Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

China Study Group

The Capitalist Roaders Are Still on the Capitalist Road

The Two-Line Struggle and the Revisionist Seizure of Power in China

A Study for the Use of Marxist-Leninist Comrades


The revolutionary proletariat must battle two kinds of erroneous lines – the Right opportunist revisionist capitalist-road line and the ultra-“Left” line. These lines have different characteristics and have different roles at different times but they are both counter-revolutionary and are in direct opposition to the proletarian revolutionary line.

The essence of the proletarian revolutionary line in carrying forward revolution toward communism is embodied in the Marxist thesis of integrating the theory of uninterrupted revolution with the theory of the development of revolution by stages.

We are advocates of the Marxist theory of uninterrupted revolution. We hold that things are always moving forward and that socialism and communism are not and definitely must not be allowed to be separated by a Great Wall. We must persist in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and never stand still. At the same time, we are advocates of the Marxist theory of the development of revolution by stages. We maintain that different stages of development reflect the qualitative change of things, and we should not get confused with the qualitatively different stages, nor go beyond the stage of historical development to do what cannot possibly be accomplished at present. (“Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: Questions and Answers” PR #5l, 1975, p. 15, part 12)

The general characteristic of Right opportunism is to deny the need for revolutionary change at all and try to reverse it, while the general characteristic of “Left” opportunism is to deny the development of revolutionary change by stages, pushing for everything at once. This makes the goals unattainable, channels the revolutionary energy in the wrong direction and objectively aids Right opportunism by depleting the proletariat’s strength and demoralizing it.

“Left” opportunism is essentially petty bourgeois and is opposed to proletarian politics. It must always be combatted, but it becomes particularly dangerous at certain moments in the revolutionary process. In 1930 the “Left” dogmatist line of Li Li-san prevailed in the Red Army. He advocated abandoning the base areas to attack key cities and the revolutionary war with one blow. Many of the Red Army’s forces were wiped out before the correct line gained control again. This was one of the three “Left” lines that caused great losses to the revolutionary forces for extended periods between 1927 and 1935. More recently, ultra-“Left” tendencies emerged in the Cultural Revolution. The ultra-“Leftists” called for (among other things): (1) a complete readjustment and equalization of wages (an unrealizable objective that directed the struggle towards an equalization wages instead of their eventual elimination), (2) an end to all rules in factories (as opposed to only those which unreasonably perpetuated bourgeois right), (3) ultra-democracy (which would give the bourgeoisie a complete free hand), (4) “criticizing all and overthrowing all,” (5) forming a new “Marxist-Leninist” party, and (6) breaking off all foreign relations.

The ultra-“Left” was extremely sectarian, dividing the workers and students into many opposing groups, and called for violent struggle in many instances where it was not needed and played a counter-revolutionary divisive role instead of a revolutionary role. It attacked people instead of ideas, thereby robbing the struggle of its political content. Its main fault was to call for continued criticism and struggle without seeing the need for transformation and unity to consolidate the gains of the Cultural Revolution. Ultra-“Leftism,” because of its “radical” cover, had a large base of support among workers and students during the Cultural Revolution. After the revisionists had largely been defeated (but not vanquished) in 1967, it became the main danger in the struggle. In August, 1967, many ultra-“Leftists” were purged from the Cultural Revolution Group (which was formed to give leadership to the revolution) and a campaign was launched to consolidate the gains of the Cultural Revolution, re-educate the workers and students who had been taken in by the ultra-“Left” line, facilitate the transformation, and unify the Party. This campaign was led, first and foremost, by Chou En-lai, with the help of the “gang of four”, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan, Wang Hung-wen (see accounts of the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai in the books by Jean Daubier, Joan Robinson, and Victor Nee, listed in the Resources section), and others who had been active in mobilizing the masses of workers and peasants to defeat the revisionist headquarters and transform industry and education.

