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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

Smashing the Gang of Four Was a Great Victory For the Working Class and Socialism

The line on China adopted at the recent Central Committee meeting of the RCP is dead wrong, opportunist and must be smashed. If this position is consolidated, it will place the RCP in opposition to the actual development of the worldwide proletarian revolution. The crushing of the Gang of Four was a necessary step and a great victory for socialism in China. Far from representing Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, the Gang had become new bourgeois elements who would have led China down the road to capitalist restoration had they succeeded in seizing power.

Both their line and practice made this clear. Ignoring the actual tasks which the development of the revolution had placed before the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people, they pursued a policy of divorcing class struggle from those tasks. In particular, this took the form of making the overthrow of bourgeois elements in the Party a prerequisite for taking up anything else. In doing this their philosophic outlook was idealist in that they made the main battle over ideas in men’s minds that were but a reflection of the material world, rather than uniting all who can be united against the main enemy to resolve the actual contradictions that face the proletariat to move society forward. By doing this they reversed the correct relationship between thinking and being, made thinking always the primary aspect and then drew out the class struggle as a battle between revolutionary and counter-revolutionary ideas divorced from the actual state of the class struggle, time, place and conditions. For the Gang their idealism developed in a left political form: that they were the revolutionaries, the sole repositories of the correct line. This was not just a question of good ideas being out of step with the tasks of the time but was a result of the ideological stand of the Gang: as overlords and would be supreme rulers; as “smash and grabbers,” who created confusion so that they could grab the reins of power in the ensuing chaos.

Increasingly their super revolutionary cover became nothing but a hammer to pound down any opposition to them and to their drive for more and more power. This “left” idealist and metaphysical line lead to sabotage of socialist construction, splitting the Communist Party, strengthening the very capitalist tendencies and rightist forces the Gang claimed to oppose–in short, to undermining the dictatorship of the proletariat. Holding fast to this line, the Gang could only end up as they did, capitalist roaders whose increasing isolation from the leadership of the Party and the masses alike left them only one path to try and win victory for their incorrect line–a coup attempt.

It was because the Gang of Four had come to be an objective fetter on the development of socialism and, in fact, the gravest danger to the working class dictatorship in China, that the Central Committee headed by Hua Kuo-feng had to crush them. This bold and timely victory is the reason that China remains a socialist country today and can continue along the difficult road of working to build communism. Both socialist China and the Chinese Communist Party and its Central Committee deserve the support of all Marxist-Leninists, and their gratitude.

At the same time, it will not do to pretend, as careerists like the leadership of the CP(ML) do, that there is no more class struggle in China. It is raging right now between real class forces in every field over what road the revolution will take. Waging and consolidating the battle against the Gang has made necessary not only aiming the blow away from the right, but close unity with rightist forces in the Party. (In much the same way, Mao during the Cultural Revolution had to unite with Lin Piao, “against my will,” to be able to build the mass movement and defeat Liu Shao-chi & Co.) With their freedom increased by this alliance and by such factors as the tarnish the Gang put on the weapons of Mao Tsetung Thought and the Cultural Revolution, these forces are testing and seeking to expand their strength.

Reports coming out of China, including articles in Peking Review, show that various forces are united in the CCP leadership and are both maintaining their alliance against the main enemy–the Gang (as in such documents as the report to the 11th Party Congress)– and are continuing struggle over such questions as cadre participation in manual labor, agricultural mechanization, the socialist new things, etc. This situation calls for close and careful evaluation on the part of all revolutionaries. But to use the twists and turns of the class struggle either to justify support for the Gang, who are to blame for many of the difficult conditions in China today, or to justify a “hands off, wait and see” lack of support for socialist China and the CCP is nothing short of opportunism.

A Matter Of Principle

What line we take on China is a question of principle. As Mao pointed out, “Who are our friends? Who are our enemies? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.” The socialist countries are Beacon lights of oar class, the international working class. China helps communists everywhere understand and explain to the advanced and the masses the great leap in human history represented by socialism, the complex class struggle to preserve and Build socialism, and will also make the road easier to travel in the socialist revolution in this country. Proletarian internationalism requires we do what we can to defend socialist China from its enemies, especially those in our own country. Principally this means the ruling class, But it includes as well those who wave the red flag as they echo the capitalists’ slanders of China to the masses!

Secondly, the adoption of this line means the Betrayal and degeneration of the ideology, policies and organization of the RCP. Support for the Gang of Four means replacing Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought with what their followers hailed as “Chang Chun-chiao Thought”: Trotskyite-style left idealism, contempt for the masses and sectarianism. This is already a clear trend not only in the documents upholding the Four, hut in other areas of the RCP’s work. This trend must Be smashed along with the pro-Gang line that nurtures it.

For these reasons all communists must reject the 3 propositions made By Avakian in his paper. 1) That China has gone revisionist and is fully on the road to capitalist restoration. This is untrue. To uphold it, along with the “reasons” developed in Section 3 of Avakianís paper, and to therefore describe the class struggle in China as between opposite poles of the same bourgeois stupidity is traitorous to the international working class. 2) That the Gang were revolutionaries and should be supported. Since 1974 the Gang pushed an opportunist line that undermined the unity of the Party, the dictatorship of the proletariat, caused the Broad masses to doubt the leadership of the Communist Party, and objectively gave a big opening to the right. The Gang developed into capitalist roaders and pushed a counterrevolutionary line. It was a victory for the proletariat in China and throughout the world when they met their political deaths. 3) That the political thought of the Gang is consistent with and a development of Mao Tsetung Thought, that the Gang of Four was really a gang of five and that the Gang, with whatever errors they had made, fought for and represented the line of Mao as applied to the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. This is utterly false and ridiculous and flies in the face of the content of the contribution of Mao to the world proletariat. In the RCP Gang of Four thought is being substituted for Mao Tsetung Thought as well as Marxism-Leninism and must be held up, criticized and driven out.

The Gang Was The Bourgeoisie In The Party

The Gang of Four by the time of their fall had become capitalist roaders, representatives and commanders of bourgeois elements inside the Communist Party and in Chinese society as a whole, deadly enemies of the proletariat. They unleashed tremendous forces for the restoration of capitalism and proved unable to lead the masses in combatting either such forces or other Bourgeois enemies. Precisely because they claimed to be the leading members of the proletarian headquarters, and had in fact been part of it in the past their degeneration into “smash and grabbers” temporarily weakened the proletarian headquarters and the masses. In a complicated period of class struggle the Gang went their own way once more, stabbing the people in the back, all the while struggling to keep the mantle of the left. For these reasons the Gang had put themselves directly and immediately in the path of the revolution with their attempted coup. Their coup, far from the act of proletarian heroism that some would have us take inspiration from, was a direct continuation of their theoretical, political and organizational line as it had developed over several years. Out of desperation, not valor; out of the desire to have a grab, and not to serve the interest of the people, their coup fortunately had no chance at success But represented the last gasp of a small clique of counter-revolutionary scum.

The Gang were bourgeois elements because, irrespective of their motives (which were foul and will be dealt with as well), their line would have put China onto the capitalist road. If their ideological and political line had held sway it would have caused civil war and the real danger of capitalist restoration. Their line and policies caused splits and factions among the working class that led to disunity and great disruption in the industries. In agriculture their “left” line led back to private farming.

The Gang not only unleashed forces for capitalist restoration, they represented and were themselves capitalist roaders. Like the poverty pimps in the U.S. who seized control of such hard fought gains as neighborhood health clinics and milked them dry, they seized and rigidified institutions that expanded following the start of the Cultural Revolution–mass organizations, trade unions, women’s federations, the militia, etc.– to use as a power base and for personal gain. In the same way they turned many of the socialist new things into positions of patronage and graft. As they became more isolated from the masses of the people, the only forces they could rely on became more and more the bad eggs in society, who because of their political line the Gang was forced to unite with and promote.

They did not grasp the nature or demands of the whole period of socialism at all. They did not understand or apply Mao’s theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat or the Marxist-Leninist approach of resolving different contradictions with different methods. Instead, as some veteran cadres became “stuck’ in the stage of the new democratic revolution and were unable to make the leap to socialism, the Gang got “stuck” in the social relations of upheaval and rebellion which characterized the Cultural Revolution and were unable to advance with the revolution. This became crystal clear during the campaign to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius which got going in early 1974 and in the Study the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat Campaign the next year. Before looking at these, however, it is necessary to lay out some background on determining key features of the period of socialism and of the situation in China as the first of these campaigns began.

Tasks In The Socialist Period

In the period of socialism, at every point and around every question, the proletariat and its allies are faced with the emergence of contradictions whose existence reflect the two classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and whose resolution reflects the two lines and the two roads. In socialism two roads present themselves to the working class and its allies. Only one road will lead forward toward the proletariat’s final goal; the other, no matter what guise it takes, leads back to exploitation and capitalism.

In the historical period of socialism classes and class struggle exist and as Mao stressed–class struggle is the key link, everything hinges on it. In socialism the proletariat is constantly battling to strengthen its dictatorship over the old exploiters, restrict the soil from which the bourgeoisie emerges and eliminate the bourgeoisie step by step. The bourgeois elements for their part attempt to undermine the dictatorship of the proletariat, create the ideological and political conditions from which they can enrich themselves, seize control of some areas, gain influence in others, usurp party and state leadership and establish their dictatorship and gain control of society.

This class struggle fought out in the period of socialism under the dictatorship of the proletariat is a battle on three general fronts. As Mao put it in his criticism in 1962 of a Soviet economics textbook: “A thoroughgoing socialist revolution must advance along the three fronts of politics, economics and ideology.”[1]

This is the first point that we must grasp firmly to evaluate the practice and lines of the Gang of Four. How did they grasp the principle that class struggle is the key link, that everything hinges on it and how did they take up the battle against the bourgeoisie on the three fronts: the economic, the ideological and the political, i.e. on each front how did they deal with the task of strengthening and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat?

The second major point that we must grasp to evaluate the line and policy of the Gang is how they analyzed the key task and the relationship between this task and other tasks confronting the proletariat. Lenin, in “Immediate Tasks Of The Soviet Government” written just before May Day in 1918, had the following to say on this general point:

The real interest of the epoch of great leaps [revolutions–ed.] lies in the fact that the abundance of fragments of the old, which sometimes accumulate more rapidly than the rudiments (not always discernible) of the new, calls for the ability to discern what is most important in the line or chain of development. History knows moments when the most important thing is to heap up as large a quantity of the fragments as possible; i.e. to blow up as many of the old institutions as possible; moments arise when enough has been blown up and the next task is to perform the ’prosaic’ (for the petty-bourgeois revolutionary, the ’boring’) task of cleaning away the fragments; moments arise when the careful nursing of the rudiments of the new system which are growing amidst’ the wreckage on a soil which as yet has been badly cleared of rubble, is the most important thing.

It is not enough to be a revolutionary and an adherent of socialism or a communist in general. You must be able at each particular moment to find the link in the chain which you must grasp with all your might in order to hold the chain and prepare firmly for the transition to the next link.[2]

The point made here, and it is a crucial one, is that in the course of the revolution a concrete analysis must be made to determine the key task, no matter how “boring,” and that on the basis of this, the people have to be united to grasp and accomplish it.

Finally, that based on grasping the key task at any particular time and the key link of class struggle, the Party must pay attention to the proper method of work. Mao again in his criticism of the Soviet textbook quotes Lenin in saying:

On page 375 is a quotation from Lenin. It is aptly spoken and can be used in defense of our work method. Lenin said: ’The level of consciousness of the inhabitants and their attempts to realize this or that kind of program will certainly be reflected in the salient points of stepping onto the road of socialism.’ Our putting politics in command was precisely to raise the level of consciousness of the inhabitants and our Great Leap Forward was precisely an attempt to realize this or that kind of program.[3]

The correct method Mao is stressing here is to pay attention to both ideological work and to policies in taking up any task. Both reflect and raise questions about the other, and both must be grasped in order to move forward correctly. The Gang, however, were masters of not following this correct work method. For example, as will be shown later, in the period of the three directives and the 4th National People’s Congress, they separated rather than linked the ideological work of studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat from the policies involved in pushing the national economy forward.

The work of all communists in any struggle must take into consideration the handling of the ideological work and policies. This must go on to develop the actual struggle against the enemy and in order to sum up the development of the struggle. In analyzing the current line struggle in China and in particular the lines and practice of the Gang, the question of how they handled this in the course of the work they were responsible for is a key political question.

To sum up there are three fundamental political questions that we must grasp and apply to the line and practice of the Gang in order to make a Marxist-Leninist evaluation.
(1) Class struggle is the key link, everything hinges on it, and this principle must be grasped in order to fight the bourgeoisie on all three fronts–the ideological, political and economic.
(2) At any one time, many tasks present themselves to the proletariat, among these tasks there is one, that is key, that must be identified and grasped to move all the contradictions forward.
(3) That the correct Marxist method is at any time to pay attention to ideological work and policies so that concrete plans for the taking up of both can be made.

The Situation And The Tasks At The Point Of The Tenth Party Congress, 1973

The Gang of Four proved unable or unwilling to grasp the tasks confronting the Chinese revolution after the fall of the Lin Piao clique. The line and policies they put forward did not represent a socialist road for China, and could only steer it onto the capitalist road.

What was the situation in China? What were the tasks? China was just emerging from the furnace of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) a great historic upheaval which had left no part of China untouched. Initiated and led by Mao the GPCR was a struggle from the bottom up aimed at overthrowing the bourgeoisie where it had stolen power, criticizing capitalism and the capitalist road, and replacing leaders who had degenerated with fresh proletarian revolutionaries. The GPCR was a world historical event in the fight of the working class and the advance in the period of socialism. It was an answer in both theory and practice to the problem raised by the experience of the USSR–how to prevent the restoration of capitalism.

The task of the GPCR was to criticize and overthrow those in authority who were on the capitalist road, but this was not the overall goal of the struggle. Mao in a speech to an Albanian military delegation described it like this: “To struggle against power holders who take the capitalist road is the main task but it is by no means the goal. The goal is to solve the problem of world outlook; it is a question of eradicating the roots of revisionism.”[4] Mao in saying this is very consistent with his prior statement on the importance of paying attention to the question of ideological work and policy tasks. And based on handling these well the GPCR by 1973 had won victories in mobilizing the broad masses of the people to seize power from the Bourgeoisie, to knock out the bourgeois headquarters of Liu Shao-chi and then Lin Piao, and in raising the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, which found expression in a whole range of changes in society.

The total defeat of capitalist roaders and the complete solution of the question of world outlook can only be achieved over a long historical period, and both will not finally be achieved until the dawn of communist society. Continuing struggle will be required in many forms, including more Cultural Revolutions in the future. At the same time, the Cultural Revolution was not and could not be the only form of struggle. Its intense character of rebellion could not continue indefinitely without turning into something negative–into anarchy and attacks on the masses. The events in many places in China, for example in universities like Tsinghua with its “100 Day War,” show the importance of moving forward from the early stages of the Cultural Revolution.[5]

To consolidate the gains of the GPCR and to keep the revolution advancing on the socialist road the stage of intense ideological struggle from the bottom up had to be summed up, the advances consolidated, and the whole Party and people united behind the task of making a leap into the new period–the period of the tasks set forward at the 10th Party Congress, the 4th NPC, and in Mao’s three directives. The GPCR was in response to the bourgeoisie jumping out in the period following the Great Leap Forward, a period where economic construction was given stress. The bourgeoisie had been pushed back, and the consciousness of the people raised. The task of socialist construction had not fallen away during the GPCR, but there was a two line struggle over how this construction would go on, on the capitalist or the socialist road. In fact, the GPCR led to a rapid growth of production from 1968, after some disruption in the initial stages, to a tapering off in 1973-74. This leveling off further called for creating conditions for a new leap.[6]

Only under such conditions could in-depth mass political education help the masses scientifically sum up the lessons of the GPCR–and replace such phenomena as the Lin Piao-sponsored substitution of Red Book memorization for political study. Only under such conditions could new things, born in the Cultural Revolution, be developed and tested in practice to determine which were genuinely socialist. Only under such conditions could the well shaken up and revolutionized Party reassert its role as the leading force in all sections of Chinese life and reestablish its authority among the masses. Only under such conditions could the rate of economic development be stepped up. Only under such conditions could new forms of struggle with capitalist tendencies and with capitalist roaders be developed out of the summation of the Cultural Revolution. Only under such conditions could China play its role as an inspiration and bulwark for forces in the world opposed to the two superpowers.

The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party set about to establish such conditions. In the aftermath of the Lin Piao shock, massive transfers of top PLA officers helped weed out Lin’s clique and subordinate the Army to the Party. With Mao’s approval a great number of cadres who had been knocked down in the Cultural Revolution were liberated, in most cases after having made self-criticisms for real errors, to strengthen the Party and state apparatus. Among them was Teng Hsiao-ping.

At the 10th Party Congress, held in August of 1973, the Party leadership made it clear that they felt the situation did not call for a revival of the Cultural Revolution. The Congress was designed as a transition out of the period of the Cultural Revolution. Chou En-lai gave the main report to the Congress. After reviewing the development of the struggle against Lin Piao, Chou discussed the international situation, laying out the importance of upholding the Leninist analysis of imperialism. He went into the necessity of opposing the two superpowers, and the role of the Third World in this movement. After reaffirming China’s dedication to proletarian internationalism and calling for preparedness in the face of a growing threat of war, Chou laid out the tasks ahead within China, citing six in particular.
1) “We should continue to do a good job of criticizing Lin Piao and rectifying style of work.”
2) “All Party members should conscientiously study works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and by Chairman Mao, adhere to dialectical materialism and historical materialism, combat idealism and metaphysics and remould their world outlook.”
3) “We should attach great importance to the class struggle in the superstructure, including all spheres of culture, transform all parts of the superstructure which do not conform to the economic base. We should correctly handle the two types of contradictions of different nature.”
4) “Economically ours is still a poor and developing country.” Chou went into building up the economy at some length.
5) “We should further strengthen the centralized leadership of the Party.”
6) Chou laid out the necessity of training revolutionary successors. “Party organizations at all levels should keep on the agenda this fundamental task which is crucial for generations to come.”

