Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Workers’ Headquarters

Red Papers 8: China Advances on the Socialist Road: The Gang of Four, Revolution in the US, and the Split in the Revolutionary Communist Party

Class Struggle is the Key Link

Never forget classes; never forget class struggle.
Class struggle is the key link, everything else hinges on it.

These statements by Mao Tsetung reflect the historical and objective nature of socialism and give the outlook that the working class has to have to move forward. The general line of the Chinese Communist Party, in the formulation first put forward by Mao Tsetung in the autumn of 1962, embodies this outlook:

Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration. We must recognize the protracted and complex nature of this struggle, distinguish the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy from those among the people and handle them correctly. Otherwise a socialist country like ours will turn into its opposite and degenerate, and a capitalist restoration will take place. From now on we must remind ourselves of this every year, every month and every day so that we can retain a relatively sober understanding of this problem and have a Marxist-Leninist line.[1]

The fundamental contradiction under socialism is between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the same as under capitalism. However, there is a historic difference, in that the primary and secondary aspects of this contradiction are reversed. The proletariat is the principal aspect under socialism. It is the ruling class, and on that basis can step by step consciously transform all of society through a long period and through this move forward to communism.

This advance takes place through the three great revolutionary movements–the class struggle, the struggle for production, and scientific experiment. Mao stressed that because of the class nature of socialism, the fundamental contradiction under socialism and the prime importance of proletarian rule, the class struggle is and must be grasped as the principal revolutionary movement. This will no longer be true under communism, when classes themselves cease to exist.

Mao’s analysis of this problem did not end by saying what is principal. Only a pseudo-communist would smugly stop there. He said that everything else hinges on the class struggle, that the class struggle must be taken up within and guide everything in society. It runs through all the movements, and ultimately guides the development of all the contradictions in society. This is an objective fact, and communists must subjectively grasp it in order to lead the masses and move forward an all fronts– theoretical, political and economic.

The fact that class struggle runs through these different fronts, and that in the course of years it comes out sharpest now on the political front, now on the ideological, now on the economic front has been a basic Marxist understanding since Marx’s own writings.

Mao himself spoke in these terms many times, for example in the struggle against the bourgeois rightists in 1957:

The current struggle against the Rightists is essentially a political one. Class struggle takes various forms. This time it is chiefly a political, not a military or an economic struggle. Is it partly an ideological struggle? Yes, it is, but in my view the struggle is mainly political.[2]

Well, well, here we have at least four fronts and one key one at this time, but with the clear implication that under different conditions another front, even the economic front, might be the key front of class struggle!

The line of the Gang on the class struggle and how to grasp it and wage it was a counter-revolutionary, anti-Mao line. It negated the need for the working class to wage the class struggle on all fronts–always of course under the banner of the class struggle. This meant that the Gang was actually waging class struggle against the proletariat, both on the level of their real essence–rightist smash and grabbism so they could seize power, and on the level of their “left” cover by restricting the class struggle to the ideological front–and doing it wrong even within that.

The current CC upholds all of this, and would make this the guiding line and understanding of our Party. This puts them squarely against proletarian revolution in this country. The Gang’s line on the class struggle is not Mao’s line, it is not Marxism. It is counter-revolution dressed up in phrases about the class struggle.

The Three Directives

A wrong line on the class struggle runs through the entire line and practice of the Gang. This question was brought into sharp focus in the struggle over Mao’s directives, the three directives, of late 1974. And in his treatment of this struggle, Avakian stands exposed.

The way this struggle came down in China is dealt with in “Smashing the Gang.” Briefly, the three directives, calling for study of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, stability and unity, and pushing the national economy forward, were issued at different times that fall. Taken together, as they were intended to be, they serve as a programatic outline of where China had to go in the period ahead, as a general formulation by Mao of the key tasks facing the Party and the masses. These directives did not come out of the blue, or come from a Mao detached and above the current struggles, as the current CC thinks. They are consistent with the thrust of the 10th Party Congress the year before, and were reinforced at the 4th NPC in January, 1975.

