Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Dan Burstein

Report From China on Studying and Upholding the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

First Published: Class Struggle, No. 2, Summer 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Publisher’s Note: Dan Burstein is a member of the Central Committee of the October League. He led a recent delegation of OL cadres on a trip to the People’s Republic of China.

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Those who recognize only the class struggle are not yet Marxists; they may be found to be still within the boundaries of bourgeois thinking and bourgeois politics. To confine Marxism to the doctrine of class struggle means curtailing Marxism, distorting it, reducing it to something which is acceptable to the bourgeosie. Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is what constitutes the most profound difference between the ordinary petty (as well as big) bourgeois. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. (Lenin, The State and Revolution, 1917.)

From the moment Karl Marx and Frederick Engels first enunciated the revolutionary principles of scientific socialism, the working class has had to carry out a protracted struggle against those who would rob Marxism of its very heart – the theory that it is the toiling millions who must seize political power in their own hands, overthrow the capitalist oppressors, and carry out the dictatorship of the working class over the old ruling classes. Thus the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat has always been at the center of the struggle between Marxism and opportunism.

Today, it is some twenty years after the revisionist clique in the USSR reversed the proletarian dictatorship there and installed the new bourgeois dictatorship. In the time since, a split of great strategic importance has taken place in the communist movement all over the world – a split between the fighters for Marxism-Leninism, and those who would revise the ideology of the working class to serve the interests of imperialism. In every country, this split has borne its reflection in the question of whether or not to fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In the Soviet Union, the opponents of the dictatorship of the proletariat succeeded in their counter-revolutionary coup d’etat. They used the mask of a so-called “state of the whole people” to wipe out working class power, and ’ establish a new bourgeois dictatorship. In the People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, opponents of the proletarian dictatorship such as Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao were isolated and defeated through the rich experiences of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. These two experiences in the Soviet Union and in China are a source of great education and instruction for all Marxist-Leninists.


The dictatorship of the proletariat must be the revolutionary aim of the class struggle in the U.S. On the one hand, this battle takes firm aim at the whole imperialist system, because it changes the principal forms of ownership, and consistently restricts the growth of capitalism. In fact, it sets the conditions for the step-by-step obliteration of capitalism and all its seeds, reflections, and agents. On the other hand, the fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat also strikes terror in the heart of the modern revisionists – the very ones who have in fact not only compromised with imperialism, but gone over to its camp completely. In the U.S., it is the CPUSA, the leading proponents of revisionism, who have completely eradicated the fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat from their program. Therefore, it is up to the developing Marxist-Leninist movement to build a new vanguard party of the working class which will not hesitate to inscribe the aim of proletarian dictatorship on its banner.

Marx described the dictatorship of the proletariat as “the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally.” (Marx, The Class Struggles in France, 1848-50.) As early as the 1840’s, Marx recognized that socialism, through the use of working class dictatorship, was a transition from capitalism to genuine communism. He pointed out that when this transition was complete, classes and class struggle would disappear. But he noted that in the period of socialism class struggle would still take place, as the reactionary influences of the capitalist and other classes would continue to exert their influence on the working class and socialist society as a whole.

Said Marx, “What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society, which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.” (Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875.)

In order to show the tasks that lay before the working class, Marx pointed out that it was not just the clearly-defined and easily visible social classes which the dictatorship of the proletariat had to destroy, but also all its fabric of relations of production and ideology, in order for real communism to win its victory.


On this point, Marx stated, “This socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of all class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.” (The Class Struggles in France, 1848-50.)

Lenin and the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union dealt with this problem very concretely. They defeated the Tsar, the capitalists, and the landlords. They held off the imperialists and reactionaries who attempted to invade the newly-born USSR. But they discovered that their struggle against capitalism had only just begun with these first steps. In “Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder (1920), Lenin went so far as to say that under socialism, the struggle against the bourgeoisie not only remained an important task, but in fact, the power of the bourgeoisie was “increased tenfold by its overthrow.” He attributed the new strength of the bourgeoisie in part to its international connections and support from international capital. But its real strength was internal. Its strength, says Lenin, lies in “the force of habit, in the strength of small production. For, unfortunately, small production is still very, very widespread in the world and small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.”