Taken together, the tasks set forward by Chou En-lai on behalf of the Central Committee made up a program. They summarized the view of the leadership about the situation at that time and the direction in which the CCP had to move and lead the Chinese masses. They included and stressed both ideological work and political and economic policies to move the socialist revolution forward.[7]

The Criticize Lin Piao-Confucius Campaign Begins

The Criticize Lin Piao-Confucius Campaign started in the fall of 1973 and became a national study campaign by January 1974. The campaign took Lin Piao’s advocacy of Confucian ideas like the theory of “genius” and “restoring the rites,” restoring the old society, as a starting point. Based on this, the campaign was developed to lay bare the ideological roots of Lin Piao’s treachery and to hit at feudal, capitalist and revisionist outlooks with the goal of arming the masses against future attempts at restoration.

In preparing to lead the Party forward in these tasks, Mao assigned a key role in the proletarian headquarters to the Gang of Four. For example, Wang Hung-wen was elevated to the position of second Vice Chairman, and a speech by him was circulated by the Central Committee as one of two documents to guide the Lin Piao-Confucius Campaign.

But with the beginning of the campaign the back stabbing began: the Gang straight away betrayed Mao’s trust and the interest of the working class. In the campaign the Gang used their control of the media to distort the campaign in three big ways: (1) they separated the campaign from the other tasks set out in the 10th Party Congress, (2) they added “going in the back door” to the targets of the campaign to aim the arrow down at the people and (3) they used the campaign to attempt to launch a new (or continue the same) Cultural Revolution. In doing this they set up a pattern that would flow through all their “work”: that is, in each campaign the Gang would become increasingly more isolated from the masses of the people and Mao Tsetung, and the forces on the right would grow.

Although the 10th Party Congress documents and the campaign to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius were supposed to be studied together and the tasks set forward taken up as fronts in the class struggle, the Gang separated the Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius Campaign off from the other tasks. As will be pointed out later, Wang Hung-wen criticized himself for separating these tasks off in the campaign, but a look at any of the Gang material in this period clearly shows how the Gang downplayed the task of the 10th Party Congress and blew up their distorted view Of the content of the campaign.

In late January of 1974, the Gang tried to add a third target to Lin Piao and Confucius, the practice of “going in the back door.” This refers to a relatively widespread method of exchange among the people based on past favors or friendship. It involves a host of things, from getting scarce goods or more food to getting admitted to a better hospital or getting transportation privileges, school admissions or even military posts. By analogy, the Gang was also targeting the policy of Chou (and Mao) of bringing back large numbers of cadres who had been removed during the Cultural Revolution (“liberated cadre”).

Adding the target of “going in the back door” took a real contradiction in socialist society that is overwhelmingly a non-antagonistic one among the people, and placed it on a par with the contradiction with Lin Piao, which was very antagonistic. When Mao read a report on this, he was furious and wrote on the report: “Metaphysics, one sidedness is rampant. To bring in criticisms of going by the back door during the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius would weaken the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius.”[8]

The Gang did not mend their ways. They were forced to drop the thrust of “going in the back door” but continued to try and put similar thrusts in the campaign. They criticized Confucius for wishing to “call to office those who have fallen into obscurity,” and their articles began to hit less at Lin Piao, and more at Chou En-lai. (A whole array of villainous prime ministers began to appear in the media they controlled, as well as an evil historical figure coincidentally named the Duke of Chou.) Wanting to “call to office those who have fallen into obscurity” was not one of Lin Piao’s big crimes. In fact, his bid for power was based much more on the continued “obscuring” of cadres whom he had replaced with his own men. But it did speak to two major events at that time in China. First, the large number of liberated cadres, and second, the call to strengthen the role of the Party at the 10th Party Congress. The Gang not only separated their propaganda from this task, they used it to attack the Party center’s policies regarding cadres. Though the Gang focused their attacks on Chou, they were in fact attacking the line of Mao. By 1974, the great majority of cadre removed in the Cultural Revolution had been liberated, following the line and with the overall approval of Mao.[9]

The Gang leadership of the Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius Campaign did great damage to important ideological and political work among the masses. They used the campaign to put forward their arrogant, left-idealist line: that their faction, though small, represented the genuine advanced ideas. They tried to create public opinion that the majority of Party leaders, led by Chou En-lai, represented backward ideas, and in socialist China, this means restoration of capitalism. They publicly, through thinly veiled historical analogies, tried to raise the question of succession. They tried to plant the idea that after the Emperor is gone (when Mao dies) the small advanced group has to take over to prevent things from moving backward. The message was clear, especially to leading cadres who were concerned about the future of China after the first generation of leadership died–the Gang was aiming for the highest seats of power.

The Bid For A New Cultural Revolution

Along with the line they were putting out in the Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius Campaign, the Gang had a plan of action. It, too, became clear fairly quickly. The erroneous and short-lived “going by the back door” slogan was initiated at two quickly called mass rallies in Peking. Newspaper articles began featuring slogans the Red Guards had popularized, like “without destruction, there can be no construction.” There was a wave of attacks on Western culture and music, denouncing those who brought it to China as “class enemies.” Chiang Ching guided the preparation of an article published under the pseudonym Chu Lan, “Criticize the Opera ’Going Up to Peach Peak Three Times.’”[10] This article explicitly compared itself to another article published in 1965, “On the New Historical Play ’Hai Jui Dismissed From Office,’” by Yao Wen-yuan, which served as the “signal” for the Cultural Revolution. Articles began appearing in papers under the control of the Gang calling for “revolutionary violence,” “revolutionary rebellion,” and “attacking reactionaries.” These slogans were not appropriate in dealing with the situation in China. And they were designed to create favorable opinion for a new Cultural Revolution. All were popular during the high tide of the Cultural Revolution, and the masses identified them with that period. At the same time, other forms from the early Cultural Revolution reappeared, like wall posters attacking Party leaders by name for “repressing rebels.” (Among those targeted in Peking were Wu Teh and Hua Kuo-feng.)[11]

Although the masses did not rally ’to this orchestrated effort to kick off a new Cultural Revolution, the Gang was successful in rounding up small groups of followers in many factories to form factional “fighting teams” leading to factional battles that broke out in hundreds of factories throughout the country. This caused the disruption of production not only in plants immediately affected, but by a ripple effect, in those they supplied and so on. Compounded by troubles on the railroads, the disruption in China’s industry was greater than it had been since the late ’60s.[12]

Several points must be made about this attempt by the Gang to whip up a new Cultural Revolution. First, it flowed out of a very wrong analysis of the situation, which was, at that time, basically sound. Chou En-lai was in no way pushing a revisionist line, the Party Center was implementing a correct line overall and there was no basis for such a bottom-up mass upheaval except to promote chaos and thereby the Gang. Second, this attempt showed that the Party Center, and especially Chou En-lai who was responsible for its day-to-day functioning, stood as an obstacle to the Gang’s aim of seizing power and that it was for this reason that they would attack him, inventing reasons and rewriting history as they went along. Third, it shows that the Gang had a one-track mind when it came to forms of struggle under socialism and could only pathetically imitate the GPCR in pursuit of their narrow aims.

Mao was clear on this point. Speaking to conditions of struggle against real, and not imagined enemies, he drew a distinction between major line struggles and cultural revolutions. Speaking at the height of the Cultural Revolution, Mao said: “Great disorder across the land leads to great order. And so once again every 7 or 8 years. Monsters and demons will jump out themselves. Determined by their own class nature, they are bound to jump out.” Yet in the same period he pointed out that: “In the course of one century, it may be possible to launch such a revolution [a cultural revolution– ed.] two or three times at most.”[13]

The important point here is not the particular time estimates, but the implication that every time bourgeois forces jump out under socialism, it won’t be possible or correct to have a full-blown cultural revolution. They must be knocked down, and different forms have to be developed to deal with the situation, whether it be purge, education movement, rectification campaign or some new form. But the Gang is ready to have ten consecutive cultural revolutions (or one long continuous one), regardless of the effects on the masses of people and on the maintenance of the proletarian dictatorship itself.

The effects of the line and practice of the Gang were the exact opposite of what the Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius Campaign was aimed to bring about. The tasks laid out at the 10th Party Congress were not only purposefully ignored by the Gang, but sabotaged. The study campaign itself was metaphysically separated from other tasks, and it distorted both history and the criticism of Lin Piao to push an erroneous line, Instead of strengthening the Party it promoted factionalism and disunity in the Party and society as a whole, instead of developing the economy it seriously undermined it.

The Gang was not, however, able to run this line out unchallenged. There was sharp class struggle within the Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius Campaign. The Party Center also put articles in the press, taking particular advantage of holidays, lib May Day, articles which upheld the original line and aims of the campaign, linking it with study of the 10th Congress and stressing the 3 do’s and 3 don’ts: Practice Marxism, and not revisionism; unite, and don’t split; be open and aboveboard, and don’t intrigue and conspire. This was a theme rarely found in articles the Gang was responsible for.[14] In many areas where the correct line won out and the campaign was taken up in a correct way, it did deepen political understanding among the masses, mobilize them to defend the fruits of the Cultural Revolution from attacks from the right and make big strides against feudal remnants, like the Confucian line of women’s inferiority. It also showed the battle lines that were being drawn in the Party.

This correct trend in the campaign was greatly strengthened after July by a document in the internal bulletin of the Central Committee, Chang-fa. It summed up things so far, leveled criticism both at the Gang-promoted anarchy and resistance to the campaign from the right and called for rectification of the campaign. In dealing with problems in production, this document criticizes two calls the Gang would use again and again during the next two years, “rebelling against leadership is going against the tide,” and “Donít produce for the incorrect line.”[15]

The main form the right errors took was many leading cadres refusing to take up the campaign and especially to bare their heads to criticism from the masses. Instead cadres even fled their posts and where they stayed would not take up leadership tasks, fearful of criticism. Here one further effect of the Gang’s incorrect line and practice can be seen–letting the right off the hook. Their distortions of the campaign and raising it to the level of antagonism could only feed hesitancy to take it up and provide excuses for those who wanted to avoid taking it up or even to end the campaign. Hua’s later criticism of “soft, lax and lazy” at the Learn From Tachai Conference in 1975 was directed at this kind of problem.

The question of Mao’s line on all this has been left until last on purpose. The main thing is to investigate the Gang’s line and practice in its own right and see how they stood with relation to the actual situation and tasks of the time. But Mao’s views, while not inherently correct just because they’re his, certainly warrant our attention and study. And Mao made it very clear where he stood with regard to the Gang of Four.

After Mao’s blow against the Gang’s metaphysics, he continued to lay down sharp criticisms. In March, 1974, he made Chiang Ching move out of his house, telling her, “It’s better if we don’t see each other. You haven’t done many of the things I talked to you about over the years. What’s the use of seeing each other more often?

The work of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are there. My works are there, but you simply refuse to study.”[16]

Even these steps did not pull the Gang up short, and at a Politboro meeting in July, Mao for the first of many times openly criticized them for acting as a Gang of Four. “You’d better be careful; don’t let yourselves become a small faction of four.” This is where they got their name of “Gang of Four.”[17]

Not only Mao’s criticisms, but the open manner in which he made them, indicated the depths of his disagreement with the Gang. In the early stages of the Cultural Revolution, a great social upheaval in which the main task was to expose and overthrow Party people in power taking the capitalist road, Mao expressed serious reservations about Lin Piao in a private letter to Chiang Ching. But, to open fire on Lin and similar forces would destroy the united front needed to smash the capitalist roaders: “At present what I have just said cannot be made public (because) at the moment all the left speaks the same language. If one divulged what I have just written, it is like pouring cold water on them, and thus helping the right wing.”[18] In 1974, however, Mao was actively working to pour cold water on the Gang in the Party Center, and by the end of the year would be taking them on right out in public with the directive on stability and unity in direct response to the Gang’s call for a new cultural revolution.

The Three Directives And The Fourth National People’s Congress

With the publication of the three directives in late 1974, the general direction laid out at the 10th Party Congress was reaffirmed. The CCP leadership was busy preparing for the upcoming 4th NPC, struggling over lines and personnel arrangements for the period ahead. The practice of the Gang came under attack based on measuring it against the needs and demands of moving China ahead. They repeated their errors of the Criticize Lin Piao-Confucius Campaign, and put themselves in opposition to the interests of the masses and the line of Mao.

The first of the three directives came out in the fall of 1974 in a statement by Mao to ”push the national economy forward.”[19] This was more than a simple call for people to end factionalism and work harder at their posts, though the disruptions in the economy in 1974 demanded at least that. Mao’s directive points forward, and is consistent with the line of the 10th Party Congress and the line being prepared for the upcoming 4th National People’s Congress: that a leap in the economy needs to be and can be made.

The second directive first appeared a-round December 14th on wall posters that said: “Eight years have passed since the GPCR started. It is preferable to have stability now. The whole Party and whole army should unite.” This call is directly aimed at the Gang for their disruptive and factional activities. Mao clearly does not put stability and unity above the class struggle as the right would have it, but the main thrust of the directive is clear and consistent with the tasks being developed for the general period.[20]

The third directive followed two significant events. The preparations for the 4th NPC were in their final stages, and Mao went over the Congress reports with Chou En-lai. And, during this same period, Mao received messages from Chiang Ching which he angrily rejected. She asked if she could form a cabinet, and asked that Wang Hung-wen be named a vice-chairman of the NPC standing committee, ranking after Chu Teh, Tung Pi-wu and Soong Ching-ling, all over 80 and in ill health.[21] Mao addressed the key question of the proletariat maintaining political power, and the danger of splitting and weakening the dictatorship of the proletariat. As events in China from 1974 to 1976 showed, this was no idle or philosophical concern of Mao. (For more on this point, see the section below on the disturbances in Hangchow.) “Why did Lenin speak of exercizing dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is essential to get this question clear. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. This should be made known to the whole nation.” Mao then followed this quote with three other points on the same subject. (More to come on this campaign a little later.)[22]

The thrust of the three directives was clear and consistent with Mao’s line for the period, with both the ideological work and political tasks that faced the working class. Despite the ravings of the Gang, the 3 directives upheld what Chou put forward at the 10th Party Congress and raised it to a new level. The three directives represented concrete direction as to how to consolidate the gains of the Cultural Revolution to enable the Party to lead the broad masses down the socialist, and not the capitalist, road of economic development and modernization of industry and agriculture. The development of the actual contradictions in the class struggle demanded the resolution of the struggle in the Cultural Revolution over the two lines and the two classes on the basis of which actual way or road production and economic construction and other tasks would take place on.

Mao’s call for stability and unity was neither a general statement nor a sign that he was softening on the need for class struggle. The call for stability and unity was a significant one. With it, Mao was preparing the basis for the working class to advance under the conditions and in light of the contradictions present at the time. The Cultural Revolution had been going on for 8 years. China was a poor and developing country, which needed to advance. The question at hand was not whether to push forward, including and particularly socialist construction, but rather what kind of politics would be in command and what kind of conditions were best for the upcoming push.

To separate off the actual task of modernization and construction from the class struggle will not end class struggle, but will only insure that the capitalist roaders hold sway and that the proletarian headquarters will be further isolated from the masses. This would allow the three major differences–between town and country-side, workers and peasants, mental labor and manual labor–to flourish and expand, seriously iundermining the basis of working class rule, the dictatorship of the proletariat. Mao’s three directives spoke to this. They were a call to take a big economic step, and at the same time a warning to hold to the socialist road, to continue to consciously address these questions. He recognized that the task of building stability and unity and pushing the national economy forward would unleash forces who would wage class struggle all over the place against the proletariat. At the same time Mao was also worried about the continued factionalism and disruptions in the cities caused by the Gang and their followers. In the face of all this the cardinal political question is the strengthening of the rule of the working class. With the theoretical campaign to study the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Mao wanted to draw the attention of the masses to just this question.

The directive to study the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not put forward, as some would have us believe, so there would be one directive about the class struggle. All three were about the class struggle, and there was sharp struggle over all three. The socialist road demanded ideological work among the masses and political and economic policies together, and implementing the three directives hinged on the class struggle. That is what Mao meant when he said that class struggle is the key, and everything hinges on it. He meant everything, not only ideological work, but political and economic work as well.

Although the Gang was to leap on Mao’s new quotations about the dictatorship of the proletariat, it is evident that they are aimed at the Gang as well as the right. “Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism,” points, exactly to the dangers inherent in the Gang’s line and activities, as the previous year had shown. (For that matter, the emphasis on the need to read Marxist-Leninist works surely included Chiang Ching–as Mao had pointed out in March.)

1975 began auspiciously with the 4th National People’s Congress, attended mainly by delegates who had not been at the 3rd in 1964. Many had come forward in the Cultural Revolution and many were liberated cadres. As at the 10th Party Congress, Chou Eh-lai made the main report on the work of the government. He summed up the favorable developments on the national and international fronts since the previous People’s Congress. He laid out a number of tasks. First he put forward the class struggle on the ideological front, calling for deepening the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius and for the cadre and masses to study and “arm themselves with the basic theories of Marxism.” Calls followed for strengthening the revolutionary committees, distinguishing between contradictions among the people and with the enemy and strengthen the great unity of the masses of people. The task of developing the national economy was laid out in far more detail than the others: “The first stage is to Build an independent and relatively comprehensive industrial and economic system in 15 years, (from the original call at the 3rd NPC in 1964–ed.) that is, before 1980; the second stage is to accomplish the comprehensive modernization of agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology before the end of the century, so that our national economy will be advancing in the front ranks of the world,” Chou then talked about the political principles which guide the development of the economy and stressed the importance of revolution in the superstructure and paying attention to class struggle “while tackling economic tasks.” He closed this point with a call for a basic policy of self-reliance, “While making external assistance subsidiary,” quoting Mao.[23]

The 4th National People’s Congress, like the directives from Mao, which preceded it, laid out a path for the Chinese Revolution in the period to come. The fact that both called for unity, stability and particular attention to be paid to economic development did not negate the class struggle. These tasks were necessary for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat and, as Chou implied, were key questions around which two roads would present themselves and two line struggle take place. The ideological and political tasks of arming the masses to struggle against revisionism and restoration were also necessary and aimed at making sure the proletarian line won and the socialist road was followed as the different tasks were implemented.

The Campaign To Study The Theory Of The Dictatorship Of The Proletariat

A month after the 4th NPC, the campaign to study the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat began. This was to be taken up in connection with the study of the documents from the National Peoples’s Congress. This campaign marked a qualitative step in the Gang’s degeneration into a roadblock in the socialist road of China’s development. Their basic approach to the Criticize Lin Piao-Confucius Campaign was repeated–the same stand, the same line, the same method, even if altered somewhat to fit the situation. If it could be considered a serious error, perhaps of over-enthusiasm or ignorance, the year before, now it moved toward becoming an antagonistic contradiction.

