Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League (M-L-M)

Editorial: RCL’s Position on the Gang of Four (Part 1)

First Published: Unity and Struggle, Vol. VII, No. 1, January 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Revolutionary Communist League (M-L-M) resolutely supports the wise decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, led by Chairman Hua Kuo-feng, to shatter the criminal schemes of the anti-Party clique of Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching, and Yao Wen-yuan to usurp Party and state power in the People’s Republic of China. The Gang of 4 are the latest in a series of unrepentent capitalist roaders in China, cut from the same cloth as the renegades Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, who attempted to restore capitalism in the People’s Republic of China and who were crushed by the people of China led by the CPC. We join the people of China and the international communist and worker’s movement & all oppressed people in rejoicing from the bottom of our hearts this great victory. Our conclusions are based on the facts and scientific analysis published in the Peking Review, especially Nos. 3, 13, 15, 16, 21, 23, and 25 of Peking Review during 1977, and our understanding of the questions struggled out in these documents, using the works of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao as a guide in dealing with the vital questions about the foundations of Marxism, political economy, scientific socialism, and philosophy, which the Gang of 4 tampered with and distorted. We also did research to get cross references on Mao’s criticisms of the Gang of 4 in publications and documents dating back to accounts in the 1960’s during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, initiated and led by Chairman Mao in China.

The struggle against the Gang of 4 is a life–and–death struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines, and the proletariat has won another victory, keeping China on the socialist road under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and defending the purity and strength of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse tung Thought against revisionist tampering. Thus, we firmly support the October 7, 1976 Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China appointing Comrade Hua Kuo-feng as Chairman of the CC and Chairman of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee.

“Chairman Mao has constantly taught us: It is imperative to note that one tendency covers another.” (Chou En-lai, Report to the 10th National Congress of the CPC, pg. 18) Thus, the opposition to the revisionism of Liu Shao-chi, the right, covered Lin Piao’s revisionism and the revisionism of the Gang of 4’s “Left” in form but right in essence deviations. As Lenin said, “The dialectics of history are such that the theoretical victory of Marxism obliged its enemies to DISGUISE THEMSELVES as Marxists.” (As quoted in PR, No. 35, 1977) In fact in order to keep this cover of their errors, the Gang of 4 forbade the mention of the ultra-“leftism” of Lin Piao. (The Rise and Fall of the “Gang of Four”, pg. 14).

Chairman Mao criticized the Gang of 4 over and over again for their erroneous theory & practice, warning them: “PRACTICE MARXISM-LENINISM, AND NOT REVISIONISM; UNITE, AND DON’T SPLIT; BE OPEN AND ABOVEBOARD, AND DON’T INTRIGUE AND CONSPIRE. DON’T FUNCTION AS A GANG OF FOUR. STOP DOING THAT ANYMORE. WHY DO YOU KEEP ON DOING SO? WHY DON’T YOU UNITE WITH THE MORE THAN 200 MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE PARTY? A FEW BANDING TOGETHER IS NO GOOD, NEVER ANY GOOD.” (Peking Review No. 35, p. 27) But the Gang of 4 was a bunch of double-dealers, who actually never accepted the criticism of Chairman Mao, and used every opportunity to oppose Mao’s revolutionary line in retaliation!

Wang Hung-wen, is a typical representative of the newborn bourgeoisie elements, who dressed himself up like a “rebel”, a “leader of the workers”, and a “newborn force.” (P.R. No. 6, 1977, p. 10) Actually Wang Hung-wen turns out to have been a real scoundrel & a scab, guilty of plotting the overthrow of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat in China, promoting embezzlers and other bad elements from behind-the-scenes, and this clown actually attempted to overthrow Premier Chou En-lai by trumping up charges against Premier Chou so that the Gang of 4 could form a bourgeois cabinet! What kind of “rebel” was Wang? Wang was a working class renegade, who betrayed the interests of the working class: ”After usurping a portion of the power of the central authorities, he grabbed everything he could lay his hands on either through deceit or by force, and he committed all kinds of evil...He lived a most extravagant and licentious life; in fact, he outdid the capitalists in this respect. He himself knew he had already become a bourgeois to the core.” (P.R. No. 6, p. 13)

Chang Chun-chiao, had been a hidden renegade in the Party for years. He was a scribbler for the Kuomintang reactionaries, and old time, capitulationist. Clowns like Chang have done so much wrong in the last 40 years, pretending to be revolutionary, that he could not escape the punishment of history. So he wormed his way into the leadership of the Party, with the help of Chen Po-ta (who was later expelled from the Party for colluding with Lin Piao), Lin Piao and Chiang Ching in Shanghai during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Chang was constantly opposed by the people of Shanghai, out was able to hide under the cover of opposing the menace from the right, Liu Shao-chi’s bourgeois headquarters, for a time. He collected information in order to blackmail his way into important positions! And during the Cultural Revolution the Red Guard struggled against him and Yao as organizers of Trotskyite organizations! In fact, Chairman Mao had to call Chang & Yao to Peking, to criticise the erroneous lines they were taking in Shanghai:

“The slogan of ’Doubt everything and over-throw everything’ is reactionary. The Shanghai People’s Committee demanded that the Premier of the State Council should do away with all heads. This is extreme anarchism, it is most reactionary...There is a slogan in Honan, ’The present-day proletarian dictatorship must be completely changed. This is a reactionary slogan. (Chairman Mao Talks to the People, ed. S. Schram, 1974, pgs. 277-278) And Chairman Mao went on to criticize them for Trotskyite errors!

