China Study Group
The Capitalist Roaders Are Still on the Capitalist Road
The Two-Line Struggle and the Revisionist Seizure of Power in China
A Study for the Use of Marxist-Leninist Comrades
Revised Edition Published: October 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Cover Letter to the Revised Edition
October 1, 1977
We are sorry for the delay in printing the revised edition of our study on the political struggle in China. With each new development in China, the extent of the purge which began there a year ago becomes more clear, and the need for clarity about the significance of the change in Party leadership becomes more apparent.
The most recent issue of Peking Review, #40, 1977, indicates the direction of present Chinese foreign policy in an article “New U.S. Trend of Appeasement Meets Opposition” (p. 21), supporting conservative U.S. senators who are pushing for increased arms buildup to defend the Western alliance. The same issue indicates the CCP’s “new policy toward intellectuals” (restoration of titles, separation of manual and mental labor, etc.), p. 10.
Other recent issues of PR report on the meeting of the 11th Party Congress, where the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was officially called to a close and a new era of “stability, unity, and national construction” was called for. Out of the 319 members and alternate members of the Central Committee, 155 or nearly half have been replaced. The number of women in the Central Committee has decreased rather than increased, from 12.5% to 11.4%.
The Party leadership of 13 of the 29 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions has been changed. Out of the 13 new provincial Party leaders, nine had been removed from their posts in 1966 or 1967 during the Cultural Revolution. Many of these were publically and nationally criticized along with Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping as capitalist-roaders. For example, before the Cultural Revolution Ma Li and Wan Li were the Peking Municipal Party Secretary and the Vice Mayor of Peking. The Peking Municipal Party Committee was the first to be attacked and exposed by Chairman Mao in 1966 as part of the bourgeois headquarters. Now Wan Li is First Party Secretary of Anhwei Province and Ma Li is First Party Secretary of Kweichow Province.
We have been careful to limit our observations to those aspects of the situation that are verifiable from the concrete information available to us. We encourage all readers to carry on the research we have undertaken and to communicate with us about your analysis. The accumulating evidence verifying the analysis we made earlier this year makes us unwilling to accept any of the statements of the present Chinese government at face value.
It is important that we not become cynical about the nature of class struggle and the difficulty in establishing and maintaining the dictatorship of the proletariat. Marxism does not promise us quick or easy victories. Our task is to move ahead confident in the ability of the masses to secure victory even in the face of tremendous setbacks. We must not vacillate in our commitment to the struggle nor in our willingness to base our strategy in moving forward on concrete realities rather than on the way we might wish things to be.
China Study Group
57 South Bannock
Denver, Colorado 80223 U.S.A.
Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the protracted and complex nature of this struggle. We must heighten our vigilance. We must conduct socialist education. We must correctly understand and handle class contradictions and class struggle, distinguish the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy from those among the people and handle them correctly. Otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place. From now on we must remind ourselves of this every year, every month and every day so that we can retain a relatively sober understanding of this problem and have a Marxist-Leninist line. Chairman Mao Tse-tung (A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China, pp. 46-47)
Chairman Mao has repeatedly warned of the possibility of a capitalist restoration in China. He emphasized the need to be constantly vigilant and to not be taken in by the capitalist-roaders in the Party. At the same time, he said:
If our children’s generation go in for revisionism and move towards their opposite, so that although they still nominally have socialism it is in fact capitalism, then our grandsons will certainly rise up in revolt and overthrow their fathers, because the masses will not be satisfied. (quoted in Chairman Mao Talks to the People, p. 190)
After the death of Chairman Mao in September, 1976, the capitalist-roaders in China carried out a counter-revolutionary coup de’etat to seize Party and state power, reverse the correct verdicts of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, negate the revolutionary line of Chairman Mao, and start China headed on the road of capitalist restoration.
We don’t pretend to be able to analyze the situation and the two-line struggle in China better than the Chinese. However, it may be some time before a complete analysis can come from the revolutionary elements now being suppressed in China. This analysis is meant to fill in in the meantime and begin a serious study of the question.
We don’t in any way take lightly the significance of this kind of attack on the present leaders of the Communist Party of China. The Chinese Communist Party has been the vanguard and the guiding light for Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries for many years, especially since the criminal restoration of capitalism in the USSR by Khrushchev and his cronies after Stalin’s death. It has led the Chinese people to win the New Democratic Revolution, to expel the Chiang Kai Shek bandits from mainland China, to construct socialism, build the peoples’ communes and socialist industry, to struggle to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, create socialist new things, and move China forward towards communism through the Cultural Revolution. With the leadership of Mao Tse-tung it has successfully waged ten major two-line struggles against erroneous Right and “Left” lines. The Chinese Communist Party has led the Marxist-Leninists around the world in combatting Soviet social-imperialism and modern revisionism.
It has provided analysis of the world situation and guidance for the Marxist-Leninist parties around the world. It has led many nations to stand up to the two superpowers and has given essential close comradely support to the parties and people of Albania, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
However, the Chinese Party’s glorious history and its many two-line struggles don’t mean that it has been forever vaccinated against revisionism.
The present Great Cultural Revolution is only the first; there will inevitably be many more in the future. The issue of who will win in the revolution can only be settled over a long historical period. If things are not properly handled it is possible for a capitalist restoration to take place at any time. It should not be thought by any Party member or any one of the people in our country that everything will be all right after one or two great cultural revolutions, 01 even three or four. We must be very much on the alert and never lose vigilance. (from “teachings of Chairman Mao”, quoted in The Chinese Road to Socialism, Wheelwright and McFarlane, Monthly Review Press, 1970,p. 233)
To attack a great, glorious and correct Communist Party of China would be an extreme dangerous counter-revolutionary error. However, to continue to support a revisionist, incorrect Communist Party of China and fail to support the Chinese who are struggling continue on the socialist road would be an equally dangerous counter-revolutionary error. As we have seen with the “communist” parties that tail behind Soviet social-imperialist it can also lead to consolidation around revisionist counter-revolutionary lines in many countries.
We must, then, study with great care the objective situation in China and analyze the essence of the recent two-line struggle in China. In doing so, we must not forget that the Chinese Communist Party has relied on the initiative of the masses in waging class struggle, and that this struggle has always been reflected in the Party as well. The seizure of power by the revisionists is a consolidation of revisionist tendencies that have existed throughout the history of the Party. These tendencies were not born yesterday nor is their power absolute today.
2. THE STRUGGLE TO CRITICIZE TENG HSIAO-PING AND BEAT BACK THE RIGHT DEVIATIONIST TREND
The four most important leaders who were arrested in the purge of the Chinese Communist Party that was carried out in October, 1976, were:
Chiang Ching, wife of Chairman Mao for over 40 years until his death, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and Director of Literature and Art for the Central Committee,
Chang Chun-chiao, Senior Vice Premier of the State Council, First Secretary of the Shanghai Party Committee, Director of the General Political Department of the Peoples’ Liberation Army, and member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the leading body of China,
Wang Hung-wen, Senior Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, Third Secretary of the Shanghai Party Committee, and director of the peoples’ militias, and
Yao Wen-yuan, Director of Propaganda for the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Second Secretary of the Shanghai Party Committee, and member of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee.
At the time of the purge, these leaders, now called the “gang of four,” were among the ten most important leaders in the Chinese Communist Party. The post-purge criticism is directed at them. However, hundreds or perhaps thousands of other leading cadre have been removed, arrested, or purged since then, including many of the ministers of the State Council, members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and local Party committee leaders around the country. The present government has promised to carry out an all-round “rectification” and reorganization of the CCP and the popular organizations in China during the course of this year (see Section 17).
The purge was not directed only at the “gang of four” but at a definite political line. Because of the importance of the four in the CCP, and because the criticisms brought forward by the present government center on them, we refer to the “gang of four” many times in this paper. Our purpose, however, is to clearly show the differences of the two political lines at conflict in the struggle.
To get background on the two-line struggle in China, we read various books that, from a pro-China perspective, analyze the history of China since it passed the New Democracy stage (roughly 1956) and particularly the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. (Some of these books are listed as resources at the end of this paper.)
We believe that, at the present time, the key to understanding the essence of the two-line struggle in China is the question of the campaign launched by Chairman Mao in late 1975 to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping and “beat back the Right deviationist wind to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution.” Our major source for understanding the campaign to criticize Teng has been the Peking Review of the last two years. It seems that the editorship of Peking Review changed with the 42nd issue of 1976 (the second week of Oct.) With that issue the “principles laid down” phrase associated with the “gang of four” line disappears; two issues later the campaign against the four begins. On the second day of purge, the head of Hsinhua News Agency, our main source of information from China, was removed. (N. Y. Times, Oct. 17, 1976) Most of the named authors who contributed to Peking Review during two years before the 42nd issue of 1976, including several who appeared regularly, have not written a single article since then. Most of the present named authors, including several new regular contributors, had not written articles before that issue. The two other Chinese magazines published in English, China Pictorial and China Reconstructs, did not appear in November and December, due to “various reasons”, according to an apology in the Peking Review. Yao Wen-yuan, one of the “gang of four”, as Director of Propaganda for the Central Committee of the Party, was responsible for the national news media. The Editor of Renmin Ribao (Peoples’ Daily, the official organ of the Central Committee of the CCP) was removed during the purge, as were the editors of Hongqi (Red Flag, the theoretical journal of the CCP) and Hsuehshi Yu Pipan (Study and Criticism, theoretical journal of Shanghai). (N.Y. Times, Jan. 10, 1977; Washington Post, March 6, 1977) We assume the same kind of change has occurred in all the other national magazines and newspapers that provide material for the Peking Review.
The present leaders now dismiss the political line put forward by the Chinese Communist Party in its official press (Red Flag, People’s Daily, Liberation Army Daily, Peking Review, etc. ) for several years before the purge as “revisionist fallacies” promoted by the “gang of four” to “usurp power”: “The gang, who had long controlled the mass media, tampered with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought and spread revisionist fallacies to confuse peoples’ thinking in order to shape counter-revolutionary opinion for their usurpation of Party and state power.”
The line put forward by the Chinese Communist Party and the Peking Review before the! purge and that put forward by the CCP and the Peking Review after the purge are completely different and opposite lines. Superficially they may appear similar because the new lead use many of the same words and slogans that were used before in order to facilitate the; changeover. But they have torn the heart out of the slogans, made them into hollow words and are exposing more clearly with every new issue the true nature of their line. Our analysis of the difference in the line put forward by the Peking Review is the basis of this paper.
The most important and obvious difference in the line of the Peking Review is a complete reversal in attitude towards the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt.
Throughout last year (1976) until the death of Chairman Mao in September, the central emphasis of the Chinese press was the campaign to beat back the Right deviationist attempt and deepen the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping. The struggle was characterized like this in China Reconstructs #10, 1974:
The victory of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has not been easy. Intense struggle is equally inevitable in consolidating and developing its results. History proves that every great revolution is bound to be followed by a struggle between those who are for it and those who are against it. The same is true of the Cultural Revolution. Toward the end of summer last year, Teng Hsiao-ping, the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in power in the Party, led a Right deviationist attempt to reverse the correct appraisal of the Cultural Revolution and settle accounts with it. This was a concentrated expression, under new circumstances, of the struggle between two classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and between two lines, Marxism and revisionism. The Party and the people have thrown themselves into a struggle to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping and counter-attack this Right deviationist attempt. The struggle was initiated and is being led by Chairman Mao himself. It is a continuing and deepening of the Cultural Revolution. (pp. 7-8)
On April 7th, 1976, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, led by Chairman Mao, agreed unanimously to remove Teng Hsiao-ping from all of his posts both inside and outside the Party (including that of Senior Vice Premier, Chief of Staff of the Peoples’ Liberation Army, and member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau) and declared that:
Having discussed the counter-revolutionary incident that took place at Tien An Men Square [on April 5th, 1976][footnote 1] and Teng Hsiao-ping’s latest behavior, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China holds that the nature of the Teng Hsiao-ping problem has turned into one of antagonistic contradiction. (PR #15, 1976)
This resolution determined that the anti-revisionist struggle of 1975-1976 was one between the people and the enemy, one between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, one of antagonistic contradiction. Hundreds of millions of Chinese workers and peasants became involved in the struggle in agricultural communes, factories, and schools across the country. All work in China, the relief and reconstruction after the earthquakes, the scientific advances, industrial and agricultural production, and the continuing revolution in education, was linked to deepening of the criticism of the chief unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party and of the Right deviationist wind to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution.
We must continue to advance in the midst of victories already won and bring about a new upsurge in the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping by further repudiating his counter-revolutionary revisionist line ideologically and politically. We must be clear that the collapse of Teng Hsiao-ping does not mean the end of the struggle. Criticism of his revisionist line and eradication of its pernicious influence are of cardinal importance to the future and the destiny of our Party and state and are a great militant task in combating and preventing revisionism and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. Much remains to be done in this respect and we must never slacken our fighting will. (PR #35, August. 1976, p. 5.
Declarations mourning the death of Mao Tse-tung vowed to:
. . .resolutely rally round the Party Central Committee and act in accordance to the principles laid down by Chairman Mao and the Party Central Committee, resolutely take class struggle as the key link, adhere to the Party’s basic line, persevere in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and uphold proletarian internationalism. We will diligently study the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and Chairman Mao’s works, deepen the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping and the struggle to repulse the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts, strive hard to grasp revolution, promote production and other work and preparedness against war. (PR #41, 1976, last before the purge)
In the first issues of Peking Review after the purge, the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt and criticize Teng Hsiao-ping was mentioned but was not elaborated on or deepened, the emphasis being, rather, on the criticism of the “gang of four.” Within two months, all mention of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt was dropped and Teng Hsiao-ping was only mentioned in criticizing the “gang of four” or, more exactly, the “gang of four” were criticized for “twisting and overemphasizing the criticism of Teng. Before the purge, Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, and Teng Hsiao-ping were constantly referred to together in criticizing the capitalist road line. Now Teng Hsiao-ping’s name has been dropped and the “gang of four” added in his place. The emphasis of the Peking Review now is to ridicule the anti-Right campaign of last year, making Teng Hsiao-ping appear to be a victim of the “gang of four,” and label the struggle an attempt by the “gang of four” to “seize power. ”
Under the pretext of criticizing Teng Hsiao-ping and ferreting out his ’agents’, they tried to overthrow a large number of responsible Party, government, and army cadres in the central organs and various localities. . . Wherever they went, they unscrupulously charged people with ’relapsing into Right deviationist tendencies,’ ’putting profits in command’, and ’promoting material incentives’ in a vain attempt to confound right and wrong in peoples’ minds, split the workers’ ranks and cause confusion in the management of enterprises. (PR #50, 1976, p. 17)
At a conference discussing planning work called by the Party Central Committee last July, they instructed their henchmen to launch an attack, howling that the State Council was the ’source of the Right deviationist wind’ and assailing Comrade Hua Kuo-feng as a ’capitalist-roader still on the capitalist road.’ (PR #2, 1977, pp. 30-31)
They also shouted that it was necessary to prevent ’capitalist-readers like Teng Hsiao-ping’ from ’resorting again to their old counter-revolutionary tricks’, that ’if any chieftan of revisionism dares to tamper with the principles laid down by Chairman Mao, he will definitely come to no good end,’ and so on and so forth. Actually, they were playing the trick of a thief crying ’Stop Thief!’ (PR #52, 1976, p. 10)
The truth is that the real thieves are now using that trick, but what is revealing here is how Teng is put in the position of the poor victim being called a thief. The Peking Review now puts the criticism of Teng in opposition to last year’s earthquake relief:
The ’gang of four’, however, did all they could to put up obstacles. They clamoured, ’no matter where an earthquake takes place, whether in the east or the west, the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping must not be watered down.’ (PR #48, 1976, p. 17)
The present leaders would have preferred watering down the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping during the earthquake crisis, just as they have achieved since the death of Chairman Mao. In contrast, a Peking Review article of August, 1976, ’’Deepen Criticism of Teng in Anti-Quake Work” (PR #34), points out how Rightists many times use crisis situations to implement a Right wing “pragmatic” line such as Liu Shao-chi did after the draught years of 1959-1961.
Why has the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping been stopped and why are the present leaders of China back-handedly defending the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party?
The bourgeois press seems quite convinced that Teng Hsiao-ping is going to be re-instated for the second time (he was also removed as a capitalist-roader during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. They have also reported big character posters in Tien An Men Square in Peking calling for Teng to be Premier and going farther to defend the reactionary and counter-revolutionary incident planned by supporters of Teng Hsiao-ping last April 5th in the same square. Members of the China-U. S. Peoples’ Friendship Association also report that it is probable that Teng Hsiao-ping will be given important work in the Central Committee. This does not necessarily mean that the present leaders in China intend to bring Teng Hsiao-ping back into official power. But it does necessarily mean that they are not directing the state’s repressive forces at the Right who support Teng Hsiao-ping but instead at his critics.
In the face of the end of the campaign to beat back the Right deviationist attempt, and the end of the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping in the Chinese press, and in the face of the reports of Teng’s comeback, some Marxist-Leninists in the United States have begun to say, “Maybe Teng Hsiao-ping wasn’t so bad . . maybe the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend was misdirected . . ”
Was the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution incorrect? Is Teng Hsiao-ping a responsible communist revolutionary leader victimized by the “gang of four” or is he an unrepentant capitalist-roader determined to restore capitalism? These questions are essential for understanding the current two-line struggle in China.
1. See page 85 for a description of this event.
3. THE TWO CLASSES, THE TWO LINES, AND THE TWO ROADS
In 1919, soon after the birth of proletarian state power in the Soviet Union, Lenin said:
The proletariat does not cease the class struggle after it has captured political power, but continues it until classes are abolished . . of course, under different circumstances, in different form and by different means.
And what does the ’abolition of classes’ mean? . . Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it. Classes are groups of people one of which can appropriate the labour of another owing to the different places they occupy in a definite system of social economy.
Clearly, in order to abolish classes completely, it is not enough to overthrow the exploiters, the landowners and capitalists, not enough to abolish their rights of ownership; it is necessary also to abolish all private ownership of the means of production, it is necessary to abolish the distinction between town and country, as well as the distinction between manual workers and brain workers/’ (Lenin, A Great Beginning, Collected Works, pp. 411-434)
Soon after the birth of proletarian state power in China, Chairman Mao said:
The new social system has only just been established and requires time for its consolidation. It must not be assumed that the new system can be completely consolidated the moment it is established, for that is impossible. It has to be consolidated step by step. To achieve its ultimate consolidation, it is necessary not only to bring about the socialist industrialisation of the country and persevere in the socialist revolution on the economic front, but to carry on constant and arduous socialist revolutionary struggles and socialist education on the political and ideological fronts. (Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse-tung, p. 481)
The forces of production – people, natural resources and the means of production – are the essential components of any society. The means of production, industry and agriculture, are owned by the state or are owned collectively in socialism, and therefore the economic base is socialist. However, in the transition from capitalism to communism, social classes still exist and therefore within the economic base the relations of production (how different groups relate to the means of production) still have capitalist characteristics. Therefore, there has to be continual revolutionary change in the relations of production, with the working classes being the motive force in these changes.
Chairman Mao said:
The bureaucratic class on the one hand and the working class together with the poor and lower and middle peasants on the other are the two classes sharply antagonistic to each other . . If the managerial staff do not join the workers on the shop floor, eat, live, and work with them, and modestly learn one or more skills from them, then they will find themselves locked in acute class struggle with the working class all their lives and in the end are bound to be overthrown as bourgeoisie by the working class. (PR #27, 1976, p. 7)
The superstructure – the government, the army, education, culture, healthcare, etc. – is determined in the long run by the economic base, but it also can be (and always is during the historic period of socialism) in contradiction with it . . that is, parts of it can be bourgeois in nature and therefore can be used to undermine the economic base and restore capitalism. The working classes must constantly struggle to change the superstructure and the relations of production to be in agreement with the economic base and move forward on the socialist road to communism.
In the socialist period the proletariat wants to constantly transform those parts of the superstructure and the relations of production which are not in harmony with the socialist economic base and the productive forces and carry the socialist revolution to the end. The capitalist-roaders in the Party, however, do everything possible to preserve those parts of the superstructure and the relations of production which hamper the development of the socialist economic base and the productive forces. Their vain attempt is to restore capitalism. . We can see from real life that once the leadership in certain units or departments was controlled by capitalist-roaders like Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping they would use the power in their hands to energetically push the revisionist line and turn the socialist mutual relations among people into capitalist relations between employers and employees. They would use legal and illegal means to expand bourgeois right with respect to distribution and appropriate the fruits of other peoples’ labor without compensation, and they would take advantage of their position and power to dispose of state or collectively owned means of production, with the result that socialist ownership exists only in name but is actually turned into capitalist ownership under the control of the capitalist-roaders. (PR #25, 1976, p. 9)
An article that was the eleventh part of a major study campaign on the dictatorship of the proletariat, launched by Chairman Mao in 1975, explains some of the basic principles around which the two-line struggle develops in the domestic economy:
The abolition of the distinctions between town and country and between manual workers and brain workers as set forth by Lenin plus the abolition of the distinction between industry and agriculture often mentioned by Marx, Engels and Lenin constitute what we usually refer to as the abolition of the three major differences Closely connected with classes, they are a reflection of class differences and class antagonism in class society. In capitalist society, the three major differences have all developed to the extent of sharp confrontation. In socialist society, as a result of the realization of socialist public ownership of the means of production and the abolition of the exploitation system, the antithesis between industry and agriculture, between town and country and between manual and mental labour have disappeared, but great differences still remain between them, and bourgeois right that reflects these differences inevitably exists. These remain the soil for engendering capitalism and the bourgeoisie. Because of the existence of the three major differences, some people value industry while disdaining agriculture and want to stay in the cities and not in the countryside; others who have acquired some knowledge and skill look down upon manual labour and the labouring people and are even haughty to them. The bourgeoisie and its representatives on their part would use these differences to undermine the worker-peasant alliance, sabotage the socialist cause, develop the urban and rural capitalist factors and foster new bourgeois elements and intellectual aristocrats. One of the tactics employed by the Khurshchev-Brezhnev renegade clique to bring about an all-round capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union is to energetically widen the three major differences. Therefore, in socialist society, to gradually narrow or to widen these differences is an important content of the struggle between the two classes and the two lines. To continuously deepen the socialist revolution, thoroughly defeat the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and finally abolish classes completely, it is necessary to gradually narrow and finally eliminate the three major differences. (PR #50, 1975, p. 25)
The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in socialist society expresses itself in a concentrated fashion in the form of two-line struggle between the capitalist road and the socialist road in the Party. Chairman Mao has said:
Opposition and struggle between ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society. (“On Contradiction,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 317)
He also said: “Outside any party there are other parties: inside it there are groupings. This has always been so . . a grouping is one wing of a class. ” (PR #25, 1976, p. 10) The Communist Party is the party of the proletariat but the bourgeoisie has its representatives within IT and the two line struggle continues until classes and class struggle are abolished and the Party ceases to exist in its current form. As the following article explains, only the representatives of the bourgeoisie within the Party preach the “dying out of class struggle.”
Some people consider that since the CP is the vanguard of the proletariat there should be no contradictions and struggle within the Party and that the Party should be absolutely pure. This is a naive concept which runs counter to materialist dialectics. . After liberation, with the gradual deepening of the socialist revolution, division among the Party ranks constantly took place. Part of the Party members who clung to the bourgeois stand refused to remould their ideology and, not willing to go forward, opposed the socialist revolution and became capitalist-roaders. . ’The development of the proletariat proceeds everywhere amidst internal struggles’ (F. Engels to A. Bebel). Chairman Mao has said: ’If there were no contradictions within the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party’s life would come to an end’ (On Contradictions) ’Without struggle there is no progress. ’ Only by using the viewpoint of class struggle to observe inner-Party life can we really understand the inevitability of inner-Party struggle and be ideologically prepared for protracted struggles inside the Party. . Since we entered the period of socialism, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has become the principal contradiction in society and the two-line struggle within the Party reflects that contradiction . . If inner-Party struggle were not upheld, if Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line were not used to defeat the revisionist line of the capitalist-readers, then the Party would change its nature. Judging from experience, isn’t it quite clear that persistence in inner-Party struggle is of tremendous significance to combatting and preventing revisionism?. . Out of their counter-revolutionary political needs, chieftans of the revisionist line Liu Shao-chi Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping did their utmost to propagate the theory of the dying out of class struggle in Party building. They either negated the class content of inner-Party struggle by distorting it into a struggle between individuals or attacked inner-Party struggle as ’creating contradictions’, denying the objective reality that struggle exists within the Party. It was a hypocritical double-dealing tactic of the chieftans of the revisionist line to preach the theory of the dying out of class struggle in Party building, a tactic designed to cover up their own frenzied attack on the Party and the proletariat. . . To oppose Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, chieftans of the revisionist line Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, and Teng Hsiao-ping invariably engaged in counter-revolutionary activities to undermine Party unity organizationally and split the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao. To maintain Party unity we must resolutely fight against the splittist activities of these chieftans of the revisionist line in the Party. At present we must deepen the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping, eliminate his pernicious influence and achieve further successes in the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind so as to strengthen the unity of the whole Party on the basis of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. (condensation, PR #34. 1976. pp. 11-14)
The preamble of the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party includes this passage, which summarizes clearly the importance of class struggle under socialism:
Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. Throughout this historical period, there are classes, class contradictions and class struggle; there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, there is the danger of capitalist restoration and there is the threat of subversion and aggression by imperialism and social-imperialism. These contradictions can be resolved only by depending on the theory of continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and on practice under its guidance.
4. A GLORIOUS HISTORY OF TWO-LINE STRUGGLE
China entered the socialist period of its development in the late 1950’s. At that time the major contradiction in the society had become that between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The two-line struggle within the Party developed around this contradiction.
In 1957, Chairman Mao, recognizing the danger of bureaucracy, called for a criticism-self-criticism rectification campaign and issued his Hundred Flowers speech. The Right took advantage of the campaign to launch an attack on socialist construction and push for increasing bourgeois right. Chairman Mao changed the emphasis to make it into an anti-Right campaign after the Right had exposed their dangerous bourgeois line.
In 1958, after the victory of the anti-Right struggle, and guided by the general line laid down by Chairman Mao of “going all out, aiming high and achieving greater, faster, better, and more economic results in building socialism,” hundreds of millions of people criticized the philosophy of servility to foreign things and trailing behind at a snail’s pace. It was under these circumstances that the Great Leap Forward in economic construction and the Peoples’ Commune Movement emerged, pushing socialism in China a big step forward. However, the struggle did not cease. In 1959, the P’eng Teh-huai anti-Party clique advocated tailing behind the Soviet revisionists and attacked the Great Leap Forward and the Peoples’ Commune Movement. Later, taking advantage of the temporary economic difficulties resulting from three consecutive years of natural disasters and the Soviet revisionist renegade clique’s act of tearing up contracts and withdrawing experts, Liu Shao-chi and company again opposed Chairman Mao’s correct line, advocating retreating from the Commune Movement and returning to the use of private plots and private profits and advocating a retreat and consolidation of class relations in industry.
Perceiving the danger of Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist counter-revolutionary line, Chairman Mao launched a massive Socialist Education Movement throughout the cities and countryside in 1964 and issued the call to never forget class struggle. However, Liu Shao-chi tried to use the Socialist Education Movement for his own purposes, sending out work teams to direct the spearhead of the attack down at lower and middle cadres. At this point, Chairman Mao explicitly pointed out that: “The main target of the present movement is those Party persons in power taking the capitalist road.” In 1966, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was launched, organizing the masses of workers and peasants to rectify the Party and to move China forward on the socialist road. On August 8th, 1966, the Central Committee of the Communist Party released the 16 points which guided the Cultural Revolution and which said, among other things:
The masses of the workers, peasants, soldiers, revolutionary intellectuals and revolutionary cadres form the main force in this great Cultural Revolution. Large numbers of revolutionary young people, previously unknown, have become courageous and daring pathbreakers. They are vigorous in action and intelligent. Through the media of big-character posters and great debates, they argue things out, expose and criticize thoroughly, and launch resolute attacks on the open and hidden representatives of the bourgeoisie. In such a great revolutionary movement, it is hardly avoidable that they should show shortcomings of one kind or another; however, their general revolutionary orientation has been correct from the beginning. This is the main current in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
It is the general direction along which this revolution continues to advance. Since the Cultural Revolution is a revolution, it inevitably meets with resistance. This resistance comes chiefly from those in authority who have wormed their way into the Party and are taking the capitalist road. It also comes from the force of habits from the old society. At present, this resistance is still fairly strong and stubborn. But after all, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is an irresistible general trend. There is abundant evidence that such resistance will be quickly broken down once the masses become fully aroused. Because the resistance is fairly strong, there will be reversals and even repeated reversals in this struggle. There is no harm in this. It tempers the proletariat and other working people, and especially the younger generation, teaches them lessons and gives them experience, and helps their, to understand that the revolutionary road zigzags and does not run smoothly.
In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the only method is for the masses to liberate themselves, and any method of doing things in their stead must not be used. Trust the masses, rely on them and respect their initiative. Cast out fear. Don’t be afraid of disturbances. Chairman Mao has often told us that revolution cannot be so very refined, so gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. Let the masses educate themselves in this great revolutionary movement and learn to distinguish right and wrong and between correct and incorrect ways of doing things.
Who are our enemies, Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution and it is likewise a question of the first importance for the great Cultural Revolution. Party leadership should be good at discovering the Left and developing and strengthening the ranks of the Left; it should firmly rely on the revolutionary Left. During the movement that is the only way to isolate the most reactionary Rightists thoroughly, win over the middle and unite with the great majority so that by the end of the movement we shall achieve the unity of more than 95 per cent of the cadres and more than 95 per cent of the masses. Concentrate all forces to strike at the handful of ultra-reactionary bourgeois Rightists and counter-revolutionary revisionists, and expose and criticize to the full their crimes against the Party, against socialism and against Mao Tse-tung’s thought so as to isolate them to the maximum. The main target of the present movement is those within the Party who are in authority and are taking the capitalist road.
During the Cultural Revolution Liu Shao-chi’s bourgeois headquarters was smashed by the mass movement. Following this the Lin Piao anti-Party clique surfaced. Lin Piao used ultra-“Left” and proletarian slogans but the essence of his revisionist line was Right. He advocated an end to the dictatorship of the proletariat, suggested that class struggle had been solved and that production was the main task after the Cultural Revolution. As Commander of the Peoples’ Liberation Army he tried to take the Army out of the Party’s control, usurp military power and then political power. His line and his plot to seize power were defeated and a movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius grew out of that struggle.
One of the “gang of four”, Wang Hung-wen, a Shanghai worker who, as a leader of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was later elected to be Senior Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, reiterated the Party’s principle of criticism on a mass level at the Tenth Party Congress in 1973:
Ours is a socialist country under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The working class, the poor and lower-middle peasants, and the masses of working people are the masters of our country. They have the right to exercize revolutionary supervision over cadres of all ranks of our Party and state organs. This concept has taken deeper root in our Party, thanks to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. However, there are still a small number of cadres, especially some leading cadres, who will not tolerate differing views inside or outside the Party. They even suppress criticism and retaliate and it is quite serious in some cases . . Party discipline absolutely forbids such wrong practices. . We should approach this question from the high plane of two-line struggle to understand it and resolutely fight against such violations of Party discipline. We must have faith in the masses, rely on them, constantly use the weapons of arousing the masses to air their views freely, write big-character posters and hold great debates and strive to create a political situation in which there are both centralism and democracy, both discipline and freedom, both unity of will and personal ease of mind and liveliness, so as to facilitate our socialist revolution and socialist construction. (PR #35, 1973, p. 33)
The struggle launched by Chairman Mao at the end of 1975 to beat back the Right deviationist trend was a continuation of the long two-line struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. As the following passage predicts, the struggle became increasingly antagonistic during the months that followed:
The great victories we have won since the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution undoubtedly constitute a shattering defeat for the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes. They will never take this defeat lying down but will invariably wait for an opportunity to stage a vengeful counterattack in an attempt to reverse the previous verdicts passed during the Cultural Revolution. (PR #6, 1976, p. 7)
In the following sections we will go into specific manifestations of the two-line struggle in five sectors of Chinese society that have been fully discussed in Peking Review during the past two years, during the course of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend and during the current period of reversal of that struggle. These sectors are education, literature and art, healthcare, agriculture, and industry.