However, while it was absolutely necessary to wage a two-front struggle, against both the ultra-“Left” and the Right, the capitalist-roaders in the Party were only concerned with attacking the proletarian Left (labelling it “ultra-Left”) to protect themselves. In 1966, in response to P’eng Chen’s report that protected the Right and attacked the Left, Chairman Mao and the Central Committee released the May 16th circular which declared:

For their own ulterior purposes, the authors of the Report demand a ’rectification campaign’ against the staunch Left in a deliberate effort to create confusion, blur class alignments and divert people from the target of struggle. Their main purpose in dishing up the Report in such a hurry was to attack the proletarian Left. They have gone out of their way to build up dossiers about the Left, tried to find all sorts of pretexts for attacking it, and intended to launch further attacks on it by means of a ’rectification campaign’, in the vain hope of disintegrating its ranks. They openly resist the policy explicitly put forward by Chairman Mao of protecting and supporting the Left and giving serious attention to building it up and expanding its ranks. . They are filled with hatred for the proletariat and love for the bourgeoisie.

At a time when the new and fierce struggle of the proletariat against the representatives of the bourgeoisie on the ideological front has only just begun . . the Report stresses again and again that the struggle must be conducted ’under direction’, ’with prudence’, ’with caution’, and ’with the approval of the leading bodies concerned All this serves to place restrictions on the proletarian Left, to impose taboos and commandments in order to tie its hands, and to place all sorts of obstacles in the way of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In a word, the authors of the Report are rushing to apply the brakes and launch a vindictive counter-attack. . The Report opposes carrying the socialist revolution through to the end, opposes the line on the cultural revolution pursued by the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, attacks the proletarian Left and shields the bourgeois Right, thereby preparing public opinion for the restoration of capitalism. It is a reflection of bourgeois ideology in the Party; it is out-and-out revisionism.

On the surface, the criticisms of the “gang of four” today are for Right errors:

The Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao anti-Party clique is a bunch of ultra-Rightists and their counter-revolutionary revisionist line is an ultra-Right line . . They are ultra-Rightists, out and out capitalist-roaders, and the most ferocious counterrevolutionaries. . The infamous records of Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan show that they were linked with the Chaing Kai-shek Kuomingtang reactionaries in a thousand and one ways. The social basis of this gang is the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements and new and old bourgeosie. (Hua Kuo-feng in speech to Tachai Agricultural Conference, December 1976, PR #1, 1977, p. 36)

There is overwhelming evidence to show that it is completely false to characterize the “gang of four” line as ultra-Right capitalist-roader, the most convincing of which is that the present leaders, in their current campaign against the “gang of four”, have not attacked any of the tendencies of a capitalist-road line. They do not attack the “gang of four” for putting profits or production in command, or for pushing the “theory of productive forces,” or for making material incentives the motive force in production, or for pushing that experts run the factories, or for servility to foreign technology, or for wanting to consolidate the capitalist relations of production in agriculture or industry, or for widening the gaps between manual and mental labor, between worker and peasant, between town and countryside. They are not accused of downplaying class struggle and opposing revolution. The attacks they make on political line are, almost without exception, against ultra-“Left” tendencies and not capitalist-road tendencies. For instance, they accuse the “gang of four” of: advocating “overthrowing all” and encouraging violence when unnecessary (the article about Chou En-lai and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution definitely portrays them in this ultra-“Left” role. (PR #4, 1977), (2) unrealistically opposing foreign technology (PR #4, 1977), (3) opposing veteran cadre and trying to promote too many young cadre, (PR #7, 1977) (4) advocating continual struggle without transformation, and refusing to let mistaken cadre mend their ways (PR #4, 1977), (5) taking contradictions among the people for contradictions between the people and the enemy (PR #5, 1977), (6) using opposition to empiricism as a cover for being dogmatists (the actions of the “gang of four” were likened several times to the “Left” dogmatist line of Wang Ming and they were said to be “jackals from the same lair”) (PR #50, 1976, p. 14), (7) setting revolution against production, politics against economics, socialist consciousness against intellectual development, and political education against military training (various recent issues of PR).