Teng Hsiao-ping associated himself closely with the three directives but in doing so put forward the formulation ”take the three directives as the key link,” a serious error of principle which negated the need to grasp class struggle as the key link. This line served as a lightning rod, drawing fire from several quarters. And the different responses bear out Mao’s teachings on the need to watch out for a correct line covering another, incorrect line.

Mao in response was short and to the point: “What, taking the three directives as the key link! Unity and stability do not mean writing off class struggle; class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it.” Contrast this with the response of the current CC which, slavishly following the line of the Gang, “enriches” Mao’s criticism into full blown nonsense.

First, the CC paper says, the problem is that there are too many directives to be the key link–you can’t have three, you can only have one. This may have been intended as an attack on eclecticism, but it only shows how idealist the current CC is. It is not a question of how many, but what is the key link. None of the directives was the key link; as Mao pointed out, the class struggle is the key link. The current CC disagrees with Mao on this.

In fact in the three directives of Mao that came to be referred to as the ’three directives’ the one on socialist ronstruction was, as far as I can tell, limited to a general call for ’pushing the national economy forward,’ and was certainly not meant to be out on a par with his instructions on the class struggle, and the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and combatting and preventing revisionism in particular, which was the main and decisive directive. (see page 107)

The current CC would have us believe that “pushing the national economy forward” was not really a directive, certainly not an important directive having much to do with any of Mao’s instructions on the class struggle.

No, this is not what was going on. There were three directives–and not one big directive and a couple of minor afterthoughts. “Class struggle is the key link,” is not one of the three. Everything has to hinge on this– including the carrying out of the three directives. Mao spoke about the second directive, saying “unity and stability don’t mean writing off class struggle.” He was saying that this directive hinges on the class struggle, that the class struggle has to run through and guide this one, and the first and the third as well. The Gang wants to say, and the current CC would parrot, that the first directive is the class struggle one. Do they think that there will not be fierce class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on the basis and the reason for unity and stability? Objectively, there certainly was, and Mao’s comment cuts two ways: don’t write off class struggle in the name of stability and unity, and fighting for stability and unity does not require that you write off class struggle. But as we can see, the Gang and their friends think it does.

Even their saying that the first directive was the “main and decisive” one is pure metaphysics. They oppose this to it being part of the three directives, which of course it was. Here Avakian plunges deep into the realm of philosophy: everything can be separated, even atoms, so why not the three directives? But the question is not “can the three directives be separated?” Just like the atom, they can be. The question is who was separating them, and why? The Gang was, and the reason was opportunism. Comrades should ask themselves, can the three objectives communists should strive to fulfill in every struggle[3] be separated? Yes, and when they are, we have to stop it and strive to fulfill all three. Mao said that the working class and its Party has to formulate ideological tasks and policy tasks together to move forward. (See “Smashing The Gang” on this.) Mao’s point was that you needed both. The current CC ducks the main and decisive question with a lecture on atomic physics. (We anxiously await the CC criticism of Chang Chun-chiao’s pamphlet for saying, on page 16, “Here it should be noted that Marx divided the sentence on the dictatorship of the proletariat into three points, which are interrelated and cannot be cut apart” (emphasis ours). Here is a case of out-ganging even the Gang!

The Four Modernizations Don’t Mean Writing Off The Class Struggle Either

The defense of the Gang pits Avakian and his CC against the necessity of the modernization of socialist China.

