By John Gardner
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Extra resources for Chinese Politics and the Succession to Mao
In a majority of provinces it was the PLA which took the initiative in seizing power and establishing Revolutionary Committees, and in a number of others it played a strong supporting role. In very few areas was the military of little importance. Details of the rise in the army's political influence will be discussed in the next chapter. Suffice it to say at this point that the PLA reaped the greatest rewards. This is not to argue, however, that the armed forces either functioned as a cohesive entity or that they encountered little opposition.
As it proved to be a qualified success for Mao it is reasonable to assume that it was 'packed' with his own supporters. During the meeting Mao himself posted a 'big character poster' on 5 August. ' 12 On 8 August the plenum passed a major decision on the Cultural Revolution which became known as the 'Sixteen Points•. 13 This document defined the Qultural Revolution as a revolution 'that touches people to their very souls', one which represented 'a more intensive and extensive new stage in the development of socialist revolution' in China.
Democratic elections, therefore, could well be a disaster for the revolutionary forces. For those reasons, then, Mao was unwilling to see the Commune emerge as the new organisational form of the revolution. Shanghai duly fell into line as did those other localities in which the term had been used. Instead, a new organisational form appeared, the 'Revolutionary Committee'. The first of these was established on 31 January in the Manchurian province of Heilongjiang, where a coalition of Leftist groups and garrison troops had overthrown the provincial Party Committee.
Chinese Politics and the Succession to Mao by John Gardner