In response to criticism by Mao and other Party leaders directed at the incorrect approach abound criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius, Wang Hung-wen had written a self-criticism the previous year which said in part, “In the early stages of the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, I divided the criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius from the implementation of policies decided at the Tenth Congress.”[24] But the first thing the Gang did in this new campaign was to try and split it off from the study of the documents of the 4th NPC! In fact, here was a general effort to black the NPC out of the media altogether. Peking Review, for example, ran an article greeting the event, and four short pieces in #5, ’75, then silence for months.

Once again the study of theory was separated metaphysically from the other tasks of the Chinese Revolution. In practice it was upheld as the real form of class struggle and, therefore, as the only real task of the moment, completely negating the others–and dialectics. Where were the articles showing how at certain periods, including the immediate one, stability and unity are necessary for strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat, and, far from requiring writing off the class struggle, create the Best conditions for it? Where were the articles on how the drive to build a modern socialist China would strengthen the proletarian dictatorship and provide both opportunities to restrict bourgeois right (replacing small scale production in the countryside with large scale agriculture and new industry as part of the communes creating the material base for narrowing the difference between town and country), and also new problems along these lines to Be resolved, like the vast numbers of new skilled technicians. China will need before the end of the century?

What the Chinese people got instead were more distortions, as the Gang looked for handles to push their line. The same thing they were doing to historical materialism around Confucianism and Legalism, their articles in this new campaign did to Marxist-Leninist theory and classics. The method was to select quotes, often out of context, and write “explanations” of them, twisted to reinforce the Gang’s positions. In particular, they would metaphysically separate one point or one aspect from an article, reducing dialectics, the motion of the unit} and struggle of opposites, to their own static metaphysics. It is instructive to contrast their article on studying Lenin’s A Great Beginning with the original work, which deals with many important questions on building socialism and communism. In it Lenin dealt with such questions as nurturing “shoots of communism” in the precise context of the situation and tasks of the Russian Revolution. But the Gang piece omits Lenin’s emphasis on the importance of raising labor productivity in building communism; omits his call for trying hundreds of new methods to vanquish the remnants of capitalism and his criterion for determining real communist shoots from false ones–results in practice; and omits his call for fewer pompous phrases and more plain everyday hard work on behalf of society as a whole. It’s not surprising they didn’t like this last point, since it could have been easily updated to “less Gang and more Tachai and Taching.”[25]

In March and April, Yao Wen-yuan and Chang Chun-chiao published their articles “On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique” and “On Exercising All-Around Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie.” The publication and wide distribution of these signed pieces was aimed at establishing the Gang as the theoreticians and leaders of the campaign. In keeping with their clique’s general thrust, the questions of promoting stability and unity and developing the national economy are ignored, as if they have no relationship to the dictatorship of the proletariat or were not tasks of the moment. (Chang Chun-chiao does tip his hat–once–to the need “to build China into a modern socialist country By the end of the century.”)[26]

These two pamphlets were supposed to be major theoretical works on the question of the bourgeoisie in the Party. Yet beyond even their failure to link this question to the current tasks, both ignore the contributions and line of Mao on this question. Nowhere in either pamphlet is Mao’s formulation that the main enemy and target of the struggle is Party persons in power taking the capitalist road. This scientific summation accurately describes the force at the center of the danger of restoration. It both narrows the target of attack and delineates it clearly, so the masses can identify the enemy and strike at them with force and accuracy, winning over the great number of middle forces. Mao laid great stress on this formulation, using it in laying out the task of the Cultural Revolution (see page 26), using it later against the right (see page 38), using it in opposition to other formulations, like a “bourgeois class” or a “layer of people.” Yet Chang and Yao go on for over 50 pages on this very topic without even a mention of Mao’s line.[27]

Yao Wen-yuan also sounded the theme that “At present, the main danger is empiricism,” a Mao quote from the 1959 struggle against Peng Teh-huai. This phrase became a catchword for attacks on veteran cadres, including Chou En-lai, who were said to raise their long experience (in making revolution) to oppose Marxist-Leninist theory. Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao also began pushing the danger of empiricism in speeches and articles. Like the “going by the back door” business the year before, this drew an angry response from Mao. On April 23, 1975, he refused to approve a New China News Agency (NCNA) report calling for opposition to empiricism, directing, “It seems the formulation should be oppose revisionism which includes empiricism and dogmatism. Both revise Marxism-Leninism. Don’t just mention the one while omitting the other... Not many people in our Party really know Marxism-Leninism. Some think they know, but in fact know very little about it. They consider themselves always in the right and are ready at all times to lecture others.” This Blast was first and foremost a comment on the situation in China. Contrary to the Gang’s line, the right danger, represented ^by empiricism, was not so overwhelming as to justify making it the exclusive target at this point. It also pointed out that the Gang’s theoretical pretenses were shallow and self-serving. Further, Mao commented “Those who criticize empiricism are themselves empiricists.” This was certainly true of the way the Gang regarded their experience in the Cultural Revolution as universally applicable in the different conditions prevailing at the time. This time the Gang did not even go through the motions of self-criticism. To the contrary, when the head of NCNA wanted to spread Mao’s instruction on the rejected article inside the agency, Yao Wen-yuan ordered him to keep it to himself![28]

The Gang also took up in this period the difficult question of restricting bourgeois right in socialist society. In many ways they treated the concept as a portable spearhead which could be aimed at first one, then another section of the masses to condemn them as hotbeds of restoration: “red experts” (Chang Chun-chiao’s article), peasants (numerous articles on spontaneous capitalist tendencies in the countryside), highly paid and skilled workers (“Worker Aristocrats Are Termites Inside the Workers Movement”). This last may have been aimed particularly at Taching, where pay rates are well above the Chinese average, although this point has never been emphasized by Mao or the Party in calling for Learning from Taching In Industry. Overall, after being forced to tone down ”empiricism as the main danger,” the Gang was never able to focus their efforts within the campaign until the right deviatlonist wind blew up late in the year.[29]

Aside from playing fast and loose with Marxist concepts to attack the “target of the week,” these two articles represented a fundamental departure from Marxism particularly around the questions concerning the nature of socialism, forms of ownership in the period of socialism, the problem of “birthmarks” (the remnants of capitalism left in socialist society), and class struggle. Chang substituted the “theory of fortified villages” for Mao’s theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, thus negating the leap to socialism; while Yao echoed this basic Gang argument. These articles were the actual “poisonous weeds” of the period.

The movement to study the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat deepened and consolidated the erroneous tendencies displayed the year before. The Gang’s line was idealist in the extreme–it separated the studying of theory from society as a whole and dealt with it primarily as an ideological question. This is contrary to taking the class struggle as the key link and to the Marxist-Leninist understanding that “a thoroughgoing socialist revolution must advance along the three fronts of politics, economics and ideology.”[30] The emphasis on this task and the attempted burial of others which dealt primarily with the political or economic fronts meant that this idealist approach to study also became, by default, the main political (and economic) task the Gang was putting forward openly. There was still, however, another task for the Gang although their articles only hinted at it, particularly the continuing Legalist and Confucius articles. This was the overthrow of any Party leaders, first of all Chou En-lai, who stood between them and their goal–control of the commanding heights of the Party and then of Chinese society as a whole. This view that they and only they could keep the Chinese Revolution red, by force of their superior ideas, was consistent with their overall idealism, although it also represented the most despicable form of careerism.


Once again, the Gang’s line had a sharp reflection in practice which made it easier to judge. Although disruptions were not as widespread as they had been in 1974, in some places the situation had deteriorated. Most serious of all was Chekiang Province and its capital Hangchow, The lives of many hundreds of workers were lost in factional fighting there. Production collapsed in many plants due to fighting, strikes and absenteeism, and the national rail transport system, of which Chekiang is an important hub, was severely disrupted. Behind the fighting and much of the rest of the trouble was a close sidekick of Wang Hung-wen named Weng Sen-ho. An activist in the Cultural Revolution, Weng was vice-chairman of the Chekiang trade unions and a member of the standing committee of the Province’s revolutionary committee, but only an alternate on the Provincial Party Committee.

Weng Sen-ho ran out the Gang’s line without most of their refinements and cover, saying for example, that criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius was “flogging dead tigers” and “not worthwhile” and that the point was to attack a “living tiger,” namely Chou En-lai. The factional set-up he established indicates something about the social base the Gang was trying to cultivate. He drew in Party members who were cadres in nonparty organizations, the trade unions, women’s associations, revolutionary committees, and so on, and by pitting these organizations against the Party committees enhanced their importance and power. Promotions and official posts were used to reward and consolidate his followers. He appealed to young people by playing on their revolutionary spirit and desire to change the world with slogans like “going against the tide,” and he established a factional armed force, a “militia headquarters,” and made sure its core was toughs, lumpen elements who would do his bidding.

Weng Sen-ho followed the policy, which the Gang would use even more extensively in 1976, of creating large scale disruption as a basis for extending control and seizing power. With the militia as enforcers he set out to paralyze Party committees, which strengthened the position of mass organizations under his influence. In the plants he used dual tactics to disrupt production. Economism was stirred up and wage demands aimed at the local Party Committee. At the same time, workers who rejected this and the factional fighting and continued to work were criticized for holding the theory of productive forces and denounced as belonging to Command 8315–work 8 hours a day, eat 3 meals a day and get paid on the 15th.

Over the first half of 1975, discussion at the Party Center returned repeatedly to the worsening situation in Chekiang. The Politburo heard reports on the Hangchow situation from Ten Chi-lung, the province’s first Party secretary, Teng Hsiao-ping, Wang Hung-wen and Chi Teng-kuei. Chi’s case is particularly interesting. Previously he was reported to have lined up with the Gang on a number of issues, but his investigation of Hangchow as early as January 1975 led him to Blame the Gang’s line and followers for the situation. It took the Party Center some time to even begin to restore order. In the spring, after a personal investigation visit to Hangchow, Mao condemned Weng and said he should not be allowed on any three-in-one organ. In June, the head of the militia, the head of the Hangchow Revolutionary Committee, and a military commander were purged and an entire division of the First Army sent in from outside. In July, the Central Committee and the State Council issued a resolution supporting the provincial Party leadership, demanding the dissolution of all factions and denouncing a big list of crimes committed by counter-revolutionaries “who plot to seize the leadership power.” Even these steps only stabilized the situation in Hangchow somewhat and the Gang continued their interference until they fell. At the Hangchow Iron and Steel Work’s, for example, output for 1974, 1975, and 1976 combined was lower than what it had been in 1973 alone.[31] Chekiang Province, which had consistently been a surplus rice producer (averaging 400,000,000 catties of paddy surplus per year to the state prior to 1974), became a deficit producer, requiring 100,000,000 catties in both 1975 and 1976 from the State to feed the population.[32]

The Gang Gets Rescued By The Wind– Temporarily

The Gang’s line was in contradiction with the line of Mao Tsetung and the Party Center and was in contradiction with the course of action the objective situation required. Because they persisted in their errors, they were weakening the Party, undermining the dictatorship of the proletariat and causing havoc. The Gang was increasingly isolated from the masses of people to whom they had nothing to offer but exhortations to study their articles, one-sided praise for everything related to the Cultural Revolution, severely limited cultural fare and evident contempt for people’s desire for a better life. The Gang was increasingly isolated from the rest of the leadership of the Party. Genuine leftists and those who had come forward in the Cultural Revolution could not unite with their incorrect line and destructive practice. Nor could they go along with the Gang in essentially giving over the very important questions of stability and unity and developing the national economy to the right which would pose as true upholders of these goals to the masses.

Criticism of the Gang in the Center had become general and intense. On May 3, 1975, Mao stepped up the attack at a Politburo meeting. He cautioned all those present against factionalism, repeating again the three do’s and don’ts, “Practice Marxism and not revisionism, unite and don’t split, be open and above board and don’t intrigue and conspire.” Then he turned his attention specifically to the Gang: “Don’t function as a Gang of Four. Don’t do it anymore. Why do you keep doing it? Why don’t you unite with the more than 200 members of the Party Central Committee? It is(no good to keep a small circle of a few. It has always been no good to do so.”[33] Once again this is not just a case of Mao chiding the Gang for sectarianism or inept tactics. It is a political criticism which indicates that the Gang lacks clarity on the need for proletarian dictatorship. Mao had always followed the policy of maintaining a united front inside the Party as well as in society as a whole–uniting the maximum possible forces to tackle the main task and oppose the main enemy at any given point. Had Mao not always been willing and able to unite with people who disagreed with him or did not have his grasp of the situation, he never would have been able to lead the revolution through the twists and turns that faced it. The approach of the Gang he was criticizing was exactly the opposite–refusing to mobilize all positive factors for struggle. Calling on them to unite with the more than 200 CC members was a sharp criticism of the Gang’s basic line and view that the commanding heights of Chinese society were in the hands of the class enemy.

After this meeting Mao opened up the Gang to general criticism by the Politboro. Various forces took this up in various ways. Among them were Mao himself. During the summer, he called for a major adjustment to be made on the cultural front, criticizing the fascist constraints Chiang Ching had kept on her area of work. In particular he defended the film Pioneers, about the building of the Taching oil fields, from her unprincipled censorship. (For more on Pioneers, see page 52). Wang Tung-hsing, for instance, speaking to high level cadres at a conference in Canton, raked the Gang’s line, strategy, and tactics over the coals as revisionist. Among the charges he made were trying to establish a second Party Center and putting forward the theory of political parties alternating in power (promoting the mass organizations over the Party), confusing contradictions among the people and with the enemy, promoting anarchism, and practicing capitulationism to class enemies at home and abroad.[34]

The criticism of the Gang was led and spearheaded, however, by Teng Hsiao-ping, who was by this time the leading active figure on the Politburo. This set up the stage for developments at the end of 1975 and in early 1976, when contradictions sharpened up and opportunists began jumping out left and right. At the same time, in the course of this class struggle the road forward for the Chinese Revolution became clearer and a new leadership core began to develop with Hua Kuo-feng at its center.

When Teng moved to take on the Gang of Four, he wound up giving them a new lease on life. Unlike the Gang, Teng recognized the importance of the tasks of promoting stability and unity and developing the national economy, and saw the Gang and their line as the main obstacle to doing so. He was ready to engage in class struggle against the Gang, but in doing so showed that he downplayed the importance of class struggle in socialist society as a whole. This came out most clearly in “On the General Program of Work for the Whole Party and the Whole Nation,” completed under Teng’s personal direction in October.[35] This was a big broadside against the Gang, who are compared to Lin Piao and accused them of waving the red flag to oppose the red flag, and promoting bourgeois factionalism. “Rebellion” and “going against the tide” must be subjected to class analysis– who is rebelling against whom, what tide is being resisted, and deeds not words must be the main criteria in judging people. There is a lengthy criticism of the practice of counterposing revolution to production and labelling economic construction the “theory of productive forces.” The “General Program” focused sharply on a number of the ways in which the Gang was hampering the development of the Chinese revolution.

While the General Program was a heavy blast at the Gang, this did not make it correct. It was in no way a program to guide the whole work of the CCP and the Chinese people over any time period, let alone twenty-five years. And, more importantly, it contained serious errors of principle. The most important of these was the tendency to negate the class struggle which was symbolized by the formulation “Take the 3 directives as the key link.” The document basically takes the position that the only danger of capitalist restoration will come from those who are “left in form, right in essence,” and conspiratorial like the Gang, and not from capitalist roaders of the Liu Shao-chi type. The question of studying the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not dealt with as a campaign to increase the consciousness of the masses and address the problems of building socialism and keeping China red but merely as an excuse to rail at the Gang. The “General Program” lacked clarity on the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therefore, it treated the tasks of stability and unity and developing the economy basically as goals in themselves not as necessary tasks for strengthening the proletarian dictatorship and advancing toward communism. This, too, leaves the door wide open for revisionism.

Throughout late 1975 sharp struggle continued over implementing the tasks of the 4th NPC, especially the four modernizations There were many conferences; on state planning, trade, science and technology, etc., and at these the Gang was attacked for being a roadblock to developing China. The Gang ignored the criticisms and hit back especially focusing on Teng Hsiao-ping, all the while themselves downplaying the importance of the modernizations and of economic development.[36]

(The origins, strength and overall role of the right deviationist wind remain unclear. For the Gang, the wind was everything coming from the Party Center; Mao, however, clearly defined the target more narrowly, approving Hua’s speech of February 23, 1976 that narrowed the target, and denouncing the line of ferreting out Teng’s agents at every level. Even after the removal of Teng, the Party Center restricted criticism to hię Mao himself approved one of the so-called “poisonous weeds,” the Science Outline Report which the Gang said was a product of the wind. Like the Tien An Men incident, how much of this was a creation of the Gang, hot much they exaggerated and what information they gave to Mao must be determined before an overall assessment can be made.)

Chairman Mao became extremely concerned at Teng’s failure to uphold the Marxist-Leninist line. He criticized the line of the General Program in the famous remark, “What taking the three directives as the key link? Stability and unity didn’t mean writing off class struggle. Class struggle is the key link and everything hinges on it.”[37] He also criticized Teng for failing to grasp class struggle and retaining his “black cat, white cat” pragmatism and posing the danger of restoration. In summing up he said, “With the socialist revolution, they themselves come under fire. At the time of the cooperative transformation of agriculture there were people who opposed it, and when it comes to criticizing bourgeois right they resent it. You are making socialist revolution and yet you don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party–those in power taking the capitalist road.”[38] There was no question that Mao was calling for struggle against Teng and the right deviationist wind. With this call, the Gang’s line appeared to be in accordance with the demands of the struggle and with Mao. But as the struggle developed through 1976, the Gang once again proved themselves Incapable of leading China down the socialist road, and new forces came forward who had that ability.