In sum then, the Four were in favor of the four modernizations in accordance with Mao’s line on revolution and production but they were against what the right deviationists tried to make the ’four modernizations’ stand for. They were very aware of the danger that making a big push for the four modernizations would give the green light to ’production first’ revisionists and they were very concerned that in the effort to fulfill the task of modernization the basic task–the class struggle–not be thrown overboard and that in the name of promoting production to achieve modernization the commanding role of revolution not be thrown out. (see page 109)

There is something interesting in this passage. Again, the CC plays fast and loose with tasks and tasks. They take the key link of socialism, persisting in the class struggle to step-by-step eliminate the bourgeoisie and all exploiting classes and all the bases for their existence, and oppose this to the tasks at each stage of development of socialism. And in doing so they deny that the class struggle does in fact and must consciously run through and guide such tasks as the four modernizations.

Modernization, big jumps forward in the socialist economy and the material base of socialism, these are important tasks. They are necessary. The current CC says do it if you can, but it is not very important. This amounts to turning over the field of the economy and modernization to the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie will try to take the movement around modernization out of the hands of the working class. Only in that sense are they getting a “green light.” But that does not make the task any less important or necessary. Completing it is not a nice idea, as the Gang and the CC put it. Precisely because it is a necessity, and because the conditions for it existed in China, the four modernizations were a real opportunity for the proletariat to strengthen its rule over the bourgeoisie by consciously transforming society.

The working class can launch a big economic push or a cultural revolution because it has state power. This is not automatic. It requires the conscious summing up by the Party, practicing the mass line and using Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought to grasp the necessity and turn it into freedom. And this always involves the sharpest class struggle–to formulate the correct line, to advance on the correct road, to keep the initiative firmly in the hands of the working class.

Without constant advances, in the base and the superstructure, socialism will fail. The Gang portrays socialism as a purely defensive battle. The working class seizes power, and from then on in, it is downhill. The bourgeoisie keeps coming at you until they probably win out. And it is precisely this view that accompanies their failure to take class struggle as the key link in all spheres and lead an all-round advance to constantly and consciously build socialism and restrict the three great differences and other birthmarks of capitalism. Both together, advance and defend.

The Class Struggle Takes Place In The Real World

The current CC is totally reversing the understanding and line of our Party. It is necessary to fight the bourgeoisie tooth and nail on every front, to concede no sphere to them. This is just as true under socialism. The Gang reduces everything to a question of stand and ideology. This is the only class struggle they talk about. In the name of fighting the bourgeois line of “the dying out of class struggle,” they offer the equally bourgeois line that the class struggle is just, or mainly, struggle over whether the class struggle is dying out or is it the key link, all the while using this as a cover for their bid for power.

All this takes place while the actual class struggle is raging on all fronts, not just in the superstructure and ideology. And the working class needs conscious leadership on all these fronts. The view of the Gang and our CC is idealism–whether in a rightist form or an ultra-revolutionary leftist form. Either way it is poison for the working class.

This idealism leads the current CC to repudiate even those advances that they were part of in the past. Now they say ”When a revisionist line leads and the leadership is not in the hands of the masses, bourgeois relations of production will actually exist, even in the collective form.”(see p.95) And they have the nerve to call this the line of Mao.

This complete mixing up of the objective and subjective sets the current CC against Mao and our Party. We have studied this question in the past, and agreeing with Mao’s criticism of the Soviet Union and Stalin, we wrote in Red Papers 7:

Though Stalin never in fact abandoned the class struggle, his lack of clarity on the precise nature of the enemy weakened the proletariat. Further though Stalin argued forcefully (and correctly) that the law of value continues to operate under socialism, he did not draw the correct conclusion from this–that capitalist production relations must then also exist in some (often) hidden forms.[4]

These bourgeois relations do not exist because a revisionist line leads. They exist because of the nature of socialism itself–the continued operation of the law of value, commodity production, small scale production, the force of habit. In a word, socialism is a transitional system. It is a qualitatively higher social system than capitalism, but still has many of its features and is not yet classless society.

The CC gets this wrong on both sides. Most of the time, along with the Gang, they downplay the advance of socialism, negating the key importance of proletarian rule, and so give the bourgeoisie damn near equality in the fundamental contradiction, and treat the socialist economy as if it is almost identical to capitalism.

