How Did Mao Zedong Win Over Peasants in China?

Mao Zedong won over the peasants by writing articles supporting peasant uprisings against their landlords and praising their vigilantism. Mao described the landlords as "local bullies" and "lawless landlords," and praised the peasants' local community struggle meetings as the sole organ of authority.

Mao Zedong believed that appealing to the farming peasants was the key to establishing communism in Asia. In the early 1920s, Mao started leaning more toward Leninist communism because he believed this school of thought appealed more to the poor farming peasants. In the Hunan Province, where peasants were forced to pay taxes years in advance, charged high rents, and required to pay exorbitant interest on debts to their landlords, Mao observed a number of peasant revolts. Mao was chased out of the province by the landlord army, but once back in Canton, he wrote articles supporting the peasant army. He pointed out that the peasants were vital to the communist revolution, as the proletariat were too small in numbers.

Mao also supported their community meetings in which wrong-doers were accused and intimidated into making confessions, and praised their vigilantism as models for revolution. In September 1927, Mao led a peasant army against Kuomintang but was defeated.The remnants of the army fled and reorganized in the Jiangxi Province, where Mao formed the Soviet Republic of China.