5. THE REVOLUTION IN EDUCATION
Among the 16 points formulated by the Communist Party Central Committee to guide the Cultural Revolution is the following declaration:
In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution a most important task is to transform the old educational system and the old principles and methods of teaching. In this Great Cultural Revolution the phenomenon of our schools being dominated by bourgeois intellectuals must be completely changed.
Schools and universities became the first major battleground in the Cultural Revolution, with university and high school students quickly forming Red Guard brigades and struggling against many of their administrators to transform education. The many basic changes made in education were outlined in an article in Peking Review #10, 1976, called “Fundamental Differences Between the Two Lines in Education” which was used widely to counter the Right deviationist wind in educational circles last year. It talks about the changes made in agricultural colleges since the Cultural Revolution but applies to all schools. Quoted below are the subtitles from the article; the entire article should be read to get a better understanding.
1. Old agricultural colleges were dominated by bourgeois intellectuals, new agricultural colleges must strengthen working class leadership.
2. Old agricultural colleges were concentrated in cities; new agricultural colleges are scattered in the countryside.
3. Old agricultural colleges advocated: ’He who excels in learning can be an official.’ New agricultural colleges practice the system: ’From the communes and back to communes’ and train new type peasants with both socialist consciousness and culture.
4. Old agricultural colleges stressed: ’Giving first place to intellectual development.’ New agricultural colleges stress putting proletarian politics in command!
5. Old agricultural colleges advocated ’regularization’. New agricultural colleges adhere to part work, part study systems.
6. Old agricultural colleges stressed a teaching process centered around teachers, books, and classrooms and based on basic theory, basic principle of various specialties and specialized courses. New agricultural colleges conduct teaching on the basis of scientific research and production (integrating study and production, theory and practice).
7. Old agricultural colleges were housed in buildings and isolated from society; new agricultural colleges are closely linked with the three great revolutionary movements – the struggle for production, the class struggle, and scientific experiment, [note: shortening the length of education is emphasized here]
8. Old agricultural colleges were ’pagodas’ for a privileged few. New agricultural colleges spread out on an ever widening scale, reaching to the grass roots and providing education for the masses.
9. Old agricultural colleges enslaved the students; new agricultural colleges enable worker-peasant-soldier students to ’attend the university, manage it and transform it’.
10. Teachers in old agricultural colleges were divorced from workers and peasants; new agricultural colleges help teachers integrate with workers and peasants and strive to build a contingent of proletarian teachers.
In the next issue of Peking Review (#11, 1976, p. 6) the two-line struggle in education is further defined:
To transform schools into instruments of the dictatorship of the proletariat for training successors to the proletarian revolutionary cause or to turn them into instruments of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie for training intellectual aristocrats to restore capitalism is a fundamental issue in the two-line struggle on the educational front.
Among the first and most important battlegrounds of the Cultural Revolution in the educational front were Tsinghua and Peking Universities. Since then these universities have been heralded as outstanding examples of how socialist new things are put into practice in education. They were also principal fronts in the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind in education during 1975 and 1976. In November, 1975, Chairman Mao personally went to Tsinghua University to launch a mass debate to criticize this bourgeois wind. The debate was led by the Party and the Workers’ Propaganda Team in the University and soon spread to other schools around the country. We present here parts of three articles that dealt with this struggle:
Around last summer (1975) a Right deviationist wind trying to reverse previous correct verdicts was whipped up in society at large. Its aim was to negate the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution personally initiated and led by Chairman Mao ten years ago and the socialist new things that have emerged during the Cultural Revolution. It was at this time that a few persons at Tsinghua University, bent on pushing the revisionist line, came out with attacks on Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line and the Party Central Committee he headed. With penetrating insight into the current trend in class struggle, our great leader Chairman Mao promptly seized hold of this opportunity and personally initiated a revolutionary mass debate. Under the leadership of the Party organizations, the cadres and masses at Tsinghua University began exposing and criticizing revisionism.
This struggle is neither isolated nor accidental . . Those who whipped up the Right deviationist wind were in fact launching a wild all-round offensive against the proletariat politically, ideologically, and organizationally. They attempted to change the Party’s basic line, thereby turning the whole country away from its M-L orientation and changing its political colour. The worker-peasant-soldier students hit the nail on the head when they said: ’If this Right deviationist wind to reverse correct verdicts should succeed, capitalism would be restored in China and millions of our class brothers would lose their lives.’
Immediately after the revolutionary mass debate started, some Tsinghua students put up a big-character poster: ’The capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road.” It directed the spearhead of this struggle at a handful of capitalist-roaders in the Party. With the deepening of the mass debate, the class alignment became clearer and clearer. The bourgeois representatives who whipped up the Right deviationist wind were mainly those capitalist-roaders who were exposed and criticized during the Cultural Revolution but refused to mend their ways. A case in point was the way a group of worker-peasant-soldier students of the industrial automation department criticized those who whipped up the Right deviationist wind and alleged that the ’poor standard’ of the students was hampering the four modernizations [agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology] They wrote a big-character poster entitled: ’Are those who whipped up the Right deviationist wind for modernization or restoration?’ Citing numerous facts to show that it isn’t students but these people who are hampering the ’four modernizations’, they pointed out: the bourgeoisie only pretends not to talk about class struggle, their aim being to lull the masses of people and oppose the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. . Those who whipped up the Right deviationist wind used the ’four modernizations’ as a big club to smash the socialist new things and attack the proletariat. Owing to the existence of bourgeois right and old traditional ideas, we are constantly exposed to attacks by germs of the old society. This makes some of the cadres and masses liable to fall prey to the Right deviationist wind. The aim of the present mass debate is to temper the people in the course of struggle, deepen their understanding of the social origins of revision ism and reduce the grounds of revisionism to the minimum. (PR #12, pp. 9,10,11)
Tsinghua University was the first to launch counter-attacks early last November, Making use of the forms of speaking out freely, airing views fully, writing big-character posters and holding great debates, the teachers, students, staff membei and workers have exposed and criticized the fallacies spread by the capitalist-roaders in the Party. They have done this by presenting facts and reasoning things out. Peking University and other institutions of education, science and technology soon followed suit and launched a fierce counter-attack against all the absurdities that had cropped up in educational, scientific, and technological circles. (PR #12, 1976, p. 11)
In order to throw the workers out of the schools, Teng Hsiao-ping did his utmost to vilify the excellent situation in the realm of the superstructure and attacked the educational revolution, alleging that there was a ’crisis’ in the educational departments. . He and his followers cried: ’The working class has made a mess of education.’ This, of course, was a distortion of the facts. .. In order to throw the workers out of the schools, Teng Hsiao-ping spread political rumors, instigating intellectuals to oppose working class leadership, defaming and attacking the Worker Propaganda Team stationed in Tsinghua University. .. (PR #37, 1976, pp. 19-20)
During the October, 1976, purge, the Minister of Education, Chou Hung-pao (who had replaced the Rightist Chou Jung-hsin last spring) and the Vice Minister of Education Chih Chun, who was also head of Tsinghua University, were arrested. The leaders of the worker propaganda teams that played an important role in transforming the universities since the Cultural Revolution and who were under attack last year by Teng (PR #3] p. 20) have been arrested at both Tsinghua and Peking Universities (N.Y. Times, Oct. 17) along with many teachers and students, not only at Peking and Tsinghua but at other colleges, schools and universities.
Chairman Mao said after the Cultural Revolution: “The worker propaganda teams should stay permanently in the schools and colleges, take part in all the tasks of struggle-criticism-transformation there and will always lead these institutions.” During the anti-Right struggle at Tsinghua University last year he said: “The question involved in Tsinghua is not an isolated question but a reflection of the current two-line struggle.” (PR #37, 1976, p. 20) These two instructions of Chairman Mao show us that the arrests are not a few isolated attacks on a few students, teachers, and political leaders, but an attack on the entire educational revolution begun in the Cultural Revolution.
The first mention of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind in education in Peking Review since the purge was this passage (PR #4, 1977, p. 16) criticizing the “gang of four” for down-playing Chou En-lai in the news media:
Renmin Ribao (Peoples’ Daily) did not mention Premier Chou En-lai’s name that day (Jan. 14, 1976) but instead on Yao Wen-yuan’s orders (one of the ’gang of four’) carried a lengthy front page article, ’Big Changes Brought about by Big Debate at Tsinghua University.’ ’Of late,’ the article babbled, ’the whole nation has been following Tsinghua’s big debate on the educational revolution with interest.’ This was an outrageous flaunting of public sentiment and the meanest distortion of the feelings of the Party members and people at large as well.
The present leaders opposed the struggle against the Right deviationist trend in educational circles that was carried out last year, and in criticizing the “gang of four” are going all out to defend and develop that trend.
Typical of the bankrupt style of the criticism put forward by the new leaders was an article about education in Peking Review #8. 1977, the only one so far to appear in Peking Review since the purge. The authors twist the objectives of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind in education as “opposing intellectual development and acquiring knowledge.” Echoing Teng Hsiao-ping, they claim that the “gang of four” set politics and socialist consciousness against culture and intellectual development so as to negate culture and intellectual development. With an awkward slight of hand they try to prove that the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend in education was “an attempt to stop the laboring people from acquiring knowledge. . a futile scheme to keep the workers and poor and lower middle peasants forever in a state of ignorance without culture.” Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. As the preceding articles have shown, education has been traditionally the domain of the bourgeois intellectuals and has excluded peasants and workers, and did to a large degree until the Cultural Revolution. The changes in education made during the Cultural Revolution were a tremendous victory for the working classes, but their success was dependent on a continual struggle to put them into practice, to challenge the bourgeois dominance over education, and prevent the old ideas and the bourgeois elements that continued to promote them from getting the upper hand.
Examinations have been a constant source of struggle since liberation and particularly since the Cultural Revolution began. Examinations are still necessary in education, but their use as the primary factor in admissions was defeated during the Cultural Revolution and replaced with a system of choosing outstanding members with high political consciousness from the communes and industrial enterprises. In their attempts to regain control over education, bourgeois intellectuals many times try to increase the role of academic examinations and exclude peasants and workers with less academic knowledge from colleges and universities. An article in PR #8 1977 (pp. 13-15) attacks the struggle of the worker-peasant-soldier students against the bourgeois use of examinations by defaming a hero of that movement, Chang Tieh-sheng of the Tiehling Agricultural College. Chang Tieh-sheng was a production brigade leader who in protest against entrance examinations that tried exclude peasants and workers turned in a blank exam. Now the present leaders attack him as a “concocted hero”, with a “hopelessly low [academic] level“ who couldn’t pass the exam and an all-around opportunist and pawn of the “gang of four”. What is their point? – to reverse the verdict on the use of academic entrance examinations as a means to exclude peasants and workers from school.[footnote 1]
The bourgeois idea of education is that it must be geared toward educating a technocratic elite instead of a large contingent of worker-soldier-peasant students to return to the communes and factories. This is consistent with their idea that technological advances depend on a few highly specialized elite technicians and not on the masses of workers and peasants. These bourgeois ideas manifest themselves in many ways such as emphasizing technique over political socialist education, emphasizing grades and tests, wanting to “raise academic standards,” by kicking the peasants and workers out of the schools, and opposing the authority of the worker propaganda teams, claiming that the most “intellectually advanced” professors (who many times did not take a strong class stand with the proletariat) must run the schools, that “non-professionals cannot direct professionals.” All these ideas were thoroughly repudiated during the Cultural Revolution, but they did not disappear, and Teng Hsiao-ping tried to stir up a Right deviationist wind to bring back these ideas and reverse the correct verdicts in the educational field. The bourgeois intellectuals who promoted this line said they wanted to “raise academic standards” and “further cultural development and scientific achievement,” but what they actually tried to do was push the workers and peasants out of the universities and schools. The result of their plan would have been to recreate schools that would be the privileged pagodas of the bourgeois intellectuals to train a new class of technocrats to restore capitalism.
To combat the bourgeois line and consolidate the schools as centers of working class education, political development, and technical advancement was the essence of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind in education. The two-line struggle in education is defined and very powerfully presented in the movie “Breaking with Old Ideas,” which was produced in the spring of 1976 to support the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend at that time. All the movies produced during this time to attack capitalist-roaders have been denounced by the new leaders of China (see following section).
We also suggest that people examine closely two articles dealing with a related subject: “Repulsing the Right deviationist wind in the scientific and technological circles”, by the Mass Criticism Group at Peking and Tsinghua Universities, in PR #18, 1976 (p. 6) and “A serious struggle in scientific and technical circles”, by the theoretical group of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in PR #16, 1977 (p. 24). The two articles are totally opposed to each other, and the second is written to counter the message of the first. The first puts forward the proletarian revolutionary line in scientific and technological fields, carefully explains it, and defends it against attacks that were being made by the Right deviationists. Typical of many of the articles now written to attack the “gang of four,” the second article makes it clear that the persons and political line under attack last year for being revisionist and Right deviationist were in fact correct and their opponents incorrect; however, it sidesteps the most important principles brought up in the struggle, characterizing the whole thing as “bourgeois factionalism” and an attempt to seize power by the ”gang of four”.
1. The N.Y. Times reported on March 28, 1977, that students in Peking were taking entrance exams for the first time in three years (since the struggle in which Chang Tieh-sheng was a leader).
6. THE REVOLUTION IN LITERATURE AND ART
The sixteen points formulated by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to guide the masses of workers and peasants in fighting the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution pointed out:
. . Comrade Mao Tse-tung said: ’To overthrow a political power it is always necessary first of all to create public opinion, to do work in the ideological sphere. This is true for the revolutionary class as well as for the counterrevolutionary class. . ’
Although the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, it is still trying to use old ideas, culture, customs and habits of the exploiting classes to corrupt the masses, capture their minds and endeavour to stage a comeback. The proletariat must do the exact opposite; it must meet head on every challenge of the bourgeoisie in the ideological field and use the new ideas, culture, customs and habits of the proletariat to change the mental outlook of the whole society.
During and after the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, comrades in the fields of literature and art strived to create a new proletarian culture that would serve the working class and take the place of the old bourgeois art. They threw away all the old books and plays about emperors and empresses that promoted feudal and capitalist ideas. New plays and movies were written and a new revolutionary proletarian culture was encouraged. However, this new culture was, of course, attacked by the capitalist roaders including Teng Hsiao-ping. The major thrust of Teng’s attack was against the model revolutionary theatrical works, which he said were based on “one-sided thinking in terms of absolutes.” He also said the works “obstructed the development of literature and art.” (see China Reconstructs, August, 1976)
An article titled “Negating the Revolution in Literature and Art Aims at Restoring Capitalism” (PR #22, 1976) defends the revolution in literature and art:
In dishing up the revisionist programme of ’taking the three directives as the key link’ [as opposed to taking class struggle as the key link, as put forward by Chairman Mao, Teng put unity and stability and production on the same level], the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party, Teng Hsiao-ping, not only made a vindictive attack on the proletariat in the fields of education, science and technology, but also whipped up a Right deviationist wind in literary and art circles. With the spearhead directed at our great leader Chairman Mao, he frenziedly attacked Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line in literature and art, disparaged the model revolutionary theatrical works, slandered the proletariat’s leadership over literature and art, and tried to reverse the correct verdicts on the revisionist line in literature and art which held sway in the 17 years before the start of the Great Cultural Revolution in 1966. . Teng Hsiao-ping slandered that the revolution in literature and art was ’in a mess’ and said it was a ’question of line.’ Some even called for a ’reappraisal’ of the literature and art before the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Is the present better than the past or is the present not as good as the past on the literature and art front? Emperors, kings, generals, ministers, talents and beauties have been driven off the stage and the heroic images of workers and peasants and soldiers have taken their place as the leading characters. . Our literature and art today reflect the militant course of the Chinese Revolution, portray the magnificent scenes in a socialist revolution and construction, depict the heat of struggle and life of the workers, peasants and soldiers, praise the sturdy growth of revolutionary new things. Amateur activities in literary and art creations among workers, peasants, and soldiers have flourished, and in giving theatrical performances, the emphasis is on the grass-roots units . .. When [Teng Hsiao-ping] saw the feature film ’Spring Shoot’, he went away disapprovingly before it ended, slandering it as ’ultraLeft’ . . Why did he fly into a rage at this film which has won acclaim from the masses? This is because it stung him to the quick, for the film sings the praises of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, successfully creates a typical image of Tien Chun-miao, one of the new generation of young people who have come to the fore during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and sharply criticizes those Party persons in power taking the capitalist road. By attacking ’Spring Shoot’ as ’ultraLeft’ Teng Hsiao-ping revealed his own ultra-Right stand. It is crystal clear that the model revolutionary theatrical works have helped bring about the blossoming of 100 flowers in revolutionary art and literature, but why did Teng Hsiao-ping regard this as ’a single flower blossoming’? Did he really want to have a hundred flowers blossom in proletarian art and literature? Not at all. He . . always harboured a bitter hatred for the flagrant flowers of socialist literature and art and prostrated himself in admiration of feudal, capitalist and revisionist literature and art. What he tried to do was to smother the fragrant flowers of proletarian literature and art and let feudal, capitalist and revisionist poisonous weeds grow instead, thereby turning literature and art into his tool for restoring capitalism. This is the very essence of the issue.
The Minister of Culture, Yu Hui-yung, was purged in October and his place was taken by Hua Shan, a former journalist who was criticized during the Cultural Revolution (N.Y. Times, Oct. 17 and Oct. 29). The Vice-Minister of Culture was also purged and all signs indicate that the Ministry of Culture has been reorganized completely. Visitors report that in the months following the purge of October all the model theatrical works showing in Peking were cancelled, revolutionary ballets, operas, and plays. The Peking Review indicates that the major movies made last year have also been suppressed. An article which completely exposes the nature of the new government states:
A hue and cry to ’create works with themes on the struggle against capitalist-roaders’ was suddenly raised in the spring of 1976 in literary and art circles which were then under the thumb of the ’gang of four’ . . At that time, some people justifiably questioned: ’Chairman Mao said that over 90 per cent of our cadres are good or fairly good. Does writing about so many capitalist-roaders conform to Chairman Mao’s teaching?’ Others penetratingly pointed out: Creating so-called works with themes on struggling against capitalist-roaders in such a way actually is negating the Party’s leadership . . . Moreover, the ’gang of four’ said that the stress should be on writing about ’big capitalist-roaders’. . (PR #5, 1977, pp. 19-22)
The article goes on to say that in writing the plot for the film “Counterattack” the “gang of four” said:
We should answer the question: What should we do if revisionism emerges in the Central Committee of our Party?’ Added to the revised script were these words in the dialogue: ’From the central authorities to the various localities, they [the capitalist-readers] still have a fairly big portion of power. ’, .. They [the ’gang of four’] hoped in vain to use the film to fan up dissension and topple the first secretaries of every province and direct the spearhead of attack at the central authorities. . The spring thunder has smashed their fond dream. The Central Party Committee headed by Chairman Hua Kuo-feng, carrying out Chairman Mao’s behests, squashed the scheme of the anti-Party ’gang of four’ to usurp Party and state power. Their plot to ’create works with themes on the struggle against capitalist-roaders’ thus added up to zero.
Mao Tse-tung recently said “With the socialist revolution they themselves come under fire . . when it comes to criticizing bourgeois right, they resent it. You are making the socialist revolution and yet you don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party. . those in power taking the capitalist road. The capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road.” The present leaders have revealed in their criticisms of revolutionary works in literature and art that they do indeed resent being criticized for bourgeois right. They imply that capitalist-roaders do not have a fairly large portion of power, and that revisionism cannot emerge in the central committee. They, just like Teng Hsiao-ping, are saying that the capitalist-roaders should not be attacked, or should not be attacked “so much”. They minimize the danger of revisionism and direct the spearhead of their attack not only against those who have been the vanguard of opposing revisionism, but against all ideological struggle against capitalist-roaders.
The latest movie “Counterattack” was suppressed before it was released, but here in the USA we have seen one of the movies produced by the Ministry of Culture last spring to attack capitalist-roaders, “Breaking with Old Ideas”. It was produced to support the revolution in education. The other, “Spring Shoot,” was produced to support the struggle in healthcare. These are the only films that have been produced specifically to support the struggles against capitalist-roaders in the current period. Both were released in the spring of 1976. Reviews of these movies appear in PR #24, 1976, PR #18, 1976 and in China Pictorial and China Reconstructs (April, 1976). Scenarios were printed in the magazine Chinese Literature in 1976.
We suggest that anyone who can should see these films (as of this writing, “Breaking with Old Ideas” is being shown around the United States by the October League, M-L). The film “Breaking with Old Ideas” shows that most of the Party cadres and the people are good, and provides two strong examples of how people taken in by the bourgeois line in education can reform, but it uncompromisingly shows how to battle the bourgeois line in education and its proponents and, in a very real, concrete, and powerful way, portrays the most important aspects of that struggle. Analyze the film for yourself. If it correctly portrays capitalist-roaders and the struggle against them, why don’t the new leaders use it to educate the people and expose the “gang of four” whom they call “capitalist-roaders”? Why do they suppress films that attack capitalist-roaders?
We see the denouncement and suppression of these movies in China as another clear as day indication of the true nature of the new leaders. To take the place of these movies, the new Ministry of Culture has re-released several movies about the revolutionary war including one designed to criticize Wang Ming’s “Left” dogmatist line in the Red Army days. The obvious purpose of these movies is to try to take the peoples’ attention off the current struggle in which the principal enemy is neither Chiang Kai-chek nor “Left” dogmatism but the capitalist-roaders inside the Communist Party.
The present leaders have also re-released a score of “outstanding pre-Cultural Revolution movies” (PR #7. 1977) made by the Ministry of Culture that Chairman Mao aptly renamed “the Ministry of Emperors, Kings, Generals, and Ministers, the Ministry of Talents and Beauties, or the Ministry of Foreign Mummies.”
Further exposing their revisionist line in literature and art, the present leaders published in PR #4, 1977, the transcript of a big-character poster that lambasted the Ministry of Culture declaring that the policy of literature and art should be “adjusted”. It criticized the “gang of four’s” brazenness in the Ministry of Culture, telling them:
How many veteran cadres [who have committed errors, but have made self-criticisms]] have been used [employed in the Ministry of Culture”]? . . Ma Ke, for instance, has been subjected to investigation for 9 years and no evidence has been found that he is an enemy, special agent, or renegade. His case is roughly one of following the erroneous line. . He committed some error, admitted it, and was resolved to correct it . . Why don’t you give a little consideration to his entreaties?
Later, lambasting the “gang of four” for criticizing the film “Pioneers”:[footnote 1]
In some of your articles, which are beyond comprehension, even the rudiments of grammar and sentence structure and the basic concepts of language are ignored. For instance, the ’ten points’ criticizing "Pioneers” has the phrase ’serious errors in art’. A work can be good or bad, refined or crude artistically, and so on and so forth. But what is right or wrong in art?
“What is right or wrong in art?”!!! This is the same “liberal” denial of political content in art, the same denial of class struggle that revisionists have always made. Of course politics and art are inseparably linked and there is always political content in all aspects of art. The movies the new leaders choose to produce will show their real class nature in full color.
The main point of the big-character poster reprinted in Peking Review #4, 1977, as well as all the articles that have appeared recently in the Peking Review about literature and art, is that the art before the Cultural Revolution was better than that since, that the literary and art workers that presented classical, revisionist, and bourgeois propaganda before the Cultural Revolution should be brought back along with these works. Peking Review #7 (p. 22) included an article that declared that a “new spring” had come to literature and art and that “with the hated ’gang of four’s’ demise, the fetters shackling China’s literary and art workers have fallen off.” Was the policy of creating model revolutionary theatrical works with worker-peasant-soldier heroines and heroes fighting for the proletarian revolutionary line and against the capitalist-roaders a “fetter” on true Marxist-Leninist literary and art workers? Or was it a fetter, or rather an attack, on the bourgeois elements in the Party who would rather see works attacking “ultraLeft” lines, works that have underlying bourgeois messages, or works which avoid the actual context of the struggle between Marxism and revisionism?
Some Western observers, ranging from N.Y. Times reporters to leading members of the U. S-China Peoples’ Friendship Association, have applauded the “new spring” in literature and art, suggesting that the model revolutionary theatrical works developed since the Cultural Revolution have been boring and monotonous. Even if this criticism may have validity in some cases, it is certainly not that emphasized by the present Chinese leaders their motivation and thrust in criticizing these works is based on political content. Certainly “monotony” would be grounds to further advance the proletarian revolutionary works, not grounds for suppressing them or for bringing back the old works and artists, “Monotony” is not a cause for antagonistic contradiction in art and literature. The present conflict is between the proletarian and the bourgeois lines, not between “monotony” vs. “high art.”
The ideological fronts of the superstructure. .. education, the press, culture, literature and art, and the Marxist theoretical contingents of workers, peasants, and soldiers (study groups) are extremely important in continuing the socialist revolution and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. These were the primary tasks of three of the “gang of four” . . Yao Wen-yuan, Chiang Ching, and Chang-Chun-chiao.
Articles in the Peking Review now say that the “gang of four” made a mess of, and twisted and distorted, the functions of the press, education, literature and art, and the theoretical contingents. Premier Chou is not accused by the new leaders of conspiring with the “gang of four” (in fact the present leaders use his name consistently, after he has died, to attack the “gang of four”), yet he defended the way the revolution in education, literature and art, (healthcare), and the theoretical contingents were being advanced:
The proletarian revolution in art and literature exemplified by the model revolutionary theatrical works is developing in depth. The revolution in education and health work is thriving. The cadres and workers, peasants, soldiers, students commercial workers are preserving the May 7th road. Over a million ’barefoot doctors’ are becoming more competent. Nearly 10,000,000 school graduates have gone to mountainous and other rural areas. With the participation of workers, peasants and soldiers, the Marxist theoretical contingents are expanding. The emergence of all these new things has strengthened the all-round dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie in the realm of the superstructure, and this helps further to consolidate and develop the socialist economic base. (from Premier Chou’s address to the Second Plenary Session of the Tenth Party Congress in 1975, PR #4, 1975, pp. 21-22)
The present campaign against the “dictatorship” of the “gang of four” in the cultural and ideological front is an important part of the new leaders’ attempt to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution, and not an attempt to advance proletarian culture in China. As time goes on, developments in the field of literature and art will be among the most dramatic evidences of the revisionist line of the new leaders.
1. Regardless of what criticisms Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan may have had of the film “Pioneers”, it was released by the Ministry of Culture and given very favorable publicity by the Chinese press (both the Ministry and the press were “under the thumb” of Yao, Chiang, and their supporters at that time).
7. THE REVOLUTION IN HEALTHCARE
Another major area where great victories were achieved during the Cultural Revolution was health. An article in PR #12, 1976, “Beat Back Right Deviationist Wind on Medical and Health Front,” explains the struggle on that front:
The old Ministry of Health [before the Cultural Revolution] focused its main effort in the cities, while neglecting the rural areas. . The medical system, methods of diagnosis and treatment, the orientation of medical research all catered to the needs of a minority in the cities. Whether to serve a majority of the people or a minority is the fundamental difference between the proletarian line and the revisionist line in medical work. The medical and health front has undergone profound changes since the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In terms of manpower, facilities and funds, the emphasis in health work has gradually been shifted to the countryside. . The situation there has changed for the better, particularly since the emergence of ’barefoot doctors’ [over 1,000,000 peasants trained to treat the health problems particular to the countryside with modern and traditional means and teach preventative health care] and the cooperative medical service, two socialist new things. But Teng Hsiao-ping lost no time in attacking the ’barefoot doctors’ as ’deficient profess’ ally’. Under his instigation, a gust of cold wind was stirred up to negate the cooperative medical service as a ’communist thing being done in the period of socialism’. It goes without saying that the ’barefoot doctors’ should continue to enhance their proficiency through practice and training. But when Teng Hsiao-ping attacked the ’barefoot doctors’ as ’deficient professionally’ his intention was not to help them raise their level, but to create public opinion for putting an end to this new approach to medical problems.
In the historical period of socialism, many new things have emerged that are young shoots of communism. If these were done away with because they are communist embryos, the transition to communism would be impossible, the only possibility left being the restoration of capitalism.
Teng Hsiao-ping alleged that at present the major problems on the medical front consist of ’neglecting technique’ and ’failing to cultivate professional skill’. He said so as if the principal contradiction in the field of medicine is not the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie but the question of whether to cultivate or neglect technique.
Advocating ’cultivating professional skill’ and ’learning technique’ is merely a camouflage put up by Teng Hsiao-ping. The theory of the dying out of class struggle has always been a deceptive revisionist theory. .
Only by grasping class struggle and putting proletarian politics in command can the problem of technique be correctly solved. Is technique studied for the purpose of improving the peoples’ health or for seeking personal fame and gain? If this question is not solved. . one is bound to lose his bearings.
The Minister of Public Health, Liu Hsiang-ping, who championed the socialist new things in medicine, has been removed. The movie “Spring Shoot”, produced in the spring of 1976, which features a peasant woman who becomes a barefoot doctor and leads in the struggle against capitalist-road tendencies in healthcare, has apparently been denounced as part of an “anti-Party plot” of the “gang of four.” (PR #5, 1977, pp. 19-22) However, this does not necessarily mean that the present leaders will immediately try to uproot the socialist new things in health care. Recent articles in the Peking Review show that this is not the case.
Healthcare is an area where concessions can be made without threatening the re-establishment of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Revisionists must attack the ideological foundations of socialism. . education and culture. They have no choice but to wage an immediate all-out war against the socialist new things on these fronts. They also must immediately return to relying on professional management in the factories and communes, material incentives, and foreign technology; they are sure to strengthen class differences in society through altering the relations of production. However, on the health front it is not crucial to attack the socialist new things such as the barefoot doctors and the cooperative medical services.
The new leaders may try to maintain these new shoots of communism in healthcare, at least in form. (As we have seen, Teng Hsiao-ping did not attack the ’barefoot doctors’ in form, attacking only their ideological base.) However, if they are successful in consolidating bourgeois control in other fields, healthcare will inevitably become bureaucratized and inefficient, and bourgeois right (health care to those who can pay) will return in full force.
8. THE REVOLUTION IN AGRICULTURE
Agriculture is the foundation of the Chinese economy and more than 80% of China’s people till the land. Although agriculture was not the central battleground of the Cultural Revolution (education, industry, and culture were), it has been profoundly transformed by class struggle, led by the Party.
The two-line struggle in agriculture has centered on the Peoples’ Commune Movement that was begun in the late 1950’s. The revisionists headed by Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping put forward the “theory of productive forces” claiming that it was impossible to advance towards socialist ways of collective farming until agriculture was mechanized and the productive forces in industry and agriculture were advanced to a high degree, that the economic and political conditions in the countryside did not permit change yet. Chairman Mao has consistently maintained that in order not to regress to capitalism it was necessary to continually advance toward the elimination of its social basis in the countryside – small production – and work toward the development of collective farming and the Peoples’ Communes. In 1958, despite the protests of Liu Shao-chi, Teng Hsiao-ping, and P’eng Teh-huai, the movement to build Peoples’ Communes was launched. Within two years, 90% of the peasants had joined the movement and Peoples’ Communes were built throughout China. In 1962, taking advantage of three years of draught, natural disaster, bad harvests, and the Soviet revisionists’ ripping up of contracts, Liu Schao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping advocated a retreat from the Commune movement and whipped up the evil wind of “san zi yi bao” – the extension of plots for private use and of free markets, the increase of small enterprises with sole responsibility for their own profits or losses, and the fixing of farm output quotas for individual households with each on its own. They also pushed for the “four freedoms” . . freedom to practice usury, hire labor, buy and sell land and engage in private enterprise. The revisionist leaders in the countryside suggested:
The landlords have no land and the rich peasants are no longer rich. What’s the use of grasping class struggle? We all live by earning work points; so long as production is being done, well then all’s fine.(PR #22, 1976, p. 11)
The revisionists did not worry about consolidating collectivization in agriculture so long as the brigades were making money.
