The following is the ninth in a series of articles under the title “Hold High the Bright Red Banner of Marxism-Leninism and Proletarian Internationalism!” The first eight parts appeared in PCDN, Volume 7, Numbers 221-228, dated September 15-23, 1977.
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According to the theoreticians of “three worlds”, “ . . . Chairman Mao applies to socialist society the Marxist thesis that the contradictions between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base are the basic contradictions in society and points out that in socialist society there is correspondence as well as contradiction between the relations of production and the productive forces, between the superstructure and the economic base. In so far as the relations of production do not correspond with the productive forces and the superstructure does not correspond with the economic base, the development of the productive forces is hindered. Therefore, it is necessary to carry on the revolution in the realm of the superstructure and consolidate and strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat in this realm, which includes all branches of culture, so that the superstructure will correspond better with the socialist economic base. It is necessary to carry on the revolution in the realm of the relations of production and to consolidate and develop socialist public ownership and other aspects of the socialist relations of production, so that they will correspond better with the expanding productive forces.”
Further: “The productive forces are the most revolutionary factor. In the final analysis, the expansion of the productive forces demands the continuation of therevolution in the realms of the superstructure and the relations of production under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Changes in the superstructure and the relations of production will, in turn, open the way to the development of the productive forces.”
Then the theoreticians of “three worlds” advocate building the “material base”. “It is necessary to introduce technical innovations, carry out the technical revolution and speedily develop the productive forces so as to provide the socialist system with a growing material base and promote change and development in the relations of production and the superstructure.” And, “Developing the socialist economy is a basic task of the dictatorship of the proletariat. To speed up the development of the productive forces while adhering to the socialist orientation answers the need for reinforcing the material base of the dictatorship of the proletariat and vanquishing the capitalist forces. It answers the need for enhancing our national defence capabilities and getting prepared against aggression by imperialism or social-imperialism.” Finally, To safeguard socialist public ownership and smash the attacks of urban and rural capitalist forces involves intense struggle capitalism has been rampant in recent years in a number of places and units, inside and outside which the old and new bourgeois elements in town and country worked hand in glove to mount fierce attacks that were injurious in varying degrees to certain economic enterprises owned by the state or the collective and caused degeneration in a few of them.”
The theoreticians of “three worlds”pronounce that “As far as ideology and theory are concerned, the eleventh struggle between the two lines in our Party has unfolded around the question of whether to uphold or to vitiate the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is the salient feature of this struggle.”
This is how the “class contradictions” are presented by the theoreticians of “three worlds” in the People’s Republic of China. We make the following comments on these questions.
1.“ ... the contradictions between the relations of production and the productive forces and between the superstructure and the economic base are the basic contradictions in society and ... that in socialist society there is correspondence as well as contradiction between the relations of production and the productive forces, between the superstructure and the economic base. In so far as the relations of production do not correspond with the productive forces and the superstructure does not correspond with the economic base, the development of the productive forces is hindered.”
Criticizing the erroneous views of Comrade Yaroshenko, Comrade Stalin points out:
Comrade Yaroshenko is prepared to grant the relations of production a certain role under the conditions of ’antagonistic class contradictions,’ inasmuch as there the relations of production ’run counter to the development of the productive forces.’ But he confines it to a purely negative role, the role of a factor which retards the development of the productive forces, which fetters their development.
Comrade Stalin explains that
It is not true, in the first place, that the role of the relations of production in the history of society has been confined to that of a brake, a fetter on the development of the productive forces. When Marxists speak of the retarding role of the relations of production, it is not all relations of production they have in mind, but only the old relations of production, which no longer conform to the growth of the productive forces and, consequently, retard their development. But, as we know, besides the old, there are also new relations of production, which supersede the old. Can it be said that the role of the new relations of production is that of a brake on the productive forces? No, it cannot. On the contrary, the new relations of production are the chief and decisive force, the one which in fact determines the further, and, moreover, powerful, development of the productive forces, and without which the latter would be doomed to stagnation, as is the case today in the capitalist countries...