Thus, fifty-five years ago, Lenin showed that the danger of counter-revolution under socialism did not necessarily come primarily from the outside, or even from the overthrown ruling classes. He observed that even while socialism was being built, a newly-engendered bourgeoisie was also growing up. And it was this newly-engendered bourgeoisie, which in the 50’s led the way in fulfilling the dreams of the old bourgeoisie, and restoring capitalism.


How can it be that a new bourgeoisie develops even while socialism is being built. The key to understanding this question, is understanding “bourgeois right” or the implications of “equal rights” in a new-born socialist society still made up of “unequal” people. Since socialism cannot abolish all the different capitalist forms and influences over night, the problem of bourgeois right exists for some time. Socialism especially cannot even eliminate all private ownership in one stroke, it can only seize for the worker’s state the largest and most important industries. As for the rest, a period of transition is necessary to bring them under state ownership by the whole people. During such a period of transition, and a long one at that, private ownership and collective ownership exist, and both of these types of ownership contain the seeds which can engender capitalism .They must exist out of necessity in order to facilitate the transition, but at the same time, the bourgeois right which they imply must also be combated out of necessity.

Marx pointed out that even by extending equal rights to all under socialism, there was still a bourgeois limitation implied. This is because socialism raises the principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” As a result, everyone may work, but everyone may work to a different capacity, have a different level of skill, and have a different number of mouths to feed in a family. As Marx observed, “One worker is married, another not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with equal performance of labor, and hence an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on.” (Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875.)

Engels continued on this theme in his work, Anti-Duhring (1878). Using the metaphor of a bachelor who lives “like a lord, happy and content” making 12 shillings a day, Engels, compares this to the widower with eight children who makes the same 12 shillings. Combating Duhring’s metaphysical view that this was “quantitatively equal consumption,” Engels showed that under such conditions, all the ingredients are present to begin selling commodities on the side, loaning money, and charging interest. Said Engels, “both the opportunity and the motive are present, on the one hand to form a hoard, and on the other to run into debt.” Thus, capitalist relations and capitalism itself would rapidly grow in Duhring’s supposedly “equal society.”

In the experience of the Soviet Union, these problems foreseen in the writings of Marx and Engels became concrete realities. Lenin was keenly aware of the tasks on the agenda of the new socialist society to combat bourgeois right, which he pointed out, existed everywhere that there was private property and private consumption.

Commenting on the transition from capitalism to communism, Lenin said, “In the first phase of communist society (usually called Socialism) “bourgeois right” is not abolished in its entirety, but only in part, only in proportion to the economic revolution so far attained, i.e., only in respect to the means of production.” (The State and Revolution, 1917.)

The final elimination of bourgeois right could only come with real communism, and the application of the principle, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Under such a society, there would be no private property, because all needs would be provided for by society as a whole, and all people would work for society as a whole. But for the socialist Soviet Union, this communist society was a long way off in both the development of the productive forces and the advance of political consciousness in the struggle to defeat capitalism fully. As the method of advancing from socialism to communism, therefore, and to combat and restrict bourgeois right, Lenin advocated the continued strengthening of the proletarian dictatorship over the bourgeoisie: “For all these reasons the dictatorship of the proletariat is essential and victory over the bourgeoisie is impossible without a long, stubborn and desperate war of life and death, a war demanding perseverance, discipline, firmness, indomitableness and unity of will.” (“Left-Wing”’ Communism, 1920.)


On February 22 of this year, a historic new study campaign was introduced in the People’s Republic of China. On that day, the People’s Daily carried 33 expositions by Marx, Engels, and Lenin on the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The editor’s note which introduced the expositions carried some instructions from Chairman Mao Tsetung, which began, “Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? This question must be clearly understood. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation.”