During the Cultural Revolution, collective agriculture came into full swing again, with many brigades carrying out massive water and land changing efforts (irrigation and leveling out hills for mechanized, collective farming). Class struggle, correct line, and revolutionary spirit were re-emphasized and work points and personal profits were de-emphasized. The Tachai production brigade was raised as a red banner and example to the people of China.
The poor and lower middle peasants of Tachai showed all of China how the determining factor in collectivization and production is self-reliance and the revolutionary consciousness of the people, class struggle between the bourgeois line and the Marxist-Leninist line in building agriculture, and not personal material incentives or dependence on aid from the state. Mechanization was certainly not a prerequisite for development of collective agriculture.
There are three levels of ownership in the Peoples’ Commune: the commune, the production brigade, and the production team. Today the team is the basic unit, but to eradicate the capitalist social basis in the countryside, the goal is to move the basic unit of accounting up to the brigade and then the commune level. This is done through class struggle between the bourgeois line and the Marxist line in agriculture, building industry at the commune and brigade level, expanding collective agricultural work projects to the brigade and commune level, limiting the free market and raising the state’s role in the trading of agricultural products, mechanizing agriculture, raising production, and raising the peoples’ consciousness and collective spirit through socialist education and political night schools.
The revisionists, in an effort to maintain the old capitalist-type relations, oppose every move to advance. They oppose limiting the free market and advocate systems of personal material incentives. They oppose massive political education and class struggle between the bourgeois line and the Marxist line. They say that once production goes up, mechanization and electrification are completed, land changing and capital construction are carried out that the socialist transformation of the communes will happen automatically. They promote literacy classes, for example (as does everyone) but oppose political night school.
The revisionist program in agriculture, although it pretends to adhere to the Party’s aim of further advancement of collectivization and the transformation of the communes, in actuality denies the essential element in making socialist collectivization possible, ideological and political struggle. Their program emphasizes only mechanization, electrification, land changing, irrigation and capital construction. As we know, all these advancements alone are no guarantee that development will proceed along socialist lines. The best examples of this are the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., where agriculture is large-scale, mechanized, and electrification but certainly not socialist.
Emphasizing the leading role of political struggle in the socialist development of agriculture, Chairman Mao said:
Opposition to selfish spontaneous tendencies towards capitalism and promotion of the spirit of socialism, which makes the principle of linking the collective with the individual interest the criterion for judging all words and deeds . . such are the ideological and political guarantees for the gradual transition from the scattered, small-peasant economy to the large-scale cooperative economy . . [This task] should be performed not in isolation from our economic measures but in conjunction with them. . .Political work is the lifeblood of all economic work. This is particularly true at a time when the social and economic system is undergoing fundamental change. The agricultural cooperative movement has been a severe ideological and political struggle from the very beginning. No cooperative can be established without going through such a struggle. . After a cooperative is established, it must go through many more struggles before it can be consolidated. Even then, the moment it relaxes its efforts it may collapse. (Selected Readings, p. 429)
A long article about mechanization in agriculture that presents the program of the present leaders, in PR #9, 1977 (p. 13) contains this passage:
The realization of farm mechanisation will greatly raise labour productivity. Lenin pointed out in A Great Beginning: ’In the last analysis, productivity of labour is the most important, the principal thing for the victory of the new social system’ . . Thus the material conditions are created for the gradual transition from the present system of ownership which takes the production team as the basic accounting unit to that in which the brigade or the commune is the basic accounting unit and finally to the system of ownership by the whole people.
The present Chinese leaders have already learned a trick that the revisionists in the Soviet Union have been using for years – quoting Lenin out of context to pretend that he also supported the “theory of productive forces.” The fact is that in the article A Great Beginning, from which the above quote is (mis)taken, Lenin is talking about the “subbotniks,” a movement of highly conscious communist workers who rejected material incentives to help socialist construction by performing unpaid extra labor on their own initiative. Far from arguing that only the development of the productive forces can lay the basis for the development of socialist relations of production, as the Chinese leaders are doing, he was arguing that the Russian workers were, through class struggle and socialist consciousness, creating “new shoots of communism” within a few years after the revolution. He was saying that labor’s productivity as developed by collective proletarian revolutionary spirit was it decisive factor in the victory of socialism over capitalism. Lenin goes on in the same article to say:
The mistake the ’Berne’ yellow International makes is that its leaders accept the class struggle and the leading role of the proletariat only in word and are afraid to think it out to its logical conclusion. They are afraid of that inevitable conclusion which particularly terrifies the bourgeoisie, and which is absolutely unacceptable to them. They are afraid to admit that the dictatorship of the proletariat is also a period of class struggle, which is inevitable as long as classes have not been abolished.
The author of the article on mechanization typically mis-uses the teachings of Lenin, emphasizing only one half the dialectic – production and not revolution. S/he emphasizes only mechanization and not political struggle and socialist education and twists the history of the two-line struggle in agriculture, claiming the struggle is one between pro-mechanization and anti-mechanization forces, and lumping the “gang of four” with Liu Shao-chi and Lin saying all opposed mechanization. This is extremely misleading. Liu Shao-chi opposed collectivization, using the backward state of mechanization as a pretext. Before the Peoples’ Communes were formed, he, along with Teng Hsiao-ping and Peng Teh-huai, claimed the communes could not be created until agriculture was mechanized. After the movement began, Liu Shao-chi complained: “Now it appears that the Peoples’ Communes should be operated. The problem is that we must not set up too many of them at one stroke or go too fast.” When this failed, he and Teng Hsiao-ping tried to destroy the communes, encouraging private plots and free trade, saying the communes were not practical until mechanized. This bourgeois line was defeated during the Cultural Revolution. Now the author of the article says that only once mechanization is completed are the “conditions created” for advancing agricultural ownership from the team to the brigade and commune level.
To claim that the “gang of four” opposed mechanization is absurd. Everyone in China, including Liu Shao-chi, Teng Hsiao-ping, Lin Piao, Hua Kuo-feng, and the “gang of four” support mechanization and agree that furthering mechanization is an immediate and important goal in agriculture. This is not the question. The question is whether to put off the further transformation of productive relations in agriculture until this is accomplished, thereby allowing the soil for capitalist restoration to grow unchecked in the countryside.
The revisionists real aim is not to further mechanization (although they will undoubtedly do this); it is to oppose the further transformation of the communes by claiming that only complete mechanization will create the necessary conditions. The present leaders, in the tradition of P’eng Teh-huai, Liu Shao-chi, and Teng Hsiao-ping, now criticize the “gang of four” for wanting to move “too fast” in advancing collectivization and the socialist transformation of the communes.
They negated the expositions of Chairman Mao and Chairman Hua concerning the transition in the system of ownership in the Peoples’ Communes [from production team to brigade to commune] and spread the nonsense that the changes in the system of ownership could take place under any economic and political conditions. (PR #6, 1977, p. 5)
This passage mis-uses Chairman Mao’s name to try to pass off a retread of the revisionist “theory of productive forces” that mechanization must precede further socialist transformation. The present leaders echo all the goals in agriculture that the CCP has strived for over the years. No revisionist leader has ever renounced these goals because to do so would be a complete exposure of their bourgeois ideology. However, in reality they push the “theory of productive forces”, oppose further transformation “at the present time”, push material incentives, and vigorously try to crush the class struggle against the bourgeoisie, attacking the Left forces that are the vanguard of this struggle.
Over the last two years there has been intense struggle on the agricultural front. In 1964, Chairman Mao had exemplified Tachai production brigade as a brilliant example of how to depend on self-reliance, collective spirit and political education and class struggle to oppose Liu Shao-chi’s bankrupt “theory of productive forces” and called on the whole nation to “Learn from Tachai in Agriculture”. Since then, brigades and communes throughout the country have been striving to change the land and learn from Tachai’s experience in class struggle and socialist education. However, just as Liu Shao-chi tried to use the Socialist Education Movement launched by Chairman Mao in 1963 to send out his own work teams to communes around the country to propagate revisionist ideas in a agriculture, the revisionists in 1975 took advantage of the Learn-from-Tachai movement to send their own work teams around the country to try to distort the Learn-from-Tachai movement to their own revisionist ends. How this was carried out was depicted clearly in fictional form in a story called “The Undaunted” in the magazine Chinese Literature (#9, 1976).
The story shows how a work team comes in to a local county and allies with the county Party Secretary, who was criticized during the Cultural Revolution but retained his post after making a self-criticism. They try to propagate the “theory of productive forces,” emphasizing only leveling mountains and not learning from Tachai’s political work or struggle against the revisionist line. They institute a system strongly promoting material incentives for working on the land-changing project. When the leaders from one commune protest about the revisionist method of organization the work team promotes, the county Party Secretary produces an important “talk” from the Center saying that all Party organizations on all levels must be “put right”, and immediately aims the spearhead of his attack at those who criticized methods employed by the work program. The county Party Secretary declares that the “ultraLeft” ideas must be wiped out, that the Cultural Revolution was long past and a new situation was at hand. The same contradictions arise that arose during the Cultural Revolution, and when the county Party Secretary tries to purge the commune leaders that oppose his plan, the commune unites to study the directives of Chairman Mao since the Cultural revolution, criticize revisionism, and oppose the plan of the work team. The story ends unfinished, with the county Party Secretary, the work team, and the commune members in conflict.
During the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind, the Party committee of the Tachai Production Brigade vigorously reiterated the Party’s principle of class struggle in an article published in China Reconstructs. Their statement is in marked contrast to those written by individuals from Tachai or anonymously by “the people from Tachai” that have appeared in the PR since the purge (see PR #46, 1976, and PR #6, 1977). The recent articles in PR have unashamedly centered their attacks on the personality of Chiang Ching and have mentioned class struggle only once or twice, and then only to denounce the “gang of four” and not to attack concrete political problems in their commune
The Party branch of the Tachai Production Brigade said in September of 1976:
Since China entered the period of socialist revolution, Tachai has met many obstacles on its way forward. Though some obstacles came from the overthrown landlords and rich peasants, and counter-revolutionaries and bad elements, the main ones were from the bourgeoisie within the Party. When we first set up a people’s commune in Tachai, the capitalist-roaders within the Party following Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist line tried to stop us. In 1964 Liu Shao-chi used the socialist education movement to hit out wildly at Tachai.
Teng Hsiao-ping was of the same kind as Liu Shao-chi. Last year when a Right deviationist wind was stirred up to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural revolution, he distorted Tachai’s fundamental experience and didn’t have a single word to say about class struggle and the two-line struggle, only preaching the theory of productive forces in a vain attempt to undermine the Learn-from-Tachai mass movement. All this clearly shows us that the bourgeoisie within the Party using a part of power they have usurped to restore capitalism is much more dangerous than the bourgeoisie in society at large. . .
Criticizing Teng Hsiao-ping, Chairman Mao pointed out, ’He knows nothing of Marxism-Leninism; he represents the bourgeoisie.’
. . We often remind ourselves that Tachai’s success has come from struggle. Repeated struggles are the powerful motive force propelling the socialist society forward. Struggle is a guarantee for the victory in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only with struggle can we combat a prevent revisionism and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat. Class conciliation, class amalgamation and class capitulation will only lead to restoration and retrogression. . in the historical period of socialism, class struggle will be a complicated and long term one, sometimes very intense. We must never discard class struggle. No matter what lies Teng Hsiao-ping tried to fabricate, our determination to struggle will not be moved. We have struggled for the past 30 years to build up to the present Tachai. We’ll march forward by continuing the struggle. We must struggle against revisionism and capitalism every year, every month and every day. We’ll keep on struggling until communism arrives, and nobody can stop us. (China Reconstructs, September, 1976, pp. 12-14)
It is important to note that while the new leaders try to give the impression that the “gang of four” oppose Learning-from-Tachai, what they are really trying to do is distort the Learning-from-Tachai movement and use it for their own revisionist ends. This is what the Party committee of the Tachai Production Brigade and the “gang of four” opposed.
The new leaders have published statements by individuals from Tachai, but we have seen no statements from the Tachai Party committee written since the purge. In PR #43 (Oct. 22, 1976), the new leaders write about Tachai (pp. 6-7) cleverly confusing “cadres and commune members” with the “Party branch” to give the impression that all of Tachai supports the new government. The Party committee will no doubt be “rectified,” but it is significant that the new leaders have, in the months since the beginning of the purge, been unable to use statements by the Party committee in their campaign against the “gang of four”.
In an article titled “A Year of Advance Amid Storms” (PR #7, 1977), the Learn-from-Tachai movement is lauded and the author gives the impression that it is the work teams sent to the countryside since 1975 that are pushing for socialist construction and that the “gang of four” and their supporters have only disrupted progress. The opposition to the work teams by Leftist leaders in the communes is described as disruptive to the advance toward socialism. The liberal use of anti-capitalist phrases gives the article a nice-sounding progressive tone and helps to cover up the actual purpose of the work teams, which is to oppose class struggle against capitalist-roaders in the communes and label the Leftists as class enemies and counter-revolutionaries.
Other recent articles about agriculture claim that the “gang of four” wanted to break up communes and promoted individualism. This is absurd and even contradicts the present leaders’ criticism of them for wanting to “collectivize too fast.” The use of such demagoguery by the present government cannot be over-emphasized. Especially those of us who are not “on the scene” must be diligent in searching for the underlying issues at stake in the struggles of the Chinese people on every front.
9. SELF-RELIANCE AND THE REVOLUTION IN INDUSTRY
Break down foreign conventions and follow our own road in developing industry. Mao Tse-tung
Industry, along with agriculture, is part of the economic base of socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, and has been a central focus of the two-line struggle in China.
At the time of liberation, China was underdeveloped industrially. What industry existed was dependent on foreign capital and technology. During the national democratic stage of the revolution, 1949-1956, the national bourgeoisie, the technicians and the managers that went along with the revolution were encouraged to continue developing industry. They were severely limited in their control of the factories and their bourgeois freedom was limited in relation to the national economy. The continued development of private industry and the utilization of the former managers was necessary to provide some continuity and to put the Chinese economy back on its feet after the revolution.
With the building of socialism, the state took over industry and the Party mobilized the workers to increasingly criticize and take over its management. This of course was opposed by sectors of the national bourgeoisie and the capitalist-roaders within the Party who wanted to increase bourgeois right and exploitation by one class over another, to crease the division between technicians, managers, and workers, and to consolidate the capitalist relations in industry. China has made many advances in developing socialist industry, especially since the Cultural Revolution, but every advance has been opposed by the capitalist-roaders in the Party.
China was, and still is to a large degree, an underdeveloped, under-industrialized nation. One of the principal debates in China has been over how to industrialize. The capitalist-roaders have consistently pushed the revisionist line of : increasing the authority of the managers over the workers, increasing production by giving the workers material incentives and bonuses, making each industry independent, making profits the central motive for production, depending on specialized technicians, depending on foreign technology, and following foreign examples in building industry, concentrating on big plants and ignoring small and medium-sized plants. These incorrect methods, which would all lead to the restoration of capitalism, have been consistently countered by Chairman Mao, who has put forward: putting the proletariat in command of the factories, increasing the workers’ role in management and the cadres and technicians taking part in productive labor, training workers as technicians and encouraging worker initiative in designing and organizing, increasing production through collective proletarian revolutionary spirit, putting proletarian politics and the needs of the Chinese people and economy in command and, while learning from foreign technology, relying on one’s own strength and indigeneous methods as well as domestic research, and simultaneously developing large, medium, and small industry, with emphasis on the latter two.
The two opposed political lines in industry have been a source of constant struggle and the Great Leap Forward (1958) and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-19 were both great victories for the correct line and made profound changes in industry.
During the Cultural Revolution, the workers, especially in the large industrial cities Shanghai, Wuhan, Tientsin, and Peking, formed mass Rebel organizations to battle revisionist line in their factories and won great victories in transforming industry.
The high point of the workers’ struggle was during the January Storm in Shanghai in 1967. In an effort to break the Rebels’ spirit, the management and technicians who followed the revisionist line, led by the municipal Party leaders, created a management “strike” hoping to shut down the railroads, the port, and many factories, locking out the workers. The Rebel workers instead took over the railroads, the port and the factories and soon had production back on the move and in the workers’ hands. Many great victories were also won in other cities.
Since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, socialist industry has taken great strides forward in terms of production, technological advance, the breaking down of class differences, and increasing worker control. These have been the result of continual struggle against the bourgeois line in industry. At the First Plenum of the Ninth Central Committee in April, 1969, Chairman Mao said:
It seems essential that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution should still be carried out. Our foundation has not been consolidated. According to my own observation I would say that, not in all factories, nor in an overwhelming majority of factories, but in quite a large majority of cases the leadership is not in the hands of true Marxists, nor yet in the hands of the masses of the workers. I have brought up this instance to illustrate that the revolution has not been completed. (Schram, pp. 283-284)
The two-line struggle in industry came to a head during the struggle against the Right deviationist trend (1975-1976). One of its manifestations was around the question of rules and regulations in the workplace.
Since the Cultural Revolution began, workers in factories across China have struggled against irrational industrial rules that only perpetuated and defended class divisions. An article in PR last year (1976) explained this struggle:
Under the guidance of Chairman Mao’s instructions on struggle-criticism-transformation, factories and enterprises have undergone remarkable changes after going through the following stages: establishing three-in-one revolutionary committees, carrying out mass criticism, purifying the class ranks, consolidating Party organizations, simplifying the administrative structure, changing irrational rules and regulations, and sending office workers to the workshops. Rational rules and regulations have been constantly improved in the course of struggle. The workers now take part in leading and managing enterprises and cadres and technicians participate in physical labour. Narrow divisions of labour between workers have been done away with and the spirit of communist cooperation has been brought into full play. (PR #24, 1976, p. 12 – emphasis ours)
This article goes on to explain how Teng Hsiao-ping tried to reverse these great victories:
Teng Hsiao-ping alleged that the restrictive measures drawn up before the Great Cultural Revolution in accordance with Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist line in running enterprises were good and could still be used. These words laid bare his motive and revealed that his so-called ’necessary rules and regulations’ were nothing but the same revisionist trash. (PR #24, 1976, p. 12)
Another article explained:
He [Teng Hsiao-ping] showed the utmost hatred for the revolutionary action of the working class during the Great Cultural Revolution in criticizing the capitalist and revisionist managerial principles, rules and regulations; he lost no time in mounting a vengeful counterattack the moment he came into office again. He not only brought out again a set of rules aimed at ’controlling, checking, and repressing’ the worker but clamoured for dealing with them as strictly as possible. (PR #35, 1976, p. 7)
These articles make it clear that the struggle last year against those irrational industrial rules and regulations promoted by Teng Hsiao-ping was not against all rules but only those aimed at maintaining class differences and “controlling, checking, and repressing” the workers. However, the present leaders now misrepresent last year’s struggle as one “against all rules and regulations”. The following article exposes their point of view (PR #14, 1977, pp. 24-26):
The ’gang of four’s’ logic was: ’strict’ means ’kuan, chia, ya’ [control, check and repress], ’kuan, chia, ya’ is bourgeois, and what is bourgeois is irrational. We hold that ’strict’ and ’kuan, chia, ya’ cannot be indiscriminately regarded as bourgeois and also, it is not justified to say everything capitalist is irrational. . . The ’gang of four’, however, regarded all strict rules and regulations as ’bourgeois kuan, chia, ya’ without bothering to make any analysis of them.
Whether the rules and regulations are rational or irrational depends first on whether they are conducive to the development of productive forces and, secondly, on whether they benefit the masses; certainly it does not depend on whether they are ’kuan, cha, ya.’ In opposing ’kuan, chia, ya’ the gang aimed at pushing anarchism. ” (PR #14,1977, pp. 24-26)
This misrepresentation of the workers’ struggle against these bourgeois rules promoted by Teng Hsiao-ping to defend bourgeois right, labeling this struggle “anarchistic” and “causing confusion in the management of enterprises”, shows clearly on which side the present leaders stand. Rules and regulations must be judged first on the basis of whether or not they irrationally maintain bourgeois right and class differences, not “first whether they are conducive to the development of productive forces.”
Another area where two-line struggle has been going on in industry is around the question of ”putting profits in command.” Socialist enterprises should show a profit where possible but their principal tasks are to provide necessary goods for the nation while striving to intensify the proletariat’s struggle against the bourgeoisie and, finally, moving away from the money economy and the capitalist methods of ’material incentives’ and profit orientation. Therefore, constant criticism and struggle must take place against these methods and against the capitalist-roaders who promote them. Last year, Peking Review criticized Teng Hsiao-ping for saying “You say it’s putting profits in command; well, a bit of profit in command doesn’t matter much. Otherwise what is the state to rely on?” (PR #24, p. 10) The article argued against Teng Hsiao-ping’s attitude: ’if every factory puts profits in command and devotes great efforts to turning out products that bring in the most profits while paying scant heed to making products that are less profitable and not producing things which do not bring in any profit, wouldn’t this upset and sabotage the socialist planned economy and bring on anarchy in production? In their pursuit of profits, the various enterprises will seek their own interests at the expense of others, and socialist cooperation will be turned into capitalist competition. Putting profits in command, striving one-sidedly for output value and profits, praying to “Marshal Chao,” the God of Wealth, handing out bonuses and using material incentives to stimulate people’s enthusiasm will inevitably corrupt the thinking of cadres and the masses, undermine unity among porkers, lead people astray to think only of personal gains or losses and scramble for fame and position, and turn the relations among people into mercenary, cash relations. In this way, socialist relations of production will be destroyed and bourgeois right will grow to malignant proportions. If this is allowed to continue, a restoration of capitalist ownership will inevitably result. . .
To meet the needs of revolution and construction, it is necessary for socialist enterprises to calculate production costs, have economic accounting and, according to state requirements, make profits as planned. The profits earned by socialist enterprises constitute the main source of socialist accumulation. We have always attached importance to economic accounting and accumulation and opposed such erroneous ideas as not estimating the cost, neglecting accumulation and being extravagant and wasteful. Teng Hsiao-ping, however, attacked the criticism of putting profits in command and material incentives as ’one-sided opposition to the making of profits’ . . Since the start of the Great Cultural Revolution, the enthusiasm of the broad masses of workers has been aroused precisely because criticism was carried out against these revisionist things. The workers have conscientiously implemented the Party’s line, policies and principles and carried out state plans and accumulated more and more funds for socialist revolution and socialist construction. Chairman Mao has pointed out: ’Ideological work and political work are the guarantee for accomplishing economic work and technical work, and they serve the economic base. Moreover, ideology and politics are the commander, the soul. If our ideological work and political work slacken just a little, economic work and technical work are bound to go astray.’ To develop production, our socialist state does not rely on putting profits in command or material incentives but on Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line on putting proletarian politics in command, on taking class struggle as the key link and on powerful political and ideological work. This is fundamental in running the socialist enterprises well.’
The current articles in the PR take up Teng Hsiao-ping’s point of view and in an attempt to deflect criticism of “putting profits in command” present this criticism as being against economic accounting and against profit (and for losses!):
It is imperative to practice economic accounting, increase socialist accumulation, and continually carry out expanded reproduction so as to ensure a daily growing prosperity in socialist construction and step-by-step improvement of the people’s living standards. We must thoroughly criticize the “gang of four’s” fallacy that economic accounting and increasing accumulation are “putting profit in command” and their advocacy that “losses have merit” and consuming without producing in a vain attempt to undermine socialism.
Workers and staff members must be helped through education to understand the need for carrying forward the communist spirit and making more contributions to the revolution. The socialist principle of distribution, that is, ’he who does not work neither shall he eat’ and ’from each according to his ability to each according to his work’ must be firmly applied. We must thoroughly criticize the ’gang of four’ for deliberately distorting Chairman Mao’s directives in order to hoodwink the masses and attack policies which rationally embody the principle of distribution ’ to each according to his work’ as practicing ’material incentives.’ (PR #18, 1977, p. 23)
Putting “profits in command” and practicing “material incentives” are two dangers that will exist as long as the money economy exists, as long as there are classes and as long as there are bourgeois elements that cling to bourgeois ideology and the capitalist road. They must be criticized and combatted, not once in a while or only in some places, but constantly in all places. Opposing this criticism and twisting its meaning reveals the bourgeois ideological base of Teng Hsiao-ping and of the present leaders of China.
The struggle against the Right deviationist trend (1975-1976) was waged on many different fronts in industry. An article titled “Comments on Teng Hsiao-ping’s economic ideas of the comprador bourgeoisie” in PR #35, 1976 (pp. 6-9) thoroughly exposed and repudiated the bourgeois line in industrial development:
The arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party, Teng Hsiao-ping, made many absurd statements about economic construction. In a nutshell, his economic ideas are essentially those of the comprador bourgeoisie. Domestically speaking, he represented the bourgeoisie and wanted to seize the leadership over the national economy from the proletariat and turn China’s socialist economy into a bureaucrat monopoly capitalist economy. “In foreign affairs, he practised capitulation and national betrayal, and vainly attempted to turn China into a colony or semi-colony of imperialism and social-imperialism.
After Teng Hsiao-ping took up work again, he imposed without the knowledge and approval of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao an economic administration system of ’direct and exclusive control of enterprises by the ministry concerned.’ This means a few top persons in the central ministries concerned could directly issue orders to enterprises in all parts of the country and exercise leadership over them. Enterprises of the same trade thus formed into a separate system operating by themselves, thereby liquidating the controlling power of the Party Central Committee and the local Party committees over the economy and negating the unified leadership of the Party committees at various levels.
As early as 1956, Chairman Mao pointed out that in order to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, strengthen the socialist economic base and build a strong socialist country, it is necessary to handle correctly the relations between the central and local authorities and ’let the localities undertake more work under unified central planning.’ This will bring the initiative of both the central and local authorities into play. However, Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping for a long time refused to implement this correct principle; instead, they lauded the imperialist trusts to the skies. .
After Teng Hsiao-ping resumed work, he lapsed into his old ways. On the pretext of exercising ’centralized and unified’ leadership, he wanted to ’turn over to the higher authorities’ what he called ’key enterprises which serve the whole nation and require organized coordination on a national scale.’ . . The system of ’direct and exclusive control of the enterprises by the ministry concerned’ is diametrically opposed to the Party’s unified leadership. It is splittism and advocates the doctrine of ’many centres’ in opposition to the Party Central Committee; it is despotism and bourgeois dictatorship over the localities and the masses. The purpose of Teng Hsiao-ping’s reimposing ’direct and exclusive control of enterprises by the ministry concerned’ was the liquidation of our socialist economy through ’rectification ’ This kind of ’control’ would inevitably divide up the socialist economy of ownership by the whole people and turn it into the ’private property’ of respective trades. And the various trades and departments would become sharply opposed to each other. The overly distinct division of labour would lead to undermining each other’s work and the relations between them would be turned into capitalist relations of competition. .
Since ’direct and exclusive control of enterprises by the ministry concerned’ disregarded inter-departmental equilibrium in the national economy, it would inevitably undermine the rational distribution of the national economy and the multipurpose utilization of resources and obstruct extensive socialist cooperation. Teng Hsiao-ping’s ’rectification’ of the economy by means of ’direct and exclusive control of enterprises by the ministry concerned’ was intended to bring about a capitalist concentration of production and monopoly and enforce the revisionist practices of running factories by relying on experts, putting profits in command, offering material incentives, giving first place to production and putting technique above everything else. It also aimed at negating Chairman Mao’s line and policies concerning the socialist revolution and construction, at expanding and strengthening bourgeois right, at changing the socialist orientation and road of our enterprises and turning the socialist economy into a bureaucrat-monopoly capitalist economy. . Teng Hsiao-ping always acted in contravention of Chairman Mao’s instruction that we must wholeheartedly rely on the working class, and obstinately tried to push his revisionist line characterized by hostility to the working class. He openly declared that ’reliance on the workers, peasants and soldiers is relative, ’ categorically refused to regard the working class and the poor and lower-middle peasants as masters of the state, and denied that they had the right to control the economy. He showed the utmost hatred for the revolutionary action of the working class during the Great Cultural Revolution in criticizing the capitalist and revisionist managerial principles, rules and regulations, and he lost no time in mounting a vengeful counterattack the moment he came into office again. He not only brought out again the set of rules aimed at ’controlling, checking and repressing’ the workers but clamoured for dealing with them ’as strictly as possible.’ This proves to the hilt that he was indeed the general representative of those bourgeois elements sucking the blood of the workers whom Chairman Mao had scathingly criticized.
Which political line is followed and which class wields the power of leadership in an enterprise are factors determining which class actually owns it. If Teng Hsiao-ping had been allowed to carry on with his revisionist line, the leadership of the enterprises would inevitably be seized by the capitalist-roaders, the bourgeoisie in the Party, who would use the power in their hands to embezzle and squander huge amounts of wealth created by the working class and ride roughshod on the backs of the workers. In that case, the socialist enterprises would exist only in name and would be turned into bureaucrat-monopoly capitalist enterprises. What Teng Hsiao-ping pushed was merely a carbon copy of the so-called ’economic reforms’ introduced by Khrushchev and Brezhnev. To develop bureaucrat monopoly capitalism, the Soviet revisionists energetically pushed what they called a ’new economic system’ with material incentives and putting profits in command as the core. They gave top priority to expertise and relied on specialists to run the enterprises, and the bureaucrat-monopoly capitalist class completely controlled the leadership over the national economy. The rules and regulations of their enterprises stipulate explicitly that the managers are vested with the power to sell, transfer or lease any part of the enterprises’ means of production, to recruit and fire workers at will, and to do whatever they like to the workers, that is to say, exercise bourgeois dictatorship over them. The Soviet revisionists exercise vertical leadership over the enterprises through the two-level organizational system of ’ministry /production combine enterprises’ or the three-level system of minis try/industrial combines/production combine enterprises.’ These combines, which are large in scale, have centralized practically all the managerial functions of the enterprises. By pushing this ’new economic system’ the Soviet revisionist renegade clique has intensified its monopoly and control over the enterprises throughout the country.
Chairman Mao has pointed out that under China’s historical condition, those who stubbornly choose to take the capitalist road are in fact ’ready to capitulate to imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism.’ This was the case with Teng Hsiao-ping. In his eyes, the Chinese people were no good at carrying out economic construction or bringing about the modernizations of agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology, nor, for that matter, was the socialist system of any help. The only feasible way to ’speed up the technical transformation of industry and raise labour productivity’ is to ’import foreign techniques and equipment.’ For this purpose he put forward a so-called ’major policy’ under which China would sign ’long-term contracts’ with foreign countries, with the foreign capitalists supplying the ’most up-to-date and best equipment’ to be ’paid for’ by China with its mineral products. This ’major policy’ was purely a policy of out-and-out capitulation and national betrayal. .
Whether or not to adhere to the principle of independence and self-reliance is not only an economic question but, first and foremost, a political one. An important means employed by imperialism and social-imperialism to control and plunder other countries is to monoplize advanced techniques and equipment and use their economic strength to check the other countries’ development and carry out extortion, infiltration and expansion. In the world today, if a country is not independent and self-reliant economically, it cannot become politically independent or cannot consolidate its independence and is liable to fall under the control of one or the other superpower. We hold that; under the guidance of the principle of independence and self-reliance, it is necessary to import some foreign techniques and equipment on the basis of equality and mutual benefit and in accordance with the needs of our country’s socialist revolution and construction. But we absolutely cannot place our hopes for realizing the four modernizations on imports. If we do not rely mainly on our own efforts but, as Teng Hsiao-ping advocated, rely solely on importing foreign techniques, copying foreign designs and technological processes and patterning our equipment on foreign models, we will for ever trail behind foreigners and our country’s development of technology and even its entire national economy will fall under the control of foreign monopoly capital.
Some economists of the monopoly capitalists allege that industrially backward countries can only ’take off’’ by relying on the techniques of imperialism. That Teng Hsiao-ping, with the label of a Communist Party member, should chime in with such nonsense was a big irony indeed! This of course was not a mere coincidence. It showed that Teng Hsiao-ping’s economic concepts fully met the needs of imperialism.
