Involving all people of a society, especially lower socio-economic groups, in its historical and cultural heritage, thereby the re-shaping of this heritage toward building a new social order.
The term cultural revolution has been employed in both the former USSR and the People's Republic of China, although in the latter it was used to promote values quite opposite to those espoused under its classical Leninist meaning. In the 1960s, China saw the destruction of artistic masterpieces, the propagation of anti-intellectualism, the persecution of the intelligentsia and the promotion of a nihilistic attitude towards world culture. In the former Soviet Union, the strategic implementation of the cultural revolution has been quite differently applied. Mass literacy of an extensive network of schools and institutions of higher learning, the creation of written alphabets for about 50 nationalities for the first time in history, the publication of literature and the broadcasting of radio programmes in more than 60 languages and other activities.
The conditions for cultural revolution, as defined in traditional Leninist doctrine, are revolutionary transformation in the economic and political structures of society that allow alienated sections of the society to participate in and take fullest advantage of the benefits of art, science and knowledge, hitherto the monopoly of the bourgeoisie.
Full participation in the development of one's society demands that people have access to the benefits of their own cultural heritage as well as that of other societies around the world. Due to inequality in education and discrepancies between rural and urban areas in terms of access to cultural resources, many people are cut off from such participation.
The actualization of cultural revolution can have the opposite effect to what it seeks and claims. It can produce a levelling effect where all people are channelled into the same streams of learning and creativity is in fact stifled.