China’s Socialist Proletariat

9 May

Ever since the initiation of China’s economic reforms and the beginning of its market transition in the late 1970s, China’s socialist proletariat, the champions of Maoist era, have been consigned to history. Expelled from the party’s embrace and forced off the political center stage, the working class find themselves surrounded by a whole new environment, one where a profound sense of normative material uncertainty induced by market principles of efficiency and competition is shattering their collective unity and the precarious foundations of their livelihood. As Dorothy Solinger describes:

‘From where the earlier crowd, its members unified in collaboration, was allegedly accomplishing miracles, the crowd before us now is composed of people struggling, usually singly, just to stay alive’

Since the global financial crisis of 2008 the political elites have realized prioritizing market expansion was causing mounting social issues that threaten to reverse the economic achievements of the past 30 years. Socially unwanted, political weak and economically struggling, the government must resist the temptation to pursue pure economic improvement to the detriment and cultural alienation of the largest working class in the world


Solinger, D. J (2004) “The New Crowd of the Dispossessed: The Shift of the Urban Proletariat from Master to Merchant” in P.H Gries and S. Rosen (2004) State and Society in 21st Century: Crisis, Contention, and Legitimation. Routledge. London.


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