Here, they go the other way. They imply that the question of the law of value, etc., has been solved, by saying that it is the revisionist line that recreates the bourgeois relations. They get quantity and quality wrong again, and the only consistency is that they make the error that serves their immediate needs and immediate arguments.

The danger of having a revisionist line in command is that it does not expose and restrict bourgeois relations of production, but gives them free rein to operate and even uses them as a motor to try and increase production (or in the case of the Gang, gives them free rein by promoting anarchy and weakening the Party’s leadership.) The contradictions within the socialist economy itself are pushed towards capitalism when the revisionist line strengthens the secondary, weaker aspect– and if representatives of that line seize and control the superstructure, the secondary aspect will become principal and capitalist relations will be restored in full. But to say that the revisionist line creates or causes the bourgeois relations denies the dialectical relationship between thinking and being, denies that the revisionist line and ideas have roots in the material world and have an effect on the real world precisely because people use them to deal with real contradictions. The CC report would have us believe that if you defeat the bourgeois line, you have defeated the bourgeois relations. No matter that the law of value, commodity production etc., still operate. Ideas don’t have to be made a material force. This is idealism as naked as any since Descartes proclaimed, “I think, therefore I am.”

This same idealist confusion of quantity and quality leads the Gang and their supporters in the RCP to in essence date the Chinese Revolution as starting with the Cultural Revolution. They divide socialist China’s history into the 17 bad years before the GPCR and the 10 good years after, throwing dialectics out the window, and preventing them from seeing the actual content of the class struggle in the superstructure over taking back power usurped by the bourgeoisie.

No matter how hard the Gang of Four tried, and no matter how much the current CC tries to carry on, they cannot paint Mao as an idealist to get him to line up with them.

The Gang’s Line In China

The Gang’s idealism seriously weakened the campaign on studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and did considerable damage to the Chinese Revolution. The campaign was intended to wage the class struggle against the bourgeoisie ideologically, to raise the understanding and consciousness of the Chinese masses about the contradictions and tasks of socialism as a transitional system, to arm them against revisionism. And it was intended to stress the necessity of the conscious transformation of all of society under the leadership of the working class, to provide a higher base of understanding and enthusiasm for building socialism. This is not ’theory in its own right’ but the opposite, theory to serve the overall and immediate class struggle. The entire country was about to launch into a big economic push, and the whole country was coming out of the Cultural Revolution. Conscious leadership and direction were decisive. Releasing the initiative of the masses around the correct line was decisive. To separate this campaign from the tasks ahead, both general and particular, is making a hollow phrase out of Grasp Revolution Promote Production. And that is just what the Gang did. They could only see in the four modernizations a danger–in particular to themselves–and could only see the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat Campaign as a blocking of the immediate rightist forces. How narrow these idealists are, and how narrow their home-grown supporters have to be to defend them.

The leadership of the Gang’s idealist and metaphysical line was no idle philosophical problem. It was a matter of life and death. In one wood processing plant in Peking, the influence of the Gang’s attacks on rules and regulations under the guise of criticizing “control, check and suppression” led to the effective, if not official, disbanding of the plant’s safety committee. Even when a worker was seriously injured by a machine, nothing was done. This situation was made more serious by the fact that the Party leadership of this plant had grown increasingly isolated from the actual day to day struggle. They were infrequently on the shop floor, and instead spent a great deal of time studying, discussing and arguing over campaigns like the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, together with a sizeable contingent of workers who were full-time worker theoretical group members at full pay. Because the campaign itself, as distorted by the Gang, not only ignored but attacked such tasks as developing production, even as such leaders and workers tried to take up and spread the campaign, they became more divorced from the actual situation in the plant. In this leadership vacuum, bourgeois individualist tendencies of going for self and favoring short-term advantage over long term interest or quantity over quality were strengthened among the workers. These were not abstract debating points but concrete and practical issues: leave the hard tasks for the next shift or take them on directly, do slipshod work to gain more break time or keep standards high. And struggle, class struggle, among the workers over these issues often went unresolved or even became antagonistic. This situation around rules and safety continued to deteriorate with the result that an accident identical to the earlier one killed a worker.