Teng Hsiao-ping shamelessly asserted that his ’major policy’ had three ’advantages,’ namely, the policy made it possible for China to export, to promote technical transformation and to absorb labour power. What kind of ’advantages’ are these ? They mean nothing but this: the foreign monopoly capitalists would contribute money and equipment while China would supply the necessary labour power, thus the doors would be thrown wide open for the imperialists to plunder China’s natural resources and bleed its people. The Chinese people had more than enough of such ’advantages’ before liberation. If this capitulationist ’major policy’ of Teng Hsiao-ping’s were followed, China would be reduced step by step to a raw materials supplying base for imperialism and social-imperialism, a market for their commodities and an outlet for their investments. And not only would the fruits of socialist revolution be forfeited but those of the democratic revolution would also be brought to naught. This fully reveals the ugly features of Teng Hsiao-ping who worked as a comprador for the imperialists and represented the interests of big foreign capitalists. (PR #35, 1976, pp. 6-9)
Speaking about the first years after liberation, when China was practicing New Democratic principles in industry and agriculture, Chairman Mao said on January 30, 1962:
In those days the situation was such that, since we had no experience in economic construction, we had no alternative but to copy the Soviet Union. In the field of heavy industry especially, we copied almost everything from the Soviet Union, and we had very little creativity of our own. At that time it was absolutely necessary to act thus, but at the same time it was also a weakness. . a lack of creativity and a lack of ability to stand on our own feet. Naturally this could not be our long-term strategy. (Chairman Mao’s “Talk at an enlarged Central Work Conference,” Chairman Mao Talks to the People, Schram, Pantheon, 1974, p. 178)
Since the Great Leap Forward in 1958, and particularly since the Great Cultural Revolution, China has made incredible strides in developing her industry through the creative and relentless advances of her worker-technicians. The policy of self-reliance has made it possible for China to build modern industrial plants and improve the old ones through her own efforts, with very little use of foreign technology. The same people who opposed breaking away from dependence on the Soviet Union and advocated tailing behind Khrushchev’s revisionist line in exchange for technical aid, among them Teng Hsiao-ping, later pushed for turning to the Western capitalist industrialized nations for large scale assistance. They acted as if China still could not be self-reliant and ignored the tremendous technological advances made in China which had laid the basis for more complete self-sufficiency than ever.
The crux of Teng’s plan was to export China’s oil at a highly rapid rate in order to be able to build China’s industry around imported factories and plants. The trend of selling oil to buy foreign technology began on a large scale in 1973. In that year, which was also the year Teng Hsiao-ping came back into power, China’s expenditure on imports doubled from $1.8 billion to $3.6 billion, with over $1 billion being spent to implement a new policy of buying complete plants from capitalist industrialized countries. In 1974, buying increased to $5.3 billion, with over $1.5 billion being spent on complete plants. Among the plants bought[footnote 1] were steel plants from Japan and West Germany (technicians from Nippon Steel were contracted to help run the Japanese plants for a period of 10 years, while 150 West Germans supervised construction of the Wuhan Steel Rolling Plant and 300 Chinese technicians were trained in West Germany), power plants, petro-chemical and other chemical installations, synthetic fiber and polyester plants, petroleum exploration, extraction and refining plants and chemical fertilizer plants. A hundred thousand ton oil tanker was bought from Japan, 18 vessels were bought from Scandinavia, and oil technology was bought from various companies in Texas and Japan.
At the same time, starting in 1973, China began exporting oil to Japan at the rate of 1 million tons in 1973, 4 million tons in 1974, and 8 million tons in 1975. However, although China was becoming one of the world’s major oil exporters, it could not keep up with increasing debt incurred by the tremendous expenditures on foreign technology. China’s trade deficit was $80 million in 1973 and $1 billion in 1974 and possibly $500 million in 1975. This was the first time China had shown a trade deficit for more than one year since the early 1950’s when it had bought a lot of industrial equipment from the USSR. Therefore, the people in the ministries buying foreign technology, led by Teng Hsiao-ping, began asking for extended 6-7 year periods to pay off the foreign companies, and began taking $300-500 million dollar loans through the hard currency accounts of Japanese and West European banks in the Bank, of China. By 1975 and 1976, China’s foreign deficit had seriously thrown Chinese trade off balance, but Teng and his cohorts continued to push for more and more imports of complete plants, oil technology, and steel, and in late 1975 independently completed a big deal for 50 Rolls Royce aircraft engines, (source: China Trade Report. a magazine for foreign businessmen published by the Far Eastern Economic Review)
Neither exporting oil nor importing technology is necessarily incorrect, nor does it necessarily hamper China’s development as an independent industrialized powerful socialist nation, if it is done within the framework of self-reliance. However, people such as Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping have consistently urged a comprador bourgeois method of industrialization that means tying China’s economy up with the capitalist economy, and making China dependent on foreign technology, which would hurt China’s ability to develop her own industry and leave her trailing behind the industrialized capitalist world at a snail’s pace. Has any country ever built up a strong industrial base through wholesale importation of foreign technology? Did the United States or England or France or Germany? Did Japan? Did the USSR?
In 1921, after the Soviet Red Army emerged victorious from the civil war, Lenin proposed the New Economic Plan in the U9SR, which fostered the restricted development of the National bourgeoisie and of capitalist relations in industry and agriculture, as well as buying of foreign technology from capitalist countries. Similarly, China encouraged the national bourgeoisie and depended on the Soviet Union for technology in the first years after liberation. However, the USSR, with Lenin and Stalin’s leadership, never depended on foreign technology to develop industry once this first critical stage was passed, and Soviet industry was built on self-reliance. (This principle has only been changed by the new revisionist leaders of the USSR, who mis-use Lenin’s teaching at the time of NEP to justify foreign investments and credits.) Neither Lenin or Stalin led the USSR to build a strong industrial base through buying billions of dollars of foreign plants and technology. The USSR is the largest producer of oil in the world, yet even when it had much less industry than it has today, neither Lenin or Stalin led it to sell its natural resources to the West. Had they followed these comprador bourgeois policies and not been self-reliant, the USSR would never have become a modern industrial nation. Countries in the Third World and in Eastern Europe which have tried to do so have only maintained their underdevelopment and have fallen into political and economic dependence on US imperialism or Soviet social-imperialism. This “quick and easy” method advocated by Teng Hsiao-ping can only lead to continued underdevelopment, dependence and capitalist restoration.
One of the central conflicts in the industrial two-line struggle and the debate over self-reliance and depending on foreign technology was a contract to build 8 major chemical fertilizer plants with Pullman-Kellogg, a U.S. corporation. It is described in an October 26, 1976, article in the N.Y. Times:
Officials in Peking and Houston announced tonight the start-up on schedule of three agricultural chemical complexes that are part of the largest contract ever awarded by China to a U.S. company. A dozen officials of Pullman-Kellogg, a division of Pullman, Inc., flew to Peking over the weekend for formalities. One hundred forty U.S. technicians and dependents have worked for two years on the construction of the plants.
Pullman Kellogg contracted in 1973 to design, organize and supervise construction of 8 ammonia plants . . the contract was for a total of $290 million. Pullman-Kellogg contracted with the Chinese National Technological Import Corporation for the 8 plants. About 60 Chinese have studied their construction and operation in Houston and Enid, Oklahoma, for two years. American technicians supervise the construction, which is done by Chinese engineers and laborers.
Five other similar chemical fertilizer plants were contracted with French and Japanese companies.[footnote 2] The question of whether these purchases were “relying on one’s own efforts while making external assistance subsidiary” was in debate even while the plants were being constructed, as evidenced by an article in PR #32, 1975, titled “An Effective Way to Speed Chemical Fertilizer Production: the Growth of Small Chemical Fertilizer Plants in Honan.” The article, while it doesn’t mention the foreign-built plants by name, attacks depending on “the big and the foreign” while it strongly supports building small and medium chemical fertilizer plants (which produced 60% of China’s chemical fertilizers) and large plants built and equipped by China’s own efforts. It states:
The Wuching Chemical Works in Shanghai [was] the first big project of its kind (1962) designed, built, and equipped by our own efforts. The successful building of this all-Chinese affair was indicative of China’s capability to rely on her own efforts to make complete sets of equipment for big chemical fertilizer plants. Since then large and medium-sized plants were set up one after another in various provinces. .
With high productivity and relatively advanced technology, the large plants are the backbone force in chemical fertilizer production. But since they entail huge investments and take a long time to build, only a few key projects can be undertaken in a given period . . it is therefore necessary to rely on local resources to build small chemical fertilizer plants. Hence the principle of walking on ’two legs’ . . simultaneous development of national and local industries, simultaneous building of large enterprises and small and medium-sized ones and simultaneous employment of modern and indigenous production methods.
A mass movement was launched in 1958 throughout the countryside to set up by self-reliance small chemical fertilizer plants which have now become an important force in the chemical fertilizer production. Statistics showed that by the end of 1974, there were 2000 small synthetic ammonia and phosphate fertilizer plants and small phosphorous mines dotting the land and they are likened to ’stars in the sky.’ Quick to build, these plants, which employ simple technology and equipment, need little investment, and can make full use of locally available raw and other materials; moreover, their products find a ready market in their own locality. Necessary as it is to solve problems of funds, equipment, and technology in developing small chemical fertilizer plants, the question of political and ideological however, is of paramount and decisive importance . . The course of building a plant is often a struggle between the two ideologies and the two lines. Some people were badly influenced by Liu Shao-chi’s ’servility to foreign things’ and craved for things ’big and foreign’ saw only weaknesses but not the advantages of small faxtories. . Facts have refuted their erroneous view. (PR #32, 1975, pp. 16-19)
This message was delivered time and again, in many different examples glorifying China’s efforts to build her own industry . . on large, small and medium scales. Not once in this article are the foreign-produced chemical fertilizer plants mentioned, nor in any of the Peking Reviews of 1975 and 1976. This was surely not an oversight, but a determined effort to battle the idea of “servility to foreign things.” The idea of self-reliance was further developed in an article, “Small and Medium-sized Industry Play a Big Role” in PR #45, 4975:
Practice has proved that when the policy of simultaneously developing large enterprises and small and medium ones is carried out in earnest, initiative from both central and local authorities can be fully brought out, the general policy of taking agriculture as the foundation and industry as the leading factor in developing the national economy can be better implemented, and rapid development of industrial production can be achieved by adherence to the principle of maintaining independence and keeping initiative in our own hands and relying on our own efforts. .
Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao advocated building ’big, modern, all-inclusive’ industries, opposed the policy of ’maintaining independence and keeping initiative in our own hands, and relying on our own efforts’ and pushed a revisionist line. Those who have blind faith in ’big, modern and all-inclusive’ are metaphysical in their way of thinking . . they don’t understand that small things can be transformed into big ones and less advanced indigenous and incomplete things into modern and all-inclusive ones. (PR #45, 1975, pp. 23-25)
The article goes on to provide several examples of this and explains how communes developing small and medium industry is essential to mechanizing agriculture, making communes the basic economic unit of the countryside and lessening the gap between city and country. The article should be studied carefully in its entirety.
In the spring and summer of 1976, the campaign to beat back the Right deviationist trend in industry was in full swing and the magazine China Reconstructs presented article after article showing how the workers in many industries were battling against the idea of “servility to foreign things.” The articles stressed socialist cooperation between all trades and initiative at the local level, as opposed to complete control by the ministry concerned:
Some 10,000 commune members and primary and middle school students have helped with the work, the former during slack periods, the latter after school. They have quarried, smashed, and transported 300,000 cubic meters of stone, gravel, and sand. Transport has been augmented by 150 tractors, nearly 400 junks and 1000 horse carts. This is completely different from before the Cultural Revolution when specialized construction teams from the Ministry of Transport worked alone. It has greatly speeded up construction of the port. (China Reconstructs. Oct., 1976, p. 46)
One article showed the struggle of workers in Shanghai to build a Chinese generator:
The 300 megawatt generator represents a new level in the development of China’s power industry and design and manufacture of big power plant equipment and demonstrates her ability to produce such equipment in complete sets. Before the Cultural Revolution Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping promoted a counter-revolutionary revisionist line, saying it was better to buy machines than to make them. .
Last year, under the influence of Teng Hsiao-ping’s Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts, some people used imperfections in the trial operation to attack the generator unit and try to stop production of others. The workers, knowing that these were only part of the normal period of adjustment in getting a big generator unit working, kept it running. With support from the Shanghai Municipal Communist Party Committee they strengthened inspection and tried in every way to improve their work. Within a bit more than a year the performance of the unit had reached its designed standard. ’Teng Hsiao-ping didn’t want us to take the road of developing our own industry,’ the workers said proudly. ’But we’ll make more generator sets and bigger and better ones.’ (China Reconstructs. September, 1976, pp. 20-21)
In another article about a radio factory in Nanking:
During the Cultural Revolution, when mental shackles were being broken, the workers decided to make a semi-automatic assembling and end-cutting machine. Two ways of looking at it came out: design their own or copy foreign ones. Most of the workers were for self-reliance: ’When we do our own cooking,’ they said, ’we have what we like to eat. When we build a road it goes where we want it to go. Copying foreign machines will make us dependent on foreign countries, We’ll blaze our own trail. .’ Conservatives said: ’Look at the fledglings! Just learned to walk and now they want to fly! They’ll break their wings!’ ’Wings grow strong by flying!’ the young workers answered. Tests proved the new machine’s design was more rational and efficient than the foreign machine which some people had wanted to copy. The workers proudly said their machine had ’struck a blow for our country.’ (China Reconstructs, Sept., 1976, pp. 34-35)
The fact that the comprador bourgeois ideas of Teng Hsiao-ping had gained dominance in some of the ministries responsible for developing China’s industries and imports and exports does not mean that these ideas were correct or that the entire CCP was revisonist, any more than the fact that Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping’s revisionist policies were predominant in many areas before the Cultural Revolution meant that the entire CCP was revisionist at that time. However, these policies advocated by Teng Hsiao-ping since 1972-73 represented a serious threat to the overall socialist economic planning for that reason, as early as 1974 there was a serious and resolute struggle against them in the Central Committee of the Party. In late 1975 Chairman Mao initiated and led the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend and the struggle was carried to the masses of Chinese workers in factories and enterprises across the country. The dismissal of Teng Hsiao-ping by the unanimous decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee in April, 1976, represented a tremendous victory for Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line of independence and self-reliance.
After Teng Hsiao-ping was dismissed, oil exports to Japan were nearly cut in half, steel imports from Japan were cut by more than half, and negotiations for new plants and capital equipment were suspended (China Trade Report, May, 1976, and June, 1976), a process of re-evaluation of foreign trade policies was begun, and a movement to stress self-reliance was launched. In 1976 China had a trade surplus (exporting $7. 2 billion or $1 billion more than imports) for the first time since 1973, as a result of cutting down of imports (Business Week, 3/14/77).
After the purge of Teng’s critics in October, the situation changed dramatically. In the second week of October, the new leaders signed a 5 month contract for 1. 5 million tons of steel from 6 major Japanese steel firms and in November contracted for another 400 thousand tons, as compared with 650,000 tons contracted in the entire year up ’til that time. The new leaders immediately resumed talks with British and American oil rig and technology suppliers and J.R. Pace, President of Baker Trading Co. of Texas said: “Some time around the middle of next year we expect petroleum equipment activity to pick up levels of pre-turmoil times [referring to the struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping’s Right deviation] . At that time it should begin to grow at a sizeable rate.”
Soon after the purge, China purchased two computer systems from Applied Devices Corporation in the United States and will soon buy three large Hitachi computers from Japan. As part of the sales agreements, Hitachi and Applied Devices personnel will have full access to computer centers and full information of computer use and programming.
After the purge, the Chinese also bought six helicopters from West Germany; it is reported that China is negotiating to buy helicopters, anti-tank weapons, radar equipment, and anti-aircraft missiles from the United States. China is reportedly seeking technological help from the United States in building defense production plants, but it’s not certain that the Pentagon will approve (N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, p. 6). The purchase of the fifty Rolls Royce aircraft engines through the efforts of Teng Hsiao-ping in late 1975 was the first major purchase of military hardware by the Chinese since the USSR pulled out its aid in the late 1950’s.
In late 1976, Chinese trade officials looked at three supersonic British-French Concorde jets worth $70 million each, and made a deposit on them. They are also considering buying a big order of Fletcher FU-24 planes from Aerospace Industries in New Zealand. China Airlines recently took out a $49. 5 million dollar loan with the First National City Bank of New York. (All information except where otherwise noted is from the China Trade Report. Nov., 1976-Feb. 1977)
Already the new leaders have bought several new complete plants from Japan and West Germany and the N.Y. Times Business Section of October 28, 1976 (only three weeks after the arrest of the “gang of four”) reports:
[Minister of Foreign Trade] Li Chiang is said to have told [Western diplomats and businessmen] that China would resume large scale foreign trade, particularly purchases of entire plants, in 1978.
To support this heavily increased spending on foreign technology, the new leaders are following Teng Hsiao-ping’s comprador bourgeois plan to sell off China’s oil at a highly rapid rate. Two major conferences were held in Peking in December to discuss increasing oil production and transportation capacity and then in February the Chinese foreign trade officials opened up discussions with the Japanese to increase oil exports from the present average of 150,000 barrels a day to up to 1,000,000 barrels a day (N.Y. Times, Feb. 13, 1977, p. 12) This dramatic increase apparently will not start this year because of technical and transportation problems, but should reach this level by 1980. China would have to increase its oil production 60-75 per cent (depending on how much domestic oil use increases) and would be exporting as much oil as it now uses. In May, 1977, Chairman Hua Kuo-fang announced the intention to build 10 more oilfields as big as Taching (China’s biggest) within this century. (PR #22, p. 17)
In order to increase oil production and exportation at this rate, China would have to I put a priority emphasis and investment into developing her oil industry, to the neglect of agriculture and other industry. This serves the interests of Japan’s oil needs and the market needs of capitalist oil equipment supply companies, and it fits into the plans of those in China who want to build up foreign exchange to buy foreign technology, but it can only hurt China’s effort to build her own industry based on her own efforts and increase grain production. The investment in oil production and transport will necessarily require funds to be accumulated in other sectors of the economy . . agriculture and other industry . . or borrowed from abroad!
In their rush to build up foreign exchange with which to buy foreign technology, the present leaders are drawing up plans to raise exports of coal to Japan from the present rate of 100,000 tons to 1,000,000 tons by 1980. Since the purge in October, the present leaders have also discussed massive sales of natural gas to Japan and Hong Kong and may build a pipeline to facilitate the transfer to Hong Kong.
Teng’s comprador bourgeois plan for modernization, championed by the present Chinese leaders, subjects China’s economy to the economic recessions, trends and rules of the capitalist world economy, takes all initiative away from the local levels and the workers, neglects small and medium industry and agriculture, and makes a mockery of the principle of self-reliance.
In a period of imminent world war between the superpowers, it is of utmost importance to develop self-reliance and decrease dependence on foreign trade for essential items. But the Ministry of Foreigh Trade and Teng Hsiao-ping were pushing for doubling and tripling foreign trade, making China dependent on the world market and extremely susceptible to and afraid of the chaos that world war creates in international trade. Also, while large, medium, and small-scale industry must be built simultaneously, medium and small local industry, dispersed around the country, are far less susceptible to foreign bombing attacks than centralized large-scale operations.
The importance of the principle of self-reliance applies to all socialist countries, as Comrade Enver Hoxha of Albania states:
No country whatsoever, big or small, can build socialism by taking credits or aid from the bourgeoisie and the revisionists or by integrating its economy into the world system of capitalist economy. Any such linking of the economy of a socialist country with the economy of bourgeois or revisionist countries opens the doors to the action of the economic laws of capitalism and the degeneration of the socialist order. This is the road of betrayal and the restoration of capitalism, which the the revisionist cliques have pursued and are pursuing.
Our country’s experience proves that the safeguarding of the economic and political independence and the defence of national sovereignty are closely linked with the consistent implementation of the principle of self-reliance. (Report to the 7th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania, Nov., 1976)
Teng Hsiao-ping’s comprador bourgeois plan had gained predominance in many ministries since 1973, but it was carried on behind the scenes and in constant conflict with the correct line of self-reliance put forward by Chairman Mao. However, now that Chairman Mao has died, the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend has been reversed, and many of the Party’s leaders have been purged, the comprador bourgeois elements have been free to openly develop their plans.
The change in the basic line of the Party is clearly evident in the Peking Review. For at least two years before the purge, the Peking Review ignored the foreign-built plants that Teng Hsiao-ping and his cohorts were so proud of, and carried out a determined campaign against servility to foreign things and worship of “the big and the foreign” while resolutely supporting self-reliance. Since the purge, for many months nothing was published about industry; in fact, the section “on the Home Front” disappeared. Then, beginning with PR #4, 1977 (p. 31) and continuing in the next two issues, articles glorifying the long ignored foreign-built chemical plants appeared.
The Taching Chemical Fertilizer plant, a large new enterprise in the Taching Oil Field, was completed ahead of schedule . . and put into operation after a single successful trial run. Built at high speed and with top quality, it has an annual capacity equivalent to that of one million tons of standard chemical fertilizer. .
Some of the plant’s major installations were imported. But the spirit of the general line of ’going all out, aiming high and achieving greater, faster, better and more economical results in building socialism’ and the principle of ’relying mainly or our own efforts while making external assistance subsidiary’ were fully embodied in the building of the project. The ’gang of four’ came out and deliberately found fault with the project. In a thretening tone, they asked who gave permission to build the 300,000 ton synthetic ammonia unit. Chiang Ching even called for dismantling the imported installations.
In another article in the following issue (PR #5, p. 31) about a foreign-built petro-chemical plant, the slogan “relying mainly on our own efforts while making external assistance subsidiary” was dropped altogether and replaced with the slogan, “making foreign things serve China.” In the article about the foreign-built chemical fertilizer plant in PR #6 (pp. 31-32), even the word “self-reliance” is never used.
An article about a conference on light industry appeared in PR #7, 1977. Amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly, there is not one mention of class struggle in the entire article. The article discusses the importance of light industry and of raising production but not once even mentions what, in a socialist society, is the key link in building industry – class struggle between the proletarian line and the bourgeois line.
The comprador bourgeois nature of Teng Hsiao-ping and the new leaders comes through crystal clear in the reaction of the western capitalists to the events of the last year. The views of these imperialist bloodsuckers are expressed in the magazine China Trade Report in which they analyze the possibilities of capitalist profit in trade with the People’s Republic of China. The interests of Teng Hsiao-ping and the foreign capitalists were 100% compatible. China Trade Report clearly shows where their greed-oriented sympathies lie, and makes heroes out of comprador bourgeois elements led by Teng Hsiao-ping, acclaiming their plans of national betrayal:
Estimates of the extent of this potential oil wealth ranged very high. Some Japanese buyers, particularly hard hit by the Arab oil boycott following the Yom Kippur War, were predicting that Peking would be producing up to 400 million tons of crude annually by 1980, with fully one-quarter going for export . . But where foreigners – and many Chinese – saw commercial opportunity in accelerated oil exports, elements in the Chinese leadership, weaned on the Maoist canon of self-reliance, saw treachery.
Study and Criticism, the ideological journal of the so-called Shanghai leftists, published a detailed critique of Teng Hsiao-ping’s foreign trade programme shortly after the Tien An Men incident last April. In it, the connection between oil exports and capital imports was forcefully portrayed.
’To beg ’advanced technology’ and equipment from foreign capitalists,’ said the magazine, ’the unrepentant capitalist-roader Teng Hsiao-ping did not even scruple to pledge our country’s precious natural resources as security . . If this state of affairs were allowed to continue, wouldn’t our country turn into a market for the imperialists to dump their goods, into a raw material base, a repair and assembly workshop and an investment ground?’. .
With the century of national humiliation at the hands of Western imperialists still a powerful memory for many Chinese, this was compelling rhetoric. (China Trade Reports November, 1976)
Last spring, when Teng Hsiao-ping was dismissed, the new Western imperialists became very upset, as shown in an article called “After Tien An Men: Anxiety in the Air”:
Even before the violent demonstrations in Peking on April 5, some foreigners were gradually beginning to express anxiety about the prospects for trade with China. Among the mounting attacks on the former Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping ’the capitalist-reader within the Party’, significant criticisms were made of his pragmatic approach to foreign trade. He was reviled for reliance on ’things big and foreign’, almost certainly a reference to the major deals arranged last year, when Teng was trying rapidly to consolidate his position. . for example, the big Rolls Royce [aircraft) engine purchases (significantly, for the army, which is still considered to be pro-Teng), the Japanese oil tanker, and the U.S. offshore oil equipment. Soon after the dramatic outburst in Tien An Men Square, discouraging signs started to increase. The day after Teng was formally stripped of all his positions, the Hong Kong stockmarket dropped sharply by 13 points. . The about-turn, from China’s original desire to sell more oil to Japan, bullying them to expand imports to 10 million tons this year, then suddenly changing their minds to a figure of 6.1 million and, in fact, undershipping so far this year, can be related to conflicting ideas between radicals and moderates about trade policies. Japanese government circles were reportedly very concerned about a Red Flag article in April accusing the capitalist-roaders of adopting a foreign policy which, if continued, ’would eventually lead China to yielding its mineral resources to other countries,’ an old, if not justified, post-revolutionary Chinese fear. (China Trade Report, May, 1976)
Throughout the spring and summer of 1976, the magazine of the foreign capitalists displayed their anxiety in articles such as: “Taking China’s Rhetoric Seriously,” “The Nervous Men in Tokyo,” “The Oil Enigma,” “Tokyo: Trade Troubles,” etc. They were following the two-line struggle in China intensively, and encouraged businessmen to sit tight until Chairman Mao’s inevitable death:
[The] stalemate will not last forever. The most probable scenario is for the relatively low key maneauvering. . and its attendant contradictions . . to continue until the post-Mao era becomes a reality instead of an inevitability. Until that time, and for some period after, it would be unwise for China traders to chart a definitive course for their commercial involvement with Peking. If the rhetoric of the past several months has shown anything, it is that the stakes in the current struggle are very high. The winner, after all, will be able to define China’s political, developmental, and commercial course for quite some time to come. (China Trade Report. August, 1976)
After Chairman Mao died, in September, 1976, the hopes of the imperialist bloodsuckers jumped:
Mao Tse-tung is dead, but the basic questions about the future of China’s revolution survive him. For businessmen concerned with the China market, the most important is the direction of Peking’s foreign trade policy. Since the ouster of Teng Hsiao-ping, that policy has been floundering inconclusively. Neither Teng’s opponents, whose vision of economic autarky reflects Chairman Mao’s own call for national self-reliance, nor his supporters, whose programme of modernization through moderation provides for selected infusion of capital equipment and technology from the industrial world, have gained the upper hand. The resulting stalemate has effectively curtailed continued purchasing while leaving the door open for its early resumption.
It would be foolish to predict who will win. The foreign trade apparatus encompasses a considerable bureaucracy determined to expand Peking’s commercial links with the outside world. For the moment, though, they lack a leader with sufficient strength to press their case conclusively. Their future, and indeed the future of the China market, depends on the emergence of just such a forceful figure. China Trade Report. Oct. 1976)
Soon the foreign capitalists had found their new hero:
With stunning suddenness, China’s 20 year two-line political struggle appears to have been settled. Hua Kuo-feng, only a year ago a virtual unknown outside of China, has now been officially confirmed as Chairman of the Communist Party. . China’s new Chairman has shown himself to be a man of consummate political skill, and not a small measure of daring. Dismembering the Chiang Ching group required an almost Machiavellian sense of political intrigue, superb timing, and that special kind of fearlessness without which decisive action is impossible. (China Trade Report, December, 1976)
Capitalist restoration and national betrayal in China fits in perfectly with the imperialist needs of the foreign capitalists. They could not hold back their enthusiasm for the new leaders and the economic plans they hoped China would institute:
Now that the political climate has changed, the way would seem clearer for stepping up imports in the short term, only if the Chinese are willing to finance purchases on a medium-term deferred payment basis, at least, or alternatively step up their level of borrowing from foreign banks. . It is not inconceivable that after a surge of investment in agricultural mechanization, the regime will slowly reduce investment in the agricultural sector, in favour of heavy industry. China is now only just able to feed itself, so any de-emphasis on agriculture would probably mean expanded grain imports. In a more general commercial context, Teng Hsiao-ping’s bitterly criticised prescription of selling oil to finance acquisition of plant, technology and capital, equipment will probably come back into vogue now. .
More prominence will be given to qualified managers and technicians in Chinese industrial enterprises who in the past were often passed over in favour of more ideologically reliable officials. In line with this new emphasis on expertise, wage differentials could increase, and a system of material incentives, theoretically abolished during the Cultural Revolution, but allowed to re-emerge in selected factories during Teng Hsiao-ping’s brief return to power might be reinstituted. (China Trade Report, December, 1976)
Further speculating on post-purge policies, the foreign capitalists declare:
Now that the struggle over the course of China’s development appears to have been resolved, many China traders are interested in the economic priorities of the new leadership. .
Past emphasis on agriculture has largely been motivated by a desire to ensure self-sufficiency and at the same time reduce grain imports to a negligible and In fact, imports last year fell to their lowest level since 1960.
With Mao dead and his political surrogates removed from power, it may well be that the new agricultural conference intends to examine the entire agricultural question in a way that was impossible before. A reduction in the level of state investment in the agricultural sector might lead to increased grain imports, I the new administration has given no indication that they would have ideological qualms about taking such a step.
Another more important consequence of a reduction in agricultural emphasis would be the availability of more funds for investment in industrial sectors. . However, even if industry as an overall category does receive new emphasis, there remain important policy decisions to be made on the relative priorities given individual areas. For example, should more state investment go to coal or oil?. .
For foreign businessmen interested in selling to China, the decisions taken are of vital importance. Now that the new leadership has given clear signs that they wish to accelerate imports of technology, plant and capital equipment, the only factors affecting Chinese purchasing policy will be need, product competitiveness, money, and where the U.S. is concerned, diplomatic climate. For the prospective vendor this may sound like a considerable array of obstacles. . particularly if he is American . . but compared to the situation before the purge of the gang of four, it is a vast improvement. .
Whatever one says about the difficulties of doing business with the Chinese. . and they are formidable. . China is the largest untapped market for capital equipment in the world today. And because that market has finally decided to open itself up to the outside. . albeit slowly and tentatively. . foreign businessmen will finally have a chance to see exactly how big it is.” (China Trade Report. January, 1977)
So far we have seen that the present Chinese leaders have fulfilled many of the wishes of the imperialist traders, buying unprecedented amounts of grain, steel, plants and technology, and contracting to sell record amounts of oil, natural gas, and coal. This is one aspect of a capitalist restoration which inevitably involves every sector of Chinese society – agriculture, industry, education, health, literature and art, the army, commerce, the Party and the state.
We can see the dramatic change in the sector of foreign trade because it is external and very visible. Although we can report on the changes we see in the line presented in the Peking Review, we cannot otherwise document the changes being made in the other sectors, which will surely be just as profound.
In contrast to the serious criticisms laid out in the Peking Review in 1976 against the foreign capitulation of the comprador bourgeois line of Teng Hsiao-ping, the charges that the “gang of four” “worshiped things foreign, fawned on foreigners, and maintained ilicit foreign relations, engaging in flagrant activities of capitulationism and national betrayal” refer to privately watching foreign movies and to Chiang Ching giving an “un-authorized” interview to an American historian, Roxanne Witke, whose biography of Chiang Ching has now been published. Their accusers haven’t come up with any other concrete’ evidence to prove their charges!
1. More than 120 complete foreign plants were bought between 1973 and 1975, as compared with almost none between 1959 and 1973.
2. Nineteen other smaller chemical fertilizer plants were purchased abroad during the same period.
10. RIGHT AND “LEFT” OPPORTUNISM: WHICH IS THE MAIN DANGER?
The revolutionary proletariat must battle two kinds of erroneous lines – the Right opportunist revisionist capitalist-road line and the ultra-“Left” line. These lines have different characteristics and have different roles at different times but they are both counter-revolutionary and are in direct opposition to the proletarian revolutionary line.
The essence of the proletarian revolutionary line in carrying forward revolution toward communism is embodied in the Marxist thesis of integrating the theory of uninterrupted revolution with the theory of the development of revolution by stages.
