There is an old ideology called ‘Collective Agrarianism’ that is being presented as something new to replace Capitalism by left-wing ideologues. (In Canada it is called Community Supported Agriculture, acronym: CSA) As an offshoot of ‘Agriculturalism’ it harkens to a peasant-utopian-communalism as advocated in ancient Chinese philosophy. It over-romanticizes the tilling-of-the-soil and labouring-in-the-fields while de-emphasizing modern farm-commerce modalities.
Not to be confused with communism, communalism shares many of its same attributes. The two definitions are barely delineated from each other; “….communalism is the common ownership of property, while communism is any political philosophy or ideology advocating holding the production of resources collectively.” (1)
Older folks can still recall the repercussions of China’s abrupt turn to the countryside and Communism in “The Great Leap Forward”, where from the mid-1950s to mid-1960s it contributed to tens of millions of Chinese citizens starving to death. (The death toll is estimated as high as 45 million in some records). It was documented as the largest famine in recorded history. (2)
Following these horrors was China’s “Cultural Revolution”, a concerted effort to preserve and enforce Communism, which saw hundreds of thousands of city-dwellers forcibly sent to the countryside to labour in the fields, ostensibly to learn Agrarianism, in an effort to curb capitalist ideology and individualism. Economic activity came to a standstill, history was erased, cultural material destroyed, and young people were employed to ravage and radically rebel against society and violate any citizen deemed bourgeois. “Struggle sessions” were used as a form of psychological humiliation, persecution, and torture in the effort to reform minds. (2)
In China, what was in antiquity penned as a utopian philosophy, guided by benevolence, became in modern times a regime of oppression under an iron fist. History shows that Collective Agrarianism and Communalism may sound ideal at first, but their tendency to transgress into Communism does not bode well.
(1) Wikidiff.com – accessed Aug 15/21
(2) Grada, Cormac 2007, “Making Famine History”
Journal of Economic Literature, JSTOR 27646746, Wembeuer
Felix and Dikotter, Frank 2011, “Sites of Horror: Mao’s Great Famine, The Chinese Journal.
Wikipedia.com – accessed Aug 18/21,
Pachen, Ani and Donnelley, Adelaide 2000, “Sorrow Mountain: The Journey of a Tibetan Warrior Nun”,