Radicalism and Its Demise
The Chinese Nationalist Party, Factionalism, and Local Elites in Jiangsu Province, 1924–1931
Bradley K. Geisert
Challenges the conventional image of the Chinese Nationalists as defenders of the status quo in the late 1920s, chronicling the rise and fall of radicals within the party during the same decade
Radicalism and Its Demise chronicles the dynamics of local and central Nationalist Party (Guomindang) politics as Nationalists of this era turned from radical to status-quo policies and practices. Previous scholarship on the Republican era engaged the social and political bases of Guomindang rule, usually focusing on government institutions. Radicalism and Its Demise advances this discussion by clarifying how Guomindang factions and to a lesser extent the Chinese Communist Party competed in local-level social movements and political struggles in Jiangsu.
Finding the Guomindang regime to be an entity of almost baroque complexity, Radicalism and Its Demise contends that one must factor it down to its constituent parts and consider the social relations of each element separately. While the Jiangsu Guomindang was a one-party state, the party and the government in Jiangsu were for several years divided in perspective and direction. From 1927 until early 1930, some segments of the party in Jiangsu and in many other places in the country retained much of their earlier radical tone. During these years, many party radicals were doing their best to overturn persons in the top stratum of local society, while, by contrast, local government bureaucrats were sometimes participating in mutually supportive transactions with those very same elites. It was not until 1930 that the party underwent rectification, fundamentally transforming the Guomindang in Jiangsu.
Bradley Geisert teaches history at Randolph-Macon Women’s College. He has published several papers on the Guomindang in Republican China.
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