Of course, new relations of production cannot, and do not, remain new forever; they begin to grow old and to run counter to the further development of the productive forces; they begin to lose their role of principal mainspring of the productive forces, and become a brake on them. At this point, in place of these production relations which have become antiquated, new production relations appear whose role it is to be the principal mainspring spurring the further development of the productive forces.
This peculiar development of the relations of production from the role of a brake on the productive forces to that of the principal mainspring impelling them forward, and from the role of principal mainspring to that of a brake on the productive forces, constitutes one of the chief elements of the Marxist materialist dialectics.
Comrade Stalin points out that
Comrade Yaroshenko is mistaken when he asserts that there is no contradiction between the relations of production and the productive forces of society under socialism. Of course, our present relations of production are in a period when they fully conform to the growth of the productive forces and help to advance them at seven-league strides. But it would be wrong to rest easy at that and to think that there are no contradictions between our productive forces and the relations of production. There certainly are, and will be, contradictions, seeing that the development of the relations of production lags, and will lag, behind the development of the productive forces. Given a correct policy on the part of the directing bodies, these contradictions cannot grow into antagonisms, and there is no chance of matters coming to a conflict between the relations of production and the productive forces of society. It would be a different matter if we were to conduct a wrong policy, such as that which Comrade Yaroshenko recommends. In that case conflict would be inevitable, and our relations of production might become a serious brake on the further development of the productive forces.
The task of the directing bodies is therefore promptly to discern incipient contradictions, and to take timely measures to resolve them by adapting the relations of production to the growth of the productive forces. This, above all, conceals such economic factors as group, or collective-farm, property and commodity circulation.
This is why Chairman Mao launched a campaign against the Right deviationist wind of reversing correct verdicts in 1976 and called upon the entire nation to study the theory of Marx, Engels and Lenin on the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chairman Mao points out that the relations of production were no longer in conformity with the productive forces. Comrade Stalin points out that “every social formation, socialist society not excluded, has its economic foundation, consisting of the sum total of men’s relations of production.” And he provides the following quote from Marx to elucidate the point:
’in the social production of their life (that is, in the production of the material values necessary to the life of men – J. St.), men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive force. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.’
This is why in 1975 Chairman Mao “gave important instructions on theory” to the entire nation. “Chairman Mao said: ’Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is important to get this question clear. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the entire nation.’
“Speaking of the socialist system, Chairman Mao said: ’In a word, China is a socialist country. Before liberation she was much the same as a capitalist country. Even now she practises an eight-grade wage system, distribution according to work and exchange through money, and in all this differs very little from the old society. What is different is that the system of ownership has been changed.’ Chairman Mao pointed out: ’Our country at present practises a commodity system, the wage system is unequal, too, as in the eight-grade wage scale, and so forth. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat such things can only be restricted. Therefore, if people like Lin Piao come to power, it will be quite easy for them to rig up the capitalist system.” Thus, according to Chairman Mao, the economic foundation of the society, the relations of production, were not in conformity with the productive forces. That is, were not in conformity with the interests of the two labouring classes, the proletariat and the collectivised peasantry and the revolutionary intellectuals. This is why there was urgent necessity of combatting the Right deviationist wind and stop reversing the correct verdicts of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.”
The theoreticians of “three worlds” have dished out their 8 point tasks. Not a single one of these tasks is in the realm of changing the relations of production. On the contrary, a call is out to preserve the existing relations of production by “continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat”. All these tasks are in the category of the productive forces. This is why they have written the nonsense about providing “the socialist system with the growing material base” or “reinforcing the material base of the dictatorship of the proletariat”, etc., etc. They talk a lot about “changes in the superstructure and relations of production” which “will, in turn, open with the way to the development of productive forces”. There is not one concrete programme of changing the “relations of production” in order to make them conform to the interests of the proletariat, peasantry and the people’s intelligentsia. A lot of words are used to create maximum ideological confusion.