Today in China, hundreds of millions of workers, soldiers, and peasants have been mobilized into vast study groups and theoretical contingents, going into great depth on the Marxist-Leninist principles of the proletarian dictatorship. In every factory, state office, and commune the masses of people are taking up Marxist-Leninist theory, and summing up the experiences of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the campaign to criticize Confucius and Lin Piao in a theoretical way. Through this method, the Communist Party of China is leading the development of the political consciousness of the masses, and in doing so, providing a vast fighting army for combating and preventing revisionism.


One worker in a Shanghai steel mill told the delegation of October League cadres, “Through our study we are learning that the People’s Liberation Army, by itself, is not enough to defend socialism and our working class dictatorship. In the old days, I thought that all we needed was the PLA. But now I see that the real purpose of the dictatorship, of the proletariat is to fight against far more than external enemies. We must dig up the soil that engenders capitalism, and on the basis of our study restrict bourgeois right so that we create conditions where the old bourgeoisie can’t exist and a new one can’t grow.”

Continuing on the subject of the study campaign in this particular steel mill, several workers commented on the struggle against what was known as the “3 difficulties and the 3 lacks.” These “difficulties and lacks” constituted a bourgeois view held by many cadres on the development of socialist society. “It is difficult to be a cadre because he lacks authority,” went one such view. Or, “It is difficult to do work because we lack laws and regulations.” Or, “It is difficult to work with the masses because we lack rewards and punishments.”

These views were soundly criticized during the last few years, especially as the workers learned how similar they were to various ideas peddled by Confucius in his time, and Lin Piao in his. Both these reactionaries preached that the masses were ignorant and had to be forced to work like children or slaves. But while it was correct to criticize these “bad attitudes” towards the masses held by cadre, the real task was to sum up the origin of these “bad attitudes” in a theoretical way. This theoretical summation is now taking place in line with Chairman Mao’s instructions to study the dictatorship of the proletariat. It has pointed out that all these “bad attitudes” are a manifestation of “bourgeois right” among the cadres. In fact, the items raised as “lacks” (authority, regulations, rewards and punishments) are the very items which the working class dictatorship should restrict as part of the restriction of bourgeois right.

As a result of the current study, the cadres are learning to rely more firmly on the masses, while the workers as a whole are taking up their role even more boldly as masters of society. Bonuses and material incentives can be rejected as methods of promoting production on the basis of the advanced political level of the workers. In fact, in this particular plant, there is a great “subbotnik”[1] movement, of hundreds of workers who volunteer extra labor time on an unpaid basis, in order to better serve the people.

Throughout China, the current study campaign has revealed that bourgeois right exists in many forms, and a great number of economic relations still bear the hallmarks of capitalism. Chairman Mao, in his initial instructions on the study of theory pointed out, “In a word, China is a socialist country. Before liberation she was much the same as capitalism. Even now she practices an eight-grade wage system,[2] distribution to each according to his work and ex-change by means of money, which are scarcely different from those in the old society. What is different is that the system of ownership has changed.” And it is the change in the system of ownership which enables the proletarian dictatorship to restrict these capitalist remnants, and to restrict bourgeois right rather than expanding it.


Through the study campaign, a deep-going understanding is developing of the various differences and “inequalities” which still exist in Chinese society. It is an objective fact, for instance, that there is a difference between life in the city and life in the country, or between the life of a peasant and the life of a worker. And there exists a similar type of difference between those who do mainly manual and those who do mainly mental labor. Even within one factory there are differences in wages and differences in living standards. In addition, agricultural production organized into the people’s communes, occupies 90 per cent of China’s farmland. Yet the people’s communes, advanced as they are over the old cooperatives, are still collectively-owned by those who work them, not state-owned by the whole people. These are all products of socialism developing step-by-step inside the shell of the old, capitalist society. In the past, these differences were widely recognized, but not always carefully restricted. But now, in studying the experience of revisionism taking hold of the Soviet Union and capitalist restoration there, it has become clear that the growth and expansion of bourgeois right paved the way for the new tsars to seize power. As a result, the Communist Party of China is paying greater attention than ever to strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat as the chief weapon for restricting bourgeois right steadily and systematically. Great emphasis is placed on the concrete steps which serve to narrow the differences and restrict bourgeois right, such as the movement of educated youth from the cities to integrate with the peasants in the countryside, or the training of peasants in the urban university centers.

