A while back, I was reading up on the Chinese Cultural Revolution a bit. To say the least, these were difficult times for anyone on the government’s shit list. As a side note to all this, they did have some creative words for these specific categories. If you look past the grim details, the terminology is a real hoot.
The original Five Black Categories
One grab-bag term for the bad guys (according to their opinion) was the “Five Black Categories”, quite an evocative phrase. These included:
- Landlords: This occupation pretty much got turned into a dirty word
- Rich farmers: This is equivalent to “kulaks” in Soviet terminology
- Counterrevolutionaries: People like me, basically
- Bad influencers: Also meaning “bad elements”, or evildoers
- Rightists: Presumably this is anyone more conservative than Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein
The meaning of item 4 isn’t clarified in detail. The Chinese wiki page redirects to their word for “rogue”, and in English, the definition would be something like:
Rogue usually refers to those who frequently cause trouble, are unreasonable, and rely on intimidation and other means to obtain benefits. In ancient times, it refers to street sleepers who did not work, and then specifically refers to those who do not engage in legitimate businesses and do things that are harmful to society.
So in Russian, these would be called “hooligans”. In German, that would be a grab-bag term for Berufsverbrecher, asozial, and arbeitsscheu. Come to think of it, San Francisco has quite a few aggressive panhandlers who drop loads of dookey all over the city; they certainly qualify as huàifènzǐ (坏分子).
All the above were in contrast to the Maoist “Five Red Categories”, which were the good guys in their view. That included farmers who aren’t rich (I don’t have the slightest problem with them; rednecks grow our food), workers (I like those guys too), and three categories of ChiCom revolutionaries (I lack enthusiasm for them).
The Nine Black Categories
Later, the “Five Black Categories” got expanded into nine. The new additions were:
- Traitors: Naturally, these are unwelcome in any society
- Spies: It’s also sensible that they didn’t care much for these guys
- Capitalist roaders: If you have a complete Ludwig von Mises book collection, that’s you
- Intellectuals: In my opinion, there are good ones and bad ones
Interestingly, modern history shows that the “capitalist roaders” were right. China’s low point was the “Great Leap Forward” catastrophe, characterized by kooky agricultural experiments, counterproductive boondoggles, and eventually mass starvation that led to the deaths of tens of millions. By following the path to industrial development and export trade, the public at last is starting to get something resembling a tolerable standard of living.
This last item in this updated shit list – the intellectuals – had a special name: the “Stinking Old Ninth”. Together, the Nine Black Categories tended to get called “cow demons and snake spirits”. Did I mention that Maoist terminology is a hoot?
Clown World’s Nine Black Categories
So all that got me thinking – how could this be updated for today’s conditions? The following might be a good start for a modern shit list:
- Social Justice Warriors
- Career criminals and bums
- Pointy-headed professors who can’t park their bicycles straight
We had our own Cultural Revolution in the west, beginning in the 1960s, and it’s high time to roll back the dysfunction and degeneracy.