We are advocates of the Marxist theory of uninterrupted revolution. We hold that things are always moving forward and that socialism and communism are not and definitely must not be allowed to be separated by a Great Wall. We must persist in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and never stand still. At the same time, we are advocates of the Marxist theory of the development of revolution by stages. We maintain that different stages of development reflect the qualitative change of things, and we should not get confused with the qualitatively different stages, nor go beyond the stage of historical development to do what cannot possibly be accomplished at present. (“Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: Questions and Answers” PR #5l, 1975, p. 15, part 12)
The general characteristic of Right opportunism is to deny the need for revolutionary change at all and try to reverse it, while the general characteristic of “Left” opportunism is to deny the development of revolutionary change by stages, pushing for everything at once. This makes the goals unattainable, channels the revolutionary energy in the wrong direction and objectively aids Right opportunism by depleting the proletariat’s strength and demoralizing it.
“Left” opportunism is essentially petty bourgeois and is opposed to proletarian politics. It must always be combatted, but it becomes particularly dangerous at certain moments in the revolutionary process. In 1930 the “Left” dogmatist line of Li Li-san prevailed in the Red Army. He advocated abandoning the base areas to attack key cities and the revolutionary war with one blow. Many of the Red Army’s forces were wiped out before the correct line gained control again. This was one of the three “Left” lines that caused great losses to the revolutionary forces for extended periods between 1927 and 1935. More recently, ultra-“Left” tendencies emerged in the Cultural Revolution. The ultra-“Leftists” called for (among other things): (1) a complete readjustment and equalization of wages (an unrealizable objective that directed the struggle towards an equalization wages instead of their eventual elimination), (2) an end to all rules in factories (as opposed to only those which unreasonably perpetuated bourgeois right), (3) ultra-democracy (which would give the bourgeoisie a complete free hand), (4) “criticizing all and overthrowing all,” (5) forming a new “Marxist-Leninist” party, and (6) breaking off all foreign relations.
The ultra-“Left” was extremely sectarian, dividing the workers and students into many opposing groups, and called for violent struggle in many instances where it was not needed and played a counter-revolutionary divisive role instead of a revolutionary role. It attacked people instead of ideas, thereby robbing the struggle of its political content. Its main fault was to call for continued criticism and struggle without seeing the need for transformation and unity to consolidate the gains of the Cultural Revolution. Ultra-“Leftism,” because of its “radical” cover, had a large base of support among workers and students during the Cultural Revolution. After the revisionists had largely been defeated (but not vanquished) in 1967, it became the main danger in the struggle. In August, 1967, many ultra-“Leftists” were purged from the Cultural Revolution Group (which was formed to give leadership to the revolution) and a campaign was launched to consolidate the gains of the Cultural Revolution, re-educate the workers and students who had been taken in by the ultra-“Left” line, facilitate the transformation, and unify the Party. This campaign was led, first and foremost, by Chou En-lai, with the help of the “gang of four”, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan, Wang Hung-wen (see accounts of the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai in the books by Jean Daubier, Joan Robinson, and Victor Nee, listed in the Resources section), and others who had been active in mobilizing the masses of workers and peasants to defeat the revisionist headquarters and transform industry and education.
However, while it was absolutely necessary to wage a two-front struggle, against both the ultra-“Left” and the Right, the capitalist-roaders in the Party were only concerned with attacking the proletarian Left (labelling it “ultra-Left”) to protect themselves. In 1966, in response to P’eng Chen’s report that protected the Right and attacked the Left, Chairman Mao and the Central Committee released the May 16th circular which declared:
For their own ulterior purposes, the authors of the Report demand a ’rectification campaign’ against the staunch Left in a deliberate effort to create confusion, blur class alignments and divert people from the target of struggle. Their main purpose in dishing up the Report in such a hurry was to attack the proletarian Left. They have gone out of their way to build up dossiers about the Left, tried to find all sorts of pretexts for attacking it, and intended to launch further attacks on it by means of a ’rectification campaign’, in the vain hope of disintegrating its ranks. They openly resist the policy explicitly put forward by Chairman Mao of protecting and supporting the Left and giving serious attention to building it up and expanding its ranks. . They are filled with hatred for the proletariat and love for the bourgeoisie.
At a time when the new and fierce struggle of the proletariat against the representatives of the bourgeoisie on the ideological front has only just begun . . the Report stresses again and again that the struggle must be conducted ’under direction’, ’with prudence’, ’with caution’, and ’with the approval of the leading bodies concerned All this serves to place restrictions on the proletarian Left, to impose taboos and commandments in order to tie its hands, and to place all sorts of obstacles in the way of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In a word, the authors of the Report are rushing to apply the brakes and launch a vindictive counter-attack. . The Report opposes carrying the socialist revolution through to the end, opposes the line on the cultural revolution pursued by the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, attacks the proletarian Left and shields the bourgeois Right, thereby preparing public opinion for the restoration of capitalism. It is a reflection of bourgeois ideology in the Party; it is out-and-out revisionism.
On the surface, the criticisms of the “gang of four” today are for Right errors:
The Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao anti-Party clique is a bunch of ultra-Rightists and their counter-revolutionary revisionist line is an ultra-Right line . . They are ultra-Rightists, out and out capitalist-roaders, and the most ferocious counterrevolutionaries. . The infamous records of Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan show that they were linked with the Chaing Kai-shek Kuomingtang reactionaries in a thousand and one ways. The social basis of this gang is the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements and new and old bourgeosie. (Hua Kuo-feng in speech to Tachai Agricultural Conference, December 1976, PR #1, 1977, p. 36)
There is overwhelming evidence to show that it is completely false to characterize the “gang of four” line as ultra-Right capitalist-roader, the most convincing of which is that the present leaders, in their current campaign against the “gang of four”, have not attacked any of the tendencies of a capitalist-road line. They do not attack the “gang of four” for putting profits or production in command, or for pushing the “theory of productive forces,” or for making material incentives the motive force in production, or for pushing that experts run the factories, or for servility to foreign technology, or for wanting to consolidate the capitalist relations of production in agriculture or industry, or for widening the gaps between manual and mental labor, between worker and peasant, between town and countryside. They are not accused of downplaying class struggle and opposing revolution. The attacks they make on political line are, almost without exception, against ultra-“Left” tendencies and not capitalist-road tendencies. For instance, they accuse the “gang of four” of: advocating “overthrowing all” and encouraging violence when unnecessary (the article about Chou En-lai and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution definitely portrays them in this ultra-“Left” role. (PR #4, 1977), (2) unrealistically opposing foreign technology (PR #4, 1977), (3) opposing veteran cadre and trying to promote too many young cadre, (PR #7, 1977) (4) advocating continual struggle without transformation, and refusing to let mistaken cadre mend their ways (PR #4, 1977), (5) taking contradictions among the people for contradictions between the people and the enemy (PR #5, 1977), (6) using opposition to empiricism as a cover for being dogmatists (the actions of the “gang of four” were likened several times to the “Left” dogmatist line of Wang Ming and they were said to be “jackals from the same lair”) (PR #50, 1976, p. 14), (7) setting revolution against production, politics against economics, socialist consciousness against intellectual development, and political education against military training (various recent issues of PR).
All of the above errors are generally ultra-“Left” in nature and not Right. The charges are thoroughly unbased, as we are showing in the various sections of this study, but reflect the ultra-Right nature of the attackers, who purposefully try to characterize all the revolutionary elements of the proletarian line as “ultraLeft.” (In the following sections, we will deal specifically with the dialectic of production and revolution, the question of promoting new cadres and training successors to the revolution and re to reverse correct verdicts, and the question of antagonistic struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.)
Faced with the fact that the campaign against the four is primarily based on attacking “Left” errors, while they are called “capitalist-roaders” and “ultra-Rightists”, some Marxist-Leninists in the United States declare: “ultra-’Left’, ultra-Right. . it’s all the same!” This is a fundamental misconception that tries to cover up the weakest point in the criticism of the four. Ultra-“Left” and Right lines are different. Most importantly, they become the main danger at different moments in a revolutionary process. Comrade Joseph Stalin pointed out:
. . The chief cause of the crisis in the Czech Communist Party, 1925 lay in the difficulties entailed by the transition from a period of revolutionary upsurge to a period of lull. What is the character of the crisis and from where does the danger threaten, from the Left or from Right? . . The danger threatens from both sides. . the facts show, however, that the chief danger comes from the Right and not from the Left.
Why is the danger from the Right the more serious danger at the present time? Firstly, the transition itself from upsurge to lull, by its very nature, increases the chances of danger from the Right. Whereas an upsurge gives rise to revolutionary illusions and causes the Left danger to become the principal one, a lull, on the contrary, gives rise to social democratic reformist illusions and causes the Right danger to become the principal one. In 1920, when the working-class movement was on the upgrade, Lenin wrote his pamphlet ’Left-Wing Communism an Infantile Disorder.’ Why did Lenin write this particular pamphlet? Because at that time the Left danger was the more serious danger. I think that if Lenin were alive he would now write another pamphlet entitled ’Right-Wing Communism, an Old-Age Disorder,’ because, at the present time, in the period of lull, when illusions about compromise are bound to grow, the Right danger is the most serious danger. (Joseph Stalin, Speech to the Czechoslavak Commission of the ECCI, 1925)
During the period of socialism, Right opportunism, revisionism, and capitalist-readers are the main danger. In specific periods of upheaval . . such as the Cultural Revolution after the Right danger had been defeated for the moment, the “Left” danger became temporarily the principal danger.
Marxism-Leninism must always wage a two-front struggle against both Right and ultra-“Left” lines, but during the overall period of socialism the Right danger is definitely principal. Correctly determining what is the principal danger at a given time is extremely important and determines the general orientation of the struggle. Chairman Mao has said:
At the same time as we criticize dogmatism, we must direct our attention to criticizing revisionism. Revisionism or Right opportunism is a bourgeois trend of thought that is even more dangerous than dogmatism. The revisionists, the Right opportunists, pay lip service to Marxism; they, too, attack “dogmatism.” But what they are really attacking is the quintessence of Marxism. (Mao Tse-tung: Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, 1957, Selected Readings, p. 466)
Chairman Mao also said:
Guard against revisionism and especially its emergence in the Central Committee of our Party . . What will you do if revisionism emerges in the Central Committee of our Party? This is highly probable and it presents the greatest danger. (quoted in PR #50, 1976, p. 13)
Comrade Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania, recently reiterated this point at the 7th Party Congress of the PLA in November, 1976:
The class struggle waged during the whole existence of the Party, as well as recently, has shown that the main danger and enemy of our Party and the entire international revolutionary communist workers’ movement has been and still is Right opportunism, revisionism.
After the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution (from 1969 on), the period of consolidation and transformation necessarily led to the danger of class conciliation and Right opportunism. Realizing this danger and the power that the Right line had already managed to regain in the Party, in late 1975 Chairman Mao launched the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution. This struggle had won some victories, and Teng Hsiao-ping had been removed, but the Rightists had in no way been defeated, even momentarily, and were waging strong resistance on every front. Furthermore, according to the Chinese press at the time, and contrary to what the present leaders say now, the anti-Rightist campaign was led by the Party in orderly disciplined way and was not marked by violence or anti-Party ultra-“Left” antagonism. Nor was production threatened; on the contrary, it increased during the period of struggle (see section 12). No one was advocating any of the ultra-“Left” deviations that were widespread at the height of the Cultural Revolution.
The fact is that the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend had not gone to far; on the contrary, it had not gone far enough, as the present leaders themselves have proved by usurping power. Only Teng Hsiao-ping and a few ministers had been removed from their posts. There was mass struggle in many provinces directed at various provincial Party leaders and other local leaders, but there is nothing wrong with this. Such struggle can only be healthy, to shake up the bureaucratic tendencies. Certainly there are many bureaucrats with revisionist leanings on many levels. Chairman Mao and the Communist Party declared on the eve of the Cultural Revolution:
Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the Government, the Army and various spheres of culture are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize politic power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Some of them we have already seen through, others we have not, Some are still trusted by us and are being trained as our successors, person like Khrushchev, for example, who are still nestling beside us. Party committees at all levels must pay full attention to this matter . . It is necessary to criticize and repudiate those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the Government, the Army and all spheres of culture [referring to the Ministry of Culture, the press, etc. before the Cultural Revolution], and to clear them out or transfer some of them to other positions. (May 16 circular)
Chairman Mao declared again in 1967:
I said at a rally in 1962 that the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism has not yet come to an end and it was quite probable that revisionism would win while we would lose. We reminded everyone of the possibility of defeat in order to help everyone’s vigilance against revisionism . . If world outlook is not reformed, then although 2000 capitalist-roaders are removed in the current Great Cultural Revolution, 4000 others may appear the next time. The struggle between the two classes and two lines cannot be settled in one, two, three, or four cultural revolutions. (People’s China, Milton, Milton, and Shurmann, Random House, p. 261)
The struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend, launched by Chairman Mao in late 1975, was certainly a legitimate and highly necessary struggle that meant to arouse the masses of people to criticize bureaucracy and revisionism at all levels. This is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. Only revisionists need to oppose it. All those under attack were certainly not all-out counter-revolutionaries, but this can only be determined through struggle. The charge that the present leaders now constantly make, saying the “gang of four” called 70% of the Party cadres “bourgeois democrats and capitalist-roaders” and opposed all veteran cadres is a deceitful lie and is thoroughly unbased. No reference to this can be seen in any Chinese documents that have been translated from 1975-1976. The truth is that the Chinese press constantly reiterated that 90% of the cadres and masses were good, that when errors are made the “sickness must be cured to save the patient.” However, they did advocate resolute struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping and a handful of unrepentant capitalist-roaders. No one denied that, as Chairman Mao has often said, 95% of all cadres are basically good; certainly far less than 5%, far less than 1/10 of 1% of all 30,000,000 members of the CCP were purged or demoted during the anti-revisionist struggle of 1975-1976 (in fact, we know of not one person who was purged from the Party). The changes brought about during the anti-revisionist struggle were only a drop in the bucket compared with the flood of the Cultural Revolution. But for the present leaders, “ferreting out Teng’s agents” and “inciting the masses to struggle against provincial Party leaders, army commanders, and leading comrades of the Party and government” was going too far and “distorting” and “calling their own tune” in the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend; it was “confusing contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy.”
The basic line in handling contradictions in socialist society was outlined by Chairman Mao in 1957:
Since they are different in nature, the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy and the contradictions among the people must be resolved by different methods. To put it briefly, the former are a matter of drawing a clear distinction between ourselves and the enemy, and the latter a matter of drawing a clear distinction between right and wrong. .
The people’s democratic dictatorship uses two methods. Towards the enemy, it uses the method of dictatorship . . Towards the people, on the contrary, it uses the method not of compulsion but of democracy. .
Quite a few people fail to make a clear distinction between these two different types of contradictions – those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people – and are prone to confuse the two.
Many dare not openly admit that contradictions still exist among the people of our country, although it is these very contradictions that are pushing our society forward. Many do not admit that contradictions continue to exist in a socialist society, with the result that they are handicapped and passive when confronted with social contradictions; they do not understand that socialist society will grow more united and consolidated through the ceaseless process of the correct handling and resolving of contradictions. ..
The question of suppressing counter-revolutionaries is one of a struggle between ourselves and the enemy, a contradiction between ourselves and the enemy .. . Those with a Rightist way of thinking make no distinction between ourselves and the enemy and take the enemy for our own people. They regard as friends the very persons whom he broad masses regard as enemies. Those with a “Left” way of thinking magnify contradictions between ourselves and the enemy to such an extent that they take certain contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy and regard as counter-revolutionaries parsons who are actually not counter-revolutionaries. Both these views are wrong. (Mao Tse-tung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Readings, pp. 432-478)
Many people outside China deny that it is possible to judge whether or not the “gang of four” and their associates are guilty of “going too far”, of “confusing contradictions among the people for antagonistic contradictions,” and therefore they rely on the denunciations made by the present leaders. Many of those who remain today as leaders of the CCP, such as Yeh Chien-ying, Hsu Shi-yu, Li Hsien-nien, Wei Kuo-ching, and Su Chen-hua[footnote 1] have never led a struggle against revisionism. They have resisted the struggle all along, consistently opposed revolution, and were severely criticized during the Cultural Revolution, barely squeaking through by promising to mend their ways. Can these people justifiably criticize ultra-“Leftism” or correctly differentiate between the revolutionary proletarian Left line and ultra-“Left” opportunism?
Those who say “There are no landlords, there are no capitalists . . where is the bourgeoisie? Where are the antagonistic contradictions?” are not to be trusted when they accuse others of “confusing contradictions among the people for antagonistic contradiction.” Those who have never led, but who have always resisted, the mass struggle against revisionism are not to be trusted when they say the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend “went too far.”
We can be very sure that the persons most capable of correctly identifying ultra-“Leftism” are those seasoned in struggle against Right opportunism or revisionism. When Mao Tse-Chou En-lai, and Kang Sheng, three veteran revolutionaries who were among the vanguard of the Cultural Revolution, who resolutely took the initiative to arouse the masses to combat revisionism, criticized ultra-“Left” tendencies and purged ultra-“Leftists” such as Wang Li from the Cultural Revolution Group, we know that they were not trying to protect revisionism. When Chang Chun-chiao took the lead in opposing the ultra-“Left” factionalist tactics among the Shanghai workers’ organizations, the workers could trust him because he had also led the workers’ movement to overthrow the revisionist power structure in Shanghai. However, when revisionists who opposed the mass struggles from the beginning such as P’eng Chen, Liu Shao-chi, and Teng Hsiao-ping criticized ultra-“Leftism” and claimed there was “excessive struggle”, it is obvious that they were merely protecting revisionism.
Non-Chinese apologists for the present Chinese government say that Teng Hsiao-ping will now be brought back and that the contradiction with him was one “among the people”. This reflects the actions of the present leaders who have abruptly and completely halted the campaign against Teng and the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend. This is in direct contradiction to the unanimous decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CCP last April when it declared that “the Teng Hsiao-ping problem has become one of antagonistic contradiction.”
The present leaders imply that the only antagonistic contradiction in Chinese society today is that with the “gang of four” and their supporters. The substance of their criticisms of these people is that they are “ultraLeft”. In other words, the present leaders hold that anyone who has tendencies to encourage professional management and material incentives, increase bourgeois right, the division between mental and manual labor, the differences between town and countryside, to emphasize technique over politics, encourage dependence on foreign technology, the “theory of productive forces”, and so on, represents merely a “contradiction among the people” (or, as they actually believe, no contradiction at all). For them, the “class enemies” are those who oppose revisionism “too much”. It should be clear that such double-talk is only a weak cover for revisionism.
Right opportunism, revisionism, and capitalist-roaders are the main danger in China today. This fact has been put forward so strongly and repeatedly by Chairman Mao that even the present leaders cannot deny this. Therefore, they must in name attack “capitalist-roaders” while in substance they attack ultra-“Leftism”. In reality, they are attacking the proletarian revolutionary line put forward by Chairman Mao. Marxist-Leninists would never, given the current nature of the struggle in China and the fact that Right revisionism is the main danger, launch an attack on ultra-“Left” tendencies the way the present leaders are doing. Revisionists, on the other hand, due to their ultra-Right nature, from Khrushchev to Brezhnev to Teng Hsiao-ping to the U. S.’s own Gus Hall, must launch a vicious attack on the proletarian revolutionary line, slandering it as “ultraLeft”. Analyzing the most important concrete criticisms that have been brought up against the “gang of four”, we see that this is exactly what the present leaders are doing.
To confuse Right and “Left” opportunism is to confuse the basic line struggle and cover up the proletarian revolutionary line by mixing the Right and “Left” errors which help to define the correct line. By confusing the Right and ultra-“Left” lines, they try to deny that Right opportunism, revisionism, is the main danger during the socialist period.
Revisionists both in the Soviet Union and in China never really criticized the Marxist-Leninist line in a theoretical way, even though they oppose it. They cannot participate in honest theoretical public debate because they are not on the side of the people. They must attack Marxism-Leninism covertly. Their public attack is not centered on political line; although they use communist words, their attacks center on personality. When Khrushchev was forced to attack Stalin two years after his death, in a secret report to the 20th Party Congress, was his attack a theoretical analysis of Stalin’s line? No, of course not, because that would have revealed the anti-popular character of his own line. He called Stalin a “coward, an idiot, and a dictator,” “a 20th century Ivan the Terrible,” and attacked his “personality cult,” his “lust for power,” his “dictatorial manner,” “unfairness, “harshness,” and “cruelty.” This attack was not principled. It was anti-Marxist slander, trying to portray the two-line struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie as a simple power struggle between personalities. This is the essence of the attack on the “gang of four”. The revisionists attack Chiang Ching for wanting to become “empress Lu,” for acting like a “queen,” for wanting her picture taken, for playing cards, for not caring about Chairman Mao’s health, for being egotistical, conceited ad arrogant, for playing favorites, for being dictatorial, etc., etc., etc.
A person’s political line may be reflected in the way they live their life and handle situations. But this is all “evidence” that neither we nor the hundreds of millions of Chinese workers and peasants can confirm or deny. It is superficial and has no substance in terms of the mass struggle to criticize erroneous political lines and fight for communism. To accept the argument of the present leaders you must first of all accept as true that the “gang of four” were opportunist, power-hungry careerists and that this was the motive in their efforts to knock down capitalist-roaders. If you don’t start with this idea, the attack on the “gang of four” doesn’t hold together at all. Thus the very essence of the attack on the “gang of four” is based on something which is absolutely unverifiable, now or in the future, to any of the Chinese masses or Marxist-Leninists around the world. Similarly, their fantastic recent attempt to link the “gang of four” to Kuomingtang reactionaries (PR #19, 1977, pp. 36-37) before and after the revolution and call them all “Kuomingtang secret agents” is also unverifiable for everyone except those intimately connected with them (such as Chairman Mao, who was also apparently unaware of these “connections”). We must not be misled by such attacks, but rather understand that major struggles in the Party are two-line struggles and are political in nature. They represent struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
When Chairman Mao challenged the “Left” opportunist line of Wang Ming in 1935 and the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, this was in no way an “opportunist, power hungry careerist” action because Chairman Mao represented the correct line and Wang Ming the “Left” deviation. Thus all inner-Party struggles must be analyzed on the plane of political line. We cannot very easily judge the subjective desires of the “gang of four” nor is it necessary for us to do so. We must analyze what line they represent and what line those who oppose them represent. Political line must be the central aspect of criticism. Chairman Mao has said; “Statements should be based on facts and criticism should center on politics.” The fact that the revisionists divert the central aspect criticism to personal attacks, rumors, and unverifiable private conversations be Chairman Mao and Chiang Ching serves as a cover for their real but covert attack Marxist-Leninist line. It is a signal of their thoroughly bankrupt revisionist line.
Two documents, Chairman Mao’s On the Ten Major Relationships and Chairman speech of December 25, 1976, are now being studied all over China as the main theoretical documents in the campaign to criticize the “gang of four” (see PR #1, 1977, p. 6) On the Ten Major Relationships is a speech that Chairman Mao made to the Political Bureau on April 25, 1956, at the time the consolidation of the socialist economic was just being completed. It is a brilliant speech that outlines ten principal as building socialism. However, the class struggle in China at that time was very different than today. The Peoples’ Communes had not been built, the Great Leap of 1958-1959 had not yet occurred. No major struggle against capitalist-road tendencies had yet emerged. Chairman Mao speaks of counter-revolutionaries that carry out sabotage of the revolution by killing cattle, burning grain, wrecking factories, stealing information, and putting up reactionary posters. With the development and construction of soc ism, the forms that class struggle take have changed considerably. In the struggle against the Right deviation in the 1957 Socialist Education Movement, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the struggles to criticize Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping, it has been clear that the main target of the class struggle of the proletariat are now the “Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road.” There are numerous works of Chairman Mao that profoundly analyze this struggle as well as the problems of socialist construction and revolution that the proletariat in China face today. The fact that the present leaders have chosen, instead, to launch a major campaign to study the 1956 work only confirms that the revisionists in China have been unwilling to accept the magnificent strides forward that the Chinese Revolution has taken in the last 20 years, particularly the Cultural Revolution.[footnote 2]
Chairman Hua’s speech, on the other hand, is definitely of the present era, but it as well does not tell us anything concrete about the present struggle. It does more to confuse than to clarify the nature of the struggle. Anyone reading only this speech would end up knowing little more than that the “gang of four” are an “ultra-Right anti-Party clique” who have now been purged.
Although the “gang of four” are called “capitalist-roaders” and “ultra-Rightists”, the spearhead of the attack is not directed at anything near the capitalist road or Right deviations. This is true for two reasons: (1) Yao Wen-yuan, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao and Wang Hung-wen did not push a Right revisionist line and did not cling to the capitalist road. Never in their entire history were any of them characterized by wanting to hang onto the old ways or pushing to consolidate capitalist relations in industry or agriculture. They were among the vanguard of the leaders during the Cultural Revolution and again in the current period were constantly arousing the masses in criticism and revolutionary struggle. (2) The current leaders are revisionists and therefore even if they could they never would launch a campaign to thoroughly study revisionism because it would only help expose their own revisionist line.
We can predict with certainty, based on the nature of the campaign against the “gang of four” and the complete reversal of the verdicts of last year’s struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping, that as long as Hua Kuo-feng and his clique are in power that there will never be another major struggle led by the Central Committee against the capitalist road tendencies such as putting profits and production in command, the “theory of productive forces,” material incentives, dependence on specialists, dependence on foreign technology, promoting irrational rules and regulations, increasing the divisions between city and country and between mental and manual labour, promoting examinations to exclude peasants and workers from school and designing schools to train an elite of professionals, encouraging a “professional” army, etc. etc. etc. The spearhead of their attack is now aimed at the Left and will remain there because they represent the bourgeoisie and defend the capitalist road line.
Some people in the United States who have researched the two-line struggle in China superficially have declared that “It’s true – the ’gang of four’ were ultra-’Leftists’, not Right opportunists, but the Chinese leaders are using the names ’capitalist-roader’ and ’ultra-Right’ to make it easier for the Chinese people to understand.” Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that this would be a fundamentally incorrect way to handle the two-line struggle and educate the masses, we must here deal with the attacks on the “gang of four” line as ultra-“Leftists” , which make up the concrete substance of the criticism put forward by the present leaders.
1. We know from recent biographical articles in the Peking Review that Hua Kuo-feng never played a leading role in arousing mass criticism of revisionism during the Cultural Revolution. He was not involved in the central bodies at the time of the Cultural Revolution, as were these other leaders.
2. The publication in April, 1977, of Vol. V of the Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, which is a compilation of writings from 1949-1957, also comes from the New Democratic stage of the revolution. The future publication of Volume VI will cover the period of two-line struggle after the consolidation of socialism and the Cultural Revolution. How the Hua government edits these works may show their attitude toward those struggles.
The Chinese Communist Party Constitution states:
The leading bodies of the Party at all levels shall be elected through democratic consultation in accordance with the requirements for successors to the cause of the proletarian revolution and the principle of combining the old, the middle-aged, and the young.
Wang Hung-wen put forth the Party’s reasoning for this principle in his speech on the revision of the Constitution at the 10th National Party Congress in 1973:
We must train millions of successors for the cause of proletarian revolution in the course of mass struggles. Chairman Mao said, ’In order to guarantee that our Party and country do not change their colour, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies, but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.’ As stated above, those to be trained are not just one or two persons, but millions. Such a task cannot be fulfilled unless the whole Party attaches importance to it. . Both veteran and new cadres expressed their determination to learn each others’ strong points and overcome their own shortcomings. We must, in accordance with the five requirements Chairman Mao has laid down for successors to the cause of Proletarian revolution lay stress on selecting outstanding persons from among the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants, placing them in leading posts at all levels. Attention must also be paid to training women cadres and minority nationality cadres. (PR #35-36, 1973)
The plan of the Party for training and selecting successors for the revolution is outlined in more detail:
We must lay stress on placing in leading posts at all levels those outstanding comrades who have been tempered in the movement of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, have a high level of consciousness of the two-line struggle, dare to combat every unhealthy tendency, are qualified and efficient in various fields and show a great deal of enthusiasm. We must particularly lay stress on selecting the outstanding elements from among the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants, and pay attention to training women cadres and national minority cadres. We must not select for leading posts those ’Wise Old Man’ elements who are submerged up to the neck in their vocational pursuits, have no interest in politics and want to hurt no one’s feelings. At the same time, we must especially watch out for selfish careerists, conspirators and double-dealers like Khrushchov, and prevent such bad elements from sneaking onto leading bodies and usurping the leadership of the Party and the state at any level . . In training successors for the revolution we must correctly apply the principle of the ’three-in-one’ combination of the old, the middle-aged and the young. (A Basic Understanding of the CPC, Shanghai, 1974, p. 121)
This move was resisted at many levels by revisionists who wanted to maintain their dominance and complained that the new people were not smart enough or experienced enough.[footnote 1] Teng Hsiao-ping downgraded the new leaders and insisted that more and more of the old leaders who had been “unjustly” purged during the Cultural Revolution be brought back into the leading bodies. Reversing the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution and bringing back those leaders who opposed it and were correctly removed from their posts basically means negating the great gains made during that revolution. Revisionists have always tried the same trick. In 1962, Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping tried to bring back many of the cadres who had been purged in 1959 along with the revisionist traitor P’eng Teh-huai. Liu Shao-chi said:
After the Lushan Conference [of 1959], the anti-Rightist struggle was improperly unfolded among cadres in rural areas, enterprises, and schools and even among the masses.” (see Between Two Plenums, E. Joffe, U. of Michigan) More to the point, he said:
Verdicts can be reversed on those who hold similar viewpoints to P’eng Teh-huai’s but who have no illicit relations with foreign countries.
Chairman Mao realized this was an attempt to negate the gains of the anti-Right struggle after the Lushan Conference and said in 1962 at the 10th Plenum of the 8th Central Committee:
Recently there has been a tendency to vindicate and rehabilitate people. This is wrong. Only those who have been wrongfully charged can be vindicated and rehabilitated, but those who have been correctly dealt with cannot be so vindicated. We cannot vindicate and rehabilitate all people. (Between Two Plenums)
In the last few years, Teng Hsiao-ping tried to pull off the same thing, only he combined it with attacking the leaders of the Cultural Revolution.
Teng Hsiao-ping opposed setting up of ’three-in-one’ revolutionary leading bodies, mustered unrepentant capitalist-readers and put them in important positions…He did his utmost to keep in the Party renegades and special agents who had been identified as such during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, so they could stage a comeback sometime in the future.”
Using stability and unity as a pretext, the capitalist-readers tried to suppress the struggle waged by the people of the whole country against their activities to restore capitalism, and directed their spearhead at the revolutionary masses and cadres. Using various pretexts, they elbowed out and attacked new and veteran cadres who persevere in following Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, and installed in important positions those who oppose the Great Cultural Revolution. They negated the principle that leading bodies at various levels must be a three-in-one combination of the old, the middle-aged and the young as advocated by Chairman Mao, and they repressed new forces, sowed discord in the relations between the Party and the masses and undermined stability and unity. (PR #12, 1976, p. 12)
The present leaders continue the ploy of Teng Hsiao-ping, attacking the advancement of new cadre from the mass revolutionary movements. Many articles refer to how the “gang of four” disrupted the order of things by “rush promotions” of new cadres and opposing capitalist-roaders.
They [the ’gang of four] vigorously carried out ’rush recruiting of new party members’ and ’rush promoting of cadres’ . . the ’gang of four1 distorted and opposed the five requirements laid down by Chairman Mao for revolutionary successors and undermined the principle of the three-in-one combination of the old, the middle-aged and the young. (PR #49, 1976, p. 7)
They were obsessed by the desire to ’ferret out capitalist-roaders at all levels and overthrow a large number of leading cadres in the Party, government, and Army at the central and local levels. . At the same time, they demogogically paid such complimentary remarks to the youth as ’great young men’ and ’heroes going against the tide’. While doing all they could to win over the young people to their side and corrupt them, the ’gang of four’ also worked hard disrupt the unity of the new and veteran cadres. (PR #7, 1977, Pp. 11 and 13)
The article goes on, talking about “factionalism” as if it had no basis in political line. Its author feebly tries to link the “gang of four” to Trotsky on the basis that they were “factionalists” and “conspirators”, ignoring that Trotsky opposed Marxism-Leninism from both the Right and the “Left” while the ”gang of four” opposed the right and the ultra-“Left”, maintaining a consistent political line. Without discussing political line, it is useless to discuss factionalism.