Hua Kuo-feng Comes To The Fore

Even as the right deviationist winds were warming up, a major practical step toward implementing the 4th NPC was being carried out. This was the National Conference on Learning from Tachai in Agriculture, held in September and October, 1975, led by Hua Kuo-feng. Hua was a member of a new generation of leaders who had come forward during the period of the socialist revolution (although his Party work began in 1946). He rendered valuable services to the revolution at key points in its development. As a local cadre in Hunan, he not only pushed forward agricultural communization and the Great Leap Forward, but his reports in these battles were a major source of ammunition for Mao’s struggle against Peng Teh-huai’s revisionist line that everything coming out of the Great Leap was a mess and that the Leap had failed. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution he played a leading role in the province and his report on the successful struggle against one of the best organized “ultra left” rebel groups, Sheng Wu Lien (PL’s favorite) was distributed nationally. He was called to Peking to take much responsibility for investigating the case on Lin Piao and brought into national leadership by Chairman Mao, who knew him from when he had responsibility for Shaoshan, Mao’s Hunan birthplace. Hua was elected a member of the Politburo at the 10th Party Congress and after the 4th NPC served as Vice-Premier and in the key post of Minister of Security.[39]

The Tachai Conference, which lasted a month, set forward a revolutionary plan for the transformation of Chinese agriculture. As laid out by Hua Kuo-feng in his speech in summation, the major call of the conference was to transform, in several waves, all the rural countries of China into Tachai type counties, characterized by good Party leadership, class struggle to stay on the socialist road, and all-around economic development. In this context, the goal of the basic mechanization of agriculture by 1980 was put forward. The movement to build Tachai type counties on this basis would weaken the force of small production, develop and show the superiority of more public forms of ownership like the people’s communes and narrow the three great differences.[40] At this conference, the Gang’s line also had a representative. Chiang Ching called Hua’s report “revisionist,” and made her own speech. She didn’t dwell on the question of agricultural development and mechanization, but dealt largely with her own and incorrect interpretation of the novel, Water Margin.

Mao’s response to the conference was very clear. He immediately approved Hua’s report for distribution, dismissed Chiang Ching’s speech as “shit, wide of the mark” and forbade its circulation in any form. Despite the Gang’s employment of their typical media blackout tactics, the movement to implement the conference decisions began across the country, with Party work teams totalling 1.6 million people mobilized to go into the rural areas and get things rolling.[41]

The situation took another leap with the death of Chou En-lai on January 6, 1976. Chairman Mao had spent several days and nights with his old comrade on his death bed. Amidst widespread mourning among the masses, Teng Hsiao-ping delivered the Party Center’s memorial speech. The Gang meanwhile treat Chou as an enemy, earning the bitter hatred of the masses. News of the mourning for Chou was perfunctory and on inside pages of the papers, while the lead articles featured the struggle against the right deviations on the educational front.[42]

After his speech, the criticism of Teng on the Politburo increased, and he stopped appearing in public or the media. The Gang cherished hopes of replacing him, but Mao chose Hua Kuo-feng to serve as Acting Premier. When the decision was announced February 3, Chiang Chun-chiao bitterly predicted Hua’s rapid downfall. Hua, however, began handling his leading responsibilities well. In late February, Hua delivered a report endorsed by the Politburo and approved by Mao to a leadership meeting (and to which the later famous statement, act in line with past principles referred) and in it called for narrowing the target of criticism of the “right deviationist wind” to Teng to get maximum clarity in the struggle.[43]

This was hardly the approach the Gang took. They took Mao’s criticism of Teng and the “General Program” and used it as a launching pad for a broad attack on Party leaders. In particular, the Gang targeted “those bourgeois democrats who were reluctant to go forward and pass the test of socialism” as the main bourgeois agents in the CCP.[44] The many articles with this thrust presented a one-sided theoretical view of the social base of capitalist roaders and also incorrectly called on the masses to aim their fire at a whole layer of veteran Party cadres. Again, the call for a Cultural Revolution to deal with the right was issued In the same article quoted above, going directly against the line and plans of Mao and the Party Center to narrow and restrict the scope of the campaign. The Gang did not even agree with Mao on how to handle Teng Hsiao-ping. Chiang Ching complained about this at a meeting she called to run out the Gang’s line: “In China there is an international capitalist agent named Teng Hsiao-ping. It might be correct to call him a traitor. Nevertheless, our Chairman is protecting him. What I have said is my personal opinion.”[45]

The Tien An Men incident in April is a key point in the development of the class struggle. The masses took advantage of the spring festival to honor Chou En-lai and protest the suppression of his memory. Counter-revolutionaries also took advantage of the situation, as the anti-Mao poem “To Hell with Chin Shih-huang” publicized at the time showed. But the method of dealing with the situation, the removal of all memorial wreaths, was sure to provoke an antagonistic response among sections of the people. It did and a protest flared up and was suppressed.

Because this incident put the danger of a complete split in the Party right up front and because counter-revolutionary elements were making an open call to attack socialism, firm and decisive action was called for. The Politburo met and removed Teng from all his positions, saying that: “The nature of the Teng Hsiao-ping problem has turned into one of antagonistic contradiction.” This is not at all the same as saying that the contradiction with Teng was antagonistic, and in fact Teng was not expelled from the Party, but retained his membership while the masses and the Party kept an eye on how he behaved.[46] (Mao’s exact role in these events is unclear. Mao had opposed Teng’s expulsion during the Cultural Revolution. Again, in 1976, Teng was not expelled. Yet as soon as Mao died, Chiang Ching put forward to a meeting of the Party Center the demand that Teng be expelled.)[47]

Mao’s stand on another question is not in doubt and that is the matter of succession. After Teng was removed from his posts, the Gang was passed over. Hua Kuo-feng was confirmed as First Vice Chairman of the CCP and as Premier. Mao seconded this in April, meeting with Hua and writing him out three messages “Take your time, do not be anxious,” “Act according to past principles,” and “With you in charge, I am at ease.” This was a most important vote of confidence in Hua.[48]

Any argument that Mao supported the Gang of Four must explain not only the consistent differences of line and principle between them and Mao over the preceding two years, but also his firm rejection of them as potential successors. While Mao did not dismiss the Gang from their posts straight out, he clearly pointed the overall direction. His criticisms of them helped greatly to isolate them and his choice of Hua Kuo-feng was a direct rejection of the Gang as successors. Any theory which suggests that some undetailed “necessity,” perhaps in the form of threats from military commanders, forced Mao to choose a man he knew or suspected to be a capitalist roader as a successor with his death rapidly approaching, is arguing that Mao had lost either his bearings or his revolutionary will. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest either is true, and to raise it is the basest opportunism.

The Gang Goes For Broke

After this point, the next six months in China were a big political battlefield. The Gang shifted the gears of their dictatorship of the proletariat articles. The main target now was Hua and he was too young to be attacked as a veteran communist who had gotten stuck at the stage of a new democratic revolution. So the Gang dropped their heavy assault on veteran cadres and began instead to argue that the bourgeoisie in the Party is primarily made up of “newly engendered bourgeois elements.” This was a complete flip. Where before, the Gang had aimed their fire on Teng and played up Mao’s statement: “With the socialist revolution, they themselves come under fire. At the time of the cooperative transformation of agriculture there were people who opposed it, and when it comes to criticizing bourgeois right they resent it,” now they found that the first half of the statement was not good ammunition to use against Hua and other younger leaders. So they dropped it, using only the second half in 3/4 of the articles in Peking Review after Teng’s downfall. They went so far as to write a theoretical article attacking “October Bolsheviks” – people who joined the Party in Russia right after the Revolution of 1917 was victorious. By mid-1976, the Gang had targeted the young, the middle-aged, and the old; cadres who joined the Party during the new-democratic period and cadres who joined after the victory of socialism and cadres who were “raised under the red flag.” Their frantic opportunism on the theoretical front was a reflection of their increasing isolation and their frantic scramble for power.[49] Isolated, bypassed by history, their hopes of achieving supreme power beginning to vanish, the Gang took the position that, as one of their followers put it in a government forum on planning, ”Do genuine Marxists hold the leadership of the state apparatus in their grip? My answer is no.”[50] This was not the answer of Mao. He was not about to replace the Party leadership with the Gang and their followers. The only road left for the Gang was to go for broke, to try to usurp power after he died, and they started pushing well before then.

During the summer they stirred up factionalism and interfered with production and transport on a scale even broader than in 1974. “Fighting groups” were formed and established networks between cities and provinces. Their idea was to create conditions of turmoil both to discredit the Party leadership and to gain opportunities to establish their supporters in power. Slogans like “Don’t produce for the incorrect line” and “Confucians produce, legalists rebel” were circulated. Whole plants stopped working for months at a time and workers showed up only on pay day.[51]

Hua fought to keep the economy functioning and to keep the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping on the track. In the midst of this battle, he was confronted with a massive national disaster, the Tangshan earthquake, which killed 600,000 people, destroyed whole industrial centers and forced evacuations of apartment buildings in large cities as distant as Peking. Hua quickly mobilized the whole country to provide relief to the stricken area, and visited it himself to provide leadership and inspiration.

The events following the earthquake further exposed the Gang to the masses. They did not throw themselves into the relief work, but rather stood aside and sniped, saying that people “were using anti-quake and relief work to suppress revolution and brush aside criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping.” They did not limit their efforts to making light of the disaster, but also used it to further their own “smash and grab” aims. The Gang played on and even tried to revive old superstitions connecting earthquakes with the deaths of emperors in a “historical”/hysterical article: “When the Earth Turns, It Actually Signifies the Advent of a NewEarth.” This article actually heaped praise on a leader of the Taiping Rebellion of the 1860’s, not for fighting against the oppressors, but for seeing an earthquake at that time as a sign from heaven that his cause would be victorious. The Gang called this mysticism “sparkling revolutionary optimism.” For over 26 years, the CCP and Chinese government had worked patiently to wipe out such superstitions and feudal and Confucian mysticism. It had been one of the targets of the Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius Campaign. Now the Gang was using the earthquake and this old superstition to raise the question of succession, meaning that they should be the ones to follow Mao. This at a time when Mao was on his deathbed. The article appeared dated September 14, 1976, one week after Mao died.[52]

Hua Smashes the Gang

The final act in the drama began with the death of Mao Tsetung, Chairman of the Communist Party of China, on September 9, 1976. It is a story which can be told briefly, for the actions of the people involved flow out of their political lines as they had developed over a long period of time.

From the start the Gang moved toward a seizure of power. Among their supporters they prepared opinion for their coup with talks which ominously asserted the power of revisionism at the Center, and they issued calls to prepare for struggle. To circumvent the Central Committee and its general office, run by Wang Tung-hsing, they sent out orders that all Party organs should report directly to Wang Hung-wen. They acted to get from Chairman Mao when he was dead what he would not give them alive, his official support.

Chiang Ching tried repeatedly to lay claim to the files of Mao’s documents and materials to make herself the source of his posthumous writings, but she was stopped by Hua Kuo-feng and Wang Tung-hsing, who forbade anyone to take any of Mao’s documents from where they were stored. Even without the documents; the Gang tried to pass themselves off as the executors of Mao’s great theoretical heritage, as the true Marxist-Leninists, by palming off on the Chinese people a phoney bequest – “Act according to the principles laid down.” Publicized throughout the media, this was a distortion of Mao’s words to Hua, “Act according to past principles.” It was designed to mystify things and make it appear that there existed some special principles which were not public knowledge at the time. This was the same theme as their lauding of the legalists, over two years before – proclaiming themselves condescending saviours with special knowledge who will look out for the interests of the masses.[53]

Hua, meanwhile, undertook to lead the nation through this most difficult period, working collectively as much as possible with the rest of the Politboro. He refused to be buffaloed by the gang, either into turning over Mao’s files to Chiang Ching or into going along with “Act according to the principles laid down.” He gave instructions that this false formulation should not be used.

Hua’s competance, decisiveness and grasp of the situation left the Gang no choice. They had to move fast since conditions could only get less favorable for them, On October 4, their writing group, Liang Hsiao, published an article which basically called for rebellion against Hua, proclaiming, “Any revisionist chieftain who dares to alter the ’principles laid down’ by Chairman Mao will not come to a good end.” Simultaneously with this, they initiated attempts at “power seizures” in a number of localities, armed and mobilized the Shanghai militia and put their followers there and elsewhere on the alert and tried to order military units under their command or influence into the Peking area.[54]

On October 6, based on information about these activities and after consultation with other Party leaders, Hua had the Four arrested. Within the next few days he broke up their strongholds like the propaganda centers and the Shanghai municipal Party leadership, without having to resort to fighting. There were only sporadic attempts at an uprising by the gang’s followers and for the masses of the Chinese people, who had learned to hate the four deeply, from their own experience, there was jubilation.

For Hua Kuo-feng, there remained the job he has been working to tackle ever since: not only undoing the harm done by the gang, but helping the masses sum up the experience so that their understanding of the class struggle under socialism, and the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat is deepened and their enthusiasm for the tasks ahead is given free rein.

The Current Situation

What has the smashing of the Gang of Four meant for the class struggle in China today? First and foremost, it means the class struggle is still taking place under socialism, which is to say on the working class’s turf, with its forces occupying the commanding heights. This would hardly have been the case had the Gang usurped state power and established a bourgeois dictatorship, or, more likely, plunged the country into bloody civil war in their attempt. The continued existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the single most important factor determining how the struggle in China is going on now and will take place in the future. At the same time, within this overall favorable situation, the Chinese proletariat today faces certain difficult conditions in the class struggle resulting directly from the degeneration of the Gang of Four into capitalist roaders and bourgeois elements. Again however, the fall of the Gang has removed a major roadblock to transformation of adverse conditions by the masses and the great majority of Communist Party members and leaders who genuinely want to make revolution. No longer are they being undercut and stabbed in the back at every turn by enemies claiming to be the leading force in the proletarian camp and the only real upholders of Mao Tsetung Thought and the cultural revolution.

Hua’s policy and that of the CCP leadership today is to unite all who can be united to isolate and defeat the main enemy–the Gang and their line. The nature of the struggle requires that this unity include many rightist forces. This was a correct and revolutionary move on Hua’s part. There is both unity and struggle within this front, and the various forces involved do not remain static. Forces associated with the proletarian “left” can swing right, or even become capitalist roaders, as witness the Gang. Rightists can be won over and transformed, as witness the vast number of cadres who were struggled with and liberated during the Cultural Revolution.

It is especially important to remember this when the terrain of class struggle is changing. The history of the CCP is full of examples like Wang Ming and Liu Shao-chi who were rightists under one set of conditions and “leftists” under another, and even more examples of cadre correcting past errors and taking up a more correct road under new conditions.

The line and practice of the Gang is in no small degree responsible for the current strength of the rightist forces and tendencies. The anarchism and economic disruption they spawned in the name of rebellion, “don’t produce for the incorrect line,” “going against the tide” and “fighting the theory of productive forces,” has spontaneously helped discredit the very idea of “class struggle” itself, which they so distorted. Their undialectical and anti-materialist approach to the socialist new things they posed as defenders of, caused some of those things to stagnate and turn into their opposites (more on this later in the paper). And by refusing to uphold the tasks of promoting stability and unity in the country and the Party and pushing the national economy forward, and attacking those who did for revisionism (including countless revolutionaries among all levels of the Party’s ranks, as well as rightists) they built the prestige of the right as the forces who were most concerned with building socialism and insuring the well-being of the masses. Even without the Gang’s “help,” tasks like those of the present period have always provided opportunities for the right to jump out with lines and programs which negate grasping the class struggle in the name of accomplishing other tasks.

But contrary to the Gang’s line, these tasks do not belong to the right. Just like the ideological tasks to which they are tied in the real world by a thousand threads, the political and economic tasks of building socialism belongs to the masses of the people and to the genuine Marxist-Leninists who can best accomplish them and who seek to accomplish them precisely in order to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat and to move toward communist society. The two models, Tachai in agriculture and Taching in industry, show concretely how such tasks can be tackled in a revolutionary way, how the masses can put politics in command and develop socialist consciousness precisely in the process of carrying out the kind of “prosaic,” “boring” tasks Lenin referred to in the quote from The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government earlier. In doing so, moreover, they are laying the material base for further advances in the social relations and in socialist consciousness by breaking down small production, by cutting away at the three great differences, etc.

In the course of taking up the actual tasks of building socialism, the two roads continually present themselves. While this is not always in a full blown and open form, they must and can be sorted out in the struggle and debate over how to move forward. This is going on today in China. The bourgeois press, such as the New York Times, the Weekly Manchester Guardian and Far Eastern Economic Review seize upon every event to report either the end of revolution in China or a new split in the leadership. Though their analysis (and often their facts) must be taken with more than a grain of salt, there are still things to be learned from them. Like the Gang, however, they neither differentiate between antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions nor use Marxism to analyze events. One Chinese publication is reported as carrying articles on the importance of implementing the plan to build Tachai type counties and mechanize agriculture while an editorial in another emphasizes higher immediate productivity on the communes at the expense of side-line industry and farmland capital construction projects. Articles appear referring to the Gang (and Lin Piao) as “left in form, right in essence,” while others refer to them exclusively as “ultra-rightist.” Some articles and speeches argue for rapid military modernization to prepare for war, while others emphasize this can be accomplished only on the basis of strengthening agriculture and industry as a whole. And so on.

Such struggles over particulars show that within the unity there are different trends contending and ultimately different lines, roads and classes. Both what is right and wrong, and where and when to draw the line between friends and enemies will be decided in the course of implementing these trends and the Party and masses summing up the results. To say that this line can be drawn now or that these or other differences indicate how things will fall out is just as wrong as denying any class struggle as the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) does.

Already a real difference can be seen between Hua Kuo-fengís emphasis in his speeches and writings on upholding the class struggle as the principle aspect in the contradiction with the struggle for production under socialism and a number of articles in the Chinese press arguing, in different guises, the opposite view, that production should, and does, take precedence over class struggle.

An additional point to which the bourgeois media pays a good deal of attention is Kremlinological speculation on leadership, portraying everything as a “power struggle at the top.” This is the same approach, it should be remembered, they used in dealing with the Cultural Revolution. Nevertheless, there is a point here. People do hold lines and represent tendencies and developments in the Party and State apparatus–who holds what positions–are important.

Nor is the question limited to one of particular individuals and posts. There are important struggles over policy questions involved. Take liberated cadres–who should be brought back, how fast should they be given major posts, are the criticisms of them raised in the Cultural Revolution correct, or should they be reversed? The liberated cadres are not a homogeneous group; although most were overthrown in the struggle against Liu Shao-chi, some fell for ultra-leftism, and some in the battle against Lin Piao. And most have transformed to some degree. The other side of this is the question of those associated with the Gang of Four. Some of the leaders attacked in the campaign against the “Right Deviationist Wind” in 1976 have tended to demand harsh treatment, while Hua, who was himself targeted by the Gang, and. others have argued strongly for narrowing the target and not pushing aside any of those taken in by the Gang who can be won by education. It is also clear that for Hua and the CCP, while questions of cadre policy and assignment are important, they are not decisive. Their main orientation is toward mobilizing the masses around the proletarian line. This is manifested particularly in their emphasis on the building of mass study and action campaigns, like those around learning from Tachai and Taching, which aim at revolutionizing consciousness and practice.