All of the above errors are generally ultra-“Left” in nature and not Right. The charges are thoroughly unbased, as we are showing in the various sections of this study, but reflect the ultra-Right nature of the attackers, who purposefully try to characterize all the revolutionary elements of the proletarian line as “ultraLeft.” (In the following sections, we will deal specifically with the dialectic of production and revolution, the question of promoting new cadres and training successors to the revolution and re to reverse correct verdicts, and the question of antagonistic struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.)

Faced with the fact that the campaign against the four is primarily based on attacking “Left” errors, while they are called “capitalist-roaders” and “ultra-Rightists”, some Marxist-Leninists in the United States declare: “ultra-’Left’, ultra-Right. . it’s all the same!” This is a fundamental misconception that tries to cover up the weakest point in the criticism of the four. Ultra-“Left” and Right lines are different. Most importantly, they become the main danger at different moments in a revolutionary process. Comrade Joseph Stalin pointed out:

. . The chief cause of the crisis in the Czech Communist Party, 1925 lay in the difficulties entailed by the transition from a period of revolutionary upsurge to a period of lull. What is the character of the crisis and from where does the danger threaten, from the Left or from Right? . . The danger threatens from both sides. . the facts show, however, that the chief danger comes from the Right and not from the Left.

Why is the danger from the Right the more serious danger at the present time? Firstly, the transition itself from upsurge to lull, by its very nature, increases the chances of danger from the Right. Whereas an upsurge gives rise to revolutionary illusions and causes the Left danger to become the principal one, a lull, on the contrary, gives rise to social democratic reformist illusions and causes the Right danger to become the principal one. In 1920, when the working-class movement was on the upgrade, Lenin wrote his pamphlet ’Left-Wing Communism an Infantile Disorder.’ Why did Lenin write this particular pamphlet? Because at that time the Left danger was the more serious danger. I think that if Lenin were alive he would now write another pamphlet entitled ’Right-Wing Communism, an Old-Age Disorder,’ because, at the present time, in the period of lull, when illusions about compromise are bound to grow, the Right danger is the most serious danger. (Joseph Stalin, Speech to the Czechoslavak Commission of the ECCI, 1925)

During the period of socialism, Right opportunism, revisionism, and capitalist-readers are the main danger. In specific periods of upheaval . . such as the Cultural Revolution after the Right danger had been defeated for the moment, the “Left” danger became temporarily the principal danger.

Marxism-Leninism must always wage a two-front struggle against both Right and ultra-“Left” lines, but during the overall period of socialism the Right danger is definitely principal. Correctly determining what is the principal danger at a given time is extremely important and determines the general orientation of the struggle. Chairman Mao has said:

At the same time as we criticize dogmatism, we must direct our attention to criticizing revisionism. Revisionism or Right opportunism is a bourgeois trend of thought that is even more dangerous than dogmatism. The revisionists, the Right opportunists, pay lip service to Marxism; they, too, attack “dogmatism.” But what they are really attacking is the quintessence of Marxism. (Mao Tse-tung: Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People, 1957, Selected Readings, p. 466)

Chairman Mao also said:

Guard against revisionism and especially its emergence in the Central Committee of our Party . . What will you do if revisionism emerges in the Central Committee of our Party? This is highly probable and it presents the greatest danger. (quoted in PR #50, 1976, p. 13)

Comrade Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania, recently reiterated this point at the 7th Party Congress of the PLA in November, 1976:

The class struggle waged during the whole existence of the Party, as well as recently, has shown that the main danger and enemy of our Party and the entire international revolutionary communist workers’ movement has been and still is Right opportunism, revisionism.

After the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution (from 1969 on), the period of consolidation and transformation necessarily led to the danger of class conciliation and Right opportunism. Realizing this danger and the power that the Right line had already managed to regain in the Party, in late 1975 Chairman Mao launched the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution. This struggle had won some victories, and Teng Hsiao-ping had been removed, but the Rightists had in no way been defeated, even momentarily, and were waging strong resistance on every front. Furthermore, according to the Chinese press at the time, and contrary to what the present leaders say now, the anti-Rightist campaign was led by the Party in orderly disciplined way and was not marked by violence or anti-Party ultra-“Left” antagonism. Nor was production threatened; on the contrary, it increased during the period of struggle (see section 12). No one was advocating any of the ultra-“Left” deviations that were widespread at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

