neptune’s in the 10th house, Great Leap Forward which was the name given to the second 5 year plan was put forward. It is higly imaginable that when the planet of illusion and utopia enters into domain of government and planning, (Scorpio here shows that it is strong and controlling) one cannot be sure of its concrete and succesful results.
Chart 2. Biwheel Outer: Transits August 1958, Inner natal China
The central idea behind the Great Leap was that rapid development of China's agricultural and industrial sectors should take place in parallel. The hope was to industrialize by making use of the massive supply of cheap labour and avoid having to import heavy machinery. To achieve this, Mao advocated that a further round of collectivisation modelled on the USSR's Third Period was necessary in the Chinese countryside where the existing collectives would be merged into huge People's communes.
By early 1957, Mao was so confident that the achievements of the revolution were obvious, that he deemed “a hundred flowers” should be allowed to bloom and communist civil society should begin. For five weeks in May and June, intellectuals were allowed to debate freely what had been and should be happening. But, as with Tiananmen 32 years later, there was complaints. The Party officials were critisized for corruption, low standards of living was described intolerable. Mao responded with a crackdown, 32,000 intellectuals were arrested as counter-revolutionary rightists, exiled or sent to labour camps.
Mao saw grain and steel production as the key pillars of economic development. He forecasted that within 15 years of the start of the Great Leap, China's steel production would surpass that of the UK. In the August 1958 Politburo meetings, it was decided that steel production would be set to double within the year, most of the increase coming through backyard steel furnaces. Huge efforts on the part of peasants and other workers were made to produce steel out of scrap metal. Many of the male agricultural workers were diverted from the harvest to help the iron production as were the workers at many factories, schools and even hospitals. As could have been predicted by anyone with any experience of steel production or basic knowledge of metallurgy, the output consisted of low quality lumps of pig iron which was of negligible economic worth. However, Mao's deep distrust of intellectuals and faith in the power of the mass mobilisation of peasants led him to order this massive countrywide effort without consulting expert opinion.
Substantial effort was expended during the Great Leap Forward on large-scale but often poorly planned capital construction projects, such as irrigation works often built without input from trained engineers.
The Great Leap Forward is now widely seen, both within China and outside, as a major economic disaster, effectively being a Great Leap Backward that would affect China in the years to come. As inflated statistics reached planning authorities, orders were given to divert human resources into industry rather than agriculture. The official toll of excess deaths recorded in China for the years of the GLF is 14 million, but scholars have estimated the number of famine victims to be between 20 and 43 million. The three years between 1959 and 1962 were known as the Three Bitter Years and the Three Years of Natural Disasters. Many local officials were tried and publicly executed for giving out misinformation.
Mao never abandoned his conviction that radical egalitarianism would achieve the goals of modernising China. He was more and more isolated from reality. Perhaps it would be better to understand the whole issue by comparing the charts of Mao and China.
Mao and China synastry
There are strong synastry aspects from Mao’s chart to China. Mao’s Neptune and Pluto in Gemini are in close trine to China’s Neptune and Sun. This is quite self explanatory and certainly is related with the ideals of communism. However the same planetary conjunction sits in square to natal Saturn and I guess, this highlights the obstacles and great efforts to transform China’s infrastructure and peasent culture. In the same fashion, his Saturn is in close square natal China’s Jupiter in Capricorn. Obviously this puts much effort and discipline to already uneasy Jupiter in fall in the cadent 12th house.
Chart 3. Mao chart, Source Astrodatabank
In addition to that, his Sun, e.g. his authority and leadership, is in partil opposition to China’s Uranus and this strongly augments the revolutionary side of the government as China has Uranus-Sun square natally. Furthermore, Mao’s Moon in Leo is also partilly conjunct China’s Mars. Potentially this would be accounted for combining military power with Mao’s emotional needs to be shined through Leo, like a shiny father figure. His Mars is also in conjunct with China’s MC in the 10th house, emphasize this further bringing a relentless, all powerfull elements in his governance.
Chart 4. Composite chart of Mao and China
If we look at the composite chart of the two, we would derive further information about the results of this combination. Capricorn rising is not surprise as this is a relationship of government, long term planning and strict control. Capricorn ruler Saturn is in his exaltation and in the 10 the house certainly amplify this picture, but Mars also adds much strife, riots and cruelity. Scorpio MC along with Pluto’s square to the nodal axis show how strong and transformative this relationship. I also wonder that balsamic Moon in Scorpio squared by Neptune may reflect the uneasy conditions and dissatisfied utopia of Mao’s rulership.
Between 1961 and 1965, there was a brief return to more pragmatic policies. This was Deng Xia Ping, believing that he was being only as pragmatic as Mao urged,declared that “it doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice”. But Deng was condemned due to his political standing and he lost his office and exiled. The mass violence of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution lasted for less than 2 years from 1966, but the flat-earth political commitment to equality and class warfare continued until Mao’s death.
To be continue…