These, then are the outlines of the class struggle in China now–two roads arising continuously as the Party and the masses undertake the tasks before them in every sphere, a powerful right, and increasing line struggle within the united front in the Party’s leadership. There will be plenty of setbacks as well as victories as the class struggle develops, and its development will not follow a straight line or be easy to discern.

It is through this process of continual struggle around the tasks of building socialism that the lines, roads and class forces become sharper and clearer, and it is in response to the demands of moving forward at a given crucial time or situation that a bourgeois headquarters can (and eventually will) consolidate around a revisionist line in a right or a “left” form to lead China down the capitalist road. This concentrates the struggle and sharpens the test of strength between the two classes–as it did with Liu Shao-chi’s headquarters, Lin Piao’s and the Gang’s. The view of the Gang that a bourgeois headquarters always exists in an organized form goes against the actual development of class struggle under socialism. In every such sharp class struggle–and there will be many more in the long period of building socialism–the danger of restoration also becomes very sharp, but every victory by the proletariat creates new conditions which make it that much harder to drag China back down the road to hell. In evaluating what is happening in China, now and in the future, both the objective situation and the lines being put forward must be taken into consideration.

Despite all the damage the Gang did, the masses of the Chinese people still retain their basic enthusiasm for socialism and the great majority of Communist Party members and cadres want to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The defeat of these opportunists has kept China on the socialist road, and the door to further advances open. The Chinese working class and masses have a great deal of experience in waging the class struggle under socialism. They are hard to fool–look how little success the Gang of Four actually had–and whatever the real difficulties which confront them, we are confident they will continue to struggle to grasp the proletarian line and through their practice make it a mighty force for changing the world.


To provide a deeper understanding of the Gang’s counter-revolutionary line and practice and to flesh out the picture of the situation and tasks facing Hua, the Communist Party and the masses of people, the next section of this paper will focus on two particular questions–agricultural mechanization and socialist new things.

These were not chosen at random. Right now millions of Chinese peasants are mobilized in a vast mass campaign to create conditions for and carry out the basic mechanization of agriculture over the next few years. This undertaking will thrust Chinese farming from the general level of U.S. agriculture at the turn of the century to its level in the 1940’s. Furthermore, the question of mechanization may appear to be solely one of economic development, but a closer look shows that it is in fact a political question as well, a dividing line as to whether China will continue to advance on the socialist road or not. Socialist new things are an important aspect of the forward motion of socialist society. Many have been the subject of re-evaluation and struggle since the fall of the Gang and this has become the source of glee in the bourgeois media and concern and controversy among the ranks of communists and other friends of China, as well as a topic for opportunist slander of China from the “left.”

At the same time, these are only two among many subjects which have to be investigated in depth–bourgeois right, foreign trade, the socialist economy, and dozens more must be better understood if we are to draw out all the lessons of the class struggle in China and deepen our grasp of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought. Even the points on agricultural mechanization and socialist new things, like the general analysis that opened this paper, are far from definitive. In each case, however, a concrete and scientific analysis of the information that is available leads irrevocably to the conclusion that the smashing of the Gang was an absolute necessity for the preservation of socialism in China. The deeper the investigation, the clearer this becomes.

Two Line Struggle On Mechanization Of Agriculture

The Gang’s line on the question of mechanization of agriculture was a counterrevolutionary line. Where it was implemented, it severely weakened socialism and encouraged capitalism. Where it was propagated, it stood directly opposed to the line of Mao which was continued by Hua. It was an actual fetter on the development of China along the socialist road that had to be smashed for that advancement to continue.

Struggles around agriculture and mechanization are key in China. Over 80% of the people are peasants. Conditions for the peasantry are far poorer than in the cities. All three great differences–mental/manual, town/country, worker/peasant–are centered in great part on this question. And while there have been great advances in China over the past 28 years, in large part agriculture is still not mechanized, and the peasantry spends the vast majority of its time on basic and difficult production. The overwhelming majority of Chinese must still labor on the land to feed all of China and produce a significant amount of raw material crops for industry. Compare this to a country like the US, for example, where less than 5% of the population grows all the food for the entire country, the worker-peasant alliance is the basis of proletarian rule in China. It is a class ’alliance under the leadership of the working class. Without this alliance, the working class cannot play its role in leading all of humanity in the struggle to consciously transform society and move forward to communism.

In 1957, Mao spoke on the importance of mechanization. “Gradual implementation of agricultural mechanization... can greatly raise labor productivity, progressively solve the problem of linking the development of agriculture with the development of industry, and progressively consolidate the worker-peasant alliance.” (emphasis added)[55]

By 1962, Mao said “Our worker peasant alliance has already passed through two stages. The first was based on the land revolution, the second on the cooperative movement...At the present time our worker-peasant alliance has to take the next step and establish itself on the basis of mechanization.” And furthermore, “When state ownership and mechanization are integrated we will be able to begin truly to consolidate the worker-peasant alliance, and the differences between workers and peasants will surely be eliminated step by step.”[56]

Mechanization of agriculture is a key to developing socialism, not just for the boost in agricultural production, but also for the political rule of the working class, for the development of side line industries and the proportional development of society, for the principle of self reliance, preparedness for war and preparedness for natural disasters.

As early as 1970, Chen Yung-kuei, the leader of Tachai, spoke of the opposition of the right and the “ultras” to mechanization. The right regarded mechanization as an ordinary measure to save labor and increase production, failing to see the political significance of it to the worker-peasant alliance. And. the “ultras” ”seem to stress revolutionization, but actually they neither understand revolutionization nor want mechanization.”[57] The Gang’s opposition to devoting full attention to the mechanization of agriculture began early. Yao Wen-yuan stopped the publication of an editorial on farm mechanization in 1971. The article had been approved by a provincial secretary named Hua Kuo-feng.[58]

The struggle over mechanization was of the first importance in China, and reached a high pitch in 1975 that has carried through to today. The conditions were present coming out of the Cultural Revolution for a leap in this area, and the question of which road to take came to the fore.

Learn From Tachai Or Down With Tachai–Two Different Roads

In the fall of 1975, the Party leadership initiated a National Conference to Learn From Tachai. It marked the beginning of open struggle between Hua and the Gang, with Hua upholding and developing the revolutionary line of Mao against the direct opposition of the Gang.

Tachai Brigade, in the Tachai Commune in Hsiyang County, Shansi Province, was singled out by Mao in his 1964 statement, “In agriculture, learn from Tachai.” That same year, Chou En-lai said: “The principle of putting politics in command and placing ideology in the lead, the spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle and the communist style of loving the country and the collective, in all of which the Tachai Brigade has persevered, should be vigorously promoted.” Since then, Tachai has been a model in the step by step development of socialist agriculture, relying on and involving the masses, conquering nature through class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment. Tachai is also a model in the fight to mechanize and modernize agriculture.[59]

Hua delivered the major speech at the Tachai Conference, summing up the importance of learning from Tachai in agriculture. His speech is reprinted in a pamphlet, “Let The Whole Party Mobilize For A Vast Effort To Develop Agriculture And Build Tachai-Type Counties Throughout The Country.” The pamphlet also includes excerpts from speeches delivered at the conference by Kuo Feng-lien, secretary of the CCP branch of the Tachai brigade and by Wang Chin-tzo, deputy secretary of the CCP Hsiyang county committee. The pamphlet gives a deep understanding of the struggle in agriculture in China.[60]

Hua’s speech on the learn from Tachai movement upheld Tachai as a red banner on the agricultural front. Hua laid out the task of building Tachai type counties, of carrying out Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line in agriculture. He touches on the need for ideological education, the leading role of the Party, combating the bourgeoisie inside and outside the Party. The speech deals with raising the level of ownership, and the key importance of farmland capital construction and mechanization. Hua lays out the role of leadership bodies on various levels to the movement to learn from Tachai. And he gives 6 criteria for becoming Tachai-type counties, clearly laying out the fighting tasks ahead. These criteria are remarkably similar to those laid out by Mao some 11 years earlier to serve as a yardstick for judging success in the Socialist Education Movement.[61]

The holding of the Learn From Tachai Conference was a victory for the working class. It marked a significant move in the direction laid out at the 10th Party Congress, in the three directives and at the 4th NPC. The entire conference and Hua’s closing speech upheld and promoted Tachai as a red banner, and it consolidated a line and a plan to transform China along the socialist road. The conference summed up the Tachai experience in grasping revolution and promoting production, and brought forward and popularized this advanced experience through the speeches from Tachai Brigade and Hsiyang County. And most importantly, the Conference called for a mass movement to Learn From Tachai, to move forward along the socialist road through mechanization and agricultural development guided by the correct line. This was a revolutionary call to action to the over 700 million peasants of China from the CCP. The Tachai conference unleashed a broad and enthusiastic response. Within 24 hours of the end of the conference, Mao approved Hua’s speech for nationwide distribution. Work teams were set up to go all over China to spur the mass movement. The number of cadres assigned to these work teams was a staggering 1.6 million. The documents of the Tachai Conference, including all the major speeches, was issued in booklet form and widely distributed throughout China.

The Gang Attacks Tachai

The Gang did not wait for the conference to attack it. They had already played down the buildup for this historic conference in the media under their control. Once the conference started, they tried to take it over. Chiang Ching spoke at the opening of the conference. She gave the assembled delegates a lecture on the novel Water Margin, using the opportunity to attack the conference and by implication Hua. The media was geared up to give her speech a big spread. Hsinhua News Service reported that she made an important speech. But the text did not appear, and the speech was not mentioned after that.

The Gang had run up against a very powerful and angry opponent, Mao Tsetung. When he heard about her speech he could not conceal his disgust. “Shit! Wide of the mark.” He gave specific instructions–“Don’t publish the talk, don’t play the recording or print the text.”[62]

Prevented from playing up Chiang Ching, the Gang responded by playing down the conference and movement to learn from Tachai. Reports shrank, and at the conclusion of the conference Hua’s speech was buried in the middle of People’s Daily. Hsinhua did write some articles about the conference, but generally they ignored it, and they even started a short series about agriculture without even a mention of the Learn From Tachai movement that was taking root throughout the country.[63]

Instead the Gang searched around for other agricultural models to put forward instead of Tachai. They popularized communes they had leadership in, such as a commune between Peking and Tientsin called Hsiao Chin Chuang, which Chiang Ching took under her wing. This commune was often called “Chiang Ching’s Poetry Village,” since its major feature was that all of the inhabitants were reportedly able to recite all eight of the model operas by heart and many of them wrote poetry.[64] The putting forward ot these models had one main purpose–to obstruct and sabotage a major effort by the whole Party under the line and leadership of Mao to learn from Tachai in agriculture and through this move forward.

The Gang’s Line For Weakening the Worker-Peasant Alliance

The Gang and their line worked at weakening the worker-peasant alliance from three different directions. First, they opposed and stood in the way of the Tachai movement. Second, their policies in the cities weakened it. Third, where they did take up agricultural policies, i.e. in the communes surrounding some major cities and in a few provinces where they were influential, they wrecked things by distorting “taking grain as the key link” and closing down rural fairs. All added up to a serious undermining and threat to proletarian rule in China.

The Gang-led disruptions in the cities were not without effect in the countryside. For all their talk about restricting “bourgeois right” and the three great differences, their policies magnified them. The peasantry, and especially the collective form of organization, depend on the cities for agricultural implements, supplies, fertilizer, etc. as well as consumer goods. And they are faced with strict “laws” of production, like the necessity of planting during the planting season.

The peasantry was frequently unable to obtain these needed goods because of disruptions in basic industry and transport that the Gang pushed with such calls as “don’t produce for the incorrect line.” Workers on strike in China in recent years generally received full pay, while peasants get paid only on the basis of what they produce. Disruption in industry that cuts agricultural production therefore magnify the differences between workers and peasants and town and country whether they are done in the name of “revolution” or not. That is why there has to be an overall view and plan for the economy. Spontaneity means nothing less than capitalism. The result of the most serious disruptions was to break down the collective economy and push the peasants to private small scale farming in order to survive. The black market also flourished in these conditions. This is capitalism, and is pointed out in Hua’s Tachai speech. The Gang attacked him for “going after foxes while wolves are in power.” The truth is that the Gang were the wolves who turned loose the foxes.[65]

Since the Gang had relatively little influence in the countryside, it mostly centered around the bigger cities like Peking, Shanghai and Hangchow. In these areas, they took Mao’s line of taking grain as the foundation of agriculture and getting prepared for war and used this to destroy Mao’s line of planned proportional development of the economy. Grain as the key link reflects the overall need of the masses and the economy. The peasantry must strive to fulfill the state plan in grain, and supply the state with the required amount, in order to ensure proportional development, and therefore other crops must be planned for with this in mind.

In the areas the Gang controlled, they threw the overall plan out the window and metaphysically pushed grain to oppose the plan. They converted vegetable growing communes around major cities and turned them into grain producers. But this was done without regard to where the vegetables were to be used. They were for the workers in the nearby cities, a small example of local self reliance. The quantity and quality of vegetables dropped off, with resulting resentment by the workers at the peasantry, and with new fertile soil for black market vegetables.[66] They did this to gain political capital, hoping to put forward “their” communes as models for the country–a hard thing to do if these communes concentrated on growing vegetables while the rest of the country focused on grains. This action clearly exposes the base intentions of the Gang, showing in real terms that smash and grabbers describe these scum perfectly. Of course the most advanced workers in the cities did not blame the peasants or the State plan, but rather blamed the “bad communists” who were messing things up–the Gang and their henchmen. (For a fuller discussion of the question of “bad communists,” see the next section on the Socialist New Things.)

Mechanization of agriculture was never an actual part of the Gang’s efforts in agriculture. They focused instead on developing the economy by “restricting bourgeois right.” And in doing so they showed how a correct Marxist concept can become a weapon against the masses when used to promote an incorrect line.

The Gang launched a movement to restrict bourgeois right in the countryside by attacking rural fairs and open markets. These exist throughout China, and are legal and generally even state regulated. Through them, the peasants supplement their income by trading the produce from the remaining private plots. And these fairs and markets also serve to enable communes, brigades and work teams to make small adjustments to fill needs not accounted for in the overall plan, like a draft animal or a tool.

These markets certainly contain soil for capitalism to grow and for capitalist ideology to expand. But this is very secondary, both in relation to total agricultural production and distribution and to their positive roles.

The Gang attacked, without any investigation of conditions, any practice of the mass line, and without using the method of persuasion and education to deal with contradictions among the people. Under the signboard of restricting bourgeois right, they simply closed down the fairs and markets in at least two provinces.

In Chekiang, the Hangchow disturbances and riots had dealt heavy blows to the worker-peasant alliance. Distribution of goods to the countryside was heavily curtailed, with the resulting push to private plot farming. This process was speeded up when the Gang’s supporters in the area closed down the local market by force. In one perfecture, Wanchow, the cumulative effect of the Gang’s leadership was the almost total breakdown of the communes and redivision of land among the peasants for private farming.[67]

In Liaoning Province, the home base of Mao Yuan-hsin, Mao’s nephew and a close ally of the Gang, local rural fairs were closed down under his leadership. This was done under the Signboard of restricting bourgeois right and capitalism. The result here was not as serious as in Chekiang. The communes did not break down, but the black market did flourish and expand. Rather than restricting bourgeois right, the number of speculators increased and they grew richer at the expense of the peasantry, while the state suffered by the falling production and exchange. This is what the leadership of Mao Yuan-hsin and the Gang’s line meant.[68]

This three pronged attack on the worker-peasant alliance–from the cities, in the countryside, and in opposing Tachai and the Party’s line for developing agriculture– placed the Gang in direct opposition to Mao and the Chinese masses. They had become a real fetter on the development of the socialist revolution that had to be smashed. But smashing the Gang is no guarantee of smooth sailing ahead for mechanization and revolution in agriculture or in any other sphere. In fact, agriculture remains a key focus for the class struggle in China today as it has been for the past 28 years and more.

The Struggle To Learn From Tachai Continues Under Hua

Only Socialism can save China.[69] This was Mao Tsetung’s statement on which road was the road forward. And for agriculture, Mao said, “the fundamental way out for agriculture lies in mechanization.”[70] Mechanization of agriculture is a key step along this road. This will provide the basis for still further leaps in socialist ownership, consolidation of the worker-peasant alliance, and restricting the three great differences. But these gains will only be realized by putting ideological and political work based on Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought in command. This is the fundamental lesson of Tachai.

Now that the Gang is gone, the struggle over mechanization is still going on. Capitalist roaders of all stripes, either those like the Gang or those like Liu Shao-chi, all oppose the mass movement to mechanize agriculture. The right is all for the four modernizations on paper, but not in an all-round, proportional way to build socialism stronger. They historically stress heavy industry over agriculture, because it is a more profitable sector of the economy. Measured on the capitalist basis of highest profits, full mechanization of agriculture is hardly worth it on a nationwide scale. It is more profitable to build up a few very mechanized, very big farms than to step by step raise the level and productivity of literally thousands of communes and brigades, many of which are not very favorably situated for high yield farming. If this was the yardstick, nationwide mechanization could wait until industry had moved much further ahead. And in fact this has been proposed many times, both in the USSR and in China.[71]

But as Hua pointed out at the 1st Tachai conference: “We should see to it that the mechanization of agriculture will more effectively push forward and guarantee the modernization of industry, national defense and science and technology so as to greatly strengthen the material base of our great socialist motherland...”[72]

The debate over agriculture is relatively open. There have recently been articles stressing grain production and the importance of fulfilling and exceeding the plan, which minimize or ignore mechanization and farmland capital construction. At the same time, there have been other articles that call for high immediate production but stress the importance of providing the peasantry with sufficient time to energetically take up farmland capital construction and mechanization. The question of how to proceed and the different views on it are being struggled out both in the media and among the millions of peasants in their drive to build Tachai-type counties throughout China.