The fact is that the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend had not gone to far; on the contrary, it had not gone far enough, as the present leaders themselves have proved by usurping power. Only Teng Hsiao-ping and a few ministers had been removed from their posts. There was mass struggle in many provinces directed at various provincial Party leaders and other local leaders, but there is nothing wrong with this. Such struggle can only be healthy, to shake up the bureaucratic tendencies. Certainly there are many bureaucrats with revisionist leanings on many levels. Chairman Mao and the Communist Party declared on the eve of the Cultural Revolution:

Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the Government, the Army and various spheres of culture are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize politic power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Some of them we have already seen through, others we have not, Some are still trusted by us and are being trained as our successors, person like Khrushchev, for example, who are still nestling beside us. Party committees at all levels must pay full attention to this matter . . It is necessary to criticize and repudiate those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the Government, the Army and all spheres of culture [referring to the Ministry of Culture, the press, etc. before the Cultural Revolution], and to clear them out or transfer some of them to other positions. (May 16 circular)

Chairman Mao declared again in 1967:

I said at a rally in 1962 that the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism has not yet come to an end and it was quite probable that revisionism would win while we would lose. We reminded everyone of the possibility of defeat in order to help everyone’s vigilance against revisionism . . If world outlook is not reformed, then although 2000 capitalist-roaders are removed in the current Great Cultural Revolution, 4000 others may appear the next time. The struggle between the two classes and two lines cannot be settled in one, two, three, or four cultural revolutions. (People’s China, Milton, Milton, and Shurmann, Random House, p. 261)

The struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend, launched by Chairman Mao in late 1975, was certainly a legitimate and highly necessary struggle that meant to arouse the masses of people to criticize bureaucracy and revisionism at all levels. This is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. Only revisionists need to oppose it. All those under attack were certainly not all-out counter-revolutionaries, but this can only be determined through struggle. The charge that the present leaders now constantly make, saying the “gang of four” called 70% of the Party cadres “bourgeois democrats and capitalist-roaders” and opposed all veteran cadres is a deceitful lie and is thoroughly unbased. No reference to this can be seen in any Chinese documents that have been translated from 1975-1976. The truth is that the Chinese press constantly reiterated that 90% of the cadres and masses were good, that when errors are made the “sickness must be cured to save the patient.” However, they did advocate resolute struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping and a handful of unrepentant capitalist-roaders. No one denied that, as Chairman Mao has often said, 95% of all cadres are basically good; certainly far less than 5%, far less than 1/10 of 1% of all 30,000,000 members of the CCP were purged or demoted during the anti-revisionist struggle of 1975-1976 (in fact, we know of not one person who was purged from the Party). The changes brought about during the anti-revisionist struggle were only a drop in the bucket compared with the flood of the Cultural Revolution. But for the present leaders, “ferreting out Teng’s agents” and “inciting the masses to struggle against provincial Party leaders, army commanders, and leading comrades of the Party and government” was going too far and “distorting” and “calling their own tune” in the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend; it was “confusing contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy.”

The basic line in handling contradictions in socialist society was outlined by Chairman Mao in 1957:

Since they are different in nature, the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy and the contradictions among the people must be resolved by different methods. To put it briefly, the former are a matter of drawing a clear distinction between ourselves and the enemy, and the latter a matter of drawing a clear distinction between right and wrong. .

The people’s democratic dictatorship uses two methods. Towards the enemy, it uses the method of dictatorship . . Towards the people, on the contrary, it uses the method not of compulsion but of democracy. .

Quite a few people fail to make a clear distinction between these two different types of contradictions – those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people – and are prone to confuse the two.

Many dare not openly admit that contradictions still exist among the people of our country, although it is these very contradictions that are pushing our society forward. Many do not admit that contradictions continue to exist in a socialist society, with the result that they are handicapped and passive when confronted with social contradictions; they do not understand that socialist society will grow more united and consolidated through the ceaseless process of the correct handling and resolving of contradictions. ..