Chiang Ching also rose with Lin Piao, who set her up for praise in the realm of culture, based on false credit she was given for other people’s work. Historically, she was a renegade that worked for the Kuomintang in the 1930’s in reactionary capitula-tionist films, snuck into the Party with a false history, and finally with the collusion of Lin Piao rose during the Cultural Revolution. She had a disruptive effect on literature and art, suppressing much of the art that the people produced in China. To make it clear, Chairman Mao said: “She doesn’t speak for me, she speaks for herself.” “In a word, she represents herself.” (Peking Review, No. 35, 1977, page 26) Chiang Ching’s mask of struggling for women’s liberation must be pulled off to clear the air: her politics and policy on women was bourgeois! She attempted to disrupt the revolutionary orientation on the woman question so that she could use women as a force in her own seizure of power. The woman question is a class question, but Chiang Ching put out the line that it was the battle of the sexes, i.e., men vs women, and not proletariat vs bourgeoisie. “Both in countries with bourgeois? governments and with proletarian governments, whoever is in power represents the interest of his or her own class, never those of either men or women.” (China Reconstructs, June 1977, page 6) At the same time she abused quite a few women, both veteran comrades in the revolutionary struggle, and going as far as to have one nurse brought up on charges & put under arrest because the nurse was ”too slow” getting empress Chiang Ching a drink of water! We don’t need any illusions about this gang of 4 renegades, who wanted to impose a bourgeois dictatorship over the working class; that is what capitalist restoration aims to do.

Yao Wen-yuan, like we said earlier, was an alien class element who rose to prominence along with Chang Chun-chiao & Chiang Ching in Shanghai, under the leadership of Chen Po-ta and Lin Piao. Along with Chang he was consistently associated with Trotskyite lines, and he played the infamous role of the hatchet man who wrote the article, “On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique” (see Peking Review No. 10, 1975). This article was part of the conspiracy to run the bogus line that “empiricism was the main danger” in order to hide the fact that revisionism is the main danger. Chairman Mao said: “It seems the formulation should be: Oppose revisionism which includes empiricism and dogmatism. Both revise Marxism-Leninism. Don’t mention just one while omitting the other.” “In my opinion, those who are criticizing empiricism are themselves empiricists.” (P.R. no. 49, 1976, page 7) Ideologically, this was part of idealism that the Gang of 4 spread in China, despite Chairman Mao’s criticisms. In fact the gang went on tours spreading the fallacy that the struggle against “empiricism is the key link”! Ideologically they tried to turn reality on its head with this idealism, which has been used by different reactionary classes throughout history to fool the people. Actually, as Marxism teaches, “the standpoint of life, of practice, should be first and fundamental in the theory of knowledge.” (Lenin, as quoted in Study Philosophy, Peking Review Reprints, page 14) In battling against idealism and dogmatism, Chairman Mao said: ”The Marxist philosophy of dialectical materialism has two outstanding characteristics. One is its class nature: it openly avows that dialectical materialism is in the service of the proletariat. The other is its practicality: it emphasizes the dependence of theory on practice, emphasizes that theory is based on practice and in turn serves practice. The truth of any knowledge or theory is determined not by subjective feelings, but by objective results in social practice. Only social practice can be the criterion for truth.” (Mao, On Practice, Vol. 1, page 297)

Basically, the Gang of 4 are a bunch of counter-revolutionary scabs, who struck an ultra-left pose to intimidate people and to hide their actual political line which was right in essence. The Gang of 4 practiced revisionism politically, idealism ideologically, and sectarianism organizationally. They were jackals from the same lair as the renegade Wang Ming, another “left” opportunist, who like the psychopaths of the so-called “Revolutionary Wing” right here in the anti-revisionist communist movement, also styled themselves “100 % Bolshevik”. It seems obvious that the Anti-revisionist communist movement in the U.S. must make rectification a serious project because we have been deeply influenced by the lines of the Gang of 4, and while fighting the main right deviation in this country, we have allowed that Right deviation to cover the idealist, metaphysical and sectarian “Left” style and method that has in the main isolated the anti-revisionist communist movement from the advanced and the broad masses.

