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Peasants under SiegeThe Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962$
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Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149721

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149721.001.0001

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Fomenting Class War

Fomenting Class War

(p.324) Chapter 6 Fomenting Class War
Peasants under Siege

Gail Kligman

Katherine Verdery

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes the “class war” that aimed to decapitate the village elite, turn other villagers against them, and raise up the village poor. Class war was crucial to creating the “socialist body politic” and setting the stage for the campaign to create the “new socialist person.” Through the exposure, persecution, and elimination of “enemy elements” such as chiaburs, the body politic was to be purified and purged of “foreign” beings. Class war was meant to provoke social conflict as well as create unprecedented opportunities for the formerly poor. However, with this policy, the Soviet blueprint ran into serious difficulties. In Romania as in the Soviet Union, cadres hoping to use class struggle to break apart village social organization and promote class equality would paradoxically have to create classes and class stratification from the forms of status inequality proper to the villagers.

Keywords:   class war, socialist body politic, new socialist person, chiaburs, social conflict, Soviet blueprint, village social organization, class equality, class stratification, status inequality

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