The current CC would uphold the Gang’s line. Didn’t they oppose narrow self interest, production first, immediate results? No, in fact, they fed it among the masses, by putting out a line that ignored the actual needs of the struggle on the shop floor. What was needed was an adjustment, rationalizing safety procedures on the basis of proletarian politics, not denunciations of anyone who spoke out for such rules. The Gang had to attack any such talk, though, to make the situation fit their needs. If every worker wanting to reform safety procedures wasn’t an agent of the bourgeoisie, then the Gang would have no justification for their actions, no basis for factionalism and strife, no movement to put them in power. Under these circumstances, the attacking of the correct line of such adjustments allowed spontaneity to reign supreme and spontaneity means immediate results and all kinds of self-interest. This was especially true in the case of the Gang where these attacks were not coming out of revolutionary purity, thereby leading to some “excesses,” but from a line trying to create as much chaos as possible.

The situation in this factory was not turned around until the Gang went down, and the masses of workers began to repudiate and criticize the line of the Gang, Mao is clear in this kind of error, and he is clearly against the Gang and Avakian:

The particularity of contradiction is still not clearly understood by many comrades, and especially the dogmatists. They do not understand that it is precisely in the particularity of contradiction that the universality of contradiction resides, Nor do they understand how important is the study of the particularity of contradiction in the concrete things confronting us for guiding the course of revolutionary practice.[5]

Mao goes on to say:

The truth concerning general and individual character, concerning absoluteness and relativity, is the quintessence of the problem of contradiction in things; failure to understand it is tantamount to abandoning dialectics.[6]

Unity And Class Struggle

A particular deviation common to the Gang and their US fan club is an approach which can be summarized as: since all line struggle is class struggle and the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is antagonistic, therefore it follows that all line struggle is antagonistic. According to this outlook anyone who held and argued for an incorrect line was automatically categorized as being in the camp of the enemy. This entirely negates such basic concepts as the division of the masses into advanced, intermediate and backward; “letting a hundred schools of thought contend” and most importantly Mao’s contribution on the question of contradictions among the people.

If handled incorrectly such contradictions can and do become antagonistic, but they are not inherently so. The Gang’s approach was typified in a Red Flag editorial published in early 1976, entitled “Adhere to the Party’s Basic Line–Studying ’On The Correct Handling Of Contradictions Among The People,’” by Cheng Yueh. This piece mentions contradictions among the people exactly once, without elaboration, and goes on to attack the theory of productive forces and the theory of the dying out of class struggle for pages.

In doing so, this article becomes a polemic against the Marxist-Leninist theory that contradictions among the people need not be antagonistic. Avakian’s paper is shot through with the same outlook. Perhaps the best example comes in the section on Chou En-lai. Here Avakian is so busy trying to establish differences between Mao and Chou by willpower alone, that he never even considers the possibility that even if differences had existed, they need not have been antagonistic and put one or the other in opposition to revolution.

The current CC tries to answer the charge that the Gang was sectarian, that they wouldn’t unite with people. (Throughout this section of the bulletin, it is hard to distinguish between their views on China and their views on the US. The current CC paper reeks of this subjective transference, and shows how far the Gang line has permeated.) “Who should they have united with that they failed to unite with? People like Hua Kuo-feng?...To talk about ’uniting’ abstracted from line is exactly to raise unity above the class struggle, and will end you up in unity with the bourgeoisie– on its terms.” (see page 125) (Again, it seems like they are talking about the US. For this is a perfect description of the line of the CC on the struggle in the RCP)

How simple unity was for the Gang. Unite with the folks who already agree with you, and the other folks are on the other side. Then the good guys move ahead. What garbage? Political unity is based on struggle. Unity, struggle, unity. That is the correct view. And that means that within unity at any point there will be differences, including basic ideological differences, both open and hidden. This cannot be made a bar to unity, or the working class can never advance and lead the entire masses in advancing. The view of the Gang was in essence sectarianism–differences meant quality, period. And only if people changed could you unite with them. Mao’s line is the opposite.