The consolidation of the gains of the Cultural Revolution was dependent on bringing the leaders of the masses into the leading bodies of the Party and state. This task had in no way been completed, and to vigorously “rush” promote new cadres or to oppose veteran cadres who were taken in by revisionist ideas was no crime . . it was the Party’s priority. This does not “undermine” unity and the three-in-one combination, but provides the basis for it.
That this progressive policy met with resistance is no surprise. . the electing of leading cadres to both central and local bodies is a matter of acute struggle between the two lines. The present leaders are only showing which side of that struggle they are on.
The Party Committee of the Tachai Production Brigade firmly upheld the Party’s policies and attacked the revisionist fallacies about “hurting veteran cadres” in an article in China Reconstructs, September, 1976 (p. 14):
Teng Hsiao-ping, the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party, attacked and smeared class struggle and the two-line struggle waged by our Party, saying that it would hurt veteran workers and experienced cadres. This openly negated the great class struggles and struggles between the two lines carried out by the Party. It was another big lie Teng Hsiao-ping spread to confuse the people.
Most of our cadres, including old ones, have been tempered in the long revolutionary struggles and educated with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought. They want to make revolution. We will never hurt those experienced old cadres who are true revolutionaries if we resolutely carry out Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line and proletarian policies and correctly distinguish and handle the two different types of contradictions [among the people and between the people and the enemy].
By waging class struggle and the two-line struggle, will the proletariat and the poor and lower-middle peasants hurt the handful of people who oppose revolution? Experience in class struggle tells us they will and must hurt revisionism, capitalism, the bourgeoisie within the Party, the capitalist-roaders, the restoration staged by Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, Teng Hsiao-ping and other ringleaders promoting the opportunist line. Is it right to hurt them? Surely right, ten thousand times right! Is this good or bad? Surely good, ten thousand times good! Without such hurting there won’t be any socialist revolution.
1. Part of the criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius that began in 1973 was a serious attempt to further the emancipation of women in Chinese society. At the commune level, for instance, the principle “Anything a man can do, a woman can do,” was deepened through struggle to mean, “Anything a woman can do, a man can do,” which meant that men expected to wash clothes and cook. These changes did not come without struggle. Some women cadre lost their positions for bringing up such questions, but later they were reinstated and held up as medals, as we can see from reading China Reconstructs and Peking Review, 1973-l976. Today, Chang Ching is being attacked by the present leaders for having “divided the masses” by “setting women against men.” (see China Reconstructs, #6 1977).
12. GRASP REVOLUTION, PROMOTE PRODUCTION
The charge that the “gang of four” disrupted production in the name of revolution is a central theme in criticism of them. As we have seen in the sections on industry and agriculture, the capitalist-roaders have their own methods of “increasing production.’’ They always attack class struggle as disrupting production and choose to put production itself in command instead of proletarian politics. This would lead to the consolidation of capitalist relations and the ultimate stagnation of the economy.
The only way to truly liberate the productive forces is through continual revolutionary change in the relations of production, deepening collective consciousness and proletarian revolutionary spirit. The principle of “Grasp Revolution, Promote Production” is central in furthering socialist revolution and socialist construction.
The 16 points formulated by the Central Committee of the CCP to guide the Cultural Revolution includes the following declaration:
The aim of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is to revolutionize peoples’ ideology and as a consequence to achieve greater, faster, better and more economical results in all fields of work. If the masses are fully aroused and proper arrangements are made, it is possible to carry on both the Cultural Revolution and production without one hampering the other, while guaranteeing high quality in all our work.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a powerful motive force for the development of the social productive forces in our country. Any idea of counter-posing the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to the development of production is incorrect.
This statement shows that revolution is not opposed to production but is its motive force in a socialist society. Any Right or “Left” attempts to counterpose the two are incorrect. This does not mean that in some instances production may not be delayed to hold meetings or reorganize, but that this should not seriously disrupt production and, more importantly, that revolution should not be put down on the pretext of “promoting production.” Chairman Mao has said:
Ideological work and political work are the guarantee for accomplishing economic and technical work and serve the economic base. Ideology and politics are the commander, the soul in everything. Economic and technical work are bound to go wrong if we in the least slacken our ideological and political work. (from PR #51, 52, 1969)
Chairman Mao has emphasized many times that only by taking class struggle as the key link, deepening the criticism of revisionism and capitalism, and continually solving the question of line and which road to follow can socialist production develop in the right section and with greater impetus; only in this way can all production problems, including equipment, techniques, and quality be solved in the correct way and only in this way can industry be developed with greater, faster, better and more economical results, rapidly establishing an independent and comprehensive industrial system and realizing the modernization of socialist industry and agriculture.
Opposing the taking of class struggle as the key link, Teng Hsiao-ping stuck to the theme of “it doesn’t matter if it’s a white cat or a block cat; any cat that catches mice is a good cat,” and made no distinction between Marxism and imperialism. This would inevitably lead to the capitalist road and undermine socialist production.
The current leaders are quick to repeat the entire correct line on revolution and production. But they go on to say:
We are opposed to the ’theory of productive forces’ at all times, past, present and future. But this must not be construed to mean that we are opposed to promoting production. The ’gang of four’ deliberately confused the two different concepts and equated the ’theory of productive forces’ with efforts to promote production. . With ulterior motives, they set revolution against production, politics against economics, class struggle against the struggle for production, and the dictatorship of the proletariat against socialist construction. They were against promoting production and construction. (PR #48, 1976, p. 12)
Such repeated accusations are not directed only at the “gang of four” but at the entire struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend which they say seriously disrupted China’s production. However, the Chinese press during that period tells a much differs story. A central theme in every article we have read about the movement to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping and beat back the Right deviationist trend was that the criticism led to greater production. Every article about industry or agriculture refers to the struggle as an inspiration to greater productive achievement. An article, “Criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping Spurs Vigorous Development of China’s Industry, Communication, and Transport” (PR #19, 1976) states:
The criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping and the anti-Right deviationist struggle are powerful motive forces in promoting the development of production. The output of crude oil, coal, electric power, chemical fertilizer, steel, iron, non-ferrous metals, cement, and other products, the total output value in the machine building and electronics industries and the volume of passengers and freight handled by railway and waterways in the first quarter all registered an increase upwards 12 percent compared with the same period of last year. The output of 13 major products in support of agriculture increased by a big margin. Of the 29 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, 28 have increased industrial output big increases in a number of cases. During this three month period, an annual production capacity of close to two million tons of crude oil and 900 million cubic metres of natural gas has been added; new oil pipelines are being rapidly extended. Fourteen newly built coal pits and four new sugar refineries have gone into production. Work on 977 kilometers has been done on double tracking the 1,100 kilometres Tientsin-Pukow railway.
Chinese steel workers and shipbuilders used deeds to criticize the revisionist fallacies put forward by Teng Hsiao-ping such as servility to things foreign and relying on specialists to run factories. They have displayed the spirit of independence and self-reliance in turning out more and better steel and building and better vessels. .
The national output of coal dressed coal, tunnelling footage and the newly added production capacity have all surpassed one-fourth of the annual plan in the first quarter. After liberation such an all-around leap forward in the first quarter has rarely taken place. More than 60 major coal mines, including Kailan and Tatung, have made outstanding achievements. The petroleum industry, which has always put proletarian politics in command and developed at high speed, is advancing in giant strides in the anti-Right deviationist struggle. The Taching Oilfield has fulfilled state production plans every month since the beginning of the year and hit an all-time high in every one of its major economic and technical quotas. . . Workers in several steel plants have shown revolutionary daring in producing industrial parts and equipment which formerly had to be imported. These included oil pipes, high-pressure boiler tubes, alloy steel for hydraulic supporting tubes and steel plates for shipbuilding.
Workers of the Shanghai Hutung Shipyard went all out in building the 25,000-ton ocean-going freighter Fuzhou which was launched at the end of March. The Talien Hungchi Shipyard built two 24,000-ton oil tankers in the first quarter. It recently completed and launched ahead of schedule an oil tanker of more than 20,000 tons. During this period the shipyard also produced China’s first 18,000 h. p. main engine for a vessel of the 50,000-ton class, thus eloquently refuting Teng Hsiao-ping’s servility to things foreign and capitualationism. An atmosphere of great purposefulness prevails along the railway lines extending over several thousand kilometres under the Peking, Harbin, and Sian and other railway bureaus. Working in the communist style and as masters of the country, railway workers fulfilled the state transport plan ahead of schedule and set a new record for the first quarter. The masses are the real heroes and the motive force in propelling history forward. Not long ago, the arch unrepentant capitalist-roader in the Party Teng Hsiao-ping claimed he was an expert who “knows how to do economic work” and he decked himself out as a “saviour” claiming that nothing could be done without him. This is of course ridiculous. In the first quarter of this year, the situation in China’s industrial production was excellent.
This iron clad evidence shows that Teng Hsiao-ping was far from “capable” of ”knowing how to do economic work” and refutes outright his lie that China’s economic front was ”in a complete mess”. The arch unrepentant capitalist-reader in the Party Teng Hsiao-ping once declared: ’Let’s not have any more criticism of the theory of productive forces. If criticism goes on, production will not go up.’ In Teng Hsiao-ping’s view, the Chinese people criticize the ’theory of productive forces’ as if they do not want to boost production and regard anyone who makes an effort to develop production as practicing the ’theory of productive forces.’ Here, Teng Hsiao-ping was deliberately creating confusion and calling white black and black white.
Does the criticism of the ’theory of productive forces’ mean there is no need to develop production? This is Teng Hsiao-ping’s trick of muddling the waters to achieve his treacherous purpose. Our Party has always paid great attention to economic work and the development of productive forces. Since the founding of New China, Chairman Mao has formulated for us the great principle of Grasping Revolution and Promoting Production and drawn up a series of concrete lines and policies for developing production which have helped us to win great victories in socialist economic construction. To build China into a powerful modern socialist country before the end of the century is a blueprint drawn up for us by Chairman Mao, and hundreds of millions of people are now working hard to achieve that goal, who whipped up the Right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts were talking through their hat and viciously attacking our Party saying, ’It only talks about politics but not economics, it only talks about revolution but not production.’ This is an outrageous lie!
. . The aim of criticizing the ’theory of productive forces’ is precisely for developing China’s socialist productive forces and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. The difference between us and Teng Hsiao-ping is not whether or not we should develop production and achieve the four modernizations (of agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology) but which orientation and line we are to follow to achieve this. In essence, the question is whether the four modernizations to be achieved will be socialist or capitalist in nature.
An article in China’s Foreign Trade (published in Peking) of the 4th quarter of 1976 gave further concrete evidence that the struggle to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping stimulated instead of harmed production during the first half of 1976 (complete figures are not yet available for the second half). Total value of industrial production during the first half of 1976 increased 7%, as compared with the same period of 1975. Of the 80 main industrial products, 63 made a substantial increase. The output of crude oil, coal, and electric power surpassed the figures set in the state plan of the first half of 1976. The harvest of summer crops and spring rice hit an all-time high.
An article in Peking Review #3, 1977 (p. 7) gives more up-to-date 1976 achievements in the energy industry. It says the 1976 state plans for production of crude oil, gas, and other major petro-chemicals were all overfulfilled, oil and gas production outstripping 1975 levels by 13% and 11% respectively, with new exploration, drilling, and construction moving swiftly ahead. Coal miners also overfulfilled state production plans and the state plans for new capital construction and tunnelage for 1976.
Another article, in Peking Review #7, 1977, stated that 1976 saw the carrying out of farmland capital construction on an unprecedented scale and that total grain output surpassed all previous years despite the earthquakes, draught, and early frost.
The present leaders now talk out of two sides of their mouths, claiming first that the “gang of four” and their “excesses” in the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend sabotaged production, but at the same time stating that harvests and industrial production in general increased substantially in 1976. So we are faced with two different stories, one presented before the purge, claiming that the campaign to criticize Teng Hsiao-ping stimulated production, and the other, since the purge began, claiming that the anti-Right campaign sabotaged production. The objective facts show that production increased in every sector of the Chinese economy.
The current leaders’ clamouring about “setting revolution against production” is nothing new . . it’s the same garbage as has been used all along to fight against putting revolution and the proletariat in command. Going back to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, we see that they were using the same tactic:
At the beginning of the movement, they used the pretext of ’taking firm hold of production’ to repress the revolution and oppose taking firm hold of revolution. When we workers of the revolutionary rebel groups wanted to rise up in revolution, they . . tagged us with the label of ’sabotaging production’. Did they really want to ’take firm hold of production’? No, they just wanted to defend their positions and attempted to obstruct our revolution. We exposed their schemes and rose up bravely in rebellion. (from the January 11, 1967, Declaration of the Workers’ Rebel Headquarters in Shanghai endorsed by the Central Committee of the CCP)
13. CLASS STRUGGLE IS THE KEY LINK
The most important principle that makes Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought different from revisionism is the principle of continuing class struggle and the permanence of revolution during the entire period of socialism under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao said:
Will there still be need for revolution a hundred years from now? Will there still be need for revolution a thousand years from now? There is always need for revolution. There are always sections of the people who feel themselves oppressed; junior officials, students, workers, peasants and soldiers don’t like bigshots oppressing them. That’s why they want revolution. (PR #21, 1976, p. 9)
These words portray the positive proletarian approach to revolutionary struggle. The proletariat’s main weapon is class struggle and every communist must be a firm advocate of uninterrupted revolution. The capitalist-roaders in China, like the capitalists here in the United States, will not disappear on their own but must be attacked and dragged out.
All genuine Marxists are always full of confidence and plunge into the fiery revolutionary struggles to create a bright future through fighting. Evading contradictions and wearying of struggle are not part of the mental outlook of Marxists. (PR #34, 1976, p. 14)
Marxism consists of thousands of truths, but they all boil down to one sentence, ’It is right to rebel’. . And from this truth there follows resistance, struggle, the fight for socialism. (Chairman Mao as quoted in The Chinese Road to Socialism, Wheelwright and McFarlane, MR Press, 1970)
In 1963, Chairman Mao warned that if class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat were forgotten,
. . then it would not be long, perhaps only several years, or a decade, or several decades at most before a counter-revolutionary restoration on a national scale would inevitably occur, the Marxist-Leninist Party would undoubtedly become a revisionist party, a fascist party, and the whole of China would change its color.
Therefore, the key link of the CCP line has been class struggle, the chief task being fighting revisionism and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat through continual revolution.
The question of class struggle was central in last year’s struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend:
The programme of ’taking the three directives as the key link’ was dished up last summer with ulterior motives by that unrepentant capitalist-roader [Teng Hsiao-ping]. It is a distortion of Chairman Mao’s instructions by putting his directives on promoting stability and unity and on pushing the national economy forward on par with the directive on studying the dictatorship of the proletariat and combatting and preventing revisionism, describing all three as ’the key link for all work”. Chairman Mao recently pointed out, ’What ’taking the three directives as the key link’! Stability and unity do not mean writing off class struggle; class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it’. . ’This person [Teng] does not grasp class struggle . . has never referred to this as the key link. His theme of ’white cat, black cat,’ makes no distinctions between imperialism and Marxism.’ (PR #14, 1976, pp. 3-5)
Comrade Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the Party of Labor of Albania, has also said:
The modern revisionists with the Soviet revisionists in the lead claim that class struggle dies out with the liquidation of the exploiting classes. This is a fraud designed to disarm the working class and lull it to sleep, to open the way to the restoration of capitalism. This has been most clearly proved in the Soviet Union and the other former socialist countries, where the new capitalist bourgeoisie has come to power. (from Comrade Hoxha’s report to the 7th Party Congress, November, 1976, Section 1)
All revisionists from Brezhnev to Teng Hsiao-ping see revolutionary struggle by the proletariat as ultra-“Leftist”, and talk about the dying out of class struggle and advocate a ’peaceful transition to communism’!, What they really want is peaceful restoration of capitalism. The proletariat seeks order and unity under socialism. They unite the many to carry out uninterrupted revolution and mass movements for socialist construction. Revisionists clamour that class struggle divides and creates contradictions; communists see it as a force that unites and resolves contradictions. Revisionists say that struggle is destructive to production; communists see it as the motive force in socialist production. Of course, revisionists’ view of class struggle by the proletariat is determined by the fact that they basically fear it, because class struggle by the proletariat is aimed at their destruction and the destruction of their ideas. The proletariat has nothing to fear from class struggle . . it has a world to gain.
Revisionists deny that there are contradictions in the Party, contradictions produced by the classes in the Party. They attack the two-line struggle in the Party (that aims to weed them out) saying that it “creates contradictions,” as if those contradictions didn’t already exist. Typical of all these revisionist attacks on the proletariat’s class struggle are the attacks made against the “gang of four”: They attack them repeatedly for causing the country to be “intranquil”!
An article in Peking Review #6, 1977, called ”Exposing Wang Hung-wen’s scheme to Throw China into Disorder”, exposes the revisionists’ uneasiness in the face of class struggle:
In a word, he was bent on stirring up trouble in the whole country. Wherever his sinister hand reached there was disorder. Wang Hung-wen not only made a mess of things in various localities but also created disorder in various leading organs under central authorities and tried to split the Party Central Committee.
At a meeting on planning work convened by the State Council, he personally came out to stir up trouble and secretly instigated his henchmen to open up a surprise attack, clamouring that ’there are quite many capitalist-readers’ in the central department in charge of the economy.
An article in Peking Review #8 (p. 9) gave another example:
. . In 1976, the ’gang of four’ called its own tune in criticizing Teng Hsiao-ping, poked their noses into Chekiang [province] again and made trouble. At a meeting convened by the Party Central Committee last February, Wang Hung-wen and Chang Chun-chiao went to the Chekiang group many times to stir up trouble and attack several leading comrades of the provincial Party committee by name . . Through its secret liaison centre in Peking, the ’gang of four’ ordered followers in Chekiang to instigate the masses to dig out ’capitalist-roaders’ at various levels. Thus, the province was once again thrown into chaos.
Another article compared the ”gang of four” to a proverbial prince who caused trouble for the rulers of an ancient dynasty and said: “Unless the four pests are done away with the country will have no peace.”
“Peace” is not a Marxist answer . . it is a revisionist lie. It is a lie to negate class struggle, attack communist revolutionaries and pave the way for a “peaceful” restoration of capitalism.
When the Chinese press before the October purge talked of class struggle, they advocated it in very real terms, to deal with real problems and contradictions in every factory, commune and school. They talked about it in a revolutionary vigorous way that affected everyones’ lives directly.
When the new leaders call on the people of China to struggle against the “gang of four,” they do not mean fighting capitalist-roader managers in one’s factory, fighting material incentives or bureaucracy. They do not mean fighting the bourgeois anti-worker, anti-peasant ideas in education or fighting servility to foreign things. Struggle against the “capitalist-roader” “gang of four” is in no way connected to the struggle against the capitalist road in every factory, commune, and school. Struggle against the “gang of four” is basically struggle against “disorder” and for “peace” (and is presented in that way to the Chinese people). Struggle against the “gang of four” is basically struggle against the class struggle of the proletariat.
The current main theme, or key link, is to make a thorough exposure and criticism of the ’gang of four’. When this key link is grasped firmly, we can keep to the general orientation of the struggle and get all work done in proper order. ’Once the principal contradiction is grasped, all problems can be readily solved.’ Party committees at various levels must have a very clear understanding of this ideology. (PR #8, 1977, pp. 6-7)
Emphasizing the top-down nature of this particular “class struggle”, the article said that the Party members and the people must be educated in the Tree Main Rules of Discipline of the People’s Liberation Army, and went on to call on the Chinese people to. .
... rally most closely round the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Hua, closely follow its strategic plans, obey its orders in all our actions, work with one heart and one mind, march in step, firmly grasp the key link of thoroughly exposing and criticizing the ’gang of four,’ and strive for new victories in bringing about great order across the land.
Check it out for yourselves, comrades. The PR, China Reconstructs, and China Pictorial before the purge were brimming with the class struggle and proletarian revolution. These same magazines since the purge limit “class struggle” to the struggle against the “gang of four” and the spearhead of the attack is against revolution itself.
14. GOING AGAINST THE TIDE
The two-line struggle in the Chinese Communist Party has been long and complex. Many times erroneous trends have taken hold and the Party has suffered through many setbacks. It is inevitable that erroneous trends will surface and at times gain favor.
The history of the struggle to defend the proletarian revolutionary line has been one of heroically “going against the tide”. Premier Chou En-lai said while addressing the 10th Party Congress in 1973: “When a wrong tendency surges towards us like a rising tide, we must not fear isolation and must dare to go against the tide and brave it through. (PR #35-36, 1973, p. 21)
Chairman Mao Tse-tung has repeatedly and continuously shown the spirit of going against the tide in leading the Party against 10 major erroneous lines in its history. In 1958, Chairman Mao went against the tide to lead the mass movement of the Great Leap Forward; later he bravely led the masses and Party cadres to rise up in rebellion against the revisionist line of Liu Shao-chi that had gained prominence in the Party. In 1975 he once again called on the masses and the Party cadres to struggle against the Right deviationist trend that was being stirred up by revisionist elements within the Party to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution.
The principle of democratic centralism is the basis for Marxist-Leninist parties. This insures “unity of will and iron discipline as well as freedom and ease of mind and liveliness.” Another principle, that of going against the tide, is absolutely essential to preserving the Party’s correct line. This principle is explained in the book A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China, originally published by the Peoples’ Publishing House in Shanghai, 1974:
To persist in implementing the Party’s basic line, we must have the revolutionary spirit of going against the tide. Going against the tide means firmly sticking to Marxism and struggling resolutely against opportunism, revisionism and all erroneous trends. On the international level, this means struggling against imperialist, revisionist and all reactionary counter-currents; internally, it means opposing all opportunist lines, all non-proletarian ideological trends. By persisting in following the Party’s basic line, we will certainly face all kinds of attacks on the part of reactionary trends, both inside and outside the Party and both inside and outside the country. This is why we must in all circumstances remain clear-headed, continuously carry out investigation and analysis of the prevailing situation in the class struggle, and clearly grasp that one tendency covers another, exhibit the proletarian spirit of going against the tide, firmly implement Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, and struggle against all erroneous lines and tendencies which are opposed to the socialist orientation, and which threaten the revolution. Chairman Mao teaches us that “Going against the tide is a Marxist-Leninist principle.” Marxism-Leninism is, in its essence, critical and revolutionary. The proletariat is the revolutionary class, the greatest class. It wants to put an end to the oppression and the domination of the bourgeoisie, hasten the fall of the old world in order to establish communist society, and this revolution itself is a glorious action which goes against the tide. All teachers of the proletarian revolution served as models in going against the tide. Throughout their lives, Marx and Engels never stopped fighting against those who held up the banners of so-called ’socialism’, and they confronted all reactionary trends of thought and their representatives and, with the heroic attitude of fearless proletarians, waged tit for tat struggle. The struggles of Lenin and Stalin against all brands of opportunism and their representatives is also a model of the spirit of going against the tide. Chairman Mao is the representative and teacher of our Party and he has imbued it with the spirit of daring to go against the tide and persisting in the correct line. Chairman Mao has not only . . in the 10 two-line struggles within the Party. . confronted all the right and “Left” opportunist trends of thought with all the energy and courage of a proletarian revolutionary, and has many times defeated the opportunist lines, but he has also stood up in the international communist movement against the counter-current of modern revisionism represented by the Soviet revisionists. He has defended and developed Marxism-Leninism and given us a brilliant example of what it means to go against the tide. Thus, it is through going against the tide that Marxism-Leninism was born and has developed. It is also through going against the tide that the cause of the revolution, led by the political party of the proletariat, progresses continuously. To go against the tide, one must first of all dare to do so. When the line is in question, when the overall situation is at stake, a real communist must act in the common interest and dare to go against the tide without being afraid of being removed from his positions, expelled from the Party, put into prison, shot or divorced. Communists stand for the interests of the large majority of the people of China and the world. In order to stick to the Party’s basic line, they must dare to persist along the right path, dare to brave storms, to be entirely devoted to the common welfare, and to march heroically forward. Only the complete absence of selfish motivations enables a person to be fearless. When a wrong tendency surges towards us like a rising tide, the only way to be able to stick to the positions of the proletariat and resolutely struggle against this erroneous: trend is with proletarian revolutionary audacity and a mind free from all fear. If a person behaves in a selfish fashion, always thinks of his own personal interests, always weighs what he may lose and what he may gain, if he is afraid of anything and everything, then he will be unable to face up to and oppose the erroneous trend, or to defend the proletarian revolutionary line of Chairman Mao. In order to develop this revolutionary spirit of going against the tide in the struggle, each member of our Party must draw inspiration from the brilliant examples of going against the tide which have been provided by the great revolutionary teachers.
To go against the tide, the question is not only whether or not a person dares to do so, but also whether or not he is capable of detecting the erroneous trend. The class struggle and the two-line struggle in the era of socialism are extremely complex, and when it happens that one tendency covers another, many comrades are not sufficiently careful. At the same time, those who are hatching plots and intrigues deliberately attempt to present false appearances and fish in troubled waters, making it even more difficult for us to detect them. However, the erroneous lines and tendencies have an objective existence, and, according to the viewpoint of dialectical materialism, all that is objective is knowable. If our eyesight is not good enough, we have to make use of the microscope and telescope of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought. If we assiduously study the Marxist-Leninist classics and the works of Chairman Mao, if we take an active part in practical struggle, and if we consciously transform our world view, we can gradually improve our ability to distinguish both true Marxism from sham and the correct line from the incorrect line. Thus armed, when an erroneous trend comes up, we will be able to have clear opinions and ideas, we will not let ourselves be fooled by appearances and we will be able to struggle courageously against it.
To go against the tide, it is not enough simply to be firmly principled, it is also necessary to correctly apply political principles, distinguish between the correct line and the incorrect line, and pay attention to uniting the largest number of people. The class struggle and the two-line struggle in the era of socialism are extremely complex . . it is easy to confuse the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy with the contradictions among the people, and it is not possible to see everything clearly at a glance. To go against the tide requires that we implement a correct policy and that we distinguish between the different types of contradictions. To go against the tide, we must also respect the discipline of the Party. Going against the tide and respecting the discipline of the Party are inseparable. Both are aimed at preserving the correctness of the Party’s line. This is why, when we exhibit the spirit of going against the tide, we must also respect proletarian discipline, in order to guarantee the full implementation of the Party’s correct political line and principles.
15. WHO SPLIT THE PARTY AND INTRIGUED AND CONSPIRED TO USURP POWER?
The central theme in the anti-four campaign is that they:
. . carried out sectarian activities to split the Party, they plotted tirelessly to overthrow large numbers of leading Party, government, and army comrades in the central organs and various localities and usurp Party and state leadership. During the period when Chairman Mao was seriously ill and after he passed away they launched even more frantic attacks on the Party in a hasty attempt to usurp the supreme leadership of the Party and state. (Wu Teh, speech of Oct. 24, PR #44, 1976, p. 13)
The book A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China explains:
The Party Constitution states that the comrades must adhere to the principles of: practicing Marxism and not revisionism, uniting and not splitting and being open and aboveboard and not intriguing and conspiring. These three principles constitute the norm which enables us to distinguish the correct line from the incorrect line. . Of these three principles formulated by Chairman Mao on what to do and what not to do, the most fundamental is to practice Marxism and not revisionism,, A person who practices Marxism and not revisionism and serves the interests of the vast majority of the population of China and the world with all fhis heart necessarily works for unity and is open and above board; a person who practices revisionism and serves the minority of elements of the exploiting classes inevitably works for splits and engages in intrigues and conspiracies. For over 50 years, the struggles inside our Party between the Marxist-Leninist line represented by Chairman Mao and the various opportunist lines have always in the final analysis been over the question of whether to practice Marxism or revisionism. (p. 57)
Obviously somebody “carried out sectarian activities to split the Party, plotted to overthrow large numbers of leading comrades and usurp Party and state leadership,” To determine who split and conspired we must first determine the most important question: Who practiced revisionism and who practiced Marxism?
Struggling against anti-Marxist trends in the Party is very clearly not splitting the Party; it is strengthening it. The nature of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend was described in an article in PR #12. 1976 (p. 13):
The present struggle against the revisionist line in China is a continuation and deepening of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. It is an inevitable reflection within the Party of class struggle and the struggle between two roads going on in society. Representing the interests of the overthrown landlord and capitalist classes and of the new bourgeoisie, the Party persons in power taking the capitalist road are always looking for an opportunity for a trial of strength with the revolutionary people in a vain attempt to restore capitalism in China. This will naturally be counter-attacked by the Party and the people of the whole country.
From the very beginning, the current struggle against the revisionist line has been proceeding in an organized way under the leadership of Party organizations at all levels. It will stimulate the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought by the people of the whole country, raise the consciousness of China’s 800 million people in continuing the revolution under socialism, fire their enthusiasm for socialist revolution and construction, promote progress in the political, economic, and cultural fields, enhance stability and unity and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat still further so that China continues to advance triumphantly along Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line.
The struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend and remove capitalist-readers like Teng Hsiao-ping from power was not an attempt to split the Party; it was not an intrigue or a conspiracy. It was an open, aboveboard Marxist-Leninist mass movement led by Mao Tse-tung to rectify the Party, strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat, and continue on the socialist road.
To back up their charges of “splitting, intriguing and conspiring,” the present leaders say that the “gang of four” stirred up the masses against provincial Party leaders, created literary and art works that attack capitalist-roaders, and launched attacks against central Party and government leaders in central planning meetings. They also “launched slanderous attacks in the matter of foreign trade,” “sent their henchmen in to cause problems and attack responsible leaders in many communes,” “tried to throw out work teams,” “plotted to organize a political movement and study campaigns in the army to ’overthrow the bourgeoisie’,” etc. etc. etc. The present leaders try to confuse “intriguing and conspiring” with open and aboveboard mass struggle. Bringing questions out into the open and arousing the masses to criticize, struggle, and transform are the essential elements of class struggle in China. Using the new criteria of the present leaders, the entire Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was the biggest conspiracy in the history of the Chinese Revolution and Chairman Mao was the Number One Conspirator!
The revisionists consistently oppose mass movements, for they themselves come under attack. In the early 1960’s, in reaction to the anti-Rightist campaign launched by Chairman Mao after the Lushan conference of 1959, Liu Shao-chi demanded that all Party organizations guilty of “Leftist” mistakes:
.. . must promptly rectify them and shall not be allowed to carry out such excessive struggle. They should follow a set of normal standards of inner-Party struggle that have been formed long ago in our Party.(Between Two Plenums, E. Joffe, U. of Michigan)
Teng Hsiao-ping said during the same period:
In the past few years we have carried out many large-scale movements. . It is not good to have a movement every day. (Between Two Plenums)
Mass struggle is not the tool of the revisionists, for they are incapable of maintaining the longterm support of the masses. They try to rally backward sectors of the masses around them in defensive maneuvers once they are the subject of the attack of the mass movement, such as they did during the Cultural Revolution, forming student and worker contingents to defend the status quo. This is exactly what they did when they came under attack during the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend in 1976. On April 5th, a handful of supporters of Teng Hsiao-ping attempted to use a massive memorial for Chou En-lai in Tien An Men Square in Peking to whip up support for their revisionist line and turned the event into a violent counter-revolutionary incident. Within hours of the incident, masses of workers came out to denounce the reactionaries who had planned the counter-revolutionary incident and support the correct proletarian line and the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt. They marched all night and into the next day. The next day, Renmin Ribao (Peoples’ Daily) published the editorial “Firmly Keep to the General Orientation of the Struggle”:
We should study conscientiously and be clear about the nature of the current struggle and the guiding principles and policies for it. If we do not study, we are liable to lose our bearings and be taken in. The unrepentant Party capitalist-reader tTeng} is the general representative of the bourgeoisie. His revisionist programme, his revisionist line, and his reactionary words and deeds are a concentrated embodiment of the desire of the bourgeoisie for restoration. By directing the spearhead of the struggle at him and making a penetrating exposure and criticism, we shall be able to distinguish between right and wrong political lines, unite upwards of 95% of the cadres and masses, and win still greater victories in the counter-attack against the Right deviationist wind. If we keep a firm grip on this point, the class enemy’s scheme to switch the general orientation of the struggle will be brought to total bankruptcy.