Hua wrote in an article published on May 1, 1977 that “Under socialism, too, the growth of the productive forces is bound to expose flaws in the economic and political systems and rouse people to make changes.” He continued by stressing the importance of learning from Tachai:

Chairman Mao pointed out; ’The social and technical transformation of the rural areas will proceed simultaneously.’ The growth of agricultural cooperatives into people’s communes opened a broad road for mechanized farming. Agriculture is of vital importance in our country’s economic construction. The development of our agriculture calls for carrying out the mass movement to learn from Tachai in agriculture and popularize Tachai-type counties throughout the country, for carrying out education in the Party’s basic line among the peasant masses, for criticizing revisionism and capitalism in a big way and for persisting in the socialist road while working energetically to mechanize farm work. The present three-level system of ownership of the means of production in the people’s commune, with ownership by the production team as the basic form, will in the future gradually be raised to fully collective ownership by the people’s commune and eventually ownership by the whole people. This is a process of constant transformation in the superstructure and in the relations of production, a process of achieving farm mechanization and industrializing the communes and the country, and a process of constantly raising the level of mechanization and industrialization.[73]

Hua Kuo-feng is carrying out Mao’s line in agriculture, understanding the conditions and continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, waging class struggle to build socialism. This is shown in his opposition to the Gang and in his leadership of the Tachai movement and persevering in the task of socialist mechanization together with the masses against all enemies and obstacles.


During the past several years, a major focal point of the struggle in China has been the status of the socialist new things which arose in the Cultural Revolution. In past months, the bourgeois press has been echoed by Avakian in proclaiming that the current leadership of China has reversed the Cultural Revolution wholesale, wiping out the socialist new things and racing full speed ahead to replace them with capitalist or “moderate,” old things.

Those who make these charges of reversal and restoration are looking at China through bourgeois tinted glasses, substituting for facts their own fantasies and desires. There is sharp struggle in China over the direction and evaluation of several of the socialist new things. Much of this is over how to rectify the damage done by the Gang in the name of upholding the new things, and how to consolidate and preserve the advances the new things represented. This struggle helps both clarify the nature of the socialist new things and helps determine the future development of them.

The first new things under socialism arose within months of the Russian Revolution. Lenin called them “shoots of communism”–developments within the new socialist society which show the road ahead and are themselves an actual step along that road. They arose out of mass surges of enthusiasm for socialism, both to defend it against class enemies and to build it up and strengthen it. They were based on a heightened level of ideological and political consciousness among the masses which lead them to come to grips with the actual problems confronting socialism in a new and better way. Such new “shoots of communism” both dealt with the particular problems and also represented a leap in the socialist organization of labor and society.

The success of these shoots in turn served as a new source of enthusiasm for socialism, as well as a model to be analyzed and applied in other places. The same holds true for the socialist new things in China. They were one important source of enthusiasm for the masses, though not, as the Gang would have it, more important than the actual daily functioning of socialist society itself. The wiping out of unemployment and inflation, the ending of national oppression and the oppression of women, the freeing of China from the rule of foreign exploiters, the constant rise of conditions of life for the masses of China, who were among the world’s poorest before liberation, the advances in working class control of all areas of life–all of this is the main continuing source of deep enthusiasm and commitment to socialism.

In 1919, Lenin summed up the development of the first “shoots of communism,” the “communist Saturdays” or “subbotniks.” They were a development at a time when Russia was economically devastated. Transport in particular was almost at a standstill. The Communist Party members who worked on the Moscow-Kazan railroad took upon themselves the task of solving this problem in a communist manner. Guided by their class consciousness and enthusiasm, they organized squads to work on Saturdays without pay, relying on their self-imposed, voluntary discipline to increase the productivity of their labor and contribute to building socialism. These “subbotniks” together with another development under socialism, nurseries that freed women to enter the labor force and political life, were praised as “shoots of communism” by Lenin in a major article entitled “A Great Beginning.”[74]

Such things also developed in China. There have been many developments that were leaps forward in man’s social organization and pointed the way forward in a sharp and concentrated way. The mutual-aid teams, co-operative agriculture and people’s communes all started out as new things. They were summed up, popularized and spread throughout the country by the CCP.[75] There was, of course, sharp struggle over them. The bourgeoisie opposed and tried to undermine these advances, sometimes openly and sometimes with an ultra-“left,” super-revolutionary cover. The conservative habits and attitudes of the masses developed over hundreds of years had to be patiently overcome in order to advance. And when some of the new things encountered difficulties, as they had to, some of the masses, with the constant encouragement of the bourgeoisie, wanted to retreat to the older, more familiar ways. But through the course of building and adjusting them, and as the new things demonstrated their effectiveness in agriculture, the vast majority of the peasantry were won to support them, and in doing so advanced their understanding of and enthusiasm for socialism. Eventually, these new things became integral parts and basic units of socialist society. They ceased to be new things as society as a whole advanced to their level.

During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution–itself a great leap forward for socialism in China–a large number of socialist new-born things were initiated, nourished and developed. In late 1974, an article listed the socialist new things of the Cultural Revolution. Included in this article were:

lively development of the mass movement in the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought; birth of the revolutionary committees and strengthening of the Party’s centralized leadership; creation and popularization of model theatrical works; expansion of the mass contingents of Marxist theoretical workers; enrollment of workers, peasants and soldiers in institutions of higher learning and reform in education; educated young people settling in the countryside and mountanous areas; medical workers going to the rural areas; rural ’barefoot doctors’ and co-operative medical service; study by the masses in their hundreds of millions of the historical experience of the struggle between the Confucian and Legalist schools and class struggle as a whole; three-in-one combinations of the old, middle-aged and young in leading bodies at all levels; study classes for training worker-peasant-soldier cadres; participation in manual labor by vast numbers of cadres, especially leading cadres; many advanced units in agriculture, industry, commerce, culture and education, and numerous inventions and creations in science and technology.”[76] (This list was published under the leadership of the Gang. It reflects their view of the importance of various developments. It lumps together things developed before the Cultural Revolution, like “barefoot doctors,” with things developed during it, like revolutionary committees, and mixes particular advances like model theatrical works with general developments like participation in manual labor. At the same time, it ignores many other developments in socialism, like worker–peasant villages to narrow the differences between workers and peasants and develop socialism in an all-round way.[77] The list does give some indication of the scope of developments in all spheres under socialism while showing that the Gang plays fast and loose with the very concept of socialist new things.)

Socialist New Things: Objects Of Fierce Class Struggle

The initiation and development of socialist new things are often targets of fierce class struggle. Lenin laid this point out clearly back in 1919.

When the new has just been born the old always remains stronger than it for some time; this is always the case in nature and social life. Jeering at the feebleness of the young shoots of the new order, cheap scepticism of the intellectuals and the like–these are, essentially, methods of the bourgeois class struggle against socialism.[78]

Those attempting to hold back the further genuine revolutionizing of social relations, often make the weakness and fragility of the socialist new things a major focus of their attacks. The history of socialist China verifies Lenin’s summation. From the early days of agricultural cooperation, through the Great Leap Forward, through the Cultural Revolution, and through the present day, those who oppose continuing the revolution often target the socialist new things for jeering and attack. Some of this resistance arises from the conservative thinking of the more backward masses, while the organized attacks on the new things are a method of struggle of those inside the Party who step onto the capitalist road. In recent years the rightists once again stepped up their attacks on the socialist new things to attempt, as Mao stated, to “reverse correct verdicts.” But their efforts were greatly aided by another kind of error that Lenin referred to as well, an error which the Gang of Four turned into a reactionary principle, Lenin, in criticizing cadre who were freely calling their enterprises “communes,” wrongly representing them as shoots of communism, identifies the serious consequences of this error:

Any kind of enterprise started by Communists or with their participation is very often at once declared to be a “commune,” it being not infrequently forgotten that this very honorable title must be won by prolonged and persistent effort, by practical achievement in genuine communist development.

...let the title be simpler–and incidentally, the defects and shortcomings of the initial stages of the new organizational work will not be blamed on the ’communes’ but (as in all fairness, they should be), on bad communists. It would be a good thing to eliminate the word ’commune’ from common use, to prohibit every Tom, Dick and Harry from grabbing at it, or to allow this title to be borne only by genuine communes, which have clearly demonstrated in practice (and have proved by the unanimous recognition of the whole of the population) that they are capable of organizing their work in a communist manner.[79]

The Gang of Four were precisely bad communists. They cloaked themselves in the banner of the Cultural Revolution and posed as the staunchest defenders of the socialist new things. Those “things” under their leadership and control (in such fields as culture, education, etc.) were stifled and rigidified. Hard work was replaced by hot air. They opposed adjustments necessary to aid the growth of these socialist new things, and to meet the needs of the class struggle; they rejected proposals and failed to implement instructions. All of this under the pretense of upholding the socialist new things, and claiming that all proposed changes were “revisionist” attacks that had to be repelled. This is directly opposed to Mao’s approach. He said: “New things always have difficulties and setbacks as they grow. It is sheer fantasy to imagine that the cause of socialism is all plain sailing and easy success, without difficulties and setbacks, or the exertion of tremendous efforts.”[80] The Gang’s leadership ruled out tremendous efforts, crushed and misdirected the masses’ enthusiasm for the genuine new things, and led to the stagnation of many of these things.

The Question Of Culture

An examination of Chiang Ching’s leadership of culture shows clearly how the Gang distorted the socialist new things of the Cultural Revolution and how they put themselves against the line of Mao. Revolutionizing culture was a big advance during the GPCR, a victory for the working class over the bourgeoisie in this’ key sphere. In particular, the creation of model operas and other theatrical works was a step forward in driving out decadent culture that glorified rulers, the exploiting classes, idleness, etc. But rather than using these models to guide and spur and call forth hundreds of flowers, the Gang used them as a club to beat down the masses. Under the signboard of not tampering with the new things, they forced culture to stagnate. In a 9 year period, just 8 model operas were developed, and these became a weight to hold down any chance of more.

By July of 1975, the situation had reached the point where Mao had to step in, calling for an “adjustment” in the Party policy on culture. His four short, blunt statements were a direct criticism of Chiang Ching and her line and practice. In describing the sorry state of affairs in culture, Mao said: “Model operas alone are not enough. What is worse, one comes under fire for the slightest fault. No longer are 100 flowers blossoming. Others are not allowed to offer any opinion, that’s not good.” And also: “People are afraid to write articles or produce plays. There is nothing in the way of novels or poetry.” And he pointed out what had to be done. “There should be some adjustments in the Party’s policy on literature and art, and the performing arts should gradually enlarge their repertories in a year or in two or three years.” And he said: “Enliven the atmosphere in a year or two, if it takes three, four or even five years, that will be all right too.”[81]

These were no idle observations. The Gang at that very time was trying to suppress the film “Pioneers,” about the struggle to build the Taching oilfields. The struggle around this one film became so sharp that the intervention of the Chairman of the CCP was required to break the blockade. Mao wrote a directive on this film: “There is no big error in this film. Suggest that it be approved for distribution. Don’t nitpick. And to list as many as 10 accusations against it is going too far. It hampers the adjustment of the Party’s current policy on literature and art.”[82]

Mao’s criticisms of Chiang Ching clearly indicates how her bad leadership had become a major fetter in cultural work. In the first statement of criticism Mao is hitting at the failure of cultural work to accomplish its basic political task to serve the workers, peasants and soldiers. Even though quality is important, it is dialectically related to quantity: quality cannot be developed in a vacuum. It is fair to ask how many times can 800 million people sit through 8 operas as the approved form of socialist culture, before they get bored and disgusted.[83]

“What is worse,” in the hands of Chiang Ching revolutionary model operas, a socialist new thing, were transformed into the absolute measuring stick and used to bludgeon down initiative and the masses enthusiasm for socialist culture. This method of work was a sure guarantee that 100 flowers couldn’t blossom. Chiang Ching was an extremely bad communist or, more correctly, an extremely good fascist. She had faithfully violated all of Mao’s instructions on developing cultural new things. While the right at this point could only aspire to reverse correct verdicts, Chiang Ching was doing so on a daily basis, by negating all the guidelines necessary for advancing the new things and at the same time claiming to uphold them. During the last years of his life, Mao instructed Chiang Ching to readjust the policy on culture and put some life back into it before culture once again degenerated into its former “mummy-like” character.

Is Adjustment Revisionism?

The sphere of culture is just one where the Gang did great damage. As a result, many socialist new things required major adjustments to get them moving in a correct direction again. Evaluating the damage and deciding on the correct adjustment is a question of struggle between the two classes, two lines and two roads. Not every new thing thrives and meets the needs of the masses. And the bourgeoisie uses many methods to label all of them as failures.

In China today, such fields as science, education, athletics, culture and the roles of mass organizations are under review and development. This primarily unfolds around meeting the concrete needs of socialist revolution and construction, yet also includes evaluation of the new things of the Cultural Revolution, including the damage done by the Gang. The majority of the socialist new things are continuing without major adjustment–like worker-peasant theoretical groups, three-in-one leadership combinations and barefoot doctors. These, too, will develop and be areas of struggle. There is no such thing as a static, eternal socialist new thing. All must be constantly adjusted and developed in the heat of the ongoing class struggle. The charge that the current leadership of China is destroying the socialist new things of the Cultural Revolution wholesale is nothing but a post-Gang repeat of the Gang’s metaphysical view that led many of the new things into serious troubles. The next section, “On The Question Of Education,” shows how the struggle is going on in just one of these areas.

The Question Of Education

The best publicized struggle over socialist new things in today’s China has been that concerning what the 1974 Hongqi list called, “the reform in education,” which actually included a number of socialist new things. Both the controversy and the information it has made available make this a good subject to look at in detail. In trying to evaluate what is going on, it is necessary to investigate the history, the damage done by the Four and the line struggle now, and to apply a yardstick Lenin suggested, “practical achievement in genuine communist development,” to determine what actually serves the interests of the working class and where adjustments are required.

Education was the first mass battlefield during the Cultural Revolution. Under Liu Shao-chi, capitalist roaders had increasingly tightened their grip on the education system. Politics was divorced from education, and book knowledge held superior to manual labor– before the GPCR only one middle school in Peking had a policy of part-time productive labor for its students. Teaching methods and course content were not designed to arm students to change the world. Higher education tended to reproduce capitalist class relations by turning out experts and intellectuals with bourgeois and feudal values and by “objective” admissions criteria which favored the children of cadres, the urban petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie and kept the working class and peasantry greatly under-represented.[84]

The masses of students rose up to criticize and overturn the leadership taking this road and repudiate their line and methods, and in doing so closed .down the schools for several years. Mao was generally very enthusiastic about the revolution on the educational front and in his directive of May 7, 1966 provided a general orientation for it:

While their (students) main task is to study, they should in addition to their studies learn other things, that is, industrial work, farming and military affairs. They should also criticize the bourgeoisie. The period of schooling should be shortened, education should be revolutionized, and the domination of our schools by bourgeois intellectuals should by no means be allowed to continue.[85]

As time passed and classes continued to remain in limbo while many campuses experienced small civil wars between Red Guard factions, workers’ propaganda teams were sent onto the campuses to restore order and help reorganize and provide working class leadership to education. The lessons of this period could be summed up in a comment Mao made in 1957, “Education must serve proletarian politics and be combined with productive labor.”[86]

The struggle over how to consolidate the advances of the Cultural Revolution in education and how to make the educational system strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat (“serve proletarian politics”) has been going on since at least 1971. It has been intense because the problems were very serious. Year after year visitors and articles have reported that university enrollment remained well below the pre-cultural revolution level and many graduate and advanced technical training facilities had never reopened. Wuhan University, for instance, had 5,000 students in 1965. Today it is finally moving to rectify the criminally decadent luxury of having only 3,000 enrolled and a 1 to 3 teacher to student ratio! Severe problems existed in the quality of education as well. Since the fall of the Gang this can be quantified to some extent. Shanghai recently gave college graduates in science working in local scientific and technical departments a middle school test in their specialties–68% failed basic math, 70% physics and 76% chemistry![87]

Mao was extremely concerned about the state of Chinese education, telling a meeting of liberated cadres in 1974:

Education heeds to be revolutionized, pedagogy needs to be reformed; but that doesn’t equal to abandonment of professors, quality and quantity of methods. Henceforth, it will be necessary to continuously elevate the quality and quantity of teaching, to include theory, practice, politics and administrative functionings.” He also pointed out, “If education can’t catch up, there will be no scientists in the coming years.[88]

As the struggle over this problem developed, the Gang took their characteristic stand of upholding “socialist new things” to oppose socialism. Chang Chun-chiao’s famous remark, “Bring up exploiters and intellectual aristocrats with bourgeois consciousness and culture or bring up workers with consciousness but no culture: what do you want? I’d rather have workers without culture than exploiters and intellectual aristocrats with culture,”[89] was not some abstract debating point. It was his answer to the problem that the universities were turning out workers without culture (a term referring to learning and education in general, not poetry appreciation.) As such it was no answer at all, only bluster in defense of the status quo–Gang control over much of the educational system. This went right along with the Gang’s general line, which in education came out as the position that colleges should specialize in teaching only the “specialty of struggling against capitalist roaders.”[90] This was the same division of “class struggle” from the many tasks of revolution and socialism they pushed everywhere. It narrowed and distorted Mao’s point about education serving politics, went against the May 7 directive’s call that students’ “Main task is study” and flew in the face of the objective need of socialist China for ever greater numbers of educated and trained people. What it did do was try and stake out the schools as areas for training (to the extent they controlled the selection of students by “political criteria”) and recruiting Gang supporters and as centers from which to disseminate the “theory” they covered their line with.

Mao’s statements quoted above show the danger the Gang’s” line posed to education. By late 1975, the Gang’s role in education was under sharp criticism–along with criticism of their role in other spheres. Their response was typical–seize upon a criticism from the right to try and divert all attention from themselves. When some leaders at Tsinghua University wrote to Mao proposing some reforms in education, his response was to send the letters back to the masses of students, teachers and staff for debate. He said: “The question involved in Tsinghua is not an isolated question but a reflection of the current two-line struggle.”[91] Instead of a real debate on what had to be done in the educational field, Gang-backers who were dominant at Tsinghua and other schools set up an orchestrated campaign which defended the existing situation in education and soon shifted into an equally distorted version of the anti-“Right Deviationist Wind” Campaign. The result was that stagnation continued and problems deepened until the Gang’s fall.

The Struggle In Education Continues

China’s need for a functioning, expanding socialist education system is critical. Right now, there is a shortage of every kind of trained scientist and technician. Even more will be needed to make the leaps in the economy called for. For example, two steel mills were imported with Mao’s approval to be built at Wuhan. They are far behind schedule because the engineers and other trained personnel required for construction are not available. The demand for trained personnel will grow as the Chinese undertake the push to complete the four modernizations and other tasks.

In the long run, the need is also for expanding and improving education. China does not yet have 100% literacy, and the goal for the minimum level of education, especially in the countryside is now only 8 years of schooling. Step-by-step, this level must be raised and raised again. Doing this is key to the gradual eliminating of the differences between mental and manual labor, and between the town and countryside, which can only take place through the overall raising of the cultural level and capabilities of the masses together with economic and political development.

