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A Quotation From Chairman Mao Tse-tung
We must have faith, first, that the peasant masses are ready to advance step by step along the road of socialism under the leadership of the Party, and second, that the Party is capable of leading the peasants along this road. These two points are the essence of the matter, the main current.
— "On the Question of Agricultural Co-operation"
China’s Peasants Advance Valiantly Along the Road Pointed Out by Chairman Mao
— On the Tenth Anniversary of the Publication of “Socialist Upsurge in
China’s Countryside” Edited Under the Personal Guidance of Chairman Mao
[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 9, #48, Nov. 25,
1966, pp. 6-9. Thanks are due to the WWW.WENGEWANG.ORG
web site for some of the work done for this posting.]
Renmin Ribao editorial note: Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside edited under the personal guidance of Chairman Mao and published a decade ago, and particularly the preface to the book and the introductory notes written by Chairman Mao to more than a hundred articles, is a powerful ideological weapon guiding and inspiring China’s hundreds of millions of peasants in taking the socialist road.
Chairman Mao said; “The serious problem is the education of the peasantry.” For a long time after the transformation from individual economy to collective economy, the influence of private ownership and the spontaneous tendency towards capitalism still exist among the peasants. This “demands of us Communists that we patiently educate the great mass of the peasants— who are still burdened with many of the habits and ideas of the old society— and explain things to them in vivid terms which they can easily understand.”
“Political work is the life-blood of all economic work.” This well-known thesis was put forward by Chairman Mao ten years ago in an introductory note in this book. Chairman Mao pointed out that in the rural areas “the fundamental task of political work is to constantly instil socialist ideas into the peasant masses and criticize capitalist tendencies.” In other words, the task is to eradicate bourgeois ideology and promote proletarian ideology, to eradicate in people’s minds the concept of private ownership and establish the concept of public ownership.
How to educate the peasants? How to instil socialist ideas into them? The best method is to follow the example of the Liberation Army in creatively studying and applying Chairman Mao’s works in accordance with Comrade Lin Piao’s instructions.
In co-ordination with the socialist education movement, that is the “four clean ups” movement, there has surged up throughout the vast countryside in the past few years a high tide in creatively studying and applying Chairman Mao’s works. This has not only greatly promoted the revolutionization of the commune peasants’ thinking, but has given immediate results in the three great revolutionary movements of class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment.
Peasants make up the largest proportion of our population and they are the most powerful and strongest ally of the proletariat. We must further develop the mass movement to creatively study and apply Chairman Mao’s works among the broad masses of the peasants and turn every rural people’s commune into a great school of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. When hundreds of millions of peasants are further armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought and make further steps in revolutionizing their thinking, they will not only bring about radical changes in the face of the countryside, but greatly promote the new upsurge in socialist revolution and socialist construction throughout the country.
TEN years have passed since the 1956 publication of Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside edited under the personal guidance of Chairman Mao. In those ten years, holding aloft the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and following Chairman Mao’s teachings, the broad masses of China’s peasants have marched steadfastly along the road of collectivization, carried the whole countryside forward with mighty strides, and brought about tremendous and deep-going changes on both the spiritual and material fronts.
In the first half of 1955, when the peasant masses, responding to the call of Chairman Mao, were actively getting organized and when a high tide of the agricultural co-operative movement had already surged up in certain areas, some persons within the Party underestimated the immense enthusiasm for socialism which existed among the peasant masses. Instead of standing in the van of the movement to lead the masses energetically in their advance, they lagged behind the masses and grumbled that the masses were going too fast, raised up countless taboos to restrain the masses and so seriously affected the movement’s progress. At the end of July that year, our great leader Chairman Mao published On the Question of Agricultural Co-operation, in which he criticized the Rightist way of thinking within the Party on the agricultural co-operative movement. This gave the greatest inspiration and support to the broad masses of peasants, particularly to the poor and lower-middle peasants. Under the wise leadership of Chairman Mao, an upsurge of the agricultural co-operative movement rapidly took shape and soon swept the whole country with powerful momentum. By 1956 practically all of China’s rural areas had switched to agricultural co-operation and in regard to relations of production the socialist transformation of agriculture was basically carried out. This laid the foundation for the complete switch-over to agricultural co-operation in 1957 and the later establishment of people’s communes throughout the countryside in 1958.