In a major article appearing in Hongqi,[3] Yao Wen-yuan, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, detailed what the social basis for the Lin Piao anti-party clique was, and how it sought to turn back the restriction of bourgeois right, expanding it instead. In this article, Yao Wen-yuan shows that while it is fairly clear that Lin Piao represented the interests of the old exploiters by trying to restore capitalism, this is not the full essence of the question. In fact, “The Lin Piao anti-party clique represented not only the hope of the overthrown landlord and capitalist classes for a restoration but also the hope of the newly-engendered bourgeois elements in socialist society for usurping power.” Tracing what might happen if bourgeois right is not checked, and if elements like Lin Piao actually did come to power, Yao Wen-yuan notes: “When the economic strength of the new bourgeoisie grows to a certain extent, its agents will ask for political rule, try to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat and the socialist system, completely change the socialist ownership, and openly restore and develop the capitalist system. Once in power, the new bourgeoisie will first of all carry out a bloody suppression of the people and restore capitalism in the superstructure...”

“Such is the process of restoration that has already taken place in the Soviet Union,” concludes Yao.

Proceeding from this understanding, the article shows how Lin Piao attacked the May 7th Cadre Schools,[4] as “disguised unemployment.” In fact this was nothing more than an attempt to win over a section of office workers by convincing them that they should steer clear of integrating with the masses, and remain overlords riding on the backs of the masses. This line had a certain appeal to those office workers seeking an “easy road” and who wished to “feather their own nest.” While very small in number, these kind of people still had the effect of introducing capitalist ideology and even capitalist relations into the society.


Lin Piao was also fond of trying to use money and material incentives to expand bourgeois right. While he claimed to have an entire theory about “improving production” through these incentives, his real plan was to develop a high-paid privileged stratum of the working class, who would then act as agents of the new bourgeoisie within the workers’ movement. Everywhere the proletariat attempted to restrict bourgeois right and carry out socialist construction, Lin Piao tried to expand bourgeois right and promote capitalism. This experience proves the intensity of the class struggle even under socialism. If the working class doesn’t firmly lay hold of every factory, commune, and enterprise, then the bourgeoisie will certainly find its way into control of these things.

But in addition to the class struggle in general, the newly-engendered bourgeois elements have a great influence on the two-line struggle within the party itself. The proof of this is the following Lin Piao was able to build, and the number of honest people who were taken in by his schemes. It is for this reason, too, that Chairman Mao has stressed this new campaign of theoretical work and study. Yao Wen-yuan points out in his article that, “When a revisionist trend of thought surfaces, one may be taken in and may even blindly board the gangsters’ boat because of the idea of bourgeois right in one’s own mind or because of failure to discern it.” Seen in this light, the current study campaign is a sharp blow against the empiricism which allowed the opportunists and capitalist agents to fool some people, and to make the masses vigilant defenders of the dictatorship of the proletariat by understanding its historical significance.

What will happen to all the aspects of bourgeois right which the current study campaign is revealing? In another major document, Chang Chun-chiao, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, pointed out that the reason such things as commodity production, exchange through money, and distribution according to work still exist, is because socialist development has not yet reached the point where they can be abolished. The key task, therefore, is not to abolish all remaining vestiges of capitalism in one sweep, but to destroy their influence systematically while developing socialist construction to the point where they can be abolished.

In his article, Chang Chun-chiao points out that all steps will be taken to curb the harm caused by capitalist remnants. Says Chang, “We are confident that under the leadership of the Party, the broad masses have the strength and the ability to fight against the bourgeoisie and finally vanquish it.”