It is imperative to heighten our revolutionary vigilance. Being a serious class struggle, the counter-attack against the Right deviationist attempt is bound to meet with rabid resistance and disruption from class enemies at home and abroad, particularly the bourgeoisie in the Party. It is necessary to strengthen leadership over the movement. The current anti-Right deviationist struggle is being conducted under the unified leadership of Party committees at various levels. We should not establish inter-unit ties. We should not organize fighting groups or gang up in factions. We should have faith in the masses and rely on them. We should educate the few people who are misled and duped by rumors and do ideological work well among them. Let us unite and advance along the course indicated by Chairman Mao!
Unite and follow Party leadership against the rumors and splitting activities of the Right! . . this was the message of the Peking Reviews and of the Chinese press of the time. Two days after the incident, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee met and declared that “the problem of Teng Hsiao-ping has become one of antagonistic contradiction”, dismissing him from all his posts within and outside the Party. This was a unanimous decision. The decision was not the result of splitting, intriguing and conspiring by the “gang of four.” It was the result of Chairman Mao Tse-tung uniting the many to defeat the few. Obviously, however, there were people present at that Political Bureau meeting of April 1976, who did not consider that they were in antagonistic contradiction with Teng Hsiao-ping, or that he should be removed. But did they raise their voices in dissent? No, they voted unanimously along with the entire Political Bureau.
Hua Kuo-feng said nothing. Neither did Li Hsien-nien nor Yeh Chien-ying, nor any of the others who are now so free and loud in criticizing last year’s struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind. Until Chairman Mao had died and they had succeeded in arresting in one sweep the “gang of four” and the rest of the most important leaders of the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend, the present leaders kept up the pretense of supporting the struggle.
Obviously, after the backfire of the counter-revolutionary political incident at Tien An Men Square, the revisionists returned to back rooms to do their “criticizing.”
The revisionists cannot wage principled struggle because the truth and the will of the people are not with them. They must engage in lies, intrigues, and conspiracies, their main goal being to split the Party, suppress the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary forces, and usurp Party and state power. After the death of Mao Tse-tung last year, the current leaders switched the, general orientation of the struggle and directed the spearhead of the attack at the “gang of four” instead of Teng Hsiao-ping. The campaign to deepen the criticism of Teng and the Right deviationist attempt abruptly ended and has been swept aside by a new campaign against the four that in substance criticizes Left tendencies.
The present leaders have not only dramatically ended the campaign to beat back the Right deviationist trend and deepen the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping, but they make the main point of the criticism of the “gang of four” their role in it. They are not only attacking its manifestations and the way it was handled; they are attacking its very essence, its general orientation. By backhandedly defending Teng Hsiao-ping and by reinstituting his policies, they are saying that the entire anti-Right campaign was basically wrong. The main leaders of that campaign in the universities, the schools, the communes, the factories, the militia, the cultural media, and the Central Committee have been removed, purged, or arrested.
Was the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend “fabricated” or wrong in general orientation? Was Teng Hsiao-ping an arch unrepentant capitalist-roader who intended to restore capitalism or was he a responsible revolutionary communist comrade who was victimized by the “gang of four”? Who is following the proletarian revolutionary line of Mao Tse-tung?
The present leaders may cite a few instructions of Chairman Mao to the “gang of four” that in a more or less comradely way criticize some of their tactics, but in no way criticize their general orientation or their basic political line (check them out, comrades!). They can also say that the four “tormented Chairman Mao,” “twisted and opposed his instructions,” and basically opposed him. This is very easy to say now that he is dead, and that his closest associates, including his personal secretary, are under arrest.
The fact is that Chairman Mao could very easily have launched a campaign to criticize the “gang of four.” If they were as dangerous and revisionist as the present leaders say they were, it is very strange that he did not do exactly that. But Chairman Mao did exactly the opposite – he launched a campaign to beat back the Right deviationist trend and criticize Teng Hsiao-ping. This cannot be and isn’t denied by the present leaders. Chairman Mao’s differences with Teng were irreconcilable; they were antagonistic, differences of general orientation and basic political line. Obviously the basic political line of Chairman Mao and that of the present leaders is very different and that is why they had to wait until he died in order to reverse the struggle he had launched.
The political line of the present leaders is essentially the same as that of Teng Hsiao-ping and he has probably been active behind the scenes in the entire struggle. The Right deviationist wind that he stirred up has turned into a hurricane and his plot to seize power and purge his “class enemies” has been realized. The revisionists have seized control of the Communist Party of China and its nature has now changed. It is now dominated by the new bourgeoisie of China.
Revisionists inside communist parties must use Marxist language to cover up their revisionist ideology. The revisionists in the Soviet Union still today use Marxist terminology to cover up their revisionism. Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, and Teng Hsiao-ping did, too. But . .
The most essential political characteristic of the capitalist-reader in the Party is that they push the revisionist line and cling to the capitalist road. In analyzing them we must first and foremost grasp this characteristic and from the viewpoint of political line get a clear understanding of their essence. (PR #25, 1976, p. 8)
The present leaders in China still use Marxist language to write their articles and repeat the principles of Mao Tse-tung such as “class struggle is the key link,” “continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, “putting politics in command,” etc. and they talk about studying Marxism and praise Mao Tse-tung. This confuses many people who see only words and are not familiar enough with the history and nature of the two-line struggle in China. Similarly, those not informed as to the history of the struggle in the Soviet Union may be fooled by the use of Marxist language by the new tzars, their talk of support for national liberation struggles, and their apparent reverence for Lenin. We must not be fooled by words; they are cheap. We must be particularly careful to find out what the essence of the nature of the campaign against the “gang of four” is and what the actual practice of the new leaders is in the different sectors of Chinese society such as foreign trade, literature and art, education, industry, and agriculture. We must read the articles that the present government writes analytically and not try to comfort ourselves in superficial phrase-mongering. We must understand exactly where the spearhead of attack is aimed.
The revisionists, though they try to cover it up, must expose themselves. Thus, although Khrushchev portrayed himself as a strong Stalinist for two years after Stalin’s death, in order to restore capitalism he had to expose himself and denounce Stalin. And the Soviet revisionists, for all the Marxist words they use, have had to put out openly revisionist theories to defend their practice.
Not only will the present government in China have to expose its revisionist line more and more but it will have to continually resort to intrigue and conspiracy against the people in order to try to maintain control. All bourgeois governments must be governments of intrigue and conspiracy because they represent the interests of the few vs. the many.
16. WHY WERE THE REVISIONISTS ABLE TO SEIZE POWER?
Chairman Mao was always aware that so long as the transformation from a money economy was incomplete and the socialist wage principle (“from each according to their ability, to each according to their work”) was still in effect, the danger of the restoration of capitalism was very real. He was also aware that only a minority of Chinese masses and cadre clearly and completely understood the goals of the transition to communism and the differences between the socialist and the capitalist road.
Our country at present practices a commodity system; the wage system is unequal, too, as in the 8 grade wage scale and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted (not eliminated). Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system. That is why we should do more reading of Marxist-Leninist works. (Mao Tse-tung, as quoted in “Exercizing All-Round Dictatorship over the Bourgeoisie”, distributed by Books New China, N.Y., N.Y.)
A worker-cadre like me has deep class sentiments for the Party and Chairman Mao as well as experience in my work, but simple class sentiments cannot replace consciousness in the struggle between the two lines and pure practical experience cannot replace Marxism-Leninism. (from an article on “Overcoming Empiricism,” PR #43, 1972)
If the people have blind faith in the Party leadership, the revisionists can take power through the Party. However, if the people go beyond faith in the Party leadership to thoroughly understand the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought they will be equipped to defend the dictatorship of the proletariat against any revisionist chief tan waving “red flags” to defeat the red flag.
The people of China have learned through many struggles the necessity of having faith in the Party. However, to prevent revisionism it is necessary for the masses and lower level cadres to be able to recognize revisionism within the Party so they can exercise the revolutionary principle of “going against the tide.” The contradiction between faith in the Party leadership and “going against the tide” is one that can only be resolved by increasing the theoretical understanding of the masses to a very high degree.
This is why the revisionists always complain when Leftists insist on giving priority to political education in the factories, communes, army, and schools. Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan, two of the “gang of four” who were devoted to developing study campaigns among the masses, considered that the major problem in the study groups was dependence on personal experience instead of integrating this experience with the experience of the entire revolutionary movement. They were accused of “criticizing empiricism as a cover for dogmatism”. What the revisionists really feared was the development of theoretical understanding by the masses.
The political consciousness of the people in China is certainly as highly developed as that of any people in the world, due to their experience in armed revolution, in Marxist-Leninist study and in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the many two-line struggles that have taken place since liberation. They are undoubtedly as prepared as any people in the world to resist the revisionist takeover, but they were obviously not sufficiently prepared to prevent it.
This is the underlying reason the revisionists were able to seize power in China. But there are also many particular reasons why the seizure of power took place when it did. The major factor was the death of Chairman Mao Tse-tung in September of 1976. He had guided the Chinese people in revolution for more than four decades and had constantly led them in combatting revisionism. His death was an incalculable loss for the revolutionary forces in China and a tremendous gain for the reactionary forces. Because the Chinese people so greatly loved and respected Chairman Mao, the Right could not have taken power so long as he was alive without instituting a reign of military terror that was beyond their capability. They had to wait until he died so they could misuse his name to aid in the usurpation of power. The purge and mass arrests began less than a month after Chairman Mao’s death.
Chairman Mao was not the only great Chinese leader that has died recently. Of the ten members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the leading body in China, four other great leaders died in 1976: Kang Sheng, Chu Teh, Tung Pi-wu and Premier Chou En-lai. These tragic deaths in succession left China without several of her most capable and farsighted veteran leaders.
Teng Hsiao-ping was removed in April, before Mao’s death, and this left only four members of the original ten member Standing Committee after his death in September: Chang Chun-chiao and Wang Hung-wen, two of the “gang of four”, and Yeh Chien-ying and Li Teh-shen, both military commanders. It was at this point that the revisionists made their move and arrested Wang and Chang as well as Yao Wen-yuan and Chiang Ching and many other top Party and state leaders. This means that the Standing Committee after the October purge was composed of only two of its original ten members. (With the disappearance of Liu Po-cheng, either as a result of the purge or of sickness, the entire Political Bureau, composed of 22 members in January, 1976, has now been reduced to eleven.)
To carry out the line of continual revolution in stages, Chairman Mao had recognized the protracted nature of the struggle and the relative power that the forces that leaned towards revisionism had. He did not attempt to purge the Party of all those elements but followed the strategy of uniting the many to oppose the few and tried to isolate the most dangerous elements, like Teng Hsiao-ping.
Leading People’s Liberation Army (PLA) commanders, such as Defense Minister Yeh Chien-ying and commanders Hsu Shih-yu and Chen Hsi-lien, played a central role in the coup de’etat in October. The political stagnancy of the PLA leadership was one of the central causes of the ability of the revisionists to take power.
The Cultural Revolution never took place in a complete way inside the PLA. Discipline and the maintenance of hierarchy and authority in the armed forces in order to be prepared for foreign attack was at that time considered too important to risk arousing a mass criticism-struggle-transformation movement among the soldiers to criticize their commanders and the policies in the Army. In general, revisionist-leaning commanders were not purged or transformed.
The treasonous actions of Defense Minister P’eng Teh-huai in 1959, of regional PLA commanders during the Cultural Revolution, and of Lin Piao in 1972, dramatized the danger of isolation of the Army from Party control. This critical principle is explained in an article in PR #5, 1975:
Adherence to the Party’s absolute leadership over the Army is an immutable fundamental principle for building a new type people’s army. There has always been a fierce struggle within our Party between the two lines, centering around the question of upholding or opposing the Party’s leadership over the Army. To usurp the military power of the proletariat, the bourgeois careerist Lin Piao made no bones about publicizing the fallacy that the gun commands the Party. . Chairman Mao has taught us: ’Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.’. . Historical experience tells us that the struggle over control of the Army has always been a serious class struggle and two-line struggle. This is a matter of principle of paramount importance concerning the success or failure of the revolution and the destiny of the people. According to Marxist theory of state, ’the army is the chief component of state power; whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. ’ (Mao Tse-tung: Problems of War and Strategy) The most fundamental thing in upholding the Party’s absolute leadership over the Army lies in firmly implementing the Party’s Marxist-Leninist line. Whether we should carry out education in ideological and political line in the Army is an important question of principle of whether we should practice Marxism and build the Army in the image of the proletariat. To ensure implementation of the Party’s correct line in the Army, it is imperative to unfold a struggle of proletarian ideas against non-proletarian ideas.
During the historical period of socialism, the PLA, if it’s to give full play to its role as the pillar of the proletarian dictatorship, must be armed with the Party’s basic line and, together with the people of the whole country, take part in the struggle of criticizing the bourgeoisie, revisionism, and the ideology of the exploiting classes.
In 1973, in order to break down “mountain-top stronghold” sectionalism growing in the PLA, Chairman Mao rotated 8 of the 11 regional PLA commanders and in the process they lost the position of provincial Party secretaries that many of them had. PLA membership in the Central Committee was greatly reduced and the PLA commanders played less of a role in the Party leadership in general. (Stephen U’halley, Jr., Mao Tse-tung, New Viewpoints Press) In January, 1975, Vice-Premier Chang Chun-chiao (one of the “gang of four”) was appointed by the Central Committee to the post of Director of the General Political Department of the PLA, the top liaison of the Party to the Army, to carry out political education and political work among the PLA commanders and fighters.
Evidently Chang’s political work in the Army caused the revisionists to feel seriously threatened. In Peking Review #10, 1977, the author of an article titled “Ferreting Out ’the Bourgeoisie in the Army’ . . Another ’Gang of Four’ Scheme” complains bitterly that political movements “cause turmoil in the Army” and should not be tolerated:
. . a trusty of the ’gang of four’ in the Army popped up and, under their instructions, rushed from one unit to another in the People’s Liberation Army holding meetings calling for the writing of literary works on the ’bourgeoisie in the army’ and the ’capitalist-roaders with red tabs and red stars,’ clamouring that the task of writing about the ’struggle against the capitalist-roaders in the army’ had ’historically fallen on our shoulders.’ He loudly averred that there were ’indeed several capitalist-roaders, all big ones’ in the Army and that this was an ’acute, life and death struggle’ in which ’risks were inevitable’. . [one of the ’gang of four’s’ trumpeters] went to a PLA unit and talked nonsense: ’There are the two-line struggle and the bourgeoisie in the Party. This is even more so in the Army’. . They also attempted to encourage ultra-democracy in the Army and tried to egg rank-and-file cadres and fighters on to investigate the question of the ’bourgeoisie in the army’ in their superior organs, so as to ’ferret out the capitalist-roaders in the Army’ in order to make a breakthrough and then proceed to create confusion in the whole Army.
In accordance with Chairman Mao’s instruction – don’t meddle in the affairs of the Army – the Party CC and the CPC Military Commission clearly stipulated in the spring of 1976 that the Army should be kept stable. Historical experience . . has proved that an important condition for ensuring that the Army be strong in fighting power is to maintain a high sense of organization and discipline in the Army which obeys orders in all actions. The ’gang of four’ may have held sway briefly in their plot to overthrow the ’bourgeoisie in the Army’ but last October’s thunderbolt drove them into the graves they themselves had dug . .
There are three questions involved here – democratic centralism, class struggle, and Party control over the Army. The principle of democratic centralism is the basis for discipline and unity in the Army. Centralism is more emphasized in the Army than in other aspects of Party life (see Chairman Mao, Selected Readings, p. 150). Ultra-democracy is an ultra-“Left” deviation that must be combatted within the Army. However, to Minister of Defense Yeh Chien-ying and his revisionist cohorts, any anti-revisionist political study in the Army or any criticism from the rank and file is “ultra-democratic”. In order to protect their revisionist line they oppose democracy to centralism and label any efforts to practice democratic principles in the Army as “undermining stability, discipline, and unity.” This is in direct contradiction to the thesis of democratic centralism as explicitly outlined by Chairman Mao in 1962:
Both inside and outside the Party there must be a full democratic life, which means conscientiously putting democratic centralism into effect. We must conscientiously bring questions out into the open, and let the masses speak out. Even at the risk of being cursed we should still let them speak out. The result of their curses at the worst will be that we are thrown out and cannot go on doing this kind of work – demoted or transferred. What is so impossible about that? Why should a person only go up and never go down? Why should one only work in one place and never be transferred to another? . .
Now there are some comrades who are afraid of the masses initiating discussion and putting forward ideas which differ from those of the leaders and leading organizations. As soon as problems are discussed they suppress the activism of the masses and do not allow others to speak out. This attitude is extremely evil. Democratic centralism is written into our Party Constitution and State Constitution, but they don’t apply it. Comrades, we are revolutionaries. If we have really committed mistakes of the kind which are harmful to the people’s cause, then we should seek the opinions of the masses and of comrades and carry out self-examination. .
What is centralism? First of all it is a centralization of correct ideas, on the basis of which unity of understanding, policy, planning, command and action are achieved. This is called centralized unification. If people still do not understand problems, if they have ideas but have not expressed them, or are angry but still have not vented their anger, how can centralized unification be established? If there is no democracy we cannot possibly summarize experience correctly. If there is no democracy, if ideas are not coming from the masses, it is impossible to establish a good line, good general and specific policies and methods. . Without democracy, you have no understanding of what is happening down below; the situation will be unclear; you will be unable to collect sufficient opinions from all sides; there can be no communication between top and bottom; top-level organs of leadership will depend on one-sided and incorrect material to decide issues, thus you will find it difficult to avoid being subjectivist; it will be impossible to achieve true centralism. . If we fail to promote democracy in full measure, then will this centralism and this unification be true or false? Will it be real or empty? Will it be correct or incorrect? Of course it must be false, empty, and incorrect. (quoted in Schram, p. 160-164)
In the article about the Army (PR #10, 1977), the revisionists deny the necessity for political struggle in the Army. For them, it’s ’nonsense’ to say that there are bourgeois, revisionist, capitalist-road elements in the Army, that the two-line struggle is a struggle that may have some place in the Party but definitely must be kept out of the Army.[footnote 1] This can only create the conditions for revisionism to breed unchecked.
Anti-revisionist political education does not undermine discipline, unity, and stability in the Army but provides the only correct basis for them. To prevent the struggle against revisionism from taking hold in the Army, the revisionists claim that Chairman Mao instructed something to the effect of “don’t meddle in the affairs of the Army” (although they don’t quote him or tell when or to whom he gave the “instruction”). It is highly doubtful that Chairman Mao would have ever given an order so much in contradiction to the Party’s general line for the Army which he himself formulated in 1929:
The purely military viewpoint is very highly developed among a number of comrades in the Red Army. It manifests itself as follows. These comrades regard military affairs and politics as opposed to each other and refuse to recognize that military affairs are only one means of accomplishing political tasks. .
Hence, organizationally, these comrades subordinate the departments of the Red Army doing political work to those doing military work, and put forward the slogan “Let Army Headquarters handle outside matters”. . As a result, both propaganda and organizational work are abandoned. The methods of correction are as follows: Raise the political level in the Party by means of education, destroy the theoretical roots of the purely military viewpoint. At the same time, eliminate the remnants of opportunism and putchism and break down the selfish departmentalism... Intensify the political training of officers and men . . Arouse the local Party organizations to criticize the Party organizations in the Red Army and the organs of mass political power to criticize the Red Army itself . . The Party must actively attend to and discuss military work. (Mao: “Kutien Resolution of December, 1929, for the 9th Party Congress of the 4th Red Army” emphasis added)
It seems the revisionist PLA commanders feel themselves to be leaders “beyond criticism”, that the affairs of the Army are “not to be meddled in.” Their current attack against the “gang of four” is one more exposure of their hatred of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought.
The “gang of four” are charged with using political education to oppose military training in the PLA. This charge is as unsound as the charge that they used revolution to oppose production or socialist consciousness to oppose intellectual development. Political education and military training are a dialectic, as are revolution and production. Both ideological and military training are essential to building a strong revolutionary army. However, only correct political education can lead to correct military training. The revisionist commanders in the Army are to be expected to oppose political education in the Army saying that it interferes with military training. They must oppose political education in order to promote a revisionist line in the Army and protect their positions.
The question of the PLA must be studied in depth to fully understand the dangers of revisionism in a revolutionary army. The fact that revisionists had consolidated their forces within the PLA and that the Left had not challenged their control earlier was a serious underestimation by the Party of the possible role of the Army in capitalist restoration. It also makes the claim that the “gang of four” tried to pull off a coup d’etat even more unbelievable. As Chairman Mao said: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and “anyone who wants to seize and hold state power must have a strong army.” The revisionists did, and that is why they were able to seize power so rapidly and effectively.
1. The two-line struggle in the PLA has a long history and has centered around these issues: Building a Soviet-style professional army vs. a people’s army which has close ties to the masses and participates in The The two-line struggle in the PLA has a long history and has centered around these issues: Building a Soviet-style professional army vs. a people’s army which has close ties to the masses and participates in production; advocating that “weapons decide everything” and wanting to buy foreign military technolocy vs. placing soldiers above weaponry and understanding that soldiers’ political consciousness is a deciding factor in war; discipline imposed from above vs. discipline that comes from democratic centralism and gives full scope to initiative from the soldier masses; the purely military viewpoint vs. putting proletarian politics in command; and allowing thfarmy to become an independant force vs. strictly enforcing the leadership of the Party.
17. THE OCTOBER PURGE
The October purge shared nothing in common with the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution or the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend in either object or method. In the previous great two-line struggles, the method was the revolutionary upsurge of the masses of workers and peasants, and the object was deepening the political education of the masses and continuing the socialist revolution. In the October purge, on the contrary, hundreds of leading cadre were arrested two weeks before the masses were even informed of what was going on. Then the people were called, by what was left of the Party, to come to mass rallies to “celebrate the great victory”.
In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend, there were few arrests. The revisionist chieftan, Liu Shao-chi, was finally deposed, but never arrested, in October of 1968, after more than two years of the greatest mass movement against revisionism that the world has ever seen. The arch unrepentant capitalist-roader, Teng Hsiao-ping, was only removed, and never arrested, six months after the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend began. The present leaders’ excuse for the mass arrests was that the “gang of four” were planning a coup d’etat . . a feeble excuse (in light of the fact that they had no armed force to speak of) that served to cover for the actual event – a military coup d’etat pulled off by the present leaders.
The Peking Review since the purge has said very little about the “attempted coup” of the “gang of four”. No details of their “plan” have come out, except that it involved creating ideological conditions by writing articles, making movies, and “stirring up the masses”. Neither has the manner in which the “gang of four” were defeated or the events of early October been made very clear in the Peking Review. However, a pamphlet called The Rise and Fall of the Gang of Four (originally published in Seventies, a Hong Kong magazine sympathetic to the Chinese government) which has been widely distributed in the United States to defend the present leaders and attack the “gang of four,” gives a somewhat clearer picture of how the struggle in October developed. After admitting that “the Chinese newspapers give us little enlightenment on (the ’gang of four’s’ plot”, the author goes on to say that the events in October developed out of a struggle over the succession of the chairmanship of the Party:
The ultimate decision [of succession], of course, had to come from the October 7th meeting of the Central Committee. .
After Mao’s death, it was impossible for him [Hua Kuo-feng] to refuse the chairmanship; the alternative was to hand it over to Chiang Ching with both hands.
The author explains that the struggle was one between Hua Kuo-feng and Chiang Ching and represented a struggle between two political lines. The present leaders now repeat constantly that Hua Kuo-feng was Chairman Mao’s personal choice as his successor to the Party chairmanship. If this is true, it was a very carefully guarded secret until Mao’s death (and until after the subsequent purge)! Hua’s selection as Acting Premier in February of 1976 set him up, rather, for the premiership, since it is completely unprecedented for both posts to be held by the same person.
The pretext for the purge and the manner in which it was carried out are described in The Rise and Fall of the Gang of Four in the following manner:
On October 4, the ’gang of four’ used their pen-name, Liang Hsiao, to publish the essay ’Forever Act According to the Principles Laid Down by Chairman Mao’ in Guangming Ribao. In it they stated that ’to alter the principles laid down by Chairman Mao is anti-Marxist, anti-socialist. It’s against the great theory of the continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. . any revisionist chieftan who dares to alter the principles laid down by Chairman Mao will not come to a good end.’ The essay also raised the question of how to select someone to ’succeed the greatly talented one who has died. ’ . . Hua Kuo-feng, after reading the article, reportedly told some people in the Politburo that this was a signal for attack. Yeh Chien-ying was of the opinion that ’the four pests should be eliminated.’ They independently set about carrying out this plan. On October 6, Hua suddenly called a meeting of the Politburo. The four people were arrested on the spot. Their proteges were rounded up the same evening. On the morning of October 7, Keng Piao, head of the International Liaison Department of the Party Central Committee, took over the People’s Daily, the Hsinhua News Agency and the radio station. Troops were sent to Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Hsiaochinchuang at Tientsin where the ’gang of four’ maintained strongholds. Hsu Shih-yu proceeded to the Nanking Military Region to assume temporary control of Shanghai. The Central Committee sent Su Chen-hua, Ni Chih-fu, and Peng Chung to take over the posts held by Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan, and Wang Hung-wen in Shanghai. Shenyang was also temporarily placed under army control. The whole thing was so neatly executed that a Yugoslav newspaper called it ’the most clear-cut and beautiful political battle in the modern history of mankind.’
The author congratulates Hua for his “political courage and decisiveness.” He could just as well have congratulated him for his cunning in carrying out a well-planned conspiracy. This is what is described. Instead of allowing the question of succession and future political line of the Party to be decided in open debate at the Third Plenary Session of the Central Committee of October 7th (the first meeting of the Central Committee since January, 1975), the revisionists independently decided it by a military coup the day before the meeting.
It is impossible to determine how many leading cadre have been purged, removed from their posts, or arrested. A very incomplete list gathered by one-here-one-there method includes, besides Yao Wen-yuan, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, and Wang Hung-wen: the Minister of Education, Chou Hung-pao, the Vice-Minister of Education and head of Tsinghua University Chih Chun, the leaders of the Worker-Propaganda Teams in Peking, Tsinghua, and many other universities and schools, Chang Tieh Sheng, a hero of the revolution in education, along with 30 other leaders of Tiehling Agricultural College and many other student leaders as well as teachers in other schools, the Minister of Culture Yu Hui-yung and the Vice-Minister of Culture as well as many writers and artists, the head of Hsinhua (New China) News Agency, Editor of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily, official organ of the Central Committee), the editors of Hongqi (Red Flag.. the Party’s theoretical journal), and Hsuehshi Yu Pipan (Study and Criticism, a Shanghai theoretical journal), the heads of Peking’s radio and T.V. stations as well as many other reporters of newspapers, magazines, and radio and T.V. stations in China, Chairman Mao and Chiang Ching’s daughter, Mao Yuan-hsin, Chairman Mao’s nephew and personal secretary (in charge of all appointments and documents) as well as the Party Secretary of the Province of Liaoning, the Minister of Public Health, Liu Hsiang-ning, the Minister in Charge of Physical Culture and Sports, Chuang Tse-tung, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chiao Kuan-hua, 16 ambassadors to foreign countries (recalled, we don’t know for what purpose), leaders of the Shanghai and Peking Workers’ Militia and, we assume, leaders of the people’s militia’s throughout the country (who had no ready access to arms), the six top Party and Municipal leaders in Shanghai and at least the two top Party leaders in Yunnan as well as nine military leaders in Yunnan Province, the Second Secretary of Liaoning Provincial Party Committee, the Deputy Secretary of the Anhwei Provincial Party Committee, the First Party Secretary of Kwangsi Autonomous Region, the Director of Public Security in Peking, workers and leaders and Party committee members in many factories in Shanghai, Wuhan, and Peking, the Central Chinese Railroad (including the entire leadership of the Changchow Railway Bureau, the largest in China), and many other cities throughout China, and Party committee members in many communes. (This partial listing is gathered from reports in N.Y. Times, Washington Post, the Rocky Mountain News, Current Scene, and various references in Peking Review.)
The purge first took place in the central leading bodies such as the Central Committee and the various ministries of the State Council. Peking Review #16, 1977 (p. 9) explained that the Central Committee after the original arrests:
. . took effective measures to seize back the leadership usurped or controlled by the ’gang of four’ in the fields of propaganda, culture and education and solve the problems in those areas and departments which were dominated by the ’gang of four’ or affected by their sabotage; and called the ’Second National Conference on learning from Tachai in Agriculture’ and a number of other important conferences and will soon call the ’National Conference on Learning from Taching in Industry.’
The purge is continuing across China in an attempt to isolate the strongest and most resolute leaders from the masses. The two major conferences that have been called on the agricultural and industrial fronts, under the guise of “Learning from Tachai” and “Learning from Taching” have been important events in carrying out the “rectification.” These, along with lower-level conferences on railroad, petroleum and light industry have as their central goal consolidating control of the present leadership in the various industrial and agricultural fronts by re-organizing the local leadership and removing their opponents. In the “National Conference on Learning from Taching in Industry,” held in May, 1977, Yu Chiu-li, Vice Premier of the State Council, gave this description of the goals of the “rectification” in progress:
This job [the removal of the ’followers of the gang of four’] has not yet been taken up in a satisfactory way in a few localities and units mainly because the leadership there either fails to grasp the key link or is encumbered with personal concerns and therefore fainthearted and hesitant in action. In some cases, the leading comrades themselves do not have clean hands and, moreover, are reluctant to make a clean break with the gang and tell everything to the Party and to the masses . . The higher leading bodies concerned must take effective measures in the light of the concrete situation to solve the problems in these units as soon as possible so that they can rapidly catch up with our present excellent situation.
The Party committees of the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as the departments concerned, should seriously analyze and study the-leadings bodies of the enterprises under their administration. The Party committees of the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions and the departments concerned should directly help those enterprises which have many problems in their leading bodies and quickly solve these problems one after another without delay. Special attention must be paid to selecting and appointing the two top leaders in each enterprise. This year we must first of all do a good job of consolidating the leading bodies of key enterprises which affect the national economy as a whole. (PR #22, 1977, pp. 12-13 and p. 19)
At the “National Conference on Learning from Tachai in Agriculture”, Hua Kuo-feng, present Chairman of the Central Committee, Premier of the State Council, and Chairman of the Military Commission, called for the continued criticism of the “gang of four” and the “rectification” to be the “central task for 1977,” and went on to say:
Plans have been made at this conference for Party consolidation and rectification in the countryside. The Central Committee is going to launch a movement of Party consolidation and rectification throughout the Party at an opportune moment next year. On the basis of ideological education, we should conscientiously, resolutely, and carefully solve the problem of varying degrees of impurity in ideology, organization, and style of work . . At an appropriate time next year, Peoples’ Congresses should be held in the provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, and after full discussion and democratic consultation, comrades who meet the five requirements for worthy successors set forth by Chairman Mao, maintain close links with the masses, and have their genuine support should be elected into Revolutionary Committees, leading bodies composed of the old, the middle-aged, and the young, which should be enabled to play a more active role under the centralized leadership of the Party. (PR #1, 1977, pp. 40-41)
It’s obvious the present leaders plan a complete reorganization and “rectification” of the Party at all levels and a re-election of all the leaders of the masses at a local level. An article in Peking Review #10, 1977, shows how the continued purge is taking place, by sending work teams from the Center around the country to carry out “criticism and rectification”:
Party committees in all provinces, prefectures and counties have given top priority to this task [to criticize the ’gang of f our’] of paramount importance. Numerous work teams made up of office workers and cadres have been sent to the countryside. Some 400,000 work-team members have been dispatched to the rural areas in the five provinces of Honan, Anhwei, Szechuan, Shansi and Fukien alone since the beginning of the year.
The five provinces mentioned here are among fourteen provinces in China where the new leaders admit having serious problems in consolidating their control. In Honan the Army was sent in to take over the administration of the Chengchow Railroad Bureau (the largest railroad junction in the country), in Fukien 12, 000 soldiers were sent in to various cities, rural villages, mines, government offices, schools, and neighborhoods to quell disturbances, and the situation in Swezhuan has been described as in “a state of civil war” by the new leaders.