Publication of Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside edited under the personal guidance of Chairman Mao was a great event in the socialist revolution and socialist construction in China’s countryside. The introductory notes written by Chairman Mao to 104 articles in the book especially gave extremely important instructions concerning the class struggle in the countryside, the socialist transformation of agriculture and political, economic and cultural work in the rural areas following collectivization. These instructions gave strong guidance and a powerful impetus not only to the agricultural co-operative movement at that time, but also to the consolidation and growth of the collective economy and the socialist revolution and socialist construction throughout the rural areas in the last decade. It is precisely the intimate concern shown by Chairman Mao and his wise leadership that has ensured the rapid and healthy advance of our countryside along the highway of socialism and given rise to so many unprecedented and brilliant achievements. Reviewing the road they have travelled in the past decade and studying Chairman Mao’s teachings again, the broad masses of commune members and rural cadres all feel deeply impressed. The members and cadres of those farming units mentioned in the articles in the book to which Chairman Mao wrote introductory notes, have a still greater love for, infinite faith in and boundless veneration for Chairman Mao. They declare that they will follow Chairman Mao’s teachings and win still greater victories in the socialist revolution and socialist construction.
Looking back over the past ten years, what especially impresses people are Chairman Mao’s teachings on class struggle and the struggle between the two roads— the socialist and the capitalist. In his introductory note to the article “A Serious Lesson,” Chairman Mao wrote: “The agricultural co-operative movement has been a severe ideological and political struggle from the very beginning.” He noted that “after a co-operative is established, it must go through many more struggles before it can be consolidated.” Again, in the introductory note to “Who Says a Chicken Feather Can’t Fly Up to Heaven?” he pointed out: “An important aspect of the struggle in China’s countryside between the socialist and capitalist roads is the peaceful competition between the poor peasants and the lower-middle peasants on the one hand and the well-to-do middle peasants on the other.” “Standing behind the well-to-do middle peasants are the landlords and the rich peasants. They give their support to the well-to-do middle peasants, sometimes secretly, sometimes openly,” he added. Over the past decade, the cadres and commune members throughout the country have personally experienced such struggles in the course of their advance and won one victory after another. They are unanimous in declaring that all these victories have been won under the guiding light of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. They regard the notes written by Chairman Mao to the articles “A Serious Lesson,” “The Road for Five Hundred Million Peasants,” “Who Says a Chicken Feather Can’t Fly Up to Heaven?” and “How Control of the Wutang Co-operative Shifted From the Middle to the Poor Peasants” as keen instrument guiding them in defeating their class enemies and keeping firmly to the socialist road.
Many of the introductory notes written by Chairman Mao to articles in Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside are important instructions on strengthening political work in the countryside. In these introductory notes, Chairman Mao wrote: “Political work is the life-blood of all economic work.” “The cooperatives must put stress on doing political work well. The fundamental task of political work is to constantly instil socialist ideas into the peasant masses and criticize capitalist tendencies.” “Of one thing we may be sure— working people, given proper political education, can overcome their shortcomings and correct their mistakes.” “This tendency [towards capitalism] will become rampant if we in the slightest way neglect political work among the peasants during the cooperative movement and for a very long period after.” Chairman Mao has taught us that political work “must be based on the life and experience of the peasants and be conducted in a very practical manner, with careful attention to detail. Neither bluster nor over-simplification will do. It should be conducted not in isolation from our economic measures, but in conjunction with them.” In his note to the article “Strengthening the Co-op— a Good Example,” Chairman Mao praised the method of political work described in the article— “making four comparisons and five calculations” — as “a very useful way of showing the peasants clearly which system is good and which is bad. They understand the moment they hear it.” In the past decade, excellent results have been achieved wherever these instructions of Chairman Mao have been carried out and politics has seriously been given prominence in all rural work. The Tachai Brigade of the Tachai Commune in Hsiyang County, Shansi Province, the Xiading-jia Brigade of the Dalujia Commune in Huanghsien County, Shantung Province and many Tachai-type units on the farm front are brilliant examples of units which have seriously implemented Chairman Mao’s instructions and given prominence to politics in all work and have therefore made tremendous achievements in socialist revolution and socialist construction. With the deepening of the mass drive in recent years for creatively studying and applying Chairman Mao’s writings, political work in the countryside is becoming increasingly active and the social outlook of the entire countryside is undergoing an unprecedentedly great and profound change.