The question of suppressing counter-revolutionaries is one of a struggle between ourselves and the enemy, a contradiction between ourselves and the enemy .. . Those with a Rightist way of thinking make no distinction between ourselves and the enemy and take the enemy for our own people. They regard as friends the very persons whom he broad masses regard as enemies. Those with a “Left” way of thinking magnify contradictions between ourselves and the enemy to such an extent that they take certain contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy and regard as counter-revolutionaries parsons who are actually not counter-revolutionaries. Both these views are wrong. (Mao Tse-tung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Readings, pp. 432-478)

Many people outside China deny that it is possible to judge whether or not the “gang of four” and their associates are guilty of “going too far”, of “confusing contradictions among the people for antagonistic contradictions,” and therefore they rely on the denunciations made by the present leaders. Many of those who remain today as leaders of the CCP, such as Yeh Chien-ying, Hsu Shi-yu, Li Hsien-nien, Wei Kuo-ching, and Su Chen-hua[1] have never led a struggle against revisionism. They have resisted the struggle all along, consistently opposed revolution, and were severely criticized during the Cultural Revolution, barely squeaking through by promising to mend their ways. Can these people justifiably criticize ultra-“Leftism” or correctly differentiate between the revolutionary proletarian Left line and ultra-“Left” opportunism?

Those who say “There are no landlords, there are no capitalists . . where is the bourgeoisie? Where are the antagonistic contradictions?” are not to be trusted when they accuse others of “confusing contradictions among the people for antagonistic contradiction.” Those who have never led, but who have always resisted, the mass struggle against revisionism are not to be trusted when they say the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend “went too far.”

We can be very sure that the persons most capable of correctly identifying ultra-“Leftism” are those seasoned in struggle against Right opportunism or revisionism. When Mao Tse-Chou En-lai, and Kang Sheng, three veteran revolutionaries who were among the vanguard of the Cultural Revolution, who resolutely took the initiative to arouse the masses to combat revisionism, criticized ultra-“Left” tendencies and purged ultra-“Leftists” such as Wang Li from the Cultural Revolution Group, we know that they were not trying to protect revisionism. When Chang Chun-chiao took the lead in opposing the ultra-“Left” factionalist tactics among the Shanghai workers’ organizations, the workers could trust him because he had also led the workers’ movement to overthrow the revisionist power structure in Shanghai. However, when revisionists who opposed the mass struggles from the beginning such as P’eng Chen, Liu Shao-chi, and Teng Hsiao-ping criticized ultra-“Leftism” and claimed there was “excessive struggle”, it is obvious that they were merely protecting revisionism.

Non-Chinese apologists for the present Chinese government say that Teng Hsiao-ping will now be brought back and that the contradiction with him was one “among the people”. This reflects the actions of the present leaders who have abruptly and completely halted the campaign against Teng and the struggle to beat back the Right deviationist trend. This is in direct contradiction to the unanimous decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CCP last April when it declared that “the Teng Hsiao-ping problem has become one of antagonistic contradiction.”

The present leaders imply that the only antagonistic contradiction in Chinese society today is that with the “gang of four” and their supporters. The substance of their criticisms of these people is that they are “ultraLeft”. In other words, the present leaders hold that anyone who has tendencies to encourage professional management and material incentives, increase bourgeois right, the division between mental and manual labor, the differences between town and countryside, to emphasize technique over politics, encourage dependence on foreign technology, the “theory of productive forces”, and so on, represents merely a “contradiction among the people” (or, as they actually believe, no contradiction at all). For them, the “class enemies” are those who oppose revisionism “too much”. It should be clear that such double-talk is only a weak cover for revisionism.

Right opportunism, revisionism, and capitalist-roaders are the main danger in China today. This fact has been put forward so strongly and repeatedly by Chairman Mao that even the present leaders cannot deny this. Therefore, they must in name attack “capitalist-roaders” while in substance they attack ultra-“Leftism”. In reality, they are attacking the proletarian revolutionary line put forward by Chairman Mao. Marxist-Leninists would never, given the current nature of the struggle in China and the fact that Right revisionism is the main danger, launch an attack on ultra-“Left” tendencies the way the present leaders are doing. Revisionists, on the other hand, due to their ultra-Right nature, from Khrushchev to Brezhnev to Teng Hsiao-ping to the U. S.’s own Gus Hall, must launch a vicious attack on the proletarian revolutionary line, slandering it as “ultraLeft”. Analyzing the most important concrete criticisms that have been brought up against the “gang of four”, we see that this is exactly what the present leaders are doing.