The gang worked feverishly to manipulate public opinion for their counterrevolutionary ends; thus, they have tampered with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and muddled a great many people’s thinking concerning Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. The heroic struggle of the Chinese masses, headed up by the CPC, against the Gang of 4 is somewhat similar to the Bolshevik Party’s struggle against the Trotskyites more than 50 yrs ago. Like Trots, the Gang of 4 distorted Marxism in all areas, distorting Mao’s revolutionary line on political economy, scientific socialism and philosophy. This has caused confusion in China and in the U.S.. In terms of political economy, the essence of the gang’s distortion was to babble that for the CPC to promote the socialist economy of China, to push the national economy forward, was “the theory of the productive forces” & “Laying the foundation for capitalism”. The CPC laid these bogus lines to rest with the correct line on the relationship between revolution and production under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and explained the proletariat’s task this way: “Therefore, after seizing political power, the proletariat must firmly keep the power of political rule in its hands, persist in taking class struggle as the key link and adopt a correct line so as to guarantee the maximum development of the social economy. Obviously, the commanding role of politics over economics cannot be separated from the development of the economy, otherwise the commanding role of politics over economics simply does not exist.” (Peking Review, No. 34, 1977, page 32)

The Gang of 4 departed from the materialist dialectics of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and spread idealism & metaphysics. They acted as if the dictatorship of the proletariat could exist without a material base, i.e. the socialist economy! “They denied that, ’mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.’ (Engels, Speech at the Graveside of Karl Marx, 1883)” (As quoted in Peking Review No. 34, page 37) Socialism must have a growing material base to consolidate & strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat: the Gang of 4 purposefully distorted and adulterated our understanding of the fundamentals of Marxism, so they could paralyze the dictatorship of the proletariat by sabotaging the socialist economy. And they actually pushed a straight up capitalist line on economy, similar to Liu Shao-chi, by letting the economy handle itself, Laissez-faire style, which is the capitalist road!

Several areas under their control have been noted in that socialist sectors of the economy were sabotaged and paralyzed while capitalism and corruption went unobstructed.

Politically they practiced revisionism. Yao’s article and the campaign against “empiricism” was actually a smokescreen for the attack on the veteran cadres in the CPC, whose revolutionary experience in the great Chinese Revolution, the gang of 4 attempted to undermine by calling them bourgeois democrats and capitalist roaders. Chairman Mao said that only a handful of Party members were capitalist roaders, and that most comrades had remolded their outlook in the rectification movements during the revolution, otherwise, one would be misled to believe that China had a bourgeois democratic revolution of the old type, instead of the new democratic revolution which passed on to the socialist revolution without interruption!

Chang’s attempted to distort the target of the revolution for the gang’s own ends, By trumping up the article, “On Exercising All Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie” (see Peking Review no. 14, 1975, see page 9 especially). In this article Chang states: “If Marxism is limited, curtailed and distorted in theory and practice, if the dictatorship of the proletariat is turned into an empty phase, or all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie is crippled by amputation and exercized only in some spheres but not all, or only at a certain stage (for instance before the transformation of the system of ownership) but not at all stages, or in other words, if not all of the fortified villages of the bourgeoisie are destroyed but some are left: allowing the bourgeoisie to expand again, doesn’t this mean preparing the conditions for bourgeois restoration? Doesn’t it mean turning the dictatorship of the proletariat into a thing that protects the bourgeoisie..”(our emphasis) What Chang is doing actually is attacking Chairman Mao Tsetung and the Chinese Constitution.

Both Chairman Mao and the Chinese Constitution state, “The proletariat must exercize all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in the superstructure, including all spheres of culture.” (Article 12, page 16 Chinese Constitution) Chang article is idealistic because what is called for by Chairman Mao and the constitution is ideological dictatorship over the national bourgeoisie. According to Article 14, pages 17-18 of the Chinese Constitution, “The state deprives the landlords, rich peasants, reactionary capitalists and other bad elements of political rights.” As for the national bourgeoisie it is a matter of education and reform. “As their thorough remoulding can be achieved only in the course of work, they should engage in labour together with the staff and workers in the enterprises and regard these enterprises as the chief place in which to remould themselves. But it is important for them to change some of their old views through study. Such study should be on a voluntary basis...” (SELECTED WORKS OF MAO TSETUNG, Vol. 5, page 403)

Again, the Gang of 4 muddled the concept of scientific socialism on a series of questions. They spread the lie that socialist revolution and class struggle are the ULTIMATE GOAL of communists, but “To communists, socialist revolution and class struggle are means and not objectives; we should use these means to achieve our ultimate goal, i.e., the realization of communism through socialism.” (Peking Review, No. 34, page 31)

The Gang of 4 were masters of babbling the r-r-revolutionary phase (Lenin) and used this tactic to undermine & tamper with Mao’s revolutionary line.

(End Part One)