The Gang left behind massive wreckage in the educational field, especially in higher education. Much of it consisted of “socialist new things.” Some of these proved themselves in practice not to be useful for socialism, while the Gang more often took real developments and distorted and petrified them, turning them into fetters on socialist development.

A good example of this is the question of textbooks. Most of those used before the Cultural Revolution were influenced to one degree or another by bourgeois ideology and bourgeois methods, often copied from the Soviets or even from Western scholars. These books were dropped at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Teachers and students were encouraged to compile their own, and in the process, revolutionize teaching materials in close contact with workers and peasants.

The Gang took this positive development and squeezed the life out of it. They kept textbook production more or less at the local level through the years. Instead of taking the initial advance to a higher level, by summing up and consolidating the most advanced experiences and texts, and using this knowledge to upgrade education nationwide, they turned it into its opposite. Elevating local texts to a principle removed a most effective way to maintain national standards in education. Not only were many local texts inadequate, at best–and often bad–but the lack of a clear national textbook policy stopped all possibility for learning and distinguishing good from bad. The Gang eliminated the crucial role of leadership by the Communist Party, practicing the mass line and summing up together with the masses of people.

A similar situation arose in the case of workers assigned to worker propaganda teams in the schools. In many cases, the same workers were assigned to this task for some ten years, without having returned to their jobs. Often, these worker propaganda teams lost their orientation, replacing working class guidance with “class stand” bullying in the universities. (The Gang fostered this situation, using these worker propaganda teams as a recruiting ground for new born “hacks” to aid their cause; and as a “Mao-supported” socialist new thing with the credentials to beat down struggle on the campuses rather than help guide them in a proletarian direction;) In comparison to the worker propaganda teams who often settled into relatively comfortable positions, the campus workers who continued on their jobs through this time were able to provide more consistent, and more proletarian guidance.[92]

Part of the current struggle in education centers on how to provide working class leadership. The worker propaganda teams in the universities have been disbanded, with the workers returning to their factories. The leading role of the Communist Party as the key link in leading the universities is being stressed. This is both a repudiation of the line of the Gang and more importantly, a concrete form of leadership to move education forward.

The Verdict On The Tests

One of the issues that the Gang spread the most confusion about was the role of tests in education. Like textbooks, tests before the Cultural Revolution were often characterized by bourgeois methods and forms. They were frequent, and often used by teachers to punish and cow students. They tended to reproduce capitalist class relations in school admissions, and to reward cramming over analysis of problems. Combined with a serious tendency toward scholasticism in course content, the testing procedures were not serving proletarian education.

During the Cultural Revolution, tests as well as textbooks were ended. And like with textbooks, the Gang tried both to keep things that way and to make use of the resulting struggle to further their aims of accumulating power. (It should be noted that tests and uniform texts were not the main things stopped early in the Cultural Revolution. The universities themselves basically shut down for a period of years, and were only beginning to resume functioning in the early ’70’s.)

The Gang’s anti-test line had wide effects. One recently reported example is indicative of the scope of the problem. Two Canadian teachers who worked at the Canton Foreign Languages Institute noted that when a final exam was announced as a means to evaluate graduating seniors this past spring, many of the students rebelled. This was not because they were against tests, but because they had not taken an exam in any form since junior middle school–before the Cultural Revolution. (This particular struggle was resolved by setting up a similar test a month and a half in advance to help students detect and work on their weak points.)[93]

The Gang desperately fought all moves to restore a system of testing to the schools. Their most successful tactic was the promotion of a petty opportunist named Chang Tieh-sheng. When exams as one criterion for college admissions were tried in 1973, Chang did very poorly. He appealed, saying that he was a hard-working production team leader and all the other communes had chosen bookworms and careerists to take the exam. He said the exam was not fair, and that he should be allowed to go to college anyway. The Gang seized on this incident. They edited Chang’s whiny appeal, claiming that he had turned in a blank test paper as a political protest, and then splashed him all over the national media as a model of rebelling against the incorrect tide of using exams in college enrollment. Chang found the role of national educational model far more to his liking than studying, and became a key mouthpiece for the Gang. (A more detailed discussion of the sorry career of Chang Tieh-sheng appears in Peking Review #8, 1977.) The wide publicity given to “Blank Paper” Chang led to a new wave of anti-test sentiment. But more serious, it also led many middle school students to sum up that there was no point in studying hard, or even that it was politically wrong to study hard.

The fall of the Gang (and with them “Blank Paper” Chang) has led to sweeping changes in education in China. This past fall, a college entrance examination was given to millions of young people throughout China. This is part of a general move to step up enrollment in colleges and to recruit the most qualified applicants to train for future needs. Included in this move is admitting many youth directly to college without first spending two years at work or in the Army. This sweeping move was necessary to rectify the stagnation Gang leadership had caused. Use of tests as an important standard for college admissions is not only not inherently bourgeois, under socialism it can be desirable. Tests can be useful to help evaluate how much a student has learned, how well a teacher has taught, where a graduate should be placed to make the best use of his or her abilities and further develop them.

In the absence of tests, there were other criteria used to determine admissions. The Gang made a big deal over judging “political line,” but all this amounted to was using admissions as a recruiting ground for their supporters, and to widespread “going in the back door” based on contacts and who you know. The current test, while the major criteria at the final stage, exists in conjunction with determining whether applicants “have given a good account of themselves politically” and “are determined to study for the revolution.” These standards were required of all those who took the fall examination.[94]

The Gang and many of their supporters made a great deal of noise about the danger of entrance examinations leading to a reversion to some of the weaknesses before the Cultural Revolution. While this danger exists and will continue to exist, the far greater danger to socialism was Gang-run colleges turning out uneducated people in small quantities while China needed and still needs well-educated, politically motivated people in great numbers The current tests and admissions procedures do not end the struggle between the two lines classes and roads. This will continue as “efforts will be continued to improve and perfect the proletarian enrollment system on the basis of summing up the experience, both positive and negative, in enrolling college students.” Only now, with the Gang down and with a clear road forward for education, this summing up takes place on grounds favorable to the working class and masses in China.[95]

Even though cleaning up after the Gang and rectifying the situation in education are monumental tasks, a number of the most important socialist new things in education from the period of the Cultural Revolution are being made an integral part of this process. Perhaps the most important is the combining of productive labor with study, a principle which is now universally applied from elementary schools on up. At the university level such labor, without pay, takes up about 15% of a student’s school time, either regularly at a nearby plant or commune, or in long “vacation” stretches, or both.[96]

Another is political education, which includes not only a minimum of a half day a week of study and discussion of Marxist-Leninist theory but also the integration of politics into every field of study whether it be the subject matter in foreign language classes or science classes taking up “open door” research projects to aid local plants, communes or municipalities.[97]

In addition, other forms of educational institutions developed both before and during the Cultural Revolution to provide education for workers and peasants, such as the Kiangsi Communist University (see Peking Review 33, 1977) and the part-time schools attached to factories, are being maintained and their enrollment increased. Still other forms are being developed and expanded, like correspondence courses in various technical skills for people in the countryside.[98]

The Future Of Socialist New Things

In education, in culture and in all fields of endeavor, the class struggle never ceases. This is true as well over the socialist new things. The struggle will go on in many forms, hidden and open, in non-antagonistic struggle among the people and at certain key points, like with the Gang, in antagonistic struggle between the people and opportunism. The socialist new things must be constantly adjusted, improved, tested, defended and used, until they are eventually incorporated into the everyday functioning of socialist society.

The socialist new things developed in the Cultural Revolution will surely not be the last ones. The masses enthusiasm for socialism and the correct line and leadership of the CCP will constantly call forth new ones. In the struggle to achieve the Four Modernizations, many new developments will arise, to be tested and struggled over, both in the superstructure and in the economic base of Chinese society. Advances in the level of collective ownership in the countryside, in management in enterprises, in education and culture, in government all are to be anticipated in the future. In all of these cases, as well as in judging the development of the socialist new things from the recent past, the words of Lenin in writing about the first such “new things,” the “subbotniks” in Russia, serve as both a guideline for the future and as an indictment of the role of the Gang in the recent past.

We must carefully study the feeble new shoots, we must devote the greatest attention to them, do everything to promote their growth and ’nurse’ them. Some of them will inevitably perish. We cannot vouch that precisely the ’communist subbotniks’ will play a particularly important role. But that is not the point. The point is to foster each and every shoot of the new; and life will select the most viable. If the Japanese scientist, in order to help mankind vanquish syphilis, had the patience to test six hundred and five preparations before he developed a six hundred and sixth which set definite requirements, then those who want to solve a more difficult problem, namely, to vanquish capitalism, must have the perseverance to try hundreds and thousands of new methods, means and weapons of struggle in order to elaborate the most suitable of them.[99]


[1] Mao Tsetung, “Reading Notes on the Soviet Text Political Economy,” A Critique of Soviet Political Economy, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1977, p.48

[2] V.I.Lenin, “Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government,” Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, vol.27, p.274-275

[3] Mao Tsetung, “Reading Notes on the Soviet Text Political Economy,” Miscellany of Mao Tsetung Thought (1949-68), part 2, Joint Publications Research Service, Arlington, Va., 1974, p.260. We use this translation rather than Monthly Review Press cited above because it is clearer and to the point.

[4] Mao Tsetung, “Speech to the Albanian Military Delegation,” (May 1, 1967) ibid, p.459

[5] For a further discussion of this point see William Hinton, The Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1972

[6] The annual growth rates for the industrial sector in China 1966-1974 were as follows: 1966-67 -14%, 1967-68 +10%, 1968-69 +19%, 1969-70 +18%, 1970-71 +9%, 1971-72 +9%, 1972-73 +12%, 1973-74 +4%. Information from Arthur G. Ashbrooke, Jr., “China: Economic Overview 1975,” Joint Economic Committee Report: China–A Reassessment of the Economy, July, 1975. Joint Economic Committee, US Congress. This fall in industrial production in 1974 was directly linked by the Central Committee of .the Chinese Communist Party to the Gang of Four and their slogan, ”Don’t Produce for the Incorrect Line.” See Chang-fa, no.21, 1974 in Issues and Studies, vol.11, no.l, January 1975, p.101-104

[7] All quotes are from Chou En-lai, “Report to the Tenth National Congress of the CPC,” The Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Documents), Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1973, p.1-37

[8] This quote is from Chang-fa, an internal bulletin of the Chinese Communist Party. Much of the material carried in Peking Review in the early stages of the campaign to expose the crimes of the Gang comes from a collection of “Evidence of Crimes of the Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan Anti-Party Clique” published in Chang-fa, no. 24, December 1976. This document is available in Issues and Studies, a Taiwan English-language publication which focuses on the People’s Republic of China. This quote is from the September 1977 issue, p.89-91.

[9] This material on the Gang’s handling of the Lin Piao/Confucius campaign is from the above mentioned four issues of Chang-fa that dealt with evidence on the crimes of the Gang (no.21-24, September-December 1976), especially no.21, September 1976, Issues and Studies, January 1977. Some of this material is in “’Gang of Four’s’ Plots in the Movement to Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.16, p.27, The following is part of a talk given by Mao to newly liberated cadre at and above the level of minister. The talk was in Peking, in the autumn of 1974. Mao was accompanied in this meeting by Chou En-lai, Wang Hung-wen, Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao, and Yao Wen-yuan: “Before his departure for an inspection tour, Mao said in the Huai-jen Hall: To Tan Chen-lin: ’There is only one Tan Chen-lin in Peking, but the whole country is talking about so many Tan Chen-lins CEditor: It means that Tan was wronged and the people think that many others were as wronged as Tan). Some comrades suffered grievances in the Great Cultural Revolution, but grievances always come to those who have been devoted to revolution; now they step forward to work, they’ll suffer fewer grievances since they have more experience. The whole country knows that there is a Tan Chen-lin, then our work should be much easier; without such a revolution, the responsible comrades in the Central would have locked themselves up in seclusion in Peking to issue directives, and I’m afraid that there would eventually be many people in the whole country who wouldn’t know who were in the Central. Our work would then only be conventions, conferences, studies, briefings and issuing directives, without knowing the situation down below; and that would inevitably further bureaucratism.’” This quote from “Mao Tsetung’s Talk to ’Liberated Cadres’ and ’Wuhan Cadres’: Excerpts of An Unpublished CCP Confidential Document,” Issues and Studies, February 1975, p.91

[10] Chu Lan, “Comments on the Shansi Opera ’Going Up to Peach Peak Three Times,’” Peking Review, vol.17, no.11, 1974, p.8

[11] Issues and Studies, November 1976 and the New York Times, June 14 and 15, 1977

[12] Chang-fa, no.21, 1974, reprinted in Issues and Studies, January 1975, p.102

[13] The first quote is cited by Wang Hung-wen, “Report on the Revision of the Party Constitution,” The Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Documents), Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1973, p.45. The second quote is Mao Tsetung, “Speech to the Albanian Military Delegation,” Miscellany, p. 459

[14] Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, The self-criticism that Wang Hung-wen wrote but never submitted to the Central Committee is instructive here. It reads, in part, “In the early stage of the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, I divided the criticism of Lin Piao and Confucius with the Implementation of policies decided at the 10th Congress. I really had no understanding of the criticism of (Lin) and Confucius...Some charges advanced in the criticism of going by the back door were not appropriate (meaning advanced by Wang, et al. during the campaign–edit.) such as those charges that would cause confusion about the two kinds of contradictions and would widen the scope of attack, I did not report to Chairman Mao in time. This demonstrates that I do not have a clear understanding of principles and a clear conception of organizations.” Issues and Studies, 9/77, p.92

[15] Chang-fa, no.21, Issues and Studies, (hereafter IS), January 1975, p.103

[16] “A Factual Report: Crushing the ’Gang of Four’ was a Wise Decision by Chairman Mao,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.3, January 14, 1977, p.28

[17] Peking Review,ibid, p.28. Also see Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, IS, September 1977, p.95

[18] Mao Tsetung letter to Chiang Ching quoted in Han Suyin, Wind in the Tower, Little, Brown & Co., Boston, 1976, p.279

[19]The first directive has never been published in exact form. All sources agree that the directive was in some form like that noted in the text, similar to the general policy on economic development laid out later at the 4th National People’s Congress.

[20] Cited by Hua Kuo-feng, “Political Report to the Eleventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” The Eleventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Documents), Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1977, p.51. See also China Quarterly, September 1976, p.465

[21] Mao’s full response to the request to promote Wang was as follows: ”Chiang Ching has wild ambitions. Actually she wants Wang Hung-wen to be chair of the National People’s Congress and herself to be Party Chairman. There are not many people who she doesn’t look down on; only one person–she herself. In the future she will fall out with everybody. Now people are just putting up with her. After I die she will create trouble.”

[22] “Study Well the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat,” (February 14, 1975) Peking Review, vol.18, no.7, p.4, originally a People’s Daily editorial, February 4, 1975. The other three parts of the instructions as they appeared in Peking Review, February 28, 1975 were: “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, distribution to each according to his work and exchange 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.” “Our country at present practices a commodity system, and the wage system is unequal too, there being the eight-grade wage system, etc. These can only be restricted under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Thus it would be quite easy for people like Lin Piao to push the capitalist system if they came to power. Therefore, we should read some more Marxist-Leninist works.” “Lenin said, ’small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.’ This also occurs within a section of the workers and a section of the Party members. Both within the ranks of the proletariat and among the personnel of State organs there are people who fo-llow the bourgeois style of life.” From “Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat,” Peking Review, vol.18, no.9, February 28, 1975, p.5, originally printed as an editor’s note by People’s Daily and Red Flag, Feb. 22, 1975

[23] Chou En-lai, “Report on the Work of the Government,” Documents of the First Session of the Fourth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1975, p.45-46. Also in Peking Review, vol.18, no.4, p.21-25

[24] Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, IS, September 1977, p. 92

[25] Chou Szu, “Historical Tasks of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: Notes on Studying A Great Beginning,” Peking Review, vol.18, no.11, March 14, 1975, p.4-8

[26] Yao Wen-yuan, “On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique,” Peking Review, vol.18, no.10, March 7, 1975, p.5-10. Also a pamphlet by Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1975 Chang Chun-chiao, “On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie,” Peking Review, vol.18, no.14, April 4, 1975, p.5-11. Also a separate pamphlet by Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1975

[27] Mao’s formulation of “capitalist-roader” to describe the bourgeoisie in the Party came out of the period of the summing up of the Socialist Education Movement and struggle against Liu Shao-chi’s “left” lines in that period (1964-65). A detailed discussion between Mao and other Central Committee members on this subject appears as “Highlights of Forum on Central Committee Work” (December 20, 1964), Miscellany of Mao Tsetung Thought (1949-68), part 2, p.408-426. A partial quote follows: “XX: We should hold discussions on how to draw a line of demarcation and how to unify our languages. How should we discuss principal contradictions? Chairman: Let’s talk about power holders. We need not concern ourselves with class or stratum, but with these power holders, communist power holders, and the ’five great leaders’ who follow the power holders. Since you are the power holders now, the purpose of mobilizing the masses is to rectify our party... Don’t mention strata; it suffices to call them elements or cliques. You should study them. Elements may also have cliques, or cliques elements.”

[28] Material in this paragraph on the question of empiricism can be referred to in “A Sinister Programme for Usurping Party and State Power,” Peking Review, vol.18, no.50, December 10, 1976, p.13-15. Also “Why the ’Gang of Four1 Opposed ’Empiricism’,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.21, May 20, 1977, p.25-27. Also Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, p.80

[29] Material on various Gang “slants” on bourgeois right from Li-Shih-Yen-Chiu,(Historical Research) no.5, November 20, 1976. Translated in Survey of People’s Republic of China Magazines, no.9, 1977, pub. National Technical Information Services, Department of Commerce, Springfield, Virginia.

[30] Mao Tsetung, “Reading Notes on the Soviet Text Political Economy,” A Critique of Soviet Political Economy, p.46

[31] The above information from Hangchow from “Downfall of a Newborn Counter-Revolutionary,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.40, September 30, 1977, p.24-27. Also Issues and Studies, June 1976, p.102-105 and October 1977, p.73

[32] This information from a discussion held in Spring 1978 by an American visitor to Hangchow with a leading comrade on the Chekiang Province party committee responsible for agriculture during the above mentioned years.

