Struggle Sessions and SElf-Criticism

Male Students Told To Confess Their Sins At ‘Masculinity Confession Booth.’


“A struggle session (simplified Chinese: 批斗会; traditional Chinese: 批鬥會; pinyin: Pī Dòu Huì) was a form of public humiliation and torture used by the Communist Party of China in the Mao Zedong era, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, or execute political rivals and class enemies.[1]

In general, the victim of a struggle session was forced to admit to various crimes before a crowd of people who would verbally and physically abuse the victim until he or she confessed. Struggle sessions were often held at the workplace of the accused, but were sometimes conducted in sports stadiums where large crowds would gather if the target was famous enough.[1]

…Struggle sessions developed from similar ideas of criticism and self-criticism in the Soviet Union from the 1920s.

…Lately, the term “struggle session” has come to be applied to any scene where victims are publicly badgered to confess imaginary crimes under the pretext of self-criticism and rehabilitation



The New York Times published  an essay by George Yancy inviting whites to indulge in self criticism:  “to tarry, to linger, with the ways in which you perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which you are racist.”


Self Criticism, from Infogalactic:

Under some systems of communism, party members who had fallen out of favour with the nomenklatura were sometimes forced to undergo “self-criticism” sessions, producing either written or verbal statements detailing their ideological errors and affirming their renewed belief in the Party line. Self-criticism, however, did not guarantee political rehabilitation, and often offenders were still expelled from the Party, or in some cases even executed.

In the Soviet Union, “criticism and self-criticism” were known as kritika i samokritika (Russian: критика и самокритика).

In the People’s Republic of China, self-criticism—called ziwo pipan (自我批判) or jiǎntǎo (检讨)—is an important part of Maoist practice. Mandatory self-criticism as a part of political rehabilitation or prior to execution—common under Mao, ended by Deng Xiaoping, and partially revived by Xi Jinping—is known as a struggle session, in reference to class struggle.

Such sessions could be elaborate, public and frequent, and included denunciations.



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Cat Morris
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh boy. The goal of the organization is to reduce violence. They choose to focus on hypermasculinity, which the internet tells me is “the exhibition of exaggerated masculine behavior or traits, especially strength and those of a violent, dominant, or sexual nature.”

    The confession booth: “Meet up with URSU members and make a confession. We have all reinforced hypermasculinity one way or another regardless of our gender!! …Come and share your sins so we can begin to discuss how to identify and change our ways !!!”

    This booth is voluntary, it’s a novelty, it’s somebody’s idea for how to get people to think about the difference between masculinity and hypermasculinity. This is a college campus. Some of the articles on the web site were related to campus rape. They’re encouraging people to think, self-reflect. Chinese struggle sessions? Communist “self-criticism” sessions?

    Were you critical of Promise Keepers?

    And what’s wrong with an article encouraging the racial majority to think of ways they may have perpetuated racism? What’s wrong with anyone being asked to reflect on ways they might have wronged their fellow humans? Made anyone’s path more difficult?

    • Headmistress
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes, actually, I was critical of promise keepers. People are not being asked to think about or reflect on ways they may have wronged their fellow human beings. ONE subset of people is asked to admit their guilt, and not even their guilt, their inherited guilt. It is an ugly perpetuation of identity politics, and it’s not going to end well.

  2. Bill DeWitt
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Struggle sessions were “voluntary” too. Public pressure was used, in the small locations of villages or workplaces (universities were demolished) and shunning was often worse than the psychological torture of the shaming and self-blaming induced by the struggle session. Being shunned in a small village in central China was virtually a death sentence. You had to “voluntarily” walk out into the wilderness and die.

    Witness yesterday, 4 July, 2017, the “voluntary” apology of a reddit meme maker who risked being doxxed if he was not contrite and apologetic enough, and forever has the threat hanging over him if he dares say anything CNN doesn’t like. I expect that e3ven with his lengthy and repeated apology, and his extended contrition, they will still dox him, claiming that they need to, to prove that he is an adult.

    It’s always voluntary. Volunteer or suffer.

    • Headmistress
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes. that ‘Apology’ and expression of ‘remorse’ reminded me a lot of a struggle session product.

  3. rachel
    Posted January 21, 2018 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    That NYT article made me want to vomit. A philosophy professor who argues from emotion like that, wow.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends:

  • Search: