First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 27, November 8, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Events of the last two weeks in China confirm that attempts by capitalist-roaders inside the Communist Party to seize power have been decisively crushed. Under the party’s leadership, millions of people have been mobilized to denounce the activities of the “gang of four” who tried to split the party, take power for themselves and, according to some reports, even tried to assassinate Chairman Mao.
These developments demonstrate the truth of Chairman Mao’s thesis that “The bourgeoisie is right inside the Communist Party.” Building socialism, Chairman Mao pointed out, requires the mobilization of the masses in their millions to wage a relentless struggle against both the old exploiting classes as well as a new bourgeoisie that emerges from inside the party itself.
It was only natural that in the wake of Chairman Mao’s death, such counter-revolutionary elements would try to take advantage of the situation. But the Chinese people, tempered through the fiery years of the Cultural Revolution and the mass criticisms of capitalist-roaders like Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping, quickly saw through the schemes of the “gang of four.” The party’s Central Committee under Chairman Hua Kuo-feng acted resolutely to liquidate this gang, which included Chiang Ching, Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan.
A joint editorial published on October 25 by the People’s Army, Red Flag Journal, and the Liberation Army Daily says that the Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao clique had been factionalizing and attempting to split the party for a long time. The editorial, entitled “A Great, Historic Victory,” points out that Chairman Mao himself had criticized the four again and again and urged them to stop their wrecking activities. The article cites several examples.
Among them was a warning to the four made by Mao on July 17, 1974, when he said: “You’d better take care; don’t form a small faction of four people.” Again on December 24 of the same year, he said, “Don’t form a faction; those that do will fall.”
During preparations for the convening of the Fourth National People’s Congress at the end of 1974, Chairman Mao warned that “Chiang Ching has wild ambitions. She wants Wang Hung-wen to be chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and herself to become Chairman of the Party Central Committee.”
Finally, the article points out that on May 3,1975, at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee, Chairman Mao reminded the four of the “three do’s and three don’ts” in carrying out inner-party struggle and warned them: “Don’t function as a gang of four, don’t do it anymore. Why do you keep on doing it?”
The “three do’s and three don’ts” are Chairman Mao’s instructions to “practice Marxism-Leninism and not revisionism; unite and don’t split; be open and above board, and don’t intrigue and conspire.”
But the anti-party clique did not heed Chairman Mao’s warnings. They did not make a self-criticism, but got even worse. During the period right before and after Chairman Mao died, their attempts to wreck the party by underhandedly seizing power became even more frantic and flagrant.
Over many years, the counterrevolutionary behavior of the “gang of four” succeeded in isolating them from the masses. This is why their exposure and defeat was welcomed so warmly by the Chinese people.
The people’s satisfaction at being able to redress their grievances was expressed in an article on the current struggle by the Pingshan County Party Committee. The committee wrote: “We suffered deeply from the revisionism the ’gang of four’ had practiced, which greatly enraged us. For a long time, we have wanted to settle accounts with them.”
The Pingshan Party Committee also accused the “gang of four” of “tampering with Chairman Mao’s thesis that revisionism is the main danger at present,” and of teaching instead that the main danger was “empiricism.”
In China’s biggest city, Shanghai, where 6.5 million people participated in recent demonstrations, the staff of the Lu Hsun Memorial Hall added to the criticism of the four when they revealed the identity of the hidden capitalist-roader in the party who was denounced 40 years ago by the great revolutionary poet and cultural worker Lu Hsun. The staff said that it was Chang Chun-Chiao, one of the gang of four, under the pseudonym of Ti Ke, who Lu Hsun had criticized for pretending to be a revolutionary, while all the time working in the service of the Koumintang.
The Chinese people have welcomed the recent party decision because they show that under the leadership of Chairman Hua Kuo feng, the country will continue under along the path laid by Chairman Mao, carry out the class struggle under socialism, and strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat. But the imperialists, social-imperialists, and their apologists in the workers’ movement are trying to spread their own wishful thinking that the current struggle means that China’s political color will no longer be red.
Bourgeois press reports, for example, have characterized the struggle as being between “moderates” and “radicals,” revealing hopes that under Chairman Hua’s leadership, China will “moderate” her fight against imperialism and become more “reasonable.”
Typical of the China watchers’ analyses of events was an October 22 article in the New York Times which predicted that under Chairman Hua’s leadership, “China would become more bureaucratic and less revolutionary.” “There is no doubt,” the article said, “that many Chinese (have) grown weary of Mao’s constant and disruptive demands.”
These “experts” have twisted events in China to prove the bourgeois theory of human nature – that the masses have inevitably grown “tired of waging class struggle.”
The Soviet social-imperialists also have been testing the waters. In spite of the rejection of the message of condolence from the CP of the Soviet Union to the CPC after Chairman Mao’s death, Brezhnev sent another party-to-party message last week congratulating Hua Kuo-feng on being party chairman. The Chinese party once again returned the message, pointing out that the two countries have no party-to-party relations.
The distortions and slanders of the imperialists have been echoed by the revisionists in the U.S., who especially hope that China will repudiate its leading role in opposing Soviet social-imperialism. In a September 19 article, they speculated that, with Chairman Mao’s death, forces more favorable to the USSR would come to power.
The centrist Guardian, which has been openly attacking China for months, for its part, called capitalist-roader Teng Hsiao-ping a “close associate of Chou En-lai” on Oct. 27. In addition, the Guardian echoes the bourgeoisie by claiming to use the term “moderate” and “radical” for “convenience” because the “struggles within the CPC are so complex that few, if any, outsiders” can understand them.
The view of the bourgeois press is that the Chinese people have been kept “in the dark” as passive observers of a “power struggle” in the party. In fact, socialist China is witnessing one of the great movements of proletarian democracy in history. In every factory and community, in the cities and the countryside, party cadres have been meeting with the people, discussing the traitorous actions of the “gang of four.”
The developments in China stand in sharp contrast to the U.S. Here, the elections are being used to hide the capitalists’ dictatorship. In China, the masses are being mobilized to exercise the workers’ dictatorship over a handful of capitalists like the “gang of four.”