Pointing out the difficulty of conducting socialist education among hundreds of millions of peasants, and noting that this task will take several generations, Chang emphasizes that in spite of all obstacles, the socialist road is the only road for China’s masses. Historically, China’s poor and lower peasants, the majority of the population, have under the Party’s leadership, united with the middle peasants for a “step by step advance from mutual-aid teams to the elementary and advanced agricultural producer’s cooperatives and then to the people’s communes.” And, observes Chang, “We can surely lead them onward.”

Thus the campaign to get a clear idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat and combat and prevent revisionism is a great step forward in China’s advance along the socialist road and an unprecedented development in the international experience of working people.


One hundred years ago, in 1875, Marx wrote Critique of the Gotha Program as a warning to Liebnecht in Germany whose revolutionary group, known as the Eisenachers, was about to join forces with the opportunists headed by Lasalle. While working people all over Germany valued unity highly, this unity was a poisoned bait offered by the followers of Lasalle, because the Lasalleans insisted on removing the dictatorship of the proletariat as the aim of the German worker’s movement. As Engels said, they “intended, under the pretext of reorganizing society, to preserve the foundations of existing society...” (Principles of Communism). Critique of the Gotha Program was Marx’s response, in which he showed the absolute necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat to making a genuine revolution. Subsequent history proved this to be true as the Lasalleans became enmeshed in the swamp of German social-democracy, not only failing to bring about socialism, but in fact, capitulating to all the worst elements of rising German imperialism.

As we seek to build a new communist party in the United States today, we should not forget the rich legacy of the last hundred years of working class struggle. On the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, we must not waver or compromise. Support for this strategic aim is the first point of unity for a new party, and none who disagree with it should be allowed into our ranks.


But there are different kinds of disagreements, and one of the most dangerous kinds is with those who conceal their real views and intentions. It is not enough to simply support the dictatorship of the proletariat in words-such kind of agreement is only superficial. We must seek Marxist-Leninist unity with those who thoroughly and resolutely uphold the dictatorship of the proletariat, not those who obscure its real significance, attempt to ignore it, or worse yet, confuse it with the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Thus we must combat the revisionists of the CPUSA who openly attack the dictatorship of the proletariat, and oppose any “united action” under their leadership. At the same time, we must wage the struggle against the conciliators who downplay the struggle against revisionism, water down the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and as a result objectively aid the growth of revisionism.

The theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat is under attack on several fronts, especially from some who claim to be “anti-revisionist” but have proven themselves to be conciliators with revisionism. For example, there are those who refuse to recognize the Soviet Union today as a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie even though they may admit that it has “gone bad.” This kind of stand actually fans the flames of revisionism, because it obscures the essence of the state as a class dictatorship of one or another class. It makes it seem as if both the working class and ruling class could somehow “share” power. It merges the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Such unclarity can only throw blinders on the proletariat’s real tasks of overthrowing its exploiters and winning political power for itself.

Another liquidator of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the attacks that come from certain pessimistic, petty-bourgeois circles on the genuine party-building struggle of the October League and other Marxist-Leninists. “The movement is too backward to build a party,” say some; or “our forces are too small,” say others. As party-building intensifies these complaints are seen more clearly for what they are-efforts to keep the working class hopelessly in a state of primitive struggle, leaderless and disorganized. Without a party, socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be won. Viewed in this light, the anti-party pessimists are serving to lengthen the duration of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie rather than hasten the dictatorship of the proletariat.


Speaking of this type of phenomena, Chang Chun-chiao wrote in his article:

It is imperative to exercise all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, and it is absolutely impermissable to give it up halfway. There are undeniably some comrades among us who have joined the Communist Party organizationally but not ideologically. In their world outlook they have not yet stepped out of the confines of small production and of the bourgeoisie. They do approve of the dictatorship of the proletariat at certain stages and in certain spheres and are pleased with certain victories of the proletariat, because these will bring them some gains; once they have secured these gains, they feel it’s time to settle down and feather their cosy nests. As for exercising all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, as for following up the first step on the ten-thousand mile long march, sorry, let others do the job; here is my stop and I must get off the bus. We would like to offer a piece of advice to these comrades: “It’s dangerous to stop halfway! The bourgeoisie is beckening you. Catch up with the ranks and continue the advance!”