That is why in 1975, with implementation of the 4th NPC decisions on the top of the agenda, he told the Gang; ’unite with the more than 200 members of the Central Committee’. He surely knew that there were some among them who were not pure proletarian revolutionaries. He surely knew that some were even plain revisionists. Still he called for unity, because the proletariat has to lead in making revolution. And there is a difference between the core and the front, among the masses and within the Party.

Unity and stability were the best basis for the proletariat to carry on struggle at that time. The Gang had to oppose this–not only would it restrict their freedom to smash and grab their way to the top, but it cut against the political line they were putting out in the course of these activities. Rather, they constantly sought new ways to expand the attack, until the target was everybody in leadership but themselves. Now the current RCP CC broadens it still further. The leadership was all either revisionists or cowards, and the masses were tired and backward.

The Gang and the current CC treat uniting all who can be united to defeat the common enemy, and the instruction to narrow the target of attack, broaden the target of education as fetters on their revolutionary purity. But in fact they are principles of the united front strategy, reflecting the fact that 95% of the masses are basically good, and the same holds for the cadres. The working class has to forge unity to achieve any tasks. This understanding is key to maintaining proletarian rule, and it is even more the case in China, where the working class itself, let alone its most advanced sections, are a small fraction of the masses. The banner of revolution must be a banner of unity, or revolution is doomed. Rather than writing off the class struggle, this reflects the fact that the interests of the working class are the interests of the vast majority of the people.

The Gang Goes From Very Big To Very Small Very Fast

The current CC is faced with the task of simultaneously denying that the Gang was isolated and explaining why it was. The masses rejoiced at their fall? That’s easy, remember that millions in China hated the Cultural Revolution, and anyway, the bourgeoisie can organize a demonstration. The stuck pig squeals. The outpouring of joy in China was not organized. The demonstrations were just the tip of the iceberg. There was a mass phenomenon–spontaneous marches and parties. The masses bought up all the wine and whiskey in the major cities on their own, the better to wet their whistles for more celebration and anti-Gang chanting. They stayed out in the streets all night without being organized. They did this because they wanted to, because they were glad to see the Gang go.

In fact, the biggest and most enthusiastic celebrations of all took place in the city the Gang had tried to make their base:

I cannot prove it against a determined skeptic, but all of this was utterly different from the government orchestrated campaigns I had seen in Canton, or would see on television from Peking. The atmosphere in Shanghai was electric because what was happening was spontaneous, though it groped toward unity. The wall posters, in their progression and variations, were genuinely fascinating to millions of people. Workers poured out of their sweatshops to stare at them, policemen– who were obviously neither directing anything nor feared by anyone– left their boxes to study them, militiamen scrambled out of their barracks to gape at them. A new wrinkle would appear one morning in some factory, I was told, and had spread all over the city two afternoons later, intersecting with another novelty originating in some other neighborhood. Separate and diverse impulses merged to carry the revolution against the Four to greater and greater extremes.

The uprising was coincident with the aims of the dominant factions of the Party in Peking: overthrow the Four. But it was a rising against the Four, not especially for Peking, a place with which Shanghai is not enchanted. During these October Days Radio Peking, the People’s Daily and other government sources were ’warmly congratulating Chairman Hua Kuo-feng on his assumption of the Party Chairmanship, the Premiership, and the Chairmanship of the People’s Military Commission’ incessantly, and building the new personality cult. But in Shanghai Hua’s name was rarely mentioned till the last few days, and I only saw one picture of him, at the very end.

