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Classicide is a concept proposed by Michael Mann to describe the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of a social class through persecution and violence.[1][2] Although first used by Fred Schwarz in 1972,[3] classicide was popularized by Mann as a term that is similar but distinct from the term genocide to mean the "intended mass killing of entire social classes."[4] Classicide is considered "premeditated mass killing" and narrower than genocide in that it targets a part of a population defined by its social status but broader than politicide in that the group is targeted without regard to their political activity.[5]


Classicide is a term first used by Fred Schwarz in his 1972 book The Three Faces of Revolution.[3] It was used later by Michael Mann as a well defined term.[6] Classicide has since been used by some sociologists such as Mann[1] and Martin Shaw[2] to describe the unique forms of genocide that pertains to the annihilation of a class through murder or displacement and the destruction of the upper class to form an equal working class.[1][2][3]

According to Jacques Semelin, "Mann thus establishes a sort of parallel between racial enemies and class enemies, thereby contributing to the debates on comparisons between Nazism and communism. This theory has also been developed by some French historians such as Stéphane Courtois and Jean-Louis Margolin [fr] in The Black Book of Communism: they view class genocide as the equivalent to racial genocide. Mann however refuses to use the term 'genocide' to describe the crimes committed under communism. He prefers the terms 'fratricide' and 'classicide', a word he coined to refer to intentional mass killings of entire social classes."[6]


Classicide has been committed by the People's Republic of China during the Chinese Land Reform,[7] by North Vietnam as part of land reform,in unified Vietnam in suppression of South Vietnam upper class after 1975[citation needed] and by the Khmer Rouge regime in Democratic Kampuchea.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mann, Michael (Spring 2002). "Explaining Murderous Ethnic Cleansing: Eight Theses" (PDF). UCLA. Brisbane, Australia. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Shaw, Martin (2015). What is Genocide?. John Wiley & Sons. p. 72. ISBN 978-0745631837.
  3. ^ a b c Schwarz, Fred (1972). The Three Faces of Revolution. Capital Hill Press. pp. 51–53. ISBN 978-0882210032.
  4. ^ Mann, Michael (2005). The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-521-53854-1.
  5. ^ Sangar, Eric (3 November 2007). "Classicide". Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. p. 1, paragraph 3. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b Jaffrelot, Christophe; Semelin, Jacques, eds. (2009) Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide. Translated by Schoch, Cynthia. CERI Series in Comparative Politics and International Studies. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-231-14283-0.
  7. ^ Wu, Harry (1 December 2012). "Classicide in Communist China". Comparative Civilizations Review. 67 (Fall 2012): 101–106. Retrieved 15 November 2020 – via BYU ScholarsArchive.