To confuse Right and “Left” opportunism is to confuse the basic line struggle and cover up the proletarian revolutionary line by mixing the Right and “Left” errors which help to define the correct line. By confusing the Right and ultra-“Left” lines, they try to deny that Right opportunism, revisionism, is the main danger during the socialist period.

Revisionists both in the Soviet Union and in China never really criticized the Marxist-Leninist line in a theoretical way, even though they oppose it. They cannot participate in honest theoretical public debate because they are not on the side of the people. They must attack Marxism-Leninism covertly. Their public attack is not centered on political line; although they use communist words, their attacks center on personality. When Khrushchev was forced to attack Stalin two years after his death, in a secret report to the 20th Party Congress, was his attack a theoretical analysis of Stalin’s line? No, of course not, because that would have revealed the anti-popular character of his own line. He called Stalin a “coward, an idiot, and a dictator,” “a 20th century Ivan the Terrible,” and attacked his “personality cult,” his “lust for power,” his “dictatorial manner,” “unfairness, “harshness,” and “cruelty.” This attack was not principled. It was anti-Marxist slander, trying to portray the two-line struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie as a simple power struggle between personalities. This is the essence of the attack on the “gang of four”. The revisionists attack Chiang Ching for wanting to become “empress Lu,” for acting like a “queen,” for wanting her picture taken, for playing cards, for not caring about Chairman Mao’s health, for being egotistical, conceited ad arrogant, for playing favorites, for being dictatorial, etc., etc., etc.

A person’s political line may be reflected in the way they live their life and handle situations. But this is all “evidence” that neither we nor the hundreds of millions of Chinese workers and peasants can confirm or deny. It is superficial and has no substance in terms of the mass struggle to criticize erroneous political lines and fight for communism. To accept the argument of the present leaders you must first of all accept as true that the “gang of four” were opportunist, power-hungry careerists and that this was the motive in their efforts to knock down capitalist-roaders. If you don’t start with this idea, the attack on the “gang of four” doesn’t hold together at all. Thus the very essence of the attack on the “gang of four” is based on something which is absolutely unverifiable, now or in the future, to any of the Chinese masses or Marxist-Leninists around the world. Similarly, their fantastic recent attempt to link the “gang of four” to Kuomingtang reactionaries (PR #19, 1977, pp. 36-37) before and after the revolution and call them all “Kuomingtang secret agents” is also unverifiable for everyone except those intimately connected with them (such as Chairman Mao, who was also apparently unaware of these “connections”). We must not be misled by such attacks, but rather understand that major struggles in the Party are two-line struggles and are political in nature. They represent struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

When Chairman Mao challenged the “Left” opportunist line of Wang Ming in 1935 and the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, this was in no way an “opportunist, power hungry careerist” action because Chairman Mao represented the correct line and Wang Ming the “Left” deviation. Thus all inner-Party struggles must be analyzed on the plane of political line. We cannot very easily judge the subjective desires of the “gang of four” nor is it necessary for us to do so. We must analyze what line they represent and what line those who oppose them represent. Political line must be the central aspect of criticism. Chairman Mao has said; “Statements should be based on facts and criticism should center on politics.” The fact that the revisionists divert the central aspect criticism to personal attacks, rumors, and unverifiable private conversations be Chairman Mao and Chiang Ching serves as a cover for their real but covert attack Marxist-Leninist line. It is a signal of their thoroughly bankrupt revisionist line.