Ten years ago, Chairman Mao, in the introductory notes to two of the articles in the book, praised the Wang Kuo-fan Agricultural Co-operative in Tsunhua County, Hopei Province, for its “paupers’ spirit” in managing its affairs with diligence and thrift. He wrote: “In a few decades, why can’t 600 million ‘paupers,’ by their own efforts, create a socialist country, rich and strong?” This has tremendously inspired the peasants throughout the country in their efforts to take the road of collective prosperity and self-reliantly develop socialist agriculture. In the past ten years, this “paupers’ spirit” has developed greatly throughout China’s rural areas. The revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and arduous struggle displayed by the farming units of the Tachai-type in various places is precisely the development of the “paupers’ spirit.” Inspired by this revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and arduous struggle, in 1958 there was an upsurge in the nationwide drive to build water conservancy works. Following that, the people’s communes overcame the great difficulties caused by three successive years of natural calamities and rapidly restored and developed agricultural production. Closely following this, large-scale field improvements were carried out and fields giving consistently high yields were created in many places. As a result, remarkable changes have taken place in many areas.
The “Paupers’ Co-op” of ten years ago— the Wang Kuo-fan Co-op which is today the Xipu Brigade of the Jianming People’s Commune— has assumed a completely new look. Raising high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, the members transformed nature with their own hands and created large tracts of fertile fields out of poor land. Building water conservancy works on a large scale, they constructed a reservoir— the Chienming Lake— and many small irrigation works to extend the area under irrigation from a score of mu ten years ago to more than 800 mu today. In addition, they transformed barren mountains and sandy wastes and afforested more than 4,000 mu of land. When the co-op was first organized, it had only a three-quarter share in the ownership of a donkey. Today, the brigade has 79 large animals (cattle, horses, mules and donkeys), 12 carts with pneumatic lyres, scores of hand-carts and large quantities of new-type farm implements and power-driven equipment. Like Jianming, the face of many areas in the country has undergone marked changes. The remnants of petty farming which hindered the development of the productive forces have been eliminated and the capital construction undertaken as a result of their new, large-scale socialist farming has brought steady, high yields year after year.
In his Introductory notes, Chairman Mao gave many important instructions concerning readjustment and consolidation of the collective economy, principles and policies in regard to production and construction and a series of other problems related to building a new, socialist countryside. In these notes, Chairman Mao has stressed that “the masses have a potentially inexhaustible enthusiasm for socialism,” and that “there are great potentialities among the peasant masses.” He has also pointed out that “socialism has not only liberated from the old society the labourers and the means of production, but has also liberated the vast area of nature that the old society was unable to utilize. The masses have boundless creative power. They can organize themselves and concentrate on places and branches of work where they can give full play to their energy; they can concentrate on production in breadth and depth and create more and more welfare undertakings for themselves.” Carrying out Chairman Mao’s instructions, the villages have in the last ten years fully mobilized the masses, placed full reliance on them and brought into full play the enthusiasm and creativeness of the broad masses of peasants. Acting according to Chairman Mao’s instructions, they have concentrated on production in breadth and depth in a planned and organized way, with the result that an all-round development has been achieved in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, side-line occupations and fishery. In recent years, not a few people’s communes have developed small industries, mainly processing industries, and, in this way, have succeeded in extending the scope of management of production and bringing greater prosperity to the rural economy. As a result of step-by-step advance in the mechanization of agriculture in many places, the whole agricultural economy there is becoming increasingly prosperous and there is a vigorous growth of rural cultural undertakings.
Following this big transformation throughout China’s countryside— the establishment of co-operatives and people’s communes— in the past ten years, the mental outlook of the people has undergone great changes and undertakings of the collective economy have developed in a healthy way. Recalling the experience of the past ten years and reviewing Chairman Mao’s teachings, and especially his teachings in Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside, the masses of commune members and cadres feel deeply that every success they have achieved along the road of collectivization in these years has been victory for Mao Tse-tung’s thought. This makes them love, trust and esteem Chairman Mao and Mao Tse-tung’s thought all the more. On this basis, the mass movement to study and apply Chairman Mao’s works in a creative way has reached a new high point in China’s countryside and a new situation has arisen. Study Chairman Mao’s writings, follow his teachings and act according to his instructions— this has become the common language and action of the people. The hundreds of millions of commune members and cadres are determined to continue to advance bravely in building a new, socialist countryside under the guidance of the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought.
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