[33] Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, IS, September 1977, p.104

[34] Issues and Studies, August 1976, p.97, for the full text of Wang Tung-hsing’s speech. Wang is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

[35] Several slightly different versions of “On the General Program of Work for the Whole Party and the Whole Nation” exist in translation into English. One is reprinted in The Case of the Gang of Four by Chi Hsin, Cosmos Books, Hong Kong, 1977, p.203-238. All versions are draft versions, intended for internal discussion within the Party. None were adopted. This version is the draft circulated by the Gang as a “poisonous weed.”

[36] Jurgen Domes, “The Gang of Four and Hua Kuo-feng,” China Quarterly, no.71, p.482-483

[37] “Grasp Class Struggle, Promote Spring Farming,” Peking Review, vol.19, no.10, March 5, 1976, p.5, originally printed as a People’s Daily editorial, February 24, 1976

[38] “Reversing Correct Verdicts Goes Against the Will of the People,” Peking Review, vol.19, no.11, March 12, 1976, p.4, originally printed as a People’s Daily editorial, March 10, 1976

[39] Chang Chen-pang, “Why Hua Kuo-feng?” Issues and Studies, September 1976, p.15. See also Far Eastern Economic Review, September 24, 1976, p. 14

[40] For more on this and references see below, section on “Two Line Struggle on Mechanization of Agriculture.”

[41] Hua’s original speech was given on October 15, 1975 and first printed on October 21 in People’s Daily.

[42] “The ’Gang of Four’ Sabotaged News Coverage of Mourning the Late Premier Chou,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.4, January 21, 1977, p.14-17

[43] Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, (this reference is to Chang Chun-chiao’s February 3, 1976 prediction of Hua’s downfall).After the death of Chou En-lai and the fall of Teng Hsiao-ping, Chang Chun-chiao was the senior vice-premier of the State Council. On. the Political Bureau of the CPC, the Gang were “old-timers” by this time. Three of them plus Yeh Chien-ying and Li Hsien-nien were the only members besides Mao, himself, who were in the Political Bureau before the Ninth Party Congress. All the other members, including Hua, had become Political Bureau members after the Tenth Party Congress. The choice of Hua to be both Premier of the State and in charge of the day-to-day functioning of the Central Committee was a bold move, clearly not a promotion according to seniority. IS, September 1977, p.87

[44] Chuang Lan, “Proletarian Dictatorship and Restriction of Bourgeois Right,” Study and Criticism, May 14, 1976, p.46, reprinted in The Struggle Against the Revisionist Line of Teng Hsiao-ping, articles from Red Flag, Study and Criticism, and other sources, pub. The Compass, Boston, July 1977 (P.O.Box 9278, Boston). This pamphlet contains almost every article available in English which is explicitly a Gang criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping.

[45] Chang-fa, no.24, 76, J-S 9/77, p.92. The late February 1976 meeting at which Hua spoke (with the approval of both Mao and the Political Bureau) about the correct way to conduct the “Right Deviationist Wind” Campaign was a special “Call Attention Conference” of provincial party leadership called by the Central Committee. During this conference, which lasted into early March, Chiang Ching summoned these same provincial leaders to two secret meetings (secret meaning without the prior approval of the Political Bureau) where she made this statement about Teng and attacked the purpose and line of the ”Call Attention Conference,” and thus the Central Committee itself.

[46] “Resolution of CPC Central Committee On Dismissing Teng Hsiao-ping From All Posts Both Inside and Outside the Party,” Peking Review, vol.19, no.15, April 9, 1976, p.3

[47] Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, IS, 9/77, p.99

[48] “A Desperate Move Before Destruction–Exposing ’Gang of Four’s’ Sinister Plot to Forge Chairman Mao’s ’Last Words,’” Peking Review, vol.19, no.52, December 24, 1976, p.8 (written by the editorial department of People’s Daily)

[49] These citations are from various articles in The Struggle Against the Revisionist Line of Teng Hsiao-ping, The quote about cadre “raised under the Red Flag” is from Chang Chun-chiao, On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie, op cit p.3 (pamphlet)

[50] Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, IS, 9/77, p.99

[51] “Chinese Economy in 1976,” China Quarterly, no.70, p.355-368. See also Paul Strauss, “Chinese Steel Expansion Lags,” Far Eastern Economic Review, June 11, 1976, p.Ill

[52] Han Tien-yu and Chen Tsun-hai, “When the Earth Turns, It Actually Signifies the Advent of a New Earth–Read Hung Hsiu-chuan’s ’Earthquake Proclamation,’” Study and Criticism, no.9, September 14, 1976, Survey of People’s Republic of China Press, (CNP-SPRC) no.30, 1976, October 1976 pub NTIS

[53] Chang-fa, no.24, 76, IS, 9/77, p.102-6. See also the article from footnote 48 above about a fuller discussion of Mao’s “last words.” For an example of the use by the Gang of the phrase “Act according to the principles laid down” see “Forever Hold Aloft the Great Red Banner of Mao Tsetung Thought and Advance Courageously,” Peking Review, vol.19, no.41, October 8, 1976, p.5

[54] Liang Hsiao (translation; “Two Schools” meaning a combined writing group from Peking and Tsinghua Universities), “Act Forever According to the Principles Chairman Mao Laid Down,” Kwangming Daily, October 4, 1976, discussed in Chang-fa, no.24, 1976, IS, 9/77, p.102-6 The first time this phrase was used was a joint editorial in People’s Daily, Red Flag, and Liberation Army Daily, September 16, 1976. Chi Hsin, The Case of the Gang of Four, Cosmos Books, Hong Kong, 1977 has pictures of the front pages of People’s Daily, Septmeber 16, 1976 and Kwangming Daily, October 4, 1976. The Kwangming Daily article says: “Any revisionist chief who dares to distort the principles laid down by Chairman Mao will surely come to a bad end.” Also note: “800 Million People Mourn the Great Leader and Teacher Chairman Mao Tsetung Most Deeply,” Peking Review, vol.19, no.40, September 30, 1976, p.5-17, where the phrase “Act According to the Principles Laid Down” is used 25, count them, 25’times. One final point. Mao actually wrote out the three messages to Hua. All three were brought to a Political Bureau meeting and shown to all members of that body. The message “Act according to past principles” was copied down exactly by the Gang in their notes of that meeting. They subsequently changed three of the six characters and fabricated a new statement, ”Act according to the principles laid down,” expressly for the purpose of confusing the public and preparing public opinion for their seizure of state power.

[55] “New Light on Mao Tsetung’s Writings on Political Economy,” China Quarterly, March 75

[56] Mao Tsetung, “Reading Notes on the Soviet Text Political Economy,” A Critique of Soviet Political Economy, p.46-47

[57] Gerald Tannebaum, addendum to ”The Real Spirit of Tachai,” pub. MSS Modular Publications, New York, 1974

[58] Chou Chin, “2nd National Learn-from-Tachai Conference (part 4), Mechanization: Fundamental Way Out for Agriculture,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.9, February 25, 1977, p.15

[59] For a description and history of Tachai, see Wen Yin and Liang Hua, Tachai, The Red Banner, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1977. The Chou En-lai quote is from his “Report On the Work of the Government” to the Third National People’s Congress, quoted on page 1 of Tachai, The Red Banner.

[60] Hua Kuo-feng, “Let the Whole Party Mobilize For a Vast Effort to Develop Agriculture and Build Tachai-Type Counties Throughout the Country,” Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1975

[61] Ibid p.10-11. These are the six criteria Hua lays out for Tachai-type counties:
“(1) The county Party committee should be a leading core which firmly adheres to the Party’s line and policies and is united in struggle.
(2) It should establish the dominance of the poor and lower-middle peasants as a class so as to be able to wage resolute struggles against capitalist activities and exercise effective supervision over the class enemies and remould them.
(3) Cadres at the county, commune and brigade levels should, like those in Hsiyang, regularly participate in collective productive labour.
(4) Rapid progress and substantial results should be achieved in farmland capital construction, mechanization of agriculture and scientific farming.
(5) The collective economy should be steadily expanded, and production and income of the poor communes and brigades should reach or surpass the present level of the average communes and brigades in the locality.
(6) All-round development should be made in farming, forestry, animal husbandry, side-occupations and fishery with considerable increases in output, big contributions to the state and steady improvement in the living standards of the commune members.” Compare this to the six criteria Mao laid out for measuring the Socialist Education Movement in 1964. This quote is from a Central Committee of the CPC directive, ”Some Concrete Policy Decisions On ’Rural Socialist Education’ Movement, revised draft, September 1964:

“Comrade Mao once said: ’What is the yardstick to measure the work of the Socialist Education Movement?
(1) We must see whether the poor and lower-middle peasants are really mobilized or not.
(2) We must see whether the problem of the 4 uncleans (in the political, ideological, economic, and organizational area–RP8 edit.) amongst cadre has been thoroughly solved or not.
(3) Whether cadres have joined in physical labor or not.
(4) Whether a good leading nucleus has been set up or not.
(5) Upon discovery of landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and undesire-able elements engaged in sabotaging activities, whether the contradiction has been passed to the higher levels, or the masses have been mobilized to carry out strict supervision and criticism, and even appropriate struggle against these elements, and to retain them for on-the-spot reform.
(6) We must see whether production has been increased or decreased.’

These six conditions suggested by Comrade Mao Tsetung may serve as the major yardsticl for measuring the achievement of the Socialist Education Movement.”

[62] Hua Kuo-feng, “Political Report to the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.35, p.28. See also Chen Yung-kuei, “Report At the Second National Conference on Learning from Tachai in Agriculture,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.2, p.7

[63] Hsinhua Daily Bulletin (New China News Agency) September 16, 1975 reported the opening of the conference in item 091525, p.33-37. Chen Yung-kuei’s speech was printed. Teng Hsiao-ping’s speech was reported with a note that it was welcomed with “great outbursts of strong applause.” Also noted was that Chiang Ching made an important speech. The conference was next mentioned by Hsinhua October 16, 1975, item 101537, p.43. This item said the conference was over and that Hua Kuo-feng made the sumup speech. Hua’s speech was not printed in Hsinhua until 1 October 21, 1975, item 102010, p.41-52

[64] Roxanne Witke, Comrade Chiang Ching, Little Brown and Co., Boston, 1977, p.460, 470 and 474. Page 470 says that during the period of the Tangshan earthquake relief work, (the peasants in this village went about their business as though nothing had happened (This was played up in’ the press as an example of “self-reliance,” in direct oppositio ^ to the nation-wide call to mobilize to aid the quake areas. Page 474 says that the peasants of this village denounced Chiang’Ching vigorously as soon as the Gang fell, ^ citing examples of how her ”sponsorship” of the village was actually Chiang Ching acting like a petty tyrant and overlord. This village was included in many of the ( high-level delegation tours of China, including that of Imelda Marcos in 1976.

[65] Chen Yung-kuei, op cit p.8.

[66] This information has come from a number of visitors to China. For instance, an American delegation visiting Rainbow Bridge Commune outside Shanghai in March 1978. This commune, less than 10 miles outside Shanghai, converted vegetable fields to ( grain under orders from the Gang-controlled leadership of the Shanghai Municipality. Commune members discussed the result of this throughout the Shanghai ”garden belt.” The vegetable supply in Shanghai became so tight that workers had to get up as much as two hours earlier in the morning to buy vegetables at distant markets before going to work.

[67] See series by Tien San-sung and Chao Yi-ou titled “Travelogue” in five parts, in Peking Review, vol.20, no.36-41. This example is from part 3, “An Ultra-Right Line–A Visit to Wenchow, Chekiang Province,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.39, September 23, 1977, p.27-32

[68] This from an article in People’s Daily, November 16, 1977. Our translation.

[69] As far as we can tell, Mao never said these exact words. However, we feel reasonably confident that few people will challenge that this was Mao’s orientation. None the less we offer this footnote. Mao Tsetung, “On New Democracy,” (January, 1940) Selected Works, vol.2, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1965, p.360-361, from the section “Reputation of the Die-Hards.” This discussion of the need for Communist ideology and organization to lead China even in the stage of New Democratic Revolution ends with the statement: ”The whole world today depends on communism for its salvation, and China is no exception.”

[70] Mao Tsetung, “Intra-Party Correspondence,” (April 29, 1959) Miscellany of Mao Tsetung Thought (1949-68) part 1, p.171

[71] Refer to the following pages from Mao Tsetung, “On the Cooperative Transformation of Agriculture,” (July 31, 1955) Selected Works, vol.5, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, p.196-198. This speech to a conference of secretaries of provincial, (8 municipal and autonomous region Party committees called by the CC of the CPC was (given at the time of sharp line struggle with Liu Shao-chi and others over the speed at which to push agricultural cooperativization. The passage includes several references to the need to mechanize agriculture, the validity of the Soviet experience, and the need for large-scale mechanized farming and large-scale industry to develop in step with each other.

[72] Hua Kuo-feng, “Let the Whole Party Mobilize For a Vast Effort to Develop Agriculture and Build Tachai-Type Counties Throughout the Country,” p.3

[73] Hua Kuo-feng, “Continue the Revolution Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to the End–A Study of Volume V of the ’Selected Works of Mao Tsetung,’” Peking Review, vol.20, no.19, p.24

[74] V.I.Lenin, “A Great Beginning–Heroism of the Workers in the Rear: ’Communist Subbotniks,’” (July 1919) Selected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, vol.3, p.219-242

[75] In 1955, Mao spoke of the importance of one such “new thing,” agricultural cooperatives, in praising the determination of 3 poor peasant households in Hopei Province to maintain their cooperative when the middle peasants wavered. He said: “In fact, the direction in which these three poor peasant households are moving is the one in which the 500 million peasants throughout the country will move. All peasants now farming individually will eventually take the road resolutely chosen by these three poor peasant households.” Mao Tsetung, “On the Cooperative Transformation of Agriculture,” op cit p.189-190

[76] Chih Heng, “Develop the Socialist New Things,” Peking Review, vol.17, no.51, 1974, p.9. This article is a slightly abridged translation of the original which appeared in Red Flag, the journal of the Central Committee, CPC, no.12, 1974

[77] “Worker-Peasant Villages,” China Reconstructs, vol.26, no.9, September 1977, p.21

[78] V.I.Lenin, “A Great Beginning,” op cit p.235

[79] Ibid, p.239-240, emphasis by Lenin

[80] Mao Tsetung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Works, vol.5, p.400

[81] Quoted by Hua Kuo-feng, “Political Report to the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.35, August 26, 1977, p.50-51

[82] Jen Ping, “A Brillant Historic Document,” Peking Review, vol. 19, no.47, 1976, p.12. For more on this see also “The Film ’Pioneers’ and the Struggle Around It,” in the same issue of Peking Review.

[83] Clearly there were more than 8 separate operas shown in China in this period. But . two points should be made. First, in both plot and style, the vast majority of all theatrical performances (and films, and literature, and children’s books, etc.) became “modeled” after, in a strictly mechanical way, the 8 model operas. Second, in an absolute sense, the Chinese people were prevented from attending theatrical performances because of the line and policies of the Gang. In Shanghai alone, under the direct supervision of the Gang, the total number of opera troupes was reduced from over 100 in 1967 to 10 in 1976.

[84] Mao spoke to this point many times, making the point that despite the gains made on the education front since liberation, the situation required a radical break with the domination of bourgeois ideology in order to make further gains. Some examples are: The quote following in the text (footnote 85). See also Mao Tsetung, “Speech to the Albanian Military Delegation,” where he says: “It seems to me that the world outlook of intellectuals, including those young intellectuals who are still receiving education in schools, and those both within and outside the party, is still baslcly bourgeois. This is because in the more than ten years since liberation, the cultural and educational circles have been dominated by revisionism, and so bourgeois ideology has seeped into their blood.” Miscellany, pt.2, p.459 See also the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” (“Sixteen Points”) adopted August 8, 1966. (this quote from point 10: Educational Reform) cited by Jean Daubler, A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Vintage Books, New York, 1974, p.303 where he says: “In this great cultural revolution, the phenomenon of our schools being dominated by bourgeois intellectuals must be completely changed.”

[85] Mao Tsetung, “May 7th, 1966 Directive,” Peking Review, vol.10, no.47, 1967, p.9

[86] Quote from front page of “Strive to Build a Socialist University of Science and Engineering,” Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1972

[87] The Economist, London, December 31, 1977, p.29-30

[88] “Mao Tsetung’s Talk to ’Liberated Cadres’ and ’Wuhan Cadres’: Excerpts of an Unpublished CCP Confidential Document,” IS, February 1975, p.92

[89] “’Gang of Four’–The Nation’s Scourge,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.8, 1977, p.11

[90] “New College Enrolment System,” Peking Review, vol.20, no.46, 1977 p.17

[91] “What Does the Incident at Tien An Men Square Show,” Peking Review, vol.19, no.17, 1976, p.12

[92] This information comes from an extended, unpublished interview with Canadian students who spent many years in China and was verified by discussions between Americans and Chinese teachers at the Shanghai Foreign Language Institute and at Hangchow University in March, 1978.

[93] This information from an interview with these Canadian teachers.

[94] This information from a visit to China by an American delegation in the Spring of 1978, shortly after the first nation-wide college entrance examinations were held. This material, both about the misuse of political criteria by the Gang and its current importance, was confirmed in talks at middle schools, universities, foreign language institutes, and with officials at the Ministry of Education. These talks and visits are the basis for footnotes 96 and 97 also.

[95] “New College Enrollment System,” op cit p.16-18

[96]See footnote 94

[97] See footnote 94

[98] The exact status of some socialist new things as of April 1978 is as follows (all information from official Chinese sources). The “Communist Labor University” in Kiangsi has one general college with over 100 branches throughout the province. In the factories the ”July 21 Universities” are rather formal schools with a high proportion of full-time students enrolled for 2-3 years. Today these universities number 25,000, with 300,000 students. There are a larger number of ”July 21 Schools” in the plants which teach only one or two skills for a shorter period of time. In the countryside, “May 7 Universities” are organized at the commune level as rather formal schools with set subjects, a 3-5 year course, and both full and part-time students. Today these universities number 5000, with 300,000 students. There are also “May 7 Schools,” roughly equivalent to sparetime technical schools (for barefoot doctors, tractor mechanics, etc.) with a 3-6 month course. Today these schools number 6000, with 250,000 students. In addition, a new ”socialist new thing” is emerging today in education. For the first time, graduates of these factory and commune “universities,” as well as graduates of correspondence courses, are placed into the same pool with graduates of regular universities and technical schools for job placement by the government.

[99] V.I. Lenin, “A Great Beginning,” Selected Works, vol.3, p.235