Two documents, Chairman Mao’s On the Ten Major Relationships and Chairman speech of December 25, 1976, are now being studied all over China as the main theoretical documents in the campaign to criticize the “gang of four” (see PR #1, 1977, p. 6) On the Ten Major Relationships is a speech that Chairman Mao made to the Political Bureau on April 25, 1956, at the time the consolidation of the socialist economic was just being completed. It is a brilliant speech that outlines ten principal as building socialism. However, the class struggle in China at that time was very different than today. The Peoples’ Communes had not been built, the Great Leap of 1958-1959 had not yet occurred. No major struggle against capitalist-road tendencies had yet emerged. Chairman Mao speaks of counter-revolutionaries that carry out sabotage of the revolution by killing cattle, burning grain, wrecking factories, stealing information, and putting up reactionary posters. With the development and construction of soc ism, the forms that class struggle take have changed considerably. In the struggle against the Right deviation in the 1957 Socialist Education Movement, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the struggles to criticize Lin Piao and Teng Hsiao-ping, it has been clear that the main target of the class struggle of the proletariat are now the “Party persons in authority taking the capitalist road.” There are numerous works of Chairman Mao that profoundly analyze this struggle as well as the problems of socialist construction and revolution that the proletariat in China face today. The fact that the present leaders have chosen, instead, to launch a major campaign to study the 1956 work only confirms that the revisionists in China have been unwilling to accept the magnificent strides forward that the Chinese Revolution has taken in the last 20 years, particularly the Cultural Revolution.[2]

Chairman Hua’s speech, on the other hand, is definitely of the present era, but it as well does not tell us anything concrete about the present struggle. It does more to confuse than to clarify the nature of the struggle. Anyone reading only this speech would end up knowing little more than that the “gang of four” are an “ultra-Right anti-Party clique” who have now been purged.

Although the “gang of four” are called “capitalist-roaders” and “ultra-Rightists”, the spearhead of the attack is not directed at anything near the capitalist road or Right deviations. This is true for two reasons: (1) Yao Wen-yuan, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao and Wang Hung-wen did not push a Right revisionist line and did not cling to the capitalist road. Never in their entire history were any of them characterized by wanting to hang onto the old ways or pushing to consolidate capitalist relations in industry or agriculture. They were among the vanguard of the leaders during the Cultural Revolution and again in the current period were constantly arousing the masses in criticism and revolutionary struggle. (2) The current leaders are revisionists and therefore even if they could they never would launch a campaign to thoroughly study revisionism because it would only help expose their own revisionist line.

We can predict with certainty, based on the nature of the campaign against the “gang of four” and the complete reversal of the verdicts of last year’s struggle against Teng Hsiao-ping, that as long as Hua Kuo-feng and his clique are in power that there will never be another major struggle led by the Central Committee against the capitalist road tendencies such as putting profits and production in command, the “theory of productive forces,” material incentives, dependence on specialists, dependence on foreign technology, promoting irrational rules and regulations, increasing the divisions between city and country and between mental and manual labour, promoting examinations to exclude peasants and workers from school and designing schools to train an elite of professionals, encouraging a “professional” army, etc. etc. etc. The spearhead of their attack is now aimed at the Left and will remain there because they represent the bourgeoisie and defend the capitalist road line.

Some people in the United States who have researched the two-line struggle in China superficially have declared that “It’s true – the ’gang of four’ were ultra-’Leftists’, not Right opportunists, but the Chinese leaders are using the names ’capitalist-roader’ and ’ultra-Right’ to make it easier for the Chinese people to understand.” Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that this would be a fundamentally incorrect way to handle the two-line struggle and educate the masses, we must here deal with the attacks on the “gang of four” line as ultra-“Leftists” , which make up the concrete substance of the criticism put forward by the present leaders.


[1] We know from recent biographical articles in the Peking Review that Hua Kuo-feng never played a leading role in arousing mass criticism of revisionism during the Cultural Revolution. He was not involved in the central bodies at the time of the Cultural Revolution, as were these other leaders.

[2] The publication in April, 1977, of Vol. V of the Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, which is a compilation of writings from 1949-1957, also comes from the New Democratic stage of the revolution. The future publication of Volume VI will cover the period of two-line struggle after the consolidation of socialism and the Cultural Revolution. How the Hua government edits these works may show their attitude toward those struggles.