Yes, it is dangerous to stop halfway. A proletarian movement that raises the revolutionary banner of the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be encumbered in its advance by careerists seeking to hold onto their precious position. In the long run, even if such careerists make some contributions at a certain stage of the struggle, stopping halfway in their ideology can only become a reactionary brake on the workers struggle. Understanding this, the new party must not only assail the bourgeoisie with the fight for proletarian dictatorship it must carry out the proletarian dictatorship within its own ranks, combating all remnants of bourgeois ideology and strengthening the proletarian forces.

From the experience of China where the working class has been building socialism for a quarter century, we should learn the significance of the continued existence of classes and class struggle. In a society such as ours, permeated in every way by the outlook of the bourgeoisie, many bourgeois influences are certain to find their way into the party. We should never delude ourselves into the revisionist way of thinking that “we are all communists” and as such, class struggle within the party is not necessary. This is the same sleeping pill given the Soviet people in the form of “we are all in a state of the whole people,” As soon as the proletariat ceases to combat the bourgeoisie, it will find itself under the heel of a new bourgeoisie. As soon as a proletarian party ceases to combat the influence of the bourgeoisie, it will become a bourgeois party.


In carrying out this class struggle, we should learn from the historic statement of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto that, “The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.” The dictatorship of the proletariat is the historic weapon with which we plan to combat all tendencies of capitalism and carry out socialist construction, and therefore we should boldly propagandize for this revolutionary dictatorship. On no account should we shrink from the term, as some have suggested, or find a “prettier” word. Such efforts to make Marxism-Leninism “more contemporary” or “more in step with the United States,” are nothing but efforts to make Marxism more like capitalism.

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a fundamental question of Marxist-Leninist theory, and errors made by both “honest people” and opportunists alike emphasize the attention we should pay to theory. In introducing Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program, Engels said of Liebnecht’s errors. “He has always been confused theoretically,” and as a result failed to distinguish between Marxism and Lasalle’s opportunism, even though he had good intentions.

Today in China, the masses in the millions are studying theory to be able to distinguish Marxism clearly from revisionism, and defeat any new Liu Shao-chi’s or Lin Piao’s who might emerge. While we don’t hold state power in the U.S., and though our forces are small, we too should get a firmer grasp of Marxist theory and train thousands of working class comrades in its principles. In just the short time that efforts to build a new communist party have been underway, we have seen all sorts of revisionists, conciliators, and pessimists try to turn us onto a different road. Once the party is built, these efforts will only intensify. We should prepare to meet them with the firmest possible understanding of Marxism-Leninism, the most scientific application of theory to concrete conditions, and the widest use of theory as a weapon in the hands of rank-and-file party members and workers.


[1] “Subbotniks” – In 1919, Lenin called on the Russian people to learn from the Subbotniks. Taking their name from “Subbota” meaning Saturday; these workers volunteered their spare time to build a vitally-needed railway without pay from the state.

[2] “Eight-grade wage system” – In China, not all workers receive the same wages. While the eight grades are a remnant of capitalist relations, the important thing is that the gap is steadily being narrowed. The top of the wage-scale is frozen, while the bottom consistently rises.

[3] “Hongqi”–(Red Flag). This article appeared in issue number 3, 1975 of the Communist Party of China’s theoretical journal.

[4] “May 7th Cadre Schools ” – Initiated as part of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Mao Tsetung called on cadres, office workers, and others to set up schools where they could go for terms of six months or a year to both do heavy physical labor and integrate with the peasants as well as studying Marxism-Leninism in a deep way.