According to the bourgeois press, Peking Radio broadcasts have reported that PLA troops have been sent to Chekiang, Kiangsu, Fukien, Szechuan, and Kuangtung provinces to put down disturbances, and have battled peoples’ militia units in Chekiang and Kiangsu provinces, resulting in hundreds of deaths (Rocky Mt. News, Feb. 24, 1977). According to other reports, intense conflict over the continuing purge has also occurred in Hupeh, Hopeh, Kiangsi, Hunan, Anhwei, Shensi, Shansi, and Liaoning provinces (from Chinese radio broadcasts as cited by the N.Y. Times of December 25, 30, 31, 1976, and Jan. 4, 1977).
The “rectification”, which took place at first only in Peking and Shanghai, and particularly in the central leading bodies, has by now progressed to local levels. It is a process that is meeting strong resistance. The work teams and the army are the two main forces in the campaign to consolidate revisionist power.
We have little information as to the names of the replacements in the ministries and on a local level, and less as to the history of the replacements. However, those we do know about follow a consistent pattern. Su Chen-hua, who replaced Chang Chun-chiao as First Party Secretary in Shanghai, was a top Party leader before the Cultural Revolution but was criticized during that Revolution and was not admitted to the 9th Central Committee. He was readmitted to the 10th Central Committee in 1973 along with Teng Hsiao-ping. The new Minister of Culture, Hua Shan, is a journalist who was criticized during the Cultural Revolution. An Ping-sheng, new Party Secretary in Yunnan province was for 10 years deputy to Wei Kuo-ching, one of the remaining members of the Political Bureau who was Party Secretary of Kwangtung province. Both violently suppressed the Red Guards at the outset of the Cultural Revolution. An Ping-sheng’s new Deputy Secretary and Vice Chairman of the Yunnan Province Revolutionary Committee, Cen Pei Hsien, was the Party Secretary of Shanghai before the revisionist power structure there was overthrown in the Cultural Revolution. In the accounts of the January Storm in Shanghai one can read about his exploits to try to beat back the Rebel Workers’ Movement during the Cultural Revolution and to defend his revisionist clique which ruled Shanghai. The former Railway Minister and close associate of Teng Hsiao-ping, Wan Li, who was removed in the spring of 1976, is now reported by the bourgeois press to be Minister of Light Industry. The Railway Ministry is now run by Tuan Chun-yi, who was removed during the Cultural Revolution for promoting revisionist policies as head of the Ministry of Farm Equipment.
Apologists for the new government emphasize the “mistakes” made during the Cultural Revolution and say these are now being “corrected.” Considering the general pattern of the changeover in leadership now taking place, it seems more likely the present leaders consider the entire Cultural Revolution a “big mistake”. Many of the remaining members of the Political Bureau, such as Yeh Chien-ying, Hsu Shi-yu, Su Chen-hua, Wei Kuo-ching, and Li Hsien-nien resisted the Cultural Revolution all the way along.
Let us make it clear that we have nothing against purges, reorganizations, and rectifications of parties, if it is done to help build socialism, clean out the capitalist-readers, and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat. But what is the purpose of this “rectification”? To clean out leaders that uphold Marxism-Leninism, consolidate the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and restore capitalism.
The fact that millions of people came to the gigantic rallies that were held to “celebrate the victory over the ’gang of four’ and support Chairman Hua” convinced many people that the “gang of four” must be wrong and Hua right. It does show that the Right can mobilize people in China in its support, especially when it has Party power in its hands. The Right definitely has some pull with a sector of the Chinese people, as it demonstrated in mobilizing huge contingents of workers and students to fight the Rebels in the Cultural Revolution. In some cities, such as Shanghai, they mobilized many hundreds of thousands of workers in such opportunistically-named contingents as the “Scarlet Guards to defend Mao Tse-tung Thought” to fight the Rebels and the goals of the Cultural Revolution. They caused much confusion and nearly outnumbered the Rebels in some cases, such as in Wuhan. The struggle during the Cultural Revolution was no simple one-sided battle.
Once again, in April of 1976, the Right made a violent show of strength trying to rally masses of people to demonstrate in support of Teng Hsiao-ping. Even in these anti-Party demonstrations, they rallied hundreds of thousands of people, and now that they have Party control, it’s not surprising at all that they can mobilize millions. The fact that several million of China’s 800 million people came out in support of the new government is not decisive in deciding which line is right, or who will ultimately win.
Given the fact that the PLA is in the hands of the Right and that it was used to defend the takeover, it is not surprising that the opponents of the purge did not come out into the streets in massive demonstrations or plaster the walls with big-character posters. The struggle will now be a protracted struggle, not a matter of a week of demonstrations or factory takeovers. The strategy that the Chinese communist revolutionaries now follow must be determined carefully by them, given the situation that is developing in China.
18. THE RED STAR WILL RISE AGAIN IN CHINA
If the Right stage an anti-communist coup d’etat in China, I am sure they will know no peace either and their rule will most probably be short lived, because it will not be tolerated by the revolutionaries, who represent the interests of the people making up more than 90% of the population. (Chairman Mao, as quoted by Premier Chou En-lai in his speech to the 10th Party Congress, 1973. PR #35, 1973)
In order to victoriously wage class struggle the proletariat must have its own party based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought and the leadership of this party must be in the hands of the proletariat and follow the revolutionary proletarian line. Without this the proletariat will become divided and debilitated and will be unable to lead the masses of people towards communism and a classless society.
The nature of a party is determined not by the fact that revisionists exist within it, but by which element is dominant – the proletariat or the bourgeoisie. The proletarian party must be resolutely defended while the revisionist bourgeois elements in it must be firmly combatted. However, the nature of the party changes completely if the bourgeoisie usurp power in it and become the dominant force, and the tasks of the proletarian revolutionaries also completely change.
In the Soviet Union, when the proletariat’s party was criminally usurped by the Khrushchev revisionist clique, it became the task of the Soviet proletariat to overthrow the Party and the new bourgeois State and once again institute the dictatorship of the proletariat.
During the history of the CCP, opportunist elements have gained leading positions in the Party and have misdirected the Party’s policies and caused tremendous setbacks. Between 1927 and 1935, the “three Left lines” prevailed and caused tremendous setbacks. These inner-party struggles represented the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie but at that time the principal front of struggle was the armed struggle between the comprador bourgeoisie, the rich landlords and the imperialists on the one hand and the masses of Chinese peasants and workers, led by the Communist Party, on the other. Since liberation, the principal front of the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has shifted to within the Party and this makes the revisionist forces within the Party particularly dangerous. Since liberation, the struggles against the bourgeois headquarters of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih, of Peng Teh-huai, of Liu Shao-chi, of Lin Piao and of Teng Hsiao-ping have been particularly intense struggles. All of these leaders had achieved control of a large portion of Party and State power. However, neither they nor the various opportunists before liberation were able to carry out a wholesale purge of the Party or consolidate their control, and when the struggles intensified, all of them, one after another, were defeated.
However, today the revisionists have carried out and are carrying out a Right-wing purge of the Party the magnitude of which has never been seen before. They have consolidated control of the most important bodies in China. There obviously is and there is bound to continue to be struggle within the central leading bodies, in the local leading bodies and between the central and local bodies. However, we believe that it has already been determined that the revisionists have seized and consolidated control of the Communist Party of China and its proletarian character has been changed.
The Chinese Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries may choose, to the extent possible, to stay within the CCP and wage struggle there, but it is likely that this will become harder and harder. Open debate will be difficult, too. Clandestine organizations and then a new CCP will have to be formed and the struggle will eventually have to be armed and violent. There is no alternative but to form a new Communist Party of China to lead the proletariat.
When the anti-Party revisionist renegade P’eng Teh-huai, who was Minister of Defense, treasonously tried to lead the PLA away from the line of Chairman Mao in 1959 in an attempt to usurp Party and state power, Chairman Mao declared: “In that case, I will go to the countryside to lead the peasants to overthrow the government. If those of you in the Liberation Army won’t follow me, then I will go and find a Red Army, and organize another Liberation Army. But I think the Liberation Army would follow me.” (from Chairman Mao Talks to the People, ed. Schram, Pantheon, 1974) The Party and the PLA kicked out P’eng Teh-huai and followed the correct line in 1959, but now the opposite has happened. The revisionists have consolidated control of the Party, the state, and the Army.
The revisionists, in their attempt to restore capitalism, inevitably will have to reverse the many advances of the Cultural Revolution, attack and root up the socialist new things, increase the divisions between the workers and managers, isolate themselves from the masses and rely more and more on top down authority in order to run the economy. As they develop more and more capitalist forms, the economy will become more anarchic and will stagnate and become crisis-ridden, as has already happened in the Soviet Union. They can increase wages to try to buy off a section of the Chinese workers and peasants through material incentives. But their policies are bound to create more and more contradictions between themselves and the people, and these contradictions will inevitably lead to their downfall.
The Chinese have the advantage that they have been through the greatest and most massive revolution the world has ever seen and have been through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and over two decades of socialism. They have millions of communist cadres experienced in Marxist-Leninist theory and making revolution. We will undoubtedly see another great Chinese revolution that will forge more than ever the Chinese peoples’ iron determination to carry through the revolution to communism.
On the eve of the October purge, the Party Committee and the poor and lower middle peasants of the Tachai Production Brigade declared:
We must always remember the Party’s basic line, get a thorough understanding of Chairman Mao’s teachings that the bourgeoisie is right in the Communist Party, and set our minds for a long struggle against the capitalist-roaders. Whoever engages in restoration and retrogression will have a rebellion on his hands! . . Today’s Tachai grew out of struggle. Given the course set by Chairman Mao for combatting and opposing revisionism, we shall struggle no matter how many and how great the storms and stresses that lie before us. (PR #41, Oct. 8, 1976, p. 22)
A few days before Chairman Mao’s death, Peking Review carried an article, “Proletarians are Revolutionary Optimists.” The article serves as an inspiration to Chinese revolutionaries in their struggle to regain power in China:
If the capitalist-roaders’ plot to usurp Party leadership and seize state power is not exposed and smashed in good time, there will be a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat; and if their revisionist line is not criticized, the gains of the revolution achieved by the proletariat both in the superstructure and in the economic base will be lost. . The declining classes are like a giant tree which has lost its life and is rotten to its foundation. However, they will not retreat from the stage of history of their own accord but will carry on a death-bed struggle to protect their lives with every possible means. An old system will be buried only after many reverses for a fairly long historical period. In the past, the replacement of an old system by a new and the triumph of a rising class over a decadent and declining class invariably took place after a long and tortuous struggle. . This is the case with the revolutions in the past in which one exploiting system replaced another. The proletarian revolution which aims at completely eliminating the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and all exploiting systems will of course take much longer time and will go through many more twists and turns and reverses.
Chairman Mao has pointed out: ’Great disorder across the land leads to great order. And so once again every seven or eight years. Monsters and demons will jump out themselves. Determined by their own class nature, they are bound to jump out.’ So long as there are still classes and class struggle and bourgeois right at home and imperialism and social-imperialism abroad, it is inevitable that ’the capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road.’
Some good-hearted comrades among us always have the illusion that the revolutionary ranks should be absolutely pure and the revolutionary road should be absolutely straight. So when they meet with twists and turns, they become depressed and fail to see the bright future. When analysing the situation of the revolutionary struggle, more often than not they overestimate the strength of the enemy and underestimate the strength of the people and arrive at an unrealistic estimate of class forces. The reason for this is that in looking at a question their way of thinking is to a great extent subjective, superficial and one-sided; they cannot distinguish the essence from the appearance and the main aspect from the secondary aspect of things. So when they analyse class struggle and the future of social development, they are easily influenced by pessimistic ideas spread by the bourgeoisie.
In spite of the fact that our struggle against the bourgeoisie in the Party will be protracted and tortuous and that there is the danger of capitalist restoration in the entire historical period of socialism, the bourgeoisie is doomed to fail and the proletariat is bound to win. There is no doubt whatsoever about this general trend of historical development . . . ’The suppression of the old by the new is a general, eternal and inviolable law of the universe.’ (Mao Tse-tung, On Contradiction) (PR #36, 1976)
19. WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF MARXIST-LENINISTS AROUND THE WORLD IN THE FACE OF THIS GREAT SETBACK?
The seizure of the Party and state in China by the revisionists is without a doubt the greatest setback for the proletariat in China and around the world since the revisionist seized power in the Soviet Union after the death of Comrade Joseph Stalin.
The proletariat around the world has lost an important ally and leader in its struggles against imperialism, social-imperialism, and capitalism in general. We have lost an important teacher in how to continue socialist revolution and socialist construction after the seizure of state power by the proletariat. We have lost our principal leader in the struggle against modern revisionism.
Many Marxist-Leninists around the world do not want to accept this. Many would rather close their eyes and have blind faith that the Chinese, no matter what scientific analysis shows, are still headed on the socialist road. This does not change the setback; it only aggravates and supports it. In order to move forward, we must analyse what has happened and why it happened, and resolutely support the Chinese who are engaged in the struggle to rectify the situation.
The seizure of power by the revisionists in the Soviet Union set the worldwide communist movement back decades. But the refusal to recognize this fact by many communist parties around the world, and their consequent consolidation around the revisionist line, set back the communist movement decades more. In the United States as in many other countries, only within the last decade have some of us been able to become clear about the danger of revisionism and begin to build a new communist party.
Now we have more experience behind us and we cannot afford to lose another decade in recognizing the seizure of power by the revisionists in China. We must not continue to support the revisionists in their suppression of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary forces in China!
Many would like to say, “Maybe the revisionists have taken power and maybe they haven’t, we’ll know in a few years.”
Comrades, the facts of the two-line struggle in China are all there in front of you to be studied right now! Laziness or refusal to study and analyse the situation is one symptom of closing your eyes in order not to face the truth!
There are many Marxist-Leninist organizations in the United States that look at the Chinese line before and the Chinese line after the purge as one and the same thing and they have gotten themselves all tied up in supporting two contradictory lines. The October League (M-L), for example, congratulated the CCP for the removal of Teng Hsiao-ping in the spring of 1976 with these words:
The present struggle against the Right deviationist wind, which has targeted the line of Teng Hsiao-ping, is a good example of the character of these two-line struggles. Teng has been targeted throughout this struggle as the representative of the old and newly emerged bourgeoisie in China . . Teng Hsiao ping and all capitalist-roaders oppose the task of continuing the class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. (Class Struggle, Spring, 1976)
Now the OL objectively congratulates the CCP for purging Teng’s critics, for discontinuing the struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping, and backhandedly defending him. What will they say if Teng is brought back into official power? Last year the OL used Yao Wen-yuan’s article “On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao anti-Party Clique” as an item for study among their cadres. Now that article is called “anti-Party” by the new Chinese leaders (PR #50, p. 13 1976). The OL still proudly presents the film “Breaking with Old Ideas”,[footnote 1] apparently unaware that it has been denounced by implication as “anti-Party and counter-revolutionary” by the present Chinese government.
As a result of their replacing blind faith for scientific analysis, the October League naively considers that the purge of the “gang of four” was part of the same tradition as the purge of Teng Hsiao-ping and the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist attempt!
The October League is by no means alone. In fact, the majority of Marxist-Leninist organizations in the USA have come out in support of the new leaders and the purge. These organizations now have an unprincipled and inconsistent view of the class struggle in China. They supported the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist wind last year and this year they support the complete reversal of that struggle. Opportunistically, they side with whichever line comes out on top in the two-line struggle.
To come up with Marxist-Leninist analysis is not as easy as echoing whoever is editing the Peking Review at a certain time. If the Peking Review is presenting a correct analysis now, then last year when the “gang of four” and their supporters were editing it, it was incorrect! Either one has to denounce the line presented last year (along with the films and articles representing it), as the new Chinese leaders have done, and then make a thorough self-criticism for having been duped into supporting an erroneous line and the “gang of four’s plot to usurp power” last year . . or they must uphold the line presented last year (along with the films and articles supporting it) and denounce the present CCP line and the current leaders’ usurpation of power. To do anything else is eclectic, unprincipled, and anti-Marxist.
Chairman Mao has said:
Either the East wind prevails over the West wind, or the West wind prevails over the East wind; there is no room for compromise on the question of the two lines. (The Chinese Road to Socialism, Wheelwright & McFarlane, MR Press)
It is not a question of whether China is “taking a more moderate path” or that maybe the present leadership is “a little revisionist but still basically on the socialist path,” as some people in the USA (principally the editors of the Guardian) would have us believe. There are always revisionists and revisionist trends within a party, but the question is: Which is the dominant force in the Party – Marxism-Leninism or revisionism? Who is exercising the leadership – proletariat or the bourgeoisie?
China has long been the vanguard of the proletariat of the world and the importance of the question of China cannot be overestimated. If the Marxist-Leninist organizations in the USA continue to follow the line now put forward by the present Chinese leaders, they will undoubtedly become revisionist themselves, as the CPUSA and many communist parties around the world have done in following the revisionist line of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. They will find themselves echoing the “theory of productive forces,” and denouncing the mass line, class struggle, and uninterrupted revolution. The criticisms of the “gang of four” now being put forward by the present Chinese leaders and repeated by many in the USA already closely parallel many of the criticisms the Soviet revisionists have consistently put forward to denounce Mao Tse-tung and the entire Chinese revolution.
The Communist Party of the United States and the capitalist press have the same verdict on the recent events in China. The revisionists and the capitalists join together in one chorus to say: China has finally come to her senses! They say Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought is idealistic and impractical, Mao Tse-tung was a zealot, an unrealistic “ultra-Left” idealist and that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was an irresponsible adventure. They acclaim the new revisionists in China and their moves to change China’s policies in education, culture, industry, agriculture and foreign trade to be more “practical”. In typical capitalist fashion, they claim that education’s purpose is to train “experts”, not workers and peasants, and that industry has to be run by “experts” on a profit motive, material incentive capitalist basis – not based on proletarian politics with the workers in command. In typically imperialist fashion, they clamour that it is only “practical” for a Third World country like China to sell its oil and buy foreign technology – not rely on its own strength.
All these claims, along with those of the Chinese revisionists and revisionists around the world, are based on bourgeois mentality and capitalist interests. To defend communism, as set forth by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, we must resolutely and thoroughly reject this reasoning of capitalistic “practicality”. We must defend the workers’ and peasants’ right to education and the correctness of putting the proletariat and the peasantry and proletarian politics in command of industry and agriculture. We must defend the correctness of an underdeveloped socialist country relying on its own strength while making foreign technology subsidiary, and thoroughly reject the comprador-bourgeois ideas that the imperialists impose on the Third World nations. We must defend the Chinese proletarian art and thoroughly reject the capitalistic “freedom” in art to create revisionist, feudal, and capitalist propaganda.
It is not counter-revolutionary and anti-China to criticize and attack the revisionists in China – it is counter-revolutionary and anti-China to continue to support the revisionists’ destruction of the gains of the Cultural Revolution, their restoration of capitalism, and their suppression of the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary forces in China!
China, in its 28 years of liberation, has brought socialism to the most advanced stage, ideologically, that the world has ever seen. It created new ways to combat revisionism and put proletarian politics in command. It showed us how to mobilize the masses and conduct socialist revolution against revisionism in the period of socialism. It showed us how to put the workers in command of the factories, peasants in command of the communes and the proletariat in command of the Party and the government. It showed us practical ways to reduce the gap between manual and mental labor, the city and the countryside, and industry and agriculture. These lessons cannot be negated by the fact that revisionism is now dominant in China. All movies and documents of this era, especially the time during and since the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, must be preserved and carefully studied.
The lesson of the revisionist takeover in China is that modern revisionism is a far more serious danger than we may have realized and therefore must be fought all the more resolutely tooth and nail wherever it raises its head. In our present struggle, we can look to the socialist countries where the proletariat holds power, and especially Albania, as leaders, and must now, more than ever, join with Marxist-Leninists in nations all over the world to continue developing proletarian revolutionary theory and carrying on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought!
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT, THE ROAD IS TORTUROUS
China Study Group
57 South Bannock Denver,
Colorado 80223 USA
written in March, 1977
slightly revised in June, 1977
1. It is possible that by now the OL, recently declared “Communist Party M-L”, has been informed of the ”new verdict” and has discontinued showing this brilliant film. The film is no longer advertised in The Call as it was until a few months ago.
We present this study to Marxist-Leninist comrades in the interest of furthering debate and study about the two-line struggle in China. There are many questions we have not dealt with in this paper, among them the division between town and countryside and the movements which have been launched to narrow it, such as the May 7th Road; the struggle of women for equality; the question of the national minorities and their position in the autonomous regions and the central organs; a complete analysis of the two-line struggle in the PLA and its role in the seizure of power by the revisionists; the question of Lin Piao, his Right and “Left” errors and the movement to criticize him; the question of foreign affairs, the superpowers, the 2nd World, the Third World, and international proletarian strategy. We have tried to deal with some of the most important domestic fronts in the two-line struggle of the last two years, those issues that have come up consistently in the reports in the Peking Review, especially during the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend and since the purge of October, 1976.
We began this study because we were deeply disturbed about the possible significance of October’s purge. The research we have done so far is limited, but we are convinced from the materials so far available to us that further study will only confirm more clearly the conclusions presented. As the revisionists consolidate their power in China, they will undoubtedly have to become more and more bold in presenting their revisionist line in order to carry out their programs.
We are continuing to carefully observe the process in China and are involved in further researching the above questions. We plan to write a continuation of this study that will include the question of women as well as the further changes in policies and basic line that the revisionists will undoubtedly continue to make. Anyone who is interested in receiving a copy of succeeding documents should write to us – and let us know if you are undertaking similar studies.
The present study will inevitably contain errors and inadequacies. We welcome corrections and criticisms from all readers. Listed here are a number of books and articles that were among our most useful sources. Suggestions for further reading will be appreciated.
The basic resource for this study has been two magazines published in China:
Peking Review, January, 1975, to May, 1977 (weekly), and China Reconstructs, January, 1976, to May, 1977 (monthly). These magazines are both available from China Books and Periodicals:
2929 24th St., San Francisco, California 94110
210 West Madison St., Chicago, Illinois 60606
125 Fifth Ave., New York, N. Y. 10003
Peking Review is published in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and German. It contains many articles which explain the line of the Chinese Communist Party and the current struggles. As we have said in the body of this paper, the editorship of these magazines changed in October of 1976. PR #42, 1976, and China Reconstructs of November-December, 1976, are the first issues which represent the line of the present leaders.
We recommend the following articles from Peking Review for special study:
“Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: Questions and Answers” 12 parts, PR #40-51, 1975 (also available in booklet form from Books New China, 53 E. Broadway, N. Y., N. Y. 10002)
“Constitution of the People’s Republic of China; Speeches to the Second Plenary Session of the 10th Central Committee,” by Chang Chun-chiao and Chou En-lai, PR #4, 1975
“Speeches by Chou En-lai and Wang Hung-wen to the 10th Party Congress” PR #35-36, 1973
“Advance Victoriously Along Chairman Mao’s Line in Army Building,” PR #5, 1975
“On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique,” Yao Wen-yuan, PR #10, 1975 (also available in Study Program for Lenin’s State and Revolution, October League, Box 5597, Chicago, 111. 60680)
“Small and Medium-sized Industries Play Big Role,” PR #45, 1975
“Between Cadres and Peasants” and “Socialist New Peasants,” PR#40, #41, 1975
“Fundamental Differences between the Two Lines in Education,” PR #10. 1976
“Criticizing the Program for Capitalist Restoration,” PR #13, 1976
“An Endless Flow of Successors to the Cause of Proletarian Revolution” and “A Dynamic County Party Committee,” PR#26, #27, 1976
“Inner-Party Struggle and Party Development,” PR #34, 1976
“Comments on Teng Hsiao-ping’s Economic Ideas of the Comprador Bourgeoisie,” PR #35, 1976
“Working Class Occupying and Transforming the Superstructure,” PR #37, 1976
The following articles contain the major attacks against the “gang of four”:
“The ’Gang of Four’: A Scourge of the Nation,” PR #48, 1976
“Speech by Chairman Hua,” PR #1, 1977
“Premier Chou in the Great Cultural Revolution,” PR #4, 1977
“A Component Part of the ’Gang of Four’s’ Plot to Usurp Party and State Power: What was their aim in calling for ’creating literary works on the struggle against capitalist-roaders?” PR #5, 1977
“How the ’Gang of Four’ Used Shanghai as a Base,” and “Exposing Wang Hung-wen’s Scheme to Throw China into Disorder” PR #6, 1977
“Study Documents Well and Grasp Key Link” PR #8, 1977
“Chang Chun-chiao Tampers with Chairman Mao’s Educational Policy” PR #8, 1977
“Mechanization: Fundamental Way Out for Agriculture” PR #9, 1977
“Foreign Trade: Why the ’Gang of Four’ Created Confusion” PR #9. 1977
“Ferreting Out ’the Bourgeoisie in the Army’ – Another ’Gang of Four’ Scheme,” PR #10, 1977
“Vice Premier Yu Chiu-li’s Report” PR #22, 1977
“A Serious Struggle in Scientific and Technical Circles” PR #16, 1977
“Grasp the Key Link in Running the Country Well. . ” PR #18, 1977
We recommend the following books for background information:
A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China, originally published by the People’s Publishing House in China, published in English by the Norman Bethune Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; available from the National Publications Center, P. O. Box 727 Adelaide Stn., Toronto (explains in depth the basic Principles and foundations of the CCP. It was written for CCP cadre and serves well for party building)
Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse-tung Foreign Languages Press, Peking (available from China Books, 2929 24th St. S. F., Calif. 94110) The following articles are especially useful:
On Contradiction, p. 85
Let the Whole Party Unite and Fight to Accomplish its Tasks, p. 313
The Problem of Combatting Erroneous Tendencies Within the Party, p. 352
Preserve the Style of Plain Living and Hard Struggle, p. 362
On the Peoples’ Democratic Dictatorship, p. 371
On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, p. 432
Speech at the CCP’s National Conference on Propaganda Work, p. 480
Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1976 (also available from Books New China)
Chairman Mao Talks to the People: Talks and Letters, 1956-1971, Stuart Schram, ed., Pantheon, 1974
The following articles are especially useful:
Talks at Chengtu: Against Blind Faith in Learning, p. 113
Talk at an Enlarged Central Work Conference: On Democratic Centralism, p. 158
Speech at the 10th Plenum of the 8th Central Committee, p. 188
Talk to Leaders of the Centre, p. 253
Talk at the First Plenum of the 9th Central Committee, p. 282
From Marx to Mao Tse-tung: A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics. George Thomson, China Policy Study Group, 62 Parliament Hill, London, NW3 2TJ, Eng. ,1972
The Cultural Revolution in China. Joan Robinson, Penguin Books, 1969. (Includes major documents of the Cultural Revolution: The Circular of May 16, Bombard the Headquarters, The 16 Points, Message to All Shanghai People)
A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Jean Daubier, Vintage, N.Y. , N.Y., 1974
China’s Uninterrupted Revolution. James Peck, Victor Nee, editors, Pantheon, 1973
China’s Socialist Revolution. John and Elsie Collier, Monthly Review Press, (1973) 62 West 14th St., N. Y., N. Y. 10011
Cultural Revolution and Industrial Organization in China. Chls. Bettleheim, MR Press,’74
On the Transition to Socialism. Paul Sweezy, Charles Bettleheim, MR PRess, 1971
How Capitalism has been Restored in the Soviet Union (Red Papers #7) Revolutionary Communist Party, Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Ill.. 60654
The Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR. Martin Nicolaus, Liberator Press, Box 7128, Chicago, Illinois 60680
The Rise and Fall of the “Gang of Four”. Hsin Chi, Books New China, Inc.) 1977
Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie. Chang Chun-chiao, Books New China, 1975
As the second edition of this study goes to press, a very significant development has occurred. From July 16 to 21, 1977, the Third Plenary Session of the Tenth Central Committee of the CCP was held in Peking. The most outstanding announcement of the Plenum was the restoration of Teng Hsiao-ping to all of his posts, principally: Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CC of the CCP, Vice Chairman of the Party, Vice Premier of the State Council and Chief of Staff of the People’s Liberation Army.
This was an announcement of shattering impact within and without China. Teng Hsiao-ping was removed during the Cultural Revolution and severely criticized as Liu Shao-chi’s right hand man and the #2 leader of the bourgeois headquarters. In 1973 he was rehabilitated after making a thorough self-criticism and supposedly breaking with his past ideas. However, after his return he immediately set to work to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution and put together another bourgeois headquarters within the Party. In late 1975, Chairman Mao criticized Teng Hsiao-ping severely for attempting to liquidate class struggle by “taking the three directives as the key link” and personally initiated a massive struggle to criticize and beat back the Right deviasionist wind to reverse correct verdicts that Teng Hsiao-ping had stirred up. In April, 1976, the Political Bureau unanimously voted to remove Teng Hsiao-ping from all of his posts declaring that the contradiction with Feng had become one of antagonistic contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
The present leaders would have us believe that this decision was purely the responsibility of the so-called “gang of four”. However, more than these four members of the Political Bureau voted to remove him. Every member did, including Chairman Mao as well as the present leaders. The unanimous decision was clearly a result of Chairman Mao’s initiative and leadership, not what the present leaders now call “the factionalist activities” of four members.
After Chairman Mao’s death and the subsequent purge of the Party, the remaining leaders now totally reverse that decision, placing Teng Hsiao-ping in a position of tremendous authority and showing their total opposition to the proletarian revolutionary line of Chairman Mao.
More important than Teng Hsiao-ping’s restoration to power is the manner in which he was restored. When he was rehabilitated in 1973 along with other leaders purged during the Cultural Revolution it was only after he had made a thorough self-criticism. This time, Teng Hsiao-ping makes no self-criticism. There is no analysis or even admission of his errors. He and his politics are endorsed and he is put forward as a “victim” of the “gang of four”.
Peking Review #31, 1977, in which the decision is announced, reads:
At a central working conference held in March this year, Chairman Hua pointed out that the Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao anti-Party clique ’attacked and fabricated charges against Comrade Teng Hsiao-ping. This was an important component part of their scheme to usurp Party and state power.’ He added that ’all the slanders and unfounded charges made by the ’gang of four’ against Comrade Teng Hsiao-ping should be repudiated. (pp. 10-11)
The restoration of Teng represents the most clear event in the complete reversal of last years’ struggle to criticize his thoroughly revisionist line. The fact that there is absolutely no analysis or admission of his erroneous line shows the thoroughly revisionist character of the present leaders. In the following months there will surely be more and more clear evidence of this as the present leaders go all out to defend Teng Hsiao-ping. Already the PR has reached new lengths in its boldness in putting forth the present leaders’ revisionist policies. Two articles in PR #30, 1977, repeat Teng Hsiao-ping and Liu Shao-chi’s revisionist line of putting emphasis on training an elite of professionals and academic specialists, which was clearly and unquestionably repudiated during the Cultural Revolution:
At present particular attention must be paid to earnestly implementing the Party’s policy towards intellectuals, giving full play to the role of professionals and mobilizing all positive factors, (p. 12) Under the centralized leadership of the Party there should be strong administrative leading organs over professional work so as to bring into full play the role of specialists in academic work. (p. 15)
Already the so-called “Communist Party (M-L)” of the USA (the October League) has rushed to be the first to acclaim Teng Hsiao-ping’s restoration in the Call. Last year the Call also acclaimed Teng Hsiao-ping’s removal as a great victory. This years’ reversal in position is accompanied with no explanation of the contradiction or self-criticism of their position last year. It is only an exposure of OL’s anti-Marxist approach, its total opportunism, and its 100% flunkyism to the new revisionists in China. Its prize is obvious on the front page of the same issue: recognition of the CCP to be the “Communist Party” in this country!
In 1976, Marxist-Leninist parties, organizations, and individuals around the world repudiated the thoroughly revisionist line of Teng Hsiao-ping. Since the purge of October, 1976, many of the Marxist-Leninists who continue to support the present leaders of the CC of the CCP refuse to see that the present leadership represents the very same ideological and political line as Teng Hsiao-ping. His restoration and the open defense of his line and policies that is sure to follow should force these organizations and individuals to analyze the new situation more correctly and stop blindly following and supporting the revisionist takeover of the CCP.