Eleven rules of the Red Army

Before the revolution, the Red Army in China had the following eleven rules, divided into two groups, one of three, the other of eight.

The three preliminary rules:

1. Prompt obedience to orders

2. No confiscations whatever from the poor peasantry

3. Prompt delivery directly to the government (Red soviets), for its disposal, of all goods confiscated from the landlords

The eight key rules, with a focus on dealings with peasants:

1. Replace all doors when you leave a house (!)

2. Return and roll up the straw matting on which you slept

3. Be courteous and polite to the people and help them when you can

4. Return all borrowed articles

5. Replace all damaged article

6. Be honest in all transactions with the peasants

7. Pay for all articles purchased

8. Be sanitary, and, especially, establish latrines a safe distance from people’s houses

Apparently, these eight form a song, sung on the march or while working.

Update: here it is.


12 thoughts on “Eleven rules of the Red Army

  1. The Communist Party-led New People’s Army of the Maoist-inspired revolutionary movement in the Philippines also uses the same rules for the conduct of its red fighters. It’s popularly known as “3-8” and is also sung in many revolutionary songs translated in various regional languages.

    1. George, you are one of few who does not think that merely beaming thoughts from your head will change the world. That is a particular affliction of self-styled progressive intellectuals – I’m thinking here of the likes of Sarah Ahmed.

      1. “I’m thinking here of the likes of Sarah Ahmed.”

        My initial thought was that you were damning me with faint praise.
        Sarah Ahmed, is a freelance wine writer and educator at The Wine Detective.


        Then it occured to me that you might mean Sara Ahmed.
        As in the Professor in Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College.

        You knew that Goldsmiths is in Lewisham?

        Of course it’s not proof of your omniscience, but I have to say that I’m impressed.

      2. I wasn’t looking for complements. I’m a modest person with good reason to be modest.

        It’s just that you were comparing me with some sort of sociologist.

        Nothing against my sociologist colleagues, but, imagine; a sociologist…

        Question: What do you get if you cross a sociologist with a Mafioso?

        Answer: An offer you can’t understand.

  2. As is well known, the eleven rules of the Red Army are a rip-off of George Orwell’s eleven rules for making a nice cup of tea, published in the Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.

    Orwell had become infamous in China for totally pwning Chinese tea, while praising China’s main rivals: India and Ceylon. To wit:

    “China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.”

    In bleak post-war Britain, readers of the Evening Standard were bouyed by Orwell’s hortatory words on tea-making (“one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones”: Rule Four).

    Orwell is, moreover, credited with providing the definitive solution to that old conundrum, should one add the milk first or last? Displaying the acumen and cunning that made Orwell such a discerning social commentator, he demonstrates the undoubted superiority of the “milk last” school of thought: “by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.” Brilliant, simply brilliant.

    Keep your chin up.

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