The Shanghai movement, I was told, jumped Peking’s gun, and swept way beyond anything Peking would have planned.[7]

Why does the current CC refuse to admit that the Gang was isolated and unpopular with the masses? And why, to the extent that they have to admit it, do they try to blame the masses for it? It is because of their own view of the high hard road of revolution. They think nobody will take it, that the masses don’t want it. Only the super-heroes will do it, the condescending saviors. The rest have to be dragged to socialism and communism, against their will with constant encouragement like better conditions and three squares a day. In this country, the Gang line leads to retreat from the day to day struggle in the name of the revolutionary goal. In China, it means trying to usurp the Party and state power to use them against the working class.

The current CC is forced to resort to a shell game to deal with this point of support for the Gang. Their number one advocate is “convinced” that “the followers of the Four... number at least in the tens of millions.” His faith is touching, but it is no substitute for evidence on this question. The facts show that great numbers of people who were mislead by the Gang remain in the Party, have rejected the Gang, and are uniting in struggle behind the Central Committee led by Chairman Hua.

In Chou En-lai’s report to the 10th Party Congress, he stated:

Chairman Mao teaches us that the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything. If one’s line is incorrect, one’s downfall is inevitable, even with the control of the central, local and army leadership.

If one’s line is correct, even if one has not a single soldier at first, there will be soldiers, and even if there is no political power, political power will be gained. (see page 17 of Chou’s report)

The current CC may think that Mao made Chou say all this. They would do better to inquire why Mao did not make the Gang listen to it. For their sorry history reaffirms what Mao and Chou said. Their support was not static. The current CC would like to hide that point. The Gang started out identified with the proletarian headquarters in China, which commanded the respect and allegiance of hundreds of millions–of the vast majority. Dialectics require of us that we examine the motion of this process, its development.

Our Party has some experience in this. We have seen what happens when the force in the leadership of the masses fails to grasp the key link of the class struggle and concretely lead the struggle forward together with the masses. We have seen how an incorrect line opens the door for the bourgeoisie to counter-attack and destroy temporary gains. All this, of course, takes place under capitalism, where the bourgeoisie is the principal aspect of the fundamental contradiction– where they rule.

We summed up this experience in the phrase “you can go from very big to very small, very fast.” And when that happens, you have to look at the objective situation and the masses and the line of the Party. The situation in China is this phenomenon on a mass scale under socialism. The Gang of Four went from very big–part of the leadership of hundreds of millions–to very small–isolated and hated–very fast, in less than four years. This is a question of line–of the wrong line of the Gang playing itself out in front of the Chinese people, and the correct line of Mao and after him, Hua, raising the pole of revolution for the masses to rally around. In rejecting the Gang the masses weren’t rejecting class struggle, they were waging it!


[1] quoted by Wen Yin and Liang Hua, Tachai, the Red Banner, Foreign Languages, Peking, p.52

[2] Mao Tsetung, “Beat Back the Attacks of the Bourgeois Rightists,” Selected Works, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, vol.5, p.462

[3] “the three objectives” refer to the following: ”...to win as much as can be won in the immediate battle and weaken the enemy; to raise the general level of consciousness and sense of organization of the struggling masses and instill in them the revolutionary outlook of the proletariat; and to develop the most active and advanced in these struggles into communists, recruit them into the Party and train them as revolutionary leaders.” Programme and Constitution of the RCP, USA, p.102

[4] Red Papers 7: How Capitalism Has Been Restored in the Soviet Union, And What This Means For the World Struggle, published by the Revolutionary Union, 1974, p.21

[5] Mao Tsetung, “On Contradiction,” Selected Readings, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, p91

[6] ibid p.109

[7] Francis Randall, “Ten Days That Shook China: The October Revolution in Shanghai,” Contemporary China, vol.1, no.6, March 1977, p.13-18