Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolution and Production in China

First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 31, December 6, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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One of the most important questions in the current struggle in China against the “gang of four” centers around the relationship between politics and production.

The “gang of four,” Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan went against Chairman Mao’s line of “grasping revolution, promoting production” and instead promoted revolutionary phrase-mongering to completely liquidate the struggle for production.

A front page article in the People’s Daily on Nov. 14 exposed the “gang of four” for sabotaging efforts to grasp revolution to promote production. It explains: “The ’gang of four’ didn’t know how to work a machine, grow a crop or fight a battle. Only by bludgeoning and labelling people did they manage to get along.

“They did not engage in production but opposed those who did. Should anyone talk about production or do something to promote it, they would fly into a fury and indiscriminately condemn him as a follower of the ’theory of productive forces’ on the pretext that he talked only about production, and not about revolution. Is the effort to promote production synonymous with the ’theory of the productive forces’? No!”

The “theory of productive forces” referred to in the People’s Daily article is a revisionist theory which has been promoted in China by the likes of Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping. This theory one-sidedly exaggerates the importance of developing industry and technology in society while negating the role of the social system, politics and ideology and the powerful role that these factors have in pushing forward the forces of production.

The “theory of the productive forces” as put forth by Teng Hsiao-ping, liquidated taking class struggle as the key link in building socialism.

As Chairman Mao pointed out: “Class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it.” Chairman Mao’s line was a continuation of Lenin’s teachings that, “Politics cannot but have precedence over economics. To argue differently means forgetting the ABC’s of Marxism.”

The People’s Daily article points out: “Teng Hsiao-ping was entirely wrong when he preached ’taking the three directives as the key link.’ We are opposed to the theory of productive forces at all times.”

Taking advantage of the struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping’s revisionist line of promoting production at the expense of revolution, the Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao faction promoted anarchy in production, and weakened China’s capacity for national defense and for supporting revolutionaries in other countries.

One example was around the question of space satellites. It is said by many people in China that the Soviet Union, where capitalism was completely restored, “sent satellite into the sky” but “trampled the red flag into the dust.”

The “gang of four,” however, claimed that when China launched satellites that the red flag would inevitably “trail in the dust.” The People’s Daily editorial states: “We the proletariat want both to keep the red flag flying from generation to generation and send satellites up into the sky.”

The “gang of four” asserted that production will go up automatically if revolution is carried out. While paying lip service to carrying out revolution, this line doesn’t take into account the difficult work that must go into production.


Another example of the “gang of four’s” line in practice was seen in their actions around the terrible earthquake that rocked China earlier this year. After the earthquake in Tangshan, Chairman Mao and the Party Central Committee showed great grief and concern.

Newly-elected Party Chairman Hua Kuo-feng himself visited the quake-affected area to express sympathy for the people. A massive relief effort was launched by the party leadership, saving thousands of lives and helping the injured victims. The mines in Tangshan were rebuilt and production restored.

But the “gang of four” undermined preparedness for natural disasters and minimized the damage caused by the quake, saying: “The earthquake affected only a few hundred square kilometers of land” and is only a matter of minor and “partial” importance.

The four conspirators have also been exposed for their opposition to the movement to “Learn from Tachai.” This socialist emulation campaign was initiated by a call from Chairman Mao to popularize the great advances made by the production brigade at Tachai commune.

The “gang,” however, tried to sabotage a national conference held last year on learning from Tachai. Chiang Ching went to the conference only to scorn Tachai’s experience and oppose the efforts to make this model commune a national pace-setter.

The People’s Daily editorial states: “In the name of ’revolution’ the ’gang of four’ poked their nose into everything and created trouble everywhere. ’Don’t be afraid to stop production or work,’ they shouted, so as to undermine the national economic plan and the strategic policy of ’be prepared against war, be prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people.’

“Wherever they went, they brought bourgeois factionalism and splits to undermine party leadership and divide the ranks of the working class.”

The article charges the four with clamoring against material incentives, while in fact resorting to material incentives themselves. It says: “They chanted loudly about ’restricting bourgeois right’ while they scrambled even more frenziedly than the capitalists for bourgeois right.”


“They appropriated at will the fruits of labor of the people, spent money like dirt with an unsparing hand and led a decadent and dissolute life, indulging in eating, drinking, pleasure-seeking, hunting, riding and watching old operas and vulgar films. They are out-and-out bourgeois elements sucking the blood of the workers.”

These are just a few of the charges against the “gang of four.” Their defeat has brought forth the largest outpouring of mass joy in China’s history. Their demise is a victory for the Chinese people, for socialism and for Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.